My Blue Peter Badge

The Eyes suggested I blog a memory for each year of my life – mainly as a writing prompt, so this is what I’m doing. I’ve done, one and two already but three is a little trickier. As I’ve described I find my very early memories to be like small islands floating in a sea of darkness. They emerge a bit like dreams, mostly these days with the sensations front and centre and the context and any associated conversation drifting away.

I do, just about, have a memory from when I was three. My favourite book for a long time was Panda and the Bunyips I can still remember the pictures, it was the first book I loved looking at the pictures in rather than wanting to just know the story. That book, plus the fact that my Dad had lived there as a kid was pretty much my entire impression of Australia. Even now, as a pagan, with a much broader concept of what Bunyips actually are I still find myself with a massive softspot for them (they often aren’t very nice but as an adult I especially liked the Bunyip in Song of Wirrun!).

The year I was three Blue Peter went to Australia for their summer trip. I can remember the first inklings of my first girl-crush and my first (alas sadly inappropriate) desire to climb Ularu, then referred to as Ayers Rock. (My next desire to climb Ularu was when I saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert for the first time).

I remember watching the program (I really rather enjoyed Blue Peter), I was sat next to the fire in the front room on the brown carpet that we had for at least the first twelve years of my life. It wasn’t on but it was very close to the television. I remember being very puzzled and disappointed that they hadn’t mentioned Bunyips by the closing credits. However, I also had the thought that perhaps it wasn’t polite to mention magical animals in public – after all grown-ups hardly seem to do that at all. I do, but I don’t think I quite count as grown-up, even at thirty three.

I don’t remember writing the letter, I remember going into Dad’s study to do it (very exciting as I wasn’t usually allowed in there). The smell of Dad’s study is one I associated with polished wood but looking back I rather think that there was pipe smoke mixed in with that. It certainly changed after about the age of five or six when I was allowed in there to practice the piano.

Once again, I have a reason for remembering watching that particular program. It lives in a small box currently on top of my piano, I’m still very proud of my Blue Peter Badge.

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