In Which We Discover What Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet Do in the Evenings

It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet was goodness knows how old – he couldn’t remember because Christopher Robin had never told him, but he certainly felt old enough this morning – and he’d never seen so much rain. Not a good start to the day.

He flicked the curtains shut and groped his way across the room. Standing on tip-toe he managed to switch on the light.

“Christ, turn that bloody thing off,” said a growly voice from underneath a pile of rugs on the bed.

“Good morning, Pooh,” Piglet said, in a nervous little voice. When Pooh was in One of His Moods, Piglet became nervous. He was, after all and in every way, A Very Small Animal.

“Grumph,” said Pooh. Piglet went into the kitchen, piled high with dirty plates, bottles and honey pots, and started nosing around in the cupboard, looking for coffee and aspirin. After a while he heard a thump on the floor, a curse and a cough. Winne-the-Pooh had got up.

A few moments later Pooh himself was in the kitchen, crashing around as usual. Piglet stepped back, not wanting to get squished.

“God, what a night,” Pooh said. “My head. We’d better get ourselves straightened out. Where’s the coffee? He’ll here any minute to take us off on some madcap adventure.”

Neither of them could tell the time because, being animals of supposedly Very Little Brains, Christopher Robin had not seen fit to teach them. Pooh’s clock was, of course, no help. But, being animals, They Knew.

Pooh jammed some beans into the grinder but as usual his paws didn’t manage to screw the top down before he switched it on. Piglet reached up and took it off him just in time. His trotters, though hardly more dexterous, were at least smaller. Ignoring Pooh’s theatrical grimaces at the noise, he managed to get the beans ground and the coffee percolating without too many mishaps. He never understood where all the things in his, and Pooh’s, and Kanga’s and all the rest of their kitchens had come from but most of the items were virtually unusable without an opposable thumb or, in Owl’s case, hands. It seemed that the world had been designed for creatures other than them. That was just The Way Things Were. He also wondered why he sometimes thought in capital letters. Another thing to ask Mr Milne, though he knew he’d never have the courage to do so.

“Wonder what Twinkle-toes has got planned for us today?” Pooh grumbled. Piglet stiffened slightly, not that anyone would have noticed. Christopher Robin was their friend, their protector. He was God. In the evenings – yes, in the evenings, when they were on their own, their baser animal instincts might be excused: but during the day, they were His playthings. It was The Way It Was. It upset him to hear Pooh speaking so roughly about him, the more so as Pooh would never dare to do so to his face.

He passed Pooh some coffee and sat down at the table, his little trotters curled around the egg-cup that he used for his Americanos.

Pooh took his coffee over to the window and started to roll a cigarette, with predictably disastrous results. He sucked at it for a few moments before a final defiant puff made the whole thing explode. “Of course, I love him,” Pooh said tiredly, “but sometimes I think he’s a prissy little so-and-so.” He stared moodily at the remains of his his roll-up, some of which was now floating in his coffee. “Particularly first thing in the morning.”

Piglet cocked his head at some unseen signal that was floating through the ether towards them. Pooh heard it too. He rubbed his paws through the thick, honey-encrusted fur on top of his head. Piglet drained his coffee and jumped onto the floor, bouncing up and down slightly on his hind legs, Ready For Anything. Piglet looked at Pooh and watched Pooh’s slow, gentle, good-natured and slightly dim smile that was his familiar public expression slowly dawning over his face. They both moved into the main room towards the front door. Piglet caught a glimpse of himself in Pooh’s cracked mirror. He looked pink and frightened, but suspected that he always did.

They stood, waiting, their ears still cocked. The signals were getting stronger. One minute to go.  Pooh let out a small fart.

There was a ring on the bell. “Pooh? Pooh!” said a familiar voice. Pooh lumbered forward and opened the door. Christopher Robin rushed in and gave Pooh a huge hug. “The bestest bear in the world,” he said. Pooh grunted slightly. Christopher Robin stood back and beamed at them both. “Hello Piglet,” he said.

“H…h…hello,” Piglet said, feeling the tips of his ears going pink.

Pooh glanced at the clock on the wall, permanently stuck at five to eleven. “I was just thinking,” he said dreamily, “that it was Time for A Little Something…”

Christopher Robin laughed. “Silly Old Bear! Come on, we’re going to go and see Rabbit and Eeyore!” Piglet eyed the rain slanting down outside and the puddles that were forming outside, into which A Very Small Animal could, if he were not careful, Tumble And Drown. However Christopher Robin was there, with a very cheerful pair of red Wellington Boots so everything would be all right. Anyway, it was Showtime.

So there the three of them were, tramping off in the rain into the Hundred Acre Wood for another day of fun. Christopher Robin was already laughing at Pooh, who was Starting A Hum, and at Piglet whose ears were getting pink again because he was afraid that he would have join in with his squeaky voice at the ‘diddle-dum’ bits.

But what Christopher Robin didn’t know was that in the evenings, when he had said his prayers and been tucked up in bed by Nanny, Pooh and Piglet would sneak back, sometimes to Pooh’s house and sometimes to Piglet’s, and get thoroughly pissed.

*                    *                    *

• The rest of this story is now available in a paperback book (as are 25 others) – Unaccustomed as I Am (RRP £9.95).

It is stocked by the Hungerford Bookshop and you can place your order here.

Copies are also available at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough, the Mad Hatter Bookshop in Wantage and through an increasing number of other retailers.

You can order it from any bookshop: they will need to know that the ISBN is 978-1-8382580-0-9 and that it can be ordered from Gardners or Central Books.

 

Brian Quinn

• For further stories and articles, please click here
• For songs, please click here

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