It’s the Easter holidays, and I, with my two week school holiday freedom, am mulling over ways to turbo-charge my blog in the limited time available and send me into the stellar realm of the Superstar Blogger; the one who is whispered about reverently in hushed tones on the Internet, the one who is regarded as Queen Bee and all-round blogging guru.
“Shall I start writing some days out posts?” I ask my mother.
We are sat on a steam train, drinking fizzy wine out of those little wine glasses everybody abandoned in the last millennium in favour of the far more satisfying enormous goblets that hold half a bottle that we all drink from nowadays.
My mother is whole-heartedly in approval of the days out post idea.
“Yes!” she exclaims, “you could write about this one!”
I glug my fizzy wine happily, and buy a raffle ticket where the prize is to learn how to drive a steam train, and imagine myself as the first female engine driver on the Isle of Sodor, steering Gordon’s express while he huffs at the indignity.
I never did write that post.
It just seemed too boring to talk about days out, especially if nothing funny happened, and anyway, I never won that raffle, and my dreams of becoming the driver of a heritage railway are as yet unfulfilled.
However, I now find myself in the position of having to write something autumnal, and since the classic 10 Things I Love About Autumn has already been taken by somebody else, well, what is more autumnal than a day out at Westonbirt Arboretum?
During my childhood, it seemed that not an Autumn went past when the name of Westonbirt Arboretum wasn’t bandied about with vague promises of how we really should go one day and look at the trees, and it’s supposed to be lovely you know, what with all those leaves changing colour, and like, Autumn. However, we never did go, and I started to wonder if it was even a real place, or just a piece of Autumnal folklore, like the dragons who supposedly lived in the out of bounds area behind the school.
So when I was thinking about what I could possibly write about Autumn, the ideas were pretty much limited to 1.) sticking some leaves on a collage and calling it “crafting,” 2.) foraging for mushrooms in the back garden and sticking them in a risotto, or 3.) putting on a sturdy pair of shoes and some stylish knitwear and looking at some trees.
Now, I have never been a fan of sturdy footwear, but gone are the days when I would rock up for a nature walk in a fur coat, leopard print catsuit and Jeffrey Campbell platforms and call it a “look,” and I’m not sure that I trust either my crafting skills or my ability to detect non-lethal wild mushrooms sufficiently to Pinterest them up, so Westonbirt Arboretum it was.
Luckily I managed to convince my brother that this would be a great day out for him, and so Piglet and I got a lift. Not so luckily, Piglet has matured sufficiently since his last long car journey in August 2015 to no longer spend the entirety of his sojourn in the car seat screaming blue murder, and instead is happy to snooze right through. Great for everyone when you’re riding along happily drinking coffee, enjoying the countryside and singing along to a bit of 90s pop legend Corona. Not so lucky when it’s 10.30pm and after thoroughly enjoying his two long naps, Piglet decides to spend the night lobbing various metal objects alleged to be toys out of the bed, and climbing over me repeatedly to retrieve them before taking a seat on my head.
Anyway, it was worth the drive, and we obviously saw a lot of lovely trees, and Piglet had a good run around, hiding in shady glades and practising his use of the word “tree,” (one of only a handful of words he can say, the others including the similarly-sounding and infinitely useful “cheers”) although in hindsight I should have taken the backpack to put him in, as there were quite a few times when he wanted to be carried and only Mummy would suffice. It also reminded me of how much I want to live in the countryside. It’s another world out there. At one point, and I am fairly sure I wasn’t hallucinating, a turquoise horse box drove past with the Joules logo above the windscreen. The countryside, ladies and gentlemen, sponsored by Joules. With my Joules bag and wellies, I must have looked like a native.
We didn’t quite get around the whole place, as it was massive and although it seemed to be pretty well organised for somewhere that probably only gets really busy for about one week of the year, and it just happened to be the one we were there, the queue for the food stalls was colossal, and the lure of the seemingly endless supply of nearby country pubs too great, but I will go back now I know where it is. Probably in Spring. Now just need to learn to drive.