It was sunny. It was also my husband’s birthday, so I decided to bring him and the kids along to this picnic event in Hainault Country Park being run by the World Wildlife Fund.
The event started badly for us because our children were screaming and biting each other in the car. We also got completely lost and I was fretting about being late and missing my own gig.
However, once we’d arrived the woods were so winsome in the sunshine that we couldn’t feel cross for long.
The event was one of several Big Picnics around the country designed to remind people how much we love forests. It was also an opportunity to promote the Forest Stewardship Council FSC Mark, which guarantees wood and paper products have been produced responsibly.
The big attraction for my 6-year-old was the bloke in a panda suit. My husband loved the African drummers and my eldest son enjoyed the giant carvings of Yogi and Boo-Boo on the nature trail.
The brief was to create the magic of the forest through storytelling. It wasn’t difficult, really. Forests are such a huge part of the storyteller’s universe that it was more a question of sieving out the few stories that didn’t feature trees!
All was going brilliantly and I’d done three lovely sessions with the children when the rain started. Soon it was a wash-out. All of a sudden I found my little tent crammed with about 70 soaking picnickers. Great- time for one more story then!
I’m happy to report that the journey home was a lot more relaxed, mainly because we’d found an ancient cassette of ‘The Secret Seven’ under one of the front seats. Peace at last.
Ah, the power of stories…
(Photo © Benjamin Earl)