It seems my suspicions of Beaver were not unfounded, after all.
On the last leg of our journey, at the edge of the desert plains of Goldfish Lodge, a sandstorm had whipped up around us. We wrapped ourselves from head to toe in robes as protection against the dust whipping around us.
Suddenly, out of the swirling sands, Beaver and his gang appeared - armed to the teeth with clubs and duck bombs.
"Stand and deliver! you old tyrant" cried Beaver "We got wind of the silver coins gushing over the desert and knew that you would be bringing your ill gotten gains back to Homeward. You are surrounded and at our mercy - hand over the loot!"
"Rich, rich, the silver is ours" shrieked Hitmouse.
Jellytussle was wobbling happily like a jelly on a plate, and Hootman was wavering to and fro, whistling with ghostly joy.
"He-haw, he-haw!" brayed the Wooden-Legged Donkey. His triumph was hideous to hear.
The situation looked dire - but then we heard the thundering of hooves on sand. Over the dunes there appeared a magnificent sight. Claudius's brother Cornelius, with over fifty of his friends.
"Oh, great Sultan," declared Claudius "it being my duty to see you safely home, I took the precaution of asking my brother to shadow our caravan - knowing that carrying such great wealth might lay us open to attack by brigands."
"Splendid, Claudius!" I replied, "That's scotched Beaver's hopes of easy prey!".
Hateman's yell of rage was fearful to hear.
Nevertheless, the fight, I could see, was going to be hard. Hateman's face turned ashen as I pulled aside my robes to reveal my giant club. With a tremendous trumpeting of rage I plunged into the battle.
"So, you thought I was unarmed you villain!" I cried as I came face to face with the miserable wretch. This was the decisive moment, for we were the leaders, and one of us would have to triumph over the over to finish the fight.
"I'll settle for a truce!" yelled Beaver "Come on, you big bully!"
I was in no mood for a truce, but I was not going to be accused of ignoring the rules of engagement and refusing the offer to lay down arms.
"Ceasefire!" I cried and at that moment Beaver whipped a large stone out of his sack suit and flung it at me.
It hit me on the forehead and was stunned, for a moment, and staggered.
"Ha,ha!" yelled Beaver "That's done for you!"
Although nearly blinded by the blow, I rushed forward. Beaver was doubled up with laughter, over what he believed had been a disabling blow, so I caught him off guard. I kicked him right up into the desert sky.
Leaderless, the rest of his cronies soon evaporated into the sands.
That evening, we were back in the library at home. We managed to pick up the express train at Lonely Tower - enabling us to finish the rest of the journey in two hours rather than the two days that the recommended route in the A.B.C.Complete Guide to Homeward would have taken us.
"The Sultan fought as bravely as a lion," said Claudius, as we reminisced about our adventures over a late night libation of cocoa.
"We quaff the golden cup of joy and hear the nightingale tell forth the news that the Sultan is safe home again!" added Cornelius.
Everybody clapped and cheered, feeling this speech summed up, very gracefully, what we were all feeling.
I hated to bring down the joyous mood but felt I had to add "We will have to be on our guard, however, for I fear that Beaver will seek retribution for this ignominious defeat!"
It has been a strange journey through the desert plains of Goldfish Lodge. We have had to contend with the strange mirages that appear and make ones inner most desires and fears come true.
For a long period Goodman believed he was the author of a number of detective stories and Noddy Ninety was convinced he was a railway magnate. At times it has become difficult to tell the difference between reality and dreams.
For a moment, I believed that the collapse of the world economy had merely been a nightmare come true. The Old Monkey was able to convince me that this was not an effect of the mirage - but then my fevered imaginings led me to think that I had raised tax rates for the wealthy! As if I would do any such thing to great entrepreneurs such as myself!
We have finally got to the bottom of the mystery of the disappeared rents from Goldfish Lodge, however.
