I owe my love of rural life to my parents. They were both born and raised in East London, but my Mum’s one ambition was to raise her children in a place where there were trees.
We did not own a car when I was small, but my Dad’s job gave him access to a small commercial van. It was bright blue with the company name painted on the side. Dad would buzz around London making deliveries so quickly, that one customer thought the company owned a fleet of vans. So we christened it ‘The Blue Flash’.
On fine weekends, Dad would load us into The Blue Flash and drive us out to the country. We would explore country lanes so narrow we had to pull off to allow oncoming cars to pass. He found us a field that was home to a donkey, and we would take treats to feed him. I don’t know if he had actual destinations in mind, but he always found us beautiful countryside to enjoy.
As soon as we could afford it, we bought a car of our own and moved out of London to the suburbs and eventually to the little village of Harlington. From then on, I knew I would never be happy living in a city.