Oh, we lived life on the edge today. The VERY EDGE.
My beloved, best-ever sister offered to watch the boys for the afternoon so Tim and I could do something nice. We were so overwhelmed by the possibilities that we took most of the morning to decide what to do. I never descend those stairs without carrying a car seat, a box of raisins and twenty nappies, holding Henry’s hand and keeping up a running commentary of ‘no, there are no bears down here. Yes, you’re wearing your shoes. Don’t poke Edward in the eye. Thomas is a train; he doesn’t need shoes. Hold on to the wall please – holdonholdonholdon… Argh’.
You know what I left with today? Face powder, and no carpet burns. It felt like living.
We ended up at Stowe, a 250-acre landscape garden that used to be top destination for the posh in the 1800s. Now, in your average National Trust property you might get a large, fancy house, some manicured lawns and maybe a little temple with Roman statues. This one had the largest house we’d seen outside Buckingham Palace, three lakes, and a temple everywhere you looked. A riot of temples, an embarrassment of temples – all of them with the sort of acoustics that just begged for a bit of Mariah Carey, and architecture that needed a Pride and Prejudice reenactment. You know, one of the really intense scenes, where everyone’s windswept and wearing jodhpurs. We were happy to oblige.
Oh, and the views. And the sky. And that lake threaded with fallen leaves like something out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting.
We did the whole circuit – something like four miles – and had uninterrupted, hand-in-hand conversations. As we walked back through the gate towards the car park and home, we saw a tiny blonde boy riding a bicycle, his legs pumping furiously, cheered on by parents who were obviously regretting giving him that bell.
Once, we would have talked about how fun it would be to bring a boy here someday. Today, we made a plan for October.