Archive | May, 2015

My Purbeck Playground: A Natural endorsement

28 May

I was having my haircut the other day when my Hairdresser told me about an essay her daughter Eva, aged 10, had written for her primary school and which had won a prize and been published in our local Swanage newspaper. When I got home I had a read and felt I had to share it (with Eva’s enthusiastic agreement!). So, despite my concern about the ubiquity of “natural play” among my professional colleagues, here it is:

My Purbeck Playground

by Eva Longland, aged 10, from Swanage Primary School

Swanage Bay

Swanage Bay

“Warm tendrils of yellow-green grass tickling my legs, which are sticking ‘post it’ notes to my brain. The humming bees send their hypnotic sound to my ears. All of this is telling me it’s spring. I am in my spring playground. It’s not lined with thick black treacle like tarmac or dotted with wood or metal structures. It has a carpet of grass, as you probably guessed and there are rocks jutting out like shark fins in an ocean. I am with my friends on Tyneham mountain (the natural hill that lies between the two beaches at Tyneham) speeding down the long flat tails of grass.

The wind whistling in my ears as loud as a fog horn. My sweaty hands grip the sides of the ripped dog eared picnic blanket that we are using as a homemade sledge. My stomach clenches tighter. I am sat on the blanket as I speed near the edge of the small mountain. Sprinting up the hill after my exhilarating journey. I want to relive that magical moment.

My Summer playground. Home to the plates piled high with chips ready to be dunked in dollops of rich red ketchup. Home to the sun filled days lounging around in Swanage bay after sea swimming. Home to lobsters, crabs and the local fishermen.

Remembering the day when a local food hero (Mick from Gee Whites) was greeted by tourists asking “where are the lobsters from, mate?”

All the restaurant owner did was point out to the bay and say nothing more. I watched in wonder, stunned as to why they were so surprised. I regularly observe the hardworking fishermen hauling the lobster pots up from the depths of the sea to an orchestra of hungry seagulls.

My dog has to be the best surfer on the beach (Okay, I am biased) as she looks back ready to catch ‘the big one’, a sudden leap of excitement pounds in my chest. A glint in her eye is the only signal I need to get a camera.

Autumn means a new playground for me and leaf surfing is the perfect celebration for me. It was quite by accident that I learnt this new sport. I was playing in the woods at Durlston, gathering leaves in a pile. As I heaved an old plank of wood that I had noticed earlier to the top of a little hill, I decided to balance on it, and before I knew it I found I was surfing on the leaves!

Winter is here. One of my favourite things to do is snow tobogganing. Although I have only seen snow two times in my life, still it seems a tradition. As my sledge bumps precariously several times at Corfe Common cutting through the snow, my heart leaps into the air!

Although I regularly visit cities, Nothing beats coming home to Purbeck, Tyneham, Durlston, Swanage Bay and Corfe Common are just a few of my favourite Purbeck playgrounds.”