Following the tube, that transports the shillings to the tap in my cupboard, we finally found a breech. The coinage gushed out of it in a fountain of silver.
Dancing around it, in a fit of ecstasy, was Old Whitebeard. As you know,he is detested by everybody and shunned even by the Badfort Crowd.
He sang in a raucous voice - "Rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams, I have struck silver!"
His detestable voice made us all feel dizzy, nauseous and depressed. There is something in the tone of it that engenders despair.
"You have not discovered a silver mine, you fool!" I thundered "These are my rents from Goldfish Lodge! and you are just a common thief!"
"No! it is all mine! I came prospecting in this desert and discovered this rich seam! I have laid claim to it - you can't have it!" screamed the old miser.
"I am afraid, Sir, there will be no reasoning with him." said the Old Monkey. "It is the effect of the mirage. It has seized on Old Whitebeard's dreams of avarice and given him his hearts desire. Wealth beyond imagining. He is convinced that he has discovered a silver mine!" he added.
"Yes," I mused "Getting rich quick, easy money - the dream that can so easily become a nightmare. When will people learn that the only way to succeed is to apply oneself to hard work - as I did, pulling myself up from lowly beginnings..."
"Yes, Sir - but what are we to do?" interrupted the Old Monkey "If we try to mend the breech Old Whitebeard is bound to put up a fight."
"We just need to think of something that he will find more attractive than silver - so the mirage effect will make him pursue a different desire." I suggested
Then it came to me. New carts for old. Knowing that Old Whitebeard's cart was an ancient ramshackle affair I felt sure that he would not be able to resist the idea of exchanging it for a new one.
"I say, old man - I'm offering £2,000 for old carts when you change up to a brand new one. Just pop along to the showroom at Lonely Tower and they'll fix you up with the latest model!" said I.
A gleam came into the old misers eyes and he scuttled off, muttering "A shiny new cart - rich beyond my wildest dreams!"
Cowgill effected a repair to the holed tube allowing the shillings to flow freely once more into the coffers of my Treasury.
But there were piles and piles of silver coinage laying around the vicinity.
"Will you and your troop of camels be able to manage this lot?" I asked Claudius.
"Hail Sultan, all powerful prince, demand and we do any bidding!" he declared.
"Yes, well, jolly good" I replied, somewhat abashed by this profuse show of loyalty.
As we set off on our journey home I admit to a tinge of guilt. I had felt sure that Beaver and his gang had been responsible for the theft of my rents - perhaps I have misjudged them.
We have been caught in a mirage - just as we were warned might happen, in the desert plains of Goldfish Lodge, by my trusty guidebook the A.B.C Complete Guide to Homeward.
The mirage experience was different for us all.
I found myself on the stage of 'Homeward's Got Talent' a popular television programme on DTV - the dwarfs channel.
I decided to sing "I Dreamed a Dream" - it reminds of my early days as a destitute and poor elephant, before I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.
Standing in front of the blazing television lights and a crowd of 3,000, I knew that many of them were simply waiting for me to fail because of the way I look - clearly they were expecting some loud trumpeting noise to issue forth from my trunk.
To raised eyebrows from the judges and stifled laughter from the audience, I told them of my ambition to be a professional singer. Clearly the mirage effect had picked up on one of my long suppressed ambitions and made it come true. For, if I had not pursued a life in business and politics, and become the successful entrepreneur I am today, I may well have sought a career as a troubadour.
Contrary to what one might expect of my svelte but heavy boned figure, I actually have quite a small singing voice.
It is certainly different from my usual thundering tones and the Old Monkey once described it as mellifluous.
Hateman, vindictive creature that he is, says I sing in a rather mincing way. Given that his singing sounds like a cat being strangled, I think we can safely put that remark down to jealousy.
As I began to sing their expressions changed; cynicism was replaced by whopping, broad smiles and the wiping away of tears. I finished to a standing ovation.
It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. Just because I am a successful tycoon it does not mean that I cannot sing like an angel.
