Red welly boots? Here comes Abby Worth

Four names, but who’s the odd one out? Minnie Mouse, The Queen, Allan Ahlberg and Gary Lineker. If you want the answer – and how could you not? – you’d better read our Q&A with the welly-boot-loving writer, Abby Worth.

What object are you writing about and what were your first thoughts when we told you?

I’m writing about a Quentin Blake illustration from The Witches. To be honest, my first thought was ‘oh no!’ As a child, I hated his spidery, spiky, black-eyed scribbles. They were frightening and ‘adult’. But like anchovies and Nescafe, Blake gets more palatable the older you get. And it’s a rather perverse challenge to write about something you’re not overly keen on.

What object from your own childhood would you like to own again, and why?

A red, sticky marzipan cake in the shape of a fairy toadstool house, made for my 4th birthday (and made mythical due to a lack of photographic evidence). My own memory is a mere snapshot: candles aflame, little upturned faces glowing with awe, myself all aglow with pride, my mum probably in the background somewhere just thanking God it hadn’t melted yet.

Hop into my time machine and it will take you back to one specific hour of your childhood – where and when do you want to go, and why?

Boots on, ready for mischief

Without a doubt, back to the moment in this photo (right). Wearing those red welly boots and too big trousers, bumbling along through sweet peas and elderflowers towering over my head. My garden’s always been a wild, overgrown one and as a child it was a practical jungle, full of adventure and magic.

Can you surprise me with one unusual fact about your childhood? 

By three, I’d already had major head surgery. I was born with Crouzon’s Syndrome, which meant my skull was fused as a baby (very painful, because as my brain grew it had nowhere to go). So the clever Great Ormond Street doctors took it apart and put it back together like a jigsaw to make room for my burgeoning cerebrum.

What’s the earliest thing you can remember writing?

We used to have letter writing time on a Friday afternoon in Ms. Plimsoll’s year two class. I had a strict weekly rotation between Minnie Mouse, The Queen, Allan Ahlberg and Gary Lineker. The only one who wrote back was the Queen, and it was a half-arsed attempt because she just put a Buckingham Palace brochure in an envelope. Tsk.

Junk mail monarch?

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