Felix leaped into our bedroom with the enthusiasm borne of one who is going to a party today.
We kitted him out for play and wrapped the latest Lego kit in bright birthday paper. Felix festooned his friend’s card with words and pictures and then, all in an instant, he and Phil were gone.
And my daughter was gone with them. She had a present to buy too. She must find something suitable for a friend, for she had her first invitation to a senior school party.
The present bought, we discussed The Outfit.
Rummaging in her wardrobe, we found the perfect thing: a woollen top with crotcheted neckline in blues and violets and aquas, and a lovely violet shrug to match. A quick trip to the shops bore more fruit: the most perfect pair of pale green brocade pumps and violet leggings.
We perused the shop’s hair ornaments. Maddie chose a pair of brightly coloured butterflies on clips. Made of gauzy nylon, coloured like the rainbow and dusted with sparkle, they were a flamboyant accessory which made the outfit.
Felix came home, bounding about like some chimp escaped from the zoo. He was delighted with his morning, and full of fast food; and he bore some very special party favours.
He had returned home with 100 potential water bombs.
For those of you not in the know, these are very small balloons which ones fills (using a blokey technical attachment) with water and drops from a great height.
There was a short interlude in which he solved the problem of how to fix the filling nozzle to a litre coke bottle full of water. And then he disappeared, stationing Maddie in the garden as water bomb sentry.
It was not long before he was experimenting from the first floor window, exploding ever larger and more extravagant water bombs on the patio below.
Meanwhile, I kidnapped the sentry. It was time to get ready: we styled hair and the sparkly butterflies were clipped into place. We primed the satnav and headed off for the party.
The thing about satnavs is: you never quite know where they are going to take you. Today we found ourselves going through Sonning, on this, one solitary sunny day in the midst of all the torrential rain.
And our eyes grew wider and wider as the lanes grew narrower and narrower, the houses more and more palatial. The lawns were impossibly green and poppies bobbed in the hedgerows. This was the England you saw in all the Marple mysteries. Affluent England, spacious England, the greenest and most pleasant of lands.
We skirted the willowy Thames and ooh-ed and aahed. We passed a public school where young men were playing cricket in pristine whites which positively glowed in the home counties sunshine.
After the most impossible number of windy-bendy-twisty-turny emerald hedgerowed lanes, we arrived at the village hall in question.
An arts-and-crafts village hall in the centre of farmland, we eyed the ponies grazing in the field opposite. And then we walked to the door.
And suddenly, she was gone. Disappeared into a dark fairy-lit hall without a backwards glance. And I was alone with my satav.
Returning to the car, I observed the two sparkly butterflies neatly placed on the seat. A reversed decision: a little too flamboyant for today, perhaps.
My daughter already makes her own decisions.