The first time I went somewhere without an adult was with my friend in the town where we had a holiday house. We about nine and ten and were given the important task of buying loo roll which we still laugh about today.
When I was about 12 I used to walk to my clarinet lesson by myself. This was the first time I had gone anywhere entirely alone. We lived in a very safe town and it was about a fifteen minute walk each way but during the winter it was dark on the way back and I was so terrified that I would get lost or someone would kidnap me that I used to take a handful of miniature sweets and suck on them one at a time all the way home. Nothing ever did happen to me other than twice being asked for directions which I was totally useless at giving and once falling over on some very hard snow-turned-into-ice. I would get home and make raspberry, blackcurrant or blackberry and chocolate muffins for supper then go and pick my sister up from brownies which was about one street away. I’m not sure where my brother and mother were during this time but my mother didn’t drive back then so we would walk everywhere.
From the ages of nine to eleven we lived on a country estate and to get to out nearest town we would cycle about a mile and a half to the end of the drive then walk about another mile into the town. This was not without mishaps, once I got a puncher and had to run the part that we normally cycled. My father cycled to the station and was attacked by badger coming home one evening. The most dramatic incident came at the bottom of ‘the big hill’ which we lived at the top of. I hiccuped, sneezed, coughed and changed gears all at once which resulted in falling off and losing my two front teeth.
I have now completely diverted from what I am writing this article about. As I got older I became very confident going around our local town by myself and I first went on the train by myself (without being put on at one end and picked up at the other) to Winchester this summer. The next step is learning to drive which I am keen to do but only to realise my ambition of driving around the country and Europe in an old VW camper van, preferably orange 🙂