Or Frampton-on-Severn lake to be more precise. One of the local sailing clubs had an open day yesterday, with the opportunity to be taken out on a boat. Remembering the family motto, "If it's free, it's for me", we saddled up and headed for the water.
The top picture is the big boys in their boat. Me and the littlest man went in a smaller one together. I tried to ignore the four inches of water in the bottom that was slopping about and getting our feet wet. Everyone had an experienced sailor to take them out, but once we hit our stride we were allowed to pull on ropes and steer a bit, much to the boys' delight. The littlest boy had huge fun making the boat go all over the place. I was trying to control him and keep my feet out of the water and duck when the boom went over and not get my hair tangled up in it and not to slide about too much when the whole thing tipped alarmingly to one side. The boys did the leaning out over the edge thing as well and somehow managed not to fall in. I took my little point-and-shoot camera and almost lost it when I climbed out and it fell onto the pontoon. Thank goodness it didn't fall between the boat and dry land and into the water.
The boys wanted another go, so I took all three of them out in another boat. The sailors were friendly and informative, and happy to let us have a go at driving. There were lots of children sailing by themselves in little boats, and we saw several people we knew from the boys' school. All in all it was a wonderful afternoon; something different to do, somewhere different to visit - we didn't even know the lake existed - and a great new experience. I'm so grateful that people put in the time and effort to make events like this such a success.
On Friday I made a quick trip to the allotment to see if there was anything to harvest. Once I was there, and the squeaky gate was closed, it felt, as it often does, like a whole other world. The sun came out and the bees were everywhere collecting nectar to see them through the winter.
For various reasons I felt very pensive, and I spent longer than I should have just pottering around, looking, thinking and taking a few pictures with my little camera, which is often the only one I take to the plot. Change is hard. Loss is hard. But just as I had news of a death (not someone I knew particularly well, but enough to make me stop and draw breath), I had news of a friend's pregnancy as well. The flowers were still blooming. The bees were still buzzing. And they will, on and on, year after year. At a glance everything looked the same. I took a deep breath and snapped out of it. Finding the joy in every day is the key I think.
There are still things to harvest.
The crystal lemon cucumbers (top right, under the little yellow courgette) have been incredibly prolific. I did think I might not grow them again because they're not hugely convenient to use, but in fact maybe I will, just because of the sheer volume of the crop.
The Amazing Courgette plant is still producing courgettes, although more slowly now.
You can see that it's escaped for the plot and is headed off across the grass now. I saw courgettes trained vertically up canes on another plot. They were incredibly neat had lots of air and light around them. Elsewhere I have more chillies than I really know what to do with. This was a 99p plant I got from Aldi a few weeks ago. It was already a good size and covered with flowers and fruitlets. Aldi always let their plants dry out - I'm not sure why, but no-one ever waters them, so they go past their prime very quickly and then they're reduced. The chilli recovered beautifully, but two tomatoes I also bought at the same time never really recovered.
We're off out somewhere this afternoon, to make the most of the warm weather. It's the Autumn Equinox today, the tipping point as the nights start to become longer than the days. But the forecast is for a warm bright day, so I will be making the most of everything. We will do some football and a birthday party this morning, and go out and enjoy each other's company after lunch. As my friend would say, happy days. Hope you have one too.