Its pouring down. The kitchen floor is piled high with bags of laundry which need sorting and bags of food which need re-putting away in the indoor fridge.
We've just come back from a week-end away to the favourite destination of our 16 year old - Delamere Forest. It's not a long journey for us and there is a wonderful camp site right on the edge of the forest which we all enjoy visiting. Originally a very wet area, there is a central lake with many wild birds, a hill-top view point and miles of footpaths and bridle ways. It has all that the forest school tradition has to offer and more - reasonable safety and freedom outdoors, a huge variety of wildlife - lots of it noisy!, plenty of opportunities to whittle sticks, build dens, and, in the autumn harvest pine cones and sweet chestnuts. Now both of our children are teenagers. They do both enjoy camping and life in the countryside and, despite being hard to extract from sleeping bags, they do still enjoy all these natural attractions.
So have I got model children, easy to entertain with a few walks in the countryside, pretty views and an open space for ball games? They are pretty good, but Delamere Forest hosts other attractions. My 13 year old is a keen climber - indoors mainly at present, and there is a tree-top 'Go-Ape' centre at Delamere. She has been before but was unlucky this time despite many attempts at brainwashing me. I don't have a head for heights and she is too young to be un-supervised and needs an older cousin or similar. The 16 year old is not particularly interested in climbing. His passion is mountain biking - specifically down-hill, free-ride, four-cross jumping type of biking. He does not yet have a bike which would enable him to tackle a big downhill track but is building his skills over jumps and other obstacles. Delamere has a large cycle-skills area. To find it follow the full-face helmets, shin guards, elbow pads and body armour - and MUD!! Even when it has not been raining there is almost always MUD! Stand clear when you find the bike track - proficient cyclists easily achieve heights of a couple of metres and jumps many metres long - even over this sort of track. I have to close my eyes. Obviously a 16 year old can't do this sort of sport alone, so when there is no cycle buddy available I have to be there mobile phone in hand - just in case. Then over to the bike jet wash - for the bike and the 16 year old!
Saturday and Sunday were beautiful. I didn't have much time for relaxing but managed to almost finish a floral corsage for my own use. I like the one below, which I have for sale in my shop. Since there is always some slight variation in hand-knitted items, and I have photographed this original one for sale, I thought I'd better make myself a new one, rather than use my stock and replace it. The sun was beautiful and we all got a little burnt - didn't think to use sun-protection in March!
Wearing a full-face helmet renders one fairly anonymous so I though I could risk this photo of my son. When he was little one of his pet-names was Sunshine - hence the Sunshine and Mud theme for the week-end.