If you asked me to recall a happy memory from my childhood, you'd likely hear tales of days out with my grandparents, sandwiches and rain. It feels like a uniquely British trait to at once be all-consumed with what the weather is doing, while also being determined to plough on regardless. Most great picnics I've known have involved at least a drizzle of rain, and BBQs without a mad dash for shelter now seem almost lacking. And the food! Even the simplest fare, often wolfed down in the shelter of a parked car looking out onto a rainy vista, takes on a delicious quality. Hot tea from a thermos, ham and cheese sandwiches. Would you like a piece of my orange? Precious moments shared over cold hands and crumbs.
So it was a lovely treat when in France, B and I set out for a picnic at the nearby lake. Casting a dubious look at the sky, and the ominous clouds therein, we drove off - basket full of simple French treats in tow.
As it was, the weather stayed bright for us. Clouds rolled over, casting shadows, but no rain fell. Phew. And so we dined on our French fancies. Crusty bread, smelly cheese, fresh peaches and yoghurts - so simple and cheap, but so so good. Fresh air all around, a view of the lake and with only a fisherman to share the view with, we sat and ate in contented silence.
What is it about eating yoghurt out of a glass jar? It tastes somehow more decadent. Plus, once empty and cleaned, these sweet jars make the perfect little flower vases. While on the subject of sweet delights, I can confirm those donut peaches were divine. So sweet and juicy.
It seems to me that you only need a handful of things to have a delightful picnic:
- Crusty bread
- Ham / cheese / other sandwich toppings (the simpler the better)
- Salad (cherry tomatoes are ideal)
- Bottle of drink and a beaker to share
- Sturdy plates
- Picnic blanket
- An umbrella, just in case
- A happy and determined heart, in case cold and wet weather rolls in...
- A group of friends or family. Or just your favourite person. (I went with the latter)
Are you planning on having one last summer hurrah over this bank holiday weekend? What's on your must-pack picnic list? I'd love to hear - just leave a comment below!
Styling and photography - Ruth Garner
This post was written in partnership with Anorak and for it I was gifted the picnicware. Thank you for supporting the companies I work with that keep Gathered Cheer going!
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