28 Things That Happen Every Time You Have A Family Picnic

Experiences in a family picnic
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Soaking up the sun on a lazy afternoon in the park, surrounded by comfort food and loved ones… it’s the stuff that golden memories are made of. Yet family picnics also come with their challenges, from rogue footballs to insect attacks. How many of the following 28 experiences sound all too familiar?


1. WASP INCIDENT #1. The wasp zeroes in on the most jumpy adult and hovers before their terrified face. The unfortunate parent has three options: swipe and be stung; attempt to ignore (impossible); run around the picnic site with all the grace and dignity of Mr Bean. 

2. That quiche you spent hours preparing… everyone made the right noises, but then ignored it in favour of the pringles.

3. A rogue football piles through the middle of the picnic spread. Beakers topple like dominoes.

4. “Argh… look an ant!”
“It’s just one. It won’t hurt you.”
“But you never get just one ant!”
“Well, I can’t see any others. It’s just that one… oh, hang on. Shall we move?”

5. Everyone turns to admire a passing dog - which turns out to be a diversion, because its crafty kennel-mate has sneaked up from behind to steal a sandwich.

6. You’re meeting another family in a large park. They’re running a little late and phone to find out where you are. “Um. We’re by some trees. Kind of over near the lake, but not that close. To the west… or is it the east… um. I don’t know. Do you know what a swamp cypress looks like, because I think we’re next to a swamp cypress. But it might be a larch.”

7. There’s a big argument about whether the ‘three second rule’ applies to food that has fallen on turf.

8. You wildly overestimated the amount of food to bring. Especially dips, fruit and quiche. Always the quiche.

9. One child has sunglasses, but the other does not. Tears and recriminations ensue.

10. The blanket is never quite large enough to accommodate everyone, especially when the quiche starts muscling in.  

11. A vague odour of dog mess periodically reaches your nostrils, yet it’s never quite strong enough to overcome the hassle of moving. 

12. Another family chooses a picnic spot that feels just a little bit close to your own. And then the water pistols appear.

13. Junior has needed the toilet pretty much since leaving the house, but they’ll only tell you this just as you’re about to tuck in to your sarnies. 

14. Oh look… the picnic bag contains a wizened apple core from our last picnic. 

15. WASP INCIDENT #2. One of the kids witnesses the fearsome insect crawling into the hamper or picnic bag. It can’t be located by visual inspection. Every dip into the hamper is now like that scene in Flash Gordon, where Peter Duncan has to plunge his hand into the stump of doom.

16. The inevitable spot of rain is felt. Everyone’s first response is to sheepishly raise a plate over their heads, as though that’ll make a jot of difference. A frantic dash to the trees is about three minutes away.

17. Child number 2 has found a way to scrape her knee, even though there is no hard surface in sight. 

18. One parent turns up with a welcome bottle of chilled wine. The elation lasts just 30 seconds until the immortal words are uttered: “Um, did anyone bring a corkscrew?”.

19. “Hay fever! How did I forget about hay fever?!?” 

20. Like a hero, you carried several kilos of plates, cutlery, serviettes, tumblers and bowls to your picnic spot, only to find that everyone eats from the tubs with their fingers and quaffs out of bottles.

21. The family seated 20 metres away appear to be much better prepared, with fold-away chairs, a sunshade, well-behaved kids in buttoned shirts, and an actual tiered cake stand like you might get in The Dorchester. Does the wasp ever trouble them? Not a chance. 

22. Somebody sings Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

23. Somebody else sings the rude version of Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and you have to cut them off before they get to the line about [CENSORED]. There are kids present!

24. WASP INCIDENT #3. “It’s in the cake. I mean *inside* the cake. I’m sure of it. I saw it go in. Nobody eat the cake.” - or some similar paranoia. 

25. “Just checking the latest rain forecast” becomes an hourly excuse to glance at the football results or scan your socials.

26. Favourite teddy’s fur has become matted with tzatziki. 

27. Whose bright idea was it to bring chocolate treats along on the hottest day of the year? At least teddy’s fur is now matted with pleasing, two-toned streaks.

28. Time to go home. Somehow the rubbish bag is three times the size of the original picnic hamper. 

See also

How to glam up your picnic

Hold an indoor family picnic

Scenic picnic spots in London

10 best picnic hampers for summer


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