Last Friday felt like it was the last day of our Indian summer – bright, sunny blue skies and a final outing for the summer sandals. On Saturday we woke up to a grey, cool day, with some rather ominous rain clouds gathering. Not the best day for a walk, perhaps, but we were all determined to try and get out for our first family outing for several weeks (thanks, variously, to children’s birthday parties, kayaking trips and DIY).
James and I really fancied a simple walk, and managed to persuade the boys that this was what they really fancied too…so we headed off in the car to Wicken Fen in our wellies and waterproofs, with a bag of sandwiches, cakes and our trusty flask of coffee.
Wicken Fen, a nature reserve managed by the National Trust, is just a few miles down the road from us and is a favourite in all weathers. It offers a great variety of walks, whether you fancy sticking to the boardwalks, or heading off for something more adventurous. We usually have a race round the boardwalks, scaring the poor birds, and then head off on one of the shorter nature trails. I last took the boys back at the end of the summer holidays, so it was nice to be back with the seasons changing.
When we arrived the rain hadn’t started yet so we headed straight for the old wind pump, which the boys always love seeing. James told me later that Tom enjoyed telling him in great detail about how it, ‘really is a vintage wind mill, Daddy.’ Poor child is already picking up on my vocabulary!
After a bit of bird watching/scaring, we headed to the Butterfly Walk. We saw lots of the most amazingly plump, ripe sloes – which was frustrating as we have already made our Sloe Gin (with rather less ripe ones) last week. But today wasn’t really the day for more foraging, and besides, I actually want to drink our next bottle of gin rather than hiding it away under the stairs!
Creatures of habit that they are, the boys wanted to find the same bench that we ate our picnic on last time. Once we’d located it, and started the picnic, the heavens opened in typical English style. But we’re used to a bit of cold drizzle and I’m sure it made the prawn cocktail crisps and mini-battenburgs taste even better….
The rain got steadily harder so we scuttled off home after lunch – all feeling a lot better for some fresh air, if rather soggy. And we even got stuck behind a JCB Fastrac (towing a plough, no less!) on the way home – this is small-boy heaven, up there with the greats of tractor spotting.