Prelude 66

The sun shone brightly over verdant, undulating hills punctuated by ancient hedgerows. The air was redolent with the fragrance of wild flowers and sheep. Aaron strode on, map in hand, his reluctant clan trailing behind him.

They had been walking all day, a family outing in the Kentish countryside. The children had enjoyed the first few hours, but now were tired. Fiona sulked at the back. She hated the countryside – it was dirty, smelly and full of bugs. She normally managed to avoid these outings, but today the normally pliable Aaron had insisted.

“How much longer, Dad?”

“Not much, Jojo,” Aaron replied, his patience wearing thin.

“That's what you said last time!” whined Jojo.

“That's because you asked me just two minutes ago!”

“I'm hungry!” Jojo continued.

“Eat an apple.”

“I already had one.”

“So you can't be hungry.”

“I'm staaarving.”

“You don't know the meaning of the word, Jojo.”

Behind him Jojo made a face. She knew her father was about to launch into his poor-children-in-Africa lecture and wished she'd just eaten the apple.

Nearby a bemused sheep watched the strange procession before tugging at another tuft of grass.