A micro adventure has three criteria: 1) it has to be free. 2) it has to be less than 2 hours from your front door. 3) it has to bring new joy.
This week has been a total whirlwind. Filled with Medical appointments, job interviews and applications and ridiculous conversation with my children. It has flown by but left everyone exhausted. Time has contracted and expanded in an incoherent way.
My older son turned 9. Being the perfect mum, I had no gift, no cake and no energy. We invited two friends round and ordered Chinese take away. The day before our younger son had been diagnosed with Autism. The next day I had a big job interview. The 9 year old had asked for rabbits as his gift so we were waiting for them to come of age. I was reeling from the events from the day before. What was our future? What did it all mean? Thankfully, older son has always been so beautifully patient and kind and empathetic.
The above adventure does not fill the micro adventure criteria by virtue of not being free, but it is incredibly cheap compared to other similar locations. We took 10 little boys there with a huge birthday picnic and just let them go wild for three hours. The other mums said “good luck!” as they dropped off, knowing that they all use Airhop or free dog and pay a spotty teenager to “look after” the kids. We were being the “weird” family as per usual. On the drive there, the kids in my car spoke of playing fortnight and having competitions of who had the most screens. It was an insight as to how odd my kids have it. Transpires they are really good at lying about being “normal”.
After a couple of hours we lured them away from the massive adventure playground by talking about the super scary cave challenge. The slope down from the house to the lake is massive. My favourite part of the day was watching two friends grab each other in an embrace and rolling for about 20 minutes down the hill. I filmed it , it was so beautiful. A primeval reminder of how children find their own joy. No screens, or guns, or stabbing. Eventually I tried to stop them because there is a lot a goose shit at the bottom, but they did not care.
We lit the birthday cake candles by the waterfall because it was sunken and it was too windy up top. My niece found her adventurous side amongst all the boys 4 years older than her. What a hero.
The next day, younger son woke us up at stupid O’clock. We dropped older son at a bbq and decided to take younger to a new location. A new friend told me the day before about an amazing bluebell wood just outside of Bristol.
Younger son had managed to memorise bohemian rhapsody from hearing it once from the day before. He then proceeded to sing it to us consistently for approximately 4 hours until one of us cracked. For god sake it is approximately 15 minutes long. It is all part of what we call his ‘wall Of sound”. Phill Spectre would have been proud. But we know it is what he does when he is happy. He sings, he chats, he questions without a break. Literally, it is like a non-stop radio station.
Prior’s wood was a little more manicured than we prefer. It is part of the Forest of Avon and there are dog walkers galore with the roar of the M5 in the background. But it was 20 minutes from our back door. The 7 year old and I found a ninja challenge from fallen trees. He was totally happy, calm and singing like Freddie to his heart’s content. He found a golden bug and squealed with delight when it flew off from his hand. He may have found a fairy.
And if You deviated from the beaten track…you could find a real paradise.