So, this past Sunday was designated ‘The Big Lunch day, which was a campaign that set out to encourage people to get together and have group lunches – street parties, picnics, barbecues with their neighbours – all in the name of building stronger communities.
Now, I realise that it’s totally missing the point of the thing to drive a couple of hours over to my parent’s to have lunch with their neighbours, and that it’s missing the point with a cherry on top to then ask my best friend to drive an hour or so from the other direction to meet us for lunch, but opportunities to hang out with my family, chosen and blood, are not to be ignored.
The Big Lunch for my parent’s village was a hog-roast in the churchyard – a more food-oriented version of the Village Fair, in a way, with several familiar elements (the tents and gazebos, the bouncy castles, the twelve year old from the local school who not only wrangled the sound system but also stage managed the entertainments)
The local pub provided the beer tent, and local families chipped in salads, sides, and some mighty and delicious cakes for desert. Plenty of sharing of garden chairs and picnic blankets and so on. They got a good turn out too – most of the village, plus some family and guests – and I think they hit the desired note of ‘we’re all working together and having fun’.
A good day, then?
However: this is England, in July. That means, of course, it rained at us – not continuously, but in short, sharp, hard showers.
There does come a point, though, when you are sitting there, eating your picnic, under your umbrella, in the rain, in a church yard with bunting and bouncy castles, and the sound system delivers Elgar, when you and your family and your best friend are struck by just how stereotypically English the whole thing is, and contract the helpless giggles.
So yes, a very good day!