What makes me tick?

I have a memory of when I was 5 years old, I would walk the two miles to school with my two brothers and our mum; whatever the weather.

I remember kicking up the fallen leaves in autumn and searching for conkers, acorns and sycamore 'helicopters' on the way. Looking back now, everything is in slow motion; the wind in our hair, rosy cheeks and laughter.

I absolutely LOVE walking in the rain! 

It could be because I love the cosy feeling of getting back to a warm house and a hot cup of tea by the fire, or it could be that the sound of the rain on my coat makes me feel safe and dry, a little like camping. At college in Ambleside I would dress in shorts, wellies and waterproofs when it rained and go and stand at the side of the road next to the biggest puddle so that I would get splashed every time a car or van passed by! (hmm, bonkers I know!) 

The aesthetic reason why I like the rain is because of its effect on the landscape. The sound of a raging swollen river moving the cobbles in the river bed, the cascade of a waterfall as it plummets to it's base, the rivulets caused in a stoney path. The more delicate sight of the view through a rain drop as it clings to the branch of a tree and after the rain has subsided, all the birds, mammals and wildlife come out of hiding, ready to repair any damage and continue on their way.

Digging up potatoes in the allotment with my granddad, Auntie Ann and dad. It was like digging for gold - not knowing how many there would be and how big. Buckets full waiting to be sorted.

My first teaching post was in Leamington Spa where in the grounds there was a huge Horse Chestnut tree.  In the Autumn term I would lock my bike to the fence and rush to the tree to see what treasures had fallen during the night - the kids didn't stand a chance!  I had a nature table in my classroom where there was always an abundance of seeds, worms, leaves, nests, nuts and things foraged by the children.  Magnifying glasses, paper and pencils were on hand for those who wanted to record their findings...if only I'd had clay.

When I was 9,  I moved from the middle of Liverpool to live in the Lake District. Matterdale, near Ullswater was to be the family home for 5 years. The contrast between the two was immense. The view from the 'bus stop' (our front door) was across the fields, past Gowbarrow and towards Place Fell and down to the lake. Although only young at the time, I remember pinching myself and thinking 'wow, I live here!'