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We had barely taken in the fact that floods had engulfed the whole of the surrounding area, including Homeward, when the phone began to ring urgently.
It was Noddy Ninety calling from the station. “Hello, Sir, I thought I had better ring you. I am afraid there may be some delay in the delivery of your morning copy of the Homeward Gazette, it’s a bit wet here – the platform looks more like a landing stage actually. It’s got waves lapping against it. I’m trying to make a call up the line to find out what’s occurring but I can’t get through.”
“This is no time to worry about papers, you fool, we have a disaster on our hands!” I shouted down the phone. “Report to the church at once – we must ring the bells and summon the citizens!”
The Old Monkey and I raced to the church, up to the dusty belfry and pulled on all the bell ropes. A crowd soon gathered led by Police Constable Dibley. “What’s up? You may own the place, Sir, but that does not give you carte blanche to wake everyone up with this infernal racket, you know. It really is very early to be practising your bell ringing!” he declared angrily.
“You fool – just look out from the tower!” I shouted back at him.
He looked out and his face went white as a sheet.
I decided that it was time that I took charge of the situation – perilous times call for an elephant of action.
“Rouse the village! I am calling a meeting of the whole community at the Town Hall!” I cried.
Soon, the people of Homesea were gathered in front of the Town Hall – at least the people who mattered: the Mayor, the councillors and aldermen, the Fire Brigade, and the Town Band. Noddy Ninety was in a very excited state. Captain Walrus and his man, Joe Weasel, were also there as they were on holiday in the village. Many were still in their pyjamas. There were also the usual trouble-makers – I could see the Badfort Crowd lurking at the back.
I was somewhat perturbed that, in this time of dire emergency, the cat Goodman seemed more concerned about finding a nice spot to sun himself!
As I pushed my way to the front of the Town Hall steps the band immediately struck up “Glorious Uncle”. I think that they thought that they had all been invited for the announcement of some big donation to the village that I was expected to make.
“Stop that noise! We have an emergency to deal with!” I declared.
“It would appear that the whole of the surrounding area has become flooded - in storms that are possibly the worst the world has ever known. One can only hope that the citizens of Homeward have escaped to the higher ground of Badfort..."
As this point Beaver interjected "Where they will be charged a fair rent, I assure you!" he laughed.
I ignored him and continued "By some good fortune we have been saved – however we are cut off from the mainland and as my treasury has become immersed in water I can offer no immediate financial help.”
At this there were groans from the crowd and guffaws from the Badfort Crowd. Beaver shouted “Hah! Uncles lost his lolly!” with merciless glee.
I began again “I propose that our immediate action should be to attempt a salvage operation to recover the gold from my Treasury….”
“You’ll be lucky!” screamed Hitmouse “who wants to risk their life so old moneybags can get his paws on his loot again!”
I attempted to argue my case, for without the funds from the treasury we would soon reach a parlous state.
At this point I noticed Goodman clawing at my purple dressing gown desperately trying to gain my attention.
“What is it Goodman! Can’t you see that important events are transpiring?” I scolded him.
“Well, yes, Sir…it’s just I have noticed something that I think could be of grave significance…the sun seems to be loose!” he replied.
We all looked up at the sun. It had always risen over the Homeward in the East and done its daily journey to set over the sea in the West.
It now seemed to be making a steady tour right around the sky above the tiled roofs and brick chimney-stacks.
At that point Captain Walrus’s man, Joe Weasel, piped up.
“Swingin’ a bit ain’t she Cap’n Walrus, sir?”
“Uncle, Sir,” said Captain Walrus firmly and clearly. "In my opinion we’re afloat."
There was a gasp from the crowd and I admit to being somewhat taken aback myself.
Then the Old Monkey shouted down from the top of the Church steeple.
“Sir, we are not just afloat but moving through the sea! I can see from here, there is a gentle bow wave up at the foot of the cliff and the water is flowing northwards along the sides of the Strand Quay and Fishmarket Road, on opposite sides of the town, and beyond the railway station and the gas-works there is a gently boiling wake!”
Remarkable! Homeward survives! Rather than the whole area being flooded, the village of Homesea has somehow come adrift. An undersea current is driving the floating rock that the village sits upon. The tempestuous storms that engulfed us, are sending us on a voyage to who knows where!
Still, at least my treasury is safe then.
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