Archive | July, 2012

My favourite place to play, Appletreewick troughs

2 Jul




You will all have played the game of remembering where your favourite place to play was, well here is mine. Three water troughs in line adjacent to a wild cress bed from whence a tiny stream ran down to the 10 acre (remember those?) field, big by Dales standards and out of bounds to me. I was five.


I was fascinated when I returned recently with my cousin’s daughter, how she just headed in the same direction and did the same things; somehow reassuring! Even more so when her uncle arrived and jumped up on top of their slippery edges! I used to go down the lane next to our house in Appletreewick (well what a name?) and head for the troughs and stream pouring out of the wild cress bed. We spent hours damn building, kicking the water and filling a jam jar. Little water creatures, snails, shrimps, larva, boatman all were there.

We only had the cottage from when I was four to eight years old, cold and damp, logs that wouldn’t light, high windows that I couldn’t see out of. My Cousins used to visit us and about fourteen of us used to play Kick Can. We had freedom, we could play anywhere in the village and down by the river Wharfe. My Aunt knitted me a jumper of brightly coloured patches so that I could be seen from far away. The Wharfe was dangerous, it ran deep and strong in places, but in others it was benign with places to swim and slide.


Despite this idyll of nature in childhood I would not want this blog to be seen as an endorsement of NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder), wonderful though the natural environment is, I still feel irritated by the NDD syndrome of having to label children by their disabilities. There are many advantages of living in cities and more important issues that we need to tackle, the most important of which is probably the lack of freedom that we now give to our children. I believe that we as a sector need to be overcoming fear, fear of traffic, fear of strangers. We ought to be concentrating on supporting parents and politicians and tackling the media on these issues, rather than dissipating our energies on a range of lesser ones, which are in danger of distracting, like Jubilee and Olympics from the real more fundamental issues we must address!