Last Monday, during the first of the two Bank Holidays in May, I organised a picnic in the park, inviting all the visiting academics from Birmingham City University. It so happens that part of my job is to look after them during their time at BCU, and according to my weather man at home, Monday was predicted to be sunny.
As many of us know, Bank Holidays don’t always get perfect weather in the UK and more often than not, it either pours with rain and is overcast or cold. Not on this Monday.
So on this perfect day, my charges from China all travelled to Sutton Coldfield, where John met them at the train station. As ‘instructed’ by myself, all the ladies brought something to share, ‘Pot Luck’, a phrase I learnt about ten years ago, when each one brings something to eat, or to drink.
I did my bit too. With the help of my friend Lele, I did my special fried rice, with bacon, eggs, prawns, soya beans and sweet corn, spiced with fresh chillies, ginger and Sichuan pepper. We also made a spicy salad with beancurd, vermicelli and seaweed, mixed with my brand of hot sauce.
As you can see from the pictures above and below, we had a variety of yummy foods, perfect for a warm spring day out in the park.
John and I have been to our local park ( One of Our Favourite Pastime: Walking in Sutton Park) hundreds of time in the past dozen years since we moved to this fabulous town and made it our home. It’s our favourite place to hang out either by ourselves or with friends. John knows each inch of the park and could take us to any one of the seven lakes in the park without consulting the map.
Our first stop, was the Wyndley Pool where we found groups of swans, Canada geese, Greylag geese and Mallards fighting for their share of the bread thrown to them.
The ladies, from different parts of China, from the Northeast of Harbin and Shenyang, to the Southern city of Shenzhen, as well as one of the biggest metropolis in China Chongqing, gathered in Sutton Park, as John led us through a small part of the park, learning a little about the names of the different trees and little stories about the Park.
The highlight, of course, was the sharing of beautiful food, ranging from roasted chicken thighs, wings and feet, to pig’s ears, sushi, spicy beef, salad and fruits, not to mention chocolate cakes to finish. We were so stuffed that we had to go for another walk following the picnic.
Some of us played games. Frisbee, boule and badminton. Time flew by as we sunned ourselves on the grass and chatted away happily.
Before the excursion came to an end, I took the ladies to a couple of side streets near the park. I knew that they would appreciate that little diversion. The little residential streets were lined by cherry trees on both sides and they were all in full bloom. In fact, some of them have been in blossom for days and leaves had started to fall, covering the grass area with pretty pink, white and shades in between.
It was beauty beyond words and as each of us ‘wowed’ our way along the pavement, each posed for photos and snapped away to our hearts’ content.
It was, simply a perfect day with great company, delicious food and superb weather – what more could one possibly wish for on a Bank Holiday? Well, perhaps to wish for another day like that for the next Bank Holiday and many more happy days ahead :)!