Monday, 2 December 2013

The Second Day of Advent - A Hen on an Adventure With a Cock on a Bike

And so it was that the following morning Mrs Miggins discovered Mrs Pumphrey standing in the Great Hall of Much Malarkey Manor lacing up her enormous walking boots and toggling up her duffle coat. An overly-stuffed rucksack leant precariously  against the umbrella stand.

'Going somewhere?' said Mrs Miggins.

Mrs Pumphrey straightened her back. 'Yes,' she said, a steely glint of determination in her eye which was unusual for her as generally she was a fluffy bunny kind of hen. 'I am going in search of the last Christmas with an L.'

'Is that so?' said Mrs Miggins. 'And where, pray tell, do you intend on starting this search?'

Ruffling around in the top of her rucksack, Mrs Pumphrey produced a crumpled piece of paper. 'I have a map,' she said. 'Well, more a set of written clues.' She handed the crumpled paper to Mrs Miggins.

Mrs Miggins studied the crumpled paper. 'It's the lyrics to 'The First Nowell,' she said.

'Yes,' said Mrs Pumphrey. 'For it is my belief that if I can find the Christmas with the First No L then it is a mere step back in time one year to find the one that did have an L.'

It is too early in the morning for such abstract ramblings, thought Mrs Miggins, but because she was fond of Mrs Pumphrey, she did not say so. 'You're planning to go back in time, then?' she said instead, as though it was the least ludicrous idea in the world.

'Indeedy do,' said Mrs Pumphrey. 'My transport will be here approximately...' and she glanced at her watch, 'half an hour ago.'

And at that precise moment there came from outside a strange noise. A noise that sounded like, 'diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum...oooo....woooooo.....oooooooooo,' followed by a 'THUMP!' as something large and heavy and possibly shaped like an old-fashioned Police Box landed on the path outside.

A sharp rap of the knocker ensued, and Mrs Pumphrey flung open the door to reveal Tango Pete - Ladies' Cock, Mans' Cock, Cock About Town - standing on the Welcome mat, legs akimbo and NOT because he was wearing enormous trousers with pockets full of pine cones.

'What is THAT???' said Mrs Miggins, pointing at the contraption between Tango Pete's legs.

Tango Pete looked down. 'Magnificent, isn't it?' he said. 'Purchased from a mystic badger in the back streets of Croydon,'

And before we become awash with more tenuous innuendo, which, let's face it, might be worthy of the pantomime element of the season but not of its true meaning, I should point out that the ladies of the Manor were admiring Tango Pete's marvellous, shiny red tandem bicycle.

'Well,' says Daisy, 'I've heard of a pantomime cow, but never a pantomime elephant.'

'How times have changed,' sighs Primrose. 

'I said 'element' not 'elephant', says I. 'Really you two, if you keep interrupting we shan't get this story finished until, oooh, Christmas Eve at least.'

'Do continue,' says Daisy...

'I have to say,' said Mrs Miggins, 'that with all the noise you made on your arrival I was expecting something, well, a little more science-fictiony than a tandem bicycle.'

'You are not the first to mention this,' said Tango Pete. 'Can't think why. Anyway,' he continued, turning his attention to Mrs Pumphrey, 'are you ready for our grand adventure, dear lady?'

'I should say so,' said Mrs Pumphrey. 'I have packed but the bare essentials. I thought we could stop off on the way and buy things as we need them.'

'Splendid idea!' said Tango Pete. 'I always say if you've a toothbrush, a ball of string and a packet of humbugs you can travel anywhere.'

'And a credit card,' said Mrs Pumphrey, waving her purse in the air. 

'Of course!' said Tango Pete.'Now, shall we repare to the kitchen for some pre-travel tea and cake and plan-making?'

'No,' said Mrs Miggins. 'I am just about to begin my pre-Christmas deep steam clean. The kitchen is out of bounds. If you want to repare anywhere, you can go to Mrs Bennett's Bean and Gong Emporium - Fine Refreshments for the Discerning Hen. I am sure she would be welcome of your custom.' And with that, she pushed Mrs Pumphrey through the front door, flinging her rucksack after her. The door slammed in a determined sort of way.

'Does she always use the kitchen for her pre-Christmas deep steam clean?' said Tango Pete, hoisting Mrs Pumphrey onto the back seat of the tandem and cramming her rucksack as best he could into a pannier built only for the portage of a small cottage loaf and a chihuahua.

'Always,' sighed Mrs Pumphrey. 'I've told her she should really use the bathroom like the rest of us do, but she won't listen.'

And so Mrs Pumphrey and Tango Pete set off on their journey to find the Last No L. Tango Pete did most of the peddling. Mrs Pumphrey coasted along behind, knitting stockings.


Countryside Tales said...

I miss-read the last bit and thought she was knitting knickers.... :-)

Denise said...

Well, the stockings knitted by Mrs Pumphrey have reinforced gussets and cheek warmers, so I suppose they are a stocking/knicker combo!

rusty duck said...

Gosh. How brave is Mrs Pumphrey.
Pantomime season or no, your hit rate will have gone up today.

LynneFtWorth said...

I love it! I am tuning in each day to find out what this adventure holds!

doodles n daydreams said...

These chooks of yours worry me sometimes - I'm looking forward to the next installment though.


Denise said...

Jessica, Mrs Pumphrey is a lady hen pioneer! She rarely sees problems and also she has a bit of a crush on Tango Pete!

Deanna, I am glad you are enjoying the adventure. I shall try my best to make it as full of Christmassy excitement as possible.

Hello Diana! I have loved all the hens who have lived with us - they have been such characters! And if I ever find myself in the position of living somewhere where we can have a cockerel, then he shall be named Tango Pete, as he is the only fictional chook in the story and deserves to have a real- life counterpart!

Lou Mary said...

I am slowly working my way through! Such an amusing read!