Supping bone china teacups, sat on a mown grass lawn as we muse over our organic strawberries plunged in freshly whipped cream.
Garden parties are quintessentially British, a tradition founded by the monarchy and practiced thrice a year over the summer months. I too have embraced this concept. Except, I am marching across a grass field with a can of pop-infused with aspartame rather than berries from royal soil. There is a beautiful group of adults with learning difficulties by my side, who I work with at a local community charity, as they endeavour to devour a free hot dog. I instead spot a slice of vegan cake as we clamber around the neatly placed plastic garden chairs of the church-run stall. We are given a DIY sunflower windmill set to make as we sit, munching away listening to the sounds of the bongo drums and watching the wonderful community circus group twirl around an aerial hoop.
There is no brass band, no gardener other than a freshly cut council-owned grassy field, and the hot drinks are served in recyclable cups instead of bone china pottery. We have clay under our fingernails as our own pottery sculptures are drying in the sun rays which are peeking through the houses on Wakefield’s ‘first council estate.’
We are not lacking in the loveliness of this garden party tradition, we are just celebrating it in our own dynamic way.
This so-called impoverished area of Portobello Is steeped in history, rich in culture and its heritage is that it was initially built as a ‘garden estate.’
And there is no place I’d rather be than basking in this perfectly curated community garden party run by Lottery Funded Portobello Community Forum celebrating their centenary.
The silk flags that are flying at full mast have been painted at Portobello Community Centre by residents who have shared their stories of living here as well as researching their own heritage.
The stories we often hear of social housing are mostly negative but there is so much we can learn from their strong soul. From shared resources to multi-generational back-to-back homes with an open-door philosophy to community meals and the original ‘dance mums’ running an award-winning baton twirling team.
But most of all the humble humans who may have their own struggles but show us how to support one another no matter what.
So much so, when moving home on my own with two kids in tow this was my desired place to live.
The heart of their seldom-heard stories showcases our Yorkshire values.
Not to mention that in a world of excess their simplistic soulful way of living and thriving is eco-friendly by nature. This is my kind of richly royal and real garden party.