Messing About in Tents

Sorry for the long silence from the keyboard…it’s been pretty chaotic here. But  I wanted to share our latest series of adventures.

It’s fairly obvious to the mildly discerning that I love the outdoors and my Malakai is just the same. I’d go so far as to say we need regular wild outdoor time or we become restless and ratty (I can see my husband rolling his eyes and nodding emphatically). We are not, however what I would call “hardy”. If the temperature drops below balmy then we start to shiver in tandem and layer up to twice our original sizes. In this part of the world, then, we have problem for approximately 83% of the year…

As the weather here turned from an unusually temperate and vibrant autumn to the leading edge of winter the wind has picked up her knives; mornings are dark and frosty and night comes too soon after mid-afternoon tea breaks (I’m English, don’t mock me!) we have struggled to get our vitamin N fix.

With even a hurricane three year old and a disabled mum (I care for her – as a job I mean…and an emotion of course…oh this language is knotty at times!) long brisk keeping-warm hikes are out. I could carry one on my back but not both and Baloo isn’t QUITE big enough for the saddle…

Speaking of the dog – in with me huddled beside the heater (unless the nosy neighbours are outside of course, in which case he’ll lie stubbornly and determinedly beside our front gate in the rain looking sad and abandoned, letting out the odd pitiful howl) someone remind me to have a long serious conversation with him about his Alaskan roots…

Anyway…I’m getting to the adventure part…I’m still on my big decluttering and simplifying mission (I promise this all links) and tackled my Cupboard of Doom (AKA the cupboard under the stairs) and found our pop-up tent and inspiration…

The boy is firmly in the den-phase (I’ve never outgrown it) and so, armed with said tent, our pillows and blankets (don’t tell the husband…) and a few books and toys we made our way to ‘our’ nature reserve. After a few false starts we set up camp, tether the dog on his 65ft lead and huddle in for picnic and stories and play.




Since then we’ve refined the model and become Mongolians on the Moors with the tent in a tiny sheltered hollow; watching a massive murmuration (isn’t that a lovely word?) of starlings swooping around and around low over our heads and eating food and reading stories snuggled in sleeping bags. We’ve found a secret meadow that I’m not 100% sure we were allowed in and camped all afternoon beside a stream and poured over atlases as explorers in an unknown land; sampling strange indigenous foods (pineapple and melon!) and we camped all day in the sand dunes by the sea, digging, playing with dog and boy on the sand and reading charming undersea adventure stories.









Most recently Malakai and I took advantage of the early darkness to go stargazing. We took the tent to my  grandparents’ old cottage and huge, overgrown garden. I walked Malakai round telling him stories of my Grandma and my childhood and we set up camp below the old ‘sentinal’ beech tree in the paddock. We drank soup from old jam jars (just don’t ask about the flask) and munched apples and doorstep slices of bread, reading by torchlight as the sun went down and the stars peeked out.

I’ve found he’s more receptive outdoors to learning. He loves books everyday but will listen and focus outdoors in a way he struggles inside. My fussy eater will try almost anything if it’s in a picnic and the combination of fresh air, play and learning help him sleep (my holy grail and the main aim of most of my day – TIRE THE CHILD!) and connect with me.

Come the spring and the official start of our unofficial no pressure preschool time we shall look for a bigger tent; we will spend as many of our days outside in a slightly Charlotte Mason – esque way as we can. Comfortable for mum to rest, plenty of room for dog and boy to roam and explore and learn and space and time for all our souls to unknot and calm.


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