I am reading 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett and love it so much I bore the family with detailed retellings of it - with a few tweaks: Mary Lennox becomes Renka Lennox and Colin isn't such a drip - he's more like Julian in the 'Famous Five' stories.
Nan indulges this (as she does everything) and offers to take me to a secret garden provided I don't tell my parents. Nan, clutching the inevitable picnic in a string bag and I, clutching my key text, walk up the hill for about a mile along a road lined with towering, dark green conifers planted behind a tall wooded fence. Nan pushes me through a hole in the fence; inside there is the most enormous garden, smooth lawns, trees and shrubberies. To be honest I feel a little short-changed as it is much too big and park-like to be the secret garden. But Nan seems to be having fun so I don't complain. We head to the far side of the garden, behind what she says is the gardeners' hut (this is more like it!); behind the hut is a deep ditch full of bunches of flowers and floral arrangements. I am sent into the ditch to see if I can find any decent flowers to take home while Nan sits on the grass shouting directions and partaking of a restorative banana sandwich. I, exhausted, climb up and down (like a small non-bearded Chris Bonnington, but with Start-rites rather than crampons). I manage to pull together a collection of browning lilies and chrysanthemums. I also find some sweet little cards and put a few in my pocket for inspection later.
Later when Mum turns out my pockets for the wash she gives a little cry and asks where the cards came from - I had forgotten all about them. They had writing on them which was hard to read as it was joined-up, something I had yet to aspire to. They said things like 'Darling Bertha, always in our hearts, your loving cousins Cyril and Lucy' or 'Henry, gone to a far better place, from all your Friends at Pressed Steel'.
I forget my promise and tell Mum about the secret garden.
I suspect my parents may have complained about this outing as I was never taken to Oxford Crematorium for a picnic again.