When I need a holiday but haven’t the funds or enough time for a long trip, I like l to take a journey back to another time when life was slower and people enjoyed simple pleasures. How to do this without a time machine? Well I deploy our collection of vintage items and use them to create a fantasy of a long gone period.
As I have mentioned before in this blog, I love going on picnics. But sitting on the uncomfortable ground fighting off ants is not always pleasant. Why not go back to the mid 20th century, when you could sit in style anywhere with your folding picnic furniture to enjoy the great outdoors. Back then a family or group of friends would load up the station wagon with all kinds of goodies and equipment and would go off to spend the day in the country. It would have been a bit like a mini expedition without the dangers (if you exclude potential bushfires or snakes).
This type of picnic is something that I would like to recreate when the weather is not too hot. Anyone can do this with a bit of imagination and not too much expense. I set up our vintage picnic furniture and equipment on our back lawn to illustrate my idea for a mid 20th century picnic. We have some old deck chairs, a folding stool; a folding wooden table and chair; a vintage linen table-cloth, old thermos and wine cooler; shuttlecock and quoits sets, all of which came from relatives. The glass jug; aluminum beaker set; picnic basket and small wooden case were found at op shops (thrift or charity stores). The umbrellas came from an Asian shop.
Just imagine a lovely country landscape with lots of trees (and nearby parking). You set up your furniture and unpack your picnic basket in the shade. It is a beautiful day with a slight breeze. After a delicious lunch of gourmet sandwiches and salads served with cold wine or craft beer and delightful conversation with friends, you can indulge in a short walk or play a novel old-fashioned game of shuttlecock or quoits (or whatever game takes you fancy) or take a nap after reading a good book. Then you have afternoon tea or coffee and cakes before you pack up for the journey home.
This is how I would like it to be, but it always pays to take the insect repellant, mobile phones and other mod cons just in case. Resist the temptation to start Googling or checking your emails. The whole point is to get away from 21st century stress and slow down a bit.
In Australia there are picnic race events in the country and you could attend one of these and have this type of picnic in style. Appropriate clothing would complete the vintage feel.
There are even some people in Australia who live their whole lives in another era (Pia Anderson). They dress in vintage clothes and live with objects and furniture from their favored period. I think that this would take a lot of effort to do all the time and would not seem like a holiday after a while. But whatever turns you on.
You could probably travel to other past times for a picnic theme. Think medieval spit roast. For this you would need a group of hungry people and no total fire bans. A Roman banquet would be a bit more difficult. Hard to find folding Roman couches but maybe a banana lounge would make a good substitute and there are always those portable shade cabanas or gazebos for a Roman tent if you have access to one. These themes could be hilarious with a group of friends.
So next time you plan a picnic try something different. Forget the modern minimalism of backpack convenience and go for a historical production for a fun way to visit the past. There is nothing like a bit of escapist fantasy as a restorative.