For weeks, I have wanted to walk our river to the sea. Best Beloved and I planned it as a family outing last week but it didn't happen: this Sunday, nothing stood in my way. At just after eleven, Sophia and I loaded the two dogs and the Littles into the Land Rover and set out for the other side of the bridge.
The water level has fallen a lot since the dam overflowed two months ago, and soon only a chain of muddy pools will lead from spillway to the sea. Then those will parch under the summer sun, and the river will be just a memory for the next decade or so.
Fly-tipped rubbish and river refuse blighted what would otherwise have been a beautiful walk, but flowers made everything bright, and the dogs dashed in and out of the fields searching for mud puddles and sniffing the exciting smells of spring countryside. Frogs serenaded us from the water below, and I wished that we could have found a way down so that I could have initiated my children into the delights of raising tadpoles.
Despite not feeling well, Zenon enjoyed the walk. Normally he would have thrown himself into the spirit of our quest for a path to the sea, ranging on each side as a scout, hunting Orcs or other creatures, but a lingering cold made him more subdued. But “Can we do this again next week, Mum?” he asked as we reached the Land Rover on the way back. “I've had a really good time!” Leo was more inclined to be negative, but I have the feeling that if I suggest another walk next Sunday, he will jump at the chance.