Nostalgia · Prompts


A potato.

Kicked into the little bonfire and pulled out an hour or so later with a bit of green stick that happened to be left on the ground.

Burned potato skin pulled open with a rusty fork. The same fork that had stirred the curried beans warmed up as a side dish.

Beans curried in a way that I’m sure Mr Heinz couldn’t have intended.

The taste explosive. Like nothing I’d experienced before. We hadn’t been brought up on exotic flavours.

The heat burning. Heat from both temperature and spice.

And here we were, out in the wild. Tasting new things, burning our mouths and our toes, having an adventure.


Sitting on a bit of scrubland round the back of the village pub.


These were the days before youth.

The days before we knew what boys had really been invented for.

The days when the very best thing that a girl could have was an older cousin to supervise what felt like very wild adventures.

The days when we were learning to be together and to belong.

The days when we were learning to become.


I can feel the heat from the fire, the wet grass dampening my jeans.

I can hear the sounds of our laughter and the crackle of the flames, the tearing of the potato skin.

I can remember what it felt like when our only worry was the darkness falling too quickly and not giving us enough time to run home.

I can smell the smoke on our coats lingering for days afterwards.


And I can remember saying “Oh, nothing much” and “Just out with Elizabeth” when they asked us what we’d been up to.

Because, actually, the growing up that we did in those long autumn afternoons was far too much of an adventure for an adult to understand.


I wrote this piece for RemembeRED over at Write on Edge. Our challenge this week was to “…let narrative take a backseat. Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.”

16 thoughts on “Potato

  1. I’m visiting from Write on Edge–love this piece. It really evokes a special time in our lives when we know nothing and everything. I particularly enjoyed this sentence, “The days when the very best thing that a girl could have was an older cousin to supervise what felt like very wild adventures.”

  2. Oh the fire, the youth, the “before we knew what boys were for” {Hee!} and the “nothing much!” I was right there with you! I’m so excited {and terrified!} for my daughters to experience fun and friendship like this!

  3. Oh, to be back in those times again, when everything was so much simpler. I worry that my kids won’t have the opportunity to experience things like this just because of how much things have changed over the years.

    You did a great job bringing it all back!

  4. great job with this prompt. i remember those days when i didn’t take things seriously and just went with the flow. if my parents knew half of what i had been doing they would have freaked out.

  5. —Oh, My,
    I live about 3000 miles away….. & I can relate totally to the smells, tastes, & excuses to Mama. Superb Post.
    Ps. The smell of smoke was on our clothes for days on end….

  6. How poetic and lovely. I especially adore the second portion, with the repetitive…’The days before” refrain. It helps cast a spell.

    I also love the adjective “explosive.” That’ s so good. Just perfect.

  7. You did a great job of “sensory detail” in this post! You speak in the child’s mind very well – I especially liked your last sentence when you said that an adult would not understand. Visiting you from the weekend linkup from Write on Edge.

  8. I remember reading this and thought I had commented. I loved this, potatoes are my favorite food, so you had me from the very beginning! Such a good description of freedom and adventure!

  9. Pingback: Where I Am From

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