Saturday, 1 July 2017

Nathan's birthday

It was Nathan's birthday yesterday and we went to Cambridge for the day with Abbie. It was somewhat overcast, so we didn't rush to get there, and actually only did about an hour punting on the river. I forget how quiet the river can be on a week day in the summer. I reckon we can only have passed five or six other punts and a couple of canoes. Punting uses a set of muscles which don't get a great amount of usage in everyday life, so there's always that feeling afterwards that you might be coming down with something! It was, nevertheless, hugely relaxing. The cool water lapping the underside of the boat, the trees rustling overhead, cows braying, birds chattering, the distant sound of children laughing...

We went to Thaxted afterwards, via an Aldi in Saffron Walden. Aldis never cease to amaze me. Everything is so cheap, but woe-betide anyone going in there in a search for something specific. Shopping in Aldi requires one to master the art of Zen. You have to clear your mind of any preconceptions and merely allow yourself to be carried through the aisles purchasing things you didn't realise you wanted and will never see again. 

We had a lovely time in Thaxted. My brother was there and the parents had invited our friends Sally and Stuart over with the kids, who were sporting home-made woollen beards in honour of Nathan. My mother had bought Nathan lots of little flavoured balls which you drop into glasses of Prosecco and the like. You're meant to suck them up through a straw, at which point they burst in your mouth. Great fun, although I'm not sure they tasted very nice. It was like having frogspawn in your mouth. It was also slightly off-putting to learn that the film on the outside of the balls was made of seaweed, which is no doubt why it doesn't burst or corrode whilst it's sitting at the bottom of a glass, but the moment I learned it was seaweed, I couldn't get the thought out of my mind.

We had tea in the Swan pub. I wanted macaroni cheese (or Mac 'n Cheese as everyone's suddenly and unacceptably calling it these days). They'd run out. I had a quinoa burger instead which was fairly heavy-going! Young Cate drew a picture of Nathan whilst sitting at the table, which she presented to him at the end of the meal. We all agreed that it was a very good likeness. Cate's older sister, Sky, who's about ten, has started knitting. Nathan was impressed by her technique.

We returned home to eat my mother's delicious chocolate and orange cake before Abbie and I took a little stroll down to the magic place, for a little top up of the universe's energy. It's been a fairly exhausting few weeks. I could do with all the help I can get at the moment.

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