“Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,—
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.”
Who better than the glorious luminary William Blake to help us usher in the long-awaited arrival of Spring? Now is the time of year when the evenings start to draw out, the islands come alive with verdant landscapes and a sense of hope and new beginnings fly in with the larks. If like little old me, you love being outside, this is now the perfect time in Malta to treat you and those you love to a little picnic. Or even a large one; some of us have marginally bigger appetites than others, apparently. Now, I am not here to spoon-feed you the best places in Malta to go for a picnic. I may have acquired many fabulous bits of useless information over the years, but alas, Google I am not. And besides, we all have such different tastes, each park, beach, cliff-side view may hold different meanings for each of us. But, what I can do is to help you make it fabulous.
Time of Day:
Not all of us are Larks, some of us like the owl, come alive at night. There are no set rules here, if you fancy popping to Ghan Tuffeha at midnight with some smoked salmon blinis and a bottle of Dom Perignon under a full moon, go for it. Equally, watching the sunrise with a small qoffa full of hobz biz zejt and some freshly squeezed orange juice might be what floats your boat. The point is, picnics do not have to be a lunchtime activity revolving around an inferno of burnt meat on a makeshift barbecue, while hubby stresses out more than he did when Arsenal lost out on penalties.
As I mentioned above, we all have different appetites, so bear that in mind when preparing for any picnic. As I have a huge appetite (not that you would guess looking at me) I tend to over-cater when filling my wicker hamper and folding my gingham table cloth neatly in two. I have female ballet dancer friends who eat like starving dockyard workers but also have friends who think a double espresso and ten Marlboro lights represent most of their required food groups for the day. Give a little thought to who you are catering for.
Do not think that the more money you spend the better the picnic. I have worn many a dinner jacket and sat under huge silver candelabra, sitting on the finest woollen throws known to mankind, revelling in the most sumptuous feasts over the years at many an outdoor opera event. Loved every minute of it too, thank you muchly. Such fun. Yet I have also sat on the grass under a tree in a park sharing a scotch egg fresh from the supermarket with the love of my life as time stood still and our blossoming love was all we needed to satiate our appetites. Yes, the food might be important when thinking of alfresco eating. But the company is key. Every time.
It saddens me to have to include this, but please, consider the environment when planning all these marvellous Spring picnics I know you are about to embark on after reading this. I do not mean the obvious things mummy taught you either, like do not leave litter. That should be a given. But look into buying an qoffa, or a wicker basket so it can be re-used. Try to use food that comes with as little packaging as possible. If you can, take reusable crockery and cutlery for example, or napkins that can be washed. Any behaviour that may help sustain life on this strange and beautiful planet on which we live can only be a good thing, no?
Rant over. Phew. Now, make a list of the people you would love to spend a bit of quality time with. Think about what sort of environment and food they might like, and get calling. Oh, and if you do see any bears in the woods today, do let me know. They always have the best honey.