Forty years ago today, on 11 August 1976, I was 12 years old, my family were on holiday in South Wales, and I started writing my nature notebooks. I bought a red Silvine ‘Students’ Note Book Ref. 139 Punched for Filing’ and began writing down everything that I saw and identified. I was very dedicated. I found plenty of interest. There were birds for me to identify, spiders for me to poke, mushrooms for me to smell and taste and the occasional dead hedgehog for me to photograph. Everything was catalogued, dated and named. Here’s my very first entry:
It’s now 2016 and 40 years have passed yet here I am, kneeling next to a rock pool and taking photographs and then writing a blog. Your whole life looks obvious in retrospect, but never does at the time.
This featureless blob of red jelly is a Beadlet Anemone. It has blue beads round the skin surrounding the tentacles. I touch them; they feel sticky. It’s not just an anemone that I’m touching though; it’s my past.
One of the greatest things you can have as a child is a love of the natural world. To have the capacity to ... Read more