If you ever walked up South Road, Chorleywood in the 70s/80s past a house called Playtime and wondered what went on inside, meet Lucy Reeves. Lucy grew up in Playtime and confirms her home was as unconventional as it appeared.
“My Dad was a theatre director and my Mum was a nurse. Our house was named after a 60s French film and my parents’ best friends lived next door. They cut a hole through the wall on the second floor so us kids could all climb in and out of each other’s house whenever we wanted to play. Our neighbours up and down the road were our friends, our door was always open. South Road felt like one big family, which I assumed was a normal upbringing. ”
Lucy, who went to Chorleywood Primary and St Clement Danes, eventually made Bristol her home and noticed a big difference from her family life in South Road. Lifestyles had changed, it was three decades on and she didn’t know many neighbours. Her creative instinct and work as a set designer gave her enthusiasm for décor, and this, coupled with a passion for bringing together the community, led to a home based window project that is now being adopted in cities, towns and villages worldwide. But it would never have happened if she hadn’t had a spate of bad luck.
“I suffered a series of bad accidents and within months went from being a thirty-something, working woman to a disabled stay-at-home mother. The chronic pain kept me housebound and I could only manage short, night walks to improve my mobility. I realised that seeing inside homes with curtains open made me happy – it took me away from my pain, sometimes I imagined I knew these neighbours.”
Lucy decided that more houses should open their curtains to the world.
“I asked three friends if they would join in a window ‘thing’ and planted the seed for Window Wanderland. I started to convince other people to give it a try, emphasising ‘Anything Goes’ – it was just brighten the dark streets, not meant to be Art.”
In February 2015 over 250 homes in Bishopston, Bristol made a display and thousands of people viewed them, raising over £2,000 for a local hospice. To date there have been 22 Window Wanderland events with 23 planned for 2018, including Canada and Germany.
“People love doing the windows and looking at them” says Lucy. “ Many say it helps build the community. The window can be simple or spectacular. Paper cut outs are always effective but we have had all sorts – Hawaiian shirts, Barbie dolls, even people dancing in their window!”
Encouraged by the success of Chorleywood Magazine Scarecrow Trail and loving Lucy’s project we were contemplating sparking off Chorleywood’s own Window Wanderland adventure. Now having talked to Lucy we are taking the plunge. On Christmas Festival night (Friday 1st December) there will be houses en route to the event hub with windows dressed- when we went to press there were several volunteer window dressers in Lower Road. We’re calling it Late Night Window Showing. The idea is as a taster to inspire people to join in a Window Wanderland event in spring. We have pencilled the date in as the 2nd – 4th March. But it’s over to Chorleywood to make it happen.
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