We visited Claremont in early February for a family day out and had such a lovely time, it has inspired what I hope will be a regular series of posts here. I always love to read about what other people do in their free time, especially if it inspires adventures of our own.It was chilly (see the birds standing on the ice?) but bright and Claremont is a lovely little place to visit for a breath of fresh air, beautiful views and (as with all National Trust places) excellent cake in the cafe. I think photos will do it more justice than words so here are a few more…
We are NT members so entry was free, but the website lists prices at £8 per adult and £4 per child. I’d say for a day out that would be a little pricey for us but with membership it is a bargain. There is a lovely wooden playground with a castle and a bridge, and the little one loved pottering around near the birds by the lake. As you can see, they’re pretty tame. In the woods you’ll stumble across lots of sculptures, and a thatched cottage with 19th century games and costumes (for the children!). There’s a nine pin bowling alley near the top of the hill, a lake, a tower and an amazing turf amphitheatre. And again, the cakes really do deserve a second mention…
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
This has rung true in so many areas of my life this last year. In creative pursuits, in motherhood, in marriage, in faith, in friendships…the list goes on.
One of my longest running projects was a record book of the little one throughout the course of his first year. One photo every week for a year, from the week he was born through to first birthday. Some weeks the picture just worked – light, clean clothes and happy baby all aligned for a lovely image. Other weeks were harder – it would be dark by the time I got around to taking the photo, the little one would be tired and when I finally uploaded it the picture would be a little out of focus. I’d look at it, be momentarily discouraged and then I’d stop, step back and look at the final goal. We had the book printed just before Christmas and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result. All together, the pictures tell a story. I see my little boy learning to smile, clap and wave. I see him growing in and out of new outfits. I see his hair appearing and his personality developing. The whole is so much bigger than 52 individual photographs.
I’ve noticed this translating to other projects (what would my felt fruit basket be with just one banana?), to motherhood (which really is made up of so many little things repeated, multiplied and added to) and to relationships (in which every email, smile, kind gesture builds up a friendship).
So, for 2015, my aim is just to keep building. Building memories, creative habits, family traditions, investing in good friendships. I’ve seen the idea of One Little Word floating around before but this is the first time I’ve found a word that feels right. 2015 will be the year I BUILD.