Slap On Some Adventure



Don’t you love them?

Life is bursting full of the little blighters for me at the mo. They’re literally springing out from every corner. Totally unexpected! And the unexpected ones are the juiciest, I’ve found.

Take Thursday when Pix and Roo headed off to their dad’s. I waved them goodbye and watched the car drive away. For anyone who has split up from the father of their children, you’ll know that weird feeling you get when your babies leave for the weekend (or longer). For those of you who don’t know that feeling … it is a sudden emptiness. I suppose it is different for everyone, but I often experience a shock of aimlessness.

All plans seem to lose their umph and I mooch around, trying to adjust to the quiet.

Looking in the fridge is the first port of call …

Then fiddling about with my to-do list.

Then wondering who to go and see …

I’m still mastering the art of regularly saying “bye” to my kids and have tried a variety of techniques. This week, rather than looking in the fridge (and as the wee Man-Cub was snoozling) I settled myself down to finish some of the quotes for the GYOG Facebook page. Within minutes of nestling down, there was a knock at the door and my beautiful, vibrant soul sister, Jol, grinned through the window.

She had a London girl down from the city. They were off to Quarr Abbey. Did I want to come? Yes, of course I could; hop in!

Quarr Abbey is beaut.

It’s tall and turreted and there are bee hives. I love honey bees … don’t you? There were some pot bellied pigs wallowing around in a quagmire of filth last time I was at the abbey, however the sties had been relocated this time around. We sat in a little garden, ordered tea and cake and whilst  Man Cub fe, we talked about things that you probably shouldn’t discuss in a holy tea room (eg. sex, cosmetic surgery and men). Following this we mooched about the main abbey.

“It looks really modern,” remarked our London girl.

“And that’s kind of weird because this place dates back to the medieval time,” I replied.

The answer to the mystery was unearthed in the gift shop when the lady behind the counter explained that this wasn’t the original abbey. The original was a ruin down a little track nearby.

“Can we look at it?” I asked.

“Only from the lane, dear.” She took the money for a set of huge wooden prayer beads that I intended to turn into some affirmation beads in the non-existent spare time I mistakenly imagine/d I have whilst caring for a five month old parcel of gorgeousness. Then she cooed at the Man Cub who was tucked onto my hip, drinking everything in with his massive brown eyes and chewing one fist all at once. “Your baby is very beautiful,” she said.

“Thank you.”

Fifteen minutes later that beautiful baby was drooling on a very beautiful summery lane, in front of a very beautiful and ancient farmhouse that was surrounded by summery green meadowland. To the right of the farmhouse was a rusty old gate that separated us from a pile of planks, an “under construction” sign, an overgrown meadow and some very atmospheric abbey ruins.


“Wow,” breathed Jol.

“Yes, wow,” I echoed. Just looking at the ruin triggered a strange cog-machine of butterflies right in my solar plexus. The ruin hunched in the meadow, sunken, like an ancient animal hung with history. At the far end a most beautiful triple-trunked-tree was beckoning to us. This is a picture of it. (What looks like a forth trunk on the right is part of a ruined abbey wall).


“Let’s knock on the farmhouse door and ask if we can go in,” I suggested.

Boldly, Man Cub and I headed to the side gate. Then we paused, suddenly all nervous and unsure. “I’m not sure there’ll be anyone there …”

“Do you not think?” Jols said hesitantly.

Maybe it was a second home?

Maybe some monks lived there?

“I’ve got a feeling its empty,” I said decisively, back tracking along the path. “We’ll have to come back another day.”

At this point, our London girl who had seemed somewhat disinterested in getting into the field piped up from the farmhouse gate. “Look!” she said, pointing at the construction sign. “It doesn’t actually say PRIVATE. It just says we need to wear hard hats. Come on.”

And in one fluid movement she whipped open the gate and marched in. Jols zipped in after her. I looked up the lane one way, then the other, raised both eyebrows at Man Cub (who oogled me in response) and then dashed in after them.

This is what I leaned from the ancient ruins of Quarr Abbey:

  • If trespassing on farmland do not be oblivious to a copious amount of fresh sheep droppings in the long grass.

            Country pancakes are not ornaments placed around to complete the country look.

            They are animal droppings.

            Which means there are animals.


  • If, once you’ve explored ancient ruins, you decide to walk over and gaze at a triple-trunked-tree and a large group of sheep stand up then stare at you intently, do not linger.


  • Once you’ve realised the sheep are spooked and approaching you with menacing glares, exit the field with a steady yet brisk stomp. Do not run. Animals smell fear and you running will make them gallop faster.


  • Even if Jols sprints past you full pelt shrieking “they’re getting closer! They’re catching up!” still try to maintain steady pace.


  • Once near the gate get out as fast as you flipping, bloody can.

As we staggered and tripped back to the car we were all trembling and laughing hysterically.

I hadn’t exactly wet my pants out of fear, but there was an undeniable adrenaline quiver to my internal state.

It felt flipping brilliant … like we’d just stolen a power-shower in some energetic waterfall of youth. Cobwebs gone. Zest renewed. Deee-licious.

Q. The essence of this life design action?

A. There’s nothing like an impromptu adventure and some sheep induced adrenaline to make you feel eight years old and full of life. In fact, to shake off the summer slumber I highly, HIGHLY recommend going out and finding yourself a metaphorical beanstalk (or sunflower) to climb with your beloveds. 

(NOTE: Check out the whopper of a sunflower below. Can you BELIEVE that such a massive thing comes out of such  tiny little seed?)

You don’t have to travel far or spend any money to slap on a bit of adventure. It’s more about mind set. Just be open to trying something new, going somewhere new, hijacking someone else’s trip – especially if its something/where you’ve never experienced before.

Right, I am off.

Am being pulled in the direction of my bed and the vague hope of a full nights sleep.

Waking up tomorrow morning after eight hours solid sleep? Now THAT would be an adventure!


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