During my week in the mirage I was feted around the world - I have to say that it made a pleasant change to be world famous for my voice rather than for the fact that I am expected to solve the world recession.
I have to say I was rather sorry when the mirage dissolved away leaving us all in the desert once more - and no nearer discovering the reason for the drying up of the rental income from Goldfish Lodge.
We must continue to follow the tube, down which the shillings should flow. Mark my words, however, I have no doubt that Hateman and his gang are behind this criminal act.
I have stopped the illicit supplies of Scob Fish that were being sent to Badfort. I have also ordered that the the remaining ones be removed from the perspex tower of Goldfish Lodge and sent back to Gaby's Marsh where they belong. Everyone will be most pleased to see the beautiful Goldfish returned to their natural home. Beaver has retaliated by spreading malicious rumours about me.
I have no doubt that he is behind the disappearance of my rental income from Goldfish Lodge. However, the only way, it seems possible, to trace what has happened to the funds is by following the tube that carries the shillings back to Homeward and finding out where they are being siphoned off.
Unfortunately, this means that we will have to travel the tortuous route set out in the A.B.C Complete Guide to Homeward.
This, firstly, entails a long journey across the desert plains surrounding Goldfish Lodge.
Luckily, my old friend, Claudius the Camel, is on hand to guide us.
For a camel he is almost handsome. He wears a small peaked cap of woven camel's hair so that he can always be picked out from the rest of his troop.
We met up with him to plan our trip.
"I am your servant Claudius, Sire, As always I have been born only to serve you, wherever you wish to go I shall take you." he declared.
A decent chap but sometimes his gushing manner can be somewhat embarrassing.
We were soon on our way and making good progress but it is not safe to travel the dunes at night.
"The bowl of night is filling up with stars," said Claudius "we must make camp."
"He means it's soon going to get dark, sir," said Goodman.
"Goodman," I said severely "Please remember I am a Bachelor of Arts, and more than used than you are to translating difficult passages!"
"The nightingale sings of the secret well and the patch of herbage where deep comfort lies" said Claudius.
What was he on about now?
"Um, it's not clear but I think Claudius is trying to tell us about the birds of the desert, and there cultural significance to the nomadic nations," I began.
"And perhaps that he has found an oasis for us to stay the night at, Sir?" interrupted Goodman.
"I know, I know, that is what I was about to say...yes, he has found a good resting point." I said tersely.
It was indeed a very nice spot, although my sleep is somewhat restless - the wind seems to be getting up.
The inhabitants had no warning of our arrival at the railway terminus, but I was most gratified when they put on an impromptu welcome dance.
My rent collector, Oliver Hoot, rushed to greet me. "Such an honour, Sir, to finally meet our noble benefactor in person!" he declared profusely.
"Well, that is all very well - bit I am afraid that we are not here to indulge in the normal pleasantries associated with one of my visits," I warned him "We are here to investigate the non-payment of rent, a serious default and a dereliction of civic duty!"
"But, I assure you, Sir, the rents are being sent as normal - come with me, you will see that the machinery for the sending of payments is working as normal." he stressed, almost moved to tears.
He took us to a staircase that led all around the perspex tower of Goldfish Lodge. The cavity between the inner and outer walls was filled with beautiful translucent blue water.
But where were the Goldfish? in their stead swam the ugliest fish imaginable - the infamous Scob fish.
A large sign at the base of the stairs had 'Gold' scribbled out and replaced with the word 'Scob' - clearly hastily hand written.
"As you can see, Sir, we are in the process of renaming as per your instructions. Soon, the tower will be known as 'Scobfish Lodge' as you wished. Although, I have to say the name change has not been greeted by all the inhabitants as an improvement. The Scob Fish are very violent creatures and we have had to move all the Goldfish into Central Lake - so that they are not harmed by the newcomers. It has to be said, as well, that the Scob Fish are not the most attractive piscis." explained Hoot.
