The Bridge (4)

This funny little hump backed bridge has been part of some important memories in my life.

I’ve played Pooh Sticks here with my daughter, from when she was quite small and needing to be lifted up to see over the edge, until the day she announced that she was too old to play this anymore.

I’ve stocked my garden with plants from the tiny nursery at the foot of the bridge.

I walked the Dales Way from the bridge all the way to Bowness-on-Windermere.  80 odd miles, mostly a very pretty walk as much of the distance was walking alongside rivers.  We had originally intended to camp each night, but I very quickly realised I could not carry my ‘home’ on my back.  I’d left my car with the children, and half way through Day 1, I made an SOS phone call to my son to come and collect all the camping gear, and we B&Bd the rest of the way.  I was then able to enjoy the rest of the walk, with plenty of flora and fauna to be seen, and feeling fitter by the day, as leg muscles stopped hurting, and all that fresh air meant we arrived at our resting place for the night having worked up an appetite for whatever delicious food was on offer.  All the B&Bs were comfy and warm, and the owners very welcoming.  Flasks filled, sandwiches made, we would set off each morning after a hearty cooked breakfast.

Evening walks before the children’s bedtime, over the little bridge, around the perimeter of the riverside park and beyond, were often in French, in preparation for French oral exams.  Occasionally playing I-Spy with My Little Eye, sometimes armed with the Observers Book of Wild Flowers to see what we could identify – always interesting walks, always starting at the bridge.  Later on, when my son had gone to university, my daughter and I continued the evening walks, giving her the ideal chance to offload the worries of the day, which somehow seemed much easier for her when on the move.

The over the bridge walks continued after both children had left home – often very late due to my insomniac tendencies.  With lovely Labrador for company I would walk until I felt tired enough to sleep.  Often meeting two coppers on the beat, who would stop and ask if I had seen anything suspicious on my walk.  Tessa, the Lab, would sit quietly while we chatted, totally unconcerned.  An encounter with a drunk meandering home was different, picking up on my uneasiness, she would bark loud and long enough to frighten off any neer-do-well.  I felt very safe.

It  is no longer part of my walking routine, but just occasionally I have to go back for a nostalgic potter over the bridge, to toss over a few Pooh sticks if there is no-one around, to have a quick look at river levels, and to enjoy the antics of the ducks with their ducklings.

Author: SusieH

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