Presenting Pavlova

Chapter Four: The Reception

It had been a difficult day for Georgia, so far. Her Mummy had been busy preparing lots of food for a picnic for Georgia and some of her friends. Georgia had been looking forward to it. However, when they had called round for her friends, not one of them was well! Chickenpox was suspected. Mummy checked Georgia for spots, and felt her forehead to see if she was running a temperature. No, Georgia was fine. Determined not to spoil the day completely, nor to waste all that food, they loaded up the car and paid a surprise visit to Great Aunty Grace. The weather being sunny, Grace thought it would be a good idea to head toward Grassholme Reservoir.

Georgia could not believe her eyes as they pulled in to the car park. She was sure that she could see the sheep that she had met last time. She would recognise that dark woolly head anywhere. This time it was amongst a group, rather than on its own. Georgia was puzzled, because although they all looked smart, they all seemed sad.

Garibaldi was shaking his head in dismay. Although he’d warned Pavlova to be wary of Prunella, he hadn’t thought she would do anything as despicable as this. Aunty Marmalade was weeping buckets of tears: she had spent a lot of time and effort creating that buffet. Beanstalk was snorting in irritation. Pavlova and Christopher were gazing at each other, happy to be married, but sadly pondering how to feed their guests.

The rustling of crisp packets finally drew Pavlova’s attention to just over the brow of the hill. This time it was Pavlova who could not believe her eyes. There was the little girl she’d met before. This time, she was sitting with an old lady who had silver hair. They were both rustling crisp bags and smiling. It was as if they were inviting them over. With big eyes locked onto the crisp packets, Pavlova led the wedding party over the hill and down toward Georgia and Great Aunty Grace.

There were mountains of sandwiches and piles of crisps; apples, grapes and bananas, plus other things that Pavlova had never seen before but was determined to taste. Georgia got the giggles with Pattie and Buttie because they pretended to fight over the crisps. Grace and Aunt Marshmallow decided to retire to the shade of the trees with a plate full of sandwiches and fruit. Georgia’s parents joined them with the rest of the picnic from the boot of the car and made sure it was all shared out liberally. Pavlova found that she liked scotch eggs and celery. The whole wedding party dipped into foods they had never tried before: sausage rolls, olives and mini vegetable samosas. Christopher found he liked quiche and cherry tomatoes. Sounds of contented munching floated softly over the neighbouring hills. Another surprise appeared in the form of an enormous chocolate and strawberry gateau. Pavlova’s eyes felt misty. She even had a wedding cake now.

Full to satisfaction, some snoozed in the sunshine. Georgia played running up and down the hills with the younger sheep. They ran races in relays until they were exhausted. Garibaldi caused concern when he drank from the fizzy bottle instead of plain water. Sheep are not used to fizzy drinks, and he got dreadful hiccups. Uncle Broccoli suggested Garibaldi should hold his breath. However, Garibaldi looked as if he would explode, so they made him breath again. The only polite thing for him to do was to saunter off on his own for a while, until the hiccups subsided. He wandered off toward Cronkley Fell.

The buzz of the wedding party could still be heard in the distance as he strolled along. The sun still shone pleasantly, and Garibaldi felt happy and relaxed despite the hiccups. Suddenly, though, he reared up as pain shot through him. He did not know what was happening. Staring through a haze of bafflement, he saw a skinny set of legs take off from a nearby group of rocks. He limped toward those rocks and saw the remains of Aunty Marmalade’s buffet lying in the sun. It must have been Prunella. She had thrown the salt and pepper pots at him when she’d seen him coming. One had hit him on the head, the other in the leg. With a half smile, Garibaldi realised that the shock had cured his hiccups.

Chapter Five: A Last Chance to Visit