As I sit and type, I feel something I haven't felt for quite some time. It's the warm, slightly taut, prickly sensation you get on your skin when it's caught the sun. And it's lovely. Much like today was, because SHOCK! HORROR! ALERT THE MEDIA!, the sun actually shone. Admittedly it was what weatherman calls 'sunny spells' so hardly consistent and when the sun went behind the clouds, I was tempted to reach for a jumper. But still, the spells that were sunny definitely constituted a summer's day. I think that makes it three so far this year.
To celebrate, the boys and I spent most of it lying on a picnic blanket in the garden. Well I lay on it, they hurled themselves at me, wasted most of the sunblock on 'painting' each other and shouted at bugs that deigned to crawl on the rug (which I didn't mind).
I also had a moment of complete nostalgia. I set up the garden sprinkler thing that waves backwards and forward spraying water out in a fan shape. The two of them charged through it stark naked, shrieking in delight. It took me straight back to my childhood. Particularly the part when they decided to bring the sprinkler over to mummy , which resulted in more shrieking, only there was a bit less delight involved.
As husband hopped on a plane to enjoy a week of sleeping late in a hotel and long boozy dinners in the evenings, obviously interspersed with 'work', I decided to prove that I can be thoroughly self sufficient as a single mother and managed to rustle up a lunchtime BBQ. That's not quite as taxing as it sounds as I didn't have to rub two twigs together to get a fire started or even use firelighters and charcoal. I simply had to turn the knob on the gas grill, but still, that's normally husband's job so I got a small moment of omnipotence as I stood manfully turning sausages. (It also reinforced what I already secretly knew - that BBQing meat is easy yet men make it out to be A VERY IMPORTANT JOB THAT ONLY MEN CAN DO - so that women get to prepare everything else with all the credit going to the man with the tongs.)
I'd also spent much of the morning manually vacumming our swimming pool. Let me stop right here in case you think we're landed gentry with a butler called Jeeves. We're not. We just happened to buy a house that has a swimming pool. It was built in the early 80s and hasn't been updated since. I'd ignore it or add fish to it, except that having two small boys who might appreciate it once they progress out of armbands, means that I spend many, many hours trying to figure out how to make it blue. In the last month we've had to change the filter sand and pay £500 for a new pool pump. Now our automatic pool cleaner has died and the pool guy thinks its because an impeller has gone in the cleaner pump (I'll bet that sounds as though I know what I'm talking about. I don't.)
Which means that I have to manually vacuum it. Like vacumming a house that has two very mucky boys isn't enough. It is a somewhat therapeutic pastime, if only I wasn't constantly yelling at the boys to get their hands out of the pool chemicals or to stop leaning precariously over the deep end.
(I'll interrupt this pool story to tell you another one. Last week when Andy the pool guy was here, he helped me fish a dead mouse out of the pool. Chuckling at my squeamishness he said: 'That's nothing mate. I've just come from a pool with a dead cow in it.' Apparently the people who owned the pool had been away for a week. Their pool lies next to a field, home to several cows. One cow, in a bid for freedom or just bovine stupidity, managed to escape, charge across the pool cover before sinking into its watery grave. It's now spent a week getting nice and bloated. Andy was about to go join the fire brigade to try and remove the cow while trying not to burst it. Because if it burst, the pool owners would have a terrific cleaning job on their hands, making my paltry efforts pale in comparison. I can only imagine the poor pool owners popping out for a morning dip, rolling back the cover to find a bloated haunch of beef bobbing in the pool. Must have put them right off their breakfast.)
Anyway, back to why I've blathered on about the pool. Because having finally gotten it to a point where it is mostly clean, mostly blue and mostly warm, I thought it was time we actually swam in it. And so we did. Well I did. The children sat on the edge and wailed until I pulled one of them in, which resulted in even more tremendous wails until he realised that is was actually quite pleasant.
So a combination of sun, swimming, sun tanning, sprinkler running throughing, BBQing, crazy dancing to my new '101 sounds of summer' compilation CD - earmarked for use at our summer party taking place in two weeks time - including doing the Macarena much to the boys bemusement, it was all a rather lovely day.
There was only one real blight on the whole thing (well besides the odd lurking cloud and a two year old who got overtired and whingey mid afternoon). Me...in...a...bikini.
It's official. I am vile. I knew things had gone a bit pear shaped (literally) of late due to lack of exercise from sprained ankle. But looking at me in the bright sunshine today, I realised that I cannot blame my ankle on the state of my flab-tastic body. There is not one bit that is toned. This is years of abuse I feel, coupled with carrying two children in my belly. I look like a rather plump uncooked pork sausage. It's not pretty. Something has to be done. What, I'm not sure. But I am sliding into middle age hitting every cellulite bump on the way through.
Although, come to think of it, realistically it's not really too much of a train smash. I mean it's only 3 days a year that I'm going to be seen in public with very little clothing on anyway. If we move to the tropics, I might have take the self improvement venture a bit more seriously. But for now, I think I'll eat another left over chicken goujon from the kids supper and wash it down with a glass of wine. We've had summer now. Bring on the winter pies.
P.S. A footnote. Just finished bathing children and getting them into bed. I was told that they want to move house. I asked why. They said they would like to leave this house to the bugs. Again I asked why. 'Because, the bugs keep coming into our house through a hole somewhere and we don't like bugs. Specially beetles and spiders. So they can have this house and we'll get a new one.' I'm not sure anyone has mentioned the economic downturn to them...