Sitting on the kitchen step, Abigail looked out into the garden. It was very sunny and she wriggled her paws happily. She was wearing her sun hat but it was a bit big and she pushed it up to rest on the top of her ears. Behind her she could hear Patrick and Preston arguing about something.
‘That’s not how you add it up, you’ve forgotten this bit here.’
‘No I haven’t. I added it in over there!’
Abigail shook her head. It sounded very boring. She didn’t know what they were doing. They were always adding things up. Sometimes they said she bought too much cake and it was expensive and then they added even more numbers up. Speaking of cake… Clambering to her paws Abigail padded into the kitchen. ‘What’s for lunch?’
‘You’ve only just had breakfast,’ said Patrick without looking up. He pulled the pencil away from Preston and glared at him. Preston snatched it back.
‘But it’s hot and I’m thirsty,’ said Abigail, opening the fridge.
‘It’s a nice day for a picnic,’ said Preston.
Abigail looked at him. ‘What’s a picnic?’
Peering at the piece of paper Preston frowned. ‘It’s when you take nice food to somewhere like a Park, you all sit on a rug, it’s a nice day out.’ He paused, ‘I haven’t left any numbers out at all. None of them!’
‘Have..’ muttered Patrick.
‘What’s a Park?’ asked Abigail, it sounded much more interesting than numbers.
‘It’s a place with lots of grass and trees, sometimes with a lake.’ Preston waved his paws in the air. ‘They’re very big.’
Abigail nodded. ‘I want a picnic.’
‘Well perhaps we can have one in the garden,’ said Patrick. ‘We can’t go out, someone may see us.’
‘I want a picnic in a Park,’ said Abigail even more firmly. ‘I’ll go and get my rug.’ She padded out of the room.
‘Now look what you’ve done,’ muttered Patrick. ‘You know what she’s like.
Preston looked a bit sheepish.
They seemed to have an awful lot of bags. One had the rug stuffed into it, with some paper cups and plates. Another had some orange juice and lemonade and there were two full of food. Dragging another one down the hall Preston pushed it against the others.
‘What’s in there?’ asked Patrick, prodding it hard.
‘Our hats so we don’t get sunburnt, my book and some crosswords.’
Patrick threw up his paws.’ We’ll never carry all this, and we’re trying not to be seen. We’ll have to leave some bags behind.’
‘Not the food ones!’ said Abigail quickly, spreading her paws out over them. Leave your bags not mine.’
‘But I need my book, you always read books in the Park!’ said Preston hotly. ‘And..’
‘Stop it!’ shouted Patrick. ‘I knew this wasn’t a good idea!’
Abigail wrinkled her nose thoughtfully..
‘You know this was actually quite a clever idea,’ said Preston, looking at all of the bags tied onto Abigail’s red Furrari. ‘It’s very easy to push this along.’
‘Not! You’re not pushing,’ panted the tiger, nudging the car along under the hedge. ‘I am!’ A branch snapped back and hit him on the snout. ‘Ow!’
Abigail padded excitedly ahead. ‘Come on it’ll be fun, and I packed your favourite chocolate, you can have it as soon as we get there.’
The Park wasn’t far away and Preston was right it was huge! It had big bits of grass, trees, swings and… ‘is that a lake?’ breathed Abigail. She had never seen so much water all in one place. There were little blue boats on it too. They looked like fun.
‘Stay away,’ warned Patrick, putting his paw on hers, ‘it’s very deep.’
Abigail narrowed her eyes. She was sure it wasn’t that deep and she could swim in the bath. Looking at it thoughtfully, she wondered how warm it was.
Spreading out the rug behind some bushes Patrick started to unpack. ‘This really isn’t a good idea, suppose we’re seen?’
‘We’re surrounded on all sides it should be all right.’ Preston looked around. ‘Oh no where’s Grigs?’
The rug rustled. ‘Gr’under here.’ Panting hard the tiger backed out from under the rug and flopped down. ‘Why did I push?’
‘Because you’re the biggest,’ said Abigail handing him some chocolate. ‘Here, have this.’
Grumbling, Grigs started to eat.
Smoothing out the green striped rug under her paws, Abigail put the rest of the food out on the plates. It looked lovely. Preston unpacked his book and crossword then put on his hat. Abigail still had her hat on too but it was so big. Patrick giggled and Abigail trod on his paw. ‘Sorry,’ she said brightly. ‘Sardine sandwich?’
Shaking his paw Patrick sighed. ‘I suppose so,’ he peered into the bag ‘and I’ll have some lemonade.’
Laying back on the rug Abigail looked up at the sky and patted her stomach. She was very full, not even room for another slice of lemon cake. Well… maybe just a little one. Preston and Polar were both reading their books and Grigs was asleep making soft ‘grr grr grrrr..’ noises. It was very quiet. Getting to her paws she wandered towards the hedge and pushed the leaves apart. There it was, the lake, sparkling in the sunlight. There were only two blue boats on it now, the others were pulled up against the grass. Glancing back at the polars she looked back at the lake. She’d never been in a boat…
Yawning, Patrick stretched out his paws and closed his book. ‘What’s the time? We should be getting back.’
‘About five I think,’ said Preston without looking up, ‘just let me get to the end of this chapter.’
‘Where’s Abigail?’ said Patrick, he looked around, “Abigail? Abigail! Where are you?’
‘Oh no not again,’ muttered Preston. Putting down his book he trotted towards the hedge and peered through it. Leaning back he fished a pair of binoculars out of one of the bags. Leaning closer he shook his head. ‘ Um… Patrick.. I think we’ve got a small problem. Have you… err.. have you…ever been in a boat?’