Blowing Off and Getting High
It’s been a busy few weeks what with curtailing the illegal actions of the grumpy gardener and persuading the surprised butler to update his socks. Giles – who has been butler with us for a good while now – seemed genuinely taken aback that I’d even been hibernating in his socks in the first place. He apologised for the errant wool fibres and said he’d sew up the holes. But, no, I said, I impressed upon him, he didn’t need to iron them! Give that man half a chance he’d iron the whole driveway of the estate – and Buckingam Palace – flat. As for the mite, I didn’t think it was wise to mention it…
Oscar Dandelion had a few words of his own to impart to Lady Millicent. They rowed about whether the population explosion of dandelions was a good thing for the paying guests. Then together they gave the gardener a right
bollocking rollicking. Until yesterday, Grumpy John wasn’t sure he still held the position of Head Gardener at Dandelion Hall! He does – but good, make the man worry, because that’s what he’s caused me to do these past days. If I catch him touching one petal of my beloved dandelions I’m informing Oscar right away.
Yes, I love being a tortoise – it’s a life of easy access to abundant weeds, the odd English sun ray, lengthy considered moments of introspection, and a nice long hibernation – but, being wise has its drawbacks. Sometimes there is too much – so much – to consider it sends me to sleep.
Bear with me. I’ll be right back…
Well, I’m back. I’m awake. It’s like the very moment I blinked and the sun hid behind a cloud. One second there; the next second not. I wasn’t aware of the point of ‘dropping off’ into sleep. It happened too fast.
O the winds doth almighty blow again! Even I, of aerodynamic proportions and hugging the ground like a rubber boot stuck in mud, have to heed caution. Oscar told Millicent to weigh me down with something heavy to prevent me from taking to the skies of Norfolk as if with wings.
At first they balanced a crystal paperweight securely bonded with rubber bands onto my carapace. How pretty! you may think with rosy cheeks and brightened eyes. Yes the sun’s rays glinted off the crystal, casting far reaching patterns of rainbows across the lawn causing the gardener puzzlement – alas no consideration was given to health and safety aspects! Absolutely not! I consider it my good fortune that only Millicent’s ‘drawers’ – hanging, flapping wildly in the high winds on the washing line – were the only things to catch fire via the heavy crystal upon my back. It doesn’t bear thinking what if I had caught afire! The whole affair gave me palpitations and it was a good job that I was located quickly in the grounds of Dandelion Hall. This was due to the extreme weight of the crystal rendering me immobile. I wasn’t able to move one step. They only had to stare down at the terrace where they’d left me.
Next, a small pottery dish was fixed with rubber bands to my back. This shallow dish comfortably fitted round the contours of my carapace and was considerably lighter than the load of the crystal. (Old Granddad Dandelion had the crystal paperweight covertly returned to his antique writing bureau. I doubt if he ever missed it underneath the realms of paper). Just to make sure, Oscar advised me to move forwards to see whether I was able to move forwards this time. I did. And I could. Good. Good, I can hear you sigh with sincere relief, although this affair was not without a hindrance! I was later sitting in a tranquil patch of golden dandelions when I saw Millicent approaching, tiny and safe in the distance. As I casually munched on the dandelion petals and as Lady Winterton grew bigger as she neared, I noticed the shrieking and waving arms. I almost felt sorry for her when the winds blew off her wide straw hat into the high branches of a tree. But she was making such a spectacle of herself, it was very unladylike. I could not detect a viable reason for a warning. No burning knickers on the washing line this time! Curiously, she’d left the hat stuck in the tree branches, choosing instead to see to me first.
O Tortoise!, she exclaimed – thoroughly red in the face and her curly black hair caught in her mouth – I hope the antique isn’t damaged!
Of course she’s not bright enough to understand a wise word I mutter, though I don’t believe she was expecting an answer. I swallowed the last of the current dandelion morsel and slowly blinked at her. I hadn’t the slightest idea of what was going on. Then she was unfixing the rubber bands and cradling the pottery dish in her hands. Quite unaware of the importance of my safety! Whooosh! came the next wind which carried me with it, high into the Norfolk skies.
For a few unbelievable moments I was bird not tortoise. It was surreal. I saw the guttering on the roof of Dandelion Hall where moss grew and a roof tile that was missing (I made a quick mental note to mention this to Oscar). I was witness to the soft grey smoke billowing out of the chimneys. And, I caused a resting crow to choke on its dinner; such was its astonishment of seeing me there, mid air, at the edge of the roof.
Eventually, the wind lowered me into the high branches of a tree. I am glad to say, it kindly dropped me into nothing else but Millicent’s wide straw hat – which she won’t be wearing again. I was so relieved I accidentally relieved myself. Tortoises can only take so much excitement. We aren’t really built for it.
Now you are abrim with curiosity: What about the hoo-ha of the ‘antique’?; why was Lady Winterton so certain that the pottery dish was of importance? Well, Aunt Agatha had phoned that afternoon with the sudden idea of raising a few thousand pounds by selling something she’d remembered was worth a lot. The antique pottery dish.
You might think it wiser for me to keep indoors but the lighter days and the golden dandelions beckon me outside. Don’t worry about me though, I have tiny lead weights – which Oscar found in some curtains – they are tied around my cankles. I’m quite safe now.
If you’re reading this Butler Giles, don’t fret – you can always purchase new curtains. And, if you’re prudent to the nature of their material, they might permiss a good deal of ironing.
“ Dear Reader, don’t blow off in the wind, it isn’t polite. Make sure you hold onto someone rather heavy and hopefully you’ll not blow off together. ”
Little Lord Oscar Dandelion (International Jewel – and Sandwich Filling – Thief) by Faith McCord. The novel is available as an ebook.
I’m searching for an agent to have it published the traditional way.
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Copyright Faith McCord 2016
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.