When my now-teen sons get too much, it’s good to remember the little boy times. I went for a blackberrying walk with a friend and her nearly-three-year-old, and it was so good to bring back those days of stress-free contentment.

Nearly-three-year-old will henceforth be known as Aragorn, as he has spent quite some time watching the Lord of the Rings films with his daddy and therefore marches around with at least one plastic or wooden sword in his hand declaring: “Mummy, I’m Aragorn!” At several points during our ramble he also interjected: “The Uruk-hai are coming!” Third-and-final son thought this was fabulous. He may be going on 13, but he still likes a good sword fight. Or a wooden sword versus plastic light sabre fight.

Aragorn set off on the ramble with four swords. He very soon passed one on to his mum, and soldiered on wtih three. After a little longer trudging through the mud he passed another one to third-and-final son, but he stuck with two swords come mud, water or cowpat.

The two boys attack a marauding hawthorn tree. I missed my chance to say “you’re hurting the Ents!” I shall have to save that for another time.

Aragorn ventured into some rather deep mud and had to be hauled out by the back of his trousers. Then I went back into the mud to get his welly which the mud had hung onto, and his mum performed heroically to get him back into his welly without both of them falling into the beck.

Third-and-final son, plus Willis and Sparky, found places to leap the beck. Aragorn, having rather shorter legs, had to trudge through it and then navigate yet more mud on the other side. But he never lost his grip on either sword or light sabre.

“It’s safe to cross now, mummy!”

Boys and dogs also found a fascinating gully made by floodwater, whilst mother-of-Aragorn and I were busily picking blackberries. Shortly after this Willis learned how to suck the berries off the brambles.

Back at the car, Aragorn plucked up the courage to meet Brego, aka Alice.

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