By: Blonde Two

We have all experienced the conflict of different expectations that can make up a family Christmas.  Everyone wants to something different but we all want to do it together.  “It will be fun” becomes the cry and “You are not being very Christmassy” the accusation of the moment.

My expectations are simple – I want to get all of the Christmas stuff done and then go out for a family walk.  On this family walk, there will be frost on the ground (not enough to make those who insist on wearing trainers to fall over) and sunshine in our faces.  We will all want to walk exactly the same distance and be ready to set off at the same time.  We will enjoy a picnic of leftover sandwiches that someone else has made and there will be enough cups for us all to have a cup of tea from the flask at the same time.  The walk will be on Dartmoor (of course), the ground will be solid and the white dog will not come home covered in black muck.

Of course, the above is never quite the reality but we have had a couple of good family walks this year despite the horrid weather.  I have found, over the years, that applying the following golden family walk rules helps;

1.  Don’t persuade people to go for a walk if they really don’t want to.  If Dad doesn’t fancy a walk when he is looking out of the window at the cloud covered moors then is almost certainly not going to enjoy it when there is horizontal rain hammering in his face.  “We want to be together” may not be the best policy here.

2.  Deliberately over-estimate the distance and time the walk will take.  That way getting back to the car/pub (there should be a pub) will be a pleasant surprise and you will be able to talk about how quickly everyone has walked.

3.  Take some food and a hot drink.  If you ask anyone the “Shall we take a picnic” question before you go, they will all say “No thanks I am stuffed” but it is amazing how Dartmoor weather can bring on an appetite and you should never walk without a hot drink.

So here is to family walks – may they long continue.  And thanks to family Blonde Two for putting up gracefully with my cheery “Let’s go to Dartmoor” suggestions in this year’s appalling weather conditions.