The allure of the old. The magic of Aislaby,  and of nanny's house, was also how old everything was. Some of us yearn for the past,and the relics of years gone become things of enchantment. They speak of forgotten times that we imagine to be simpler and soul nourishing.
This desire to cast off the modern and immerse myself in the old was very strong as a child. I read old books, I wrote stories about old farms and old country cottages. I wanted to wear old clothes. I wanted to just "make do" with a few old things. Old painted China, sagging arm chairs, secondhand books with yellowing pages, jumble sale finds.
It is the old things that stay with us and whisper their stories through the fabric of our lives. Woven with my history are all those old Enid Blyton books, their covers never forgotten. They still whisper their secrets.
Nanny's house was full of old belongings. Some belonged to my great grandparents, maybe even some belonged to great great grandparents. Old gilt framed paintings of desolate beach scenes, hung above thread bare armchairs. Some objects were nanny's collection, picked up from village jumble sales and secondhand shops.
The old objects draw me in and I am still that girl. I am still the girl craving yellowed pages and cracked spines. Chipped teacups and worn wooden chairs. Threadbare rugs by antique fireplaces, tarnished candlesticks and knitted cardigans. These things remind me of my enchanted places. Of sitting in nanny's front room in Aislaby,  with old clocks ticking, and old books resting, the dust motes falling, and hot strong tea in thrifted cups.
To be in Aislaby was not only to give up the bustle and noise of town, but it was to give up the modern. It was 1940s Christmas decorations, a turn of the century bible, an old church two doors away, old stone walls.
It was to give up the clamour of life as you knew it.
There was no keener pleasure than the jumble sales at the village hall. There, we would walk away with armfuls of old Enid Blyton books. The older the better. I looked forward to these books more than any new ones. They had been owned by other children, who loved the same things as me.
The jumble sale find I loved the best was an old edition of The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, with an orange cover.  I sat up in bed and devoured every page, longing to jump into that story and live those lives.
I seem to recall this was the first point in my childhood in which I really understood the magic of reading. That it could transport me, fuel my fierce dreamings,  fill my imagination with wonderful stories of unknown places. This was where it began. For the rest of my life, books would be my solace and my ever present companions. My life's obsession.
The children on Cherry Tree Farm spoke directly to my hushed longing for the countryside, and a more peaceful way of life. Amidst the struggles of home, this was my escape.
It seemed magical to me that I had been blessed with grandparents who lived in Aislaby, and I always felt this was where I belonged. It was a comfortable invitation to just go along,  and be myself. The countryside did not require me to dress up, to have new things, to be accepted, to be anything at all. I could go along and just be me. I could sit amongst old objects in old woolen socks. Run around in the snow and the sod.  There was no one to see me, just the sheep and the rabbits. To go running through the fields and trees was freedom. Freed from materialism, freed from expectation, happy with nature and a few old books.
And here I am as an adult, in all my fraught moments, transporting myself back to the gentle sound of knitting needles and old songs on the radio.