Many people have different ways of celebrating the arrival of spring and then summer. Some gingerly remove the clasps on their convertible roofs and push the lever that liberates their car from it's winter hibernation. Others choose to mark the occasion by freezing their bodies in early morning swims in Hyde Park's Serpantine lake.
I take a different tact. I slip one band's music into my car stereo and as I'm listening to the Beach Boys' "All Summer Long" CD, I know that the wonderful season we all crave for can't be that far away.
Let's talk about the last two days, because in the parlance of the Boys, they have indeed been filled with a lot of fun.
On Sunday, my parents and I (Dana was unfortunately unable to join us) took the girls to Regents Park, a location that holds many fond childhood memories. The experience that I wished to share with them was that of boating on the lake. After waiting in line for a tad too long, we finally got into our row boat - we could have gone for the paddlers, but believe me, it's half as much fun - and set off across the lake.
When I say "set off", maybe I am being a little too generous. I tried, Lord I tried, to do the rowing, but with four very willful young ladies in tow, I didn't stand much of a chance. In my naivete, I offered to teach them how to row. Not a great idea, because I was soon thrown to the back of the boat, whilst my wonderful daughters took it in turn to steer the boat, mostly in a 360 degree formation, around the same part of the lake.
As we turned round and round (and round), I finally managed to overpower the mutineers (whatever you do, don't call me Bligh) and regain control of the boat. This lasted until the second successful attempt by the girls to replace me and I only finally managed to make my way back to the oars, as we were about to head for the shore. The girls had one thing in mind, a goal that I was not keen to achieve - to tip the boat over and swim to shore, hence their menacing attempts to sit on the same side and give me a damn hard time trying to balance the boat.
I'm happy to say that I managed to get us back, without any "man/overboards" to blot out the glory of the adventure.
Yesterday, I think we even managed to top the fun by taking the girls (this time, we all went as a family unit) to the magical Cadbury World attraction in Birmingham.
This has been Dana's idea and I'd booked in advance, so I knew that we had to get there by a certain time, which we did, although not with as wide a time margin as I had hoped. The attraction was great. The people there gave us free chocolate samples as though they were going out of style. The highlights were numerous but for me the splendifirous experience of having chocolate wafting through my nostrils as I walked around the factory section is I think the closest I've ever reached to heaven. I've never been high, but I think this is what it must feel like!
The day was a couple of notches from being perfect. I therefore knew that something had to go wrong and indeed it did on the way home. I tried my best to drive us out of Birmingham but a nagging sensation inside me felt the need to show the girls the infamous Spaghetti Junction. You know that they say you should never wish to much for something because you just might get it....well, let's put it this way, we did find ourselves on the notorious monstrosity and I'd gone to heaven a few hours earlier, this was surely an earthly incarnation of hell.
After numerous attempts to get back on the straight and narrow (road to London), I finally got us there and the dreaded Bank Holiday traffic that could have been, wasn't too bad. We arrived home, tired yet exhilarated - it had been a wonderful day.
Fun fun fun?