The vernal equinox has passed. For those of us in the know, for those of us who look to the land, the hedgerows and the sky we know this heralds the real start of spring. The days are getting lighter from here on in and with more light comes more growing, more food and more weeds.
We decided to spend the vernal equinox outdoors, a chance to walk the landscape and go to the pub. Except the pub we were going to is roughly a two and half mile round trip, so we must love the beer or just being out doors.
For six years we have been saying that we would walk to this pub over the hill but having a baby, a garden, a crumbling house and no money often meant going to the pub was at the bottom of the list after nappy changes, harvesting crops and collapsing ceilings. The pub cost money and we knew that it was a luxury that for years we couldn't afford, it was literally beer or heating. Thankfully, the walk to the pub will keep us warm and our baby is now a strapping boy nearly as tall as his Mummy.
Mummy's not happy about it. She declares that the walk won't help, it will wear her legs down further and by the end of the walk Little D will be bigger than her. It's not fair but she may be right, going up hill does make her shrink down into her jacket as the sun nips in and we all shiver. The walk across the fields reveals the first signs of life in the water, as the spring fed water trough teems with life. It may be pond weed but a closer inspection reveals bugs and Little D declares a small stone is a tadpole, a tadpole that doesn't move that much. He calls it Daddy. Little bugger.
We struggle over one hill arguing about how long it will take and down into the next valley, red faced and with a terrible thirst that results in a quick bicker about who should have brought some water. However, water would lead to impromptu stops, piddling in hedgerows and ducking a small child, giggling and screaming like a docker out of sigh of ramblers. We meet two, Little D demands their life stories, where they are going, where they are from and why they are there. Now imagine that with him piddling into a hedge, over a wall or in the worst case scenario, their rucksack. They quickly pass us and as they move to the top of the hill, Little D yells at them, 'Goodbye'. It can be heard as far as Knutsford in Cheshire. Little D declares, at the same decibel level because he's decided to run on, that he will have a soft drink, as if he had a choice, we negotiate, which involves bellowing like cows to each other that he can have a pint of it and no he can't have chips. The pint agreement makes him happy. He calls this new walk our boozy walk in the same gleeful voice that he declared to our dentist that Andrew was a boozer. Andrew rarely drinks. Little D knows this and we have no idea where he gets this idea, we can't afford a drinking lifestyle, for us a good pint is nurtured, loved and cosseted. Little D tells anyone we pass that we are on a boozy walk, he tells a portaloo in a field, he yells it to some black sheep and as we pass through a farm yard trudging past a bemused woman, he tells her too, she replies that she's just stained her gazebo. We don't know if this is a euphemism, a welcome or a threat but we pass her by, waving and apologizing for a little boy who has decided to act drunk and thinks being boozy comprises of running fast and making a noise like a fire engine of helium.
The pint comes with a packet of nuts. A packet of crisps. We note they are Lancastrian crisps but these are borderlands and we can't blame the locals for picking the best from both sides of the line. Borderlands are the home of Reivers, judging by Little D who has got his pint of something soft with a straw in it seems to have only allegiance to the next parent who will buy him a drink. We stick to something a little harder to take the edge off the walk back which is up two hills, down through one boggy valley and circumnavigating a main road where the drivers have two speeds, both of them fast and both of them aimed at anyone walking across their precious road. We have seen lorries speed up to try and clip ramblers on this road. It is one of the worst roads around here for accidents and morons.
Today, we are a little moronic after the beer and soft drinks. Carol in our first selfie for awhile seems to have shrunk, slipped and fogged over after a pint of something Italian and bubbly. She declares the walk has worn her down. Little D declares the crisps have made him sozzled, or as he says, sizzled. He then whoops away across the field, and falls face first in the mud, he sits in it laughing, red cheeked. Spit washed and red faced he poses by one of his favourite signs: BULL IN FIELD but the sign has been clipped by the winds and all that is left is BU IN FI. He is definitely a Buinfi. It's the sound he makes as he dashes across the field. These moments will pass and we have to cherish them, even as we huff and puff up the hill to home yelling at him to slow down, shut up and let us have a bit of silence. Not even telling him that it is a Sunday stops him. Not even threatening him that the farmer will come and toss him out the field silences him. It merely makes him laugh. He is fierce, he swears allegiance to us and these borderlands, we are the Reivers of Pig Row, see us red faced and puffing home. Bu-in-fi. Bu-in-fi to the fields, to the walkers, to the growing song of spring. Bu-in-fi.