Being British, I don’t usually celebrate the 4th of July. However, one year, some American friends of ours were staying in Cambridge, England, and we decided to arrange a celebration for them.
We hired (rented) two punts (a cross between a barge and a boat) between the five couples, to travel gently up the river Cam and have a picnic. We were all dressed in traditional English summer wear (think Brideshead Revisited), and we’d brought plenty of food and wine, and an awning to sit under to protect ourselves from the sun.
The men took it in turns to gently propel the boats with the punt poles (which is not as easy as it seems), and the women sat back under our sunhats to enjoy the ride, giggling nervously as the boats wobbled with each change of pilot. The punts traveled along side by side, and the conversation flowed gently between them, mirroring the river beneath.
When we were about half way along our journey, the sunshine gave way to a torrential downpour. We hastily maneuvered the punts towards a grassy area of riverbank and climbed ashore, erected the awning, and scurried inside with the picnic hampers. It was very cozy. Our friends had brought along bunting and American flags, which we damply hung around the frame of the awning, in due celebration.
We shared our magnificent picnics with each other, and really enjoyed the makeshift celebration. Passing punters waved at us and shouted out ‘happy birthday’ (an understandable assumption, since we don’t generally celebrate the 4th of July in England).
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