Picnics

With the holidays coming up and good weather on the way, it’s time to get the chilly bin out and head off into the wide open spaces with picnic blankets and plenty of yummy food.

I’ve always loved picnics. Listening to The Teddy Bears’ Picnic on National Radio as a child, reading about Ratty and Mole and all those Famous Five feasts with lashings of lemonade, gave picnics an aura of sumptuousness and magic. Sand in the sandwiches and sand flies never really managed to dent their romantic appeal.

Our forebears loved them too. Take a look at these two:

Messrs. Dexter & Crozier's, Ltd. Clients and staff, Cadillac and Belsize Motor Car Picnic
Photo
The picnic party on the Waimakariri Gorge bridge. Yes, the whole train.

Our adult cultural icons don’t seem to be quite as enamoured of them though.

Omar Khayyam loves them …

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread-and Thou

But what about  Picnic at Hanging Rock and A Passage to India? They’re hardly likely to tempt one into the countryside.

In Emma you get a great feel for being stranded miles from anywhere with a group of people you desperately want to escape and there’s a fairly uninspiring one in To the LighthouseD.H. Lawrence likes them, but then it’s hardly the food and the scenery that matter in his case. I can’t really think of any that work out well in literature. Can you?