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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Picnic Panic

One of the hazards of a UK summer is that you're doomed to being cautiously optimistic, but then having your hopes dashed. If only we could rely on constantly good weather, like we had a couple of years ago!

As I write, it's raining, and I'm hoping that tomorrow will be one of those rare perfect sunny days, as we're off to the Innocent village fete at Regent's Park. It sounds right up my street - I love fetes, but nowadays they're mostly glorified car boot sales.

My mum always has great expectations for Christmas but for me it's all about halycon summers. I'm always living in hope of wonderful picnics, BBQs and garden parties with those little lantern fairy lights threaded on trees. I want tartan picnic rugs, I want chilled Pimms, I want little savoury eggs, lots of laughter and no wasps.

What I invariably get is "light showers" (necessitating umbrellas and unflattering plastic capes as well as the cool box and sun cream), gloomy companions and a sense of "we've had the picnic, can we go now?"

When I was a kid I don't recall many picnics, except for the packed lunches we'd have at Tinside pool. There was always greaseproof paper and a hard boiled egg, and if Grandma was around, a wet flannel (she was ahead of her times, predicting the rise of the Wet Wipe).

What we did do, nearly every Sunday, was go out for a drive after the roast. My dad Stamps was a somewhat irascible character at the best of times and on many occasions he would drive us angrily to somewhere like Tavistock and then say "I've brought you here so enjoy yourselves." Once he got so mad on the way to Newquay (before the Indian Queens bypass) that when we got there, he decided we would go straight home.

But the funniest thing about those trips was the car coats. Do you remember them? What a strange concept - funny anorak type coats that were sold to wear in the car!

I can still picture my nose pressed against the glass of our saluki bronze Cortina, wearing my green car coat, and hoping for laughter and savoury eggs at Tavistock or wherever it was we were headed.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Gosh - I remember the wet flannel and anoraks - lol - to say nothing of The Sunday Afternoon Drive. Happy Days