We three children, myself, brother and sister were well blessed that our parents were lovers of nature, and in turn they passed this love on to us.
I do feel that it is something with which we are born, but like any plant or tree, it needs nurturing, it was certainly nutured in our case.
For instance, if there was a beautiful sunset, then it would be pointed out to us and at a very young age, we were noticing things like this for ourselves, going into a wood full of blue bells in the Spring time was a wonderful experience, even Dandelions were picked to take home to our mum, they are such a lovely golden colour. She would give them pride of place, usually in a jam jar (vases were a luxury), whilst we were growing up, it was the contents which counted, not the vessel, in which they were placed.
These photos were taken by Stan at Silkstone.Bluebells and wild aconites~ May 2003
I can remember my brother John, being fascinated with birds eggs and even though it wasnt against the law at that time to go bird nesting, it was a practise, which was very much discouraged by our mum and dad. How wise they have been proved to be, I understand that lots of birds are in danger of becoming extinct, which is so sad.
Usually it was hard work getting John and Elizabeth to bed, especially as the daylight lengthened, they could not understand why it was bedtime, whilst still light. There was one night, much to our astonishment that John asked if he could go to bed early, he would be about six or seven years old at the time, our mother was worried that he may be sickening for something, a Yorkshire expression for, going to be ill. He seemed as bright as a button, so off he went, not a peep out of him, he even insisted upon having his bedroom door closed. We should have realised that mischief was afoot, because when my mum went into his bedroom to check that he was alright, he was uncovered, the bed clothes had slipped.
As she was re-arranging them, she felt something slimy as she covered him, much to her horror, she found a broken egg, and round his waist was a crepe bandage. John had decided that he was going to hatch his own baby bird, so he had taken an egg from the fridge, stolen upstairs with it, together with the bandage, and strapped it to his stomach, hoping that the next morning there would be a baby bird there. Naturally, he had to be awoken, put into the bath, the bed had to be changed and fresh pyjamas found. Mum to her credit was not mad at him at all, in fact the whole episode was touching in a way, John was most disappointed that his experiment hadnt worked, but thankfully didnt make a fuss.
When John was twenty one years old, he emigrated to South Africa, which is another story, he lived there for eighteen years. During that time he had bouts of homesickness, although he did come home from time to time for holidays, and mum and dad went to see him three times.
On one of his visits, he mentioned how much he missed Down There, the area in which he used to wander to his hearts content.
One Spring morning, mum and dad got up at about three oclock, had some breakfast and armed with a portable tape recorder they went Down There" and recorded the dawn chorus, it worked very well and it was a surprise tape, which they sent to South Africa. The beautiful sound of the birds heralding the dawn, was unique gife, which was given with so much love.