Hello, you probably read the lovely story we had by Sheila Blackburn called The Picnic with the conclusion that whoever you are, wherever you’ve traveled, there is nothing more comforting on a sunny day than tucking into a good old-fashioned picnic. This week there are some lovely tips for picnicking and I’ll be taking them all in.
Most of our generation grew up thinking picnics were totally normal, because outside of a fish and chip shop and maybe a tea shop, takeaways, and fast food didn’t exist, which made even the lone lunch box part of everyday life. So when it came to a day trip the Turner family car was rammed with not just any old picnic but an entire dining experience. Brian (Dad), who cut his travelling teeth youth hostelling around the Peak District, took the whole thing very seriously. He even crafted a wooden box that fitted snugly into the boot with compartments for every picnic accessory – including his pièce de resistance, the primus stove complete with whistling kettle to make the perfect picnic brew. There was nothing fancy about the food in those days. The humble sandwich was de rigueur, with fillings of egg, cheese, and my most hated: tinned salmon. There were always Walkers crisps (did any others exist?), a packet of Club biscuits, a cake made by Mum, and lashings of orange squash. Nothing fizzy from a can because those drinks would make your teeth fall out, I was told – a fear that has never left me! The other “rule” was the litter one: if there’s no bin you take it home with you or wait until you find one.
I’ve just returned from my run in London’s beautiful Battersea Park. It’s a 200-acre jewel which I’m grateful to have on my doorstep. It has a compelling history that involves a dueling Admiral Nelson, a haven for Charles Dickens, and during the war fed Londoners by turning its grasslands into allotments and a pig farm. However, after a weekend of picnicking the park tells a sorry story of bad manners and total disrespect. One chap told me he’d worked there for 40 years and never known the litter problem so bad as in the last five. I spied many discarded cans of sugary drinks, so I’m guessing all the perpetrators’ teeth will fall out!