Date: 20th May 2006
Location: My garden :-)
Music: None. While we did have an iPod and speakers, we didn't have any batteries. :-(
The picnic menu in the end consisted of:
Smoked Salmon and Gruyere Quiches,
Honey and Lemon Chicken drumsticks and thighs, (I didn't start baking until 9pm the night before, and I didn't finish 'til 5.30am on my birthday)
Tomato, avocado and sweetcorn salsa
Multi-seed bread ("Pumpkin seeds, linseed, blue poppy, sesame, organic flour and yeast and not a thing beside. The way bread used to be made!" according to the far-too-cheerful man selling it to me.)
La Seche sausage, chorizo and duck liver pate with champagne and truffles (I know, I'm a student. I really should act like it.)
Dorset Blue Vinney, Wensleydale with cranberrries and a goat's cheese pyramid
Shortbread tartlets with lemon cream and strawberries
Champagne, Ginger beer, Pimm's, Cloudy Lemonade, vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice...
That was before contributions from everyone else. It seems everyone has their own idea of what foods are necessary for a picnic:
"You can't have a picnic without sausage rolls!"
"No, Tunnock's Tea Cakes!"
Kettle chips galore, tuna salad, doughnuts, kitkats...
At one point I thought I felt a few drops of rain, but for the most part -- provided we held onto the food so that it didn't blow away -- the weather was gorgeous. After we had gorged ourselves, some clever soul decided a game of football would be a good idea, so we repaired to the park (they were very good and tidied up after themselves; put the food away and filled a bin bag with rubbish).
I now have a very impressive bruise on my arm where I stumbled into a kissing gate trying to get into the park (by this point I'd had the best part of a bottle of champagne, a few glasses of Pimm's and a considerable amount of vodka -- including a 50:50 vodka champagne cocktail). Despite this, I wasn't entirely uncoordinated on the pitch. By this time our number had dwindled to 11, though we were later joined by reinforcements. 11 being an odd number, it was inevitable that one team would be disadvantaged, but I'm not sure why the teams were split 7:4. I was on the 4, and we put up a good show, though I've no idea what the score was. I got covered in mud, so it must have been a good game.
Eventually we stumbled home, legs cramping all the way, and I found the front room (also a bedroom) filled with people I couldn't get rid of. So I continued to drink. French Cider. Why is it always the people you least want to see who stick around? I didn't get rid of them until 7, when I left the house (with some of the remains of the picnic) for our Eurovision night (it's ironic, honest). I distinctly remember someone threatening to slit their wrists if one song won, but I don't think it was Finland, so we're all right. I won the booby prize on the sweepstake for Malta (nil points) -- two microwaveable doner kebabs. They were quite nice, actually.
I had to pile food onto my family when they came to visit. I woke up Sunday morning feeling distinctly ill, despite the fact that I'd stopped drinking by 6pm the night before and moved onto tea. The thought of pate made me positively nauseous. Still, that didn't stop me having a good Sunday Lunch. And I got a picnic blanket for my birthday!
All in all, it was a good picnic. The weather could have been better, but it could also have been a hell of a lot worse. The most important thing on any occasion are the people and there was a brilliant turnout. I think there were 16 people at one time or another. I scored a bullseye when I threw the champagne cork at the cat that had stolen some chicken that I'd left out to defrost (I like cats, but I had a bone to pick with that one) and when I whined that my cocktail needed a splash of lime, someone went to cut me a wedge. What more could you ask?