Friday, 21 January 2011

No Wind in "Our" Willows Picnic

How delightful to be able to join in with everyone in a celebration of all things Wind in the Willows. Do pop in here if you'd like to catch up with all the other posts today. Such a cheerfully inspired idea over at fraise lachrymose.
"Pic'nic, n Pleasure party including meal out of doors; (colloquial) Something especially agreeable or easily accomplished" Oxford dictionary.
I adore that makes you want to sigh & set about planning your very own agreeable, easily accomplished, special little picnic right away.
A few months ago, back when it was quite chilly, I came across the dearest little book entitled "The Picnic Hamper" : "Ingredients mixed & served for Taupo Friends of Hospice"
"This little book is all about picnics- solitary escapes with a wedge of Brie, a thermos & a holiday thriller; romantic idylls on & off the water; & sprawling family days on & off the lake.
A picnic is best set up near water, on the water, or at least affords a grand panoramic view of water. We New zealanders like to fish, swim, skim stones, play Pooh sticks & simply mess about in boats. This is nice, it gives people something to do while the picnic hamper is being unpacked"
Ok so here's the picnic set:
& a bit of Brie
 & a few Pooh...I mean carrot sticks
"Although a picnic should be relaxed & informal it should be a delicious meal. Fresh air & hunger are fine sauces but they won't salvage a bottle of Gatorade & a Marmite sandwich. Along with dependable favourites there should be an element of surprise & anticipation. Remember Mole & Ratty setting off on their boating excursion with the Picnic Hamper...
...rat reappears "staggering under a fat wicker luncheon-basket"
"Shove that under your feet." he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat.
 Then he untied the painter & took the sculls again.
"What's inside it?" asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.
"there's cold chicken inside it." replied the rat briefly;
coldtonguescoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwidgespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater--""O stop, stop," cried Mole in ecstasies: "This is too much!"
"Do you really think so?" inquired the Rat seriously "It's only what I always take on these little excursions; & the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast & cut in very fine!"
& continuing the intro of my wee book it says
"Picnic memories feature large in our old photo albums-remember car boot picnics at A&P shows; billy tea & bacon & egg pie, while the Father's fished the river & the Mothers read books; & of course those gritty beach picnics where the kids stood dripping, fresh from a swim over the laden picnic cloth."
Picnickers at the Hawke's Bay A & P Show here 1946.
Same show grounds just down the road & our delightful spot for a Spring Picnic last October 

But then, just last week, a particularly sizzling spell of weather came upon us so we headed out to Puketapu about half an hour away to a lovely spot by the river.
 Just here looks good.
lovely warm water
 pleasant company
 not a care in the world..
 across the way & look, no wind in our willow
 over to the swimming hole downstream
 Pooh sticks floating by...
Blueberries, Brie, crackers & icecold cider..lovely!
 a wander, a pool & a wee accident..& not a boat to be seen!
 oh well may as well have a swim then..lucky it wasn't the one holding the camera that fell in ; )
 way home
 clutching "fairy toothbrushes" (periwinkle)
 see...soo tiny, perfect for a fairy!
 a little snooze then? (Brambly Hedge, I know, but soo cute & still a picnic!)
 ..."Perhaps though this grand art of happy picnicking has been lost, we like the idea of spontaneity- "Let's just pick something up at the deli"-but a real picnic needs a little forethought. We must relearn the old skills of pantry stocking & taking care over wonderfully satisfying portable food. We must practice these skills in beautiful locations with cheerful greedy friends!" (Robyn Shaw food writer for the Dominion)
so my cheerful, greedy friends next time you get the urge for a picnic, indoors or out, you will know precisely what to take won't you...
gingerbeerlemonadesodawater of course!!

I found a lovely old recipe in my wee book for Granny's Lemonade (perfect for picnics & the such like) I'll pop it in here shortly just as soon as I have a minute to make some up..for the picture part : )



  1. Catherine, I have not words to tell you how perfect this is- am also blown away by the fact that it is already Friday with you! Cooking Catherine will absolutely adore this post and I absolutely adore you! Thank you!

  2. What a lovely post, makes me want to paddle and laze by the river!

  3. Hi Catherine,
    I'm joining in the fun on WITW day, the picnic on the riverbank was a delight.

  4. I adore your picnic pictures! Isn't our Wind in the Willows party FUN? Thank you for such a sweet post.

  5. Looks like a lovely picnic... and who doesn't love a good picnic?! Good to meet you, friend. :)

  6. I want a picnic NOW! This is just a lovely post - thanks so much. I'm just going off to the French version to re-translate the translation of Ratty's picnic list - it will give you an idea of what the French find ideal in a picnic:

    "Head paté, pepper saucisson, cured ham, pickles, salad, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, parsley, vinagrette, liver sausage, goat's cheese, a well-chilled little rosé, lemonade and the tea-making stuff. Do you think I've brought enough?"

    Interesting how they didn't keep it quite the same, isn't it?

  7. oh, delightful delightful! this is indeed just perfect!
    that food! the scenery! oh my word, you certainly know how to picnic in style.
    this is a lovely post and so absolutely and quintissentially 'Willows'.
    now, may i please have a slice of brie..?



  8. Oh I am right now lost in the meadow, just enjoying the breezes and lovely fragrances that are swimming around me...a picnic! A perfect way to end this glorious week of reading about our dear friends...thank you so much for sharing such a glorious day!

    I surely needed it! It is now so cold and winter has its grip on our mountains...but I know that Spring is just around the corner :)


  9. Perfect evocation of a picnic!

  10. Wonderful! Need I say more? :-)

  11. Catherine, I adore picnics and you've shared some lovely thoughts and images. My favorite picnics were ones enjoyed on our sailboat. ~ Sarah

  12. suddenly I want to go on a picnic with you and i don't even know you


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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