As the final size restrictions are announced for families wishing to take their own food and drink to the London Olympics, one Briton is confident of victory in the 'Snack and Field' demonstration sport. Dean Wharfdale, the country's top picnicker, has vowed to disappoint his family with some ruthlessly stripped-down sandwiches and no change for donuts.
"I've always been tight", beamed Wharfdale, a father-of-two and crab paste specialist. "I experienced my first restricted picnic in Flamingo Land at the age of nine, and my dad taught me from a young age that the music means the van’s run out of ice-cream. I train hard in lay-bys every bank holiday, so when I learned that for London 2012 they're combining a strict 100ml limit on drinks with some very vague guidelines on lunchbox capacity, I thought to myself 'I can do this'."
Wharfdale is taking the challenge seriously. "Yorkshire's the perfect training ground for tightening your budget and stripping away all unnecessary distractions, such as scotch eggs or celery", he claimed. "We virtually invented the tartan rug. And to give myself an edge I've been training in Harrogate, in an atmosphere of elevated prices."
Complacency has been the downfall of many competitors in the past, especially when faced with a short queue at a burger wagon. "It's going to be tough feeding a family of four from a 'box the size of a tea caddy, but I'm determined to keep my hands in my pockets", Wharfdale exclaimed through gritted teeth. "When you hit that smell of onions you just have to keep going. I haven't food-stalled yet."
Some people see compact picnics as a hobby rather than a sport, a claim that angers Wharfdale. “Anyone can sneak a pork pie into a cinema but that's not the way the modern game works. Those jokers have never had to face down four hours of nagging from the kids for an overpriced hotdog, toffee apple or sip of water.”
While Dean's training is going well, there is still a chink in his armour. "I've seen a rough map, and Pall Mall is going to have drinks for sale all down both sides. When it comes to expensive food I normally get straight on my high horse, but I always struggle with parallel bars."