What a heavenly day that was. Yesterday, I mean. I know I didn’t feel too enthusiastic when the alarm went off at 5.45 a.m – well, who would? – but it was well worth while.
Yes, yesterday the Smudgelets and I escaped from reality for the day and were magicked away to the dreaming spires of Oxford. The boys were really excited – such an adventure. We drove into Cowes, singing at the top of our voices along with the tape in the car as everybody knows that sweet singing brings the sunshine out. We were laden with clothes for hot weather, clothes for wet weather, clothes for cold weather, first aid kit and entertainment for the journey. Poor Tiddles suffered the indignity of having to carry his winter coat – well, somehow he has to learn not to lose things, doesn’t he, and goodness only knows where he left his summer raincoat.
It was a lovely crossing on the boat. I love living on an Island. Then a smooth journey by train brought us to Oxford in perfect timing. Tiddles was rather proud to be able to mapread his way to the park to meet the others….and we entered through the gate to a chorus of singing from a random choir, to discover Beenster sitting resplendant in the centre of luxurious blankets and cushions awaiting our arrival.
Everyone arrived one after another bearing an assortment of goodies – picnic extraordinaire. All highly healthy stuff such as strawberries and cream, cherries, doughnuts, strawberries, chocolate bites, strawberries, grapes, crisps and strawberries. Oh, and quiche, of course! It was truly divine to sit there eating and chatting and soaking in the glorious sunshine and beautiful music. And so amazing to feel so at home with people we knew only from the internet.
Thence to the river.. a little walk during which a tiring Smudgelet only moaned twenty times, so that wasn’t bad going. Then two punts-worth of Shipmates hit the water. It was the perfect day for it. Tiddles joined the other punt (which was nice for both of us!) while Smudgelet kept me, Jon and Sean company in the one which Sean kindly took control of for us. I use the term “control” in its loosest possible sense, of course. Though it was nice of him to take it so close to the bank so we could see the flowers and the dragonflies close up.
The ducks were at serious risk.. Smudgelet kept enticing them to the side of the boat with bread, and then Sean would aim to squish them against the concrete bank with the side of the punt. The silly birds, no sooner had we got them free, than they swam straight back in again!.
Tiddles’ favourite moment – apart from trying punting, and paddling the boat along – was when he spotted a moorhen nest with baby chicks peeping out from under their mother. Smudgelet’s favourite was when we asked the other boat to come closer and hand over the strawberries, and Mattachu simply threw them one at a time in our general direction.
I had a go at punting… with varying degrees of success. I decided, quite deliberately of course, that it would be cooler in the shade of the trees! And their low-hanging branches were handy for..er.. wiping the sweat from our brows! Besides, I thought bank-to-bank was how you were supposed to travel along the river to get the best out of it. And anyway, I was doing Oxford a favour, sinking all those punts which were obviously manned by tourists. It was disconcerting, though, when I “walked” my hands to the top of the pole, only for the water to run straight down my arm!
I didn’t get as wet as some I could mention, though. A sudden “splash” heralded the arrival of I.A in the water. It didn’t take long to work out how she’d got there, either, as she clambered back into the punt, clambered along, and bodily threw Mark in…. and promptly punted off, leaving him to swim home! 😉 Of course we went rushing to the rescue…. well, we pointed him in the direction of the bank, anyway!
A lovely moment came as we were standing outside the icecream shop. Smudgelet, for whom standing upright is an anathema (sp?), decided to lean against the nearest object. Sadly for him, it was the icecream advertising sign, one of those swingy ones! He found himself unceremoniously dumped on the ground on his bottom, while the sign swung out, swung back and bopped him on the back of his head. He was most indignant!
The journey home was hard – two tired boys and a tired mother on an overcrowded train, and Smudgelet (on my lap) had a fit of the fidgets. We made it home eventually, though, and I didn’t kill either of them, so that’s a plus.
Today has been equally lovely. After a lie in, I picked my sister up from the ferry and we took my Dad out to lunch. A fantastic meal – two types of meat and as much vegetable as you could fit on your plate (or in your stomach). Utterly delicious…. in fact, would you believe we were too full for pudding? We drove up onto the Downs for that and ate rapidly-melting icecream while sitting on a picnic table overlooking the sea in virtually every direction you looked. Wonderful!
Now it’s back down to earth with a bump…. washing, ironing and washing up all to be done in preparation for tomorrow. Might wing it with the lesson plans, though !!!
I’ve enjoyed this weekend.
(PS… typical. I don’t go to the Bryan Adams concert because I have no-one to go with. It’s part of the IOW Rock Festival. Then my friend phones and in the course of the conversation tells me that he is going. His wife was going too but the babysitter couldn’t sit so they GAVE THE TICKET AWAY!!!! Still, I suppose it could have been worse… they could have asked me to babysit!)