Ralfie and Jemima

Ralfie and Jemima

Sunday 12 June 2011

May We Join The Party?

The day of the reopening of the Water Mill Bakery has arrived, and the Periwinkle family has been busy all morning. While Julie Periwinkle has been baking, James has been decorating the shop and the tables outside. They are going to celebrate this day with their new friends, the Babblebrooks, and have invited them over for coffee.

Hasn't James outdone himself with the decorations?

At this moment, James, Julie and baby Jemima are in the kitchen waiting for customers. 

 Jemima is being cuddled by her mother.

James is bringing some more coffee beans into the shop.
Julie Periwinkle starts watching the door. Who will be their first customer?

Suddenly it opens, and two kittens step inside. It's Angeli and Maxino Grigio. "Good morning, Mrs. Periwinkle!" they say. "Good morning, you two. Please come inside," says Mrs. Periwinkle and smiles at them.

"There is the french bread," says Angeli and points at the counter. But Maxino doesn't listen. He is amazed by all the wonderful pastries. The bakery smells delicious!

And everything looks delicious, too. Maxino's tail coils in delight as they stand in front of the display, and Angeli gapes open-mouthed.

Then they have a look at the sandwiches in front of the counter. Maxino's eyes get even bigger now and Angeli's mouth starts to water. "Yummy, Angeli... I want the cheesy bread..." groans Maxino. "Me too, Max... But remember: Mom told us to buy only the baguette."

 "We would like two baguettes, please," Angeli says politely. 

Mrs. Periwinkle puts them into a paper bag and goes to the cash register. "Would you like anything else, my dear?" "No thank you", Angeli replies. 

Maxino pays and Julie Periwinkle hands him the bakery bag. "Thanks Mrs. Periwinkle. Have a nice day!", wishes Angeli. "Thank you so much," says Julie and smiles, "Have a nice day too, and thanks for being our first customers!" 
Angeli looks at her and adds, "Well thank you for baking our bread! "

While Julie Periwinkle laughs, the siblings leave the shop.  

Sometime later...
The Periwinkles have received an order for bread and sandwiches. Together they prepare the delivery.

Papa Periwinkle goes out to deliver the sandwiches to the customers. "I hope they will like our bread and sandwiches," he thinks to himself.

"Hello Daddy!" squeaks Jemima, as soon as her father comes back with the empty tray. "How was it, James?" asks Julie. "Great," James replies, "The customers were really pleased by our fast service. They were astonished that the loaf of bread was still warm, and they said that they couldn't wait to try the sandwiches!" 

 James puts the tray back on the counter and places the two coffee pots on top, so that the coffee will keep warm longer.

As nothing else needs to be done, he sits down with Jemima to wait for more customers. Julie joins them. They wait...

And wait...

And wait. 

Suddenly there is a loud knock on the door. The Periwinkles jump up to welcome their friends, the Babblebooks. "Hello there! We just followed the delicious smell floating towards our house today! Might you offer us hungry rabbits a piece of cake?" jokes Mr. Babblebrook. 
"Troy, how nice to see you!" says Julie. "Hello everybody!" says James. "Please come in!"

 So Little Toby, Papa Troy, Tim, Tegan, Tamara and Thomas flock into the bakery. But where is Troy's wife, Teresa?
"Regards from Teresa!" says Troy. She is feeling rather ill today and had to stay in bed." "Oh dear!" exclaims Julie, "Does she have anything serious?" "Oh no," replies Troy, "It's just a cold. " 

 Baby Jemima is standing close to her mother. At first, she is a little alarmed by so many strangers entering the store. 

But then she sees Tamara...

And runs to greet her! 

The Babblebrooks go outside...

...and are in awe of the beautifully decorated tables.

"We've got some special snacks for you over here", says James to Tegan and Tim and he accompanies them to the children's table. 

Thomas follows them. 

Soon everybody has settled down and Mr. Periwinkle asks his guests how they would like their coffee.

Then he goes back into the bakery.

He pours the coffee into the cups.

After adding some milk for Tamara and some whipped cream and chocolate triangles for Julie and himself, James carries the cups outside. Troy ordered his coffee dark, so James didn't add anything to his.

After serving the coffee and asking everybody what pastries they would like to have, James finally sits down.

 Tim, Tegan and Jemima are already happily nibbling away on their cookies. Thomas is eating a croissant.

