Growing up I lived in a semi-detached house with a big garden, I remember me and my brother spending hours outside, sitting, playing, charging about. I also remember just staring at the sky, or the grass, listening to birdsong, and Sunday afternoon mowers. Possibly my favourite garden activities were cleaning out the pond (all day task involving trying to keep several large Koi Carp in a huge container whilst the cleaning was carried out (those things were monster Kamikaze and would keep launching themselves out of said container, to which screams and nets would ensue) and the other was the annual garden winter cutting back. These are exceptional memories.
Growing up with my daughter, we have never had a particularly user-friendly garden, or for that matter, in a few places, a garden at all. My friend Will commented recently that children need a garden, and I agreed. I remembered my good garden times and then I pondered how I could provide that for my child, given our garden limitation.
Then it occurred to me that we live near the beach. My Mum has always, ever since my daughter was tiny, taken her to the beach regularly. As a family, we all know that a ‘paddle’ in the world of my young one generally equates to promises not to get wet and a full change of clothing. Often she has arrived home, wearing just my mum’s coat, grinning from ear to ear and requesting a bath.
Then a few weeks ago I went for the most amazing walk on the beach with her. She had a week of exams approaching and I decided that the beach was the place to begin. It felt natural, instinctive, we just needed to be in the outside, paddling in the surf.
I guess it doesn’t really matter what sort of exciting activities that people do with children, as long as there is outside time included. Being outside together, away from domestic tasks, homework and computers, all the indoor distractions, provides an amazing level of relaxation and chill. I seem to really easily overlook the things that I enjoy sometimes in favour of practicalities. But as of now, beach walking has become a priority. We need that open space.
Map Point. What are my favourite childhood memories?