Date: 5 April 2012
Originally published in: Waitrose weekend magazine (UK)
Now known for her radio presenting and love of gardening, 80s pop legend Kim is best remembered for her global hit Kids in America.
‘When I was nine, I moved from London to Hertfordshire with my mum, dad and brother Ricky, who is a year younger than me. From living in a semi in Greenwich, we moved to a chocolate box cottage in the countryside. It had a huge impact, in a positive way. I loved the freedom and beauty. Everyone was growing vegetables and baking bread, and my new best friend, Clare, lived round the corner. The local school embraced nature and I remember vividly our neighbour drove us to school one day and Ricky or me threw something out the window – some rubbish. She screeched to a halt, marched us out of the car, told us to pick it up and said, ‘Those London ways are not for the countryside!’. We learnt very quickly that there wa s adeep respect for the environment.’
Room of one’s own
‘For the first time in my life I had my own bedroom. It was a really big deal. I remember I fell in love with this Laura Ashley beige print. I was a big music fan so I would spend time in there, up in the attic, listening to records and dreaming. My parents were only in their late 20s when we moved to the house. They knew nothing about gardening but we inherited this paradise from these avid gardeners. We moved in, in June, when it was all full of colour.’
‘I think this must have been where my gardening interest started. We had a beautiful forest on our doorstep too, so we used to run around it and collect bluebells. All the neighbours were gardeners and artists; it was a very creative environment. Ricky and I were close and we had neighbours with kids the same ages as us so we used to knock around with them as a little team, in and out of each other’s tree houses. The whole atmosphere was idyllic. I lived there until my career took off in the 80s, then I moved to London. But my parents are still living there – it is still the heart of their lives. We are often there for family gatherings so it is still part of my life, too. My daughter Rose, 12, plays the piano that I used to learn piano on, belting out tunes; and my son Harry, 14, is wandering through my dad’s [rock ‘n’ roll star Marty Wilde] guitar collection. They are discovering in very different ways, but also in very similar ways.’
Kim Wilde presents Secret Songs on Magic 105.4 every Sunday 10am-2pm.