John Sills

You always remember the first time you get questioned for murder.

Saturday morning. Breakfast, pocket money, then a walk to buy sweets and stickers. Except this Saturday, I didn’t make it that far, thanks to a large crowd, several police cars, and reams of plastic ‘Do Not Cross’ tape.

That evening, a policeman popped round.

On TV, the question ‘where were you at 11pm last night?’ seems so easy to answer. But as an excited 13-year-old suffering from mild asthma – caused mainly by my mother’s refusal to get rid of the cat I was allergic to – it proved a tad trickier.

My answer – a spluttered and whispered, ‘in bed, I think’, repeated several times until it could be properly heard – was far from convincing. But it was just about enough to send the policeman on his way to the next house and, later, straight onto the set of Crimewatch.

Creative Journey

I created this map whilst on holiday, sat in an idyllic cottage in the New Forest. But very quickly I was transported back to Essex in the 1980s, with my original theory that I’d only remember a few things proving entirely false.

Recalling so many memories made me realise just how much happens in the small area around where you grow up – friends, family, and fictitious personalities that you attach to the people and places you see every day. This realisation had an immediate impact, changing our minds on where to move to when our house finally sells…

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