We love a walk, our family. Come sunshine, rain, wind, sleet or snow we have always got wrapped up warm and ventured out for some fresh air. I think it’s good for the soul, or at least that’s what has been drummed into me all my life by my ridiculously active parents.
I remember as a teenager, having my best friend Ailsa sleep over after a late night out dancing (think perms, crushed velvet and tie-dyed skirts paired with scuffed Doc Martin boots) and flirting with boys (just think awkward and triple it). At around 8:30am we heard knocking on the window (we were NOT in a bungalow) and my Dad calling through the closed curtains about what a lovely day it was. Then the unmistakable sound of the windows getting washed…loudly…and his voice exclaiming that shouldn’t we be up making the most of the day? Doing something constructive?
This was my life growing up. TV was a treat at the end of the day and not a substitute for activity, creativity, playing, communicating or just ‘doing’. Grange Hill was banned in our house, as was Eastenders and Dallas, until my Mum found the rebel inside her and got quite into both. Then the rules were relaxed – but only slightly.
I am proud of my old-fashioned childhood now. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was embarrassed beyond belief when I was 13 and going to piano lessons, when all the cool kids would be hanging out on the streets with the older boys. I was ashamed of having to do Scottish Country Dancing each week, because my Mum was the teacher and there was no way I could get out of it. And, I was always in trouble with Mum after a night out with my friends at 15 or 16, because I was ALWAYS late home. This wasn’t because I was a rebel in any way whatsoever….it was because my curfew was always at least half an hour earlier than all my friends and it was humiliating. So, I would stretch it out as long as I could and inevitably end up a few minutes late, charging through the door, puffing and panting and red in the face from my mad dash home, only to find myself face to face with angry mother, who never appreciated how hard I had tried to be on time.
We laugh about it now, my incessant rebellion (as she saw it) or, we did, until this bastard, evil illness took hold.
But, we still try and walk….
I was up visiting Mum and Dad recently and we decided to get out the house and take the dog for a walk. Mum wanted to come and she disappeared upstairs to get her coat and didn’t come back down. I went up after 5 minutes to help her and she was standing in her room, coat on, looking lost. What are you doing Mum? What do you need? Let me help you? I tried to encourage her out the bedroom with a hand on her elbow, explaining that the kids and dog were already in the car and we were all ready to go.
“Ouch!” she shouted at me. “You’re hurting me! Stop touching me!”. Needless to say, we didn’t all go for a walk that day and she didn’t come out the bedroom for about an hour. When she did come downstairs and the kids talked about the walk they had had with Papa, she looked cross. “It would have been nice to have been invited out on a walk!”
My Dad just looked defeated in that moment. I was ready to scream, but the kids just smiled at her.
“Don’t worry Granny, we’ll be going again tomorrow.”
Of course we will….this is part of your legacy Mum.