Robert Crampton on picnics:
Surely they're a prime example of something you think you should enjoy because you think everyone else enjoys them? But isn't the reality that really, truly, no one does enjoy a picnic? Parties and picnics: a sinister conspiracy of silence prevails.
I don't object to a nice bad-weather picnic, halfway up a mountain, horizontal rain, sodden cagoule, huddled in the lee of an inadequate rock, they're fine. And barbecues, I like them, mostly because I like setting stuff on fire, and so does my son, and it's important for a father and his boy to find things they can do together. And also I like burgers. And anyway you usually have barbecues in the evening when it's cooled down.
But your classic British summer picnic? Eating outside in direct sunlight? Prickle of sweat on your forehead? Shirt sticking to your back? Label chafing your neck? Having to reach up and rip it out with your bare hands? Tight shorts? Thighs cooking? Can't get comfortable? Itchy blanket? Dogs going after your sausage rolls? Leaning over awkwardly to reach the bread? Lukewarm white wine? Instantly drunk? Pounding head? Dry mouth? Talking to people in sunglasses? Height of bad manners? Plastic cutlery? Wickerwork everywhere? Balancing a beaker on tufty grass? Thistles? Nettles? Cowpats? Bursting for the loo? Nowhere in sight? Sun still beating down? Wind blowing everything away? Always having to pass things to other people? Unable to shovel down requisite calories rapidly enough? Pots of gloop from Tesco Metro? Fizzing in the heat? Shifting position? Sand and dust and dirt and nameless airborne crap getting in your eye? Leftovers? Can't chuck 'em, take them home, hassle city, end up throwing them away anyway? Ants? Flies? Wasps? Some old boy going, "Well, if this is global warming, it's all right by me, ha ha ha," as if it hasn't been said ten million times already?
As always, and in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, we can't handle the truth.