A Winter's Picnic

by - January 15, 2017

A beautifully cold day in mid-December in England. Dark at 4pm. What better idea than to fill the picnic basket with wine, cheese and other nibbles and head to the beach...

Brighton beach is it's best feature. I sing it's virtues every Monday to groups of new visitors in my day job and never tire of advertising it for what it is: whatever you want it to be. In the summer there are millions of people; locals, tourists, children, professionals on their lunchbreaks, holiday makers, those drinking, those swimming, those on boat trips, those paddling around the pier in kayaks and those still up from the night before drinking warm ciders. The atmosphere is second to none. It's so colourful and with the sparkling sea as the backdrop, you just want to stay long after the sun has gone down and carry on playing. 

In the winter however, everything is different. Quiet. Closed. Empty. People are gone. The rides are not open. The seafood shops are boarded up. It's desolate. It's still there, albeit more grey and slightly insipid, appealing to only those dedicated locals who are unconditionally in love with it and will visit regardless. 

For one of my best friend's birthdays, I decided to throw her a winter picnic since she's a huge fan of red wine and cheese (We ain't friends for no reason). The idea was born when I received this wonderful picnic hamper in the post from a fellow food blogger Lauren from Ellebloggs (Thankyou, Lauren) as part of the #DomuSecretSanta.  Domu, a kitchen, garden and homeware retailer selected a group of food bloggers and we were given names of other food bloggers and a list of products from which to choose what you would like your designated recipient to be sent. A very cute idea indeed. I selected This Retro Popcorn Maker for Alex from Champagne & Lemonade. I hope she liked it! 

On arrival, Sally instantly spotted this dead fish just lying there on the pebbles. ERM, WHAT the EFF? It's eyes had gone but the seagulls didn't fancy the rest of it. Strange. After some research we found out it's a dogfish but how it came to be there remains a mystery. We left it there until a random dog walker came and removed it. We never saw what she did with it, so perhaps she popped it in her bag and took it home for a bit of sashimi or something. Vom.

In our delicious picnic basket we had a bottle of the finest Argentinian red plonk, some garlic-stuffed olives, the one and only Port Salut, Nains oat cakes, a bag of Twiglets, Brie and no picnic is complete without Humous, is it? As it was a screw-top bottle we didn't use the corkscrew that neatly comes with the picnic basket but we did use the plates that come strapped in for safe keeping, as well as the cutlery and the little plastic wine glasses. 

We packed up and left just before it got dark, leaving a moody sky behind, lit by the ominous glow of the very phallic i360 which fittingly matched the main subject of the conversation. 

So I'd highly recommend sorting yourself a picnic out (boozy or not) and taking to the great outdoors whatever the temperature. There's something so richly satisfying about eating outside as we all know as it's any excuse for a BBQ in the summer and it makes for a lovely afternoon enjoying the view. 

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