Saturday turned out to be an enjoyable day for relaxing.
I got up quite early and managed to potter around a bit before I got in the car at 9:30 for what should have been an hour's trip to Guildford, with me needing to arrive at 11:00, leaving me with half an hour to spare. The streets of London were pretty empty at that time, and the first part of the trip was a joy and I was going to be super early.
Then I ran into just about every traffic jam in existence and I managed to get to Guildford about 45 minutes late. I tried to cut through to the M4 from the A40 after having worked my way onto the Westway, and the North Circular cut through was packed. The M4 was slow going and the M25 went stop-start. *sigh*
Eventually, I arrived at Dapdune Wharf, a National Trust property that encompasses the oldest navigations in the UK. The local people made the Wey river, a tributary of the Thames, navigable from Guildford right up to the Thames in the 1650s, allowing them to ship goods like grain and wood into the ever expanding London, while shipping back manufactured goods and anything else they needed. Later they also shipped gunpowder to London.
The Wharf itself is really picturesque. It's a lovely green area with many preserved buildings and a quaint feel. The NT have done a good job sorting it out, and it's a really pleasant bit of calmness in the middle of a hectic town.
I met one of my house-mate friends from Oxford and his new girlfriend there. He never went out with anyone before, so it was exciting to see who caught his attention. In case you're wondering why Guildford, well, it's equidistant between where both of us live.
We took a boat trip on this lovely electric boat up the river into Guildford. The waterfront there isn't badly developed and it's quite pretty. The electric boat was really quiet, and the bits of wilderness before we hit the town were really relaxing and quiet, so the whole experience was really relaxing, especially when the world just slips by and you have to do nothing.
We grabbed lunch and then went around the Wharf, looking at the old barges, along with displays and models (like the DIY lock gate and the ropes). You can walk into a barge that's on display, which is really claustrophobic because you can't stand up and it's really easy to hit your head, so they give you hard hats.
After that, we went for a walk down the river. This wasn't so nice, because there were lots of roads crossing over, and although we got some wilderness, we were never without the noise of traffic. Still, we got to a nice riverside pub and had something to drink. I tried some of the local cider, which was... very dry.
We walked back, had some ice cream and returned home. The trip back was uneventful and the traffic light, except on the North Circular, where the traffic came to a crawl thanks to some event at Wembley. All the people were leaving the stadium and someone broke down right at the worst spot for it to happen, so the traffic was packed. Fortunately, they were all turning onto the M1/A5 exit, and after that I wasn't troubled by tailbacks again.
I got back in time for the barbecue. B, her daughter A (who I met with earlier in the month) and my cousin were all there, so it was very exciting, and it was nice to have barbecued food on a hot day after all that driving, none of which I had to prepare myself.
Then there was Eurovision, although I missed huge chunks of it, because my cousin cut my hair. Still, I got to vote for the winner this year, which made a nice change.