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How to trick the sprogs into getting out of our cliff-top-cave home, in Suffolk, to brave the wilds of sunny Chilton?
Tell them we’re going to McDonalds!
Not healthy, no! But then, neither is it healthy to stay in the gloom all day. But, even with the lure of McDonalds, a generous hour passes before everyone’s ready to step out.
Attempts to do the walk bit before setting foot inside McDonalds fail. We (the females) order vegetarian spicy wraps and he (Sprog 2) orders nine chicken nuggets. Would like to boast that us herbivores are the animal-lovers. But it was only yesterday that carnivorous Sprog 2 outlawed my all-time favourite pastime, by forcing me into signing his ‘Save the Fly’ charter!
When we finally emerge from McDonalds (yes, I do feel guilty about all that wasted packaging – I’m not fooled by the sorting and recycling bins), I announce the start of our family walk.
“Walk? I’m not walking!” declares Sprog 3, before taking off (running) with some of her cronies, so that they can share their gloom out evenly between them. This is just the encouragement that Sprog 2 needs to be my walking companion. Anything’s appealing, if it’s not what Sprog 3 is doing!
Also, Sprog 3 has an ulterior motive – the lure of bargain biscuits to be had at Farmfoods!
“Why do you stop to take photos of everything, Mum? Surely, you’ve already taken lots of photos on this very same walk before!”
“Yes,” I agree. “Yes, I have, but every time I do this walk, I see something different, or see the same thing differently. It all depends on the time of year and the direction and angle the photo is taken from.”
“But you only came on this walk yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before …! Mum, why aren’t you listening to me?”
“What’s that?” I respond, as I try to focus on keeping my hand still for my latest nature shoot.
Some kind of a mumbling continues in the background.
But the conversation soon takes off again with a discussion about the various biscuit varieties available at Poundland and some grumbles directed at the scratchy grass.
Sprog 2 manages to persuade me (in his belief I’m about to be stung on the nose by my super model bee) that we should retrace our steps out of the jungle and proceed forward, only when back on the pavement of Church Fields Road.
It’s a quicker and more direct route to Farmfoods, he argues, and we can always take a country walk back, via the back lane that carries the stench of the Nestle factory’s dog food!
This is all fine, because there are plenty of treats reaching out to grab our pavement feet, and being a big fan of the colour red, I quite like the view of the Post Office!
Ambling along, we soon get involved in a highly-intellectual discussion about dystopian fiction. Has he read The Killables? No, but he recommends ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness (must take a look sometime!).
It’s a relief to learn that Sprog 2 has read something other than Pokemon character identification manuals, even if we do end up buying out all of the three for two biscuit packet deals at Farmfoods. All good things come at a price!
The public byway that drifts away and behind Farmfoods is, according to Google, an un-named road but – should you decide to take the same route – you won’t miss it. Just follow the dogfood smell and you’re there!
Once past the whiff, it’s a pleasant rural walk that bypasses around the back of Church Fields Road and the Medical Centre, taking one past St. Mary’s Church and back to the World War Two airfield. If you can’t be bothered getting out there yourself, then take a look at my snaps!
It takes quite some time to convince Sprog 2 that whatever was once inside the egg probably didn’t come to any harm. But, between our consideration of possible baby bird outcomes, I manage to capture an image of a golden-brown stunner in the wheat fields (and, no, I am not a rabbit dropping!).
We know we are nearly back at our cave when we spot this fairy house nestled into the borders of Chilton Hall’s driveway.
Sadly, Sprog 2’s retelling of the the Patrick Ness trilogy is cut short before he gets to Book 3, by a quick stop to pick blackberries along the hedgerows of Waldingfield Road. He disassociates himself from me, just in case I am doing something illegal, but I’m pretty sure he won’t mind indulging in the blackberry pie I might get around to baking, so I continue.
The McDonald’s packaging from my veggie wrap came in useful for something after all!
Copyright of text, and photos of Chilton, owned by Jay Cool, August 2019
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