I think we are all guilty of this from time to time, we plan those big adventures and save up our pennies for those extra special occasions or for when we feel the moment or need arises. Yes we are blessed to live in the incredible Dartmoor National Park, but we haven’t always lived here… Before Dartmoor we lived on the south west coast and indeed, we had many lovely times playing on the beaches. We were in fact so close to the seaside that when the weather was bad, the waves would crash against the sea wall and our house actually shook a little. Still there were times when months went past and the summer was over and we realised we had been everywhere except to the beach that was literally on our doorstep.
If you have been following me recently on social media, hopefully you will have seen some of the nature pictures I have been taking, I have been enjoying taking pictures so much recently I can barely leave the house without my camera. My poor partner has had to stop the car in many weird and wonderful locations over the last few months because I have suddenly spotted, what I believe to be “the perfect shot!” So many of these incredible views, trees, mossy walls, insects, fungi, are all local to me.
Even as a child I remember going to the big adventure parks and the family bringing enough food to feed the entire park. We always had a lovely time, but some of my fondest memories as a child, were not these extravagant days, but the ones at the park behind my house with a hand full of sandwiches and maybe a pack of biscuits. I guess it’s the time old tale of children not remembering the huge effort that can go into these special occasions but the memories that are created.
When you spend hours staying up on Christmas eve wrapping a huge exciting prezzie in the most perfect paper you can find, and the kids then spend most of the morning sat playing in the cardboard box that the toy came out of. The children don’t realise, and nor should they, that you’ve been up all night cooking mini pizzas and creating fruit kebabs for a special day out. They will remember though, the moment that Granny went down that huge slide with them and crash landed on her bum. No doubt granny had more energy than you did that day since you had been cooking until the early hours… Not that I am going to stop making an effort to do lovely things with and for my children, but maybe we can all tone it down a tad and spend more time seeing what is sometimes right in front of us.
We drove all of eight minutes yesterday to enjoy the incredible 360° views from Meldon Hill just behind where we live in Chagford. We then had a short walk to get to the Tors and triangulation point at the top of the hill and we enjoyed every single second. We were out for around an hour just playing in the grass, climbing rocks and snacking on some gingerbread men! Many times we have spent an hour or so packing our bags with sarnies and god knows what else, to then drive another hour to get to our designated spot for the day. This time it was different and I think we all enjoyed it a little more.
Whether it’s a little river bed, a patch of woodland or the top of a hill, we all have those special places near us where we live that we neglect to remember sometimes. So for everyone who’s googling where to go this weekend and looking through pages for discount vouchers… Have a day closer to home, save your energy, pennies and valuable time. Take a day to enjoy the little things that are just outside your door.