He saw the sea in the distance as he came over the hill from Eastchurch. It was glittering like diamonds in the spring sunshine and he was so happy to be almost there after his long journey.
All his tiredness vanished as he went straight to the beach. It was deserted and the tide had just turned. The sea was running over the pebbles, leaving them clean and gleaming in the sunshine. He walked along picking at the shells and stones, looking under some wet driftwood and peering into tiny pools left behind by the retreating water. He was glad to be back at one of his favourite places.
He could hear sounds coming from the amusement arcades, but something else too; there was music and children’s excited voices, even more than usual. He couldn’t see at first where they were coming from, but he knew they were not near him on the beach. He went to the centre of the village and found a crowd of people, adults and children all enjoying some sort of party outside the pub.
He crept up behind them quite unnoticed. There was music coming through the doors and the smell of food cooking. The children had paper plates piled high with all sorts of food that he liked. How he hoped that they would let him join in! It wasn’t just him of course, many of his friends were there too, all hopeful of getting in on the party.
Suddenly a child cried out – a wasp had sat on her plate and she threw it in the air, screaming. In a second he had grabbed a cake and was away to eat it before anyone noticed. He went on to the Spinney to eat. The cake was pink with red, white and blue icing on it. He thought it was unusual but he gobbled it down, then crept back to wait behind the party for more food.
The adults had noticed him now and chased him away. He went –but only out of their reach, then crept back again. This really was too good an opportunity to miss. The breeze moved the bunting around in the car park. He hadn’t noticed it till it moved. He wondered what was happening.
He’d been to Leysdown every spring, but he’d never heard so many people in one place. Usually they were on the sandy beach near the noisy arcades, not here on concrete wearing hats and waving little flags. It was odd too that everyone was happy. Even the child that the wasp had chased was smiling now and he couldn’t believe his luck when she threw him a sausage roll. He had to push some of his friends away to eat it all but he managed it. They stayed all afternoon. Once the sun started to go down he got more food than he could eat.
The adults started to take the children away and left-over crusts and crumbs were swept off the tables. Never had he and his mates eaten so well or so easily. Eventually everything was cleared away, the evening cooled and the big glass doors were shut.
He turned his beady eyes to the others and off they flew as one. He joined the other gulls waiting outside the fish and chip shop for pickings there. It had been quite a day.
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