The stream in my grandparents’ garden

This story is all about the stream at the bottom of my grandparents’ garden. I
interviewed my mum and she told me some of her memories of the stream from
her childhood.
The stream is just outside Castlebar, County Mayo. It runs from Lough Rusheen, a
small lake about two miles from Castlebar all the way to the town. This stream
was a big part of my mum’s childhood for lots of reasons.
When she was very small the only running water that came into their house came
from the stream which runs along the roadside at the bottom of their front
garden. They couldn’t drink the water so my grandad had to get drinking water
from a hydrant in town. He regularly used to bring a five gallon container into
town in the car to fill it up and bring home. The water from the stream was used
to wash and bathe until my mum was 7 or 8 years old, when their house got
connected to the town water supply.
My mum has lots of memories of playing in the stream when she was a child and
even as a teenager. Her brother, sister & neighbours would spend their days
playing in the stream. They played in it to cool down in the summer. She even
remembers one or two summers when the weather was so hot that the stream
dried up for a number of weeks and they had no water in their house!
They invented lots of games too. They used to make dams in the stream . They
used rocks for the wall to stop the water and when it got high enough it made a
waterfall .
Another thing they did was to try to catch the quick and thin fish that swam in the
stream. They made fishing rods out of bamboo and string (though she doesn’t
remember catching any!). The stream runs along the roadside past the front
gardens of all the neighbours too. They used to have races with sticks. They
picked their stick and dropped it in the stream up the road. The sticks would bob
down the stream and my mum and the others would run alongside cheering on
their stick. They might have had to climb down to free their stick if it got stuck.
The stream is still there but it is overgrown with plants and wildflowers along the
bank. When I go to visit my granny and grandad’s house I go down to look in but
it’s much harder to get into and the road is very busy with cars so it wouldn’t be
safe to be running after sticks down the stream like they did.
I think my mum has great memories of the stream. It must have been great in the
summer because it was alway there if she wanted to swim in it. I would like to
have a stream in my garden as it sounds like fun and it gave them lots of ideas for
things to do on their summer holidays.