Isn’t June a wonderful month?! Longer days to savour, and the promise of chilled-out summer days just around the corner with lots of exciting things to look forward. The kids are excitedly counting down the days until school finishes for the holidays – only 1 week to go! I don’t know about your children, but mine are well and truly ready for the summer break. Their eyes are heavy with tiredness and they want to stay in bed longer each morning so it’ll be great to ditch the routine for a while, catch up on some sleep, read some good books, enjoy lazy days in the garden and meet up with friends before heading off to Italy for a fortnight. Bellissimo…!
While we anticipate the summer break with great enthusiasm, I cannot believe quite how rapidly the year is going by – the weeks seem to hurtle by in a flash and already Week 3 of the 30 Days Wild is over! The month-long nature challenge, organised by the Wildlife Trusts encourages people of all ages to get outdoors and do something WILD each day during the month of June. It can be absolutely anything, large-scale or small, grand expedition or time spent in the garden, as long as it brings you closer to nature. We have had some great adventures and made some super-dooper memories during Week 1 and Week 2 of 30 Days Wild and Week 3 has been wonderful too! Want to hear how we have been enjoying wild time over the past 7 days? Then keep on reading…
It was a dreich and dreary day here in Northern Ireland but we are well used to experiencing 4 seasons in a day here! With 2 of my boys off at their friends’ houses after school, my husband, my eldest son and I decided to go for fish and chips by the sea! A little treat! We hopped in the car and drove to Holywood, County Down for our takeaway tea then made our way to the seafront.
We sat side-by-side on the wall, watching as the Stena Line ferries made their way into Belfast Harbour, while a flock of hungry birds gathered round in hope of a dropped chip. Afterwards, we linked arms and took a stroll along the deserted beach – the one benefit of the miserable weather! We enjoyed having the place all to ourselves, dandering along, enjoying the time together, looking at unusual shells and stones and we even spied some jellyfish.
I love this engraving we spotted on a bench along the pathway leading to the beach…a great reminder!
Days 16 & 17
While I was at work today, my husband dropped the 3 boys to their Grandparents and when I arrived home, we loaded up the car with a tent and some food and headed off on a Mourne Mountain Microadventure to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. We spend a great deal of time hiking in the mountains as a family so it was lovely to spend some time there as a couple, chatting about the great memories we have created there with our kids, while enjoying a night of camping as well as a 4am sunrise hike. We were only away for 1-night but it felt so much longer and was a great way to connect both with one another and the wild Mourne Mountains.
Back to work! It was a lovely bright morning when I woke up today, so once packed lunches were made, kids kitted out for school and goodbye waves given as my husband and children cycled off around the corner on the school run, I decided to leave a little early for work to make the most of some outside time. I enjoyed a stroll through the Old Priory Church grounds in Holywood, marvelling at the way nature has reclaimed the old stonework. I just love this so much as it is a great reminder that nature finds a way to spread and bloom and grow in any setting.
Wow! The rain returned once more and sometimes you have just got to make the most of what a day brings and go dance barefoot in the mud! We twisted and jived as the rain fell, digging our toes into the ground to get nice and grubby! The boys loved this – of course they did! An opportunity to splash and get covered in muck and grass and not get scolded, they were in their element! Can you spot the little snail that also wanted to join the dance party? We then spied some cool spiderwebs down between the decking which glimmered beautifully as water droplets glistened on them – sometimes it’s these little details in life that we pass by daily that make us pause and wonder for a moment at just how intricate and marvellous nature is.
Today was a ‘Rain, Rain, Go to Spain’ kinda day! It rained, it mizzled, it poured! Like seriously – it’s June and it felt like mid-winter. We were also a little tired today, the norm really as the end of a busy school term approaches. So, with no major wild plans scheduled in we decided on a bug hunt in our own pack garden. I gave the camera to my youngest son and told him to go take some interesting pictures of bugs and beasties while I helped my middle son finish some school work. He took some great snaps don’t you think?
That night, my 10-year old and I also finished reading The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. It is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it. We laughed, we cried (well, I cried, but apparently I cry at everything!), we learned so much and we fell in love with the characters Max, Con, Lila and Fred on their incredible Amazonian adventure. If you read one book this summer, make it The Explorer!
I awoke early today, bright daylight seeping through my blinds reminding me that it was the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year. The patio doors were soon flung open and morning coffee was enjoyed in the garden before anyone else appeared for breakfast. Later that afternoon, following a dreaded morning of paperwork, phone-calls and organisation (I put these days off for as long as possible, but eventually some things just need to be done!) we enjoyed some playtime outdoors and then my 10-year old and I worked on a minibeast project for school. He had to research native Irish Invertebrates and compile a fact-file, and, he had so much fun doing it I think he forgot it was a set homework! The boys then continued playing outdoors, kicking a ball around and chasing one another until it was time for supper – these long days are so great!
So, here we are about to enter Week 4 of 30 Days Wild – we have some wild weekend plans made but not much beyond that. It is simple to find a little bit of time in the normal day-to-day routine for some outdoors, nature-inspired wildness, as we have learned this week, so we will see what each day brings as we wind down the final days of this school year and embrace the 2-month summer break awaiting us…exciting!