I confess, straight away, that I didn’t do it. (Sounds a bit odd that phrase; can’t see it being said too often in crime dramas!)
We didn’t end up in the garden for the Big Sleep: I’m sorry. I love the concept of it: Warm, balmy evening, jobs all done, nearest and dearest sharing end of day chat and laughter, perfect bliss. But, like many other people on the planet, planning for SleepOut night was slightly overshadowed by the phenomenal opening event of the Olympics the night before. Wow! I had been all set for delinquent animals going AWOL and leaving deposits on the athletics track, but I have to say I was mesmerised by Danny Boyle’s theatre, the scale, the story the, well… the spectacle.
I was completely absorbed. And really, I should have been working out how to make sleep out a wonderful garden experience for my son James. Between him being down on 50% of fully functioning limbs and having a mother that had to roll off the edge of the bed last week because of neck pain, I could well imagine the two of us randomly out in the garden overnight resulting in a number of emergency calls the next morning when we were both stiff and stuck!
So, I’m sorry, my big plan (which never really was big) became an unolympic little plan. But all is not lost: the thinking has started, some tentative plans are evolving, a couple of sun dances are underway and the sleep out will be happening by the end of the summer.
For one, I’ll get James’ brother the Admiral up so that at least I have the man power to extricate myself from tent, grass and garden to help James. For another, we will also embrace the elusive (for us) concept of barbeque. You see with James, a lot of the spontaneity has to be underpinned by almost military planning or simple things like a night in a tent or torturing Bernard Matthews (not literally) goes Peter Tong and, at worst, becomes a multi-level health hazard. But we have a tent, the garden as you know looks like a mini airport with fully functioning runway thanks to my love of solar lights, and there are now flat accessible surfaces to walk on at the back which is an absolute must for James to get from A to B with as little support as possible.
All safety considerations in place, I will also unbox my exciting new firepit to keep us all toasty as the light goes. There will also be some hot chocolate in standby flasks and some bags of Planets which are a special favourite of the main man and the Admiral. For me, and I have dug it out already, is our copy of ‘Jonny and the Bomb’ the marvellous book by epic storyteller Terry Pratchett: Mrs. Tachyon, his time travelling bag lady with her cat called Guilty was the last bedtime story I read out loud to the Admiral and I think it deserves another airing as we settle down under the stars…