Picnics always tend to spark fond memories for me. There was the time my better half and I, plus a handful of close chums, pitched up on the side of a country road in the South of France with a chunk of bread, cheese, farmhouse ham and a chilled bottle of Vin Blanc; Perrier for the driver; absolute bliss.
Then there was the unforgettable occasion in Beccles when a duck flying overhead launched one (I’m not going to be any more explicit than that) which landed squarely on a Spam bap whilst it was open, having low-calorie coleslaw applied. Needless to say, it ended up in the empty Sunblest bag uneaten…because of the Mallard doo, not the low-calorie coleslaw you understand, although I suspect they both have the same woody notes about them.
There’s something glorious about returning to nature, flinging out a blanket (praying it’s not the one covered in dog hair), flicking off the Crocs and munching on a Scotch egg, a cheese straw and a fig roll chaser, all washed down with a FruitShoot – a flavour of which rarely resembles that suggested on the bottle. Although if you’re my age, you’ll remember those little ribbed plastic cups, the lid of which you eagerly punctured with a lethally sharp straw, only to discover the insipid liquid contained within tasted of… plastic! Oh well, mum’s homemade pilchard scones soon got rid of the taste.
Other people on picnics often make me laugh though because they tend to forget they’re in public.
We enjoyed a lunch ‘al fresco’ during a balmy Sunday the other week, out in the wilds of Suffolk, although the spot we considered to be secluded, was pretty rammed with other countryside revellers. We set up beside a group of folk who hadn’t considered that a windbreak doth not a soundproof wall make. Possibly upon being handed a tuna ’n’ sweetcorn sandwich, what sounded like an elderly lady spluttered: “Euughh I can’t eat sweetcorn anymore, I went right off it after seeing a picture of Des O’Connor in ‘Let’s Talk’ squatting down in a pair of trunks.” I’m still trying to work out the connection there; I think I must have missed something.
What topped off the picnic eavesdropping for me though was a little lad all of 6 years old who returned to the family group after a kick about with his little sister.His grandma was in full natter mode, with who I can only assume was his mum. Desperate to convey his tale, he yelled: “Shut up!” upon which he was firmly told that was rude. He was then asked what he should have said instead. Looking to the heavens for inspiration he responded with a polite: “Silence you peasant.”