Making the most of a sunny spring day - after tempting reluctant children outdoors
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The world watched as a recent virtual meeting of Handforth Parish Council descended into chaos. The recording went viral, plunging the host - parish clerk Jackie Weaver - into the global limelight. Here, Torbay-based parish clerk Vicky Ewan writes for Torbay Weekly:
It feels like the first fragile days of spring have sprung. Flowers are daffy-down-dillying, lambs are frolicking, trees are budding, and the very air seems imbued with a fragrant freshness to gladden the heart and lend a sparkle to the eye.
We are surging forward to the promise of summer and the hope of new freedoms. Perhaps we can all breathe a little easier.
On a recent sunny spring-spun day, I - nobly, I'm sure you'll agree - resisted my husband's offer to give me a lift to work a mere 10-minute walk, but it's largely uphill and I'm largely lazy... and climbed several of Torquay's seven hills to my place of employ.
My three youngest were comfortably cocooned at home: one beavering away at school work, one Zooming with a friend, and one dabbling in the dubious delights of social media.
My elder daughter, roaming free upon the open road of her delivery job, sent a group chat message that waxed lyrically about the beauty of the day, which my husband, who was enjoying a few hours' respite before his shift began, robustly seconded.
Moved by their words and dazzled by the sun emoji that accompanied them, I beseeched my younger children via text - their langue du choix - to venture abroad, as Jane Austen would say (outside, to you and me), and make the most of the day.
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I could sense their remote reluctance across the technological divide, but I persisted, sweetening the suggestion with the tempting prospect of ice creams and, once they had finished their respective tasks, they were persuaded to walk up and meet me.
Only the previous day I had cajoled them into taking a walk with me, leading them up a hill that left their lockdown legs limp from lack of use, and their clean shoes streaked with Devon mud; we had to forego the tramp across fields as I had forgotten to forewarn them that we might go rural and they were woefully ill-shod.
Hence, I understood their reticence to take the air once more.
I finished up for the day, becoming aware of their youthful voices filtering through the air; sure enough, a text appeared to announce their arrival.
I called out my goodbyes, flung open the door with joyful abandon and greeted the children ebulliently - which enthusiastic reunion they met with equanimity, I can assure you, at least in my head.
Without further ado, we sauntered down the shopping precinct to purchase a box of Co-op's finest, then crossed over to the sunny side of the street to take the long way home - to quote two well-loved song titles.
The elder two strode on ahead, long of limb and light of heart - or else wanting to put distance between us; who can say? - and I shortened my step to fall in with the youngest, whose multi-tasking munching and mooching was proving perambulatingly problematic - in an act that I considered gracious and kind.
No sooner had I matched his stride than without preamble, he announced he was off to join his siblings and onward galloped he, leaving me to amble along alone, although not unhappily so.
'Twas indeed a beautiful day, and the aspect across the cliffs to the sea was its endlessly glorious self.
The sun's heat was creeping through high blue skies, and the air felt soft.
The ices - another Austenism - were delicious, perhaps because they held suspended within their pretty pastel stripes the promise of warm days on the beach and family picnics - the first sweet breath of summer.
In a loosely arranged group, we idled our way home, chattering aimlessly.
Would it be that all such days were so pleasantly filled! I apologise; the Austen referencing seems to have affected my prose.
Of course, when we reached home, the usual chaos reigned: shoes were kicked off willy-nilly, demands were voiced and ignored, post was opened and rejected - family life in all its guises resumed.
But the sun was still peeping in, tea was soon brewing, and life didn't feel too bad at all.