I've lived in Peterborough for most of my life, but I never really appreciated the river until I moved further out of the city and onto a boat in 2015. Living on the river helps me see the best in each day, there's just something about the way the water reflects the light and the sky, it's beautiful in every season. Sometimes it's scary too, like when it floods and I have to wade through water in the dark just to get home on a winter evening, or when it bumps around in the middle of the night during a storm and I dream about being washed away downstream. You have to respect the water.
A river is a natural place for all sorts of people to cross paths. I often run along the Nene and see so many people out, taking 5 minutes, going for a walk, going to work, it's like an artery for the city in the same way that a road is, but infinitely more peaceful. In my work I see how being close to nature is so important for people, it makes us feel more rooted in our environment and our place in the world. In a city I think that also works with people too, by sharing and mutually caring for a space we're more connected to each other. When I run along the river most of the people I see smile at me or nod hello, they don't do that on a road and I think it's because we're sharing something - the river is ours.
Sophie Antonelli Co-Founder of The Green Backyard