I know that by now, this is hardly an original post, but given that I am reading Wolf Hall and it will probably take me until 2020 to finish it, so thought I would write about this in the mean time. The day I discovered that Will and Lyra's bench existed. Seriously? Yep, I didn't know it was real. So when I found myself on a train to Oxford two years ago I thought I might go and see (with no expectations at all) if it existed, or if I could find where it might have been.
So you can imagine my delight when I found the following:
She led him past a pool with a fountain under a wide-spreading tree, and then struck off to the left towards a huge many trunked pine.
There was a massive stone wall with a doorway in it, and in the further part of the garden the trees were younger and the planting less formal.
Lyra led him almost to the end of the garden,
over a little wooden bridge,
to a wooden seat under a sprawling low-branched tree.
"Will, I used to come here in my Oxford and sit on this exact same bench whenever I wanted to be alone, just me and Pan. What I thought was if you - maybe just once a year - if we could come here at the same time, just for an hour or something, then we could pretend we were close again - because we would be close, if you sat here and I sat just here in my world -"
"Yes," he said, "as long as I live I'll come back. Wherever I am in the world I'll come back here -"
"On Midsummer's Day," she said, "At midday. As long as I live. As long as I live..."