Ever since being tiny I've loved being outdoors. I was lucky enough to have a big brother ten years older than me so he'd just hoist me up onto his shoulders and off we'd go, playing out in 'The Orchard' across the road.
He didn't seem to mind me tagging along with him and his friends. And he used to take me and my little friends on epic walks. Many's the time I whined and cried because my legs were tired. But mostly it was fun. We'd be gone for hours.
Even as a sulky teenager I wasn't averse to making rope swings. And we still manage the odd trek - it's been a while though, what with children (he has a two-year-old and I have You Know Who).
My mum was determined to instil a love of nature in us. I know the names of plants and flowers. I'm not scared of spiders or frogs (woodlice, on the other hand...) and the best stress reliever for me is getting outdoors - preferably on the moors on a wild, windy day.
I want Joe to be interested in nature, to play outside and have adventures. We had nature tables at school - the teachers often had jam jars with stems of pussy willow or wild flowers on the desk. I'm not sure whether that still happens or not. Anyway, the first book we bought Joe was this:
The illustrations are beautiful but it also has all kinds of little poems and tips on things like keeping chickens and making compost and rockpooling. It's perfect for reading to him at bedtime when he's a bit older and we can try out some of the ideas.
Jay's making a set of shelves to display Joe's treasures on. I have a few things already until he's big enough to collect his own. I can't wait to take him out and discover new things together.