When we were kids we had a favourite picnic spot that was about a fifteen minute walk away from Anna’s house but felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. We walked through a couple of fields, then cut a corner through a housing estate and turned on to a very long country lane with more fields on either side. Fields with playful horses!
Then there was a sharp turn left on to a narrow footpath. The path runs along the bottom of the fields then leads down a steep wooded hill. A stream runs alongside it and as the hill steepens the path turns into stone steps.
At the bottom of the hill the trees thin out and you can hear running water and when the path turns a corner you come out of the shade of the trees and reach the long narrow bridge that crosses the river that we call, for reasons unknown, the ‘Ogilty Cogilty’.
This was our picnic spot. Just over the bridge on the grassy banks of the river. I remember us all traipsing along the bridge, swimsuits under our clothes and carrying bags full of food and towels. We would dump the stuff on the grass and get to the serious work of paddling and building dams!
When Anna came back to visit us last month we decided to go and find the Ogilty Cogilty again and have a picnic there like old times. I had tried once before to take Rob but I had taken a wrong turn and we had gotten well and truly lost!
This time, with Anna as the guide we found it no problem! Some of the steps down the hill now have been dislodged by roots and there are large patches covered with squelchy mud, but we made it down to the river without any trips and spills!
Time hadn’t changed the Ogilty Cogilty much, there were the remains of a small fire and a couple of beer cans that had been left behind by someone else but I think even when we came as kids there would often be signs that others came here too, we just never saw them in person!
The day was hot and muggy so it was nice to be near water which always seems to cool the air. Rob took photos and skimmed stones, Anna and I swapped old stories, we ate our picnic and I found quite a lot of pretty glass fragments smoothed down by the river. I collected these up and slipped into a pocket in the rucksack, a craft idea forming in my mind for later.
It was so good to come and sit in the same old spot, with the same old friend. So much has changed since we were last there together but it’s good to know that some things stay the same. I love our Ogilty Cogilty. It’s a place full of memories of friends, hot summers and happy times. I am really glad we found our way back there again.