Having more time offline has meant I've been rediscovering my love of the forest around us, and insisting everyone joins me. I assumed (wrongly) that this would be met with whoops and cheers and all round 'isn't mum great' pats on the back from the children. When I suggested going for a walk following a visit to their grandparents you would have thought, judging from their reaction, that I'd suggested banishing loom bands and party rings into oblivion. Even Al didn't seem particularly enamoured by my proposal. Adamant that it would be fun and wearing the most most enthusiastic grin I could muster we all set off for a little explore around Crock Hill.
Crock Hill is a bit more of a tump than an actual hill and it's nice and woody, giving some much appreciated respite from the glaring Summer sunshine. After spotting a fallen tree and a couple of suspect burrows (that's Kitty speak for any vague hole shape found in the ground or trees) things were perking up, maybe it was the shade that was making the difference. I was loving the greens and browns beneath the trees, it was almost a tiny glimpse of the forests Autumnal colour palette.
And then we spied it, the tree swing. Instantly the begrudged trudge to appease mummy turns into excited squeals. A blue rope hung from a sizeable tree, the seat made from a length of cut decking. Someone had taken care over making this swing, it wasn't your standard stick precariously tied up, a hole had been bored in the center and the rope knotted and tapped off beneath to stop fraying.
Now, and this sort of goes without saying, in a kind of I-know-you-have-common-sense type of way, trees can be deceptive, rotten branches fall regularly in the New Forest, in fact some areas are more like tree graveyards that woods since the big storms earlier this year. So we used a guinea pig to test the strength of the branch the swing was tied to.
Satisfied it was sturdy, the children started to swing... and before you know it they'd gained their confidence and with screams of 'Higher daddy!' they soared through the air.
Unexpected fun rules.
The forest really is constantly changing and you'll always find a den, bridge or swing left by someone else.
Mother is always right.