It was all very hectic in the garden. Summer was in full swing, the flowers were in bloom, and the Roundabout gleamed in the sun. Everyone was happy, except one: Dougal. Dougal sat in his house with a cup of tea and a sugarlump and watched the summer through the window.
"Everything alright, old chum?" enquired Brian, appearing at the door.
"Don't you ever knock?!" snapped Dougal. "I can't hear myself think for you sneaking up silently."
"Sorry, dear captain" replied the snail "but I am a single-footed master of stealthy approach"
"You are a noisy mollusc. Now what did you want?"
Brian considered this a moment, eyeing the teapot. "Well, offering me a cup of tea would be pleasant, dear hound, but mainly I came to ask if you wanted to join in our game. Florence is organising it"
"Hmph. Well, I suppose I've nothing better to do. Come on then, snail."
Near the roundabout, Florence, Dylan, Mr Rusty and Ermintrude were waiting. Well, Florence, Ermintrude and Mr Rusty were waiting; Dylan was asleep in the shade. All the waiting had tired him out. As Dougal and Brian approached, Ermintrude spotted them and began to trill "And here they are, our final brave warriors, up for any challenge! The armoured knight and the shaggy beast! Never to be bested!"
"I'll best you, you walking handbag" muttered Dougal.
"Now now, my canine compatriot" chided Brian. "Be pleasant, for she maketh the roses grow."
"Glad you could come, Dougal" said Florence. "We're going to play a game."
Florence began to explain the game. "It's called Juneathon. Today is the first of June, so we will go for a run, and we will run every day for the month and see who gets the furthest"
"We could end up pretty far out" came Dylan's voice from the shade. "I'll just, like, wait here and judge. Or, like, just wait here. Zzzzzzz"
"What about those of us with no legs?" piped up Brian "I'm not what you'd call a natural runner."
"You can ride in style upon my head, snaily dear" offered Ermintrude
"Most kind" accepted Brian, with a small bow.
Mr Rusty opined that he would have no time to run, since it was summer, and roundabout rides were popular in summer, so he would need to be tending to the machinery. In his place he called Mr McHenry, who agreed so long as he could use his tricycle occasionally. He offered to ride slowly, so he wouldn't get any advantage from the wheels. Dougal was less than happy about this, but agreed to run anyway for all his friends were doing it and he would hate to be a spoil sport. They all lined up, next to the roundabout, and on Dylan's command of "Like, go!", they all began running.
Florence was a very good runner, and decided on a short loop of the garden paths, but ran very quickly. She soon got back to where Dylan was asleep, wrote down her distance and tucked the note into the dozing rabbit's pocket. Ermintrude and Brian ambled away slowly, taking a longer route between the trees, stopping regularly for tea, or to munch on some flowers, or to admire the scenery. "That's a funny hat she's wearing" said a bird, watching them pass.
Mr McHenry walked steadily back to his potting shed, collected his tricycle, and began to ride laps around the outside of the shed. When he became dizzy from riding round and round he stopped, put the tricycle away, and walked less steadily back to Dylan, writing a note of his distance, leaving it, then going back to the shed to lie down.
Brian and Ermintrude returned later, having had a lovely day out.
"My thanks to you, my dear cow" said Brian
"Any time at all, snailykins. Same time tomorrow?"
"If you don't mind? I've enjoyed myself thoroughly today"
"Of course I don't mind, dear snail. See you here tomorrow"
And they left their notes and went their own ways, whistling and singing.
As the sun began to set over the garden, all the runners had returned and left their notes. All except Dougal...
*** To be continued ***