One of the many vagaries of our car is that if it is not taken out for a drive every second day the battery will inevitably be flat by the third and the damned thing won’t start. This is fine during week days when Karen and I must journey into work but at the weekend it means we have to go out at least once or call the AA out to our doorstep on Monday.
This weekend trip is, 9 times out of 10, a purely functional journey made to keep the car happy.
But gradually it has morphed into a mini family outing that we all look forward to. We don’t go far – a round journey of no more than 10 or 12 miles that takes in some of the outlying villages that surround Leamington Spa. But it’s a great way to dust off weekend bed-heads, avoid cabin fever and remind ourselves that even in the depth of winter and the depth of a recession (I don’t care what the politicians say: my bank account says it isn’t over yet) a breathtakingly beautiful world is still out there to be explored.
Recently we have taken to driving a wide circuit around a local landmark – Chesterton Windmill. Tom had only seen a picture of a windmill in one of his kiddy books before so to see a real one was amazing. It was one of those moments that I wish I’d had the foresight to catch on film. Awe, dawning understanding, delight and excitement all moved across his face without any of that awful adult self consciousness that inhibits the best of us even when we’re ecstatically happy.
An excited cry of “Mim-mill! Mim-mill!” filled the car. It was one of those ultra cute moments that you always imagine having with your children before you actually have them.
Needless to say the name stuck.
Our weekend journeys now inevitably take us past the mim-mill and Tom has become quite adept at spotting it emerging on the horizon through the trees. I think it will now be forever known as the Mim-mill in our house. One day soon, when spring arrives and the weather turns warmer we plan to park the car nearby (battery permitting) and take Tom in for a closer look...
In that moment his joy will be my joy but the mim-mill will be his in a way that it will never be mine. I envy him that but in a good way.
Sometimes the best things in life truly are free.