I said I’d write a bit about Queen’s Wood; but do you know, its one of those places that’s really difficult to describe.
It takes up a large part of Highgate, and lies opposite Highgate Wood; the two being divided by a fairly busy road. But the two Woods are entirely different in character being run or owned by two entirely different organizations (can’t remember what these are now, only I think Highgate Wood is under the control of the Council). Highgate Wood is well cared for; has specific opening times and is closed to the public by night. Queen’s Wood is left mostly unattended and is always freely accessible. Maybe this has led to an almost fearsome reputation it has earned to be avoided by night; and certainly parts of it has attracted those with ‘less savoury’ motivations.
Not so long back, it (Queen’s Wood) was the scene of a grisly murder, or maybe that should read ‘gang-land’ murder. A man was taken there and stabbed to death. His body just left amongst some foliage near a path.
But the Wood has always been associated with death, or ‘deaths’. In 1665 a part of it was used to bury victims of the Great Plague. The victims were brought out in cart-loads from the Old City of London and dumped in large pits then covered with quick-lime. The site is still appropriately named Church Yard Bottom, and is even still thus named on some maps. Perhaps not surprising, the Wood also has its own resident ghost. Said to be that of a nun who just disappears amongst the trees after being sighted, this forlorn spectre has been sighted by many people over the years. A convent in fact, once stood at the South end of the old boundary, though of this, now there remains no trace.
I have already mentioned the old paddling pool where I sat only recently. Well only some 40 yards or so away from this at a ‘dip’ in the Wood was the ‘dogs swimming pool’ (as it was known) – a place where dogs could splash away in the water to wash any mud on them after being walked. Not a bad idea really, I suppose, but I believe nowadays, it too, is empty.
My personal memories of this old Wood are quite varied. We used to play games like ‘hide-and-seek’ amongst its trees and bushes as children; and I remember going there on nature rambles from my first school which was in nearby Shepherds Hill. We would collect new buds and take these back to watch these ‘grow’ in the classroom; and not infrequently did we find hedgehogs and see many rare birds there.
I remember once finding a chaffinch’s nest hidden in a hawthorn bush at the side of a pathway. I was alone on that occasion and saw the mother sitting bravely on the nest. I remember making many visits to the nest to wait for the eggs to hatch, but I was always careful not to disturb the foliage or the mother. But she was quite safe. The nest was well hidden and I had only found after seeing the male bird fly in there.
Well, that’s a very brief summary of forlorn Queen’s Wood. It has changed little over the years, but I wouldn’t advise anybody to venture in there at night!
What other news? Well, I told you the new book is finished – text-wise at least. Well, I have now been getting reports about it from people who have been reading my Blog and apparently been reading other peoples’ Blogs with all the usual untruth’s and nonsense about myself. People here will know well who the culprits are their motivation . . . well, you know, I’m really not too sure of the true motivation. One of them is clearly ‘bonkers’, so nothing new there! The other seems to be a neurotic female who is so obsessed with myself that she just has to keep writing about me.
I have made it quite clear here on numerous occasions, that I just don’t want to discuss these people – and I do NOT! This does not appear to deter them as they apparently just go on writing about, or discussing, myself.
I do not really take too much notice of that either. But I do mind when one of them is suggesting that the purpose of my new book – or one of its purposes – is to hurt two innocent people’ (their words, not mine). To set the record straight, I have not repeated the allegations made against these two people by one of the people concerned. Its not that I doubt that these original allegations were made (indeed, these were told to two independent people) but I DO believe such allegations were untrue, and it would not be my place to subject other innocent people to their implications.
In fact, I had already written to one of the people concerned in 2007, but this was about an entirely different matter which he dealt with accordingly. My letter to this person I have published; as indeed, letters I wrote to parents concerned and to a solicitor. These letters were submitted to investigating authorities at the time, as they addressed untruthful allegations then being made about me: and which were subsequently proved to have been untrue.
I am not in the business of ‘hurting’ anybody. But when certain other people set out to hurt myself and other innocent people, I am quite entitled to deal with such allegations in the same manner as these were made i.e. in public. This I have done, nothing less, but nothing more. As an author, I can only present the facts and people can then be left to judge for themselves. So, just to clear that up!
Actually, on another matter, there are some rather interesting stories about the ghostly nun that haunts Queen’s Wood. I wrote many of these down years ago but have to admit, I have forgotten many. I will try and find them and share a few here (if I can find them!).
But for the moment,