17th June 2005 at 01:00
My Favourite Place By Marcus Watkinson, 7, Kimbolton preparatory school, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire

My favourite place is my garden. It has lots of old trees and bushes. The biggest tree is a huge willow tree and it has branches that look like giant arms with lots of long, thin fingers that blow in the wind. My favourite tree is an old, wonky apple tree and when I climb it, it feels like I am on top of the world. There is one tree in the garden that looks very different to all of the other trees. It is a silver birch tree. It has silvery-white bark and when you touch it, it falls to the ground like a snowflake.

Around most of the garden there are old hedgerows that are full of very prickly thorns and I've been scratched hundreds of times. The grass in the garden is always green and its shape is a rectangle. A wiggly path goes through it like a slithering snake. The path joins to the patio by going through a wooden archway that is covered in pink roses. I can run round and round in circles on the patio until I start to feel dizzy.

So why is my garden my favourite place? Well, because it's where I have lots of space to play in and I turn it into my own sports stadium! I play football and I imagine I am Danny Pugh from Leeds United at Elland Road and I dribble towards the goal and I SCORE! Then the crowd go mad. Another day, I play cricket and I am Andrew Flintoff and I hit a six to reach my century on my debut for England at Lord's Cricket Ground! Everyone cheers as I lift my bat high in the air.

Another day, when it is not a sports stadium, I turn my garden into an enormous den. I'm on a mission hiding from the enemy in the hedgerows and the bushes. I'm prepared to attack them with my weapons in my hand.

These are the kind of adventures I like to have in my garden but there is one moment that I will always remember. In July 2003, I learnt to ride my bike without stabilisers. The reason why I didn't learn before then was because I was just too busy playing other sports.

My garden was a sensible place to learn in. With my helmet on, I climbed on to my bike on the wiggly path and Mum launched me off like a spaceman going off into space! I felt excited but I felt butterflies in my tummy. I went down our wiggly path and in a few seconds I hit the ground! I tried again, again, again and again and each time, I wobbled and I fell off. I didn't give up even though I wasn't that confident. Then suddenly, I realised I had reached Dad at the end of the path. HOORAY! I had done it! My family were all clapping and cheering and I felt proud of myself. As a reward for learning to ride my bike I got pound;10 from Mum and Dad.

Now I have a new bike. It is an Apollo Force bike and, when I ride it, I zoom down the wiggly path and on to the patio. This is like my own cycle track. I whizz in and out of the trees and I do stunts around the garden.

A sports stadium, a den and a cycle track. That is how many fantastic places my garden can be.

Marcus is one of the youngest Write Away competitors to have his work published in The TES. He really loves his garden and enjoys sports - running, playing tennis and football - but if he is ever a professional sportsman, he will be a cricketer as he's a good batsman and bowler. He likes reading and mentions Roald Dahl as well as Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen. Christine Wood, head of English at Marcus's school, says that she likes Write Away because "children are experts when they are writing about themselves". Marcus's teacher, Heather Cardwell, says he is a very good story writer and she knows that he took the assignment very seriously and walked thoughtfully around his garden before writing about it. She enjoyed using the resource materials, especially pieces by previous Write Away winners. HN

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