Summer is nearly over, but September weather is often absolutely lovely! As children we used to go on holiday the first week in September; it was cheaper and we nearly always got nice weather! A couple of years ago there was even a heat wave in October, which topped up my tan nicely, and gave me some extra vitamin D to see me through the winter!

One of my favourite food writers, who died sadly when she was only fifty-two, was a great enthusiast for everything, especially eating out of doors; camping, caravanning, picnicking, Ruth was up for it! As well as giving ideas for picnic food, and for ways of transporting it – plastic or polythene bags, jars and flasks, and extras such as ‘mustard in a tube, if you’re taking a batch of brown little chipolata sausages, and maybe things we wouldn’t now want such as cold scrambled egg, liver sausage or cold bacon, although she dos make the latter sound tempting – ‘that takes a lot of beating, don’t you think – bacon – especially if there’s a crunchy cos lettuce to chump up with it.’ Do you think that’s a typo? Should it have been ‘chum up’, rather than ‘chump’?

She has advice on drinks too –

  • a vacuum flask of hot soup
  • a mug full of steaming broth
  • the ever faithful flask of tea or coffee
  • ice-cold China tea with a sprig of mint and a squeeze of lemon
  • a can or flask of pure orange or grapefruit juice
  • bottled squash has its merits, especially for the younger generation

As for sweet things, ‘you will be wise to plump for unsquelchy things’, she advises. I agree totally with her good wishes for our picnic:

‘Let’s hope that when you have your picnic the birds will sing and the sun will shine for you – and that you don’t sit down on a broken bottle or find your view spoiled by ice cream cartons all over the grass.’

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