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Mushroom

         The world in general has shrunk for most people at the moment, day in, day out, same old, same old … At times like these a good imagination is invaluable.

         Today the mind is wandering back to The New Forest, the wild horses roam freely in their thick winter coats, hardly bothered by the fact that the recent rains have turned parts of their playground into giant swimming pools. My toes wriggle freely, protected by my wellies as my feet squelch in and out of muddy puddles. There’s no rain today, but the wide brim of my rain hat is just as suited to keeping the low winter sun out of my eyes as it is to keeping the rain spots off my glasses. My world is at peace, Hubby is enjoying the vastness of the view, and me? I’m squatting precariously on one heel to get the right angle to catch a picture of a brightly coloured mushroom for a future memory.

         It’s a fairy mushroom, obviously, why would it not be?

         There’s a tiny flutter of wings in the air as a fairy arrives over my shoulder, a slight breeze catches my ear and a wing tip brushes past my cheek. She lands daintily on my mushroom and looks up quizzically at me. No words pass our lips but I adjust my balance and glance at the horse in the distance. She settles herself into my picture, sitting on top of the mushroom, one leg outstretched and the other bent with her hands wrapped around her knee, perfectly posed, she flexed her wings and threw her head back for her sunlight to light her face.

         Memory captured, I regain a more secure footing and follow Hubby off into the forest, a glance over my shoulder for a smile and a nod in the direction of the mushroom secures the memory and I return to join Hubby with an extra spring in my step.

         More from before : Nestled in the “New Forest“.

Spooky

         Hubby said “lets just get away from it all … I’d like to just stay in a tent in the middle of a field”. “OK”, I said, “but no tent, it’s October, I’d like walls and heating.”

         … And so this is how we ended up staying in a “Pod” on the edge of the New Forest on the spookiest night of the year.

         These were the pods Hubby found online, the ones advertised in the brochure, surrounded by trees. We found them later while wandering around, nicely situated in a little wooded area near some small lakes in the adult only area of the farm. But judging by the clink of glass bottles in the trailer as the rubbish was removed on the last day, we had the better option as ours was one of just five family pods within an open field, and with children expected back in school on the Monday after half term, when Sunday evening arrived, Hubby got his wish of just us two, in a field on our own.

         We received a phone call from the farm on the morning before we were due to leave saying it had rained so much overnight that the field was flooded, the pods were fine, being built higher than ground level, but we would need wellies to get to them so they offered us a refund. We were already prepared for a watery weekend so I added a pair of wellies to Hubby’s preparation and we decided to still go.

         I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a pod, I hadn’t thought to add the usual convenient inconveniences to my list of requirements to Hubby, and the situation of a toilet block we drove past on the way to our field caused a slight frown. However, on entering the pod, I found it cosy and dry… With underfloor heating… Hubby was forgiven. .

         From the outside, the pod looked as if a family of four would find it rather too friendly for a whole week, but once inside it was like stepping into a tardis, with more than enough room, and even a cooking station in one corner.

         The farm was suitably decorated for the spookiest night of the year and so while wandering around we were often greeted by giant cobwebs, with a couple of slightly scarier options on the woodland trail in the adult section, we had missed the pumpkin carving workshop, but there was evidence of lots of homemade smiles everywhere.

         As much as I tried to conserve my water intake towards bedtime, I still found myself needing to visit the little girls room in the wee hours of the morning. Ma Nature supplied just enough drizzle for me to exchange my slippers for my wellies, and zip my mac up fully under my chin while Father time added a full moon for effect as I squidged across the field swinging my electric lantern back and forth, towards the toilet block.

         At the risk of really oversharing here… Let’s just skip to where I was drying my hands at the electric hand dryer, leaning on the wall and using it sideways as is my way… After all, I am planning on living for a long time, so in the interest of pacing myself and conserving my energy, I will always lean on an available wall rather than fully support myself.

         The scene is set… I was completely alone in a small block of conveniences in middle of the night at the edge of the forest on the spookiest night of the year… And I felt a tap on my shoulder!

          The hot air from the hand-dryer had found its way up my sleeve and being unable to escape at the tightly zipped up neck had made its way out at the hemline sending a ripple up the back of the mac to tap me on the shoulder.

         More from before : Nestled in the “New Forest“.