Saturday, 18 August 2012

A Perfect Summer's Day

Source for this image here

Oh my goodness!  It has been so hot here today!  But oh, what a perfectly lovely day.

This morning we decided as a family that it was going to be far too beautiful a day not to do something fun.  In England hot sunny days like the one we have enjoyed today are rare, and especially at this end of the summer, when more often we are starting to turn our thoughts to autumn (fall) and all the lovely pleasures that my favourite season of the year brings.  Today it was very definitely summer.  Cloudless blue skies, hot sun and a whole day to do whatever we wanted!  Well, after the supermarket shopping and a trip to the pet superstore (where we saw the cutest brown guinea pig!  He was adorable, but we really do have enough animals at home!) we sat down and discussed what we would like to do, and we settled upon a trip to the gorgeous country park pictured above (that actually is a picture of where we went, but we did not take it).  It is not far from where we live, and although there is a cafe, we decided that rather than come home to eat or pay to dine at the cafe, we would have a picnic!  It was so much fun!  I shall post more about what we had for our picnic meal another time.  Today I haven't much time as the football is on the TV (first game of the season and the menfolk are very happy because their team are featured as the very first televised match this year), and I am going to be busy shortly getting some snacks ready for them to enjoy during half time.

But I will just share a few details about our trip!  It was so perfect.  We didn't walk far as it was just too hot.  But we found a lovely cool spot to sit down and enjoy our picnic and then afterwards we sat and read, prayed, talked and just enjoyed the peacefulness.  The lake that is at the country park is huge, and surrounded by deciduous trees of all kinds.  They were still in their summer clothes of green, but here and there a small yellow or orange leaf spun down to the ground, a tiny hint of the season that waits just around the corner for us.  We all agreed it was far too long since we had visited there before, and that we would have to come more often, and watch the turning of the seasons.  You can walk alongside the lake, or through the trees, and enjoy the beautiful peaceful scenery and the sound of all the different waterbirds that live there.  Today we saw hundreds - yes, literally hundreds - of swans!  They are such gracious, elegant animals.  Close up their white feathers are so pure and clean, like fallen snow, and they move so sleekly in the water, majestic with their long graceful necks.  It was funny watching them dive for food!  All you could see was their pointed tails sticking out of the water!  They ducked down under the surface for minutes at a time, their movements all so slow and measured, I can't imagine them ever moving quickly.  Out of water they are not so elegant and waddle on their huge feet.  They were much bigger than I thought when seen close up, but surprisingly they were very friendly.  I think they were hoping we would feed them, but we didn't - they had plenty to eat in the water.  There were ducks and geese and other waterbirds there, including a huge flock of noisy seagulls, all of them bobbing gently on the surface of the water.  Cubby pointed out that they were all facing in the same directiomn - which did make us laugh!  There were too many of them to count - I think they must have left the seacoast with hardly any today!  We sat and watched the birds for a long time before wandering back to the car.

Of course a summer picnic wouldn't be complete without ice cream, so we stopped at the cafe and had one, then jumped back into our roasting hot car, and drove quickly home to a nice cool apartment.  We don't have air conditioning (it is virtually unheard of in domestic homes in England) but I had thought to close all the curtains to keep out the sun, and this was very effective.  Even so, we all wanted a nice cold bath to cool down.  The car was very hot from being parked in the sun so long!  But it was such a perfect day, no one minded.  We enjoyed it so much.  I am so thankful to God that our sweet family cherishes each other's company so much.  We don't need to do anything fancy or spend lots of money to have a good time - just being together is enough for us!