The school holidays are always a challenge when you have lively children, and although the older ones should be able to entertain themselves at least some of the time, we all need a bit of fresh air to run off energy and clear our heads.
Today the weather was very changeable but, as rain is not actually dangerous, we donned our wellies and macs and set off for Borough Hill, an Iron Age hill fort run by Leicester County Council and, importantly, free. There is nothing there but stunning views, cows and sheep and plenty of trees to climb, and we spent a glorious hour running around, getting stuck in rabbit holes and throwing dried sheep poo at each other (although perhaps I should draw a discreet veil over that. Do make sure to wash your hands after throwing sheep poo…).
However, huge black clouds soon rolled in and we pulled up our hoods and ran back to the car. It was now lunchtime and the boys needed feeding. Eating out can often be more expensive than the trip itself and I would normally take a modest picnic on a walk – nothing exotic, sandwiches, crisps or raisins, fruit, a home made flapkack or a Penguin and fruit juice decanted into re-used soft drink bottles are perfectly adequate and healthy. But today was clearly not an al fresco opportunity. Everyone must explore their own environment to find good cheap places to eat, but as a starting point, I would recommend investigating your local garden centres. Many of them have excellent, cheap snacks and often children’s lunch boxes for as little as £2 which nearly always have a little puzzle book or game. Although we all know of certain fast food chains that offer similar value, one should always support local business first, or our towns and villages will wither away. We found a delightful garden centre on our way home which not only offered delicious food but also had gift shops, clothing, books and a play area. I enjoyed oohing and aahing over plants for my impending garden and they had a super time in the play area.
It was now absolutely torrenting with rain so we agreed that we would go home and do something together. Like most of you, I have an extremely busy life and, sadly, have little opportunity to spend as much time as I would like with my children. It was therefore a real pleasure for us all to sit down with a jigsaw puzzle, intermittently arguing about who’d lost the pieces, enduring The Cat tormenting us by relentlessly sitting in the middle of the half finished puzzle and finally relinquishing the last piece to my elder son who could then claim that he’d done the lot.
I live in a country village, but I have lived in the city and I know that amenities vary greatly. Most areas have parks or somewhere to walk and you’d be amazed at where you can get to on a bus. Council or Tourist Information offices have great information about days out and how to get there, so make the most of them.
Would you like to try my recipe for the stickiest flapjacks in existence? Then you must keep visiting The Wartime Housewife dear Bloggers, who knows what you might find!