Sunday, 15 July 2012

Woman of the shires remains undefeated

The thing is, even though my weekend plans have gone belly up, thanks to English Heritage submitting itself to the merciless weather, I cannot give in.

I cannot let a mere flood defeat me. I must beat down this monstrous, vile, miserable, washed-away day with my happy face!

I look outside to this morning's rain, streaking and clawing the window glass. If it is scrabbling to enter, like a furious sleeted poltergeist, cold and wet and remorseless, I can say, it has won. The lake on the office floor is widening daily. Soon I will need to navigate by means of a small boat to reach the back door. Dig says this is easier than finding a builder to mend the hole in the roof.

Oh well, what with the rain, the event cancellations, the camera that will not obey me, the oven that doesn't work, the lights that cut out, the tap that drips, and the hole in the roof, there is another option, and it is to measure the drop on the banisters.

But remind me. What am I doing here, house-bound? I am one of those undefeated glorious women of the shires! I have taken on that happy responsibility to provide an education to my little grits, day by joyous day, week by hopeful week, disappointed month to painful year. More, I have resolved to make this an outdoors education. Outdoors as much as possible, given that I have three kids and a wooden floor that I adore.

I consider its ancient knots, gnarls and lustrous swirls, and how it might show itself to me if we stay in, bound and defeated by the rain. What will become then of its deep lustre after careless use by those child tokens of happy play? (Paint, glue, scissors, home-made spears, pilfered screwdrivers, wire cutters, masonry hammer.)

It is obvious. I must find another outdoors event to bring brightness to the toil and spare my floor. The best options are those that provide my children with an active education; the downright excellent ones are those where someone else takes my kids off me while I congratulate myself on what a fantastic a job I am doing single-handedly.

After an hour's research, I have amassed eight options. Eight! I consider them all, near and far. But really, given my own dispositions, there is only one choice today. Northmoor Hill Nature Reserve.

Here I know I will find a geologist standing under an awning with a rock. I feel sure I can persuade her to lead me and my happy band on a splendid walk, pointing out hillocks and woody bits, highlighting swallow holes and pointy stones.

We, in return, will bring to her all our enthusiasm and interests! Our bright-as-a-button curiosity for all the world and the brilliant education we can find in it - an outdoors education, a don't-care-if-it-rains education! In five minutes she'll have forgotten she now walks on crutches or ever fell off the cliff.

So that is what we did! We walked over Northmoor Hall Nature Reserve with a Geologist! Oh Happy Day!

I would show you photographs. I cannot. As I said, the camera will not obey me. But you can be reassured, after a day with the wind in my face, and a rock in my hand, I know that now I need not measure the drop on the banisters.

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