Culture House Daily

Picnics are ridiculous. Don’t expect me or my dog to have any respect for them

16 June 2014

1:31 PM

16 June 2014

1:31 PM

In the past few weeks my poor dog Maisie has been screamed at, threatened, vilified and monstered, just as she is every summer. Why? Because as soon as the weather promises to be nice a significant number of idiots dust down their Tupperware and schlep a picnic to a public park.

Why is it, then, that dogs who make a dash for the chicken drumsticks laid out within sniffing distance and on their own turf are accused of theft and bad behaviour? In what way can we possibly blame scavenging animals from taking food from the ground? And this is in a world where women who go out late at night/take a taxi when drunk/wear a short skirt/indulge in flirtatious behaviour are told that if they are raped they have brought it on themselves!

On Monday mornings I am scared to let my poor pooch off her lead because the park is usually littered with half eaten rubbish left by lazy bastards who can’t be bothered to preserve the public space for others to use. Why would anyone want to eat outside, without a table and chairs and proper cutlery, when they could eat at home? The only type of outdoor eating I like is under a parasol, at a proper table that doesn’t wobble, with a tablecloth, and within sight of either a waiter or my own fridge.


Competitive, or extreme, picnicking wind me up. We all know someone who will bake a quiche from scratch using only free-range, organic ingredients only to find, when releasing it from its wrapper, it has broken into a hundred pieces and gone as soggy as an Ed Milliband speech. Picnic fiends prepare food they would normally find repellent, such as pasta bows mixed with green peppers and tinned sweetcorn, home-made hummus with the consistency of Polyfilla, and cocktail sausages that resemble a shrivelled, severed penis by the time they are unpacked. Fruit is bruised, and cake is mush, not to mention the fact that someone has forgotten the salt, so the little cherry tomatoes that are barely holding together taste of fuck all.

By the time the picnic is finished your arse feels like it’s been kicked by a frightened horse, because no matter how nice a spot you pick, and how thick your blanket is, the ground is full of bumps and hard stubble. Bending over to slice yourself a supermarket baguette can put your back out and bruise both knees. Such joy.

Men and children love picnics, but the women usually hate it because, let’s face it, making a picnic is seen as women’s work. After the crap food has been scoffed down, along with a few insects and a fair bit of soil, the containers have to be all packed up again, transported back to the car, and taken home to be washed.

For my birthday one year I was taken to Kenwood on Hampstead Heath to hear an outdoor opera. I love Tosca, but by the end of the evening I could quite happily have perched myself on a high wall and hurled myself over the edge to my death, shouting, ‘Perché non potevamo abbiamo ascoltato Tosca a casa e cena mangiato in comodità?’

It rained. I was desperate to go to the loo, having drunk a bucketful of warm white wine (someone forgot the ice). And I could hardly hear the opera over the sound of tossers playing frisbee. If you must indulge in this ridiculous activity, don’t expect my dog to have any more respect for your soggy sardines than I do.

Follow Julie Bindel on Twitter @bindelj

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Show comments
  • balance_and_reason

    No joy in your soul Bindel…it figures.

  • MC73

    Reading this pointless, mentally ill guff is almost enough to make me turn to Alex Massie….

    BTW Bindel, you deranged misanthropist, if your stinking mutt comes anywhere near my chicken drumsticks, I will stab it in the eye.

  • Liz

    I wouldn’t blame a scavenging badger or other wild beast. I wouldn’t actually blame the pet dogs. But I blame their owners of whom these contrived offences against nature are a long extension.

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Crumbs! A sociopath on the loose. I imagine that you believe you should be able to let your dog run free in a field full of sheep. In case you don’t know, under those circumstances the landowner has the right to shoot it DEAD. As they say, ‘bring it on’.

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    Perhaps there were plans for Ms Julie to be the resident curmudgeon at the Speccie. But she isn’t bad enough, just petty.

  • Nicetime

    I love the fact that she is whinging about the the assumed culpability of the victims in rape cases, and everyone (both men and women) are scrapping about dogs

  • heather harvey

    There’s a tiny point that has escaped the notice of many – this is now a regular column, which I at least welcome, which pokes fun at the luvvie things we get up to – it’s humour. I know this not expected from a feminist but…………..

    • Guy Hamilton

      Spot on!
      I had never heard of Julie Bindle until I read this article but I then looked at some of her archived pieces and, it’s quite obvious, you’re correct.
      Her shtick is practically the same as Jeremy Clarkson’s, aimed in a very different direction of course. The point is to select a target and then attack it in a humorous fashion to elicit outrage from those who take themselves too seriously.
      PJ O’Rourke is another of this school.
      I agree with some and disagree with many of the things that Bindle, Clarkson and O’Rourke say.
      But they are, usually, entertaining.
      With any luck this comment may outrage both Bindle and Clarkson.

      • David Olof Carney

        Clarkson is the dullest most predictably “not funny” person on television – an abject waste of space and oxygen!

    • David Olof Carney

      It is not funny!!! – it is very bad writing and it is as dull as it is stupid. There is no satire or humour in it what-so-ever!! It is at best a silly article written in the manner of a sixth former at a public school trying to very grown up and having a go at satire. Just not good!!

