A favourite memory of childhood is getting up while the rest of the house was still asleep and heading off on my bike in search of wild poppies in the fields a short distance from us.
I was reminded of that today as I headed off to explore the woodland about a mile from our home. No bike this time but a camera instead, I headed away from civilization and into the darkness of the woods for a couple of hours.
It’s partly an effort to get fitter but mostly the opportunity to escape my laptop, the Internet and enjoy a slower, more relaxed pace of life in the Great Outdoors.
Totally unaccustomed to exploring the countryside I went out in totally inappropriate footwear. Converse trainers as it happens.
The deeper into the wood I travelled the darker and muddier it got. A more sensible person would have worn boots.
IJ didn’t come with me – because why would anyone want to log off a computer and go for a walk – so I went alone and enjoyed some rare peace and quiet and the chance to think without music blasting out in the background.
Apart from startling a deer, getting temporarily lost and nearly falling in the mud twice, the trip passed without incident.
I came very close to trespassing on private property but diverted my course just in time. It’s not that obvious exactly where you’ll end up when all you’ve got ahead of you is more mud.
The slightly random birdhouse stood out against so much green and brown. It was close to the grounds of a school and likely put there by the staff.
These mammoth tree roots caught my eye too. Rare to see them so exposed, they looked a little out of place.
8km and 11,000 steps later, my legs ache, my hair is totally windswept and my trainers will never be quite the same again.
But there’s really nothing better than switching off and getting back to nature for a while.
I’ll be doing it more often.