We’ve just got back from a quick trip to Wales for our school holiday beach fix. As you see the weather wasn’t unusual but we built a sand fortress of suitably epic proportions and explored the rockpools dressed in wetsuits and fleeces. Perhaps that’s the modern equivalent of sitting on the prom in overcoat and rainhood licking a cornet? We do rain very well in Wales. In fact Blaenae Ffestiniog, officially the wettest place in the UK has embraced its misfortune and held Gwyl y Glaw (a rain festival) last week, an all-weather event where the only given was that you would get wet. Genius!
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” said a sometime neighbour of mine (Rannulph Fiennes) and though nothing on earth would get me to the South Pole or the summit of Everest, I’m a believer. If I were a sports court I’d be an all-weather surface. I’ve plodded the village lanes with a buggy, jumped in puddles, fashioned mud pies and dipped ponds on numerous occasions. My children are usually clad in at least a smearing of mud by the end of the day even with the distractions of TV and computers. But now 64% of children no longer play outside regularly according to a recent report. Perhaps the increasing interest in forest schools and woodland adventure days is a reaction to this and a glance at the TV listings for next week will tell you that Gareth Malone is fronting a programme about getting boys outside the classroom because that’s where they learn best. To those of us who started a teaching career in Inner City London this is hardly news!
And for those of you who now can’t wait to get outside may I recommend trekking up the nearest windy hill early in the morning with a flask and sandwiches to enjoy at the top and sliding down on a picnic mat. Or pack a picnic and take it to the city park to climb trees, and watch the locals practising circus skills or yoga. When the children return to school on Friday you’ll find me over on the plot with my storm kettle and a hunk of fruit cake, whatever the weather.