BUT...on to plan B! Lots of phoning around and emailing later and we were all heading off to Shotover to the natural sandpit that lies in this lovely nature reserve. I'd rummaged around in the garage to find two disposable bbqs and stuffed the already-packed picnic lunch into the car. For once kids and dog seemed enthusiastic and the weather actually looked as if it might be good.
Well, the frozen vegeburgers were kinda black on the outside and a bit chilly inside after their stint on the bbq. Then of course they got a bit sandy in the 'let's get them off the bbq before they go up in flames' panic. But, hey, they were almost edible. Various children's hair was adorned by dribbles of sticky melted marshmallows, but we managed to get through about 5 or 6 packs of the things, so I guess they were popular whatever their condition! The kids made dens in the trees, using some of the netting we got from the local Scraptstore. Then they just ran around like mad things. Ditto the dogs (it seems most of our network have dogs now). Poor old jack was exhausted by the time we finally packed up about 5 hours later and joined the tired wailing toddlers being reluctantly dragged back up the hill to the car.
The weather had held out and it had been a lovely day with great company. I think around 11 families came with around 26 children, quite a feat for an impromptu change of plan. Al Fresco home education at its best.