"I don't know what you are talking about!" I said angrily "I gave no such orders!"
"But, Sir, we had a visit from your Minister of Fisheries. He informed us that, due to the economic climate, you had decided that keeping fish for purely decorative purposes was no longer viable. Your new edict was that Goldfish Lodge was to become a fish farm. We have been sending train loads back to your fish processing plant!" he blustered.
"Describe this 'Minister of Fisheries' to me!" I demanded.
"Well, he was a rather uncouth diminutive chap, dressed in sack cloth. He had a number of skewers for catching fish with - he said" replied Hoot.
"Hitmouse!" exclaimed the Old Monkey.
"I fear so, I fear so," I responded "Tell me, Hoot, where is this fish processing plant?"
"Somewhere called Badfort? - a grand castle in your domain, we were told by your Minister" he replied.
"Enough - you have been mislead. I fear that there is no end to the Badfort Crowd's infamy - take us to see the rent collection machine." I declared.
At the top of the tower we entered a large domed room, where many dwarfs were busy carrying large sacks of shillings and in a constant procession poured them into a network of tubes.
It was clear that Hoot took his duties most seriously, almost officiously, and was very proud of the work that he oversaw.
"Here we are, Sir, as you can see, all is in order. The shillings pass down the tubes and a compressed air system, created by the bubbles from the fish, forces them all the way to the tap contained in your silver cupboard!" he declaimed.
"I am afraid, Hoot, that all is not in order - the shillings are not arriving!" I told him as gently as possible.
He burst into tears. "I have no choice, then, Sir, but to offer my resignation. I have failed in my duties to you and to the people of Goldfish Lodge!" he sobbed.
"Now, now, there is no need for that - you have clearly been the victim of a dastardly criminal act. Tell me, did this Minister of Fisheries take a particular interest in the rent collection process?" I asked.
"Why, yes, Sir, he was particularly interested - he thought it might be a faster method of transporting the Scob Fish. He was most interested in the route the tubes took to get to Homeward. Oh. I have been a bit silly haven't I?" stuttered Hoot, as realisation dawned on him.
As you will remember, I did not sleep well last night - due to my concerns over the fate of my missing rents from Goldfish Lodge.
When I finally did get to sleep, my slumber was not undisturbed.
Firstly, I was awoken by the screeching of brakes. The train abruptly came to a halt.
I looked out of the window and was somewhat surprised to see it snowing. Odd for the time of year, one might think, but even odder given that the Trans-Homeward railway runs completely underground.
Noddy Ninety poked his head around the door. "Sorry, for the delay Sir, been an explosion at the Dwarf's Confetti Factory. Should be underway again, soon." he explained.
I have heard some strange excuses for train delays but it seems that this really was a case of the wrong kind of snow.
I had barely got to sleep again before I was once more unceremoniously awoken. This time by a loud cry from Noddy Ninety - "MURDER, MURDER!" he cried as he ran down the corridor.
"Don't Panic, Don't Panic, Sir!" he cried as he rushed in "But there has been a murder - someone has done away with young Eddie Eighty!"
Murder - an unheard of event at Homeward. I summoned A.B.Fox, my detective, to the Restaurant Car.
"This is all most inconvenient. Come on Fox, I need you to get to the bottom of this pronto!" I instructed him "We'll never get to Goldfish Lodge at this rate!" I added.
An hour later, he asked us all to convene, over a light supper, to inform us of his deductions.
"I am afraid, Sir, that there is no doubt that one of you followers must be responsible" he declared to our astonished group.
"It is all about motive and opportunity, Sir, and clearly a number of your followers had the motive!" he declared.
"Really? - I cannot imagine why anyone would want to kill Eddie Eighty?" I responded.
