We lived in Killeagh, near Kenmare, in County Kerry , and my mother Harry made a platform for us to sleep on, under the stars.
It was beside a stream by an ash tree, there was a meadow over the stream, full of wild flowers. We would tuck ourselves up all cosy, listening to the corncrake, craking. After talking of the stars, Orion’s Belt and the Plough, we’d fall asleep, fresh air sharp in our noses.
When the sun rose in the morning, it dried the dew off our bed. The corncrake was still craking. When the full sun had risen above the ash tree, one could extend an arm and then a leg out of the bedding, lying there loving the sun’s heat. Then, taking the bedding, we’d carry it into the house and have breakfast of porridge and our own hens’ eggs. We’d then go down to the pebbly sea for a swim and to collect stones, the shape of dogs’ heads or cars, which we’d paint as gifts for our neighbours.
Nowadays, in a heatwave, I sometimes sleep out with my two grandsons; however, we’re often driven back indoors by midges. Strange, in old age, I notice midges, yet have no memory of anything negative about sleeping out when a child.