Despite being from Africa, I don't do very hot weather very well. I long to live somewhere warm, where flip flops and t-shirts are the order of the day, but with a gentle cooling breeze making it all bearable, rather than oppressive.
Which is why England on a sunny summer's day is about as good as it gets. Honestly (to you lot with raised eyebrows). You wake up to a dawn chorus, with a perfectly blue sky and a sun that promises a day full of potential. So often in this country, you are faced with a choice of wet, grey or cold, or possibly a combination of all three. It doesn't inspire adventure or the sense of opportunity that a sunny day does. When there is sun, the whole world opens up.
So with 3 whole days (that happened to coincide with a weekend!) of glorious sunshine, we were all set for perfection. And it would have been had my husband been in the country instead of me being a single parent. But despite this one small snag, it was exactly as a weekend should be.
It started with friends to play on Friday afternoon while the mummies sat in the sun sipping on chilled drinks. The kids got to swim in the newly opened pool. The same pool that one short month ago was home to 8 frogs (all now sadly perished from a choline overdose) and was almost solid green with multiple congealed worms floating in it. But after 30 days of hard graft on my part (again, someone tell me why the pool is my job?) it is now sparkling blue, if a little chilly. After swimming (them) and chatting (me), Son1 went off to football practice in the evening while son2 and I vegged out enjoying the evening sunlight.
Saturday - and another morning that you could write poems about. Morning cartoons for the boys, a long hard session on the cross trainer for me, setting me up for a day of virtuousness which meant I could eat with impunity. And indeed I did.
Then off to our first ever cricket practice at the brand new cricket club in the neighbouring village. I sat in the sun with my Saturday paper wearing a sun hat and occassionally giving a little clap when the boys got close to a ball. If I'd taken a flask of tea and a few scones with jam and cream, it would have been perfection. What's more I got to talk to other adults. This is always a novelty given that I work at home on my own and seldom leave the village, even to get groceries (see previous post).
Grilled sandwiches on the BBQ for lunch, followed by the friends who live over the road coming round and the boys spending all afternoon in the pool. And then another BBQ for dinner (because if it's BBQ weather, we SHALL BBQ). And then a quiet evening on my own with a chilled bottle of chablis and full control of the TV remote.
Sunday morning. And possibly even more glorious that the one just gone. French toast with syrup and cinnamon for the boys (something slightly less calorific for me) before heading out to the nearby nature reserve for a bike ride with friends. I didn't bother to do any exercise this morning as I knew what was coming up. Attempting to teach son2 to ride a bike without stabilisers. I challenge anyone to come up with something more strenuous that running semi- crouched holding someone upright.
Then back home for - you guessed it - a BBQ! Sausages and garlic bread this time. And then more swimming in the pool, the boys climbing over the fence to go fetch their friends from across the road, them racing over, all of them shrieking and splashing and generally having a ball while I got to read the Sunday papers. Eventually even I was too hot to stay out of the water and spent ages chashing the boys around the pool.
We finally all lay on a big blanket in the garden, drying out. The lazy heat of the late afternoon sun, combined with the gentle breeze left me feeling all tingly as my body tried to figure out if it was hot or cold. Eventually it settled on sleepy and I drifted off with my son lying in my arms.
And now, I'm just about to put two small boys to bed before I head off to the local pub with an all-girl team for the pub quiz, which will involve wine and other things not approved by weight-watchers.
It has been lovely. Utterly lovely. Carefree, spontaneous and exactly the way I want my children to remember their childhoods. May all weekends be as good as this.