The Joy of Picnics

Spring is finally in full swing, and thankfully the long-awaited sunshine has come with it. Bimbling around in Poppy RustyBus has been particularly joyous over the past few weeks, as hedgerows are blooming with flowers almost as colourful as our sunsets. The bleakness of the moorlands is being replaced by blue skies, and our beaches are bathed in the warm glow of the sun.

Seeing as I’ve been wearing flip flops since February, it’s no wonder that I’ve already started slipping into my summer habits and dining al fresco more frequently of late. There’s something about the fresh air that makes me feel more connected to the food that I’m eating, after all it is farmed outdoors.

It all really started back in March, when my fiancée Ellie and I stopped in at our favourite beach to see our friends at the Barricane Beach Café, a wonderful hut that is only around for half the year. A cream tea on the beach there is officially the start of our summer, and this got me excited.

As soon as we returned home, I cleared the back of the campervan out and cleaned up the kitchen area, all in order to make space for the large wicker portable larder that is our picnic hamper. Just knowing that the plastic plates and tartan blanket are back in the van urges me to head out on an adventure, stocking up from a farm shop en route, and strolling along through the spring air for a while until I’ve earned that pork pie and lukewarm cuppa from a leaking thermos flask.

I think that’s actually one of the things I love most about picnics, the imperfect nature of it all, that it’s not fine dining. It’s honest, humble, and uncomplicated. For me, it’s nostalgic too, as I’m sure my most memorable childhood meals were either in the garden, or on a campsite, or nestled in the dunes near a beach.

Everything about a picnic is much more personal, as it is your choice what makes it into the hamper you take along with you. You’re connected to the food long before you arrive at your picnic spot, and you’re anticipating the smorgasbord that you’ve cobbled together the whole time.

And when you finally arrive and ceremoniously lay out the blanket, you feel a pure joy as you sit down in your chosen spot and tear into some crusty bread, slathering it with soft cheese, all the while surrounded by one of the infinitely beautiful views that Devon has to offer.