The sign for a Dead End stood sentinel at the entrance to a bumpy road that sliced through fields of still-leafless vines. But we decided to ignore it and drive on anyway. The thrill of the unknown was more enticing than the possible inconvenience of ending up in a field or in front of a rubble wall and having to reverse all the way back.
The countryside was lush and the grass as green as polished emeralds. On either side of us, the silent vines are contemplating their re-awakening. Instead of getting narrower, the road widened to a little clearing and there we were in front of two gaily-painted lilac walls that seemed to form an entrance to another, much narrower, bumpier path.
We stopped the car and got out (well, two of us did – the Mischief Maker preferred to continue reading his beloved airplane books from which he is quite inseparable). The air was soft and warm, almost too warm, and carried on it the scent of spring. I looked at the lilac gate-way and my mind took off. Before too long I was in my own magical realm.
I was sure that somewhere at the end of this path, a princess slept - because, surely, those gnarled trees with their knobby trunks that seemed as old as the island itself, were once young knights in search of true love. But their quest had failed when an evil old witch turned them into mighty trees with their arms all askew.
My feet itched to explore some more, to see where the path led and what I would find at its end. But empty stomachs were clamouring for food. I would have to come back some other day. I would have to come and explore and break the magic spell. Or maybe I would come back and fall victim to the enchantment myself.
I turned my back, reluctantly, leaving behind me a dusty path lined with brooding trees and the promise of adventure and enchantment beyond an incongruous lilac gateway.
Photographed at Fiddien Valley, March 2014