Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk (2010)

Killing time. That’s what Atkinson uses a picnic for in Started Early, Took my Dog for a Walk. But in the TV series Case Histories is cut and replaced with an afternoon snack in a cafe. Importantly, what else is cut is a typical example of Atkinson’s method of...
D.H. Lawrence’s Picnic on a Train in Aaron’s Rod

D.H. Lawrence’s Picnic on a Train in Aaron’s Rod

Aaron Sissons, the protagonist of D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod leaves his wife and three young children to find himself. Something he never does. The “rod” is his flute, which he plays well enough to earn a modest living. It is also a pun on his sexuality and...
John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s 1855 Picnic Photograph

John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s 1855 Picnic Photograph

It’s a family affair and except for their clothing not much has changed since John Llewelyn snapped his wife Emma and their children on a hillside above Swansea, Wales. According to family lore, Llewelyn photographed his wife Emma each year on her birthday,...
Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the grounds (always with an “s”) is a Methodist revival meeting picnic. Among agrarian communities, the revival is held in August  before harvesting begins in earnest. Throughout the United States, there are many geographic variations, but Southerners seem...
Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics

Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics

While serving as Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner in Baghdad, Bell was a spy. Often her dual roles were indistinguishable, never more so at picnics Once using a picnic as a mask, she and her companions took an official to a lonely beach for an...
Alfred Hitchcock’s Missing Picnic in Spellbound

Alfred Hitchcock’s Missing Picnic in Spellbound

“Ham or liverwurst,” he asks. “Liverwurst,” she replies with a knowing smile.” It’s the start of a picnic (and a convoluted romance) for Dr. Anthony Edwardes (aka John Ballantyne) and Constance Petersen. Are we meant to wonder at Petersen’s knowing smile as she...
Sunset Books’ Picnics and Tailgate Parties

Sunset Books’ Picnics and Tailgate Parties

Good advice for packing a picnic: “Pack the unbreakable items first, the French bread last of all.” See: Cornelia Fogle. ed. Sunset Books, Picnics and Tailgate Parties. Menlo Park, California: Lane Publishing, 1982...
P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh Picnics

P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh Picnics

Adam Dalgliesh takes a break during murder investigation for a picnic. An hour south of Salisbury near Lulworth Cove, he stops. ” There was an out of rocks and he sat with one at his back and gazed out over the coppices to the wide blue stretch of the Channel....
Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Grass’ unconventional picnic in The Flounder (1977) is among the worst. Not only does Grass mock the accepted idea of a picnic but in doing so turns Greek mythology topsy-turvy. It’s an episode in which the key figure is Sybille, aka Billie, a name that is a variation...
Virginia Woolf’s picnic on Monte Rosa (The Voyage Out)

Virginia Woolf’s picnic on Monte Rosa (The Voyage Out)

Woolf’s picnic on the summit of Monte Rosa, a fictional place in South America, is the high point (pun intended) of The Voyage Out (1915). Journeying on donkeys walking in single file, the narrator creates the image of “a jointed caterpillar, tufted with the white...