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A great day out

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Tommy lay on the mossy patch of grass beside the river. Little flies hovered over the water and the sun danced on the ripples made by fish as they touched the surface.

Tommy’s eyes were heavy. Maybe he shouldn’t have eaten so many sandwiches, but Daddy had made them especially for the day out and they were really yummy. Or was it the cake that he had bought in the shop and wrapped carefully in tinfoil so that it wouldn’t get all crumby?

He’d have a little nap before Daddy and Patrick got back. They’d gone round the next corner where there were stones they could stand on at the water’s edge. They were hoping to catch a proper big fish for the dinner. They wouldn’t be long.

Tommy lay back on the moss and looked up at the sky over his head. The sun was hiding behind the leaves of the big tree that towered right up to the sky. Tommy knew by the leaves that looked like big fingers on a green hand that the tree was a chestnut – but there were no golden conkers to be seen yet, just spiky green balls growing on the branches. He remembered Patrick bringing him here last year to collect some. They had put them on a string and played for hours with them.

As Tommy looked at the leaves, and the green chestnuts and the sun dancing behind, his eyelids blinked in surprise. There was something moving on the branch, in between the leaves. Was it a squirrel? He didn’t think so. He couldn’t see a curly tail on it. He settled his head more comfortably on the moss and watched the leafy jigsaw high above him.

“Wake Up!” A small conker hit him on the nose as the tiny voice called him.

“Wake up, sleepy head!” There was the voice again and another missile bounced off his ear this time. Shaking his head, Tommy looked up and there, perched on the highest branch of the chestnut was a big fish, its mouth wide open as it called his name and another small green chestnut in its fin, ready to throw.

Tommy struggled to sit up, and as he did so he realised that the fish was not on the tree at all, but dangling from the end of Patrick’s fishing rod. The things that had been dropping on him were not chestnuts as he had thought, just drops of water from the fish’s tail.

“Wake up, sleepyhead,” said Daddy. “We must go home and see if we can find a big frying pan to cook this fellow for the dinner.”

And off they went home, Daddy and Tommy walking in front and Patrick behind them with his big fish hanging from the rod that rested on his shoulder.

Oh, it was a great day out!

Joan O'Flynn