I loved that tree, the feel of rough bark on skinny knees; toes gripping and slipping as I clambered up to my lofty lookout. Unafraid of heights, and oblivious to danger, I would climb and sit; balancing on branches to peer over the back gardens and beyond, trying to catch a glimpse of the river.
One day, the inevitable happened; in a state of natural curiosity I leaned too far out, lost my balance and tumbled heels over head to the ground; bringing down a rainfall of the acorns, twigs and leaves I had clutched at on my way down.
I can remember the thud as my back hit the ground and the gasp as my breath was knocked from me; but no pain. Fortunately I was unbroken and, unflustered, I merely lay for a while looking stunned, before rising on unsteady legs and wandering back inside to do something else.
This was not the end of my tree climbing, as undeterred, I soon outgrew the stunted garden trees; preferring the tall sweeping boughs of those in the park or woods in which to make my lofty eyries. My fall had taught me you can do one of two things; stay with feet planted firmly on the ground, or pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start to climb once more......