This weekend, I looked up into the greying sky – all the blue, well and truly faded from it – and felt a little sad. Sad, that the sun seems to have deserted Britain in favour of leaving us in the wet and rather damp hands of Mr Torrential Rain.
I suppose I’ve got complacent, and grown used to the reassuring presence of the sunshine. So the past few days of persistent rain have felt strangely autumnal. And I’m just not ready for Autumn yet. Not when I’ve recently bought a whole heap of summer clothes and flip-flops aplenty.
But Autumn does have its perks. It’s a hall pass to a lazy afternoon, inside, snuggled up on the sofa wrapped in a fleecy blanket, chilly hands warming themselves on a mug of hot chocolate, eyes glued to a film that requires very little thought. As much as I love a lazy day, with no need to move apart from to get food and fresh cups of tea, I do like to ‘do’, to go out and achieve something with the day. So as tempting as it was on sunday, when the rain was drizzling, to curl up in the foetal position and stay inside, we decided to pull on our Wellington boots and anoraks and headed out into the fresh air before we fell asleep. One of our favourite things to do at the weekend, is to explore a new National Trust place. We’ve made quite a dent on the properties and gardens in Surrey. With a hearty walk in mind, we ventured out to Claremont Landscape Gardens.
I had foolishly forgotten my rain coat, clearly I was in denial about the sudden onset of more wintery weather. So I had to borrow Oli’s. His parka, combined with my wellies, made me look like a fisherman’s wife but looks aside it kept the rain off. We had a delightful meander around the large lake, admired the grass amphitheatre and jumped in the odd muddy puddle. Wellies have to be up there with my favourite types of shoe, I can literally tread anywhere in them.
Towards the end of our walk, we stumbled across the Thatched Cottage. Within the cottage was an old rickety round table, on which sat lots of old school games. Above the table was a load of colorful bunting in sweet fabrics, draped casually about the beams. There was a fireplace at the centre of the cottage and next to that was a rack of vintage fancy dress costumes for children, complete with straw hats and waistcoats. I love the National Trust because whenever you visit, there always seems to be some unexpected joy or delight to uncover. And our joy to discover was the box of Dominoes on the table. So as the rain continued in its pouring, we turned out the tin of Dominoes and began to play. Best of three. I won the first game and must have got too cocky because Oli went on to win the next two. It was in this simple, silly moment, that I felt extremely content. Because you don’t need bucket loads of money to have the most wonderful of times. You don’t need to be sat in a flashy restaurant, or for the sun to be shining, to genuinely feel like smiling. You don’t always have to spend weeks planning either, you can just rock up to a place and see what the day holds. And that’s exactly what we did. No agenda, no expectations. There we were laughing, and generating competition in a thatched cottage in the middle of nowhere. I loved it.
We then took to making our initials out of dominoes so that we could then make them fall over one by one. Only I kept knocking them down accidentally with the sleeve of my borrowed coat or by accidentally knocking the table, so they kept collapsing mid build. We rebuilt about three times, before dissolving into giggles and giving up.
The rain may have fallen like those dominoes, consistent and unrelenting, but we still had the brightest and sunniest of days.