Some of those things are weirdly specific. I went fishing as a kid, but not with a net. I remember learning how to kill the fish by sticking my thumb in its mouth and using that leverage to break the spine, so possibly I caught fish myself. I certainly ate many kinds of berries in the wild, and fruit straight from the tree, but blackberries specifically are not that common in either Sweden or California, so dunno about them. I am somewhat inclined to lump the frogspawn, what's in a pond, and going 'wild' swimming together in one rather than get three separate credits for them, but whatever. I score roughly 37.
37 is impressive.
Blackberries are the only wild fruits that are at all common in Britain. I'm sure your other types of berry are valid within the spirit of the game.
Yes, Britain is sadly over-domesticated in some ways. Among the berries I've eaten wild that grow wild in Sweden: raspberries, cloudberries, huckleberries, lingonberries, wild strawberries, and one or two varieties I don't have English names for. I think my score is high because a normal, ordinary Swedish childhood just has much more contact with nature than an ordinary British one. Swimming in a lake or pond wasn't weird or special to me, swimming in an actual swimming pool was.
There are things called bilberries that grow on the hills round here. They're tiny but perfectly edible.
I grew up in the London suburbs, but within walking distance of some properly wild woods. And we used to holiday by the sea.
I was born into the working class in a smallish industrial town in Sweden. (The Bofors guns, which I imagine you may have heard of, were all built in my home town.) The nearest woods were just on the other side of my grandparents' back hedge and then across the small public playground there. That wood wasn't very big, but big enough to have trees and moss-covered granite boulders to climb; assorted wildflowers, berries, and mushrooms to forage for; an old, broken down, moss-covered stone wall to explore; anthills to molest, and so forth. In summer we fished and swam and collected crayfish in various local lakes. When we moved to the suburbs of Stockholm, it was actually a wilder place, because our area was mostly summer houses. The wild deer would come sleep on our back lawn, and foxes and hedgehogs came to the back door to eat the scraps my mother left or them. My main playmate at the time lived across the road and their house was right on the lake, so in summer we fed swans off their jetty, and in winter we skated from the jetty to the island in the middle of the lake.
Well, thinking back, it's no wonder I hated California when we moved there.
Yes, I've heard of the Bofors gun. I hadn't realised it was Swedish.
I have a mental picture of the Swedish countryside from watching art house movies. Your description of your childhood landscape makes me think of Bergman's Wild Strawberries.
It's a British list, and that activity of fishing for minnows with a net feels peculiarly British. Obviously fishing for actual fish you can eat would count; I think they're trying to demonstrate that there are simple little things you can do.
I'm pretty sure we did bouldering when I was a child, except without the safety mats and the short drops. We just, you know, climbed rocks. And we fell down a bit too.
Calimac's mention of climbing chicken-wire (I remember being able to do that easily as a small child) makes me think about generating an urban child's version of this, with playing football in the street, taking a bus on your own, spotting wild foxes, eating discarded fruit from market stalls, visiting free museums, hanging out on a street corner, breaking into a building site...
I scored 31, but allowed the attempt for the deed in a couple of instances. Also, I'm not sure what some of them even mean - "Bring up a butterfly?" Sounds digusting. As for calling an owl, yes ("But will they come when you do call to them?") - but perhaps they mean calling like an owl?
Anything that involves swimming or potential swimming (e.g. canoeing) is ruled out by my youthful non-swimminess.
The one that foxed me was "look inside a tree". I assume we're talking about a hollow tree- but it hardly seems like something to make a fuss about.
A lot of these activities are very boy scouty and I have never been much of a team player.
I made lots of fires, but always with matches.
I love this list. I copied it to my page, and adapted it for a 12 year old (or younger) girl. I got a 31, playing completely fair. No girl scouts for me - they only emphasized homemaking when I was a girl, and I loved the out of doors. Thanks for sharing it.
49. Find a geocache (use GPS and other navigational aides to locate hidden containers.)
Before I was 11? No GPSs then.
Well exactly. I guess the nearest thing we had were treasure hunts.
When I was about 8, my family went to Florida for a vacation. There was a place where you could put a note in bottle, then they would seal it and drop it in the ocean. Maybe that could count.
Edited at 2012-04-13 10:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's something every child should do...
I had done 46 of those by the time I was 11 3/4... (Geocaching wasn't really a big deal in the 80's, for one thing! And I never brought up a butterfly, though I did have a pet wasp at one point.)
Also, you blue font for the island-thing confuses me... You do realise that the UK consists entirely of islands, right? :-P
Gosh, but you were an outdoorsy kid! I'm impressed.
:) I don't think large islands count.
Our family holidays when I was a kid were on a tight budget, so my parents would load up our tiny car with us three kids, tents, food and whatnot and take a ferry across to Sweden or Norway for a week of camping in the woods or on the fells... I think they spent well under 200 pounds in today's money on taking five people on a week's holiday!
Also, each summer we three kids were put on a train to visit my maternal grandparents for a week's vacation at their farm. By the time I was 11 3/4 I could drive a tractor, assist at the birth of piglets and chop the head of a chicken, so in spite of growing up in Suburbia I definitely wasn't a city kid.
Sounds like a great childhood.
There weren't any farms in my family- just the odd golf course...
39 but that isn't quite fair, since there were no "geocaches", when I was a child. Also, strikes me that many of these aren't available to one so very young. I spent thirteen years in Scouting and even then didn't do any rock climbing or repelling until I was eighteen and in an Explorer post more-or-less dedicated to that sort of thing.
39 is a respectable score. Better than mine, anyway. I spent a lot of my childhood in the open air, but I was never very sporty.
I was lucky. Both sets of grandparents lived on farms about an hour from where I grew up, so most every weekend was spent tramping the woods and fields.
I got stuck on #1. All the other kids climbed trees. I was never able to figure out how to do that.
The other thing that all the other kids climbed that I was never able to figure out how to do, was wire fences, the kind around schoolyards.
I found it easy to reach the lowest branches. After that, for some reason, it got much trickier.
I score about 23, but this list is parochial in both space and time.
Most of the U.S. lives in suburbs, where the places implicit in most of these don't exist. A lot of kids only see a plant (aside from weeds) that no one planted only trough a car window. As for open water other than landscaping, forget it.