Available for 99p 4 August. Book Three in the Teddy and Tilly’s travels
One gloriously sunny afternoon when Tilly was helping her mother to carry in the dried washing from the line stretched over the long grass at the rear of their farm house, she suddenly started to laugh for no reason.
“What on earth is the matter, Tilly?” Mary asked in an agitated fashion, at first mistaking the laughter to be one of distress. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“Perfectly, Mum! I was thinking of a funny thing said at my school this morning. It was so amusing that I just had to laugh again.”
“What was it then?”
“Well, the bell had rung ages ago when Glen, you know him, Mrs Roberts’s son, finally arrived in class. Miss Susan asked why he was late and he replied; because the school started too early, Miss! Everyone rolled up. Of course, that didn’t include the teacher. She was not amused at all!”
“At least he was quick-witted,” Mary responded.
“Yes, he was! It started me thinking though, Mum, about how different we all are but share happiness and sorrow. By that I mean, that there are so many languages spoken in the world while a smile is a smile wherever one goes. I wonder why?” Tilly asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that one, Tilly, perhaps Dad does. We’ll ask him at dinner tonight. He said that he’ll be late home, that’s why Teddy went to help out. Ploughing can be a very tiring job on your own!” thoughtfully she replied.
“I know the answer, but I don’t want you to think I was eavesdropping on your conversation because I wasn’t. No, noise travels easily through my clouds. I listen carefully to hear voices that I know! Hello there, Tilly! Hello, Mum! How are you both?” It was Jacobi, hanging from the underneath of Nebula, his favourite cloud.
“It’s looking heavenly down there today, would you mind if I came down and had a cuppa with you both, Mum?” he asked.
“I simply can’t remember the last time someone other than I made the tea! Once a poet always a poet! Don’t you agree?”
“I do indeed,” Mum replied, adding, “It will be my pleasure to concede.” She giggled at her rhyme. “Not only will I concede to your wish, but it will be an absolute honour to welcome you to our home, Jacobi. I only wish Peter and Teddy were here to greet you!”
Jacobi was in good spirits as Nebula split in half, allowing the old man to lower himself gently to the ground grasping what appeared to be a white rope but was, in fact, a thin vapour of mist.
“Well, then, in that case, we will enjoy each other’s company whilst supping tea and dunking biscuits together! Have you any of those delicious all butter shortbreads of yours, Tilly?” he asked, taking her hand as she led the way into the kitchen.
I do and I know where Teddy hides his chocolate digestives, Jacobi. He thinks I’m thick!” she announced loudly.
“Good-oh!” he said. “Let’s leave the discussion about fun until the other two arrive, as it is a bit of a sad tale to relate on an empty stomach.”
“Did the birds not feed you?” Mum asked in amazement.
“They did, Mum, but I’ve been over the sea today and yesterday so the pickings were rather small with little nourishment. I had some wonderful sweet and savoury pancakes from Holland just before arriving, but before them nothing substantial at all. That was a really funny joke you told, Tilly. I know a joke!” he exclaimed. “Want to hear it?” he asked.
“Very much we do,” an excited Mary replied. “I bet you’ve heard millions on your travels. All the best ones too, I suspect.”
“This is a cracker. Stand by to laugh your socks off! What do call a horse with a carrot in each ear?”
“I don’t have the foggiest idea,” Tilly answered.
“Anything you want as he can’t hear you. Good, eh! I should have been a comedian.” Bemused, Tilly and her mother looked at each other as Jacobi silently looked on.
“I must say I wasn’t expecting that,” Tilly replied with a disappointed look. “I did think you might have known a much funnier one!”
“You want a better one? Then so be it. But it’s not my fault if you both fall over, failing to control yourselves after hearing it. Stand by! Why does a dog wag its tail? Because no one else will wag it for him. Ah! I see I’m not as funny as I thought. Never mind. I’ll take you to meet The Mother and Son Who Make the Fun after we’ve had a good old chat about what you have all been up to since meeting my mermaid friend Nirinda. But first the tea and biscuits, I think. Have you any of that marvellously memorable walnut cake, Mum? Jacobi asked.
“You have a good memory,” Mum replied, laughing. “It was only last week that you ate some before our underwater adventure!”
“That’s true, yes, but did you hear what the Loch Ness Monster said to a friend he hadn’t seen for a while?-Long time no sea! How was that one then?”
“Better!” a smiling Tilly responded. “You almost got a ha ha.”
From outside the building came the sound of a bicycle being thrown against a wall then falling to the ground, a loud metallic crash. Suddenly the closed door swung open and there stood a flustered Teddy, breathing heavily.
“I saw the cloud and came as soon as I could. Have either of you been up the hill and seen Jacobi?” he enquired perplexedly, as he undid his trouser bike clips then gasped in shock!
“You’re here! In our kitchen! How! Why did you come? Why are you here? Has something bad happened?”
“Slow down, Teddy! All’s fine! Jacobi just popped in for tea and a bite to eat. Where is your father? Is he on his way home?” Mary calmly asked.
“Yes! He’s putting the tractor in the shed then coming straight here. He thought the same as me. That something was wrong!”
“Has your tractor got a name, Teddy?” Jacobi asked.
“Not that I know of, but Dad does call it names sometimes when he has a temper.”
“Tell your father to put a carrot in each ear before he calls it names, then he won’t know which names he uses. No, wait a moment, that’s not right is it? He has to put the carrots in the tractor’s ears. Yes, that’s it!” Jacobi looked puzzled but no more so than Teddy, who agonisingly asked, “What?”