I had a day’s annual leave on Thursday to celebrate my birthday. Well, ostensibly, it was so I didn’t have to do work but I did want it to be special.
Last year on this day I had been hunting round Leeds city centre for a bag of flour – remember those heady days when panic set in and various staples disappeared from the shelves? The unfortunate thing is that I had actually needed a bag of flour. So, the hunt had somewhat taken the lustre of the day.
Anyway, Thursday was a very pleasant day. I’d ordered a new pair of trousers (yup, new new clothes, having found nothing in the charity shops when they were last open but sorely needing some after yet another pair of trousers bit the dust) and was due to collect them from an M&S food outlet near a garden centre I sometimes visit. Thus, the idea of an outing was born.
I duly picked up the trousers and, being in a food outlet, inevitably I ended up buying some food. However, there was method in my madness.
At the garden centre later, after finding a rosemary plant (which fingers crossed won’t die on me), I came across a hellebores to replace the one killed by the red campion in the front garden. Delighted, I took my purchases back to the car and then set about having a picnic with the M&S food.
As I stood at the boot of the car, making my sandwiches on the shelf over it (I keep picnic crockery and cutlery in the car in case of impromptu picnics), I reflected on why it mattered to eat outdoors. Until relatively recently in our evolution, outdoors was the only place to be. Houses may provide shelter from the elements but they are not our natural habitat. Thus, I felt my picnic was so much more fulfilling than if I had eaten the same food back home.
In view of this feeling, in the evening, my daughter and I tried out curry from a restaurant we hadn’t eaten at before. She’d been keen on taking it home but, particularly after my lunchtime experience, I was determined to find an outdoor venue for my birthday supper.
A decision was made to go to the edge of Water Haigh Woodland Park and St Aidan’s Nature Reserve and there could have been no better choice: wood and water all with one meal.
Back home, I got a text from a friend asking if I’d like to go for a walk round St Aidan’s the next day. So, on Friday, I got to see the other side of the reserve from the part I had looked over whilst eating curry.
We couldn’t work out what kind of tree the above was, except that it must be in the rose family. Maybe we can go back, find it and see what fruit it bears later in the year. Now, there’s a plan!