Meg & I opened the curtains one morning a couple of months back, took one look at the weather and started to grin. We jumped into our wellies, threw on some waterproof jackets and whistled for the dog. A short drive from Porthleven we entered the wonderfully wet Godolphin Woods.
I’m not sure who was more eager, Megs or Rocco! Both creatures drawn to the messy muddy puddles like moths to a flame. I chased after them, pretty difficult to keep up with a speedy 10 year old on a mud high and an overly excited 3 year old Golden Retriever on my crutches. I’m not going to lie there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from vaulting in and over puddles to land in a huge splash. On days like these my family have renamed my crutches (annoyingly in the way a lot of the time) as my ESaSA – that stands ‘Extreme Sport and Stunt Apparatus’.
Godolphin Woods is a beautiful National Trust area near Godolphin Manor, triangled between Helston, Hayle and Praa Sands. It’s the most fantastic place to walk a dog and to hang out with the kids for free. There is a winding, well maintained, path through the tall trees from the discreet car park by the river. If you follow the main path you reach a wide field that slants up hill and offers from it’s highest end beautiful views towards Tregonning Hill (another favourite place of ours).
But, Meg and I, we’re not the kind of girls that stick to the path. We want to explore, to climb and today, more than anything, we want to splash in the biggest and muddiest puddles we can find!
Rocco found the best puddle right before the bridge just off the main path. It offered so much fun, there was room for a good run up to really get a proper knees up leaping splashdown, the puddle itself was deep enough to make sure the impact waves created were sufficiently impressive and the water was relatively clear without a seriously sticky bottom. No wellies would be lost to the middle of this puddle. Oh no no no. You see puddle jumping is an art form – some approach it with wild abandon and expose themselves to soggy socks and squelchy bottoms. Not us. We carefully wade through the puddle before committing to the jumps. Often Rocco will wade and wallow to fully inspect it for us. Clever dog or silly puppy – your call – whichever it is, it’s very funny to watch!
So this particular puddle was perfect. After the initial inspection Meg paced out her run up, pulled up her hood in case of the event of over splash muddy hair, and took flight. I know I’m a proud mum and certainly biased, but that girl has an epic leap. Knees pulled up to her chest and arms spread wide, she resembled a flying ninja as she soared through the air towards the centre of the puddle. Drive poling both feet down as she came back to earth there was the most incredibly splash. Waves crashed from her landing up and out, racing away from her in slowly decreasing tides.
Not content with jumping just with Rocco, Meg insisted I give it my best shot. What is a mother to do? I’ll tell you what a mother does, well this mother anyway. This mother does anything to make that grin shine from her child’s mud splattered face. I pace it out, accounting for my ESaSA’s longer strides of course, and take a deep breath. I take off like a fully grown Silverback Gorilla on the hunt, and power my way towards the puddle, much to the delight of my cheering daughter. My leap is spectacular, determined to give her the best show ever and bring in my old teenage gymnastics skills, I raise my legs high in front of me, knees bent and teeth clenched. I’m aware this might hurt, and carefully extend my right leg a little more to take the weight of my landing. It’s carefully calculated to make sure that mid-leap both feet hit the water at the same time, but nanoseconds later my good foot lands first and takes the weight before I end up crumbling into the puddle, knees, bottom, face and all.
I wobble, straighten and present to the judges – in this case my daughter who is laughing so hard she’s red in the face, and a bemused looking puppy who instantly decides to join me in a joyous wagging prance. At this point a delightful elderly couple totter around the path in front of us smiling from ear to ear. They take in my guffawing daughter, my now chocolate retriever and me – standing mid puddle, balanced on one leg with my crutches held proudly pointing to the sky – and bid us good morning. After telling us that they’d heard the laughter and war cries (Meg’s) across the woods, they’d had to come and seek out the cause. We gave them a brief explanation, ‘Ruddy Muddy Puddle Training’, and gave them out best grubbiest smiles. Meg gave them a brief demonstration and after a cheer and a round of applause they went on their way.
We moved on into the woods in search for more puddles, and a visit to our favourite climbing tree.