Spindle and extreme picnicking…

Gather round glorious pals of mine, it is time for another diary entry. I am afraid that this tale is partially wee related. Apologies for those of you hoping for something more highbrow, more intellectually stimulating. To be fair, by now, you should know what to expect. 

It all began whilst I was savouring my soft boiled eggs and buttered soldiers one blustery morning. My elegant dipping was interrupted by the rallying cry of  “Let’s go for a picnic”!  This excitable proclamation came from the shambolic staff of Spindle Towers, and they were clearly enthusiastic about it. I could see the anticipation sparkling in their gimlet eyes and muvver was vibrating like a finely tuned hamster. 

There would be fresh air, the possibility of a scamper, and the opportunity to debut my new tweed pinafore ensemble (with matching cape). All would be low risk, high reward and totally socially distanced. There would be food and I could kick back my paws, fill my stomach with sumptuous morsels and watch the world go by. Perhaps, if the muse so took me, I might bang out a poem or two! I could almost feel a touch of the Barratt Brownings’ coming on in anticipation.

Preparing for a picnic turned out to be a right faff, although not for me and I just laid back and watched from my meditation hammock. Eventually, we all piled into the car and the mood was one of abandoned jauntiness. The journey contained a lot of tomfoolery and general messing about – there may also have been singing.

Some time later we pulled into the carpark of our destination ‘Old Winchester Hill’, and for those not acquainted with it, it is an area of beautiful rolling hills, overlooking an ancient hill fort, within the midst of Hampshire. 

The view was quite breathtaking. Something else that was breathtaking (literally) was the howling wind that seemed intent on conjuring up a magical portent around us. We tentatively clambered out of the car, wrestled the door closed behind us, and were all blown straight back onto the side of the car.

My tortured ears were nearly blown away, swirling and flapping about my head like demented bats. I turned into the headwind and my cape immediately detached itself and sailed over the hedge. Gritting our teeth, we pretended that none of this was happening and trudged on to bag us a sheltered spot. We were lucky and found a lovely nook which we settled into and after a slight commotion and tornado of tortilla crisps, the feast began!

The problem really began when both myself and muvver felt a simultaneous call of nature and excused ourselves to find a sheltered spot in which to have a tiddle. I myself had no problem as I wasn’t really bothered if it were sheltered or not. Muvver on the other hand, was more concerned to find a secret woodland clearing as she said some things are best not being a spectator sport. 

We bravely forced our way into a secluded tanglement of trees and she began the preparations for her tiddle. Here I could see the benefit of my pinafore which could be raised up easily, a tweed drawbridge so to speak. She was sporting several layers of leg coverings and I am fairly sure had she been wearing a skirt, then none of the following would have happened.

In my defence, the squirrel was totally unexpected. For one brief second, the tableau was frozen in time, suspended animation for us all. The squirrel, sat on the ground and considered us curiously. We in turn, considered the squirrel. Muvver at this point, was in quite a vulnerable position, mid flow so to speak. Time stopped for us, and so did her concentration…and as a consequence her flow. 

It was then that I remembered my houndly duty to chase all fearsome furry blighters and off I went, ‘skirmish ears’ engaged and right paw cocked in readiness. As I leapt towards the squirrel, it scarpered up the very same tree that muvver was using to maintain her precarious balance. There was a strangled squawk, some foul and toothsome language and muvver was spun around in a flailing of limbs and leaves.

Unfortunately the unexpectedness of this movement kick restarted her flow and she weed down her trusty Dr Martens. If I have to own up to some responsibility, it was forgetting she still had hold of my lead. 

After I was sure my bushy quarry had gone, I remembered muvver and came back to help her up and remove the twigs from her hair and generally dust her down. I am grieved to report that she blamed me for the whole debacle, which was in fact, clearly her fault for not wearing a crinoline. Happily I was reunited with my tweed cape, which was resting on a nearby twig.

We trudged back to the picnic site in a tense silence. Luckily, I am completely adorable so this didn’t last long. The rest of the day was drama free, although there was a moment of sadness when we discovered that we had put the bag of foraged blackberries into the bin and not the well stocked poo bag Hector was clutching.

I sincerely hope they won’t persevere and turn it into a crumble. No amount of custard would ever make that palatable. On a similar theme, I must leave you now to go and telephone my Grandad Tom. Wild rumours are swirling about as to his abundant, and allegedly magnificent, plums…until next time, pip pip!


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