Eventually you get tired of paying £16 to take your children to soft play every time someone wants to come around, criticise your paintwork, object to the existence of trees (in a village in rural Warwickshire), and conspicuously not buy your house.
It’s definitely been a blessing when we’ve had a run of viewings on the sort of wintery day where the damp swirls around you like a lethargic blanket, and you desperately need somewhere for the kids to blow off the head of steam built up from 20 minutes of sitting on the bottom step while their parents run around like headless chickens hiding normal things that normal people would have in a normal house all in the interests of appeasing the furies of the property market.
But Friday, despite my horribly cold, was an utterly beautiful day. Clear sunshine and warm blue skies dotted with popcorn clouds that faded to lilac as we loaded up and left the house to our estate agent.
I knew in the moment that John said he had an idea, exactly where we would be coming.
If When we sell our house and move away, this will be one of the places I miss the most. So many adventures, so many spur of the moment picnics, and so many pictures.
For once, I didn’t have my big camera with me, and while part of me contemplated sneaking back home, nipping in to get it and sneaking out again, part of me also wanted to accept the challenge. My phone camera is brilliant, and in things like low light it’s probably better than the big camera, but I rarely use it for taking ‘proper pictures’, the sort that have a bit more thought and effort behind them, the sort that I’d print, not just pop on Instagram.
It was so much fun. As far as prettty light goes we couldn’t have had it much better, lovely golden rosy curls of sunlight, and just a few other people who’d climbed up to watch the sun sink into the trees on the far horizon.
The kids loved being up there too; there was space to run around and jump off the wall, and for Pip the time to find a seriously muddy puddle and start to wallow in it. He came home looking like he’d been auditioning for Oliver, but with a beaming smile underneath all the smudges.
I love this shot, even with someone standing in it. I thought about asking her to move but as the sun crept lower there was a sort of camaraderie of all of us watching, a stillness that it felt wrong to disturb. And I’m English so that was never going to happen, and I hope it tells the story of that sunset up on the hill, watching until the only glimmer came through the trees and then was gone, leaving only big wide skies and the start of the stars.
But my final shot is my absolute favourite. I was trying to get Kitty to do some jumping shots for me; I love the picture I have of her reaching up on tiptoe to stretch to the windmill’s sails, and I thought we could try something similar in silhouette; a winter to that summer. But we couldn’t quite get it right and she decided she’d had enough jumping for one evening, so John took over.
Suspended in mid-air, hanging from a windmill sail – or perhaps not! Basic physics will tell you that he can’t be holding on – if he could jump that high then his weight would pull the sail down to the vertical, so yes, it’s a trick shot and all down to perspective. It is however, probably the best trick shot I’ve pulled off yet.
Not bad for a quick escape out of the house, and something for me to remember next time I do have the big camera with me too.