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Few things are more important In the Middle East than a picnic.

The picnic is the alpha and omega of social life. The number one entertainment option. The stuff of week-day dreams and Sunday memories.

People talk about a successful picnic in the same way you and I would describe a holiday to Tenerife.

A lot of care goes into packing the right supplies and identifying the correct spot. 

Transport is never straightforward. It involves long lines of cars crawling up the motorway like giant snails, crushed under the combined load of 4 adults and 7 children, three of whom stick out their upper bodies through the windows to keep the load piled on the roof from dispersing. 

In somebody’s garden, on a roof top, by the side of the road, in the centre of a junction, anywhere where a square meter can be found it will be covered in pots, pans and plastic chairs while a family establishes ownership for one delightful day. 

Groups of joyous picnickers descend upon the beach and set up camp.

The boys run around and kick balls, the girls comb each other’s long hair and the mothers carefully dispense tea and coffee for everybody. Particularly well organised picnickers will have music blasting out of the parked car, to the envy of the less musical crowds. 

The men grill meat and onions with an air of sacred duty. They inspect the results of their labour with care, shout assurances of success and then grin triumphantly at men with inferior grills.

The air fills with mouth-watering smells. The non picnicker advances through grill land at their peril. 

It’s that time of year. Grill or be grilled.