There is a channel on British television intended for the ages of 0-7 years old. It's called Cbeebies. It delights in young children's shows, most of which are educational, teaching them to count and spell, plant flowers and vegetables and even to cook!
But there is one show that I have since delved into, and looked behind the innocence of, a bedtime show that readies children for slumber.
That one show is "In the Night Garden."
The show opens with a child left out to sea with a little light and a blanket for a sail...
I had always found that rather odd but nonetheless, the show seemed rather endearing. There's a sweet girl who appears among daisies, aptly named Upsy-Daisy, a bluish coloured toddler who seems to be the main character whose name is Iggle Piggle and other fun characters such as tiny wooden dolls called the Pontipines and Wottingers, some triplets called the Tomblyboos, a rock obsessed thing called Maka Paka, some inanimate inflatables called Hahus and modes of transportation that seem rather flatulent! A train of sorts called the Ninky Nonk and a Zeppelin called the Pinky Ponk. Also some delightful but strange recolourings of birds called the Tittifers.
You'd have thought these were just loveable imaginings by a child... But then again, you'd be so unfortunately correct...
I cannot divulge how I know what I know but here is the truth behind the Garden in the Night.
A selfish couple who'd borne a son found themselves boozing and partaking in narcotics. This poor three-year-old boy was left to watch his parents fall into a stupor, leaving him vulnerable, lonely and unloved.
The only time the little boy had any fun was when he was at nursery.
There he would play with all his friends, and he couldn't wait to see his friend Daisy. He'd grown quite fond of her and they were the closest of friends. They always danced and played together, the boy usually tuckering himself out and falling asleep on his red little blanky. The other toddlers who attended were of a funny sort. There were three boys who were triplets; they seemed rather close, always in coordinated clothing and tumbling all over the place! One boy would often ask to play outside, he loved to pick up stones and stack them in threes. He'd often take them to the sink and use the sponges to clean them, the other toddlers thought it odd, but the stone obsessed child liked to offer a shiny pebble or rock as a token of his friendship and the others gladly accepted this.
Within the Nursery there were quite an array of toys. The little boys favourite were the train set and the radio controlled Zeppelin that was made of aluminium and helium, much like those floating sharks, it would stay afloat near the ceiling, its unusual colours highlighted by the light through the window. Among the other toys were some large fun inflatables that the children often liked to jump and bounce on, a little doll's house with neighbouring dolls and a colourful bouncy ball among various others.
Outside in the far corner of the Nursery garden was a small aviary with various coloured birds, the little boy would often delight in hearing the bird song and chirps throughout his time there. At the nursery is where he would find his escape, where the nursery workers would care for him and the local elderly man would come in to read stories for them, those of which he was very fond of. The old man would give funny names to the dolls and paid special attention to the little boy with the blanket, he made him feel safe.
But unfortunately for him, this little boy would soon have to face the cold hard reality of his cold and unloving home.
That day his father would come to pick him up, but he'd never see the dark and gloomy interiors of his room again.
Sitting quietly in the back of the dingy and cigarette end filled car. The little boy would as always stay quiet, peering out the window...
The drive, he realised, was taking longer than it should; looking out of the window he found himself in unfamiliar landscapes. He looked at his father in the reflection of the rear-view mirror, catching his eye and a furrowed brow, the young boy stayed quiet and held onto his blanket tightly.
Having fallen into a slumber, the confused and scared toddler could see that the sky had turned to dusk, the stars glinting in the night sky as the sun had just set. His father had rolled down a window, a roaring of the sea could be heard close by, a distinct smell of sea air. He'd never been to the beach before... but why so late?
The father pulled up onto the beach, parking at the far end behind a dune, keeping the car out of sight. Getting out of the car, he opened the door for the little boy, dazed and confused he stepped out onto the sand.
"Why at beach Daddy?" the little boy asked trembling, confused and cold as his arms were exposed to the cold night air through his short sleeves.
The father said nothing and picked the little boy up, the boy clinging onto his blanket, crying and wailing as his father tightened his grip, applying his hand to his mouth as to silence him. The little boy struggled before giving in, crying silently as his unloving father wrapped him up in his blanket. The little boy thought maybe for a second he was just trying to warm him up and taking him on a strange night walk across the shore. His father remaining quiet bar the odd mumble, he pulled out a torch and shone it around the beach as if he were looking for something that he knew was there.
He'd found what he was looking for, and the boy had gotten quite tired from the ordeal, his head bobbing in and out of consciousness on his father's shoulder.
Without a second thought, the man led the boy on an old wooden boat. By this time the boy was drifting, opening his eyes in confusion but too tired and cold to retaliate. The man pushed the boat to the shore and began wading out into the sea. The tide was strong and as he went for one last push he dropped his torch into the boat before his son began to drift out to the horizon, leaving him to the fate of the ocean. His parents had finally abandoned him in the cruelest way imaginable.
The boy's eyes began to flutter, he saw a glimmer from the light of the torch and then nothing but the stars above him. He held on to his little red blanky his father had wrapped him in and watched the stars as he began to drift back into a deep hypothermic induced sleep. This would see his body eventually turn into a shade of death and bloat as he would inevitably diminish as he drifted deeper over the dark waters.
The last thing he sees is the deep dark blackness of the sky, and the north star shining bright.
Fading into what would be his last dream, he could hear the old man as if he was reading to him.
Someone I know is safe and snug, and drifting off to sleep.
Round and round, a little boat no bigger than your hand, out on the ocean, far away from land.
Take the little sail down, light the little light, this is the way to the garden in the night.
Now you know why Iggle Piggle is the only one who's not in bed, because it's all in his head.