Our festivals have gained a momentum of their own by now, unfolding each time in different ways with very little management by us. It’s almost self-defeating to plan things in advance. We have a whole list of things we think we should be doing and then everyone arrives at the end of the afternoon rather than the beginning and it all has to be concertinaed in to fit. I’ve almost managed to stop stressing about this now. Our latest spring festival was one of those.
On some spring festivals everyone arrives before or just after lunch and the kids spend the afternoon building elaborate water sculptures in the sand-pit, other decorating the circle lusciously with flowers and a river of light (candles in brown bags) winds down to the circle. Year by year it gets more elaborate until the list of tasks to complete is almost daunting. This year it was more of an exercise in cutting it all back down to essentials. Only three families were coming and they all arrived at five o’clock or after.
The big kids were immediately despatched to tidy up the circle and the sandpit, then to gather some flowers for decoration. One friend started immediately on the archway with the help of his little kids, others started making flower crowns from real flowers as they chatted over tea. It was the first time that no-one had time to sit down at the computer and write their blessings. But it all came together.
The arch was flowery, two gorgeous vases of flowers arranged by Youngest and a friend stood at the entrance to the circle. The water bowls were clean and fresh. Everyone except the big boys (now at once too old and too young to be seen dead wearing a flower crown) had their own quirky concoction of flower crown aloft. Water was poured into bowls, flowers sprinkled on top. Blessings were said spontaneously rather than written and Middle Daughter played recorder for us at the beginning and the end.
We love it when we have a whole leisurely afternoon for preparation, but it was good to be reminded that the spirit of the festival is there however simply we decorate, however rushed the preparations.
quiches, two roast chickens, two plaited loaves, one large salad and a bowl of baby potatoes fed us, followed by chocolate pudding, a pavlova with the first strawberries of the season and a bakewell tart with the last frozen youngberries of last season.
The kids, who are now mostly getting too big to be called kids, all lounged on the sofas, leaving the table to the adults, and the three little kids ran around between both groups. Quote of the evening: our son looking tolerantly at toddler and four year-old running around enthusiastically: “We were like them once.” The whole weight of being fourteen was in those words! He was actually very good with them and ended up with a devoted four year old at his heels the whole evening.
Now the sunny but cool spring day has given way to a chilly wet almost winter day again, but spring has been celebrated in due style!
Because everyone arrived so late yesterday I had plenty of time to play around with my latest obsession: my phone photography apps. I've had this phone for a year now and only now have I really discovered the possibilities- instagram, picframe and a host of other addictive apps. So in between baking bread and quiches and picking flowers I had time for photographing our elderly cat Fluff enjoying the spring sunshine.