One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was pretty easily attainable. I wanted to go for a walk up the hill. The hill that’s close to my parents’ house, the one we always went up for a walk, either to the quarry (turn left at the fork in the path) or the obelisk (turn right). One morning the sun was shining (intermittently) and the playground meetup I had planned was postponed and the stars aligned and this is what we did instead.
There’s a broad wall to walk along most of the way, making the steps a lot more fun.
You can stop at the shop counter and sell a few twigs or a nice selection of autumnal leaves to the passersby.
And then, just before the obelisk but when you’ve come out to the breathtaking top of the hill, there are the wishing steps.
Walk around each level in turn, and when you get to the top you can have a wish.
Certain things earn wishes, you know. Birthday candles, of course; falling stars – but other things too, like the first strawberry of the season (also applies to rhubarb) and hopping three times around the base of a round tower. My mother has the definitive list, I believe.
They wished solemnly, to themselves. Mabel couldn’t contain a secret, though, and had to tell me when she got down to the bottom again, that she’d wished for a new teddy. Because she’s clearly lacking in teddies.
Dash wanted to cash it in as many times as possible. I had to decree that only three wishes could be had on any visit to the steps, because more wishers were arriving. Another family came along and we heard their mother tell them the same thing – walk around and when you get to the top you get a wish.
It’s not written on a plaque or an informational leaflet anywhere. It’s local folklore, it’s how you tell the natives from the tourists.
It’s important to know about the wishes. You never know when you might need one.