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lapel of his shabby jacket. The odd couple then suddenly disappeared from sight into a wood, as if vanished away by a wizard’s wand. “I’m fairly certain that they are up to no good,” said Julian, “and I have a whim to follow them as it might be quite an adventure, but if we are to get to the East coast by nightfall then we should press on.” “Yes what a dilemma,” remarked Dick, “stay or keep moving, ignoring an almost certain mystery just because we haven’t got lights for our bikes!” It was actually very dark by the time they arrived at their destination, indeed a lone black sheep wandering in the lane startled them all as it could hardly be seen! An owl hooted at them from its lofty perch in the mighty oak tree laden with acorns, which stood towering over the entrance to the drive leading to the old rectory, their intended campsite for the night. They dismounted and made their way up the dimly lit path, guided by the sounds of the bells from the parish church gently ringing in the distance. Dick and Julian soon had their tent up, but Anne and George had struggled to find a clear patch on the lawn that hadn’t been disturbed by moles digging, and well away from the boys so they wouldn’t be kept awake by their snoring! Once sorted, they sat under the star light sharing a late packed supper of cheddar cheese sandwiches and the customary lashings of ginger beer, before turning in for the night. Anne was first to wake in the morning and after all that ginger beer the night before, in a desperate need to spend a penny! She ran from her tent to the cottage just a few yards away, her cloak hampering her movement as she ran, but soon achieving her aim. On her walk back she encountered a man dressed as a king astride a huge white horse, and bizarrely he wore no shoes! Could this be the same person as the poacher from the day before she thought? But no, all was innocent as the man introduced himself as a member of the travelling funfair that had
set up that morning down in the village, so after saying goodbye, she ran off to inform the others. Meantime, Julian had risen and was enjoying an idle moment watching the bees go about their business among the flowerpots surrounding the garden. Anne returned to relate her news and everyone decided to check out the village straight after breakfast. Even Timmy barked in agreement! They decided to walk down the hill into the village, so they could better take in the delightful scenery, such is the joy of country life. They witnessed an abundance of birdlife – magpies, wagtails and swans, each one delighting the youngsters, none more so than the sight of a mallard taking to flight. “I can’t wait to paddle in the sea, and to feel the white water running around my toes,” shrieked George, “and then we can go exploring at the fair. At last, the youngsters arrived at the seaside village. Outside the first building, a pub called ‘The Dutch Artist’, sat an old sailor smoking a clay pipe. Obviously a formidable warrior in his early life, now looking tired and battle worn, wearing a tatty Arran jumper, and missing his left arm, instead he sported a wooden hand with a hook on it. “Good morning sir,” said Julian, “Isn’t it a lovely sunny day?” “It were ruddy cold at dawn”, replied the old sailor, “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” The children didn’t linger to chat further, choosing to head in the direction of the church spire, which they knew to be next to the coast. George made her excuses to her friends and set off to the beach for her paddle. The other children soon reached the church which was at the far North of the village, and decided to pop into the adjacent cafe for an ice cream.
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Published on Nov 20, 2009