At 3.30am there was a frantic hammering on the front door. I opened the door to some very apologetic drunken lads - it turned out that the drunkard upstairs had (for some reason) been entrusted with everyone's keys and had come home with them all.
With keys eventually sorted everyone went back to their respective pits. At 8am I was woken by a phone call. The Brighton contingent was wondering if the Duck Race was still on. Quite frankly so was I. But idiot enthusiasm usually trumps common sense and we decided to stick with the day's original plan. As I tried to doze off again, so several text messages came in; all asking about the Duck Race. As I had a spot of brekkie I desperately hoped the Duck Race was still on.
And so, with a sense of hope we picked up Steve and Sarah and set off to Smarden. The Brightonians had already arrived at the Farm, as had nearly everyone else, and after a quick cuppa we made our way into the village where another of our number was waiting. I'd been worried about today - a lot of people had cried off with other commitments: was anyone going to come? But in the end over a dozen of us queued up to buy our ducks. For a quid we got a numbered plastic duck. And then nine hundred of these numbered plastic ducks were chucked into the river a hundred yards upstream of the bridge. The first duck to the bridge would win the prize. We stood by the river's edge and cheered for our ducks. I hollered and bellowed for duck #823, but duck #823 did not win. Which was a shame. Mind you, winning isn't everything. Just being there for the duck race was quite sufficient.
And so back to the farm. The plan was far a barbie, and despite the weather a barbie is what we had. There were a few spots of rain, but I've barbied in far worse over the years. And having eaten far too much and suitably replete we wandered across the fields to see the aminals and fishes. And then, having said goodbye to some of our number, an advance party for the planned June camp made its way to Dering farm to check out the lie of the land. With quite a major camp planned for a few weeks' time, we thought it a good idea to see where we would be camping. I'd not been down to the lower field at Dering farm for years - it has potential.
And all too soon it was time to come home: a shame - I'd had a great day with family and friends, and there are some friends I see far too infrequently. And from one group of friends I don't see enough of, we went round to see others we also don't see often enough. Today marked ten years since Heather and Andy got married. I was there for the wedding, and this evening saw a little soiree to celebrate. It was a really good evening with friends; and again all too soon it was time to come home.
There have been days in my life that I couldn't wait to be over; today could have lasted a lot longer....