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Sometimes, in the spring and summer, I wonder what to do with the children in our free time.
In the winter it’s easy peasy. It’s freezing cold and/or raining, so we hide away indoors, whether that’s at home with movies or at soft play or swimming. We might be in indoor slide/ball-pit hell (there’s always one kid who wees in there), but it’s job done.
But then when the sun’s out we have such a wealth of outdoor options available to us. There’s warmth! Grass! Activities! And, as one of those people who is just a terrible decision maker, it’s sometimes hard to decide just what to do when we fancy being wholesome and outdoorsy.
When I was a child we had some wonderful times with the sun out. I remember like it was yesterday, summer afternoons after school, dive-bombing into our friend’s pool in the back garden and getting lost in the maze at the amazing Ragley Hall, where my mum had a season ticket (not to be confused with Ragdale Hall, which is far more of an adults playground…).
One thing I remember vividly from those sunny days, apart from grass stains on summer dresses and never getting as out of breath as I do now when I run up the stairs, were the picnics.
We’d pack up the car – and when I say we I mean my mum, quite obviously – with marmite sandwiches, salt and vinegar crisps, fruit and orange squash, and would head to the lake at Ragley Hall. Mum would sit on the picnic blanket chatting to her friend with a thermos of coffee while us kids charged off, working up an appetite in the play area and maze.
These picnics are something I love to replicate now. We might live a couple of hours away from the original picnic venue of Ragley Hall (I must go back one of these days!) but I still really want to leave my children with the happy sunny memories that I grew up with – even if it seems to rain way more often at the moment.
And so we picnic! We picnic inside in the autumn and winter, we picnic outside in the spring and summer, we picnic at home and at other’s people’s homes. If there’s grass for our blanket and some Waitrose sausage rolls in our basket then we’re golden. WE LOVE PICNICS!
We picnicked last week for the Queen’s birthday. It seemed like the perfect occasion: we were all feeling festive, the sun was shining (ish…) and it was about time we spent some quality time with each other (and the content of our picnic basket).
And so we roped in my mum (who is learning photography so jumped behind the camera), packed up the car – there was more quiche than marmite sandwich to be honest ;) – and hot-footed it to her garden after school.
It was great fun! The kids didn’t get to race around Ragdale Hall but they did have a good old trampoline bounce, before we all found ourselves on the rug munching on sausage rolls and swigging squash.
We’ll be doing the same this Bank Holiday Monday. In celebration of a whole day off work (and Elfie’s school maypole display) the picnic basket will be resurrected, as will our favourite jug and fingers crossed the sunglasses, too. We’ll spend a lazy day wandering to the village green, buying back the cakes I iced the night before from the PTA stall, before racing home for more garden lounging, sausage rolls and sandwiches. And maybe even Pimms, if we’re lucky.
Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!
Thank-you to Debenhams for kitting out our Spring Picnic.