There are places that I am always happy to take my boys, places that I went to as child and hold happy memories for me. When I go back to these places with my family it is chance to talk about childhood memories as I show them around. Eastham Woods is one of those places for me; when I was younger we used to live on the Wirral and I remember walks down the woods above all else. My Grandparents lived across a large road which you could walk across, follow a path along the rugby and cricket field and come out through the woods, next to the river Mersey. They used to take me on walks down there with their dog Gemma and our dog Cleo. I remember sometimes playing hide and seek on the field, running behind the big trees or the cricket screens while my Grandad threw sticks for Gemma. There was an old tree that collected water and the dogs would drink out of it then we’d reach the woods and they’d chase the squirrels.
We would picnic there in summer or I would play in the beer garden playground, eating crisps and ice lollies while the grown ups had a drink. We would sit at the rivers edge on sunny days and eat ice creams. On a clear day you can see right across to Liverpool and spot the two spires of the cathedrals on the landscape. I would usually get a callipo and my Grandad would break the bottom off his 99 ice cream so I could have some of that too. I remember there used to be wooden toadstools and a big wooden snake at the edges of the woods and you could explore the old bear pit and caves. I thought that was the most fun as a child, not really thinking about the poor bears being kept in a pit…it isn’t quite the same as an adult but my boys, in their innocence, love it as much as I did.
Most of it is still just as I remember, the pub is a little fancier and a few lovely cafes have popped up. When we went to visit my Nana over half term we met down the woods and along with my Auntie and her little dog we went exploring. Lucas loved to lead the way through the winding paths, they picked up all kinds of sticks and stones en route, climbed over fallen logs and scrambled through prickly undergrowth. It was such a wonderful day; sometimes you are worried that those precious childhood memories aren’t quite as good as you remember them and when you try to recreate them the romantic version you hold dear will be shattered. However, this one did live up to the happy moments I have in my head.
When we were leaving Lucas asked if we could visit the next day, sadly we don’t live close enough to visit everyday but it won’t be long before I take them back. This simple day outdoors was just what we needed in a busy half term, time spent together without any distractions. We simply walk, and talk and play as we are in no rush with nowhere to be, it is something I need to remember to do more often.