free play in the wild wood


The magic is always there, all you have to do is to take time out in the nature – breathe, close your eyes, count to three, and you will find it.

I knew it was going to be a good day when I passed two little girls playing shop along the Copper Coast.  A handmade sign reading “buns for sale” and a bunch of Camelias in a jam jar caught my eye.  We drove past them, turned the car, rummaged for change under the seats and stopped to be taken in by their wares.

1. Fairy buns with water and sugar icing 50 cent each x 4

2. plus the offer of their last chocolate rice krispie bun for free

3. plus a complimentary sprig of  pink Camelias                                                                  (“nicer than a rose” as Pa Hennessy used to say).

Their chatter catapulted me in to their world, I could have whiled away the day with them with talk of licking syrupy spoons and how sticky a stick is.

With a spring in my step and a ready made picnic I hopped back in to the car. Luckily the ‘just in case’ flask of tea was on board and my best buddy was at the wheel so we continued on, as planned, to the woods.

When we got there, it was teeming with birdsong and growth. We entered in to the electricity of it  – vision, sound, smell, taste, touch, volume turned UP UP UP.  I had set out to switch off but here I was plugging in to this super natural place.   Mother Nature had her merry way with me, cast her spell on me… I lost myself running  through a hideout of  bamboos, found a fairy throne, touched blossoms like candyfloss,  and heard myself, ourselves, laughing out loud – intoxicated.     This is what free play is really all about – to be fully engaged, fully alive, in the moment, in your element.  The picnic of fairy buns with hot tea was the icing on the cake of a day.  “Again! Again!”  and I remember  my own little ones when they were in that enchanted time and space.

So I want to go back “again and again” and sit on that fairy throne and wonder….

I would like to bring my 8 year old self back there and for her to idle in the sunlight, without a care in the world.  I would crouch down beside her and whisper Neil Gaiman’s words in her ear; “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can”.

My song for today is “Mother Nature’s son” by The Beatles for my best buddy x

shop and picnic
unexpected picnic

picnic 4

Did I play today?


It started out with us making something nice to eat.  Me and my two little pals rooting in the baking press for yumminess.   We found cooking apples and porridge oats, so the shout went up for Apple Crumble.  On further foraging from the freezer we excavated some frozen berries –  mmm even more promising –  Apple and Berry Crumble so.  We got stuck in and before you could say “I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream”, the berry crumble was bubbling over in the oven.   Now here’s a thing, you can’t have hot berry crumble without ice cream.

Back to the freezer, alas, not a spoon of ice cream to be had.  Some quick thinking required.    I remembered a post that I had swiped past on facebook; ‘homemade ice cream in ziplock bag’.

A quick google and we were off again.  We located some cream, some sugar, vanilla essence, ice cubes and salt.  I found one small ziplock bag and made do with a bigger plastic shopping bag to complete our experiment.

The science began. (The theory, allegedly is, Freezing Point Depression).    We had to put loads of ice and salt into the big bag and then put the very simple and pure mixture of cream, sugar and vanilla essence into the smaller bag.  We inserted the small now sealed bag into the heart of the ice and salt in the big bag – shut it tight and… brrr – the salt makes the ice melt and it gets very cold in there.

The next bit was to shake, jump, dance, skip, jiggle the big bag for a non-stop 10 minutes, this I might add constituted a pre crumble work out.  With red faces and an enormous amount of body heat generated, we went exploring into the inner chamber of our homemade freezing unit, and the once liquid ingredients were magically getting it together.  We agreed to seal the bag and dance some more just to be sure.

Just one more song!

Approximately 3 minutes later we dished up the berry crumble and we spooned out solid masses of creamy icy vanilla.

We ate to our heart and belly’s content.  T’was delicious fun, every bit of it.  So yeah, I played today.

The playlist for hopping about to.

Oh so quiet -Bjork.

Magic Spell – This is the Kit.

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins

Did you play today?

Why is the first step the hardest step of all.  Perhaps it is a step which is stored deep within the body – that first wobbly step.  Was it barefoot, was it seen, was it scared, was it encouraged, was it fun…. I wonder..

Anyway here I am in 2017 taking my first public step in to the world of blogging.  I want to play with the very notion of play. I am going to explore it, to get messy in it,  get lost in it.

In a world gone mad, I find myself drawing on some of the powers of play; transformation, imagination, resilience, creativity. Super powers all of them.   Mr Ralph Waldo Emerson said that  “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  Imagine if we valued that thought.

Did I play today?   I sure did for I was free and in holiday mode,  I loitered with intent on the beach to write ‘play’ with stones and seaweed lion’s tails in the sand.  I came home to an unexpected house full of little boys bursting with energy so we re-invented a game of ‘ping pong piggy in the middle’ – one tiny rubber ball  with a bounce as unstoppable as their zest for jumping and squealing and I realise that between us we have loads of ‘happy’ talent for we sure know how to play.

The cost?  Nothing but time.

So when your day’s work has eased, when the world wide news is grim, ask yourself “did I play today?”


Soundtrack in my head.

Princess Leia’s Theme – A new hope – Star Wars (John Williams)

Good Morning – Debbie Reynolds – Singing in the Rain