Puddle Jumping and Muddy Monsters: 2013 365 Challenge #48

New Olympic Sport - Long Puddle Jump

New Olympic Sport – Long Puddle Jump

The sun made a rare appearance today so, despite having zero energy left after a four-hour Farm visit yesterday, I took the kids to our local zoo while Daddy did DIY. Hamerton Zoo is one of the three or four places we have an annual pass to and it has been worth every penny. I thought the kids would lose interest but not only do different animals make an appearance each time we go the place also has something I hadn’t counted on. Puddles.

After the failed dog-walk yesterday, when little man fell in a puddle and cried all the way home, Daddy promised puddle-jumping today (I blame Peppa Pig) and puddle jumping is what they did. I often think that’s the main reason why they love going to the zoo. I could save myself an hour of driving and just fill the bath with mud, except I love seeing the animals. And there are no puddles like the ones created by a wide open space, poor drainage and major footfall.

Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for...

Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for…

It takes some effort to let the kids get as filthy as they did today. I don’t mind getting muddy if I’m wearing the right gear but I hate wearing waterproofs so my main aim is generally to stay away from the kids and watch from a distance when they’re top-to-top in slurry. I amuse myself by seeing the horrified look on other parents’ faces as their kids want to do what mine are doing. I feel a little bit guilty at the bad example mine set but not when I see someone bring their kid to the zoo in white trainers. I mean, really?

My job is to tell the kids to stay away from other people and occasionally to referee. I cheer from the sidelines with wetwipes and a change of clothes, although today nothing but a full bath the minute we got home would do. Today I amused myself trying to get action shots with Amber’s little camera.

My muddy monsters (picture does not do them justice!)

My muddy monsters (picture does not do them justice!)

It definitely feels like a parenting box ticked and it was a gorgeous sunny day to stand around supping flask-tea while they invented a new Olympic Sport – the Long Puddle Jump.

The chocolate cake in the coffee shop is pretty good too.

As I’ve already written one Claire post from scratch today (albeit a short one) I’m struggling for ideas and words. The combination of a glass of wine and three hours on my feet means I’m more fit for bed than creativity. Hmmm might be another short one today!


Claire walked up to the building and felt the dark mood of the day soar away with the retreating birds. The structure in front of her reared magnificently, every inch a five-star hotel. The whitewashed walls stood proud behind an ornate veranda and when she turned to survey the view her gaze ran down verdant lawn, over woodland thicket and across rolling hills. The house nestled amidst a backdrop of trees: some still resplendent in their evergreen glory, some eagerly awaiting the dressmaker of spring.

Hitching the rucksack further up her shoulder Claire entered the building hoping the interior lived up to first impressions.

Inside, the late evening light poured in through a cupola above the main staircase. Craning her neck to take in the detail Claire decided it wouldn’t look out of place in a Hello Magazine spread extolling the extravagant pads of the rich and famous.

At last, some glamour.

Claire smiled and sighed, releasing the tension that had built up over the long long day. I can’t believe it was only a few hours ago that I was swinging through the trees like some poorly trained circus ape. She felt as if she might have aged a decade since the morning.

Claire followed directions to her private room: she had gone over her daily allowance to book it but, for once, it wasn’t because she wanted the privacy. After the rollercoaster day she would have welcomed the company of a dorm room but there hadn’t been any available. It seemed decadent to rattle round a three-bed room but, as her main intentions were food and sleep, it wasn’t like to be an issue for long.

The grandeur ebbed slightly as she entered the depths of the main house. Unlike some of the places she had stayed in thus far, this hostel seemed faded and in need of some love. At last she inserted the key and opened the door to her room.

“Blimey, what’s that awful smell?”

Claire looked round the room. It seemed okay, wooden bunks, great view. The odd lingering smell was indefinable. A quick spritz of perfume will soon mask that. She looked round again. Where’s the bathroom? Her expectations of an en-suite had been set by previous experience. I have a private room and I still have to go in hunt of the shower? Great. I guess this is more the hostelling I expected when I started. Carl would grin from ear to ear if he could see it.

Through the fading twilight Claire could make out a lake in the distance as she peered through the Georgian window. It’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. I’m too tired to see what delights Hawkshead has to offer. I’m not even sure I’m going to make it to the restaurant.

Slinging her rucksack in the corner Claire bounced on the beds to find the most comfortable one, lay down and was almost instantly asleep.