Winter 2021 blog

The leaves that were clinging on as I wrote our Autumn blog are now long gone, mulching away on the soggy ground. The fields, woods, and hedgerows have opened up to reveal the landscape at its most bare, ready for another year of growth. The lack of light at this time of year makes you appreciate those precious daylight hours more so than any other season. The sun is at its furthest point from us as I write, just a day ahead of the Winter solstice, from here the sun will start to creep its way back.

It’s been another busy Autumn, but we have found time to escape to one of Jill’s favourite places, the Lake District. It is a landscape that has inspired many artists and writers, once you’ve spent an autumn afternoon in the fells, it’s not hard to see why. Jill would visit the Lakes at least twice a year for rest, but also for research. The result of this research was The High Hills, published in 1986. The pages are filled with Jill’s adoration of this landscape through her illustrations, from babbling becks and ghylls, to crags and fells strewn with rowan trees. Every little lichen covered mossy rock brought her joy. Many of the illustrations within the pages of The High Hills feature silhouettes of Lakeland landscapes that can be seen today, you just have to know where to look!

As Autumn turned to Winter, many of you shared with us your rituals of bringing out your copies of Winter Story and The Secret Staircase at this time of year. Marking the changing seasons is great way to punctuate the year. As you might expect, the Barklem family do this every season… books, paintings, foliage, and pottery are all changed as the seasons pass and are packed away into their respective seasonal boxes. It’s great that so many of you are embracing the seasonal change, we’d love to hear more about your seasonal rituals, so do keep us posted.

In the last couple of weeks we have been busy packing and sending our new Winter Story cards all over the world. We have had some lovely comments from those of you who have received the cards already, so thank you for those! We have now sold out of cards, but we hope to have more available for you next year.

The new Classic Collection has been gracing the shelves of bookshops across the land for the first time this festive season. This volume features all eight stories, but unlike the Complete Brambly Hedge, the Classic Collection is a large format volume with its own slipcase. The increased size of the pages makes exploring Jill’s intricate illustrations even more immersive. Perfect for snuggling up by the fire this Winter.

We have many exciting projects on the horizon for 2022, we’ll be sure to share them with you in this column and on our social media. For the moment, we would like to thank you for all of your support and messages throughout the year. We wish you all a warm and wonderful Winter.

Pete Barklem

December 2021