Picnics were important social outings in the 19th Century. Work picnics, union picnics, picnics to celebrate sports events and moonlight picnics were all regular events.
Modern picnics, though often on a smaller scale and less formal, are no less popular. These days we've got the advantage of thermos flasks, insulated bags and motorised transport.
While some folk plan their picnics with military precision, others just take what's on hand. Investing in the perfect kit depends on your picnic personality:
Romantic picnickers head for flower-studded fields, laden with real china and check-cloths packed in wickerwork fashioned from heavy-duty cane and made to last for a lifetime of memorable picnics.
Sturdy two-tiered square baskets are another romantic favourite; the food is put in first and then the crockery, so you can unpack your picnic in the right order.
Perfectionists will settle for nothing less than a fully equipped picnic hamper. A really good one will cost an enormous amount of money. Buy the best you can afford if you want it to last.
Heavy baskets and hampers are fine if you can drive right up to your picnic spot, but these weigh a ton when you have to trudge across a few paddocks. Lightweight and unbreakable picnic kits suit practical people and there is a huge range to choose from.
Members of the Throwaway Society are well catered for when it comes to picnic gear. Disposable plates and serviettes are most keenly priced in the supermarket, and not entirely without style; even the plastic cutlery comes in designer shades and hues these days.
Impulsive picnickers are advised to keep their picnic gear packed and ready to go. As well as plates, cutlery and cloth, you will need a corkscrew and can-opener, insect repellent and rubbish bag.
A final tip is not to forget the food and drink and make sure there's plenty of it.