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Rich’s round face lost its ubiquitous smile.

“Oh dear!”

Olive was perched uneasily on the picnic rug, glancing at the grass with suspicion. She picked her head up upon hearing Rich’s tone and leaned over to join him in looking inside the hamper.  The reason for his dismay was immediately apparent. A complete culinary catastrophe lay within the wicker interior.

“Everything is ruined,” she observed.

“Well, not everything,” Rich said, recovering his customary cheerful demeanour. Olive returned her attention to the untrustworthy grass as he delved inside the basket. Having rummaged through smashed pies and pulverised plums, he withdrew a few intact objects. After half a dozen salvage trips, he seemed to be content.

“There. We have half a picnic,” he said, using a dock leaf to remove some jam from his hand.

Olive looked at the remnants and sighed. A jar of pickled peppers, two lemons and some chicken smothered in cumin were left. There was a smear of chocolate obscuring the label on the jar and Olive felt an unbelievable desire for a taste of its sweetness.

“We should just give up and go home,” she said. “This is a waste of time.”

“But, there is still a picnic,” Rich said. His plump hand swept across the surviving food. “We can still enjoy the fresh air. And the company.”

Olive regarded him with disdain.

“There won’t be any ants,” Rich said.

Olive sighed. She hated Rich’s blind optimism. It was ridiculous. It was foolish. But, what annoyed her the most was that he was usually able to persuade her to join him on the bright side.

So, Olive stayed on the rug, eating the unappetising picnic. She stayed even when the drizzle began. She stayed because this was as good as life would get.


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