Saturday, June 25, 2011

After A Night Beneath The Stars

Having arrived a little later than expected last night we immediately began setting up camp beneath the starry sky.

Why were we later than expected? You'll never believe it, and if you do believe it you're frankly a fool. We were waylaid by bandits as we ploughed on down the windy roads towards the Cornish coast. Not just any bandits - bandits who were wired and buzzing from the Glastonbury festival and hell bent on feeding their insatiable desire for adrenaline. We had to sell my younger sister to ensure our safe escape.

There we were - a line of pack horses, each with a member of the clan on the top like a jilted figurine on top of a mule shaped wedding cake. The sun was blazing behind the thick, black clouds which covered the sky, causing us to eye our anoraks nervously wondering who would be the first to break and dive for the plastic dryness that they offered.

My father was way out in the lead holding the oil lamp which lit the way through weaving hedges. Once or twice I thought I saw a vole in the scrub and had to swallow nervously and sing to myself to keep the nerves at bay, "Oops upside your head, I said oops upside your head...".

Suddenly there was a burst of activity from the back where my brother was trying to play travel Ludo and stay in his saddle. I heard shouts and smelt the unmistakable stench of dreadlocks in the air.

"Give us all your peanut butter!" Came the gravelly voice through the dusky air, "We've got boom boxes and we're not afraid to bring down the house prices of the surrounding area."

I blanched - Ruffians!

The air was thick with trepidation, we all clutched our pouches of peanut butter nervously - my palms were sweating and I was afraid I would lose my grip on the sticky leather purse. Thank heavens for it being so sticky. Peanut butter; nature's velcro.

I felt a swift movement to my left and my father dashed past towards the ragamuffins who were delaying our trip to the coast.

"We'll never surrender our peanut butter - we are a proud family and we will not be parted with our gooey delights. WIthout peanut butter we shall have nothing crunchy to mix with the Nutella in the morning when we gather in the rain to eat our croissants. NEVER SURRENDER."

I shivered with pride and urged my ride closer in to my older sister who was filming the whole thing on her mobile in the hope of becoming an overnight YouTube sensation.

"Fine," came the drawled response, "We will not part you from you buttery peanut delight. How about we take this skinny blonde girl instead?"

"Done!" said my father.

My youngest sister wailed in surprise and anguish, and because she likes a good wail. Predictably, my father stepped forward with his reasoned response -

"Have no fear little one, for this is all part of the plan. Remember Joseph being sold to the Egyptians? Well, this is your shot to make it big. I believe in you."

And with that she was gone - whisked off into the dwindling light to make tea for spaced out hedge monkeys with an anarchic streak. We laid a wreath in what would have been her tent compartment as soon as the tent was constructed and we'd finished our annual argument over who had not put the coloured stickers on the tent pole the previous year.

Nobody slept well last night - we all wondered where the littlest blonde thing was and whether she was happy, but we only wondered about that briefly and then we just struggled to sleep because we were in a tent and it was remarkably uncomfortable.

The peanut butter for breakfast was delicious. I think it is safe to say that were I Eve in the garden of Eden and God told me to not to lick the peanut butter tree I would have to ignore him. Peanut butter; nature's love juice.

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