One of the things I most love about being on holiday is the large amount of time we spend outdoors as a family. Whether we are by the coast or inland, in a house or Connievan, it feels great to simply be outside in the fresh open air together. Pottering, pootling, playing, picnicking. Walking, running, jumping, balancing. Lounging, laughing, chatting, pondering.
Since coming home from our holiday in Dorset, J and I made a joint decision to take a few hours out of every weekend to be together as a family, out and about. A weekly outing of some sorts. It's an easy thing to say in words, but not at all easy to make it happen. It takes planning and preparation, effort and enthusiasm. But it is perfectly do-able if we are determined to make it happen and ignore the plaintive resistence from our offspring. The trick is to get out of the door as early as possible, with a promise to return home in time for lunch. A few hours kids, that is ALL. It won't take long, promise.
Of course, once we are actually on our way, it all becomes much
easier, especially if we keep the journeying short. We are very, very
lucky to live close to such glorious countryside, and there is no
shortage of nearby places to go. On Sunday morning we chose Riverside.
Miraculously, we had parked the car by 9.15 and set off to walk along an
easy footpath beside the river Wharfe. We were headed for that small
river beach on the left side of the river, but chose to walk along the
right hand side first before crossing over via a lovely stone bridge.
mixture of sand, pebbles and grass, it's not that dissimilar from being
by the sea, although obviously the sounds are different. No waves
breaking, but there is the equally pleasing sound of bubbling, gurgling
water as the river flows and tumbles over rocks and pebbles. And the sound of
the wind in the trees is blissful. Bird song too, more peaceful and
tunesome than the squawk of seagulls.
Little People absolutely love riverside play. There are grassy hillocks
to climb and turn into castles and fortresses. There are flat stones to
skim across the water, and there are smooth, rounded pebbles to stack
into towers. Actually, this tower was my own work. Well, I did have my
Little Assistant helping me, but his help was mainly verbal. Chatter,
and I sat a while and watched our Littles play. I think this has to be
one of my favourite pastimes, and it fills me with such happy pleasure to
watch my children play outdoors. I love their physical energy, their
inventive games interwoven with stories. I just love to see them content
and happy with the natural world (and each other) to play with.
was a windy day on Sunday, but on the beach we were relatively
sheltered. Gradually we noticed that the clouds were being blown across
the sky and the sun began to peek out. It was absolutely blissful to
feel the warmth of the sun on my face.
the return walk, Little Lady found this amazing birds nest at the side
of the river bank. She was absolutely bowled over by it, the first birds
nest she had ever seen. We placed it back where we had found it,
although we did bring the feather home with us to add to my collection.
Such a lovely few hours, such simple pleasure and happy family time. We had the best of the weather too, as by the time we were driving home across the hills, we could already see the rain heading in over the valley. And not long after we arrived back home, it absolutely chucked it down.
I am writing this and thinking to myself that I really hope the memories of that morning have entered into the hearts and minds of my Little People and lodged hard and fast. I so so so wish for them to remember it all, to treasure the memories just as much as I do. Fingers crossed.