James has barely had the chance to take a sip of his coffee and whipped cream, when two visitors enter the garden. It's Angeli and Maxino. Their mother has allowed them to go back to the bakery to get a snack. Now they see their friends, Tim and Tegan, sitting on the grass, eating cookies. "Mr. Periwinkle, may we join the party?" asks Angeli. "Why of course, please do!" replies James. 

The siblings go to the children's table and greet their friends. Baby Jemima is watching Tegan eat her cookie. Jemima is very curious about all the new rabbits and is having a wonderful time.

To be precise, everybody is having a wonderful time. The children are eating their cookies and giggling at Thomas's funny stories. The adults and Tamara are enjoying their coffee and their pastries. It's a pleasure for everyone to feel the afternoon sun and the mild air in their fur. You can hear the Sylvanians laughing and chattering, and the sound of coffee cups clinking against saucers fills the air like the sound of chimes.

 "Tamara, it would be lovely if you could bring Toby along the next time you babysit Jemima. Don't you think they would enjoy playing together?" suggests Julie.

"Oh yes, Mrs. Periwinkle", replies Tamara, before she takes another sip of her white coffee. "I think Toby would like to play with Jemima. They have similar interests, you know. " 

Troy is enjoying himself. He rarely takes an afternoon off from work. He ownes a shop where he sells crockery. James and Troy exchange business ideas. "Sales are going well," says Troy, "But maybe I should redecorate the shop sometime. Just to make it more inviting, you know. I think this way I might attract even more customers, especially people from other towns that pass by the shop in their cars." "That sounds like a good idea to me," says James. "Did you know that I was a gardener before we came to Riverside? I sometimes miss my old job," James explains, "I am really excited about the bakery, but I think that some day I would like to tend to people's gardens again, grow my own plants, and sell flowers on the market." 
"You should have seen James' flower stall, Troy", says Julie. "James really has a green thumb. He seems to be able to get plants to grow well just by being around!"

By now, Jemima has finished her cookie. Angeli is eating a croissant and Maxino is admiring his cruller. Slowly Jemima creeps to Thomas' side.

 "Mima more!" She says and ogles at Tomas' second croissant. "Go ahead," he laughs, "Have a bite!"

Time passes so quickly, because they are all enjoying themselves. Soon the cups are empty and all the pastries are inside thankful bellies. "When you've finished eating your third cookie, we're off", says Troy to his youngest son.

Soon it's time to say goodbye again. Tamara gives Jemima a hug, before leaving with her family. 

After thanking the Periwinkles for their invitation and the lovely afternoon, Mr. Babblebrook ushers his children outside. By now he is anxious to get back home to his wife, to see how she is doing. "Tell your mother to get well soon!" calls Julie. "We will!" says Tegan.

The last ones to leave are the kittens. They decide to buy a bag of raisin buns to surprise their mother with in the morning.

"Thank you so much, Mr. Periwinkle," they say.

After all the guests have left, the Periwinkles clean up. Mrs. Periwinkle starts with clearing the table.

"Look at those coffee stains!" she says. 

 The only thing the children did not eat, is one lonely muffin. James carries the milk and sugar back inside. 

"At least we know now, why we had so few customers today," Julie says to her husband. "Tamara told me that many of the families go on vacation this time of year."

"That's a relief," says James. "School starts again on Monday, which means we will probably have many more customers next week!"

All they have left today is a loaf of bread and a few pastries in the display. Sales could have been better, but at least they know that they are going to improve soon. 

The Periwinkles are happy. 
"Let's go home my dears," says James, "It's been a long day!"


  1. Nina! I'm fascinated with your fairy-tale! Well done! The kittens are soooo nice little creatures! Hope to meet them again. And your attention to smaller details is wonderful, it's very interesting to see all the buns, jams, kitchen unetsils etc. Like I'm also a part of the story.

  2. Brenda Beissel16/6/11 12:06 am

    Nina, I still think you should write children's books; you are SO good at writing. Your pictures are amazing as well; you truly know how to tell a story. Kids would love your tales!

  3. Great story! Loved the pictures - and the coffee in the cups!

  4. Nuna, you story sounds really good and professional! You have a talent of writer, I am sure! About pictures: food looks so natural and sweet!) I like to bite some bread!!!))
    Alexandra Kunetsova.

  5. so cute and amazing! love your photography! you do an amazing job :3