Finally the day arrived when we drove to find the cottage where I had spent my summers up till the age of 6. With much info from maps and google and a few wrong turns we found the nearest village to park the camper and got out the bikes. A 7 km cycle ride along a pretty lane, up and down hills and through birch and pine woods and there it was! It had changed a bit, being updated and freshly painted in the typical red but it was definitely the right place.
After looking over the fence I spotted the owner in the garden and asked permission to take some photos, he very kindly invited us in to see the interior as well and more memories came flooding back when I saw the old water pump in the garden and the heater in the main bedroom. We had seen one of these heaters at Skansen and I had felt very drawn to it and now I knew why. We had used the pump for all our water as the cottage had no mains for water or toilets in our time in the 1950s. The toilet then was a walk up the hill behind the cottage to a 'long drop' in a shed in the woods.
We said goodbye to our new friend and carried on down the lane to find the lake and farm I remembered. At the farm gate we saw this stand for milk churns just as it had been 60 years ago. At the time we collected all our milk in a billy can and I can well remember being sent to collect it and having to walk home carefully so as not to spill any. I wonder if it's still sold like that today in these outlying places.
We carried on down the lane and then, there in front of us, was the lake where I spent so many idyllic childhood summers. Just as I remembered there was a rickety wooden jetty at the water's edge where we sat to dangle our legs and splash each other as well as take our baths with soâp brought from home. What a beautiful place we found with a wide area for public use and also several pretty cottages nestling in the trees around the shores. Maybe one day we will return and spend a night or 2 camped at the lakeside.
We strolled along the lane and I picked a few wild flowers to draw later and I was so thrilled to find these harebells at exactly the same place opposite the cottage as 60 years ago.
Being surrounded by woods and wildlife, it's not surprising my Dad was keen to find free wild food and here we had plenty. The wild strawberries in summer, bilberries in autumn and the canterella mushrooms were delicacies I have never forgotten. In fact they are the first things I look out for whenever we go rambling anywhere in the UK or Europe!
And finally a sketch of the cottage as it was in our day, rather old looking wooden walls with a bird's nest under the eaves and a rickety outside staircase to our parent's bedroom.