"Well Sir, that is why I am a detective - having interviewed all the suspects it is clear that there are a number of reasons for your followers to have felt threatened by Eddie. The Old Monkey felt deeply that his position as your monkey servant had been usurped by the administrations of Eddie at dinner last night. The One-armed Badger was clearly aggrieved that Eddie had proven porterage skills that were at least equal if not better than his own." declared A.B.
Both the Old Monkey and The One-armed Badger looked upset and were about to interrupt - but A.B. waved away their remonstrations and continued his discourse.
"However, there is only one person that had both motive and opportunity - Noddy Ninety!" he postulated, pointing an accusatory finger at the nonagenarian.
At this, Noddy promptly fainted.
"Yes, I am afraid it is so, Sir" added A.B. "Fearing that the younger man would prove a more efficient railwayman, and despite the fact that he himself had trained..."
He got no further, as, at this point Eddie Eighty came bustling through the door, with the refreshments trolley.
"I see you are all having trouble getting to sleep, anyone fancy a nice cup of cocoa as a nightcap?" he inquired solicitously.
Noddy, who had just come round, promptly fainted again at the sight of the walking dead.
"You are supposed to be dead!" I blustered at Eddie.
"Oh sorry, Sir, am I? - I did not realise. Is it a game? - only I have been having forty winks. Have I missed all the fun?" he replied.
"Noddy!" I shouted "Can you not tell the difference between a dead man and a sleeping man??!"
"Well, he did not have the decency to snore like everyone else" said Noddy lamely.
"For goodness sake! Get this train moving or we will never get to Goldfish Lodge!" I commanded - "Old Monkey, be so kind as to bring me a bucket of cocoa!" I added.
The Old Monkey gave me a grateful look - honestly, the idea that anyone could replace my faithful servant is absurd!
Of the two alternative routes to Goldfish Lodge, suggested by the A.B.C.Complete Guide to Homeward, the bullet train journey sounded a great deal more comfortable and a good deal faster. Two hours rather than a week!
My followers and I prepared for the journey - as usual the One-Armed Badger insisted on taking all manner of articles that he felt might be needed. "Everything it seems bar the kitchen sink!" I declared on seeing the pile of baggage about his person.
"Oh yes, Sir, I have one of those - I have a folding variety. You can never be too sure what we may find available in such a far off place" he replied. Somewhat smugly I felt.
This afternoon we set off.
We opened the red velvet door in the library and were greeted by a magnificent sight - a grand railway terminus with an enormous vaulted roof, bustling with activity.
I must say I was not at all surprised to discover Noddy Ninety running the ticket office. When it comes to anything to do with railways you can guarantee that Noddy will have a hand in it.
"We would like tickets to Goldfish Lodge, please, young man!" I said, knowing that this would give the old man a great deal of pleasure. He loves to dress up as a schoolboy - "Ninety years young!" being his motto.
"Certainly, Sir, and I presume you will be wanting the 12 course meal in the dining car?" he replied.
"Most certainly - if we can manage it on the two hour journey!" I affirmed.
"Ah, yes, one small problem there, Sir, I am afraid. Being a Bank Holiday tomorrow, there are a number of engineering works. This requires a detour around the whole outskirts of your fair home, Sir." said Noddy sheepishly.
"So, how long will the journey take then?" I inquired in an exasperated voice.
"Er, well that would be the 12 hour rather than the 2 hour journey, I'm afraid, Sir." he said in a quiet voice. "It will require that you book a sleeping car, unfortunately." he added.
"I demand to speak to the owner at once! fancy scheduling works on a Bank Holiday when every one wants to get away!" I insisted.
"Ah, well - er, that would be you, Sir." responded Noddy.
"I own this railway?" I said increduously.
"Yes, you do, Sir." affirmed Noddy.
Well, I learn more about my vast domain everyday. Now I know I own it I will make sure that it is run a lot more efficiently.
The train ride was very smooth, I must admit, but I found it somewhat disconcerting that the whole journey seemed to take place beneath the ground.
