A picnic is the Englishman's grand gesture, his final defiance flung in the face of fate. No climate in the world is less propitious than the climate of England, yet with a recklessness that is almost sublime the English rush out of doors to eat a meal on every possible and impossible occasion. Georgina Battiscombe, English Picnics, 1951
I believe this to be largely true, despite the fact that the noun really ought to be Englishwoman. With three rain-wet dogs and their sodden masters dripping on her kitchen floor, our hostess finally retreats from the field yesterday, and moves lunch indoors.