'F*CK OFF !!!!'
Oh yes! the jolly teenage alarm has gone off, it's 10 a.m. teenage dawn, and Offsprog 1 is up for the weekend to celebrate Offsprog 2's birthday.
Yesterday, I got up, looked at the cold grey rain and phoned to cancel our boat trip up the Thames.
As soon as I had, I changed my mind, bellowed at the girls to get them out of bed, rammed a few picnic things into a basket (plus a flask of tepid soup) and off we went to Datchet and a little electric boat, max speed 20 mph, for a chilly and wet pootle upriver.
We were rewarded straight away by the sighting of a kingfisher, iridescent blue on its way down and iridescent bronze on its way back up to its branch, a silver fish drooping from its beak.
There was little traffic on the river, meaning that there were hundreds of birds and very friendly lock-keepers.
A pleasure-boat took great pleasure in the girls; leering teeth glowed in the gloom behind the plastic rain-cover as they swirled round for another look.
We couldn't accelerate away, so we slowed down to a creeping pace to avoid them, and watched the cormorants posing stiffly with their wide wings, herons perched like statues on rotten posts that emerged from the currents, a crowd of swans mexican waving in an odd rhythm as they vied to be first in line for crumbs thrown by an elderly couple, ducks of all colours flying, up-tailing, swimming straight towards us and then darting away again.
We swapped gloves as the cold sodden rope made our hands red and chapped; we snapped French bread into scrumptious sections and ate sinful amounts of chocolate.
One lock-keeper, amused by Offsprog 1's photography project of signs and symbols, went off and found her a laminated poster he'd been removing regularly from fence-posts- doggydating.com.
Nobody was sure if it was a pervy site or one for romantic liasons between pet-owners!
We got as far as the Brunel Bridge at Maidenhead, where I disembarked and yelled a song at the magic brickwork, which yelled it back to me again.
On the way back to Datchet, we inspected the velvety green lawns and topiary of the seriously-rich, whose Agatha-Christie houses back on to the Thames. We passed narrowboats with serious captains, fancy little cruisers with posh chaps at the helm, and a big steel boat that the lock keeper advised us to follow into the lock in case it smashed us to smithereens.
Although it was bloody cold, it was a fantastically relaxing way to spend the day- we were out for five and a half hours, and it's taken me till this morning to feel warm again!