On Sunday morning, with the weather still clear and sunny, I took Amy and Sam back to Woodwell.
Without Ben to play with, Amy fell back on talking to me, which was a great delight. Already different parts of our route are linked in Amy’s mind with memories, associations, activities and even future projects.
“We walked here with playgroup Dad, when Ben had chickenpox.”
“We came back this way from the barbecue in the dark with our torches”
Where the path scrambles down Woodwell cliff:
“We climbed up here once. You helped Ben and Andy helped me.”
When we heard a woodpecker drumming:
“I want to see a woodpecker. Where could I see one?”
After our last visit Woodwell is now not only The Place With The Treasure, but also The Place To Fish For Pondweed.
In this ambition, Amy was thwarted because the pond was frozen over. But this prompted a new game in its turn: Breaking The Ice. She first tried hitting it with a stick, then throwing pebbles at it, which skittered across the surface “like marbles”. Finally she found a larger stone, which when dropped onto the ice did at least produce some cracks, and although it rested on the surface, perhaps a hidden hole, because a number of silvery bubbles of air appeared, trapped against the ice.
I’ll give Amy the last word. When we saw three bullfinches in the treetops (which don’t seem to interest her when they are on the feeders in our garden, but which had her complete attention flitting allusively from tree to tree):
“Shhh. Shhh Dad. Shhhhhhh!”