Today I had my 25th adventure. It has been an incredible week. I have made 16 new friends and kindered spirits. I have acquired more knowledge in that time than in 16 years of “training days” at work. I have arrived home each night mentally tired but emotionally ignighted and fallen into a deep and restful slumber. I have had dreams! What happened to those night time narratives which were common place when you were a child and become a rare occurrence as an adult?
“The best adventures are spontaneous and unplanned.”
But let me take you back to New year and what happened between then and now….
Adventure #2 : I dug out my trail running shoes and went for a chubby jog through Blaise castle estate. I had stupidly taken the boys bikes which meant that one sped off and high speed, and I had to stop every 5 minutes and wait for the other while he had 50 melt downs. I really enjoyed passing the cathedral of trees and skipping over roots and rocks down by the river. It felt good to open up my lungs and reassure myself those days weren’t over.
Adventure #3 : An off road bike ride between one Severn bridge and the other with the 6 year old. We took a picnic and a hammer to go fossil hunting at the other end. My lack of proper planning meant the 8 mile ride was too much for him and we nearly ended up in complete darkness with no source of light for miles. Still, we will laugh in years to come after he has had therapy, I am sure.
Adventure #4 : Take another family and break into an illegal mountain bike pump track. In the Forest of Dean is a 9 mile “family trail.” Part way round we found an old quarry with some incredible downhill sections. The children grew in confidence quickly. We end with a fat burger at the bike centre where the floors are muddy and food simple but they have a log burner and the portions are generous.
Adventure #5 : Woodland and river adventure around Hanham. I had been feeling like a caged animal. I struggle with winter anyways and I just want to be outdoors sometimes even if the weather is not great. I can cope with anything except high wind. My son sings and tells me stories and tells me he loves me for no reason. This would never happen at home.
Adventure #6: Leigh woods trail and hot van soup. I try to think of ways to make outdoor adventures more appealing in cold weather. The kids would rather stay in and watch cartoons. We go to local little supermarket and choose nice soups and fresh bread from bakery section. I bought a single micro stove a year ago and have still not used it. It represents lots of well intentioned ideas that never quite take flight.
I have always totally committed to my New Years resolutions. I have no idea why. I am a totally lazy bastard who is a queen of finding excuses for justifying anything. Bound up with this is the guilt that follows when you have spent money on something, or promised a friend you would totally do a triathlon with them! Part of the success of this journey has been completely summed up by something my wonderful forest school teacher defined this week. She asked us this question…
“What is the definition of play?”
Because the course was made up of 50% teachers, a number of answers were immediately forthcoming, all of them incorrect. The answer, dear reader, is that it is completing an act that is entirely functionless. Hmmmmmmm…..