Like ‘Red Rocks’, Bluebell Woods was a family favourite weekend destination when I was a child.
Nearly an hour by car it was further than other popular destinations and even once we got there the track to the river was rather long and rather steep. However, we were willing to embrace the journey because the reward was great.
At certain times of year, when the woods weren’t knee-deep in kick-worthy autumn leaves, they would be slathered in deliciously scented bluebells, daffodils and wild garlic, and the trek ended at a soft-sanded bay on the low banks of a quiet, lazy river.
Lazy days by a lazy river
I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of lazy days by this lazy river. Together with my siblings, my parents and the occasional visiting grandparent or student (my father worked for the local University), I would spend many hours being a kid, free to play without fear… or concern that I was wearing a rather weird ’padded’ swimming costume (see photo!).
My sister, brother and I grew up in these wonderful places. We poked sticks into fires. We caught minnows in buckets. We made sand castles and stone circles on the beach. We picked wildflowers (but not the bluebells of course – they were protected even then!) and made daisy chains and sang to one another and at one another. Of course, we also had the occasional argument or accident. There would, at times, be tears. These were often mine – I was a bit of a whiner! But on the whole, these days were full of fun, happiness and general well-being.
When I remember my childhood, I first think of these idyllic memories and am glad and grateful.