ducks quacked almost in appreciation of the food as Abigail broke off small chunks and threw it near the birds.
One duck seemed very slow as the other birds raced to get the bread so Abigail threw the bread further so the swans would chase it then passed some bread to the duck who had had nothing. It picked up the bread in its beak then swallowed the bread whole and Abigail threw it another quickly before the swans returned.
“You must have known that they were here said Muriel.’
“Yes; they normally fly off for the winter but they have remained this year because it is so mild. They seem to know instinctively when the colder weather is on the way.’
I must say it is far warmer here than in the North East.’
“Well you get all the cold air up there it’s no good for the bones.’
They carried on with their journey for another five miles admiring the countryside.
Abigail saw a kingfisher and even some rabbits as they frolicked in the bushes.’
“It’s lovely here Gerry thank you for bringing us here.
Gerald found a nice sunny spot and stopped. They tied off then went below where Gerald brought out a picnic hamper with roast beef sandwiches and some Battenberg cake. He brewed some tea and they sat on the deck eating on fold away chairs.
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Abigail kept all the crusts of bread for the birds on the way back as Gerald turned the barge around then headed back the way they had come.
It was nearly four o’clock when they returned. Gerald showed them his bungalow that had a lovely garden to sit out on in the summer. He gave Abigail a bag of apples to take home for Mrs Pettigrew the cook to make some apple pies; then drove them back to the manor house again.
“Thank you for a splendid afternoon Gerry; we have really enjoyed ourselves haven’t we Abigail.
“Yes,’ thank you Mr Sedgemore.’
“You are most welcome and I hope that we can go again some time.’
“I would like that.’
“My offer of dinner later this week still stands Muriel.’
Oh yes, I forgot.’
I will pick you up this Friday evening say at seven o’clock; I know a nice little restaurant that serves some nice food.’
“I look forward to it Gerry.
Bye for now then and by the way I have made a few calls about what we discussed last night. I will let you know on Friday when I have news.’
Gerald drove off and Muriel and Abigail went inside.
“He seems taken with you Muriel said her Aunt.’
“Yes,’ said Muriel.’
“Do you like him?’
“Yes he is fun to be around, but there will be no romance between us Aunt he is just a friend.’
“Well I think he has other plans about that so I would let him down gently if I were you.’
I see, I will Aunt.’
I have neglected my typing and Mr Higginbottom will be coming later this week.’
I am going to change then go into the study for a couple of hours is that alright Aunt.’
“Dinner will be at seven as usual.
Muriel went up the stairs to her room and as she was changing she thought about what her aunt had just said.’