I tentatively suggest to the Youngest of the Darling Daughters that maybe we should take some camping chairs along with us on our latest adventure. I am thinking, if truth be told, that if we partake of our packed lunch
sitting in a picnic blanket, it will take at least two people to haul me into my feet and social distancing will go straight out of the proverbial window.
says, teasingly, that she is sure we can manage without. At least, I think she is teasing ...
I am on the second day of my stay here in the village of Hook, home
to not one but two Darling Daughters and no fewer than five of the Tremendous Ten grandchildren - though not, you will be pleased to hear, all in the same house. Today’s adventure is a day trip to beautiful Lydiard Park to meet up with my (Not So Very
Little) Welsh Boys and their parents. I haven’t seen my boys since Christmas (except on a computer screen) so it will be an emotional reunion.
is the perfect meeting place, being very nearly equidistant between Hook and Cardiff. It’s also an easy journey (says I, who is only sitting in the passenger seat) and just a couple of miles off the M4 at Swindon. Google maps gets us there without a
hitch; the voice directing us appears to have forgiven us for taking an unexpected detour the previous day to visit Hazel Bagel at the pub where she is working during the summer holidays. She was sounding really tetchy ( the Voice, not Hazel Bagel who is sunny
as ever despite the demands of pub customers) when we headed off the route she had carefully planned for us.
We arrive first so we join a long, socially distanced
queue outside the loo; after twenty minutes we are nearing the head of the queue, a member of staff arrives to announce that there are more, and better loos a two minute walk away, giving us that ever- vexing decision to take as to should we stay, or should
We stay - and arrive back in the parking area to find that the Welsh Contingent has arrived while we were queuing and has set up camp in a neighbouring
field. As ever, I am impressed with their elaborate set-up of small tent, camping chairs, rugs, picnic hampers and ball games. We (the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I) have a picnic bag and two camping chairs (yes, she has brought them along, of course
she has!) We are the light-weights, relatively speaking.
My Boy and the Middle Welsh Boys come to meet us and just the sight of them, after all these long
months, makes me weep. “Oh, Lord,” says my son, “she’s not crying already, is she..?” My tears turn to laughter, especially when I see Sam, the oldest of the Welsh Boys, who has sprouted like a beanstalk since last I saw him and
is now taller than I am.
There are lots of people enjoying picnics in the field. One party appears to be celebrating a birthday with a long, low table festooned
with party cloths, pink balloons and what looks like a cake. Several little lasses in fancy dresses are running around attempting to get an extremely large butterfly shaped kite off the ground. Everything’s just about as normal as new normal can be.
We have booked the three boys into Jungleparc, a high ropes experience. Morgan, the youngest, is not old enough (or tall enough) to join his brothers on their trail but can
take part in the courses set out for the under 10s. I’m a little worried, seeing him at an introductory training session along with some Extremely Small Children, that he may feel a bit cheated. Morgan, after all, believes he is every bit as grown-up
as his older brothers and that age is but a number which, most if the time, doesn’t apply to him. As it turns out, three of the courses on the junior experience are quite challenging enough, even for Morgan, one of them even concluding with a (somewhat
earthbound) rocket ride. We take lots of photographs of all three boys (and their father) many of which show dark, indistinguishable figures striding through the trees. It’s an hour and a half very well spent.
We finish with ice-creams before packing up our day camp. As we head in our separate cars towards the roundabout where the M4 will take us in our separate directions we wave our goodbyes frantically.
It couldn’t have been a better choice for a day out. As Dame Vera might well have said, don’t know when but we will certainly meet (there) again...