Now Hampstead Heath’s swan romance becomes a book!
Unlikely couple now have a family on the pond
15 October, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
Dee McLean’s illustration of the swans
IT was a fairytale romance which kept readers of the New Journal enthralled over lockdown, a story so good that every chapter needed telling.
So perhaps it should be no surprise that the tale of two swans falling in love on the waters of Hampstead Heath – against the odds – has now been turned into a book.
There’s Something About Wallace is a collaboration between swan rescuer Louisa Green and children’s book illustrator Dee McLean.
The New Journal began charting the swans’ blossoming relationship in March with the help of Ms Green’s photographs.
The leading lady was a widowed swan who had lost her original mate when he died flying into a window of a house near the Highgate Number One Pond.
She chased away all other potential suitors until a chance meeting at the swan sanctuary. Mrs Newbie, as some call her, was injured when she herself flew onto a nearby house and got stuck on a roof.
It was while she was recuperating, however, that she met a male swan called Wallace, who was recovering from a fishing hook wound. It was love at first sight and both swans were taken back to the Heath. It all went swimmingly and soon cygnets were on the way.
The relationship even survived a dog attack on the female swan. Ms McLean first heard about the swans when she signed up in March to monitor them, after answering a call for help from Ms Green in the New Journal.
Ms Green said: “The book follows the highs and lows of the past six months, including the arrival of several delightful cygnets and the tragic dog attack that saw Mrs Newbie taken back to the swan sanctuary for treatment, leaving Wallace to raise their cygnets alone.”
Sales will help swan rescuers buy a new kayak
Proceeds from the book will be put towards buying the swan rescue team a new lightweight kayak.
Ms Green and her volunteers cover north and east London, as well as Essex – and are regularly called out to help swans in trouble.
Aimed at children both young and old, the book also includes a section of swan facts to inspire. Ms Green said: “It is such an enchanting story, and we felt it was perfect to share it this way.”
l There’s Something About Wallace costs £10 and is available from www.deemclean.co.uk. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org