We’ve had visitors up from that London for the weekend – hoping to get away from the nation’s temporary jubilee insanity, while enjoying such particular rural delights as a non-functioning Rayburn (long story), wood-burning stoves (sadly still necessary), peace and quiet, and hot and cold running views. At 12 and 14 their sons were mostly plugged into various screens and headphones but gamely, if reluctantly, joined in with most of what the adults considered might be fun for them. Long walks, epic bike rides (including the reservoir loop – 12.5 hilly miles – on a Brompton: chapeau), mountain biking, checking the level of the ford, making friends with local ponies, farmers’ markets, aviation museums and landscape art were all, on the whole ‘OK’ but not really as good as whatever it was they were doing on their iPods. But there was one activity which had the youngest leaping off the sofa at the merest mention of it at any hour of the day or night. It turns out that hitting lumps of wood with a real axe – a real axe that has been freshly sharpened, to boot – is even better than Minecraft. And that is praise indeed, apparently.
We’ll be inviting them up in the depths of winter next time, I think