Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Chat with Paul.

Paul takes a long time to come down the stairs.
By the time he reaches the bottom, Mam is out in the garden and her anger has begun to die down.

'Come on Paul,' she says. 'What did you try to send to Henry? I'm pretty sure Henry had nothing to do with your plan and I KNOW Auntie Lorraine didn't. You can't be sending animals off around the globe in boxes, you know. It is both cruel and illegal.'

Paul looks down at his feet and doesn't reply. Mam's eyes follow his and she notices  he has his walking boots and duffel coat on. She looks back up at his face just as a fat tear begins to drip down his cheek.

'Are you planning to take a trip, Paul? You weren't going to set off to Australia to find Henry, were you? He's already back in England.' says Mam. She is beginning to worry about what will happen if she doesn't get Paul to talk to her.

'No.' he whispers. 'He didn't get to Australia. Now he's lost and frightened and all by himself... and it's all my fault! I shouldn't have tried to help him. I have to go and find him.'

' Don't be silly, Paul. Henry has had a great holiday. He DID get to Australia and to New Zealand too, but is safely back home now.' Mam says. ' Come on, I'll switch on the lap top and you can see his blog showing his holiday photos.'

'It wasn't Henry I tried to help!' Paul is sobbing now. ' But he asked me to help and I thought he'd be my friend if I did. I just want to be special friends with somebody. I don't like the same things as the other boys. So I thought, with him being little, he wouldn't mind about me not being sporty and not liking rough games and stuff and he might play with me and I could be his special big brother.'

'Who, Paul? Who were you trying to help?' asks Mam.

'I promised I wouldn't tell....'

'WHO, Paul?' Mam demands.

After a loud hiccup, 'Connor!' Paul answers.

'YOU MAILED YOUR LITTLE...' Mam begins, but remembers that Paul is likely to clam up again if she is cross. ' I mean, did you really post your little brother off in a box?!'

'I was just putting the bike away at Mrs. Rowland's place after doing my Saturday morning bread delivery job for her and Connor was there.He said he wanted to go and see if the Merino sheep in Australia really look like our Ryeland sheep and he wanted to try going walkabout and to learn to throw a boomerang and to see if he could find a kiwi bird in New Zealand so he could see if it looked like a kiwi fruit and he wanted to learn how to do the Maori war chant thingy that they do before rugby matches and.... and, well, I said I'd help.' 
By this time, Paul was babbling.

'So, we went on the baker's bike so he could lie down in the front carrier.'

'When we got to town, he got in the cardboard box and I wrote the address on it. But the post office lady said I hadn't written the address properly and I didn't have enough stamps anyway. She gave us a post card from Henry and Auntie Lorraine that had just arrived there and she told us to come straight home to bring it to you.  Connor was holding it. 
 I got back on the bike and I thought Connor was sitting in the carrier with the card. But when I got home, he wasn't there and.... and.... and I was too scared to tell anybody!'

Paul's words tumble out of him in a rush before he sinks down onto the ground and begins to cry again.

Mam tries not to think about all the days of worrying over Connor or the interviews with policemen and social services that followed his disappearance. 

 It could be Connor that has been seen sneaking around Dee's house and garden, couldn't it? She really doesn't want to get her hopes up TOO much, but it is possible. At this moment, it is Paul who needs her attention, or she will have two missing boys to worry over but, after he is settled, she will phone the police to update them about Connor's attempted trip to Australia.  Then she'll call the Customs and Excise Officers to find out more about the livestock they found in the parcel. But who, oh who, is the little red-haired boy at The Village? He seems to come and go and it is so hard to know, is he Connor? Is he Lucas? Does Lucas not live near Brighton? What is going on???

'Come on, Paul,' she says. 'We'll go and see Dada feeding the sheep. Oh, and there's a new lamb too.  You can stay with Dada. The police will go on with the search for Connor with the new, and very useful information you've just given me. I know you didn't mean to cause all this bother. We'll talk later about finding somebody to play quieter games with you sometimes.'

 Our lambs wear ugg boots - the Sashas are quite envious!


  1. The mystery continues...where is Connor? What has happened to him. Poor Paul, no wonder he was worried and upset...and WHAT was the mysterious 'livestock' ? That is some bakers box and bike and perfect for carrying (or is it smuggling) a little boy!

    Loving the lambs and their ugg boots!

    1. Lets hope I get round to finishing the story soon! Hospital and other boring things got in the way!

  2. Oh my goodness that little lamb at the end is gorgeous with his little furry sweet is that!!!! Congratulations on his safe arrival....are any more of the sheep having babies? If so, will they all have these little booties on?
    As for Paul, oh dear, a prank that has gone badly wrong. Well lets hope that Connor turns up soon...maybe a nice post office lady is looking after him....does he not know his own address? Maybe he's unable to tell her and she is waiting to find his parents for him. I do so hope it all works out in the end....and no, I don't think that the little red haired boy running around the Sasha Village is Connor...that one is too naughty!!!
    Big hugs Sharon xx

    1. Our sheep are Ryeland and they all wear baby booties for a while! Then they grow into wooly leg-warmers, LOL. There are only 3 lambs this year as we don't get involved in the meat trade now, so only have a few to replace their great grannies as they die off.
      I'm not sure about the Connor/Lucas thing. Could be all red haired toddlers are up to mischief much of the time!

  3. Being an ex- Primar y teacher I'm most impressed by the dual purpose of this blogpost. What a superb idea.
    (Only wish that I could have joined in and helped but no good at this sort of things when it comes to in-corporating my Sasha Brood.)

    Loving the storyline. Feeling rather sorry for Paul but tell him that he can't take all the blame as it was Conner's final decision to head off to New Zealand.... but without having the necessary postal address and finance in place.

    Is there an environmental reason for the lamb's protective woolly boots? Maybe excessive water logged ground? Severe cold winds?

    Fab. baker's bike.

  4. Hi Kendal
    We found the bike in a cupboard when we moved here. The people who lived here also had a little bakery in town and it was probably a prop for window displays. I saw another , similar one on Evilbay once and wonder if they were available commercially?

    Our sheep are descended from the ones bred by monks in the days when Britain's wealth was based on wool production and they have fast growing wool on their legs and parts of their faces that other sheep are usually less wooly. I'm guessing the leg wool from each adult weighs several pounds which would have added to the value of the clip, if you had a hundred or so sheep in the days when wool was worth much. (My neighbour's father used to pay a year's rent for his 200 acre farm with the wool cheque in the 60s, now it won't buy a week's groceries!) But I think the monks were aiming for lots of money for their monastic order and extra warm wool for their habits, rather than the comfort of the sheep. Our's need shearing soon or they will be too hot in the summer.

    Paul has been forgiven. At least he earns his own pocket money as a baker's boy! Some of the others are less industrious.

  5. Well the mystery deepens ! Where oh where is little Connor! I hope he decided that New Zealand was too far for a little boy to travel and took himself off somewhere closer to home!

    Love the bakers bike, just the right size !
    Dee x