We’ve been living in our current flat for over two years now, which is the longest Mr Techno and I have stayed in one place since we first moved in together almost five years ago. But it wasn’t until Tom was born 15 months ago that I began to really connect with the area. Having a child really brings you into your local community – looking through my purse the other day (because Tom had emptied it out all over the floor), I saw that I have cards proclaiming my membership of our local library, local doctors’ surgery and local gym (that last one has lapsed). Tom goes to a local nursery, we meet other local families in the park, and we are on chatting terms with our neighbours and the family who own our local grocery store.
Even more than the familiar streets and buildings, we have connected with our local green places. Tom and I spend so much time outdoors together that every corner of the Marshes and the various parks prompts happy memories – here is where we went to Countryside Live, here is where we played with the wind, here is where he used to crawl around before he learnt to walk. Here is where he discovered the joys of splashing in puddles and this is the route we took to gather blackberries in the autumn.
There’s a particular path through the park where I always remember the day Tom was born, because it is where we walked whilst I was in early labour to help get things moving. Here are the steps we walked down as we tried to time my contractions and here is the wall I stopped to rest against, my forehead pressed against it when the pain got a bit too much.
On Monday I walked over the Marshes and up towards St James Station with a friend. The whole way, I was remembering the first long walk I took Tom on, when we followed that same route. He was three weeks old and we got completely lost.
Already my little boy has changed hugely from that first walk. On that day I could never have pictured the sturdy toddler walking along in front of me. He is growing up so fast and I want to capture every fleeting moment of his childhood.
Having this blog helps, of course, because I have somewhere to record our memories and an impetus to make sure I take lots of photos when we are out and about. But the real, living record of Tom’s babyhood and early childhood is in the landscape around us and the memories we’ve made there.