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. Continue Reading
Here’s a special story from Di to all the children who slept out!
Hello all you brave Primrose people who valiantly slept out on July 28th, to raise awareness of two great causes, Just a Drop and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and a very special ‘Hello’ to all you children out there who had such a brilliant time! We are the fairies that live at the bottom of Di’s garden (Yes, honestly, so please believe in us!)
When Di told us about the great National SleepOut, we thought it was a new Olympic sport and something that we’d excel in! Surely we would be gold medal winners, as we sleep out in Di’s garden 365 nights a year, so we are well qualified! But Di, our owner and caretaker, was a touch sad… She felt she was far too old to partake in such an event — after all she’s pushing the grand old age of… Shhhh–We daren’t tell! She suffers from “Gardener’s Back”, and at the end of a hard day working in the garden, she deserves a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed (it’s an age thing, or so she tells us!) So, we felt it was up to us, on her behalf, to fly the flag and do our bit for the SleepOut!
As there’s only a few of us real fairies living at the bottom of the garden, we needed to gather the troops and formulate our own “Garden Team GB” to represent the little folk all over the country who live in gardens, and sleep out in all weathers.
First we approached the Angels who live in the arbour (they are well sheltered and a bit soft).
They agreed: “Oh most certainly,” they said. “If it’ll help raise awareness for Just a Drop and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, we’re all for it! Will there be buttercup wine and fairy cakes?”
Then we asked the statues. They’re a bit stony faced normally and don’t have much to do with us, but for once they agreed! “Yes, if it’s for a good cause we are happy to oblige! But please make sure you photograph us from our good side, because some of us are a little cracked and in need of Botox fillers.”
Next we asked the wild gnome (he’s a bit mad, but ‘armless’…).
“No probs!” he replied, “Don’t get out much these days; I just sit here under this prickly rose, waiting for Di to prune back the thorny stems…”
Gnarled Old Ivy Man was up for it too…
Not to mention Alice, the Mad Hatter, and White Rabbit, who as usual, complained he was “Late! Late!! Very, very late!!” but still managed to get to the SleepOut on time! Alice kindly brought a bottle, and the Mad Hatter sang a few songs to get the party going.
And so it was that this ramshackle collection of garden ornaments came to life and supported the National Garden SleepOut! For all of their lives they’d slept outside in Di’s garden, and endured all that the weather had thrown at them. Now, their moment had come! Recognition at last! They’d trained long and hard (some had slept outside for 25 years or more!), had their share of setbacks (and been repaired with super glue), and the birds had done you-know-what on them! But on Sunday morning, July 29th, Victory was theirs! They’d taken part in a very special Garden SleepOut! Well done Garden Team GB, and cheers to all the Little Folk across our green and pleasant land!
Amid the excitement and success of the National Garden SleepOut I was keen to use the event as an opportunity to educate my children regarding its purpose. In addition to being a fabulous excuse to have fun under canvas, the SleepOut raised awareness of important issues in the UK and abroad. Two charities were supported by the event and I spent some time discovering more about these causes and how they related to our own lives. I was keen to see what they could teach us and whether this changes the way we utilise and manage our garden.
There is a time between darkness and light when for a brief moment the garden becomes magical. The morning mist clings to the earth giving the landscape a mystical feel, petals are laden with dew drops and the air is crisp and fresh. There is a stillness and serenity that quietens the soul. A new day is dawning and on Sunday 29th July this was the scene that greeted us. My little girl and I had spent the night in my old tent for the National Garden SleepOut event (sponsored by Primrose). We were now waking up to the sounds of birdsong. All that kept us from the invigorating outdoors was a thin piece of canvas.