In my head, if you buy a book about something, you then become better at doing the things the book tells you about. My bookshelf can, in many ways, be seen as a portrait of what my life would be like if I was the idealised version of myself that I gave up striving to be a few years ago. This idealised version of me is absolutely brilliant at getting outdoors with her kids, whatever the weather.
This tempting title was in the latest Book People and, realising that my natural tendency in poor weather is to snuggle under a blanket mainlining cups of tea and Cadburys chocolate fingers, I decided it would be a good one to have on the shelf, especially given that we have to go out of the house at least ten times a week for the school run, so we might as well get maximum enjoyment out of it.
Ah, the school run. The way there - calmly strolling through the crisp, golden countryside, discussing current affairs, and the minutiae of the day ahead. The way back, laughing together at an amusing anecdote from the day whilst walking our beautiful red setter who doesn't smell, moult, poo or get dirty.
Obviously, that's the ideal me. The real me is slightly scared of both current affairs and dogs.
What actually happens is this. In the morning we are left with precisely 14 nanoseconds to get shoes, coats and gloves on before we have to leave RIGHT NOW OR WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE. Then I CAN'T FIND MY KEYS WHERE ARE MY KEYS KIDS CAN YOU SEE MY KEYS THERE THEY ARE GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW OUT I DON'T CARE IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHOE ON. We then spend the walk there discussing how youshouldhavelearnedyourspellingsbeforenowwhydoyoualwaysleavethingstothelastminuteIdon'tknowwhereyougetitfrom.
By the time we get to school, an almost calm has descended when we realise we are all actually going to miss each other all day, and kisses are dispensed as pills to counter the ill-effects of the previous twenty minutes of ill-tempered sniping.
The afternoon. 2pm. The sun is high in the autumnal sky, and it smells all lovely and fresh, like Britain is meant to smell. 3pm. A huge, menacing, black cloud edges quietly onto the horizon. 3:10pm Said cloud unleashes its entire contents onto the heads of assorted mums, dads, childminders, grandparents and children and drenches them to the very core of their M&S undies. The conversation goes thusly. "Heymummyinictifinishedapictureanditwasofstarwarsandmyfriendsaidblahblebhalbablahblabbbbmmmmmd"
"ICAN'THEARYOUYOUHAVEYOURHOODUPANDAREFACINGAWAYFROM ME" "Yes,ok,andthenblamhablahblahbla". Ad infinitum. Complete the picture with A gazing at us as though she is just ever so slightly above it all and BabyM wailing his little heart out, because really Mummy I hadn't quite finished that feed actually.
Anyway. As I was looking through The Wild Weather Book with C earlier, I pondered on how it was a bit like the Autumn and Winter chapters of Nature's Playground, a book I read a while back. I googled the authors and realised that they are in fact the self-same people.
Nature's Playground is a better, more comprehensive book. We have found the activities in there to be really inspirational; I enjoyed making the fairy house almost as much as the kids did, in actual real life, and this activity is also included in The Wild Weather Book. In fact, there is an awful lot of crossover. However, it is worth having both books, and indeed The Stick Book if it takes your fancy, because the smaller books are much more portable. Nature's Playground is not one to cart around in your rucksack - it's a substantial tome.
I noticed that they have a city version coming out in May, and I will certainly be looking out for that one. I will be putting it in my family adventure rucksack. Which I actually do have. It only ever really comes out during school holidays when I reach as close to the person depicted on my bookshelves as I ever manage. Never mind - she's almost certainly completely insufferable.