The Old Monkey, however, was very excited about the idea of sleeping on a train. So I let him have the top bunk. I cannot say that I found my sleeping berth very comfortable - it was clearly not designed for a large boned personage such as myself.
Noddy came in and asked if I would like a large bucket of cocoa to aid me sleep.
I said that would certainly help, but now that I was aware of my ownership of the railway I would make sure that special sleeping cars would be made available for the larger passenger.
"An excellent idea, Sir" he responded "Could I also suggest that more staff would be much appreciated, its hard being porter, guard, ticket collector and driver."
"If you are here - who is driving the train!" I declared - somewhat fearful of the thought that we were aboard a runaway train.
"Do not worry, Sir, I am training up young Eddie Eighty - he can be relied on!" Noddy reassured me.
I asked Noddy why the journey had to be all underground. It seems that this is the only fast way to travel around my domain.
"Otherwise, Sir, it is all up and down and around your many towers." he explained.
"But, I am sure I can see the odd light and silhouettes of buildings out there in the gloaming?" I asked.
"Oh, yes," said Noddy "That's the underground dwarfs - they work on the railway and in the mines. They love living in the tunnel - much prefer it to being above ground."
Well, one learns something new all the time about the customs and affectations of ones tenants.
I did eventually get off to sleep - but it was somewhat fitful. I tossed and turned worrying about why the rents had ceased to arrive in my treasury and what misfortune might have befallen Goldfish Lodge.
We have spent the whole day consulting a tremendous book bound in black leather and trimmed with gold and red. This is the A.B.C.Complete Guide to Homeward and it is so big that it has to be wheeled around on a trolley.
Our aim was to find out more about the mysterious Goldfish Lodge, how to get there and hopefully discover the reason for my rents from this tower drying up.
"Right, Shudder, tell us what it says" I commanded.
"Well, Sir let us see....ah yes here it is...under towers (fishy)" he muttered.
We all pored over the entry.
PORTRAIT OF GOLDFISH LODGE
While it lacks a certain sophistication common in the larger Homeward Towers, beneath its perspex surface calm throbs a pulse of activity peculiarly Goldfishian. Despite its air of provincialism, the Tower of Goldfish claims justly a record of solid accomplishments not only in the arts and sciences, but in industry and commerce.
A spirit of reserve has become proverbially characteristic of the tower and its people. Goldfish Lodge is hesitant in proclaiming the efficiency of its soundly welded commercial and industrial mechanism. Sanctuary of artist and scientist though it is, it makes no vulgar display of the refinements of, commercial, cultural and scientific preeminence seen in the other, more extravagant, towers of Homeward.
"I find that rather insulting" I interjected, somewhat aggrieved - "It sounds like the book is suggesting that my other towers are an ostentatious display of my wealth!"
POINTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
There is little doubt that the greatest sight-seeing treasure, for visitors to Goldfish Lodge, is the Tower itself. It is built of double skinned perspex. The cavity between the layers is filled with water which teems with an abundance of Goldfish.
Walking around the wide thoroughfares within the tower one is surrounded by sealife. The goldfish swim through perspex tubes that go up and around every nook and cranny linked to the outer skin of the tower.
Uncle's Hall, Chestnut St., east of 4th.
Uncle's Statue, 2d St., north of Market.
Goldfish Hall, Goldfish Square, 6th and Chestnut Sts.
Tower Plaza, Swanson St., south of Christian.
Grand Uncle Street Station, Fairmount Park, west of
"All very fascinating - but how does one get there!" I exclaimed in frustration.
"Here we are, Sir - the route!" exclaimed Shudder as he found the relevant page. ROUTE TO GOLDFISH LODGE (FROM HOMEWARD HALL)
It is not easy to travel to this sublime tower being at the farthest distance to the entrance to Homeward. First it is necessary to take the switchback railway to Watercress Tower. Then the traveler must brave the water-chute to Lion Tower. On no circumstances enter Lion Tower, hardly anybody has been into it and people who have tried have become lost. Use the jumping board, to launch oneself from the top - a large net drawn across the base of the tower will catch you. Then take the narrow gauge railway which passes through Grey Tower, Ironside Tower, Treac Levat and Lonely Tower.
