The LAST few days have been spent in idyllic tranquillity; well, as tranquil as it gets with three small children including one who is only two years old.
Luckily for us we have been blessed with relatives with plenty, one of whom happens to have a “spare” four-bedroom house in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District.
As they now live in another part of the country in equally splendid surroundings, the house largely sits empty most weeks of the year.
However, come the holidays it is in complete demand. The other half and his sister have to draw lots as to which weeks we can “book” the place for ourselves, unless we are planning a family get together. But with all our numerous kids in tow, the house soon becomes overrun and the peace and quiet it is designed for seems to get lost somewhere.
Not only is the house amply proportioned, it sits in the most amazing gardens, or maybe they should be grounds. At least an acre of lawn greets you in the first garden, before leading you onto a larger area complete with vast vegetable plot, which brims with tasty goodies all year round. Our kind benefactor lets the plot to local green fingered enthusiasts, who in turn mow her lawns and keep her beautiful herbaceous borders and shrubs in tip-top condition.
Following this is nothing less than a miniature arboretum before the rest of the vast plot meanders downhill where a small stream idles by. It is like something out of the Great Romantics paintings - a chocolate box picture.
And what makes it even more charming is hearing the laughter and babbling of the offspring as they take in this vast nature reserve which entirely at their disposal. There is even an outdoor swimming pool which sadly now lies empty, although the other half assures me it was once fed from the stream and was always teeming with local kids.
So we lazily passed the days walking and playing in the garden, only occasionally venturing over the road to the local park, the swings and slides.
One of the best things was watching my two eldest children playing football together. I have to say it is not my sort of sport. If it’s on the telly I naturally switch over to any other side, no matter what’s on, much to the other half’s annoyance. He is a huge fan and would watch it - or better still, play it - 24/7 if he was given half a chance.
Despite the various rain showers, he and the children happily kicked the ball to each other for hours on end, only realising they were soaking wet when they finally came in to the warm home.
My daughter was excellent in goal – her favourite position, so much so we are now going to take her for some trials later this month.
The fact that the game is still steeped in sexism seems to have passed her by. The boys at school don’t seem to mind her joining them as she plays in a position no one seems to relish apart from her. When I spoke to her about the element of sexism in the sport she just looked at me blankly. Apparently this is not something she has experienced, thankfully.
I really hope this is a sign that the next generation is not going to be as hung up on what sex you are. That would be great news.
My conversation with my daughter did, however, spark her interest in what exactly sexism was/is. She was shocked to discover that women haven’t always been given the top jobs or the same pay as men just because of their sex.
She didn’t believe me when I told her that in her great-grandmother’s day women had to give up their jobs when they got married because they were expected to focus on having a family instead. Having a baby and a career was never the norm until this generation, much to my daughter’s amazement. And when I told her the story of the Suffragette Movement, where women died to secure the vote for future generations of women, her eyes widened in complete disbelief.
However, I hope one thing from this conversation does sink in for her – and that is just how important it is to be able to vote.
It is a true sign of democracy when people have a “take it or leave it” attitude to something like voting. But for me, if I didn’t vote I would feel like I had no right to have any say on how things are being run – whether this is locally or centrally. And I am always grateful I wasn’t born over 100 years ago, when I would not have had this chance at all.