When I was eight, my parents decided it was time to move again. My brothers and I accompanied them when they looked at the house that we were to move into a few months later. It was a beautiful day in late spring or early summer, and my brothers and I roamed the garden that was, at that point, foreign to us. A path ran up the left side, leading up to the green house and then going off at a right-angle. The right side of the garden was grassed over. The three of us took great delight in running circuits around the garden while the adults talked. We were so preoccupied that we missed something of great importance.
'The lady showed us a brilliant hiding place,' my mother told us on the way home.
We begged her to tell us, but she said we would have to wait and see.
I remembered that conversation the day we moved in. I should have been at school but I was ill. It was a grim September day, a Friday if I remember correctly. While the furniture was lifted in, I pottered around the garden, feeling bored. It was then that I discovered the 'hiding place'. There was a tree roughly in the middle of the garden; not a particularly tall tree as it's long branches stooped, so low that they practically touched the ground. I parted them and found a little hollow, just big enough for one or two small children.
When I was older I learned that it was a willow tree. Apparently willow trees are unlucky, and ours did blow over in a gale several years later, but it brought us great joy, and was the focal point of many games of 'hide and seek' during my childhood.