Usually, if someone asks me to do a family shoot in their garden (unless I know this garden to be estate-sized in proportions) I think 'dull, dull, dull' and basically say 'no, no, no'.
On this occasion, however, I knew that the preparation by grandparents Joanna & Paul would be second to none, and that I would be able to create them a fairytale keepsake of their four grandchildren as part of their joint 60th birthday celebrations.
Firstly, the garden has a fort. Yes, you heard me right. An actual wooden fort. And the children were all ready to charge upon this castle in appropriate attire. Two boys with wooden swords hurtled across the lawn at me in St. George-like fashion, hotly pursuing two gorgeous princesses in pink. The girls were both sporting the kind of hat that I used to draw in wax crayon when I imagined myself as Rapunzel back in the glory days of my own childhood in the 1970s - pointy and mediaeval, with a chiffon veil dangling from the tip. Epic.
If the living re-enactment of the War of the Roses wasn't enough, then plum and apple picking in the sun-drenched orchard corner was the cherry on the icing on the photography cake. Four children, four baskets, an avalanche (literally) of plums, and some very grabby fingers later and the trees were stripped of their harvest. Empty branches, full camera.
A few family shots to round things off and the shoot was over. Thank you Paul & Joanna et al for a delightful morning and for all wearing remarkably (and unintentionally) coordinating outfits!