Presenting Pavlova

Chapter Ten: A Picnic Too Many

Blackberries were forming on endless thorny tendrils. With a sigh, Great Aunty Grace realised that Georgia would be back at school before these had ripened. Meantime, they concentrated on enjoying the produce of this season’s good weather: strawberries, raspberries, runner beans and peas. The herb garden overflowed with thyme, bazil, dill and coriander. Bees hummed endlessly around the lavender bush.

The Rangers dropped by again. It was not the first time they had called to discuss the problem they had with a particular sheep. Grace nodded her head silently. She knew they had to work together in order to resolve the situation. The Rangers drove them all to the Reservoir, where they surveyed the scene and wondered where Prunella would strike next.

Bloated and brimming with stolen food, Prunella had indigestion and was irritable. She decided to go to Cow Green, where she could take her bad temper out on the cows. Insulting them wildly, she called them names and accused them of wrong doings. The cows began to stamp their feet in frustration. Prunella could see they were agitated and continued mercilessly until she had worn herself out. So, having enraged the cows to a fury, Prunella drifted off to sleep safely just out of their reach, on a rock above the dry stone wall.

Juniper and Rowan laughed as they chased their bouncy ball. It had been given to them by some visitors and it was great fun. If it came to a stand still, a nudge would set it off again, bouncing off hillsides and rolling round rocks. They squealed with delight as it bounded down a slope, careering off boulders. Swerving to follow it, they raced along to catch it up once again. They did not even realise that it had bounced its way on to Cow Green, so they chased after it merrily. They were half way across before they realised where they were. They stood very still as cows began to surround them. Having been tormented to distraction by Prunella, the cows thought that these two small sheep had come to annoy them too. They booed and mooed at the twins, nudging them, unwittingly, toward the jagged edges of the dry stone wall.

As Georgia and Grace strolled closer to Cow Green, they could hear soft bleating cries. With consternation, it dawned on them that the twins were in trouble. They hurried toward Cow Green. Grace grabbed the blanket from the sleeping Prunella’s back. Waving it wildly, she strode across Cow Geen like a bullfighter entering a ring. Shouting loudly, she distracted the cows long enough to allow Juniper and Rowan to run past them and away. Georgia gently led the panting youngsters back to their flock.

Prunella opened one eye and realised that her blanket had gone. She did not know how it had happened, but was determined to get it back. She scoured the area several times without success. She hid behind rocks and spied on every passer by. Spotting a strange vehicle parked along a track, she went to investigate. There was a trailer attached to a car, and inside the trailer lay her blanket. Prunella marched straight in to reclaim it. A wooden panel slid noiselessly into place behind her. When Prunella turned round, she found that she could not get out. Speechless for a change, she could only stare helplessly as the vehicle’s engine started up. Prunella felt herself being towed along behind the car.

Christopher and Pavlova looked up to see Prunella sail bumpily by at 10mph. Further along the track, Aunt Marshmallow noted that the car was being driven by a Ranger. Georgia and Grace waved to Garibaldi from the back seat before the car and trailer disappeared into the distance.

The flock felt mixed up. They were sad to see Prunella go. They were happy she was in good hands. They were unhappy that she had behaved so badly, yet happy to be free of her bad behaviour. For once it was Aunt Marshmallow who spoke up.

“She was a bad example to the young ones. Let that be your final consideration,” she said.

The trailer continued on to the hills beyond Selset. The Rangers led Prunella in to the pen they had built in Grace’s garden, and swung the gate firmly shut.

Chapter Eleven: Fond Farewells