Thinking of my childhood, I think like most, I remember a picture postcard image of the halcyon days of carefree innocence when the future seemed such a long way off and your friends were a stones throw away from you and seemingly always free to come out.
My biggest memories of childhood are probably of me playing on the trees just around the corner of my house with either Robert, Arthur or Brett and pretending we were sailing a massive ship over the ocean. Arthur was forever climbing to the top of the trees while Robert, Brett and myself were content hopping around the lower branches and climbing in and out of the exposed roots. Play sessions would probably only last about an hour or two but it felt much much longer at the time, sometimes we would venture off to the woodlands behind Arthur’s or Brett’s houses, playing Army, kick the can or even something as simple as hide and seek. As we got older we ventured into the Town Park where if there was enough wind we would fly our kites from the top of the hills in the park and if the wind was out there would be more woodland play in the various tree cover fields. One of our favourite places to play was a wood which was growing on an old slag heap from the Industrial revolution, Shropshire being the birth of the revolution in the UK, the soil was always a bit ash laden as it was the refuse from the various mines in the area.
The years have not been kind to the town park, the hills we ran up and down, flew kites on and stared into the sky on are now over grown with hedges and bushes, huge chucks of the slag heap have been removed to fill in the green pool and other bits have subsided. Many of the trees have been cut down due to the ever expanding housing estates, the fields where horses were kept in Stirchley Grange are deluxe houses and the once open plan park is populated with Checkpoint Charlie style gates. But somewhere out on those hills and in those woods are four small boys, laughing and playing safe in the knowledge that the future and growing up is still a long long time away.