Let me just start with saying I know very little of Norse mythology and what I do know comes from either Marvel Cinematic Universe or the TV show Vikings. But at least I’m aware that Yggdrasil is a mythical tree that connects the different realms, or worlds.
So obviously I don’t walk around looking for trees that look like Yggdrasil. I do, however, photograph trees and it was this one that reminded me of something.
This tree grows in Abney Hall Park. As I said in before, Agatha Christie used to spend time there, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Now, on first sight, the Queen of Crime doesn’t appear to have much in common with Norse mythology, but bear with me.
This a page from the novel The Hollow. (no spoilers ahead)
In this scene, Henrietta is reminiscing about a country house, Ainswick, where she used to stay during school holidays. She’s talking to her second cousin Edward, who is now the owner of Ainswick. And she remembers there was a big oak tree that she named Ygdrasil!
When first reading The Hollow, it was actually the very first time I have come across the name Yggdrasil, though I had no idea what it was. I thought Agatha made the word up–I suppose she presumed her readers would know–but for some reason the name stuck in my memory. Until I finally learnt what Yggdrasil was and I was like, ooooh, so that’s why Agatha Christie named that tree in The Hollow that!
It’s so sad that the tree in the book was struck by lightning. [Insert teary emoji. Or Chris Hemsworth.]
So, if Agatha Christie drew inspiration for her books from Abney Park, could she have been thinking of this very tree?
Like, it looks pretty old. It was probably there when she was there. I know when I saw it I immediately thought of Henrietta in The Hollow.
Of course, there are millions of trees like this all over the world and Agatha travelled a lot and it may not have been an actual tree that inspired her, she just needed a sentimental moment between Henrietta and Edward. I realise all of that. It’s fun to think about though.
Okay, Bjorn, I just said it looks like Yggdrasil, not that it is Yggdrasil.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments!
One more thing…
The mythical Yggdrasil was an ash tree, the tree in Agatha Christie book was an oak. I don’t know, botany not being my subject, what kind of tree the one in my photos is. If you do, I would be much thankful if you could let me know in the comments box.
It wasn’t meant to end like this. The Council announced the project five years ago. This area had been abandoned for so long; nowhere else in the city needed this more than us. We will be working with the local community, they said. Park and lots of greenery, beneficial to people and wildlife, they said. A corridor to the heart of the city, they said. Future developments will lead to links to with north and east quarter, they said. It was more than a million they were investing… then nothing happened. Where did all that money go? They forgot about us… again.
As promised in my previous post, here are some pictures of Abney Park.
Water lilies, but no ducks or geese here.
So, WordPress pees, have you ever visited a place that was somehow connected to your favourite author? Whether it was a setting of their book or somewhere the author lived or frequented. Tell me in the comments!
Abney Hall is a house–or more like mansion–in Cheadle, part of Greater Manchester. Here, I give you some pics from my recent trip there.
It’s a Grade II listed building that now houses offices and, as far as I know, is closed to the public. It is surrounded by a park, of which I will post photos separately in a future entry.
The last private owner of Abney Hall was James Watts. He married a lady called Margaret Miller, who was the sister of one of my favourite people to ever have lived in this world–the writer Agatha Christie! Agatha used to visit here often and wrote some of her stories during her stays. She had based some of those big country houses that feature in her books on Abney.
You can imagine me walking the grounds there, going like, OMG she stood at the same place I am standing right now! Ah, those fangirl moments.
More brutalistic architecture today; this time a canteen of an office building. I was thinking of the canteen in George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in 1984, though that one was underground.
The lunch queue jerked slowly forward. The room was already very full and deafeningly noisy. From the grille at the counter the steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sour metallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of Victory Gin.
This was also the place where Winston and Julia arranged their first date, over spoonfuls of stew.