The wind was bitter, snapping at exposed faces with the bitterness of a recent divorcee; the freezing rain could have been driven by Lewis Hamilton in a particularly vicious mood; the ground was beyond sodden, with large areas of lying water which sucked at our feet and forced long detours when it became too deep for wellingtons. My nine year old daughter was NOT having fun!
It was the first of January and the family was out for a nice little walk.
In summer it would have been a delightful walk. Quite why my husband decided that 1st January, with the weather flagging up amber warnings across the whole country, was the day to do this particular expedition must remain a mystery. For the whole walk we saw only one other human, head down, plodding at an angle into the wind, obviously exercising his dog.
So there we were, splashing and sploshing through the flood, in the wind and rain (previously described), getting steadily wetter and colder. It was only a couple of miles, but it was quite enough.
My husband is one of these rough and tough outdoorsy types: he was in his element. I would far rather be curled up with a book. Daughter number one takes after her father and was having a whale of a time. Daughter number two can normally be found glued to a computer game and was not enjoying this one bit: oh no – and was making the rest of us fully aware of her displeasure.
So what does Mum do? Laugh, of course! This was one of those times when a sense of the ridiculous comes to the rescue. If you're busy laughing at how silly you are being, then even getting cold and wet and muddy becomes an adventure. You can cope with soggy feet and a numb nose if you're laughing. You can even cope with a cross and whiney daughter.
Maybe a sense of the ridiculous is something one only gains with maturity, or maybe it's the ability to be able to laugh at oneself that comes with age. Whichever it is, I do hope my nine year old will develop it eventually: she's in for a rough ride through life if she doesn't.
That goes for all of us, I suppose.