Source? Piers got them from his garden over there
Significance? In-story they made Kendra question their provenance. For the reader and writer raised a tiny retrospective puzzle which was finally solved in The Kissing Ring
Fate? Kendra and Piers ate them
Author’s inspiration? They were inserted to give a chance to introduce the concept of over there
First appearance? Hot Summer Knight
“Wha’?” She sat up, blinking as Piers le Fay came into focus, holding an improbably small strawberry in one hand and a fine china bowl in the other. It was Piers le Fay, and not Sir Piers of the Summer Court.
“Not a morning person, then,” he observed. He withdrew the strawberry and popped it into his mouth.
Kendra frowned. “That was mine.”
“You rejected it.”
“Gimme.” She held out her hand, and he gave her the bowl with a grin. “Ooh, strawberries and cream!” She picked up the spoon and tucked in... She’d almost finished when something occurred to her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, stealing a leftover strawberry.
“This.” She indicated the bowl. “You never got these strawberries from the market. Not at this time of year.”
“How do you know?”
“They’re far too small and sweet to be a commercial crop and I don’t recognise the variety.”
“Sprung,” he said without obvious concern. “They’re from my garden.”
“Your garden in England?”
“Not in England, no. I nipped over there and got them from my garden near the Court. The cream came from one of the palace cows. I bribed a milkmaid.”
Hot Summer Knight was (I think) the second or third of the Fairy in the Bed stories I wrote. (The reason I'm unsure was because the publication order isn't the same as the writing order.) The mythology of the series (if I may call it that) was worked out as I went, and it wasn’t until Green Balls that I set any active scenes over there. It was in that story, the first of the Peckerdale Grene books, that I introduced the concept of the gateways, the points at which fay, and humans with whom they associate, can traverse between over here and over there. The invention of the gateways made that scene with Piers and Kendra into a retrospective puzzle. How on earth did Piers get over there from Frances’ terrace house where he and Kendra had that breakfast? Okay, probably no one but me would ever notice this puzzle, but I did and therefore I had to explain it to my satisfaction.
This I did, as stated, in The Kissing Ring about nine books later. The Kissing Ring scene is set in the 1980s when Ryl and Tom, who appear in several of the Peckerdale-Grene books, were courting.
[Ryl said,] “There are still gateways no one has discovered, I expect.”
“How many of them are there that you know of?”
“I know of four, though I’ve gone through only three of them. There are lots of others, but you can pretty well judge where they’re not by going to an airport.”
She nodded against his shoulder. “If you see fay flying somewhere, you can be reasonably sure that wherever the plane is going, there’s no gate close by. If there was, they—we—would use that instead. Apart from this one in the copse, there’s one at Fimble Road and another one at St Botolph’s church…it takes about six hours to drive to that, though. I think there’s another one somewhere over the New South Wales border through a hob cottage, but I’m not sure where it is from this perspective. There’s also one near the bridge over there that comes out in Sydney.”
“Then I guess you don’t fly when you go to Sydney?”
“No. I’ve been through that one twice. It comes out in the courtyard of a terrace house near Glebe. The Treadwells are the keepers there—hob family.”
Having established the Sydney gateway near Glebe, which has to be close to Frances’ terrace (also the setting of the very first story, Fairy on the Christmas Tree and appearing again in Tied Up in Tinsel and Christmas Eve), it becomes retrospectively plausible that Piers nipped a few minutes across the suburb, popped into the Treadwells’ courtyard fetched the strawberries and cream and then returned the same way.
That gateway is used again in Tied up in Tinsel and Christmas Eve and is referenced in Sunshower.
About the Blog
Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of May 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!