Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Abigail (5), Sam (2), and me (65) were out and about on Sunday evening.

"They've been fed and watered, they just need exercise!" my daughter said, handing me Sam's reins.

Fair enough, so did I.

We exhausted the possibilities of the limited play equipment at the local park, escaped it's confines, and headed for the bank that separated the tamed land from the wilds. 

"Conkers!" cried Sam, as my two joined the children gathering horse chestnuts by the handful. Then we had to throw them, catch them ( if we could), play hide and seek with them, roll them down the slide to hear the clatter, and, finally, pocket them and set off on other adventures. 

"Look grandma! A green tunnel!" Abigail was picking dandelion clocks and had discovered the shaded portal to the rest of the world - a footpath that led out into the fields.

So we ventured into the unknown, following the path through the hedgerow, watching our shadows lengthen as the sun sank behind us. 

When was the last time you went berrying? "Strawberry!" Sam cried, putting an unripe blackberry into his mouth and immediately regretting it. 

We ate our fill, staining hands and mouths, incidentally practising all kinds of fieldcraft, like identifying stinging nettles and avoiding them, no matter how tempting the nearby berries were. 

I continued Abigail's instruction on the identification of native plants. She was mildly interested .
Our most exciting find was an orange spider, which was unfortunate enough to catch our attention. I'd never seen one quite like it. 

I expect the children have already forgotten our excursion, but I won't. They grow so quickly, and soon dandelion clocks and the screech of a pheasant will hold no mystery or delight - but I shan't forget. Young children are enchanting companions: it was wonderful to shed sixty years and scoff blackberries and tell the time by dandelion again.

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