Whatever happened to 70’s style picnics on the roadside? My parents, brothers and I would traipse down to Bexhill on Sea to stay with my Great Aunt and Uncle. A fascinating pair of people, who I will, no doubt, write about more at some point. It was before all the motorways were finished, hard to believe I know in this day and age…but yes, I really am growing that old. My memory of these journey were two things, leaving the house before day light in my brother’s hand me down pyjamas, and stopping on some ‘A’ Road somewhere for a picnic.
The picnic was a ritual and this would start with opening up the two chairs for my parents to sit on, we sat on the ground together with a very low, red, formica table. Then my mother would serve out, from a flask, Heinz cream of tomato soup into plastic mugs. It would be thermo nuclear and still, to this day, I have no idea how she managed to keep it so hot. We each had a piece of kitchen roll - a sophisticated napkin, because, eating on the road side is so sophisticated after all. Then a boiled egg each, still in shell, and a ham roll with butter so thick I could have given the half eaten thing to the dentist to create a model of my teeth. My mum and dad would share the tiny tube of Colman’s mustard.
They would tell me every time how it made it taste better, but I still refuse the mustard, even after all these years.