Tuesday 16 February, 2016 by Uncle Spike
To commemorate the 500,000, here’s a look at my very first post 🙂
In the early 1970′s, we were whisked off to big ol’ US of A, bringing with it, a heap of new adventures to the 6 year old scruff-bag I was back then. Growing up in the south of England, on the edge of the picturesque New Forest, I was well accustomed to all things ‘outdoors’; having led a typical life of a country lad; living a somewhat nomadic lifestyle every weekend; exploring the adjoining farmland, back lanes, open heathlands and forest which was our domain of play.
Of course, as a 6 year old boy, you know everything there is to possibly know, don’t you? Well, as it happens, this far off strange land called America did pose a few challenges, as, unbeknown to me, mother-nature didn’t always play fair.
I was, at that time, well-versed in all things ‘creature’, having had my own worm farm in my bedroom back home, extensive experience in making house flies go round and round in circles through rearranging their parts, regularly dissecting small things, and generally being a horrible little kid I vaguely recall that, upon our arrival at the hotel in North Carolina, which was to become our home for the first 6 weeks, our parents giving us some boring lecture about what we could and could not do. Now, we are talking about grown-ups here, right, attempting to tell me, a kid, some new-fangled rules on ‘playing’ – “What’s that all about?”, I thought!
Within a few short, but fun-filled hours, the reality of the lecture, I guess, started to dawn on me. The hotel was big, huge in fact… or was it that I was just small, hmm. But it was quite something, exploring the extensive grounds of the Hilton Hotel in Raleigh was ace, with its huge swimming pool, play area, tennis courts and even a great sandpit!
One of the ‘instructions’ from the olds, or demands as I saw it, was some daft restriction on the lifting of rocks or logs. Hmm, now as a country lad, this did seem as a bit obscure, and highly inappropriate, so, of course, said rule was duly forgotten, ignored and generally wiped from memory.
As was my job, I set about playing to the very best of my ability; showing some of these funny sounding American boys how it was done. Or so I thought. The sandpit had stones around it, and of course, to the well-trained eye of a 6 year old landscape gardener, they required some basic rearranging at least. So that was it, my task for the day was set…
A short while later shall we say, my brother, who was 5 yrs older than I, and so much wiser, so he thought, jumped up, shouted a lot, and made an awful lot of fuss; and then, like a brave elder brother ran off to find our parents. “Whatever”, I thought.
A minute or so later, I became slightly more aware of the drama I had started, as I was dragged out of the sandpit, and then made to stare at the rocks I had just moved…. and there she was, my first look at an adult female Black Widow spider, nursing her egg sack.
Ok, so I was a kid!
And that folks, was my first overseas adventure. Little did I, or my slightly frazzled parents, realise at the time it would be the start of my wanderlust years.