Summer 2023 started with such promise here in the UK, in June we sheltered from the sun, in July we shelter from drizzle, sideways rain, and leaky drainpipes…day after day.  It’s the last day of July as I write, and it feels like summer is rushing away as fast as the next band of rain arrives. However, rain can prompt productivity, hence these words before you are written.

 

In late spring I headed back to our rediscovered Hornbeam Tree in Epping Forest to film a feature for BBC London news. I’m pleased to report that the tree was in full verdant leaf and looking very healthy. Much of the day’s filming was spent dodging caterpillars as they dropped from the trees like little paratroopers, there were so many that you could hear them collectively munching on leaves in the tree canopy above. Hopefully we’ll have further news from Epping Forest for you soon!

 

In June we announced the Brambly Hedge Jigsaw Book. This brand-new book will contain six 12-piece puzzles, featuring classic scenes from the books, including the Crabapple Cottage cross-section from Spring Story, and the Midwinter fireside scene from The Secret Staircase. The Jigsaw Book will publish in the UK and USA in October this year and is available to pre-order now from our website or your local bookshop.

 

Given that the weather favours puzzles and puddles currently, we’ll keep on this theme! Our new range of seasonal Brambly Hedge puzzles has just launched! There are four puzzles to collect. Each 1000 piece puzzle features a collage of illustrations and quotes from Summer Story, Autumn Story, Winter Story, and Spring Story respectively. The new puzzles are available to order worldwide from our shop

A couple of weeks ago I went to London to visit the vast archive of original artwork used to create all eight Brambly Hedge books. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the whole catalogue of mum’s artwork together. It was quite incredible to see the pictures in person, the illustrations are as vivid as the day they were painted. Most are on A4 sized mounts, some smaller. The detail and depth perspective she managed to incorporate into each illustration is breath-taking, even for someone who has grown up and lived with these illustrations every day. There has never been a full exhibition of the original Brambly Hedge artwork in the UK, I hope that we can arrange for the illustrations to be on display at a London gallery for everyone to enjoy in future.

In the meantime, we have our 2023 calendar on the office wall for our monthly display of Brambly Hedge illustrations. We’re pleased to announce that the 2024 calendar has now been printed! The new calendar features twelve seasonal scenes from the books and will be available to order from our website in the coming weeks, but please do make sure you get in early, as they do tend to find homes pretty quickly! In addition to the new calendar, there will also be a 2024 Year Planner Diary available. The small paper fold month-to-view planner features a scene from inside the Store Stump.

The first blackberries are starting to appear in the hedgerow and I spy a break in the rain, so I’m heading outside.

Have a wonderful summer!

Pete Barklem

July 2023

England

 

 

 

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