  • Gwangi

    Julie Bindel is ridiculous.

    Irresponsible dog owners let their dogs run around attacking people and pooing everywhere. I’d put down their owners… Ban dog meat; market irresponsible dog owner meat instead.

    I loved this piece of misandry and generalised piffle in particular:

    ‘Men and children love picnics, but the women usually hate it because, let’s face it, making a picnic is seen as women’s work.’

    Errr…make a few sandwiches, buy a pork pie/scotch egg or two, some crisps, pack some bottles of pop. And this is work now?

    Oh the oppression women suffer! How ever do the poor dears cope with their trials and tribulations of such an ordeal?

    Misogyny, that’s what it is! Picnics are clearly yet another example of the woman hatred in our society, with poor oppressed victims – always women (because men never make sandwiches of course…) – singlehandedly suffering under the enormous burden of making sarnies and visiting Tescos…

    How to they do it eh? Must be superwomen…unlike men who are always useless at everything. BLAH BLAH BLAH BINDEL…

    I’m really surprised your dog hasn’t gone for you actually, love… poor mutt.

    • Liz

      “Errr…make a few sandwiches, buy a pork pie/scotch egg or two, some crisps, pack some bottles of pop. And this is work now?”

      Spoken like somebody who had never made a picnic for a group of people.

      Probably because he doesn’t know a group of people.

      Thus proving her point very nicely.

  • Flintshire Ian

    I take it that you were well into your second bottle when you wrote this rant?
    Most of us with dogs do our best to avoid confrontation – for their benefit, our benefit and for the benefit of other people and other dogs.

  • rugby god

    As a dog lover when we go a picnicking I take extra dog treats for any furry friends who approach. However, as a 6.3 110kg bloke with a default face setting of grumpy most dogs are pulled away by their owners before they even give paw!

  • Patrick Davis

    I had to stop reading; you sound like a stuck up douche. I allow my dog to run off the leash but I don’t allow her to run a muck and eat peoples food. Everybody has the right to use the park for whatever they feel like doing even if you’re too good to hang out with the commoners

  • Benedict Cumberbumberbatch

    Dogs sans a lead attached to a human should be shot. To be fair the situation with dogs & doggie people parallels that of immigrants and the multiculturalists. You can have a certain sympathy with the instincts of the dog/immigrant, but none at all with their handlers/enablers.

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      Not liking dogs? How very un-British.

    • Kitty MLB

      Always be weary of people who don’t like pets.
      usually self-obsessed socialists with a dark void of a
      soul. And has another lady has stated, how very un British,
      and not just British..inhuman.

      • Benedict Cumberbumberbatch

        I’m reminded of the wonderful Auberon Waugh standing on behalf of the ‘dog lover’s party’ in a by-election many years ago. He understood you ‘woof woof’ people who smell like dog blankets only too well. He wasn’t renowned for his socialism either

        • Kitty MLB

          I whift in like a scented breeze, a line from
          one of Evelyn Waughs books, one of my
          favourite authors. I Smell of the scented
          wild blooms of Italy in the twilight.
          Not of manky dog blankets…but yes you do
          need to keep the smell of pets and humans
          apart. But what about offensive smelly
          humans, those who don’t wash, have bad
          breath, smoke, burp alot, eat smelly food
          and don’t wash their bedclothes that often
          remember those also, Mr Anti- Pets !

  • Guy Hamilton

    Dear Julie Bindel,
    I really wish I’d written that.
    You’ve done a superb job of winding up the pompous prats. I envy your success.

    • balance_and_reason

      Those pompous picnic prats….you nincompoop

    • David Olof Carney

      Her writing is immature, not funny, and is not satirical … essentially piss poor!

  • mattghg

    What an enormous prat you are.

  • Lucas Semmelmeyer

    Dear Julie Bindel, I am very glad to read, that you haven’t a worry in the world. Kindly keep your infantile aesteticism to yourself. And your dog on a leash. Or the other way round.

    • Lucas Semmelmeyer

      Also: please don’t reproduce.

  • Will Goulborn

    Opera and a picnic, i think i just overdosed on bourgeois :L dogs in parks are fine as ling as they dont attack kids or leave a mess.

  • Ged Byrne

    Julie Bindel, you fail even to grasp what being a dog owner legally entails, and I shall hereby enlighten you before you fall foul of the law and end up with egg on your face and your dog in a kennel awaiting execution.

    The overall law is that you, as a dog owner, are responsible for your dog at all times and should have it under control at all times.

    When you come to a public place, like a park, it is not for others to control themselves to discourage your dog from attacking and stealing from them, any more than it is your responsibility to hide yourself behind ugly clothes to prevent a rapist from attacking you.

    If your dog is out of control, it is YOUR fault.

    If your dog seeks to steal food, it is YOUR fault.

    If your dog attacks picnics, it’s YOUR fault.

