Beside the Folly Brook
In 1970 I told BB how much I loved his books. I wrote the letter sitting at the window in a house tucked into a Devon cliff, with pine woods behind and the sea in front. I’m sitting there now. It’s the sort of place BB would have adored, the recesses of undergrowth and exposed headlands teeming with wildlife. This, I imagined, was the setting for The Little Grey Men (1942). Here were all the ingredients, including wood dogs (foxes), fernbears (badgers) and above all a winding stream. In my mind this was the Folly Brook, up which the last gnomes in England travel on their heroic quest to find their missing brother, and down which they flee in their boat the Jeanie Deans, in the 1948 sequel, Down the Bright Stream.