We call it the creek.
A creek is, technically, a tidal inlet.
Our "creek" is a long way from the sea and not particularly tidal unless you count that it has lots of water in it in the winter and practically none in the summer.
In fact, if I was completely truthful, the thing should probably be called a ditch or a drain … but that's a term that conjures up all manner of gross images and would be an unfair label for a perfectly inoffensive – if very muddy - small watercourse.
The creek is mentioned a lot in our household since the advent of grandchildren.
Usually along the lines of "don't go in the creek".
For variation I sometimes use "Yes you can play in the paddock but stay out of the creek". Followed by "tell your brother to get out of the creek", "both of you get out of the creek", "put that handful of mud back in the creek", "if you must go in the creek can't you at least take your clothes off?" And "you're not coming in my house like that, you've been in the creek!"
Despite my best efforts, visits from the grandkids tend to end with a pile of muddy kids' clothes beside the back door, muddy footprints leading to the bathroom and about half a bucket of dirt in the bottom of the bathtub.
Their mothers can't complain … they grew up here too and I can, at the drop of a hat, produce pictures of them as kids doing exactly the same thing. Naked.
That keeps them quiet.
The creek has been the venue for many a mud slide, many a bridge building exercise and a lot of frog and bug hunting expeditions. There used to be a big willow tree beside the creek, with a tree hut in it. Thankfully the daughter who fell from the tree hut (she still swears she was pushed) had her fall broken by … you guessed it … the creek.
The muddy wee waterway has gobbled up many a Jandal, some of which were never seen again. Not a winter goes by without somebody getting their gumboot sucked into the mire, and ending up walking back to the house with one wet muddy sock.
Golf balls have been gobbled up too, and Frisbees. And a Bedford truck.
It wasn't the whole Bedford truck … just the wheels. And some of the front end, bull bars and the bumper and stuff.
And while the golf balls and Jandals were for the most part irretrievable, I did get the truck back. Eventually.
I can't clearly remember why I thought it was a good idea to drive a large and ancient J3 Bedford truck through a narrow and deeply muddy piece of real estate. I think I had fertiliser to take to the back part of the paddock and driving there seemed like a good idea at the time.
It seemed like a good idea as I trundled across the top – dry – part of the paddock. It seemed like a brilliant idea right up to the point where I drove down the bank and buried the nose of the truck straight into the mud.
I wasn't overly concerned. It seemed I would have to carry the fertiliser down the back in the wheelbarrow after all, I thought, as I put the truck into reverse and … went nowhere.
I tried a little harder … surely my truck had the oomph to unearth itself from where I had planted it? I revved and vroomed for a bit and still went nowhere.
Having seen this done before, I knew the next move was to get out and look contemplatively at the situation, which I did. Then I got in and revved some more.
Effectively digging the back wheels in too.
It appeared that my truck was stuck.
And foremost in my mind was the amount of ridicule I was about to get from my husband when he got home and saw it.
With that spurring me on I frantically fetched rocks and planks and sacks, jamming them under the back wheels as I revved in both forwards and reverse. I added swear words. Nothing worked.
Eventually, with hubby due back from work in a couple of hours, I grabbed a shovel and I started digging.
It took me every minute of those two hours but, powered by sheer embarrassment, I dug that truck out of that creek.
I was casually washing the Bedford in the driveway when hubby arrived home.
He was immediately suspicious.
"Why are you washing the truck?" he asked. "You never wash vehicles!"
I told him he was rude, and that there was always a first time.
He was pondering that when there was a thud, and a large clod of creek mud fell from under the Bedford's wheel arch.
"I have no idea how that got there," I said.
But I suspect the big hole and the wheel ruts in the middle of the creek may have given it away.