Ruth's blog: Town Mice and Country Mice
It’s now the first week of September and by Tuesday we are all back at school and work, for until half term. Uniforms were dug out, PE kits found, shoes tried on - and that was just the adults! On the calendar our summer is over however the heatwave is trying to convince me otherwise. My commute home today from the office was NOT pleasant but bring on the weekend for more fun in the sun.
We have all enjoyed our summer break this year. There was a mix of activity clubs for the children and weeks together, with family visiting on some weekends too. Both of our weeks together were in the UK, one early August and one last week, both camping in a rural area of amazing natural beauty. It was a deep dive for the town mice into country mice.
We had mostly good weather each time, which in this slightly crazy weather summer was very lucky. And wow did we (including the children) get into the outdoors life this year.
Our first campsite gave us a rabbit to watch one morning, spotted by our son, having a sniff and a jump around the edge of the field. We heard owls screeching in the evenings and saw bats. We had two local buzzards to watch most days, and by watching them as much as we did, we have turned into buzzard spotters. We also walked miles around castles and ruins, along woodland paths: my step counter did not know what was going on.
Come the second week we were bolder, our first evening walking 3 and a half miles on the coast path to a small town for fish and chips by the harbour. The sun shone, the food was delicious and there were boats to watch: it was great. This place also introduced the children to the art of crabbing! By chatting to other families our children saw hundreds of crabs, all caught with minimal effort then returned unharmed to the sea. They danced the 3 and a half miles back to the campsite that evening. We did a boat trip to see the local seals (two species) and saw loads – the children’s faces were a picture, as were ours. We went to an RSPB reserve for bird watching and saw a spoonbill (rare!). We heard tawny owls, saw swifts flying around and around the fields, and found more crabs on the beaches with small fish in the pools. One child noticed small frogs in the grass on the edge of the marsh and another saw a wasp spider. We saw dragonflies and damselflies in all sizes and colours including a massive emerald dragonfly (Google it – it’s beautiful).
For short times this summer, we became the country mice. I could not have been more proud when our son said “when I grow up, I will live in Ibiza, in a motorhome, and I will work on the beach to look after it”. This last bit of information was new. Mission accomplished.
Ruth works 4 days per week in a central London accounting & tax firm. She lives in South West London with her husband, two children aged 7 and 5 and a tank of tropical fish.