Following some sage relocation advice, we decided, on a dank and miserable day, to try and get the feel of our new countryside home in all weathers. Countryside pursuits come in many forms and I confess to being pretty keen to join the hunting, shooting, fishing set as those countryside activities appeal to my more primeval instincts of getting food on the table. Somehow walking doesn’t have the same pull and especially in the rain. Walking in town always has a purpose: going to my favourite boutiques, popping out for a coffee, lunching out…. Even when Jerry and I take the girls to the park, it is usually with a view to letting off steam rather than specifically going for a walk. Walking for walking’s sake – who ever heard of such a thing? With our visit to Tom and Barbara’s hilly home nearly upon us, we braved the inclement weather for a romp through Morgaston Woods to improve on our walking skills. Shedding our London look, Jerry and I donned ourselves in our ‘country’ gear and I even dusted off the unused Barbour. I was overcome with envy at the sight of Jerry’s new flat cap and woollen welly socks and I found myself disappointingly lacking in tweed. Something which must be remedied.
Putting on our wellies, stomping through the leaves and squelching through the boot sucking mud made me appreciate how autumn is so much more beautiful in the countryside. Perhaps one just allows oneself more time to stop and admire the seasonal changes in the landscape? This time of year Morgaston Woods are alive with fungi and we had a lot of fun spotting various delicious or deadly treats. Sadly, having missed the seasonal fungi foray walk, we had no idea of what we could or shouldn’t pick. I am yet to find a good book for mushroom dummies which helps with identifying the edible varieties and poisoning my nearest and dearest is not high on my list of country to-dos. We had to make do with just….a walk.
A walk. “What could be more glorious!”, some might say. However, the walking, grey drizzly weather and quagmire of mud shone some light on our ability as a family to adapt to the countryside and all its earthiness.
Primrose is renowned for her inability to use her God-given limbs. She hates walking and gives up, asking to be carried after the first five minutes. To solve this problem, she acquired a bicycle. Cutting a long story short, on this occasion, we were persuaded that she would walk some of the way if we took her bike along. If only we could have predicted the untold muddy disaster which followed! Primrose took a turn too fast on her bicycle, skidded off the path and then promptly fell forward, face down into the mud. Tears flowed shortly after. It would seem that our dearest Primrose does not like mud. The idea of mud? Yes. But in reality, when her hands, trousers and hair were covered, it was all a bit much. Jerry remarked that at least it wasn’t a cow pat. Calls for dear Primrose to ‘toughen’ up and “This is what it is like in the countryside!” did not abate the weeping either. She could only be persuaded to finish the trek with the lure of a hot chocolate. I have to say we did bump into some locals and did see a few raised eyebrows….the bike was perhaps not the best idea we have had!
Once crisis resolved, we forged onwards, kissing gate successfully negotiated with Primrose on foot, Poppy in the backpack carrier with Jerry and me dragging the bloody bicycle, cursing as I went. (Dear Reader, I have already thrown the bicycle into the mud prior to this point, shouting that it would have to be binned if Primrose was not going to ride it. God only knows what the locals were thinking at that point)! We ended up in a field of beautiful black cows. Calming and so very sweet. Despite Jerry’s best efforts to stop me, I decided that maybe I was going to be the next Dr Doolittle and would try to see if the cows would come over to us. Surprisingly they DID! Finally, Margot at one with nature! My prize…being licked by a baby cow whilst I stroked its nose! Here is the little beauty.
So…the walk was successful in part. We did complete the 2 mile circuit. Houdini Poppy (known for her abilities to escape out of anything) stayed in the backpack carrier for the duration, Jerry did look rather fetching in his cap (or farmer’s hat as Primrose has renamed it), Primrose learned a valuable lesson (that mud will come out in the wash) and I am now on my way to becoming a farmer’s wife. If I can just persuade Jerry to buy a farm……