Abigail wandered out into the garden to see her seeds every day. They didn’t seem to be doing much. First some bits that looked like tiny green pieces of grass appeared, then two small leaves. Finally they started to look a bit like a plant. They all had their own piece of garden and had planted their own seeds. Abigail’s were growing in small clumps, she’d dropped everything down into the hole in the earth in big pawfuls. Both of the polars sections were very neat and orderly, and they had lines of straight green plants. She didn’t like the look of them at all she told herself. Very boring, hers were much more natural. The tiger didn’t seem to be taking much interest, his plants were a bit like hers but with even more gaps as he kept bouncing on them.
‘Abigail,’ called Patrick, ‘they won’t grow faster by staring at them, come in and have some breakfast. Anyway it’s not a competition.’
Turning around Abigail padded up the path. ‘But when will my tomatoes appear?’
‘Ages, they need to get a lot bigger, then flower, then the tomatoes grow,’ said Preston, lifting a bottle of orange juice down carefully from the fridge. ‘Here, I assume you want some of this.’
Nodding, Abigail poured herself a glass and Preston backed away. ‘I don’t always spill it you know,’ she said crossly.
‘No, just most of the time,’ mumbled Preston.
Abigail glared at him.
Every day Abigail looked at the clumps of her tomatoes and watered them carefully. They were getting much bigger, she wanted to hers to appear first, she was sure they would be the best. Glancing at the polars neat lines of plants she sighed. Neat didn’t mean good, hers were far nicer. She’d show them that it didn’t matter and that she was clearly the best gardener. Thoughtfully she looked down at them…
‘Is there anything you want me to add onto the shopping list?’ asked Patrick, typing away with his claws on the screen. ‘Apart from cake of course.’ Looking over the top of the laptop at her he shook his head. ‘You really need to eat more healthily.’ Picking up a biscuit Abigail bit into it. Patrick sighed.
Putting down the biscuit packet, Abigail clambered up onto the table beside him. ‘Let me see.’
Looking at her doubtfully the polar held onto the screen. ‘I know what happened when you ordered last time, we didn’t have enough room for everything we’ve still got three boxes of fish fingers in the freezer. I’ll do it, just tell me what you want.’
‘But I got you a lot of sardines,’ said Abigail, leaning closer. ‘Nice ones, and I want to look.’
‘Oh all right,’ said Patrick reluctantly, ‘but don’t add too much.’
Next day the shopping arrived. ‘I’ve opened the door, I’ll unpack.’ called Abigail, dragging the bags down the hall. ‘I don’t need any help.’
From the top of the stairs, Patrick and Preston looked down through the banisters into the hall. ‘What’s she up to?’ asked Preston.
Patrick shook his head, ‘no idea, probably doesn’t want us to see all the cake she’s added.’ Turning around he padded back to his room. ‘Gives me time to finish my book though.’
‘And I’ve got a crossword to do,’ said Preston, following him, ‘it’s a very hard one but I’m doing it very quickly.’
Downstairs Abigail unpacked the shopping from the bags. She put the orange juice, butter and milk in the fridge and pushed the tins into the cupboard. Opening the freezer she put the frozen things inside and then stacked her cakes on the shelf. Opening the last bag wide she rummaged inside. Where were they? There they were… tomatoes…
Sitting on the table Abigail hummed to herself and swung her paws too and fro. It was very sunny outside and the garden door was open. Grigs was curled up, snoozing on a chair. There was a noise in the hall and both polars appeared. Preston was holding a piece of paper.
‘I finished that crossword in record time,’ he smoothed down his scarf and waved the paper in the air. ‘I’m probably in the top one percent.’
‘Of what? Of polars?’ said Abigail, ‘how many polars do crosswords?’
Preston coughed. ‘Well, not many obviously, I mean I’m in the top one percent of anyone.’
‘Does that matter?’ asked Abigail, ‘I mean…:
‘Stop it!’ said Patrick, ‘doing crosswords keeps your brain active, just like reading books.’ Placing his on the table he looked at it meaningfully. ‘You might want to read a bit more you know.’
Abigail sniffed, she wasn’t sure books were very interesting. She was sure she could read lots of books perfectly well if she wanted to. ‘Shall we go out in the garden?’ She climbed down from the table. ‘It’s very nice out. We could … I don’t know, look at how things are growing.’
‘Yours are all growing in a big lump,’ said Preston putting down the crossword. ‘Come on then.’
They all stood silently in front of the vegetable patch.
Abigail put her paw to her mouth. ‘Oh look!’
Patrick leant forward, then looked at Preston. ‘There appears to be…’
‘Tomatoes!’ said Abigail twirling around happily. She waved her paws in the air. ‘See I knew my seeds were best.’
Preston reached out, ‘they seem to be tied on with…’
Abigail knocked his paw aside. ‘They’re not tied on with anything,’ she said hotly. ‘They’re growing.’
‘But…’ said Preston, ‘it looks like stri…’
Patrick kicked his paw and shook his head. ‘She’s very happy,’ he whispered, ‘don’t say anything it’s not worth it.’
Coughing Preston rubbed his paw. ‘Lovely Abigail, they’ve grown really well, why don’t we undo the knots and … cut some down…’ Patrick kicked him again, ‘I mean, let’s pick some for dinner.’
Abigail nodded, ‘I can give you some gardening tips if you like, I’m obviously very good at it.’