By: Blonde Two
If, like me, you spent a proportion of your childhood hiding in wardrobes in the hope that magical, snowy lands would open up to you then you are probably as big a fan of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia as I am. As a child, I never got to visit Narnia but this weekend I think I came close.
Mr B2 and I were going up to Malvern again. We had seen the snowy weather forecast and had packed the truck with sleeping bags, flasks, water and chocolate supplies just in case. We were disappointed to get up as far Cheltenham without so much as a glimpse of snow. It was so cloudy that we didn’t get our usual sneak preview of the Malvern Hills from the motorway and were astonished as we drove into Great Malvern to see it covered in snow. Malvern does snow very well, it seems to get the sort that stays around for a while and all the trees and lovely old buildings suit a winter coating. It really did look like Narnia and I think I have tracked down the reason for that.
CS Lewis went to school in Malvern (Malvern College). I went there too as a girl but only wash dishes and ogle at the posh boys. He reportedly didn’t like the school but he cannot have failed to like its position perched on the edge of the hills with views out over common and farm land. He must have liked it because he and Tolkein (another author you may have heard of) spent time walking the Malverns later in life. New Zealand may have the claim to Middle Earth now but it was our’s originally!
But the real magic of Narnia/Malvern now is its gas street lights which have recently been lovingly restored by a group of volunteers (volunteering again). There are a line of them that run along the top of the common by my Mum’s house and against the snowy trees on Saturday night, they were truly magical. They give off a gentle, soft light which seemed very in keeping with the snowy theme. My favourite gas light is in the photo below – it is outside the back door of Great Malvern Priory (this door looks a bit like a wardrobe!) and would have been seen by Lewis after attending church services.
All good Narnia fans know about the lamp post that greets Lucy on her first visit (its origins are explained in The Magician’s Nephew). It looks just like the Malvern ones. I didn’t see any lions, fauns or talking beavers this weekend but I did meet quite a few magical little people so maybe Narnia is alive and well after all.