Sonny woke me up early yesterday (no shock there) and the sun was shining, so instead of lounging in bed we jumped on my bike and went for a little Saturday morning nature hunt.
One of the main questions I get asked off the back of writing this blog is “How do you come up with ideas for family outdoor trips?” The honest answer is that most of them just happen by accident. Take this one for example…
I was bored in the house. Sonny was bored in the house. Mum was fast asleep and we were too scared to wake her up, so we took advantage of some decent spring weather by heading out for a quick cycle. Sonny loves being in his bike seat almost as much as he loves looking at buses, so we pedalled down the local bus route so he could gawp at as many double-deckers as his little eyeballs could handle.
Finding Freddie The Frog
We’d been cycling for around 15 minutes when Sonny heard a big rabble of black-headed gulls squawking on an island at Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve, so we ditched the bike and headed down a trail to investigate. The first thing we found was a little pond called Paddy’s Pool, which was filled with bugs, dragonflies, damselflies and loads of other creepy-crawlies. One of Sonny’s favourite books at the moment is Freddie The Frog, so we spent 10 minutes on a fruitless search for the fictional amphibian before delving deeper into the woods.
Sidestepping snails and slugs
It must have rained the night before this little father-son adventure, because there were hundreds of snails and slugs lining our footpath through the trees. Sonny’s generally a bit of a wrecking machine but he’s also a sensitive little soul. So as soon as I told him we’d hurt the snails if we stepped on them, he made me promise to tiptoe the rest of the way and stop to stroke the shell of every snail we passed. It was cute at first…
Hiding in bird hides
I know it isn’t exactly the done thing to unleash a furious ball of toddler energy on a silent bird hide full of nervy twitchers, but it had taken us 45 minutes to get there so I wasn’t going to stop him. The gulls grew louder all the way down our woodland trail and we hadn’t come this far to miss out, so we creaked open the door and headed inside.
There was a friendly older lady inside with her binoculars trained on the islands in Ferry Lagoon, and she didn’t seem too flustered by Sonny’s frenzied entrance. He calmed down a bit once I told him we might scare the birds away, but still kept chattering away with excitement while trying to point out every gull (there were thousands of them). He loved it so much that I had to bribe him out of the hide with mini gingerbread biscuits.
Stuffing ourselves with sausage rolls
Of all the things I love about my son, his obsession with food is very high up the list. I’d forgotten to eat breakfast before we set off and was in dire need of a grease fix, so we stopped off at Tom’s Cakes in St Ives (most awesome cafe in the world) to share a slice of cake and giant sausage roll before heading home.
And that was it. Nothing spectacular. We didn’t plan it, we didn’t take any outdoor gear, and the only food or drink we took with us was a tiny pack of biscuits. The whole trip only lasted a couple of hours and we were home just as Sonny’s mum was getting out of bed. My kind of Saturday morning!