Friday, 19 August 2011

The dragon in the water....

This week's appetisers for your Wanton pleasure start with a tantalising step into the sacred waters that still run through south London. Susan's chapter (and Stephen's that you'll meet later) are good reminders that the sacred unfolds where it will. Hidden away among houses, streets factories, warehouses and shops those special places still hold their magic. To find them, you simply need to go exploring. Then the celebrations can start

The Dragon Waters of Place: A Journey to the Source
Susan Greenwood
Walking home from school between the ponds at Carshalton each day my friend and I, aged thirteen, would point to some enormous old dragon-like ivy that was twisting itself around the massive boughs of a pine tree and say in unison ‘That’s ivy, you know’, bursting into giggles at our own silly joke. Every day we would say the same thing, and every day we would share that moment in a peal of laughter. The ivy, serpentine in its embrace of the tree, guarded the ponds at Carshalton, one of the sources of the River Wandle, a tributary that flows into London’s River Thames.

The seemingly insignificant schoolgirl joke about the dragon-ivy connects me in my memory to the waters at Carshalton. I was born close by and I grew up and lived for the first part of my life in the surrounding areas. I have fleeting reminiscences of school days where the rector of All Saints, the church opposite the ponds, fought to teach us irreverent girls religious knowledge while we made fun of him, and later, when I was eighteen, of dancing, draped in gold and silver tinsel, on the tables in the large backroom of The Greyhound, an old public house adjacent to and overlooking the water.
Now, many years later as I reflect on Carshalton, the place where I was born, knowings whisper from where all waters meet. The old dragon-ivy is now gone, but young ivy tendrils entwine themselves anew around the trees by the ponds. I want to know more about the old feelings of the place. 

and this unlikely little cage for rocks and obviously ferocious flowers is "Anne Boleyn's Well" but to find its relevance to Susan's chapter, you'll have to wait for the book!

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