The Big Lunch 2011

What a busy week! I started June with all intentions to go for it with Juneathon, but in the back of my mind I knew it was going to be particularly challenging this year and, with Janathon being just a few months earlier, I found it didn’t have the usual draw for me. I had an intense week ahead, and decided to wait until next year and commit myself to half-term play, household DIY magic and preparations for The Big Lunch. My week was spent mainly sewing bunting – I could easily class this as a Juneathon activity, measured in miles of bunting sewn, but decided to keep my head down, grit my teeth and get on with it. For the past few months we have had very little rain in London, in fact I could probably tell you exact dates and where I was at the time but of course, when we woke up yesterday morning, the wind was blowing and the sky was grey. In no way did this put us off or dampen our spirits, and out we headed to hang our beautiful bunting and put up Edward’s lovely sign:

Our neighbours quietly moved their cars throughout the morning, and we were soon able to step out safely and get things moving. Helpers appeared and new friends were quickly made as we all set-to in transforming our road into a street party. We took out our garden furniture and our dining table and joined them to neighbouring tables to form a long buffet area to which neighbours soon started adding the most amazing food:

I was delighted to see people walking proudly down the street, food held high and offered for all to enjoy. Instead of bringing what they thought people might want, they brought food that shows who they are and where they come from, exactly what I wanted to happen. This meant I got to taste delicious food from all over the world and to chat to the chefs and hear about their lives. At one point, I had to go inside and have a breather, so took a look out of my bedroom window:

How lovely to see people talking to each other, getting to know the neighbours they pass on the street every day.

It wasn’t long before it started drizzling, but nobody moved, this wasn’t going to stop our fun, but soon it was pouring down and we ran inside to gather umbrellas, and moved the food quickly under the parasols.

The party was due to take place from 1-5pm, and that’s exactly what happened, a bit of water wasn’t going to spoil our day! Gradually we reunited plates, pans and cutlery with their owners, waved goodbye, hugged new friends, talked about next year and made plans to start a choir. Children who had been running around happily all afternoon, slowed a bit as they started to look a little bedraggled, and we took back our furniture as a nice hot bath ran in preparation for the peeling off of wet clothes.

Didn’t we do well?! It occurred to me yesterday that we only discussed this for the first time on April 29th, when we had invited some neighbours around for a garden party, where Gayle and Emily had offered their help in getting things going. It’s amazing what you can achieve in a month and a bit, imagine what next year will be like!