Memories & Reflections:
Dew covered grass quickly wetting our sockless feet through our open toed sandals,
on an early summer morning, my sisters and I made our way to the river. Located at the
bottom of a neighbour’s field this was our childhood hide-away. The steep hill down too its
cool water, would see us run as fast as or legs could go, tumbling and falling to reach its
Grass stained knees and hands would soon be washed clean in its cool waters. This
river, however, was nothing more than a small stream, only a foot deep and maybe two feet
across, but to three small girls on a warm sunny morning it was a river and our special place.
Climbing over the ivy covered wall, topped with barbed wire was a challenge, scrambling to
be the first one to dip our toes in the icy water. The source of this stream still remains a
mystery to me, it flowed through a hole in the wall and cascaded over a huge flat stone to
create a slightly deeper pond and then on down through the field. As children we neither
knew nor cared where it began or ended, only that on those long happy summer days it was,
as we always expected it to be, just there, when we wanted it.
The many stones which lay on the bed of the stream rubbed smooth by its icy water
and movement, were our building blocks, we would spend hours building dams, or jumping
from one to the other seeing who would be the first to step into the water, that person was
then relegated to the bank until the other two finished the game and a winner declared. These
simple games would keep us amused for hours. When the sun’s rays climbed high, we were
happily sheltered by the overhanging trees, huge beech and Ash, whose dense green foliage
protected us from the warm sun. Adjacent to the stream was a marshy boggy patch of land
lending itself to another wonderful game, jumping from one tuft of grass to another, taking
care not to step in the boggy ground which would quickly swallow our feet in a wet squelchy
sound, making us laugh and giggle then run to the stream to wash the boggy peat from
between our toes.
As the day wore on and tiredness grew, we would lie back on the huge stone where
the water flowed from the wall and enjoy the cool water flowing over or shoulders. Thinking
back, I don’t ever remember feeling cold, though now I know that this was a woodland
stream of fresh water and was always icy. We didn’t feel it, just the pure pleasure of being
hidden away in our special place with the stream flowing and the bird son echoing around us.
This peaceful oasis far away from the road or any houses was truly magical, to three little
Another thing I’ve often wondered about is how my parents never worried about us.
They knew we were safe and would eventually come home, tired, dirty and hungry when the
evening sun began to cast shadows on the stream. My mother would have given us
sandwiches made with bread and sugar! Along with a bottle of diluted orange to sustain us
until when our tummies rumbled, we would once again say goodbye to our “river” for another
day, and trudge back up the hill to the road and make our way home.
Memories & Reflections: