Box of Delights collage

If you are feeling a bit “bah humbug” about Christmas I urge you to read (or re-read) “The Box of Delights” by John Masefield. Written in 1935, our family has a ritual of reading it every year on the run up to Christmas, a ritual which I am sure is mainly for my benefit and enjoyment!

The narrator is Kay Harker who, on return from boarding school for Christmas holidays, becomes entangled in a battle to control a magical box, which allows the owner to go small (shrink) or go swift (fly), go back into the past and meet magical characters like “Hern the Hunter”.

John Masefield was born in Ledbury and lived here during his early childhood. When reading the book I clearly picture Ledbury and it’s environs. The 1984 BBc adaptation was filmed at Eastnor Castle and other local places, the passages of the book which involve Kay inside “Arthur’s Camp” always bring to mind “British Camp”, the Iron Age Hill Fort on the top of the Herefordshire Beacon on the Malvern Hills.

So, escape the maelstrom of Christmas preparations and immerse yourself in this box of magic and delight.