Archive for April, 2010

The Influence of Childhood

April 25, 2010

Playground 2007-8 1220x1530mm oil on canvas

It is time to re-start this blog.

A month ago I wrote this.

And now it is Spring. Not only evenings which are lightening but noons and early afternoons which are bright and with a warmth which seems to have welled up from nowhere. And the delayed Spring will have to race to catch up. It will all happen at once. In past years, since my days in the mild south-west, I have seen the flowering currant, forsythia, prunus and flowering cherry burst ever more flamboyantly, earlier and earlier. Daffodils, and Grape Hyacinths and Tulips, Wood Anenomes, Ground Elder, Wild Garlic and Nettles are not yet here this year. Yet the light and warmth means they will suddenly come.

(And of course they have come, though the cold Winter has slowed down the Spring to arrive at the time it did years ago).

I can almost smell nettles in the light and the sharp tang of Broom and of charcoal, of burnt ground. Childhood days spent playing in quarries and spoil heaps, on embankments of disused railway lines, in derelict barns where as successive gangs of innocent childish children, we thought nothing wrong with breaking down walls, setting fires, kicking down turf, or sods as we called them, to dam becks, then dambusting those dams with stones pillaged from drystone walls, kicking stone slates from the rooves of old barns and feeling the delight as they rattled down and smashed on the hard ground below. Then there was the running from the landowners and creeping back much later when we hoped it was safe to return. Our parents knew nothing of what we were doing. Was it vandalism, what we did? Was it delinquency? Something actually did tell us we shouldn’t do it and that was the reason we did. There was innocent excitement in the latent danger of it all. We were children still without the age of responsibility. On the edge of the village, when we played out, when Spring came, this is what we did.