My Not So Secret Diary

Things I Will Miss

Things I Will Miss walking with my family at Lands End Cornwall, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
It’s been the most bizarre year, and while I count myself lucky that I haven’t been personally affected by Covid-19 or know anyone that has, the situation has still affected us all.

Things are beginning to go back to normal, and in a lot of ways, I’m not sure that I want it to. I quite like the slightly slower pace of life. I used to shop a lot, and now I have one supermarket delivery a week. In between, I walk to our local farm shop for the odd fresh bits I need, normally with one or two of my kids which is nice. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I do not miss the high street at all, although my daughter will be disappointed to hear that as she is looking forward to clothes shopping again!

I’m enjoying the simple things and at weekends our time is our own. We don’t have to ‘do’ anything much, because there is very little that can be done, besides going for a walk and spending time together. The freedom we have outdoors is lovely. Last week, I took the kids for what is becoming our weekly walk at our local National Trust property. We have to book the car in so we knew it wouldn’t be too busy, and we took a picnic. It was the hottest day of the year so far, so we walked down into the parkland and found a tree to base ourselves under. It is so lovely to be able to let the kids be free, Stanley rode his bike and other than helping him cross the road from the car park to the main entrance, he could explore without worry. I didn’t have to watch our bags or worry about where he was when he was out of sight behind a tree. We laid our blankets down and kicked a ball about, ate our picnic and climbed trees. It was lovely. Of course, as things are coming back to life, the days won’t always be so quiet, and I do like my space.

The world seems fresher somehow. The skies are bluer, the grass is greener. It’s like the world is blooming after having a little rest, although maybe it isn’t, maybe I’m just noticing it because I’m taking the time to slow down and see it. I hope the magic isn’t lost as our beaches and countrysides get filled with more people. We need venues to open for our country to thrive. We need to get things back to ‘normal’ to save our economy. I just worry that out normal is a little bit too much sometimes, a little bit too busy and sometimes a bit unnecessary.

I hope we can all take away some of the simple things from our strange time in lockdown and not lose it all as we fall back into old patterns.

Stay safe and take care,
Claire x


Wild Childhood

Wild Childhood outdoors in the countryside with my children and writing about it for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
We went for a walk last week at our local National Trust property. We are lucky to have such a large amount of open space so close to home. I had to pre-book the car, but actually it was reassuring to know that it wasn’t going to be packed with visitors, although it was sad to see so many people ignoring the rules and parking on the lanes to gain access. It was a beautiful day to be out in nature, sunny, warm, with a nice breeze, and lovely to be somewhere different after being confined for so long.

I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors. I love being in the woods or on the beach. There is something about nature that soothes me. I think that’s why I got into trail running, the ability to see new places and to have a reason to be outdoors, regardless of the weather.

Our kids have always enjoyed being outdoors too. I’ve always encouraged them to get out and enjoy it, whenever they can. We actually moved the middle two, Katie and Barn to a primary school in the middle of nowhere because I fell in love with the school’s outdoor ethos. There were only 50 or so kids in the school and only about 6 in Katie’s year at the time, so they had a little more freedom than your average school. It was another thing that appealed to me so much about it, it was almost like stepping back in time a little when you went there, to a time when school was a little bit less rigid, and a little less security oriented. The school opened onto a village playing field and they’d been donated acres of woodland on the other side of it. The entire school would be out there more often than not, building dens, climbing trees and making ‘jungle juice’ over open fires that they’d made themselves. They’d always come home filthy but happy. Then there were the times when you couldn’t find your child at the end of the day because two friends had gone for a long walk along the lanes into the country walking the headteacher’s dog and had lost track of time. It was a magical time, not always without injuries, but the children learned how to safely take risks and gained valuable skills for life outside of the classroom. It’s too far to drive my little man now, so I hope I can find somewhere similar for him when the time comes.

There’s a generation of kids out there who didn’t learn how to take risks safely. I saw it through my own eyes working with troubled youngsters in my old job. There are children who don’t understand boundaries because they’ve never had them laid out, and don’t understand the consequences of their actions. There are also the children that grow up too quickly, with too much responsibility or without adequate protection and aren’t able to safely enjoy and explore their childhoods. So many youngsters see the world through screens and games without having to relate to different people in the real world. It’s a skill for life, as you aren’t always going to get on with people you don’t see eye to eye with and the sooner you learn that, the easier it makes the rest of life. I’m not necessarily one for letting the kids play out, near our home, but I love them being outdoors building dens, playing in the water and walking. It’s instilled my love of nature in them and I hope that continues as they get older.

For me freedom outdoors is one of the best lessons we can give our little ones. It can be safe and still fun. I think sometimes it does them a bit of good to have a little bit of measured risk if that makes sense? It helps them grow into well rounded young people. Wellies and waterproofs come in handy in this wet weather, for my little one at least, although due to his puddle jumping yesterday his boots are still full of water! At least he had fun, even if he does create a lot of washing!

Thanks for reading!
Claire x