3 April 2011

Although we just learned that we might only have something like 48 days on this planet left, we decided not to ponder on Mr Camping’s predictions but to make the most of the weekend. I am pleased to report we have been successful. I am now not going to bore you with details of the party the kids and I attended on Saturday (my hero was in Chicago all of last week at a conference) and how difficult it was to get Lucy to stay awake on the way home on the public transport round midnight….
I would much rather write about what we did today. For us in France, as for most of Europe, today was a lovely, warm sunny and beautiful spring day. We made the most of it by going on a long bike-ride to Parc Miribel Jonage. It’s lovely there. It’s a vast parc near Lyon, but due to its size it never feels crowded once you get away from the entrance areas and car parks. Most people stay within a comfortable 500m of their cars, I think. For a lot of visitors it would be a bit difficult not to, because how on earth are you going to get your BBQ equipment, camping chairs and tables, hamper, drinks, kid’s toys, grandma, grandpa, and the children to a nice spot for a picnic without bringing a wheelbarrow or shopping trolley? No, you have to stay close to the car. The air near the parc’s big car parks was impregnated with BBQ smell and their were thick clouds of white to grey smoke rising from various spots. These must have been caused by barbie novices who can’t get a fire going, even if it’s a sunny, lightly breezy day and your charcoal is bone-dry…

We on the other hand were on our bikes and thus in a position to find a nice quiet spot for a picnic away from the crowds. I happen to have magic panniers for my bike, the good old-fashioned, bright yellow, waterproof kind that the German company Ortlieb produce. These have a bit of a Mary-Poppins-quality to them. You can fit in loads of stuff like food, drink, balls, picnic blankets… I have as yet not managed to put in a hatstand or floor lamp like Ms Poppins does, but I am working on it 😉 .

When we found ourselves a lovely and quiet spot

we did this:

..finding and throwing stones.

This is great. We have been into cloud-watching previously, and though we still like marvelling at and interpreting the shapes that are floating around in the sky, we are always in search of new and exciting activities. By the way, cloud-watching has been going pretty strong in the past few years. There have even been books published about it. Our supplementary, slightly more challenging activity is splash-snapping . This is a promising new trend, albeit just within our family for the time being :). (Don’t take my word for it, though, I haven’t googled for people who already do this kind of thing). See below the amazing results of today’s session:

I think you get the idea by now? Aren’t they beautiful AND inspiring, these splashes? It takes some teamwork to get the timing right. Splash-snapping is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with your children, they don’t tire of throwing the stones and you as a parent can sit comfortably on your picnic blanket, you just have to press the right button at the right nanosecond. Easy as pie.
PS: I snapped a lot more splashes today. Do you want a few? Just drop me a line and I’ll send you some… 🙂 .
Have a good start to the week!!

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