Everybody needs to have a safe place. When I was young it was the stables, now that I’m old and boring and Mummy and Daddy no longer finance my expensive hobbies, it’s the woods. We are fortunate enough to live in a place where we have the park a few houses down from us, and four sets of woods, the Commons and a nature reserve within a twenty-minutes-by-foot radius, so there are plenty of local places to explore. There is a wonderful sense of peace once you’re finally away from the traffic noises and smells, when you’re finally alone. And when you walk in the dark then it’s really dark – no streetlamps, no torches, no mobile telephones lighting a path.
We have a little dog and she’s not terribly keen on walking when the weather is nasty, but on charming blue-skied afternoons she’s the first out of the door and her tail is reminiscent of a helicopter propellor as it spins around. She is joy personified and she makes us glad, truly deeply glad, that we hauled ourselves out of the house, complete with double pram and changing bag, in order to trek through the mud on her behalf.
It was one of those glorious wintry afternoons yesterday where the sun is shining and you just know that the night will bring frost, but it’s so beautiful outside that it would be a crime not to take the whole family for a long walk. So we did. And we put on our best new jumpers and took the camera, because who knows when we’ll see the sun again.
When I look back on the boys’ babyhoods in the years to come, I hope that this is what I’ll remember. The long afternoons walking through the trees, the babies’ fascination with the sunlight sparkling through the leaves. The peace of it, just the five of us surrounded by wilderness. The way that you can say anything when you’re alone, that you can be the mother you want to be when nobody is around. How the little dog sounds like a herd of stampeding elephants when everything else is still, the loudness of our laughter when the whole world seems silent.
Balthazar is wearing: John Lewis jumper on top and Frugi leggings on the bottom
Lysander is wearing: Tootsa MacGinty jumper on top and Doodle Pants on the bottom.