Our vines have tender grapes

Jean-Luc Picard, former captain of the USS Enterprise, wrestled with one of his many grape vines, as if it were the head of some alien enemy. In days gone by, he would have exhausted all diplomatic attempts to reason with his foe, before being forced to take any drastic measures. Such was the case now, as his stubborn vine refused to bend to his will. He had already threatened it with a few colourful French words, but to no avail.

As he was so engrossed in his fight with the vine, he hadn't realised that his wife of 10 years, who had also been his doctor for countless more, was standing nearby. She was trying desperately to contain herself from laughing. In the end she could hold back no longer.

"Now really Jean-Luc" she began, trying to sound serious, "if you don't stop wrestling with that branch, you'll do yourself a hernia!"

"When I want your opinion, Doctor, I'll ask for it!" He replied gruffly.

Dr. Beverly Picard, nee Crusher, reached out a long, slender hand to still her husband's battle. Giving him a look that only she could convey, Beverly succeeded in coaxing the branch out of his sweaty palms and into the trellis, where Jean-Luc wanted it. Turning to him triumphantly, she stated, "There, now that wasn't so hard was it?"

Jean-Luc replied in a low growl whilst wiping his hands, "Beverly, I'm about ready to tip you over my knee."

"Don't even think about it, Jean-Luc!" She retorted, her blues eyes widening, for she knew from past experience that he had been true to his word.

"Ha, I'm well passed the thinking stage, my love." He replied, stepping menacingly towards her. Beverly paced backwards and tripped over a root. Down she fell. Thankfully, she had only wounded her pride.

"Stupid vine" she cussed under her breath. Now it was Jean- Luc's turn to laugh. "Now, now young lady, cussing is also a spankable offence."

Being the gentleman he truly was, Jean-Luc helped his red-faced wife to her feet, before lightly patting her bottom, to free it of any remaining dirt. Then he gave her such a tender kiss that melted Beverly's ill-temper instantly. She responded to his touch by passionately throwing her arms around his.

As they were deeply engrossed in their French kissing, the couple failed to hear the voice of their precious daughter calling to them from their near-by villa. As her calls became shriller, her parents realised the precariousness of their situation. They managed to straighten their clothing in time before their auburn-haired daughter pounced madly into their hiding place.

"Mama, Papa there you are. Colette sent me to tell you that lunch is ready. She says that you had best hurry inside, because she vowed that you would not like it if she has to come and fetch you."

The couple exchanged a knowing glance. It was a well-known fact around the village that Colette could, and would, wield a vicious wooden spoon upon anyone who had earned her displeasure. Not wanting to be numbered amount the fallen, Picard swept little Lucia up onto his shoulders before clasping his wife's hand. Together they ran to the villa with the warm breeze giving them the edge to escape Colette's wrath for at least for today.