Yesterday we spent the afternoon out :: it was just what I needed to get me out of the unwelcome grey mood that had settled on me this week. It was so good to be out, I was glad to be surrounded by fresh greenery and tall trees, didn't even mind the rain (much).
I hope you don't mind coming along with me whilst I show you the scenery. I am aware that my blog has been very full of Scenery lately. I do try and balance the subject matter as best I can from day to day, but sometimes my life takes on certain patterns, and right now its quite outdoorsy. I'm sure sewing and crochet and indoorsy things will take over again soon. And as Mrs Magpie so eloquently said yesterday :: "blogs follow life and not vice versa". So you'll just have to follow I'm afraid while I take you back to Bolton Abbey to discover the Money Tree.
This is a two mile circular walk and its a walk the Little People love to do because there is something quite magical about the Money Tree. On this walk you come across it about half way around, high up in the woods. It causes much loud excitement.
This is a tree that apparently fell in a great storm in 1980. No one knows how it then came to be embedded with coins like this, but after a little bit of surfing on the net yesterday, I found out that there are other Money Trees round and about the country. They are said to bring good luck, to ward off bad spirits.
My two Little People use it to make a wish. They solemnly place their hands on the money-encrusted bark and wish very hard for the magical tree to bring them money. I shamelessly do the same.
We are high above the river now, and its grey and drizzling with rain. We are concerned because it's almost 2pm, the excitement over the Money Tree has worn thin and the Little People are complaining loudly about how hungry they are. Lunch is still a mile away and consists of a barbecue by the riverside. But it is not barbecue weather. Its raining quite a bit.
However, by the time we get back to the car down at the river, miraculously it has stopped raining and the sun even has a go at pushing it's way through the clouds. Relief and hunger floods over me. We get down to business and set up lunch-camp :: table, chairs and a brand new bbq. We are short of a wind break so J and I sit strategically behind the bbq to act as human windbreaks and the Little People are distracted from hunger and hot coals by playing football and slinging twigs into the river.
The barbecue goes well, and we enjoy a delicious late lunch of beef kebabs in "chargrilled" pitta breads with salad and a minty yoghurt dressing. Coffee and chocolate cake for afters, followed by a spot of marshmallow toasting over the hot coals.
The marshmallows are possibly just as exciting for the Little People as the Money Tree.
We toast a whole packet.
5pm and we are ready to head home, it's been a lovely afternoon.
Its the start of the heather season and the hills that
are usually black and bleak looking are glowing with the purple haze of
We stop a while at a viewing point and the wooly locals come to say hello. Actually they come to stick their heads right in through the open car windows looking for food, which causes the Little People to hyperventilate with fright/excitement.
Later on at bedtime, when we quietly chat about our day and talk over the "Bestest Bits", I am informed that The Sheep Incident was in fact more exciting than the Money Tree and the Marshmallows put together.
But they haven't yet discovered the shiny golden coins hidden for them in their bedrooms.
Haven't yet discovered that the Money Tree has in fact made their wishes come true and sent them some money.
Can't wait for that moment.
Edited to add :: Oh my :: that moment of discovery was absolutely priceless I tell you. It happened about an hour after I'd made this post yesterday morning. It was magical. They were excited beyond belief. Funny that they did not even question for one second where the money had come from, they beleived absolutely that the Money Tree had sent it. There's nothing like unexpectedly discovering a shiny gold pound coin to bring complete and utter happiness to four and five year olds who do not yet get pocket money. They carried the coins round with them all day, they talked non stop about the magic of the Money Tree. Eventually they got to spend the money on an ice lolly in the late afternoon when we were out, and it made them so happy. Me too.