About 18 months ago, I made the decision to approach my employer to request a reduction in working hours so I could spend more time at home with young Rufus, who was at that time about 7 months old. It was probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made and one that I would recommend to any parent. In fact even if you don’t have kids it should be considered. The ratio of 4:3 compared to 5:2, even though it’s just a day, makes a significant difference to your quality of life. I could never get my head around the idea of maintaining a work-life balance when you’re stuck at work 5 days out of 7.
Reducing my working hours by one day has not only made me particularly unpopular with my beloved colleagues but has also given me the chance to spend loads more quality time with Rufus, who is now nearly 2 and a half and not quite so terrible as 2 year olds are supposed to be (most of the time).
With learning to walk ticked off the developmental checklist and learning to talk a work in progress, I’m optimistic that this year will be a prime time to get Rufus out and about in some locations slightly more wild and wonderful than the local park.
So last Friday, with Spring in full swing we made our way over to a great spot a mere 40 minutes drive from home, Shining Cliff Woods. Easily overlooked by the masses heading to Matlock, Bakewell and the busier spots of White Peak, Shining Cliff Woods sits just over the River Derwent and the busy A6. The ancient woodland has an old Youth Hostel, a man made lake and can be carpeted with bluebells in early summer. I think I remember being told that it is also the home of the tree that spurred the nursery rhyme ‘rock a bye baby’.
We parked up in Alderwasley and walked up an easy path that forms part of the midshires way past some old dry stone walls and cattle fields. When you’re walking with a 2 year old, you’re very lucky if you can get as far as a mile, so we had a nice leisurely wander around the path and snooped around the woods for a while, as it was a Friday afternoon we didn’t see a soul. Here’s a few snaps.
Not many paths boast a sofa carved out of an old tree trunk.