A lazy long weekend, a boat, a bag of snacks, and hot, hot sun.
Marbled water strung with pearly bubbles.
Branches dipping low to sip at the rippled wake from passing boats.
Boat houses, thatched and neatly groomed, cluster on manicured lawns,
where “Don’t throw stones at this sign” is a warning too tempting to resist.
A flotilla of motor boats in single file chug gently past
the ‘Hunki Dori,’ ‘Too Puggled,’ ‘White Champagne’ and ‘Tarkatoo,’
Make-it-happen’ and ‘Just-the-biz.’
Picnickers roast gently under a denim-blue, stone-washed sky.
Gnarly branches raise alligator noses from the dimpled shallows.
Gluttonous Greylag geese snuffle for scraps like scavenging beagles.
Willow and water lily, beech and blackberry, hawthorn, oak, and nettles
wrangle and rummage for elbow room on crowded banks.
Feather-topped reeds scribble love letters to fish.
A black-headed gull glides over the treetops with bent wing tips,
while upended swans bare frilly bottoms to the sky.
A lone duck bobs, serenely unperturbed, on the rippled surface of the river,
as a solitary bumble bee twizzles busily overhead.
A gaggle of mocha-brown geese gather for a goosey Glastonbury,
herding scrumptiously soft and fluffy goslings
past the canvas shrouds of a riverside campsite.
Marsh marigolds and yellow flags, pale pink dog roses and bridal white cow parsley
fleck the dense and verdant banks with colour.
A dinky marina filled, like a cocktail glass, with swizzle stick masts.
The cloying tang of petrol perpetually clotting our noses.
A leggy, elegant crane swoops swiftly through an obstacle course of
and puttputtpootling two-stroke-motor-boats,
while waterlogged ducks bounce between them like feathery pinballs.
A dozing swan unwinds a serpentine neck and ruffles affronted feathers,
stares snootily down his beak and tuts beneath his breath
at the endless stream of waterborne vessels
clogging his river and disturbing his dreams.
An ice cream van, in boat form,
ladles out flake cones to booted and be-hatted riverbank hikers.
An affectionate breeze wraps itself softly
around my arms and waist like a mohair blanket,
as sheep-ish clouds blot the open and expansive sky.
The persistent drum-drum-drumming throb of the two-stroke engine
drowns out all chance of idle chatter,
until we reach the dock and disembark to humming silence.