After a joyous eight-hour delay in Edinburgh airport yesterday, I finally made it to my parents’ house in West Sussex. And this morning I appreciated the countryside with a visit to Pooh Bridge in Ashdown Forest to play pooh sticks with my Dad.
The game is the creation of A. A. Milne, the author of The House at Pooh Corner starring Winnie the Pooh. He devised the game for his young son and it was first played at this bridge, which is just a stone’s throw from the tiny village of Hartfield.
It was supposed to be a walk for our West Highland Terrier Liki, but because he’s now blind and nearly deaf, we ended up carrying him most of the way.
When we got to the bridge, there was helpfully a pile of blue-painted sticks and a pile of red-painted sticks. I chose red, my Dad blue and Liki sniffed a rabbit hole as we studied the rules.
On the bridge, we held the sticks at arms’ length and dropped them, before running to the other side to see that my red stick had won. My Dad equalled my feat in a re-match.
We then wandered back to the village – and a figure lurking in the trees scared the bejesus out of me. I write far too many horror stories every day.
As we reached the Pooh Corner shop, we realised we’d not been to the bridge in 20 years, but agreed that the Pooh stories will endure and that we’ll no doubt be back in another 20.
In an example of the power of Pooh, we stocked up on toys that I’d have played with when I was little – and my baby cousins Isabella and James loved them too:
Update: I’ve just found out there’s a Pooh Sticks World Championships! Amazing. If you want some tips, just look below…