Today was all about my old Northamptonshire friends; people I've known since I was 15, people who used to meet up with me every Saturday in an old church on the Kettering Road to play music.
We reached Cambridge at 11, bought picnic things and then queued for punts. By the time we arrived, Julie and Sam had booked a punt for a full day, which took away any potential worry about returning at a certain time to save money. It seemed no one was in a hurry to get back to London. There were no children needing to be fed. Everyone seemed quite content to simply be.
We drifted up the Cam towards Grantchester, the sun glaring down on us, our feet dangling in the dark, clear, cooling water. It was magical. I could feel everyone unwinding as the punt slid silently over the glassy surface of the river.
We stopped for a picnic in a field. Ted fell asleep. My parents joined us. In fact, they kept popping up at various stages of our day, prompting Fiona to wonder whether they were wearing jet packs!
I opened gifts; books about the First World War, a beautiful print of a battalion transporting guns and a book of war poems from Ted which we all signed whilst sitting in the Orchard at Grantchester, beloved hang-out of the Bloomsbury set. When you sit in amongst those trees eating cream teas, you're sitting with the ghosts of Virginia Wolf, Rupert Brooke, EM Forester and Maynard Keynes.
As the day went on, a most beautiful light began to descend. Ted fell in the river. We laughed a lot. Kingfishers darted in and out of the trees. My first ever sighting of those mercurial, magical birds. A glorious flash of the brightest aquamarine laced with a vivid salmon colour.
We sang a little. Julie fell asleep. We watched people on the banks. Lovers cooing. Groups of students partying and debating pretentiously. Joggers. Fishermen. The odd naked swimmer. The glorious blue sky was reflected perfectly in the black surface of the river.
We took the punt back at 7pm and sat in a field as the sun set, eating the remnants of our picnic and playing our favourite game, Meryl whilst our sun-reddened faces began to feel a little taught.
We're not quite ready for the day to end, so Ted and Fiona are coming home with us to put a wonderful day to bed with a night cap and some rubbish telly.