"Would you like to go to the playground in the park?" enquired R.
"Yes," said B.
"Mmmmm," I said warningly. "It'll be crazy on a Sunday."
"Probably not, at this time," said R - at which point I realised that it wasn't, as I'd thought, about 11am, but was actually just after half past eight.
So we got ready - coats, shoes, boots as back-up, hats, scarves, drinks, tissues, wet wipes, buggy... and eventually R fetched the car round to the front of the house, we all said goodbye to Mummy, and out we went. There was a then brief hiatus, when B realised that the grass was wet, and decided that weyyies were more suitable than shoes, but having sorted out the footwear situation, we said goodbye to Mummy again, and - finally - left the house.
"Come here then, chap," said R, holding out his hands to pick the Boy up.
"No," said B, with a very definite shake of the head.
"But I need to get you in your car seat."
"Do you want to go to the playground?"
"We can't walk to the playground - it's too far. We have to drive there, and then we can walk after that. Shall we go?"
At this point he held out his hand to me, rubbing his fingertips together to emphasise the fact that I was being summoned (a habit he could do with breaking before he gets to the stage of ordering food in restaurants). I took the insistent hand, and he towed me out of the gate and along the road, with R falling in behind.
We were out for over an hour, and if I carried him for some of the time, and R for rather more, he also stomped a good distance by himself. Within reason we allowed him to set the pace and direction, and within reason he let himself be persuaded off his more extreme choices of route and back onto our shorter ones. We saw a lot of quite interesting animals at the sanctuary ("Sheeps!"), and met a good many dog walkers and horse riders, to whom he variously said "Heyo," "Hiya!" and "Mornin'!", as well as a regretful "Bye, horshish," as the riders disappeared from view. I think it's fair to assume that he's increased his fan base around the parish.
This is the bridge over the brook, where we showed B that if you throw a stick into the water it gets carried away by the current, and I explained that it could go all the way from here into a big river and then all the way to the sea. This being entirely unimagineable, he was unimpressed, but he loved throwing the sticks. In fact he was far more interested in throwing them than in watching what they did when they hit the water, and as there were very few sticks in the area, we had to talk up every throw and try to turn it into an event, so as to eke out the game. Each time he exhausted the supply he'd demand "More 'tick!" and R would have to scout around the bottom of the nearby hedge to find a few more twigs or ivy stems for him to throw. It was a relief when he allowed himself to be coaxed off the parapet and back onto the walk, but we did promise him that we'd go and play the game again another day. Next time I think we might raid the garden first, and take a few 'tick with us.