Fringe Box



Feature: Good News From the GPO

Published on: 1 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2021

The sun is shining, trees are in blossom, the end of lockdown is in sight, it’s nearly Easter and it’s almost time for the Grange Park Opera, Surrey season – which means it’s also picnic season.

National Treasure Joanna Lumley is often seen at Grange Park Opera. Her husband is acclaimed conductor Stephen Barlow – who is conducting both The Life & Death of Alexander Litvinenko and La Bohème in the 2021 season – and she is a Trustee too.

She hates the idea that first-timers to Grange Park Opera might feel intimidated by the picnic and so to help out, she has devised ‘Joanna Lumley’s Perfect Opera Picnic’ (also ideal for all other alfresco eating occasions not involving classical music).

Joanna Lumley – Photo: Paul Grover

Joanna says:

“I would have:

  • Hard boiled eggs. If you add flaky onion skins to the water as they cook, they go tawny brown, and you can write people’s names on them in gold pentel
  • Cheddar cheese cut into small chunks
  • Small squares of quiche
  • Sandwiches: my favourites at the moment are Marmite flavoured hummus with pumpkin seeds.
  • Celery, radishes, cherry tomatoes
  • Crisps
  • Salted peanuts and Medjoul dates
  • Small twists of paper filled with salt and pepper
  • Strawberries
  • Cornwall Chocolate Cove chocolates and fudge
  • A Thermos of hot strong coffee
  • Water. Champagne and Elderflower fizz
  • Napkins, and a damp cloth in a plastic bag scented with rosewater for fingers.

This is what I would love to have at a picnic: and wonderfully all the above can be eaten without cutlery.”

And who of us could bear unscented water to wipe our fingers with or an egg without our name in gold letters?


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