Last week I took delivery of this:

"mini cooper cabriolet kite blue"

Almost instantly it began to rain.

Undeterred, we made it our mission to let the roof down, as often as possible, irrespective of temperature. The sole purpose of the day, for the whole family, was getting out in the Mini Cooper. Instead of whiling away half the day wondering what to do, we went out and found it.

When I say “it,” I actually mean nothing at all. We didn’t do stuff, we just went places. And we surprised ourselves with the results. We saw bluebells (really late this year!):

"bluebells"

I always love discovering the bluebells at Ringshall. I must have hundreds of photos of them but I never tire. I love the ethereal image of the trees rising as if from a sea of blue.

It’s more fun outdoors

The thing that dawned on me quite quickly was that the children may moan about “going for a walk,” but once they’re out, they somehow find fun, and then moan about having to go home. It can be the simplest of things, but on this walk the fascination was with how big a stick they could manage to carry, and what they could do with it to make us laugh.

"it's more fun outdoors"I was also given a tip – I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself – to make the kids last longer on a walk. Sugar. Not a huge amount, but enough to punctuate the day, and revive appetite for the next phase. Granny is good at keeping our stocks replenished, so we took a couple of these along with us. (It’s not as big as it looks, it’s the camera angle, honest)!

"Lollipop: more fun outdoors"

"Ashridge estate"

It gave us fuel to explore the Ashridge estate, where we discovered that our daughter has a passion for climbing trees. You name it, she wants to scale it, and even as she trembles at the height, she pushes herself to go further. I was proud, watching her deal with fear, assess the risk, and make sensible judgements about how far she could go. She tells me she’d like to be a rock climber. Running through my head are the opening scenes of Cliffhanger…

"climbing trees"

Oh, that tree she’s in top right is a carving from a dead tree at Knebworth. They’re sirens, apparently. All their dead wood Β is carved into something – bizarre how imaginations run wild outside. It’s more fun outdoors, isn’t it?

"sculptures at Knebworth"

We found that once they’re out, our kids find fun everywhere. So we’re joining in more often with Country Kids from Coombe Mill. We need an occasional distraction from grumbling about cold, or aching feet, but for the most part, they are happier than they are at home, fitter, healthier, and the whole family has more fun. We make much better memories outdoors. And if we hadn’t braved driving with the roof down, we’d never have made this one:

"cold in the cabriolet"

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