The traveler must then hire a troop of camels to continue his journey.
Three days journey across the desert plains will bring you to the furthest corner of Uncle's domain. There before you like a mirage in the dust will appear Goldfish Lodge. Beware any other mirages that you may encounter on the way!
"The journey sounds both tortuous and dangerous!" I declared.
"Oh wait, Sir," cried Goodman "Look here - there is a footnote"
There is another route to Goldfish Lodge, however this is not advised because it is neither interesting or scenic. The unseasoned traveler may start his journey by going through the Red Velvet door in Uncle's Library. There he may take the high speed bullet train and arrive at Goldfish Lodge in two hours. There is a refreshment car serving a 12 course meal that takes the majority of the journey to consume.
His stepfather is that awful man Whitebeard - his voice seems to have some kind of sickening effect, for the moment you hear it you feel rather ill, or at any rate seedy and depressed. The fact is that old Whitebeard is detested by everybody. Even the Badfort Crowd won't have anything to do with him.
Alonzo's not a bad chap, though, his only fault being the fact that he is tremendous miser.
He is so miserly that he can't even bring in food from his own store without pretending to strike a bargain with himself. He pretends that there is a shopman there, and offers eightpence for a ninepenny tin of salmon. He then pays the money into his own till and feels he has struck a good bargain.
He loves to look at things that are costly - the thought of large sums of money makes him feel quite dizzy.
"Oh, Sir, can I watch the money coming in from Goldfish Lodge?" he pleaded.
Goldfish Lodge is a gigantic tower at the far end of my castle, Homeward.
The rents are collected by a trusty agent called Oliver Hoot, and it may surprise you, but I have never seen the chap.
So vast are my holdings, I have never had the opportunity to meet him or inspect the tower.
Meanwhile the rents keep arriving, sent via tube by Hoot to my silver cupboard. Inside it is a strange device with a golden spout. From it, there continually drop shillings. They fall with a lovely jingling sound into a little wooden keg. When the keg is full, automatic machinery takes it away, and another comes up in its place, while the old one moves away to my treasury.
In a somewhat theatrical mood, I opened the door to the cupboard with a flourish!
Silence. Not a drop of shilling could be heard.
Alonzo burst into tears and the Old Monkey looked aghast.
"Oh, Sir!" he cried "What could have happened? has Hoot turned to a life of crime?"
"We shall have to investigate!" I declared "For it is clear that something is terribly amiss!"
"But Sir, you have always said that the way to Goldfish Lodge is hard and puzzling and we would have to wait for Hoot to take us there!" he replied.
"Nevertheless, we must find a way. We shall need A.B.Fox's investigative prowess, and ask Will Shudder to bring the A.B.C. Guide to Homeward from the library." I commanded.
This was clearly a time when an elephant of action was required - the fate of the world may depend on it. I had earmarked the rents from Goldfish Lodge for the G20 financial recovery plan. What will Gordon and Barack say when they discover the funds have gone astray?
This is an extract from Gordon's speech - it was rather good, I think - mind you I wrote most of it.
"This is the day that the world came together to ask for Uncle's help in our fight back against a global recession - not with words but with Uncle's plan for global recovery and for reform and with his clear timetable for its delivery.
The old Washington consensus is over. Today we have agreed on the Homeward consensus, that we take Uncle's advice for global action to deal with the problems we face, that we will do whatever he says is necessary to restore growth in jobs, that we will take elephantine action to rebuild confidence and trust in our financial system.
To prevent a crisis such as this ever happening again we will follow Uncle's golden rules. We accept that he is right - we have been incredibly silly and very greedy. From now on we we will try and be upstanding citizens - accepting that we have to work hard and be responsible."
