When I was about nine years old, I went on an adventure.
My best friend – the boy across the road – and his kid sister invited me down to the park to play miniature golf. I had little interest in the sport but fancied a day out, so we went together and spent an hour or two knocking little white balls into holes in the ground. Then, one of the other kids – a load more had turned up by then – had a better idea: there was a haunted house that we should explore.
I didn’t even know about the copse at the back of the (village? Small town?), but soon we found ourselves scrambling through trees and undergrowth. It took a good hour or two – a lifetime when you’re nine – to find the place, but eventually the crumbling bricks loomed into view. There wasn’t much left of the house – the roof had long gone, and the upstairs bit looked unstable. I don’t think any of us dared go up there, but we pottered around the ruins for a while imagining all sorts of intrigues and horrors.
Finally – the sound of footsteps! We screamed and ran as fast as we could to the edge of the woods and then out into the cornfields beyond.
It took forever to walk back home, and was teatime by the time I dragged my pounding heart and battered knees back into the house.
My mother didn’t say a word when she saw me. There was barely an inch of me that wasn’t scraped or stung or scratched or just plain grubby. She just beckoned me into her bedroom and set to work covering me in tea tree lotion to take care of my many wounds. There was no telling off, just a vague muttering of “perhaps I shouldn’t let you wander off like that, but it’s a bit late now,” followed by an exasperated sigh at the state of my clothes.
I think my mother understood the value of a good adventure.
This song’s for her. It’s one of her favourites.