Seven Orange Spaniels
It was pouring with rain in High Barnet but Little Bruv swore the sun was imminent in Greenwich, so we motored round the North Circular, whooshed under the Thames at Blackwall and hove-to on a single yellow line on Maze Hill, with a carrier bag full of strawberries and crisps.
We were almost the first there (we are usually last) and we peered through the green gloom, looking for family members. Ah! There was Little Bruv, with Round-the-world Anthony and Martin-in-a-band!
We flung down a yellow plastic sheet (free when you join the Automobile Association), folded our feet in posh shoes under us to avoid the sopping grass, and cracked open the Dip.
Gradually, others from the McCookerybook clan appeared on the horizon; it was convivial, with Sharing and a very exciting trip to the Greenwich Park lavvies, where a woman who was having a very dramatic argument with the Lavatory Assistant in the doorway, flung out her arm to emphasise a point just as I was ducking past her to get by without having to join in. Scary: she almost whacked me across the face, but I was too fast for her.
Later, a greyish green slug took a liking to my coat and had a little explore (they leave trails, you see), before someone noticed it and screamed in horror. I tried to take a photo of it before I wrapped it in a leaf and removed it, but I couldn't get the camera to focus. 'Aren't you scared?' asked someone. 'Are you a Buddhist?' asked someone else. I was neither, but someone else was trying to get Nephew to look, who is a slugophobic, so I hid it in the grass under a plastic chair.
What did we talk about? I hear you ask. Private family things, of course, and I am so mysterious I can't possibly tell you. I did have a little joke with Round-the-world Anthony about that time at the quiet Folk Club when the Northumbrian Piper piped up and he said in an extremely loud voice, 'Oh No! I Can't Stand This Racket! I'm Going Upstairs!'. Apparently him and Little Bruv had been walking to the tube station slagging the piper off again in very loud voices and the man in front of them turned round to ask the time, and verily, it was the same piper!
In the distance, seven orange spaniels were flopping around under the trees, having a whale of a time. One of them, probably having been told that he wasn't allowed to eat the picnic his owners were having, had the bright idea of galloping over to ours and looking for sausages. 'Gurrrr' whimpered Netty's frightened little wispy doggy. trembling with affront. The spaniel flopped off back to its friends, and I accidentally folded a mini-tomato into the picnic rug and went home.