I cycled lots as a child, to work at the fruit and veg shop, to see friends, around the farm, everywhere in fact that my trusty steed would take me.
Lower Halstow was on my cycle route with its pretty family fishing boats, and in stark contrast abandoned old barges left to the mercy of the marshes, like something from the Jurassic Period their protruding wooden bones mud trapped, creaked and wheezed with the tides.
Bumpy roads on the farm separated by apple orchards, inhaling the apple blossom’s scent with gusto whilst bombing down that road was just great, the road was dead straight so an absolute must to free wheel with my eyes closed, I only did the whole stretch once due to the proximity of the nettle edged ditch when I opened my eyes!
Of course as a child our big farm seemed the perfect place to hide out and invent a new world to live without parental restraint, tucked away in dubiously constructed lean-tos, dodgy make believe mud pies, dock leaf wraps & apple kebabs were not a patch on the real thing!
Life on the farm was great and full of so many amazing memories and adventures, from picking blackberries, gorging myself with apples & pears, cracking cob nuts between my teeth & eating the sweet buttery nut inside, in fact the more I think about my life then the more I realise that it was all about my stomach! I even ate the calabrese stalk, peeling off the tough outer flesh and eating the cucumbery inside, elderberries that were sweet, but too fiddley, and the mistaken sloe, thought to be a damson that stripped all moisture from your mouth turning you into some kind of exotic gurner. Sucking the nectar out of white dead nettle flowers was probably my favourite as the sweetness was so unexpected.