Friday, August 6, 2010

picnic in the park

I had more than one person ask me, "you're going to England again??"  Believe me, I felt the same way.  In my defense, I had only planned two trips to England this year (with a brief layover on another trip).  Instead, I feel like I've spent the majority of my year there.

This last weekend's trip was the second of the two scheduled trips and was planned well before the volcanic "disrupt my trip to Morocco, and keep me stuck in England" disaster.  But even though this go-round was more like my twenty-second trip (OK, over-exaggeration), it was well worth heading back for. 

In the small town of Saffron-Waldon, a few miles south of Cambridge, the English Heritage Society holds a yearly concert-in-the-park series every weekend in July.  It's held on the grounds of Audley End, a mansion which was, at one point, owned by King Charles.  The final concert is accompanied by a spitfire airshow. But the pièce de résistance was the pre-show picnic everyone gorged on. 

It was then that I came to learn that if anyone knows how to pull off a good picnic, it's the British.  They don't just throw down a red and white checkered cloth for everyone to sit on, next to their basket's worth of food to eat from.  They pull out the big guns.  Comfortable folding chairs, tables with tablecloths on them, real plates and silverware, enough food to feed an army, cut flowers in vases adorning the tables, lanterns, the works!  Then, after dinner, they set a kettle on the gas camp stove they've brought to boil water for their tea or coffee.

And if I haven't painted the picture well enough, people come in with wheel barrels to carry everything.

Picnics in England are no joke. The Brits are hard core.  And I salute them.


kelley said...

Did you just use "pièce de résistance" in a blog post? You're so European...

Annah said...

This is lovely. Looks like the perfect way to spend an afternoon.