For a tea picnic on dry land in a wide clearing in a wood, for instance, nothing is more delightful than to build a fire and boil a kettle slung over it in gipsy fashion. Dry bracken fern makes a splendid foundation, and above it dry sticks of every kind, with a little methylated spirit poured over them before the pile is set alight, makes a glorious fire. A couple of forked sticks stuck into the ground, forks upward, a couple of yards apart, with the kettle slung by a long loop of wire from a third stick placed across the two prongs, will answer much better than a tripod.
One or two of the party must make themselves responsible for the fire, of course, it in gipsy fashion* and sec that it is thoroughly stamped out when the tea-party is over before leaving the camping-ground.
For a tea picnic on dry land, nothing is more delightful than to build a fire and boil a kettle slung over Moonlight Picnics
A moonlight picnic given in the height of summer on a night on which a full moon is due as soon as the dusk falls is sure of success, and one's menkind, who have been working in the City all day, as a rule welcome the idea of a few hours spent out in the open air with much enthusiasm.
Such a picnic party might meet at the railway station at half-past six or seven, and on arrival at their destination should take possession of a field where the grass has already been cut, spreading their tablecloth on sloping ground, so that if heat mists rise along the hedges of low-lying fields they may be high above them.
Each member of the party should be provided by the hostess with a Chinese lantern and a nightlight or candle, and these can be hung to the branches if the moon delay her rising or be overcast, and will also serve to light the picnickers on their homeward way, making a highly picturesque effect as they wind through the fields and by-paths.
Subscription picnics, if well organised, will prove an immense success. An honorary secretary must be appointed, who will draw up a list of necessary provisions, and then write postcards to each of the party giving directions as to what to bring.
In a party of ten, for instance, for a moonlight supper picnic, two might bring fruit, two a supply of daintily cut ham sandwiches, one a dozen hard-boiled eggs and a bottle of cream, one salad and paper picnic plates; two might share a big cake between them, and two provide drinks, the honorary secretary making herself responsible for a table-cloth and a few knives and spoons, besides her share of the provisions, for, with such fare as has been described, knives and forks would not be needed, while the fact of the provisions being divided up into so many separate parcels makes it easy to convey them to the picnic ground without hiring outside help. Impromptu picnic dances run on the same lines in summer-time by a party of intimate friends collected together at any little seaside or riverside resort, where a suitable room or boat-house, or even a barn with a polished floor, can be hired for the night, are delightful.
Each picnicker subscribes a trifle towards the music and the room hire, and each one arrives " on the night " armed with a mysterious parcel or packet, which, when unpacked at supper-time, reveals itself to be a basket of fruit, sandwiches, or a cake, or, perchance, a bottle of claret or hock, the provisions being partaken of in impromptu fashion on the stairs or in the garden.
It is always advisable to take a couple of tennis balls to a land picnic, for they are almost sure to come in useful for playing games with after tea.
One of the best picnic games ever invented is that of rounders, for which nothing more is needed than a short, stout cudgel with which to hit the ball.
The players, arranged in couples standing one behind the other, make a huge circle. One player is chosen as runner and one as chaser, or " he." To begin the game the chaser pursues the runner in and out and round the circle and between the couples until, finding himself hard pressed, the runner suddenly stands in front of one of the couples - making "three deep." The rear player of the original couple must now take the place of the runner, and at once dart off and dodge in and out whilst pursued by the chaser, until she is caught - when she takes the chaser's place - or until she elects to make "three deep" by standing before one of the couples, thus crowding off the rear player to take her place, as before. When the chaser catches a runner, the runnel becomes the chaser and the chaser a runner, and so the game proceeds.
Statues is another amusing picnic game which may be played by either children or "grown-ups."
To begin the game the players stand in a circle and toss a ball from one to the other round the ring. Directly a player misses the ball she must remain fixed in the attitude in which she missed it - no matter how absurd. The game continues until every player but one has been "turned into stone."
This game, needless to say, affords much amusement to the onlookers as the game proceeds, and the players one after the other are fixed in a ridiculous position, clasping the air above their heads, grovelling on the ground, or standing on one foot with both arms stretched high above them.
An impromptu May regatta is a great success if organised on the spur of the moment, on one of the quiet up-river reaches, or on a private backwater, at a big tea picnic to which numbers of guests have come by boat.
A canoe race with parasols makes a pretty event with which to open the regatta.
A man and a girl enter each canoe. The girl sits in the bows with a parasol to act as sail, while her masculine partner sits in the stern armed with a paddle to steer with only. The compe t i t o r s are started down stream, and whichever boat passes the winning - post first wins the race.
A cargo race is amusing. The "cargo" consists of a party of people - four at least - who are packed into a double-sculling boat with a single man to row it. The weight of the respective cargoes must be about evenly balanced, as nearly as can be guessed.
A man and a girl enter each canoe, the girl only being provided with a paddle with which, at a given signal, she proceeds to paddle across to the opposite bank. Both competitors jump out, and the man runs twenty yards to the spot where a paddle stuck upright in the ground is awaiting him. This he must pull out and carry back to the boat, not forgetting the "register" lying beside it. Both sign their names in the register before jumping into their canoes again, when both paddle back across the river, and landing, must run hand in hand to present the signed register to the judge seated fifty yards away.
The couple who get there first wins the race.
Punting in canoes is an exciting pastime-for men only, needless to say - and is best placed last on the programme of events, for the competitors, who must all be able to swim, are almost certain to fall into the river, and have to hurry off home, unless they have been wise enough to bring a change of flannels.
A tug - of -war across the river makes another exciting finale.
The sterns of two boats are fastened to-gether b y rather a long rope, and at a signal the crew of each boat sculls madly to tug the other across the river, victory being won by the boat whose nose first touches the bank towards which its crew are pulling.