Image © Adventures in the Wild (Used with permission)
You can’t just walk in like you do a shopping centre or like place. There are gates, locks and people of a sort to suss you out and see if you are legit.
Some days are easier than others. You can front up and ask to come in and they let you. Other days they don’t even answer your knocks.
Just beyond the opening you see in the image above is the entrance. Massive doors with huge locks and magical creatures guarding against the riff raff as they say. Sadly, some days I’m counted among them.
But when they are generous and let you in its a magical place. Words don’t do it justice.
It appears as a medieval village, a market place is centre and commerce is flourishing. There are stalls and wagons from far flung places, with strange and unusual artifacts.
There are stalls that always grab my attention. Mans of Pleasant Valley sells an array of scarves and knitted hats, each one with its own unique brand of magic depending on what you are seeking. My favourite is her invisibility hat. It actually works, well it works within this magic world. Outside I discovered it is just a hat. She’s a little woman with a face that says I’ve seen a lot of life, just ask me and a smile that will have you wanting to buy more than you originally planned. She tells me the Pleasant Valley isn’t called that for nothing and sends me an impish wink as she wraps another scarf for a happy customer.
Next to her is Lois of Largs, a big and boisterous woman selling fruit she has grown herself, apples you’ve never seen the like of and stone fruits ready to melt in your mouth. A little way further down is Johnny’s Light Show, JLS, a never ending display of magical lights and things never seen before in this place. He has them flashing everywhere, beams of light pencil thin streak across your face as if singling you out.
It’s easy to get lost within this wonder land. But it only exists here, I haven’t been able to take anything magical home as outside the entrance as I said what you buy loses its magic.
There is really only one thing I have been able to retain and that is my ability to be allowed back in. It’s a lottery some days and its sometimes weeks before they let me through but when they do there’s this sense that they recognise me as someone they can trust. You see up until today I have never breathed a word of this magic place to a single soul.