A Conversation for Pre-game Tailgate Parties
Unknown in the UK ? What ?
dyvroeth Started conversation Feb 13, 2006
Good grief; unknown in the UK ? Have you never been to Twickenham and had a picnic in the car park before England beat Wales (pick a year... ) ?
These legendary pre-match picnics have given rise to some wonderful stories and a whole culture.
I remember 1979 or 1980 when England played France at Twickenham. Standing beside a friend's car with the boot open and a feast fit for a king arrayed, some Frenchmen passed by with admiration in their eyes as they were struggling to hide the rooster they'd brought over, under the jacket of one of their countrymen.
Some moments later, what I shall always treasure as the pinnacle of rugby picnic stories was told to me. (I subsequently saw it in another guise in a Calcutta Cup programme some years later under the title "Voila la classe de les Anglais").
A group of England supporters were having their picnic in the car park before the game. They had been joined by one or two French guests, to witness their side getting stuffed by the boys. A light breeze was blowing - it used to swirl around the old South Stand before the corners were closed off - and the Frenchmens' delicate palates were getting spoiled by some engine fumes coming from a car a few rows away, where the owner, though parked, had left the engine running. One of the hosts noticed the discomfort of his guests and announced he would sort things out. He strolled over to the owner - it turned out to be a 1964 Bentley - and politely asked if he could switch off the engine, as the fumes were wafting across on the breeze. The owner looks aghast that he could be responsible for ruining a Twickenham picnic and says "Terribly sorry old boy, just warming the claret". Whereupon the owner pops the bonnet and sends the host back with a bottle as a gesture of entente cordiale, at the perfect temperature for degustation.
It also happens in the less hallowed surroundings of Bedford's Park, Romford, before the summer concerts - I've even seen fine china and a candellabra !
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