The fact that the title combines two of my favourite things in the whole world is merely a coincidence – for this is not necessarily about me but about my bubs, Lola and Finn, and helping them to get the best out of the Summer holidays without too much fuss . When I was a kid, money was short but the fun wasn’t and it was just a case of being a bit savvy about what could actually be done. A regular Summer hols destination back when I was little was the beautiful Dunsop Bridge in the Trough of Bowland, Lancashire. Its appeal was about getting out into the countryside, finding a safe place to swim or paddle or build a den and, importantly, it was cheap, cheerful and fun. You packed a picnic, found a fishing net, got a couple of towels and sidled onto the hot, sticky seats of the Cortina and off you went, windows down, radio blaring. And when you got there, you were greeted with verdant oaks and sycamores overhanging a glistening river which either bubbled joyfully over smooth stones or dropped into dark abyss like craters which had been carved out by whirlpools when the river had been at its most aggressive during the storms of winter, but at that moment seemed quite benign and inviting on a hot June/July/August day. I wanted my two to experience the same thing.
Nowadays, the experience isn’t quite the same. Instead of cavorting about in the cold, cold river in just a pair of knickers and an old t shirt, the clothing of choice was a shorty wetsuit. The Ford Cortina has been replaced by a Hybrid ‘Plug In’ electric vehicle, but the canopy of green leaves and the sun still beats down, and children still glisten like jewels as the water rushes over them and their whooping and hollering means that, for today at least, the children have escaped from the vice like grip of the computer game. It was great to see my own children, 30 years after me, laughing and splashing in the water.
And then, there’s the picnic. To be honest, after half an hour of immersing yourself in water that has just run off the Bowland Fells, you could just about eat anything, but if there is anything more humble, simple and more satisfying than a slab of cheese between two thick slices of white bread that have been generously spread with butter then I don’t know what it is. Sure, you could jazz it up with the odd tomato, a dollop of pickle or, my particular favourite, a bag of cheese and onion crisps, but that’s just decadence!
Summer hols can be simply brilliant, with simple pleasures and the rediscovery of a place which when you were a kid, gave you so much fun. My children and my inner child will be back. Soon. Maybe this Summer hols there is a place that you and your children are yet to visit which, when you were a child, seemed magical.
Lastly, as this is a food blog, the recipe for picnic success!
My favourite cheese sandwiches
- 8 slices of soft white bread
- 4 packets of crisps