IN amongst all the sadness and hardship, there is also magic to be found in the lockdown…

Flower Fairies, for example, have started appearing in the woods in our village of Hurworth-on-Tees.

It began with a trail of painted pebbles, before little fairy doors – painted on pieces of slate – were attached to the trunks of trees. Then, the Flower Fairies themselves began to set up home in a hollow log, guarded by a stone frog.

Chloe, our three-year-old grand-daughter, was having a walk with her Daddy and Ganma when she happened to peer inside the log and saw a beautifully hand-made fairy, wearing a bright yellow dress.

To protect the fairy from the rain, she was inside a see-through case, along with the following letter:

“Hello, my name is Laburnum. I am a Flower Fairy. Please take me home so that another fairy can take my place in the fairy grotto. Be safe, be happy, and believe in Flower Fairies.”

Other local children have enjoyed similar experiences, but no one knows who is casting the magic spells. According to village gossip, it’s all down to “The Fairy Lady” but no one seems to know who she might be.

Whoever she is, she deserves our gratitude for bringing a touch of magic into children’s lives in difficult times.

Chloe and Laburnum have become great friends. She took her Flower Fairy home to show mummy and introduce her to her other toys, one by one: “Baby Elephant, this is Laburnum – she’s a Flower Fairy…Laburnum, this is Baby Elephant – he’s a baby elephant,” and so on.

It inspired my wife to dig out a collection of Tooth Fairy letters from when our children were small. They’ve all been lovingly kept, along with their first baby teeth, inside a little purse.

Jack, wrote: “Dear Peony, may I know what you wear when you go to hot places. Love from Jack.”

Peony replied: “Dear Jack, what a surprise to get such a big tooth. It was very heavy for me to carry. I have had lots of practice collecting teeth since I was here the first time I called in. This time, I can tell you that when it is cold, I wear a scarf – and when it is hot, I take the scarf off. Clever, hey? Look after the rest of your teeth. Love from Peony xx”

And Hannah wrote: “Dear Lavender, at last a tooth has come out. I’ve missed you lots. I have been wobbling and wobbling and it finally came out at Brownies which is a place for girls to do activities. My question is are there any boy fairies and if there are who’s the king?”

Sadly, the reply appears to be missing, so I may never know the name of the King of the Fairies. My best guess is that it's Peter.

Anyway, what I do know is that fairies of all kinds are an important part of every childhood – in or out of lockdown.


VERY politely, I asked Chloe if she’d mind having her photograph taken with Laburnum, to go along with today’s Grandad At Large column.

She sighed deeply and told me: “OK, Gandalf, but just one picture and you'll need to be quick – got it?”

OUR eldest, Christopher – otherwise known as The Big Friendly Giant – reached the grand old age of 30 this week.

On the night before, his three-year-old daughter, Chloe, flatly refused to accept that he was having a birthday.

“No, you can’t have a birthday – no presents and no cake. It’s my birthday next!” she declared.

BY the next morning, Chloe had come to terms with the reality of her Daddy’s birthday and announced that she was “very ‘cited”.

“Daddy’s 13 but he’s not able to open his presents – so I’ll have to open them all for him,” she explained.