Rewind 20 years and my younger self would possibly raise an eyebrow at my willingness to get up so early at the weekend and spend the day comparing varieties of rhododendron.
But give me a place of natural beauty, and I’m literally in my element.
I like a night out in the pub as much as the next person (maybe even more!), but I can say for sure that when nightclubs reopen next week, I’ll be leaving them to people a teeny bit younger than me.
Let’s face it, I’m a mum of two with a big birthday looming. A good Saturday night is when I don’t fall asleep on the sofa before 10pm. The chances of me staying awake late enough to head home with a kebab in hand are slim to none.
Plus, how would I get up and hit the county’s sites of historic interest if I’m still sleeping off a night ‘In Da Club’?
So, Wakehurst again on Sunday. We’d arranged to meet my family there for a walk and a picnic.
When we got there, we found out there was a series of art installations using sound to provide a novel way for visitors to explore the landscape.
Added value – what a bonus!
Sounds of Summer features six striking large-scale installations to inspire a greater connection to nature.
We found our first one – it was hammocks under the trees while calming music played. The kids were straight in there, shrieking excitedly and ricking each other as high as they could go. Then I saw the sign: “This is an area for peaceful contemplation. Please keep noise to a minimum.”
“Eeek, kids, get out of there!”
Whoops! Bit of a false start there. Sorry to anybody trying to peacefully contemplate while the party of loud people temporarily broke the silence.
Other sections included listening horns, forest megaphones and sound wave.
Each gave you a unique perspective and appreciation of the natural world around you, but most importantly for a parent of young children, it gave them a focus and stopped them from asking for ice cream too early!
Two other things I want to mention...
1) Last week, I was kindly invited to give a talk at Bohunt school in Worthing
Head of English Leisha Brugnoli had organised a careers afternoon for some of her students, and I was one of four women speaking to them to, hopefully, inspire them to consider studying/a career in the English field. It was so nice to be out of the home office, and so lovely to play even the smallest part in helping young people make decisions for their future.
They were a lovely bunch, and it was great to answer their questions. It was also lovely to hear from three other inspirational women on how their careers have played out. Thanks for a fab afternoon!
2) I was able to get my second Covid vaccine this week. Having originally booked it for 12 weeks after my first one. They texted me to say I could rebook it earlier, and voila, it’s done.
As I wrote about last time, it was once again such a slick operation at the Brighton Centre. And it wasn’t a fluke last time, all the staff really are friendly and helpful. I know it sounds silly, but I almost enjoyed getting it done. There’s a lot about the way the Covid crisis has been handled that has, personally, left me wanting. But I can’t help feeling a sense of national pride at the rollout of the vaccine programme.