I lay out the blanket, pour myself a coffee in the early morning sunshine and listen to the rush of water beside me. The sun is already caressing my skin, warmth seeping over my shoulders, my jumper already discarded beside me.
The boys are pond dipping. There are no tiddlers in sight as there usually are, so instead, the boys race leaves down the overflow pipe. Two ducks loiter; swimming just out of reach, waiting to see if we brought them any breakfast.
Within moments the first shout of ‘Mum! I’ve got one!’ rings out. And from there, one after another gets unceremoniously dumped in the pot. Pond snails are turfed in, too.
The bees glide lazily from plant to plant, the dainty white flowers of the blackberries looking altogether too fragile for such a hardy plant.
After a couple of hours, the boys decide they’ve caught enough fish and they pour them gently back into the water.
‘Goodbye little fishes. Thank you.’
We trail through the woods taking a path we’ve never noticed before and we come to a little clearing with a giant oak tree draped flamboyantly over the water. It is the perfect place for the hammock and the boys take turns in it, swinging each other and picking their way through sandwiches and strawberries. I pour myself a coffee, perching myself on a branch covered with lichen.
The silence is deafening. We’ve been here 4 hours and not seen another soul. Instead we watch the dragonflies dance, a mouse scurries under a bench and the boys overturn rotting wood looking for mini beasts.
Pond nets still dripping and tangled with pond weed, the boys traipse back to the car. The little one changes his trousers before strapping himself in. If anyone will fall in the water, it’ll always be him. I’m presented with a chubby fistful of oxeye daisies and a solitary buttercup, and life is good.