Stay Safe (Finish), Hop, Tuck Jump, Skip, Stand On The Answer, Firework Jumps, Go Crazy: Thinking About Freedom, Work, Play, Past And Present In An Open City

Children are always actively solving problems in and through play: Jean Stansfield knew this in 1966 when she walked the length and breadth of the Wilford Hill estate to get signatures on her petition for a park for the children who lived on Stowe Avenue, Uppingham Crescent and Wilford Hill because after the houses were built in the 1950s although there was farmland that was quickly sold off and developed. Children played on building sites (I remember crawling through the pipes underneath the houses built on Boxley drive and jumping off scaffolding into sandpits) so there was nowhere nearby to play and run free.

The artist Christo who created a corporation that made art and died yesterday knew that through play we are finding ways to feel free.

“I like to do the things I like to do to be free, to be totally irrational and I will not give up one centimetre of my freedom for anything” Christo: The Art Newspaper podcast

During Covid19 we’ve all changed and become more accepting, willing to strike up a conversation, help a stranger, cheer people up. I think with social distancing we’ve become more real to each other.

Above: the very popular Greythorn park established in 1967  at the bottom of  Wilford Hill, Greythorn Drive where I played as a child, where my daughter played and where it’ll soon be packed again with children and the parents of the 2020 generation.

What we’ve gained during our time out because of Covid 19 is a reconnection with our sense of humour: we’ve realised that we’re not who we thought we were (miles off it!) and because of and through technology, I’ve noticed my family, friends and neighbours have become much more interesting and alive: engaged with the things that matter to them. I love the random conversations that people strike up and hope that we’ll make new ground in the coming year that benefits everyone.