I am in the Lake District this weekend visiting my in-laws and, as it wasn’t raining for once, we decided to go out for a healthy walk in the country like an outdoorsy family of smug gits from a North Face catalogue.
It took over 2 hours from the time we made the spontaneous decision to go out to the moment we actually left the house. This was actually quite quick by our standards as it seems to be a well-established convention to suddenly require a poo/ a pineapple/ time to build a replica of the Taj Mahal in Lego, etc. whenever someone says “come and put your shoes on”.
The moaning began even before I started the car and continued all the way to our chosen walking spot (Buttermere), all the way down the hill from the parking spot and intensified further when the realisation that the ice cream farm was shut. After approximately 5 minutes of walking we ended up bribing the kids with ice cream from a different cafe on the condition that the winging would stop.
Whilst the kids smeared the ice cream on themselves, the table, Olaf and Poppy the troll, my mother-in-law and I tucked into cream teas in a failed attempt to appear vaguely civilised. Lots of sticky ice cream mess, trips to the loo and spilled orange juice later, we finally began our walk (it took a mere 23 minutes to get the kids ready leave the cafe…which could even have been faster if Catrin hadn’t insisted on wearing her buff as some sort of high-fashion balaclava which required a very specific arrangement of her hair underneath it and if Bethan hadn’t thrown Poppy the troll across the room).
We finally started out wholesome family walk along the path down to the lake…predictably, within 30 seconds, Bethan had found the deepest, muddiest puddle to jump into and just stood in it watching the mud ooze up towards the top of her boots as she sank into the mire. The lake was beautiful and peaceful as ever, with birds circling above the calm waters. The peace was promptly shattered by the girls having a ‘who can make the biggest splash competition’ as they hurled hugs rocks into the water, giggling and shrieking. Bethan won with a rock the size of Wales.
Further up the path, Bethan had a one-way conversation with a sheep for a considerable length of time, which prompted some deep reflection and questioning from Catrin on the way back to the car:
“It must be so boring to just eat grass all day…why don’t sheep eat cupcakes instead? Or fish and chips and peas? Look at that sheep all by itself…maybe the other sheep are bullying him! That’s not nice!”