Behind my house is a field. Behind the field is a valley with a river and a pond. As a child it was one of those places I wasn’t supposed to go. But it is a place that has been in my life since before I was born.
‘Down the back’ is a really beautiful place and actually has brought me many a happy moments throughout my child and adulthood. Just this weekend I went down there to sit by the pond and write a letter.
I know why it was a place I wasn’t supposed to go, because who would want their 10, 12, 15 year olds child going to a wooded place alone or with just one or two friends? It made sense. Though not at the time.
I knew I wasn’t supposed to go there and for the most part I did what I was told, but there were the odd moments when I didn’t. Mostly because my friends were going down there too, so it seemed natural to just go along. I didn’t really give in to much peer pressure as a teenager so that was pretty much my limit.
My top five memories from going Down the Back without my parents are:
- Walking on the water side of the bridge – bit dangerous, but it was a fun challenge. You basically just had to walk on the outside of the bridge to get across.
- Hamburger Hill – why it was named that I’ll never know. It was a really steep hill that we would try as hard as we could to get up. Of course being a short arse I never really got anywhere. To this day I don’t know what it would feel like to get part way up Hamburger Hill.
- Reece Alison – he was a boy that joined my school when I was about eight. He moved in across the road from me and we were a little bit like enemies. It was all mostly fun and games, as far as I remember anyway. I remember jumping on him as he emerged from the clearing that lead Down the Back. We then had some random fight. I can’t remember for the life of me what it was all about. He was stupid enough at the time, to be one of those kids that went on a rope swing with a bag full of rocks on his back. He broke both his arms.
- Walking in the river – me and my friends really enjoyed walking across the river wearing our shoes. I don’t know why because it made them stink. The river water was hardly clean. I often sat on the side and watched my friends do it because I think I didn’t want my parents to know, so kept my shoes clean.
- Riding down the hill on my bike – I can’t remember much about it, though I remember it happening. It was a crazy thing to do really because at the bottom of the hill is the bridge/river. We did it though. Now you can’t because they put steps in. I guess it’s safer generally; I was always a bit too scared to walk up that hill. Where Hamburger Hill was really steep, the other side was only moderately better.
I recently went for a proper walk Down the Back (I’m allowed now :P) and I took quite a few photographs of it.
The river where we walked across…it flowed quite fast at times.
The river further along past the bridge which was on the left of the above picture.
Finally, tadpoles in the above pond which was taken earlier this year.
Completely off the topic of my chosen place for today’s theme of Forbidden Fruit is another Forbidden Fruit incident when I was about five. A friend of mine and I decided to take her little cousin to our school. It was across a main road (the one I mentioned when talking about a journey I make regularly) but we were only little so crossing that road wasn’t allowed then. Naturally. Who would want a five year old crossing it alone? We ended up getting the help of some random stranger to cross the road and when we got home we got into a lot of trouble for doing what we did. All three sets of parents were worried sick.
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