The Big Lunch was a nationwide event that was recently celebrated, and was intended to bring people together to meet each other, share food and celebrate the communities that people live in.
I was very lucky to be invited to the Grangetown (Cardiff) community Big Lunch, when the Friends of Pentre Gardens held their own Big Lunch celebration, which included a fabulous selection of play sessions for the younger people, as well.
My husband made a lovely picnic to get us started, including sandwiches, fresh vegetable crudites and dips, thick slices of sponge cake and, (of course), a huge plate of cheese and pineapple on sticks! This is a firm favourite at our picnics and they were eaten very quickly. We put up more tables and, as we did, more and more people trickled out from the neighbouring houses, bringing tasty cakes, drinks to share, more delicious sandwiches and lots of nibbles for children to enjoy.
The most wonderful thing was the variety of food that we were able to taste and enjoy from different cultural backgrounds. We had homemade spicy onion bahjis and pakoras, polish biscuits and cakes, middle-eastern cheese scones and sweet pastries. There was such a variety of tastes for everyone to sample and enjoy, and it was a great way for children to see what other cultures eat. This was such a positive aspect of the day.
With all the great play activities freely available, parents sat, chatted with friends and watched happily, as their children got messy with the paint wheel, played and created pieces of art with loose materials, played friendly team games with bats and balls, and then took turns to relax on the homemade swing and the hammock.
It really was a lovely afternoon. We counted about seventy families, all enjoying a shared lunch in the sunshine, and all the children of the community enjoyed the opportunity of playing together in the park. Food and play are great media for uniting people in equal harmony.
I really enjoyed being a part of this event, and I really hope that we get to do it again next year!
Hallowe’en saw us enjoying a wonderful party, with traditional celebrations, at Friends of Pentre Gardens. We held our usual arts and crafts in the hall, and children could make crafty bits to decorate their homes ready for Hallowe’en, and also make some costumes with Hallowe’en inspired materials, like foam grave stones, flying bats with teeth made from plastic forks, fabulous orange pumpkins, and white lace materials used for capes and corpse-brides!
The start of our spooky Tomb Stones!
In the outside area, we held all the messy (and very fun) traditional party games. The children had so much fun putting their faces into flour attempting to get their tasty treat, also apple bobbing, trays where hands (and sometimes faces) were plunged into gooey stuff, in order to get a sweet. There was also polo-sucking, eating cream crackers in one minute, and my favourite was the Mummy wrapping game.
This was a team game where someone must stand still and be covered (head to toe) in toilet tissue to be created into a Hallowe’en Mummy! These were such wonderful and messy activities, seeing all ages and abilities working together to, ultimately, just have lots of fun.
What I love about this community playscheme, is that we see a lot of parents staying to play with their children. This is lovely to see, and that makes the project so successful within the community. It’s wonderful to see the interaction between the parents, and it’s always great to see parents crawling on the floor, hunting through the craft materials, and making creations for themselves.
Here’s looking forward to the Christmas party!