It was a glorious summer's day. The sun shone brightly over the land, making the weather outside lovely and warm.
Such an improvement on the masses of rain they'd had recently, Joey thought as she looked out of the window. This should be a good day for testing out those nets we bought.
She went down to the kitchen and talked to Anna, who was busy making sandwiches. "Gruss Gott!" Jo said brightly.
"Gruss Gott, Frau Maynard," Anna replied, as she buttered bread. "You will be having a picnic later, nicht wahr?"
"How did you know?" Joey asked.
"It is that I am psychic," Anna joked. Jo smiled.
"I'll go see to the babes then," Joey put action to word.
As she made sure that the babes were ready, Joey concentrated on her thoughts. All of the babes have been somewhat fractious lately, they'll all appreciate some fresh air and some exercise. And my Margot's been looking peaky again - this outing will definitely help her.
After everyone was ready, they set off, Joey, Anna, Len, Con, Margot, Steve, and little Chas toddling along and talking quickly from excitement - "Fishies! Fishies! Mamma - fishies?"
"Yes, darling, there will be fishes," Joey said. "We're going to see if we can catch some!"
"Catch fishies!" Chas squealed happily. "Catch fishies!"
The pack strolled along up to the little pond and Joey allocated two nets to Len and Steve, and gave the last one to Anna, who sat with little Chas and helped him with his net.
Len and Steve fished with their nets, trying to catch tiddlers, while Con and Margot watched. Joey was busy writing a scene for her next Harbour School book, but more often than not she found herself watching as the competition between Len and Con, and Margot and Stephen.
"Time to switch nets over," Joey said, after about half an hour.
Len gave her net to Con, and Steve to Margot. The water rippled slightly when net touched water, the breeze barely touching the water. The laughter of the kids merrily touched the air. Finally! Inspiration!
Joey wrote and wrote and wrote, getting lost in The Harbour School and Heather, until she got to a pause. What should her main character, Clementine, do here? She pondered for a bit, before checking her watch again.
"Time to switch over again," Joey announced. "And then we'll have tea,"
That's what she should do, Joey thought, and scribbled down more and more of her book. She was distracted, however, by a face.
"What's wrong, Steve?" she asked.
"Mamma, Margot won't swap the net," Steve said.
Joey looked over at Margot. At that point, Margot looked straight around at her, and shot her a look so wistful Jo immediately felt guilty about thinking about making Margot give the net up. After all, Margot had been looking so peaky recently.
"Leave it, Steve," Joey said automatically.
So Steve went back netless, and just sat at the edge of the pond, watching the water ripple, until Len and Con invited him to join them.
When Tea came Len, Con and Steve all sat together while Margot sat by Joey and Anna tended to a sulky Charles, who was upset because he had been enjoying catching fishies and now he couldn't any more, he had to sit down for a long time and eat.
"Shall I take him back now?" asked Anna, referring to Chas.
"It's your choice, but if you do, make sure he eats something," replied Joey.
"Don't worry, I shall," Anna said, standing up with Chas.
The group enjoyed their picnic out in the park, and they tidied up afterwards with good grace, before setting off for home. Margot joined the other children as they set off, but not too long into the amble back she ended up on Joey's other side. Ahh, children, Joey thought. You could never predict them.