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There is a point during every holiday weekend where I feel like I am starting to petrify. Once upon a time, it was Christmas Day, with its inevitable bad weather, overeating and basic lack of movement. Now that honour falls to Easter weekend, which this year blessed us with sideways rain, too much chocolate and three bouncy ass children who needed some outdoors time in the worst possible way.

Which was when I came up with the bright idea of taking Alfie and Olive on a day trek; in theory, a flawless concept, and in practice completely banjaxed by Keith and Esme getting a bad case of FOMO.

9am - Drag self out of bed to break up yet another squabble over the last of the cereal. Admit that early start is not going to happen since husband is still in bed and making noises about Hearty Breakfast in the shape of vegan pancakes.

9.15 - Give in to pleas of starvation from children and start to make pancakes. Clean up debris from first two rounds of breakfast and mutter darkly about hollow legs. 

9.30 - Admit to self that pancakes are well worth the effort for the peace that falls over the breakfast table. Wonder if I should launch a bid for Best Mum in World by cooking pancakes every day. 

9.32 - Eldest child requests that I cook pancakes every day. Feel slightly miffed to have overachieving opportunity reduced to merely achieving.

10.00 - Persuade husband to stop brewing rounds of coffee, and children to put on basic clothing. Realise we are out of trail food and agree heartily with eldest son that carrots are just as good. Glare at husband until he takes his sceptical look away from the children. 

10.10 - Corale family out of house and into car. Start car. Shout at children to stop fighting or HAND TO GOD I will turn this car around!

10.11 - Glare at husband,, who is laughing heartily at the astute point made by middle child that I can't turn the car around before we've even left.

10.15 - Smile smugly as husband has to wade in to stop children from hitting each other.

10.17 - Husband initiates Plan B discussions around splitting up the family for the afternoon. Do not resist the opportunity to say I told him so.

10.40 - Get dropped off at start of walk with firstborn son. We are filled with enthusiasm as we take lung fulls of heavily perfumed autumn air and watch the rest of the family disappear from the car park in a plume of dust.

10.45 - Set off on walk. My enthusiasm is slightly tempered by the realisation that I will spend the entire walk being educated in Minecraft.

10.50 - Stop for snack. Remind son of previous treks and advise caution in the frequency of snack breaks.

11.00 - Reach the first of many gorse patches. Help son weigh up the choices between gorse scratches and a return visit to the hospital if he plummets off the side of the path.

11.05 - Realise I am bad parent for tuning out the constant flow of chatter about how to make sticky pistons and supercharged fire arrow launchers. Resolve to listen harder as precious firstborn son shares his great passion with me.

11.10 - Nope. Can't do it.

11.20 - Stop for snack. Suspect this is less about hunger and more about the "gorse bushes" up ahead. Try to reason with son that it is actually manuka and therefore not likely to puncture any soft squishy bits.

11.22 - Indulge in some long hard sniffing as we walk through manuka patch. Fail to notice that the manuka patch ends and is replaced with gorse.

11.23 - Hold distraught son as he weeps about punctured soft squishy bits.

11.30 - Distract sniffling son with a hunt for bush asparagus, which he adores.

11.35 - Find a cheeky little number hiding in the bushes and hand it over to son, who finally stops sniffling.

11.40 - Continue to walk in blissful, contented, bird song filled silence.

11.45 - Get overtaken at speed by a Young Couple who are involved in an excitable debate in VERY LOUD VOICES.

11.50 -  Use constant reverberating chatter from now vanished couple to talk to son about acoustics. Try very hard not to grind teeth.

12.00 - Burst from bush into a clearing, which gives us a stunning view over the Hutt Valley and the entire Wellington harbour. Can still hear Young Couple but can't see them ... or a single other path that they could have used.

12.10 - Stumble onward through bush in what seems to be the direction of Young Couple's voices. Realise there are no orange triangles, get the fear and double back to the clearing.

12.15 - Stumble along "path" marked on map to a gate marked private property. Decide to use well-worn gap in fence to walk onto Private Property. Go 10 paces, get a flashback to Wolf Creek and run back to safety at speed. Realise that Young Couple are a much more likely target, seeing as they still haven't stopped talking, and break it to firstborn that we will have to go back the way we came. Firstborn does not care.

12.30 - Start of conversation about God ... or more accurately Gods ... in all their various persuasions. Am confused about how we could have ventured so far from the world of the Ender Dragon.

12.45 - Still talking about God(s). Have now promised to take son to church on the Sunday of his choosing: This was not how I expected this day to turn out. Pick up my pace before I discover I have been accidentally been raising the next Panchen Lama. Realise this is unlikely, but it doesn't pay to take chances.

12.50 - Ignore calls from son to slow down and challenge him to a race. He may be an undercover lama, but he's also a Batsford and cannot walk away from a competition.

1:00 - Arrive back at the car park and into the now loving embrace of the other members of the family. Realise that whoever said "absence makes the heart grow fonder" was in actual fact a genius.

1 comment

  1. LMAO! I could picture everything! :)

    Matty xx


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