When I look back on my life in Ireland and ponder exactly what it was that made it such a wonderful, fulfilling and simple life, the thing that comes up time and time again was being outside a lot of the time. It was something Gary and I were determined not to let go of when we moved here, but the suburban countryside hasn’t lured us with quite the success that the miles of sandy beaches near to us in Ireland did. Gary often came home from work and off we went, to spend the rest of the day and often the evening at the beach which was less than 10 minutes away from where we lived. We chose a beach which was, in the main, reliably empty of people and we had hours of fabulous play and peace.
Today we live over an hour away from the nearest beach, and it would be busier than its Irish counterpart and a shingle beach, rather than sand. In addition, unlike Ireland, you are not allowed to take vehicles onto the beach, which means one must traipse all one’s clobber onto the beach (ahem). We still love visiting, but it is a whole day event to make it worth our while. So Gary and I have been looking into places we can go closer to home, where there is still a sense of space. Living so near to London, space is at somewhat of a premium and therefore a little harder to find. To be honest we have come up with a few ideas, most of them on our door step. But there is one particular place we visited and loved so much at the beginning of the year, we are determined to make going a weekly occurrence.
On T12’s birthday in January we took him to Wisley RHS gardens. Now I have to admit to going for my son’s sake, not really in my wildest dreams imagining that I would enjoy myself. I thought it was plants and that was it. A glorified garden centre. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is miles and miles of natural beauty, maintained impeccably, with pathways (so not to get too muddy – essential in these waterlogged days). So last week we took the rest of the family to meet our new weekly destination, hoping they would love it as much as we had:
We have bought ourselves a yearly ticket with the Christmas money Gary’s parents gave us (thank you Tom and Heather!). This is going to become our weekly destination, to take time out from our studies and enjoy the wildlife, fresh air and each other, making lots of lovely memories along the way – much like we did in Ireland at the beach.