21 Oct 2010


'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly;

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!' 'Do you really think so?' inquired the Rat seriously. 'It's only what I usually take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast and cut it very fine!'"

Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
It is difficult, don't you find, to create a feast that measures up to the ones in children's books. I'm thinking particularly of Toad and Mole's riverbank picnic, but there's also the wonderful meals al fresco in The Famous Five, and the Midnight feasts in Mallory Towers and Maria's matchmaking feast in The Little White Horse. They all sound so wonderfully sublime, don't they? I mean, imagine sitting down to this:
"There is enough. There is sufficient plum cake, saffron cake, cherry cake, iced fairy cakes, eclairs, gingerbread, meringues, syllabub, almond fingers, rock cakes, chocolate cakes, parkin, cream horns,Devonshire splits, Cornish pasty, jam sandwiches, lemon curd sandwiches, lettuce sandwiches, cinnamon toast and honey toast to feed twenty or more. Have no fear young Mistress; when Marmaduke Scarlet is cook there is always enough"

"But the mulled claret!" cried Maria.
"Of that also," said Marmaduke, "there is an unlimited supply.
It is thoughts of meals like this that always prompts us to do better when it comes to packing our own picnic basket for a meal out of doors. Our lunch yesterday consisted of delicious rolls filled with avocado, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, rocket and mayonnaise followed by home baked bikkies - ginger and peanut as well as decorated crocodiles. There was fruit for dessert, lashings of ginger beer - well actually, cans of Coke and Lift - and a little packet of corn chips to make the meal festive.

It tasted great, but didn't quite make the aesthetic grade I'm afraid.

Perhaps next time I'll try putting things into bowls instead of press-seal plastic bags. I'm sure Anne and George and Julian and Dick used real bowls, aren't you? Next time I'll pack glasses for the soft drink as well.

I'm sure we got points for the chequered tablecloth though - and for the matching napkins - and for the proper plates. Don't you agree?

And for the location and the view. Nothing shoddy about our newly filled lake at all. Of that I'm sure.

Can't wait until it's warm enough to picnic and swim.


  1. Regardless of the cuisine, taking a picnic in the out-of-doors always makes food more delicious and festive! Definite points for the chequered table cloth though! :)

  2. great to see your lake filled up!
    packet of chips is our indulgence too sometimes on picnics:)

  3. Oh so nice! Especially love the last photo of the gums sorrounded with water. Ooh, it would be so fun to splash around in there.

  4. Yes, love the descriptions of various feasts in books like those you mentioned. They always do sound divine! Not sure my picnic cuisine makes the grade either, when compared to these! Still, Norah of Billabong did have a cook. Just think how wonderful that would be!!
    Your lake does look beautiful! x

  5. Beautiful surroundings...I got the Wind in the Willows for 40 cents, a lovely hard cover...I´m excited!


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