Picnic capers – May 2014

Dear all

distant view 2 Jeremy photo

Sunday 11th May witnessed a picnic on Dover Down field, part of Chaucer Fields. Local people and members of the University of Kent community joined to celebrate the coming of summer – in a place most readers are of course well aware is one of Canterbury’s most accessible, beautiful unspoilt settings. Situated at the southern edge of the University’s campus, it is widely known that this has for decades acted as a ‘green buffer’ or ‘green gap’ for the benefit of both local residents and the University itself. The picnic is just the latest example of the many ways in which the immense value of this place is practically demonstrated by the actions of those who know and appreciate it.

running games Jeremy photo

The occasion was jointly organised by the Chaucer Fields Picnic Society and the Abbots Mill Project, a prominent local social enterprise founded in 2010 (see Blogroll). Greenpeace Canterbury, the Save Chaucer Fields group, and representatives of University unions were also involved.The event followed a format building on similar occasions in recent  years. Participants chatted and shared food and drink; children played safely, getting exercise and fresh air running  across the fields, climbing trees, discovering flowers and bugs, and exploring the woods and hedges.There were also some organised activities led by parents and friends, including ball games.

jamming musicians Jeremy photo

Musical entertainment was meanwhile provided  by local musicians, ranging from jazz to pop. The session included an appearance by Richard Navarro, and brought together an interesting  array of local instrumentalists, playing together for the first time.

photo 1  Lisastoryteller

Story telling under one of the fields best-loved Oak trees was provided by Whistable’s  Mark Lawson, wearing authentic mediaeval garb.

photo1Johnjack&storyteller

And there was  a  celebratory procession involving Dead Horse Morris’s Jack-in-the-Green (made with local ivy  from the fields themselves, and from in and around Whitstable, Tankerton and Chestfield). The Jack was accompanied by a piper playing bagpipes based on those played by the Miller in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This all helped to reinforce the Kentish flavour of what is clearly becoming an increasingly popular local tradition. With children  drawn to the spectacle of the  Jack and the sound of the piping,  a mini ‘pied piper’ procession spontaneously formed!

photo2John pipes

All in all, a great way  to spend a summer’s  afternoon,and  future  events are already in the pipeline. Watch this space!

photo 1 Jo Kiddprocession

Chaucer Fielder

Chaucer Fields Picnic Society

 

 

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