I’m excited to be kicking off the writing year with a guest post on the excellent City Creatures blog. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in urban nature and human connection to place. Here’s a short extract from my blog post:
I spent as much time as I possibly could playing outside with the other kids on my street. Sometimes I was allowed to play in the car park across the street, but mostly I played along the pavement near my house—running, racing, skipping, cycling—and on the strips of grass along the verge, where I would practice my cartwheels. At one end of the street there was a small triangle of grass, surrounded by houses and a church—a town planner’s dream of the long-lost village green. For some reason the kids on my street didn’t play there. Perhaps we knew somehow that it would be wrong, even without a “No ball games” sign. We were in search of fun, and the mown lawn was too much a part of the ordered, adult world. Instead, we sought nature elsewhere and found it in a tree—a cherry blossom that bloomed pink petals everywhere in spring and deep purple leaves in the autumn. It was perfect for climbing, with branches low and wide enough for a small child. I spent a lot of time in that tree. Tentatively, retrospectively, I think I can even say it was one of my favorite places.
On the weekends, my family would take day excursions out to the countryside.Visiting the countryside, we called it. We three children would be stuffed into the back of the car and a picnic packed into the boot. We would head for the nearby Peak District and at the first whiff of cow manure, my dad would wind down the window and breathe in deeply, whilst the rest of us covered our noses and yelled at him to close it. We would find somewhere to park and then head off on long walks or go rock climbing. In winter, we took tea trays with us and attempted to sledge. We called it visiting the snow.
You can read the full blog post here.