I always feel anxious when I am taking other children out that they have a nice time and the struggle of a wet walk, or just mooching around the house with nothing to do, filled me with dread.
At least Car was back, on weekend release. (I’m not into this thing of naming my vehicle, or assigning it a gender. Come to think of it, my Cat was called Cat for quite a while, too.) They took pity on me at the garage, although I have to take it back in on Monday to have it finished off.
Miraculously, the rain stopped about five minutes before we were due to leave. Lovely Daughter’s Friend was really excited. They are both very enthusiastic together, which is why they are good friends.
I’d done this walk a couple of times before, but it was a long time ago. I vaguely knew that I needed to go upwards, and in the direction of the town, so this is what we did.
Lovely Daughter’s Friend is super fit and was charging up and down the little cols like a mountain goat. Although I am going climbing for the first time tomorrow, I draw the line at bouncing up and down skiddy chalk slopes, because I don’t want to break my ankle and not be able to drive home. LD also decided to have a go at charging up and down, and at one point lost her footing and sort of rolled down the hill like a cheese. But was OK.
The Down is really beautiful. It’s a sort of chalk feature (I don’t know the exact terms), basically very craggy and with loads of plains of wild flowers and butterflies and trees, but also different little hills to explore. At the moment, it’s seems to be some sort of scabious that is flowering all over the sunny sides of the hills:
After I’d puffed my way to the top of the hill, I realised that I needed to leave this:
behind me and somehow find my way to looking at something like this here town instead:
As I mentioned, I get nervous about taking other children out, and about my children socialising with other children. When I was a child, we didn’t socialise with others and I didn’t really understand the rules of socialisation. It was OK when I was at my infant school, because we’d all grown up with each other and accepted each other. But when I moved house at the age of nine, I was totally unable to cope with the basic rules of being with new, unknown people. Instead of taking an interest in others and taking account of their feelings, I could only think that being good at things, the unreachable goal at home, would make me a good person, deserving of other people’s friendship. At the same time, I desperately wanted people to like me, so I tended to give way to any and everybody else’s opinion and agree with them.
I always worried like mad that my children would end up out of things, like I did as a child. Especially as I’ve always been out of things a bit socially as an adult as well, not really having a defined group of people similar to me to hang around with as they grew up. But LD and LDF were getting on like a house on fire, conjecturing together on how the direction of the wind affected the shape of the funny little warped trees. And they thought the views were stunning, too, so I was relaxing a bit.
As well as doing this walk with friends, I’ve actually done this walk as a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award leader. I was a pretty rubbish leader, though. I’m not that great a navigator. It’s just as well that the point of the Award is for them to learn how to do that part of it themselves. I was definitely a bit nervous about getting lost, which would make for a very bad day out, so I was glad to recognise this curved path:
and see that the town was getting closer as walked round it:
On the way, LD and LDF enjoyed the first sweet blackberries of the season, from a sun soaked run of bushes:
Then it was down into the woods:
Was a bit hairy walking on a permanent sideways slope, leading down into a very steep incline.
And then was very glad finally to see the top of the town:
I was too shy to take a picture of someone’s house, but that yellow one is the one I would want if I ever move to the town. It has its own carport, and above it, a roof terrace garden. It’s quiet and lovely on this lane leading up to the hill, and just below, it has a children’s bookshop, fish and chips, cafes, antiques… what more could you want?
The weather clearing up helped the day go with a swing, but also being able to let go a bit and appreciate that my children are not me. It was nice watching LD with her friend, and thinking, yeah, she’s fine. She can do this, no problem. I just need to be a bit less anxious and remember that I am not responsible for everyone’s happiness, because everything will probably turn out just OK.