In case you have ever wondered what happens in Riverside on Good Friday - it's tradition for the owners of the Water Mill Bakery to host an Easter brunch. Let's join them this year!
The Periwinkles are already there, preparing all kinds of mouthwatering pastries. The tables and chairs for the brunch were decorated by Orangine Peachblossom the week before. The Periwinkles have placed them on the lawn.
The Fairy Bower is also open today, although not as an arts and crafts shop. Sally Sylverson, who has been running the shop under Julie Periwinkle for the past months, has planned a charity event. It is called "Adopt a Duck". There have been so many orphaned ducks waddling through Riverside lately and she has made it her mission to find them all a loving home.
Since it is a special day, and the children are on Easter vacation, the entire family has come along. Sally has "parked" baby Freya in the front corner of the shop where she can observe passers-by or play with the pink wooden rabbit sitting inside the brown wheelbarrow together with a bunch of tulips.
Sally walks to the other side of the store to adjust the sign showing opening hours. Her husband Sidney is there, walking to and fro and gently rocking his little daughter Misty, who has been ill, and is now warmly tucked into a pink blanket.
The Periwinkles have finished baking, so James has come outside to hang the bakery sign on the door. There are two ducks swimming in the millstream. They are wearing green bonnets made of cabbage leaves and are proudly showing off pink marzipan hearts the Periwinkles have given them.
"Excellent," says James as he looks at the shop sign and the shop display filled with cakes and bread loaves. "Yum..." whispers the little brown hare in rabbit speak.
Inside the Water Mill Bakery Julie has just finished preparing dough for another loaf of bread. Now it has to bake.
Why has Julie brought her house slippers to the bakery? Well, she thought it might keep the kittens Pip and Molly from doing mischief. And she was right, as the two of them love to cuddle up inside her shoes as if they were sleeping bags. Jemima is pretending to be another kitten. She does not fit inside mommy's shoes, so she has to make do with a wooden crate.
Look at this gorgeous bakery display. I always admire James and Julie's talent to make delicious (and cute!) looking pastries.
Here is a quick view of the tables Orangine has so lovingly decorated.
Which one would you rather sit at?
It is no surprise that Angeli and Maxino Grigio are the first to arrive at the bakery. Why? Because they are always the first to arrive there on special occasions. But something is different today...
Today they have brought their mother. Usually, when Mrs Grigio isn't at home taking care of Maxino and Angeli, she is at work to earn a living for her children and herself. This is why James is especially delighted to see her.
"Welcome Chiara, please come in!" he says while shaking her paw. "Thank you, meester Perriweenkle!" she responds with her Italian accent.
While Chiara asks for a bag of croissants, Angeli has a quick chat with Jemima-in-the-crate. Maxino looks at an eclair on the tray in front of him and starts to drool. He can't wait to bite into his croissant.
After the Grigios have left the bakery, Jemima decides to change tactics and sit next to the door. It's a much better place for observation. Here she'll be the first to see people enter...
...or leave the bakery.
Suddenly Chiara pauses in her step and looks to her right.
She recognizes the Schaefers who are heading towards the bakery. Chiara waves hello to Mr and Mrs Schaefer and the five lambs.
The Schaefers are a laaarge family made up of mother Lily, father Lance, the two school children Daisy and Danny and three little ones who are all girls. The baby with the blue pacifier is called Rose, the one in the stroller is Mary and the toddler in the green romper is May.
With so many baaing sheep at the water mill, rabbit has decided to seek shelter behind the bench.
"We would like all the animal buns from the display, please. Oh, and a loaf of white bread and one farmer's bread, please!" bleats Lance.
Meanwhile Jemima tries to make eye contact with Mary, but this turns out to be rather tricky, especially since Mary is such a sound sleeper and she is napping inside her stroller, as usual.
"We'll place everything on a tray for you," says Julie as she bends over to reach for one of the white trays underneath the counter.
Then she goes to the front of the bakery to retrieve the animal buns from the window.
James is helping with the two loaves.
Outside, the lambs are starting to become impatient. None of them have had breakfast yet. Lily places Rose on the grass so she can crawl around.
Back inside, Lance is admiring the kittens Molly and Pip. "They are so well behaved, Julie!"
Julie nods, "Well, fortunately they are - usually. It would be a pity if we had to leave them home alone all day."
At the front of the bakery, Jemima has given up on any kind of communication with little Mary and is almost falling asleep herself.
Her father James is battling with the trays. He is over the moon the Schaefers like their bread so much, but he can't see how Lance is supposed to carry all of this by himself. He knows that Lily can't help either, since one of them has to carry a baby. Suddenly, he has an idea...
And that is why Lance Schaefer ends up pushing home the two bread loaves and seven buns inside the Periwinkles' old wheelbarrow! What a lovely sight the Schaefers are this morning, as they walk home quietly, looking forward to their delicious breakfast.
It took a while, but finally someone has entered the Fairy Bower and is showing interest in the "Adopt-A-Duck" event. It's Concha María Canguro and her family.
"They are all up for adoption you say? I can't believe it! I love ducks!" Concha gushes.
"They are all up for adoption you say? I can't believe it! I love ducks!" Concha gushes.
"José Emiliano, come here!" she shouts to her husband who is carrying tiny little newborn Valentina Zoraida. "I think we should get Sabrina a duck!"
Sabrina Felicia is Concha María and José Emiliano's older daughter.
"Cuál te gusta más, Sabrina?" her mother asks her. "Which one do you like best?"
