Rainy days often encourage indoor-based activities, like sofa lounging, board games in front of a roaring open fire and so much television your eyes start crossing. We’re not like that in my family. We love the rain!
In the mildest parts of winter or mizzly days of spring - even the warm wet mugginess of mid-summer, the best thing about heading out into the rain is pulling on all those layers of clothes that we don’t mind getting dirty, covering ourselves up with waterproof coats, hats and sometimes trousers, tugging on well-used wellington boots and heading for the door.
On this particular holiday in Cornwall, we filled up our flasks with hot chocolate, grabbed our excited Golden Retriever and piled into the family car for a short drive through the countryside to Godolphin Woods, a National Trust Estate near Helston. Barely had we opened the boot before Rocco, said Golden Retriever, bounded from his space and sprinted for the trees. The children, 12 and 10, followed him laughing their heads off and committing to a no-holds-barred race. The first to the bridge wins and while the 12 year old has pace on his side our 10 year old is far more cunning in nature. She stopped along the path and stared intently into the trees. As soon as he realised she wasn’t racing anymore our son slowed to a jog, then a walk, then turned back to see what had caught our daughter’s attention.
The answer is everything, and nothing.
While we appreciated the beauty of the twisting trees and the rain dripping from the leaves onto the rich vegetation she just merely wanted to keep him occupied enough to gain a slight advantage. She took off like a rocket and reached the bridge only steps ahead of him.
As we walked to catch up with them on the wooden bridge the children were laughing together and finding sticks to race - everything is a competition between these two! No sooner had they thrown the sticks into the thigh-high river than Rocco dove in after them. He’s always eager to get in the water. In fact, no walk is complete unless he has a swim at some point on the route.
He’s not the only one who likes diving into the water. The cunning 10 year old found a wonderfully large and incredibly muddy puddle, perfect for splashing in. She was soon filthy and required complete stripping down to her underwear and being towelled off before changing into new clothes and heading back into the woods again.
In terms of winning muddy puddle splashing, the award firmly belongs to the reigning champion Rocco.
We enjoyed our hot chocolates perched in a sturdy tree, during a break in the mizzle and returned to the car, grubby but happy. Only after we’d all showered, and the filthy clothes were in the washing machine, did we light the fire and get out the board games. While we warmed up with our toes pointed towards the fire we made plans to make sure we go back to the Godolphin Woods next year, when all the bluebells and daffodils are out.