Attending a summer picnic concert hosted by the Hallé Orchestra, was a quintessentially British way to spend a Sunday evening.
It was an exercise in how to bring a sense of occasion to an otherwise typical summer night; the sort where the sun’s been out all day but it’s definitely threatening rain.
People lugged chairs, tables, candelabras and champagne buckets through Tatton Park to set up camp beside the lake. Some went all out in tuxedos and ball gowns, making those in wellies and waterproofs look underdressed.
To do things properly we packed a special picnic. Soggy sandwiches have no place here. Think grilled salmon, jerk chicken, home made scotch eggs, pasta, couscous, humous, chocolate cake, millionaire shortbread and profiteroles, washed down with Pimm’s and plenty of fizz and you’ll be starting to get the idea.
Camp established, picnic food consumed, and Union Flags fluttering proudly in the wind, we settled down to listen to the orchestra play a set of classical favourites, songs from the shows and movie soundtracks. There were lots of tunes you’d recognise and plenty to sing along to.
Luckily we were prepared for the weather and whipped out plastic sheets to cover the food as soon the heavens opened. Rain coats and brollies weren’t out for long; the weather had only teased us with a short, and not very sharp, shower.
When darkness fell a spectacular firework display was set off from across the lake whilst the orchestra played its final flourish.