Sunday, 4 August 2013

Picnic in the Park

When the sun is shining and the days are gloriously long, there is nothing better than grabbing a picnic and heading outside for a touch of alfresco dining. There's just something about munching your way through an entire pallet of strawberries (a picnic essential) in the open air makes them taste so much sweeter!

 So yesterday this is exactly what we did. Marcus and I grabbed an armful of food, a couple of wicker baskets (one just wasn't big enough!) and a rug, then headed for the nearest country park, Wandlebury.

Typical of English weather, the moment we parked the car the heavens opened and our beautiful sunny day turned into an undisputedly soggy one. It rained so hard it sounded more like we'd parked up under a waterfall! However, undeterred, we scanned the sky for patches of blue and deduced this torrent of water couldn't possibly last for long. Luckily we were right. The downpour lasted for around twenty minutes before petering to a sprinkle and then stopping all together. Bravely, we dared out into the open, umbrella clutched in hand.

Since the ground was decidedly waterlogged we opted to go for a wander before setting up food. The grounds of Wandlebury were beautiful and came complete with their own flock of sheep, herd of yak-like cows and heavily laden orchard. The recently departed rain storm made all the vegetation sparkle and the air smelt of that special freshness that air-freshener companies long to recreate.

Before long our growling bellies got the better of us and we returned to the car for the picnic goodies. Everywhere was a bit damp for a proper 'down in the grass' spread, but we'd spotted a lovely secluded bench on our stroll and so set up camp here.

Now I have to say, I know how to picnic. We had a range of yummy food including sticky honey and soy sausages, camembert, hummus with pepper dipping sticks, crusty bread, Neapolitan mousse, salted caramel sauce and of course, handfuls of strawberries.We dived in and started devouring the banquet.

Before long we were full and decided to retire to the rug. We lay it out on the (still slightly damp) grass and cloud watched before drifting into contented naps.

Picnicking is full of nostalgia. Memories of playing in the woods as children shadow the days events. Of building dams in rivers and hideouts in the trees before being called to heel, muddy and exhausted, only to be fed overripe fruit and sandwiches fresh from the cool box. Yesterday's events may have been a slightly more sophisticated affair but the childish excitement that accompanies eating 'in the wild' is still there.

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