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National Picnic Week Blog

This week (11th-19th June), the UK are celebrating ‘National Picnic week’. The picnic is a British tradition which has been a popular pastime for over 200 years, often a family orientated outing. It consists of a meal eaten outdoors or ‘Dining Al Fresco’ for the posh folk; usually enjoyed within a scenic landscape during the summer months – or as is the case in the UK, whenever there is a period of sunshine lasting longer than 5 minutes. 

A Picnic is not a picnic without;
•    Picnic blanket – because no one likes sitting on itchy grass with bare legs and let’s face it we all feel a bit safer from the possibility of getting ‘ants in our pants’. The more organised picnic goers may go for a folding chair – it’s amazing what you can get in a small bag these days.
•    Cooler (not forgetting the Ice Blocks) – let’s be honest on the rare occasion we do get a warm sunny day, who wants to be sitting down to a sweaty sandwich. Eewww!! 
•    Food and Drink – a picnic is purposeless without.
•    Utensils – there’s always someone who turns up with a can of tuna and without a tin opener…
•    Entertainment – Back in the day this used to be a good old fashioned Kite or a Frisbee but with modern technology, wireless Bluetooth speakers and remote controlled helicopters are must have picnic props! 

As previously mentioned a picnic is pretty pointless without food and drink. 

So, what do we pack in the cool box?? Well there’s the good old Sandwich, cut into dainty triangles of course, and there’s the fillings. Now this could make or break the family picnic. Do you go for the classics, egg mayo, ham and cheese or do you push the boat out and throw in a rare roast beef and horseradish or a sunblush tomato and avocado on Rye??  

There’s no doubt that the great thing about picnic food is the sheer volume of items we all pop in. On the savoury side there’s sausage roles, mini pasties, quiche and all those nice processed foods we pretend not to like! And on the sweet side, cakes, biscuits, crisps, chocolate, pastries, and more cakes.  Why do we assume that on a picnic day we’re destined to be hungrier that what we would normally be? A sandwich, packet of crisps and a drink are just not enough when you’re sat on a tartan blanket drinking in fresh air and swatting midge’s in some sort of mother nature Timewarp dance! Lets face it, like a party buffet, Picnics are permission to eat our body weight in all those things that are usually reserved for a special treat and of course, there is not one single item that has any calories in it!

Some people will break with tradition and go for a barbecue – it’s amazing what you can cook on a tin foil tray that costs 2 quid from Tesco. (Remember though....  don’t ignore the ‘no open fire’ signs)

The more sophisticated or romantic picnic goers may opt for a nice chilled Champagne or Prosecco with strawberries and dipping chocolate! And if that’s your picnic basket filling of choice, best make the location a little more secluded! 

So, you’ve got your equipment packet and the cool box is breaking under the strain, now, where to go?? Are you going to

 walk down to your local park or are you going to make it a day trip to the beach or a lake? The general trend is to go to a location with a scenic view or to a place where there are lots of activities to try. But, is it me or is it nice to have your car close by? Because in true British fashion, a cloud is never far away! Many of times I’ve had to make a dash back to the car to shelter from the weather!

Or, you might decide to go on a long hike. That’s a whole other mess of planning to deal with and you can choose anywhere to stop and have lunch!
So after the cool box is devoid of every last scrap, you’ve been bitten to within an inch on your life and everyone is drunk on fresh air, you pile back in the car and look forward to popping the kettle on and watching Saturday evening telly.

All in all, a picnic is a great way to have a relatively cheap, but lovely day out with family and friends! So this summer get everyone together and get out in the countryside or travel to the coast and ENJOY a GREAT BRITISH PICNIC!