The day was, that is. The day was too hot to handle. It was too hot to do any painting, too hot to clean the cratch cover and the taff-rail skirt, too hot to deal with the rust on the gangplank - or any other of the jobs that need to be done.
It was too hot to stay inside the boat, and there's very little shade outside. Going for a nice long walk was right out of the question.
But Grace had a good idea. She often does.
Just twenty minutes' drive from the marina is Coton Manor, a delightful Tudor building with fabulous gardens. The house itself isn't open to the public, but the garden is a must-see.
It's not a huge garden, as many manorial gardens are, but it is superbly managed, very varied, and full of surprises. And, very important today, it has a lot of areas of dappled shade, cool ponds and streams.
One of the surprises was the flamingos. Two pair; one with very rich orange plumage, the other much paler. And there seemed to be a good deal of hostility between the two colours!
There was a mystery duck there, too. Well, five or six of them, actually. Juveniles with no adults around that were recognizably their parents. We've looked them up in our British Birds book since we got back, and on the web, but to no avail. Our best guess would be Ferrugenous ducks, but we're very unsure. Is there anyone out there who can help with this?
And there was this scruffy, colourful creature, too. Any ideas?
It was time very well spent. There's a good Tea Shop that sells a lot more than tea, and we had a good lunch there. We're bound to return in other seasons. It's highly recommended.