When I was small, before my  father died,  I believed in fairies. But only when I was

in Hastings. Because in Hastings the air was different. The musty damp smell of

the lavender house staircase switched on my inner vision. My sense of smell was

linked to the old fish and rotting ropes of the beach old town fishing boats. And

this smell produced magic in my mind.

My inner peace heard bells and music in the fresh air, the

gorse bushes on the east hill whispered with the voices of the bogyman and his

victims. And I would pretend I didn’t hear them then suddenly turn and point,

to let them know that I did know they were there all along. And all the stories

told and picture books I looked at blew more oxygen into the fire of my

imagination where skeletons danced, ghosts hooted, and fairies lived in small

communities in the holes of trees and danced in the dappled light of Fairlight

woods and we had an understanding.

These other beings were my company, my background, my inner music,

I spent my time dreaming safely, composing music in my mind where they became even

more real.

That is the mind of a child free of humiliation and fear.

And despite the perceived meanness and frugality of living with my father this

inner world was rich and abundant.