FOND MEMORIES OF PARK LIFE
I want to say how much I enjoyed reading the article ‘Treasure Hunting’, photographed on Wanstead Flats, London, in your March issue.
As a child living in Stratford in the 1960s, I remember it as a day out for us all, walking among what seemed like lots of forest with streams to play in and endless sunshine. Although it wasn’t that far from us, it was a way to walk with three young children, two in a pram and one on foot, so we very often used to make it no further than Wanstead Flats.
There were free-roaming steers and lots of blackberry bushes that we could pick fruit from in the autumn. There was also a large pond that had lots of goldfish in it; rumour had it that these had been set free from the fairground after the bank holiday visits when they hadn’t been won from the various stalls. Best of all, in the winter of 1962–1963, the pond froze over and my Dad spent half a day pulling us around the pond on an old tyre. My Dad died early last year with coronavirus – the article brought back so many memories and lots of smiles, thank you.
Gillian Greening, via email
Author Sonya Patel Ellis replies:
It was a joy to read your letter and it actually brought a tear to my eye, so thank you. I also take my children there since moving to Forest Gate over a decade ago and it really has been such a sanctuary during lockdown.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget how lucky we felt having this magical space just a walk or cycle ride away when it wasn’t possible to travel any further. I loved it before, I love it even more now and never get tired of wandering across Wanstead Flats and circumnavigating the lakes through sun, rain, snow, ice and, right now, a lot of mud! I’m truly excited to hear the birds, spot spring wildflowers coming up and watch the ducks, Canada geese and swans get ready for bringing new life into the world.