triskellian: (swimming)
[personal profile] triskellian
This weekend's contenders for best. thing. evar. are as follows:

  • swimming in the river under a clear starry sky, with occasional meteors
  • making Eton mess in a billy can
  • the ice cream boat!

[ profile] kauket and I formed a crazy plan to spend a weekend camping and swimming somewhere halfway between Oxford and London, so on Friday evening after work, I picked her up at an intermediate train station, and we went off to set up home on a campsite next to the Thames. We managed eight swims in the river - one straight after we'd put the tent up on Friday, four on Saturday, and three today. We were also menaced by adolescent mallards, threatened by swans, accosted by a horde of Canadian geese, and avoided by moorhens.

The first contender for best. thing. evar. was our two night swims on Saturday. The sky kept alternately clouding over and clearing up, but was obligingly clear both times we were in the water, with stars so bright the river reflected them. Between us we could only identify about four constellations, so we just pointed those out to each other from time to time, to maintain the pretence that we weren't just lying in the water staring in awe at the sky and watching for meteors, of which we saw several.

The second contender was our post-swim pudding. We'd brought strawberries, raspberries, meringues and creme fraiche, but had forgotten to bring anything to mix it in. Fortunately, we had brought billy cans! Something about this struck us as hilarious at the time, so we ate it through uncontrollable giggles. The resourceful billy cans were also pressed into service as stove and barbecue stands, but the Eton mess was their finest hour.

Today, after we'd packed up the tent and all our stuff and crammed it back into the car, we parked in the village and walked back to the river, where there were now many family-day-out groups playing games and barbecuing. We swam until we thought we were getting too cold, then got out and sat knitting on the bank until we were getting too hot, and then went back in the water, three times in total. On the third time, we saw a boat approaching with an enormous ice cream cone mounted on its roof and, as it got closer, we also saw all of the other equipment more usually found in a van. Assuming it served the boat trade rather than the shore, we tried to work out if it was possible to swim out to it holding paper money (all our metal money was in the car), and then swim back with ice cream cones, but concluded it wasn't. However, when the people on the shore saw it, all the children started shouting "ice cream!", and the boat turned around, went in as close to the shore as it could (grounding itself to do so), and sold ice cream to anyone prepared to wade out (or swim in) to it :-)

I can report that it is not possible to eat an ice cream cone in water you can't stand up in, although I suspect it would be possible with ice cream in a cup, because the problem is the vertical distance between mouth and water. Also, cups don't mind as much if they get a bit splashed. And might even float…

So although the first contender was awe-inspiring to experience, and the second was hilarious (at the time), I think the third contender will be given this weekend's best. thing. evar. award, because it's the one that's easiest to appreciate by people who weren't there ;-) Congratulations, ice cream boat! You are the best. thing. evar!

(Pictures on Flickr.)
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