The Long Walks

I love walking. Always have. Always will. So long as I have legs on which to walk.

Or, as I say to my kids, and paraphrasing Dr Seuss, I have brains in my shoes and feet in my head – so whilst that is all going on, I shall walk.

Encouraging my kids to do the same, however, is not quite as simple as one would like.

See … I just do it. Without thinking. I mean, obviously, if you have the capacity to do it, you do it without thinking. It does tend to be one of those habit forming, subconscious things you just do once you know how.

I mean that if I have to get somewhere, and it is within a reasonable distance, it doesn’t often occur to me to drive.

A reasonable distance is, of course, relative. One K? Not an problem. If it can be walked in half an hour, to me, that is “Walking distance”.

So, the one-k plus walk to school that takes us half an hour is simply a given. Unless I have somewhere else to be, or I have to go via the supermarket on the way home, a walk to school it is.

(This, apparently, also makes me a “good mother“.)

The littlest one, of course, revolts to such suggestions and will range from being overly polite to screaming tantrums and back again in order to not have to walk.

This, for me, is tiring and annoying.

The walk, for him, is tiring and annoying.

Admittedly, he does get very tired during the walk.

I don’t blame the walk. You see, if he simply walked, like a normal person, it would take less time and he wouldn’t get so tired.

Chippie tends to walk like, well, Chippie; the highly (overly?) imaginative child.

In the last week of school last year, several times during the school holidays, and the two times we’ve walked to school this year he has been:

  • a dragon
  • a monstrous nightmare (another sort of dragon)
  • a colossal squid
  • a bewilderbeast (yet another sort of dragon)
  • a vampire squid
  • a box-headed robot (where he walked the entire way home from school with a box over his head)
  • a dinosaur
  • another sort of dinosaur
  • yet another sort of dinosaur
  • a ground whale, which has sharp fins to cut through things in its way and a head made of crystal so it can dig undergroud and lift houses up that are in its way and put them back down with gently with its teeth …


Whilst all of these things are smile-inducing, imaginative, creative and all sorts of things you want them to be, they also cause the walk to be a minimum of four times longer than necessary.

Not for me. Aside from the occasional having to wait, or tripping up over a Chippie who cuts in front of me with no room to spare, I have the capacity to walk in a straight line with a relatively upright posture.

Chippie … well, Chippie on the other hand … you see, it is not possible for a dragon, colossal squid, or box headed robot to walk in a straight line.

A dragon must, of course, fly, so a six-year-old boy will assume the Dragon Flying Position; i.e. bent over at the waist, arms extended. He will then proceed to breath fire, flap his wings and wind his way up the path.

A colossal squid requires regular encouragement, which has me walking up the street saying things like “Hurry up, squid. Squid, squid, squid!” and receiving odd looks from passers by.

Inevitably, the sensible -at least, according to me – suggestion that if we Just Walk In A Straight Line we’d get there quicker and be less tired continues to go unheeded.

So we will continue to walk, and enjoy our highly imaginative, creative, very, very, very long walks …

Chippie walking to school
The approximate path Chippie takes on his way to school.



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