"I like these two with the pink bows. I think we should take one of them, mamá!" Sabrina replies.
Suddenly Sally interrupts their conversation. "I am so sorry, I forgot to say that I can only give these two away together. They are sisters."
"Sisters... Okay, okay, let's take both of them, Sabrina, I think you are finally old enough to have a pet... or two..."
Sally Sylverson is very pleased with the Canguros' decision. As they leave the shop, Sabrina promises to take good care of the ducklings.
In front of the Water Mill Bakery, villagers have arrived for the brunch. The Grigios have decided to eat their croissants at one of the tables instead of going home. Julie is making a round to take the orders.
Orangine and Patrick Peachblossom are there, as well as Teresa and Troy Babblebrook. Orangine and Teresa became good friends during Hester's magic workshop last Halloween.
The cubs Portia and Paul Peachblossom are approaching the Grigio's table to greet Angeli and Maxino.
At the table to the left, Hester Hogwart is immersed in a conversation with Chelsea Woodchuck.
Hamish Hogwart and Charles Woodchuck say hello. They are very pleased to see each other again on this occasion, as they have not often had the opportunity to speak.
The children are sitting on a blanket next to the table. Chandra and her little brother Chutney are talking to the Hogwart triplets Hattie, Henry and Hope.
Meanwhile, at the Fairy Bower Sally and Freya have just realized that the smallest dukling has fallen behind the stand. Poor little thing.
Sabrina's new ducks are doing well. They are waddling behind her rather slowly - they are probably shy AND they have short legs - but it seems to Sabrina that they are very curious about their new life. "Come along," she says, "you'll like your new home, I promise!"
There is a lot of chatter coming from one of the tables as Thomas and Tamara Babblebrook arrive with their younger siblings Tegan, Tim and Toby. Toddler Toby jumps into his mother's arms.
At the Hogwarts-Woodchuck table, the parents have begun to pile pieces of strawberry cake onto their plates.
The children are getting along well. Chutney is playing a staring game with Hope and Chandra is telling Hattie and Henry a story from her grandparents' native country, India. Suddenly Ralfie Hazelnut appears. He wants to play, too.
Percival McMousetail passes by with his son Ferdinand and they stop and watch the children for a moment before deciding to enter the Fairy Bower.
"Isn't this our lucky day, Ferdy?" Percival says to his son. Then, directed at Mrs Sylverson he chuckles, "We have been looking for a watchduck for some time now, you know. I think this one here will do just fine."
"I like him Dad!" exclaims Ferdinand.
As Percival and Ferdy leave, Sally feels relieved that yet another duck has found a good home.
At Orangine's table they haven't received any food or drinks yet. James and Julie are still so busy with sales inside the bakery.
The Canguros are still on their way home. "My two orange ducks aren't very quick, papá, but they are sooo adorable," says Sabrina to her dad.
Angeli and Portia are now standing in line in front of the bakery. Angeli has finished her croissant and is still hungry and Portia wants to buy something for her and Paul.
Inside, James is placing a new loaf of white bread on a tray after it has cooled off.
All of a sudden, Jemima squeaks loudly. Someone looking very similar to Munchie the christmas elf has just entered the bakery and is staring at her. But no, it can't be Munchie, and it isn't. Munchie is in Sweet Berry Valley, together with Tanya Babblebrook! It turns out this fellow here is actually Crunchie, Munchie's older brother. He has come to live in Riverside together with Marla Cinnamon, another former employee of SCMCB (Santa Claus' Magical Christmas Bakery) in Finland.
James wraps up two bread rolls for Marla...
After Marla and Crunchie and Angeli and Portia have all left with their purchases, Jemima gets very bored. She steals her mother's house slippers from Pip and Molly and pulls them over her ears.
"Mima play Easta Wabbit!" she squeals. She runs around the shop as another family enters.
It's the Tarte family consisting of Madeleine (in the red dress), her wife Evangeline and their children Edmond and Adèle.
While James serves them at the counter, let's go and have another look at the Fairy Bower.
Who's that? Are that the Schaefers, again?
It certainly is. After enjoying their breakfast they have come back to pick out a duck for Danny and Daisy. Daisy had spent the entire way home (and half the time during breakfast) chanting "adoptaduck, adoptaduck, adopt-A-DUCKKK!!!", so they had to come back to see whether there were still any duck orphans left.
"If you want a small one, he's the only one left," Sally explains. I have to warn you though, he is a little clumsy. He fell behind the counter this morning and I think he has a slight problem keeping his balance."
"Mom, can we have him? Puh-leeeaaase??" asks Daisy. "Yeah, let's take him home, Mommy!" pleads Danny.
"Okay children, let's make this little guy a part of our family, but first of all, let's take him to the vet for a check-up. Maybe there is something wrong with him. He might need medical assistance."
Sally couldn't be happier about these words. "That would be a great relief for me, Lily. Please call me when you know what's wrong with him!" "Will do," answers Mrs Schaefer.
Finally, let's have another look at what Sidney Sylverson is doing. He is sitting on the bench with Freya and Misty. He is telling them a story. Even the rabbit is listening from his place in the grass.
"...and that is why the Easter bunny brings eggs and chocolate each year on Easter Sunday! The End!"
Such a pity to have missed Sidney's story! I am sure it was a good one... I hope you don't mind too much, dear readers, and have enjoyed seeing Riverside and its inhabitants during springtime!
❤ H A P P Y E A S T E R ! ❤
All the beautiful woollen dresses and vests were made by Jill.