Never mind the world economic stimulus, I know that, who sat next me? is the burning question you all want answered.
Well here is the all important seating plan for dinner at Downing Street, last night.
As you can imagine, it was quite a game of diplomatic musical chairs as everyone wanted to sit near me.
It has to be said, it was a bit of a tight squeeze on my side of the table. "Shove up, Barack!" I said good heartedly "This is half the size of my banqueting table, you know!"
Everyone shuffled along a bit and we all fitted in eventually. Luckily, the Korean President is only a little chap so he did not take up much room on my left.
The German lady and that funny French man were a bit sulky - I don't think he was too happy with the "best of British" menu. He kept complaining it was too stodgy for his tastes. I gave him a withering look and he could tell that I would brook no storming off.
There was a lot of, frankly, rather boring talk of reshaping capitalism and reviving the stalled global economy. I do wish that people would not talk shop at dinner.
I soon had them in stitches, however, as I regaled them with some of my funniest anecdotes about Beaver Hateman's antics and his foiled attempts to usurp me.
Gordon and Barack played a very silly joke on me today as can be seen on The Guardian website.
We were about to go into a very important meeting at Number Ten when who should turn up but Beaver Hateman!
You can imagine my horror - had they gone mad?
Allowing a known anarchist to deliberate with us over the future of the world?
They looked at my stricken face and burst out laughing. "April Fool!" guffawed Barack. "We got you there didn't we!" chortled Gordon.
It turns out they had hired a Beaver lookalike to play a trick on me.
Honestly, we are here to discuss saving the World economy and they are behaving like a couple of buffoons - what will the peoples of the world think of them?
I know that you will be desperate to hear my account of today's momentous events.
First we had breakfast. I had three buttermilk pancakes with syrup & butter, and then kippers, kedgeree and kidneys.
It was delicious - I will say this for Gordon Brown, he certainly knows how to put on a hearty British breakfast.
Then we had a bit of a chat about some of my economic ideas - lets hope the French and Germans don't cut up rough.
Then it was time for some more photos, with me in front of some of the other G20 leaders. Honestly the way some of them dawdle "Come on" I said "Everybody is going to have to pick up the pace if they want to keep up with the strides of this elephant! - I may be well built but I'm not slow you know!" I chortled.
They all grumbled a bit but they know what side their toast is buttered on. Here I go talking about food again!
Which brings me to lunch. A bit of a desultory affair I am afraid. Gordon seemed to think that because we are having a big dinner this evening a simple working lunch would do. It's a good job that the Old Monkey was on hand with additional sustenance - watercress sandwiches and a bucket of cocoa.
Then back to the grindstone. Had a lovely chat this afternoon with Lizbeth, as I call her, the Queen.
We had a good discussion about the wonderful spring weather, and what to do about the King of the Badgers. Apparently, he tried to borrow money, again, on his last visit. Then we partook of tea and crumpets. I assured her that I would soon have this terrible economic situation sorted out.
As our limousine was being driven back to Number Ten, he banged on the window and shouted "Hi Unc! We're here to dance on the grave of capitalism with a Financial Fools Day Party!"
I wish I had taken up Barack's offer of a lift. His car has rocket-propelled grenades and a tear-gas cannon - it is the Johnny Seven OMA of the vehicular world.
I am really looking forward to my dinner tonight. It is being prepared by young Jamie Oliver. Organic salmon from Shetland, served with samphire and sea kale for starters. Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, with Jersey Royal potatoes, wild mushrooms and mint sauce for mains.
One of my teatime favorites for dessert - Bakewell tart and custard!
Thank goodness, for good solid British food rather than something tiny and French, with a smear of reduced jus.
Perhaps that is why President Sarkozy is threatening to go home?
Gordon is quite worried about it.
I consoled him.
"I don't know why you are upset, Gordon, - all the more for us!" I said.