    Get your dog some training, or yourself. Teach it to learn self control or take it elsewhere! You suggest people should bend their lives to accommodate you and your canine, yet your canine pays no rates, pays no tax and enjoys all the benefits of everyone else’s rates and tax. YOU should consider yourself lucky you don’t get assaulted by smacks in the face when you walk out in public, spreading yourself out all over the place, like you do, schlepping your opinions on people willy nilly in all weathers.

    Intolerance is one thing, bad manners is another, and asininity another thing altogether.

    I suggest you take a crash course in humble pie craft, and/or get one of those extending leads, or move!

    • monty61

      Indeed. Most trolls get banned though, this lady seems to get paid it.

  • Madeleine

    Totally agree about the tomatoes sans salt; and about the ghastliness of picnics in general. Shudder.

    • David Olof Carney

      Nobody is forcing you to have a picnic now naff off!

      • Madeleine

        why the need to be so unpleasent on what was merely my mildly expressed opinion on picnics

  • bobby_r

    Jesus, what an insane rant. Hope you feel better after writing that than I do after reading as much of it as I could stomach.

  • David Olof Carney

    The author is an obnoxious selfish idiot – grow up you spoiled brat – if your dog had a go at my picnic I would punch it VERY hard in the face!

    • mattghg

      Me too.

    • Daviejohn

      Punching dogs in the throat seems to be ‘de rigueur’ this year.

      • David Olof Carney

        I will not put up with loutish and stupid arrogant people behaving in a totally selfish and unsocial way. Act anti-socially and take the consequences … by the way did you not know the English words for what you wanted to say or can you not help yourself being pretentious??

  • laurence

    ‘The only type of outdoor eating I like is under a parasol, at a proper
    table that doesn’t wobble, with a tablecloth, and within sight of either
    a waiter or my own fridge.’
    Exactly. Couldn’t have put it any better.

  • Kennybhoy

    Is this a parody…?

    • Ged Byrne

      Good point.. but I think not.

  • Mr Grumpy

    What a brilliant idea to get Craig Brown to do a Julie Bindel blog. Respect, Fraser!

  • Kitty MLB

    I assume you feel the same about all those greasy lobster coloured people who
    eat food on beaches. Not a beach holiday person myself. Prefer driving along
    the Amafi coast, mountain climbing in Scotland, or some cultural holiday.
    The issue is instead of finding a green space somewhere people gather like sardines,
    and the British like eating outside, with their cheese and pickle sandwiches but
    what about wasps and other peoples little darlings tramping everywhere and screaming.
    The ideal picnic are those you see in films set in the 20s in England. People driving
    their classic cars, ladies wearing large hats, hampers containing smoked salmon,
    pheasant, freshly baked bread and decent white wine. ( you can have al that now
    with a posh picnic hamper I suppose ) driven to a beautiful green field, with blue
    sky and a gentle river in the distance.
    ‘Men and children love picnics,’ so do the older generation, the mother in law loves
    them and yes little children love to run wild and swing from trees.
    Actually chaps prefer Barbecues more then picnics.

  • Kitty MLB

    Some dogs are not well behaved in polite society. I can assure you that although
    my Chocolate Labrador named Cadbury ( yes I know) believed he is a cat, never
    barks as he believes its beneath him and only understood latin as a pup. He
    is always on his best behaviour when eating out doors.

  • helicoil

    Good grief, why not get a chip for the other shoulder to even things up.
    Having read your entry in “who’s nobody” I can do with out your respect as I’m sure your mutt can do without my size 10 up it Kyber.

  • P.chi ki wan

    Maisie is quite welcome to steal a chiili laden samosa from my picnic,just dont come whinging when she ‘s shitting all over your house

  • manonthebus

    ‘schlep a picnic’. I would be obliged if you would write English. I don’t speak gobbledygook.

    • Kitty MLB

      Schlepped to a picnic is not gobbledygook. Just one of those old English
      words not often used rather like Ycept.

      • dani

        It’s actually Yiddish!

        • PeteCW

          Picnic is derived from the French pique-nique. How long must we suffer under the French/Jewish/Gobbledygookian jackboot?!?

  • RBcritique

    Kindly keep your dog on a lead.

    • Helen Gradwell

      If you don’t like dogs stay at home. They have every right to be exercised off leash in public parks.

      • Renan Teté

        Just as people have their right to eat at public parks. That’s how we live in society. With respect.

      • Ged Byrne

        No, they don’t, not if they are out of control..

      • RBcritique

        I like dogs; I’m walking one right now.

      • Marie Louise Noonan

        Just ban the people. Keep them on a leash.

      • Benedict Cumberbumberbatch

        Your dog’s right to exist ends when it intrudes upon others enjoyment of their lives. Keep it under control for both your sakes

      • RBcritique

        I like dogs; I’m walking one right now.

      • First L

        Public parks are called “Public Parks”. Not dog parks.

    • Kitty MLB

      Kindly keep socialists and their badly behaved pets
      and their badly behaved children ( whom they lead by example) tied to a mighty oak tree.
      All other pets and children are allowed to roam freely,
      has they know how to behave in polite society.

      • RBcritique

        Please enlighten me as to the significance of the “mighty oak” metaphor.

      • David Olof Carney

        If anyone needs to be tied to a tree it is arrogant right-wing twats especially bankers!!