This is the place where makeshift swords were found and used. The boundary between the new expensive houses, the dangerous building site and the older more established houses where my friends lived.

We would dare each other to walk down this old forest road at night as it had no streetlights. The furthest I got was 30 yards in, then I bottled and ran out again, chased by imaginary but oh so tangible demons.

There are two cottages on fuzzy drove; the small bungalow with the kind old lady and her garden, and the huge scary house with tennis courts and iron gates. We once tied string around the gates to keep the bad old man and his car from scaring us any more. He tried to open the gate while we watched from behind a tree. As he got more violent, we ran from our cover. He saw us and shook his fist at us, but we were more scared by his angry face.

Where the path from my road intersected fuzzy drove, there was the perfect climbing tree, with limbs just high enough to make it interesting to jump to. The upper limbs were large and spaced well, just begging for a treehouse. One day we arrived at our favourite tree to find that the lower limbs had been lopped off. We instantly accused the house behind the tree as they had shouted at us for looking in their garden, but they denied it even though they had just bought a chainsaw. We told the local council, but they ignored these 4 10 year olds and did nothing.

At the far end of the road, the old roman road crossed and formed a crossroads. You could take the left turn and would eventually reach the south coast. You could take the right turn and would reach the old roman settlement in Silchester. Or you could carry on ahead through the farmer's fields to Oakley. We did that once, getting to Oakley before just before dark, then calling our parents and crying down the telephone that we were scared and could they come and get us.

We each have a childhood place where we played. Where everything was perfect, where we noticed our first love, where we hit the other child hard and ran away, where we hid from the nasty people and where we stayed too late, waiting for our mother to come for us.

Fuzzy Drove was my place

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