It seems ages since May half term – in reality it’s not but in returning to the schedule of everyday life, our week in Norfolk is now just a pleasant memory as we lurch into the frenetic activity that the end of the academic year undoubtably brings.
We ‘did’ Norfolk on a budget – our activities based around what was on offer in the vicinity of the hotel, using our National Trust memembership and making the most of our Geocaching Premium membership. There are a load of geocaches in North Norfolk and after a morning of rain, we headed to Wells Next The Sea to visit the lifeboat and see if we could find the geocaches that were supposed to be located there.
The day before we left for Norfolk, the good people at Trespass had sent me a waterproof coat to review so I’d duly packed it in the car – only for the first 6 days of our break to be hoodie, rather than waterproof weather. Sunshine, in May half term – who’d have thought it?!
I get through a fair amount of waterproof coats – other people have large collections of shoes/scarves/handbags etc – I have collections of waterproofs for all seasons. I’m convinced that in the “what do you need when you have a baby” list, the line “a decent waterproof coat” should be added – and when I say decent, I mean one that doesn’t have you sweating at the mere idea of putting it on, doesn’t let the water run off and soak your jeans in an embarrassing manner and, ideally, one that you can zip a fleece into in winter. Picky? Moi?
I also like a waterproof that isn’t black or navy – in my Guide Guider capacity, if I am to stand at an event in the middle of a field, ideally I’d like the girls to see that it’s me – I don’t want to blend in. It also helps in the playground at school – although it doesn’t help with the whole camouflage thing for animal photography.
The other thing that’s awkward for me is my size – I’m tall (6′), I have, as I’ve said before, an ample bosom but a small back and I also have hips – I don’t fit standard “lady fit” coats. As a Guider I need a coat that covers my bum – not one that sits trimly at my waist letting the rain happily run down the back of my trousers. Equally, I don’t want to wear something that looks like a bin liner…
Trespass kindly sent me through one of their Walensburg men’s waterproof jackets in Pine green.
In real life it’s definitely more green than the turquoise colour in the picture – but that isn’t a problem for me. The fit is definitely for men – I need an XXL to accommodate the boobs which makes it big on the shoulders but then it’s snug on my hips – but it does keep me warm and dry and that’s very important.
As we set out in Wells to find the lifeboat, the sun was out but the wind was up – with the coat zipped up I was wonderfully windproofed – and the children took great delight in filling up the pockets with as many fossils as they could find.
On we went to find the geocaches – clambering across sand dunes studded with pine trees.
The geocaches are all large (plenty of trackables to be found) and relatively easy to find – our GPS coped far better with the trees than the geocaching app on my phone which was consistently about 5m out. The walk through the woods is lovely – I’m not sure I’d fancy it with a pushchair but for the 4 of us (none of us known for our balance) we found it pretty good going. It was pretty humid in the woods and the best thing was that in the Trespass coat I wasn’t instantly sweaty – the breathability that comes with such a high technical spec in the coat certainly did the job. The difference was noticeable and made our trip out far more pleasant for me.
There is so much scope for imaginative play in these woods and for great learning experiences for all ages with the trees, dunes, birds and nature that is all around you – all the time. Cheetahs, visiting Gruffalo (what is the plural of Gruffalo?), Star Wars zombies and goodness knows what else joined us as we went round.
Just as we found the last geocache the rain clouds that had been gathering decided to dump their contents on us. Up went my hood and once again I was warm, dry and didn’t have the annoying thing that comes with other hoods that they dump the water straight onto my glasses. We returned to the car, I shook the coat – the water ran off it in droplets and I could put it in the car almost dry. Perfect.