Backyard adventures

Sometimes (only sometimes) it’s not about getting away – it’s about making the most of your own back yard.

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We don’t have a back yard (yet), despite years of dreaming of one. But we do have a park next door.

All I want is a garden to have BBQs in. To sit and read the paper in the sunshine in. To have dinner al fresco in. We’ve lived in 4 different flats in the last 5 years, and I really, really hoped that by the time it came to actually buying a place, a little patch of Outside would be a non-negotioable.

Not quite. Not yet anyway. We live on the third floor. We don’t even have windowsills for me to attempt to grow herbs on. But – that doesn’t mean we can’t have the al fresco fun I dream of. We just have to think a little differently.

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Therefore: park BBQ. We weren’t 100% sure if it was technically allowed, but we didn’t scorch any grass, put all our rubbish in the bins, and were fairly reliably informed that all the rangers clock off at 5pm.

Is there anything better than the first bite of your first hot dog at your first BBQ of the year? I think not.

My travel daydreaming can leave me at risk of never living in the moment. I’m always planning and plotting and making lists that all start “One day….”. Well, I’ve realised, “today” can be “one day”. There is a way to balance long term plans with short term fun times. You just have to grab an opportunity when it arrives. For example, the hottest June day in 20-odd years, and a park next door.

I was out for a run the other day (again in said park – working part-time means I’ve pretty much lived there the last few weeks) and had another realisation. We’ve always said how nice it would be to live somewhere where there’s lots on our doorstep: coffee shops or little delis and things that we can walk to, a nice pub to make our local, nice places to go for a run, friends we can just ring up spontaneously to see if they fancy hanging out. And I realised…. We actually already have that. Right now.

I’ve spent so long waiting to move out of Cardiff, to that mythical place with all those things… that I haven’t really made the most of what I already have. So this summer, things will be different. I can have a BBQ summer, even if I don’t have a garden to put the BBQ in. Instead of waiting for things to be perfect, to move to this beautiful imaginary neighbourhood where everything will be great (and within walking distance)… I’ll just make the most of the one I already have.

I was made redundant a few months ago, from a difficult job which had left me in a difficult place. Sometimes, when you’re in that place for a little while, that becomes your normal, and it’s only really now that I’m realising life doesn’t actually have to be like that.

Instead of talking about how we should make the most of our time, and do the things that make us happy and, by extension, then I’ll be happy… I’m going to just do it. I am doing it. And I am happy 🙂

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