Boyz In The Wood

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I was just reading Melissa Harrison on the lifelong benefits of outdoor play and it seemed the appropriate moment to dig out this scruffy old photo. There seems to be a lot of concern about nature defecit disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. The National Trust commissioned a Natural Childhood Report which showed how a generation of children are losing touch with the natural world. It seems we were the lucky ones, this merry band; I’m on the left, alongside Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen and Michael. We would dam streams to make pools for bathing, with wagtails and dippers and once a kingfisher; we knew perfect climbing trees with branches in all the right places, and often puddles of water in the crevices; we’d forage for blackberries and wimberries and sorrel and others too sour to swallow; we found water boatmen, pond skaters, caddisfly cases, tadpoles, newts, eggs in birdsnests, foxgloves, horsetails, sheep skulls, and a blade of grass stretched between thumbs for a birdcall. All without fluorescent yellow tabards.

Frames of reference

4 thoughts on “Boyz In The Wood”

  1. hi chris just read blog of the day. those really were the days weren’t they?
    by the way your mum says to tell you the next time you have your photo taken, make sure your flies are done up. love dad

    1. Thanks Dad. I was hoping no-one would notice the flies. I think we thought of jeans as overalls then. We had short trousers underneath so we never bothered too much. But I always fasten them now, honest.

  2. Haha your childhood sounds incredibly similar to mine! We tried to dam our local river once and were just getting to success when local PC wheeled up on his bicycle…

    Great picture, I love old photos.

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