Unlike last summer this summer unusually turned into a summer – at least for a while – day after day of hot, cloudless, steamy days. Good timing for those children at private schools as they could be outside to enjoy the week after week of sunshine, but bad timing for those still stuck in the state school system as they had to be locked up in dark classrooms for an extra three weeks. Molly, who goes to the local village primary school, was one of those children itching to be out in the sun rather than carted off to school every morning. The only benefit was our bike-train (eleven-and-a-half-foot long tandem with trailer) school run which gave her a happy sunny burst of cycling in the morning and afternoon – plus after getting back from school at 3.45 she was then outside playing with Daisy and the chickens until bedtime. But no matter how much late-afternoon playtime Molly had to let off steam it still felt wrong to see her disappear every morning behind a closed  door in hot and glorious weather.

So one morning Molly was sitting in the kitchen in her school dress eating scrambled eggs and toast, the already hot sun blazing in through the wide open windows, when I said, ‘Molls, do you want to go to school this morning?’ She looked at me a little quizzically before I said, ‘Or shall we go on an adventure?’

The next thing I was on the phone to the school to report, ‘No Molly today!’ I didn’t lie, I just said no Molly. Simple as that. Half an hour later the bikes and trailer were packed with picnic and beach paraphernalia and we were off on our merry way.

Molly on her Islabike at Bosham harbour.

More Molly at Bosham with Daisy in trailer.

On the path to Itchenor ferry.

Still on the path to Itchenor ferry.

Here it comes!

All aboard!

Still aboard - with bikes and trailers.

Trying to keep up with Molly on the Salterns Way.

Shaded picnic in a clammy 32 degrees.

Half a day later we make it to the beach at West Wittering.

This, or school? Not a difficult choice for Molly.

Back on the jetty at Itchenor, waiting for our ferry man. You hail the ferry by looking up and down the harbour for the little blue and white boat, and, once spotted, you give a hearty wave to the captain and hope he's spotted you.

Still waiting...

Ferry ahoy!

Back on dry land on the other side.

And then we rode home.

Miles cycled: 21; Number of ferries: 2; Number of sandcastles built: 33; Number of mini surfboards bought and stashed to the trailer: 1; Number of clouds spotted: 0; Number of people who said to me, ‘You’ve got your hands full!’: 2; Number of times the ferry man said to me, ‘Try not to give birth on my boat!’: 2 (I’m 3 weeks away from giving birth to mini cyclist Number 3); Number of days off school: 1 lovely one!