It’s been half term round this parts and I’ve taken some time off to spend with A. One of the best investments we’ve ever made is joining the National Trust. There are so many great places to visit from historic houses, to country parks to beaches, that we’re kept entertained all year. I think it’s important to get outside and do things as a child, not be stuck inside watching TV (although TV does have its uses sometimes!)
The other day I visited Charlecote Park, one of the staples on our National Trust portfolio.
As usual we didn’t go into the house or the tea rooms. We walked around the park and took a picnic. It was a perfect autumn day. Of course, being this time of year there was a Halloween trail to complete and we duly signed up.
The aim of the Halloween trail was to find about ten pumpkins placed around the park.
Firstly, this was a great idea because I often have trouble convincing A to do the longer walks which helps to tire her out. Sometimes I resort to making up stories as we walk around, or “telling a story out of your mouth” as she likes to put it. At each pumpkin there was a question to answer, such as “What do witches like to fly on? A. Mars bar, B. Broom, C. Aeroplane. Each right answer gave us a letter to write down and then work out an anagram at the end of it.
This was the National Trust at its educational best, whether it realised it or not.
I was able to help A learn her letters as we went around, thereby ticking off several positive points such as fresh air, exercise, and spellings; surely a millennial dad win! Once we collected all the letters I suggested a picnic lunch by the river, to give me enough time to work out the anagram.
I’ve always been nervous about anagrams, even if they’re simple.
There’s something about the pressure of having to solve them as quickly as possible that puts me in a spin. Luckily I was able to solve this one with a bit of intuition given the Halloween theme (it was B-R-O-O-M-S-T-I-C-K: apologies to anyone who has yet to do the trail and wanted to work it out by themselves). Our prize was a pumpkin chosen from a shed full of boxes of pumpkins, surely grown organically on some National Trust farm and not bought down the local supermarket?! It wasn’t quite the sweets that A was promised at the entrance, but by the time we got it home we managed to turn it into a pretty mean-looking cat lantern.
Next up, a Halloween party where I’m obliged to dress up and wear face paint. I could never really be bothered to dress up when I was younger but now I’m a dad I may as well get into the spirit of things. Won’t a sheet with some eye holes do?