Hooting Yard: Picnic for Detectives

On Thursday, I mentioned in passing Picnic For Detectives. This annual event has become one of the key dates in the Hooting Yard calendar, which is somewhat surprising, given its inglorious beginnings.

The very first Picnic For Detectives was hardly a picnic at all, and the official historian of the event estimates that only a handful of those taking part were bona fide detectives. All we know for certain is that a small group of people, no more than four or five, pitched up in a field with a couple of hampers, and spent an afternoon there. Meteorological records show the day was one of arctic squalls, but the field was in a temperate zone inland. In fact, it was just across the road from Pang Hill Orphanage. This anomaly has fascinated weather-fixated Picnic For Detectives buffs, who are legion.

So, not only do we have just a few people with a couple of hampers, we do not even know what was in those hampers. If you are familiar with ordinary picnics, you would expect to open up a hamper to find sandwiches, savoury flans, some fruit, crackers, cheese-related foodstuffs, cake, and bottles of refreshing barley water. Hardboiled eggs would be likely, too, unless the film director Alfred Hitchcock was one of the picknickers, for as we know from the many biographies, he was terrified of eggs.

  • Shem, Ham, Japheth and Minnie Crunlop
  • Mrs Gubbins and Mr Smith
  • Picnic for Detectives
  • Me and My Homunculus
  • Blodgett’s Fiendish X-Ray Plot

This episode was first broadcast on June 29th 2005. The entire text of this show can be found on the Hooting Yard Website.

Unfortunately, due to a recording error, the last few seconds of this show have been truncated, additionally there is persistent distortion throuought the entire recording. Sadly there is nothing we can do about this. It is after all an entirely live show. We will make it up to you… somehow.