I'm lucky that I spend a lot of time with my children, being a stay at home dad has been one of the best decisions of my life.
One thing I always enjoy is when I get to spend a bit of one-on-one time with one of them. Finding time to do this can be hard as they're quite a tight little group!
Just lately, to add to the stupid amount of things I try to fit into my life, I've become a new Beaver Scout leader. I'm only learning at the moment and I've managed to rope in a couple of good friends as well so we're all learning together. It's been great fun so far with loads of activities and it's been brilliant to see my eldest interact with her peers in a way I wouldn't normally.
This weekend our Beaver pack went to a local watersports park to do some different activities on a lake they have there. Here we did kayaking, canoeing and raft building.
I had a great time, let alone the Beavers! It's been years since I've been in a kayak, I used to do it a lot when I was at sixth form, where we had a club where we could learn how, I wasn't too bad when I got in and could paddle round to help them out the reeds!
Seeing my eldest in these situations was great as well. She's not always the bravest and certainly doesn't run into these activities but she'll always build herself up to doing it in the end, she's also great in a team. She did have to sit out one activity but the heat was so much there were quite a few of them starting to flake out in the heat towards the last few activities. Luckily she soon picked back up and was ready for the rafting.
My most memorable part of the day came when we were all swimming in the lake after the raft they'd built had fallen apart. My daughter was holding on to me as we swam around, not wanting to let go as she couldn't reach the bottom (we were wearing life jackets), then all of a sudden she just swims off to her friends and starts bringing bits of the raft back in to the side. Such confidence and she didn't even think about it! I was so proud of her.
We then had the opportunity to jump in off the pier. She hates getting her head under water so I thought there's no way she'd do it. In the end we held hands and jumped in together, but she lead the way! Then she laughed about it with her friends as they all paddled back to the shore.
The water in the lake was amazingly warm, I don't think I've ever swam outside in the UK and not had some form of cold water shock as I've jumped in, but this was as warm as I'd have the shower!
My wife had gone to a friends with the other two children, so when we got back we decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips, then walk up British Camp to eat them. We sat on the man made banks thousands of years old, where I'm sure many before us have eaten their food and enjoyed the views out over Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
It was lovely just to sit there and chat for an hour or so about nothing and everything. On the way down I let her lead the way so we could go off and explore all the other little paths that dot the hill and look at plants to identify. Hopefully she'll remember the plant Ragwort as we talked about it a lot, I'll make sure we find some more of the same to identify this week so that the knowledge has chance to sink in!
Driving home we also stopped at a spring to fill our water bottles. I'm very keen to show my children where drinking water can be collected from locally so it's great to use the springs. The water tastes so good from them as well, hers went straight into the freezer to be her water bottle for school on Monday.
It was a great day and one I'm sure I'll remember for a long time. A perfect day spent with my daughter and hopefully a day where she's learnt lots about herself.