Sussex columnist: Braving the rain to see Worthing's bonfire night fireworks – and a walk in the wood at Wakehurst

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Please can somebody turn off the wind and rain now? I’m bored of getting soaked every time I venture out the house.

Plus, the terrible weather almost put paid to our annual trip to see the bonfire-night fireworks on Worthing beach when we looked out the window at 7pm and it was raining sideways. We had our very good family friends round at our house during the day. We’d had fish and chips for tea, all five children were playing nicely, the Prosecco was flowing and it would have been so easy to just ‘sack it off’ and continue chilling out in the comfort of our warm and dry living room.

But then, in a last-minute fit of bravery, we decided not to let rain stop play and dashed off – brollies first – into the unknown (well, not really the unknown, it was town and we go there quite a lot. It just sounded more dramatic, plus, it was quite an adventure in such a windy downpour).

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A very choppy sea as the fireworks were let off from the pier in Worthing on SaturdayA very choppy sea as the fireworks were let off from the pier in Worthing on Saturday
A very choppy sea as the fireworks were let off from the pier in Worthing on Saturday

I did a frantic last-minute Google, to check if the show was actually going ahead, but couldn’t see any suggestions it was cancelled so we kept our fingers crossed. I had visions of the beach being almost empty, with people not fancying getting soaked to the skin, but when we got down there five minutes before showtime, it was packed!

We grabbed a spot just to the east of the Lido, with a massive and scary-looking swinging arm funfair ride to one side of us and the huge, swirling and lashing waves to the other. It was high tide, there wasn’t much space to manoeuvre, and it all just felt very dramatic.

As the rain lashed down, and our clothes began to stick to us like glue, it felt like we were intrepid explorers, battling the elements to ensure our children experienced this important milestone of celebrating somebody trying to blow up a building.

I feared the children might moan – after all, they were all now twice the weight they were when we left the house, thanks to being completely waterlogged. But not one of them said a thing. They all embraced the excitement of the occasion with British stoicism that will stand them in good stead going forward.

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In fact, in one of my friend’s videos, I can hear our daughters shouting ‘whoa, this is epic’ and just ‘wow!’, repeatedly.

If last week’s lesson was to always embrace new challenges, this week’s is to be a little more kid-like. Adults worry about the weather. Worry about getting wet. Worry about everything. Children just see it as a fun adventure, and enjoy the moment.

Sure, I didn’t really like having soggy shoes, but I’ll always remember the funny night we watched the fireworks in the driving rain.

Having just written a few hundred words on the bad weather, my friend Catherine and I managed to find the one dry day last week and go for a walk in the woods.

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Both of us now have two children at school, so we thought we’d treat ourselves to some fresh air at Wakehurst.

It still feels very naughty doing things on my mid-week days off that aren’t child-related or involving practical duties like cleaning or errand-running.

I just have to keep reminding myself that good mental health is important, and a walk embracing nature’s autumnal delights definitely helps with that. I was last at Wakehurst a couple of weeks ago, doing the Room on the Broom trail with my husband and children. That was lovely, because it was so nice to see the kids enjoying themselves, but as with anything you do with children, it’s usually at a frenetic pace and has to involve lots of stops for snacks.

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This was a completely different ball-game. After grabbing a coffee, we went on a two-and-a-half-hour jaunt all around Wakehurst, taking things at a relaxed pace and chatting uninterrupted the whole way.

It was a complete luxury. Days out with my children will always be my favourite, but it’s safe to say another mummy day out has been scheduled for very soon. Watch this space!

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