Presenting Pavlova

Chapter Eleven: Fond Farewells

Georgia’s parents were amazed at Grace’s new lodger. She was wearing a blanket and had a sullen expression. They took iced drinks into the garden and listened as Georgia and Grace recounted the whole story.

Prunella stared at them silently. There was nothing she could do. She could not get out of the pen. It was some consolation that she had her blanket back. Beyond that, she was miserable. She supposed that these people would be horrible to her. They would starve her, at the very least. She could see them loading up the car with a huge picnic now, and there was no way she could get any.

They were indeed loading up the car for a final picnic at Grassholme Reservoir. School started again next week, so this was to be a farewell extravaganza.

Prunella was surprised at the big bowl of food put in to her pen. She was more surprised when a bowl of water followed. She had to say that this was very thoughtful.

Down at the Reservoir, Rowan and Juniper were playing ‘guess which twin is which’. They interweaved behind rocks, and when they came out everyone had to guess which one was Rowan and which one Juniper. They liked playing this game because everyone found it difficult to tell them apart because they looked so much the same.

There was a large cheer as the cool bag appeared. Everyone had fond memories of this. Because it was a farewell, Georgia’s parents were allowing the treats to come first, for a change. This time not only fromage frais but also cherry cheesecake appeared, plus lavish pots of fresh fruit set in jelly, with brandy snaps cascading rich fresh cream. Sandwiches and multi-flavoured crisps followed. Pizza slices stacked with colourful toppings vied for space with crackers and dips. There was as much salad and fruit as anyone could possibly eat, also toffee popcorn for anyone who could manage to eat more.

When they had eaten, rested and finished off the drinking water, the young ones used the spare picnic blanket to do impressions of bullfighters, to celebrate the saving of Juniper and Rowan from the cows.

A skipping rope turned into a game of tug-of-war. Pattie and Buttie started it, with Georgia. They all giggled so much, though, they hardly had the strength to pull. Aunty Marmalade joined Pattie and Buttie, to help them, and Grace went to give Georgia a hand. Uncle Broccoli saw the opportunity to use tactics. He ordered the sheep by size and, one by one, sent them to join Pattie and Buttie’s side. Georgia’s Mummy and Daddy quickly rushed to Georgia’s side, but they felt such a great surge of strength from the other end of the skipping rope that they let go before they got pulled over! As a prize, the sheep team were awarded a large, jam-filled sponge cake to share between them.

The youngsters continued to play chases and races until they felt weary. As the cool of the evening began to drift in, Georgia sang them all some of the favourite songs she had learnt at school. Her clear voice soothed and quietened the flock after such an exciting day.

As Georgia and family loaded up the car, ready to depart, the older sheep wandered off to the sacred rocks in order to keep that feeling of fullness and tranquillity. The young sheep were already drifting into dreamy, delicious sleep.

The stars over the hills of Selset saw an unusually contented Prunella gaze up at them and yawn.