On the first sunny day of the Spring, I fall into the trap that awaits all freelancers: distraction from my work. When my next door neighbour invites me to join her and her dog for a walk, I can’t resist.
Soon we are enjoying a delightful stroll through a local valley. Although we are not exactly exerting ourselves, it is so warm that we stride along with our jackets wrapped around our waists, gloves and hats redundant in our pockets. The cloudless blue sky and warm sunshine convince us that we’ve skipped a month or two and we half expect to see blossom on the trees. On our return home, we lounge on a garden bench, savouring a cup of tea and admiring her newly laid patio and planning suitable spring planting schemes.
Around lunchtime, I slink back to my desk, muscles tingling, cheeks glowing, but feeling distinctly guilty for bunking off so early in the week. The guilt is fuelled by the knowledge that before long I’m due up at my daughter’s school to attend a talk by the local council’s Play Officer. He delights us all by telling us that Health and Safety jobsworths have been sent packing, and in a remarkable volte-face, the council will now be positively encouraging children to take risks at play. Only games that offer a risk of death will be off limits.
“If a school doesn’t produce a broken limb every now and again, it probably means they’re not offering the right kind of play,” he assures us.
And there is better yet to come.
“It is now scientifically proven that free play causes the body to release a hormone that stimulates brain development.”
Now that is good news. I can scientifically justify having skived off for my sunny morning walk: it was all in the cause of boosting my creativity. It might even count as training. I think I like this man. I just hope it’s not my daughter that gets to break a leg.