Chislehurst has been my home for two separate periods in my life. The first was following my parents’ divorce as a child, jubilant to see an end to their turbulent relationship but raw and grieving for my childhood home, the cats that my mother had left behind and a study of my own with all of my books in. I was offended to have had no say in choosing our new home, which I found unspeakably ugly, although I was pleased that its location right next to the park added weight to my argument that we should have a dog, and enjoyed that it was within walking distance of my school, Babington House, rather than a forty minute drive away in the rush hour.
The second was when I moved back to Chislehurst as an adult, heavily pregnant with my twins and with a female partner in tow.
Politically, Chislehurst is a Conservative area and our local MP actually voted against same-sex marriage. That said, our local community have welcomed us with open arms, dog walkers cheering me on as I plodded determinedly around Walden Recreation Ground whilst overdue with the twins and, upon one memorable occasion, a lady in Sainsbury’s heard that we were both the twins’ mums and remarked that it was ‘lovely’ for them to have two mummies rather than a dad – with an unspoken implication that the family was far less likely to break up for it! Misandry at its finest but it did make me laugh.
I’m a professional ‘mum blogger’, meaning that I get paid to write about my family on the internet and most of the images on my blog are taken around Chislehurst. Walden Recreation Ground is our most convenient outside space but my secret favourite place for photography is the little woodland opposite Prickend Pond. There are a few spots where, if you time your photo session for sunset, you get the most marvellous backlight. It also has a little clearing where our dog loves to dash around in circles like a mad thing, and where we can put the twins down on the grass to play.
As a young family, Chislehurst is perfect for us. I love that we have the doctor, the dentist and the vet all within easy walking distance of our home, that we can get to Sainsbury’s on foot for emergency Ben & Jerry’s and that if whim strikes us to pick up a Chinese take-away after walking the dog of an evening, Noble House is just through the alley way from Walden Recreation Ground. Everybody thought that I was mad when I insisted on touring primary schools when still pregnant with the twins but it’s put my mind at rest that I would be happy for my children to attend any of the schools for which we’re currently in the catchment area – although I have my preference, of course. And it’s incredibly handy that we’re a mere thirty minutes away from the centre of London where most of my important press events and conferences are held.
Written by Amber Wilde, local editor and photographer at The Goblin Child