Friday, 4 November 2011

Costa del Kitten

It was another rainy day. Chorley launched himself back through the cat flap after his usual morning patrol.
‘Harrow’ said Chorley announcing his arrival to no one in particular.

‘Chorley,’ said Alison. ‘How come, when ever it’s been raining, you always come home completely dry? Where do you go?’

That information was top secret – Chorley had no intention of revealing his whereabouts.

Mostly he sat under cars when it rained, but he did have some special hidey places that he liked to escape to.

One day Chorley was curled up on the on the desk dreaming about pilchards when he felt someone take off his collar and replace it with something else – much heavier and more clunky. 

Chorley having a snooze.

Chorley was wide awake now. He shook his ears, but this time there was no tinkling sound from the little bell on his collar. That had gone.

‘That’s Chorley tagged’ said Tristan to Alison. ‘From now on, we’ll be able to track his every move!’

Chorley’s new collar had a special tracking device in it which used a satellite up in space. It located his position and then sent the information to the computer so Tristan and Alison could follow Chorley’s movements as a small dot on screen.

‘We’ll solve this – 'why Chorley never gets wet when it rains' - mystery once and for all,’ said Alison.

That evening as usual, it was raining. As soon as Alison and Tristan heard the cat flap slap back into place, they ran upstairs to the computer and logged on, fascinated to see where Chorley went to on his wanderings. 

The computer screen flashed into action. ‘We’re on’ said Tristan as a map came up with a small red dot flashing in the middle. ‘That’s Chorley,’ he said pointing at the red dot.

‘The little monkey, he’s next door in the pub,’ said Alison with a chuckle. 

And that’s where he stayed for the next hour, chatting away to Disco Dave about nothing in particular.

Alison and Tristan left him to it for a while and went to have their tea.

When they went back to the computer, Chorley had moved. This time he was three doors down visiting the beautiful lady with the dark hair and nice smile. He was curled up on her lap purring contentedly.

The next time Alison and Tristan checked the computer Chorley was on the move again. The little red dot was flashing its way down the street. Quick as lightening Tristan stuck his head out of the front door, but in the dark all he could see was Coggles, the old Irish Wolfhound from the pub ambling past.

The little red dot finally stopped moving about half way down the street. 

Tracking Chorley on the computer.

And it stayed there.

And it stayed there.

Chorley didn’t come home all night.

In the morning, when Alison and Tristan checked the red dot on the computer, it was still in the same place.

‘I’m going to look for Chorley,’ said Alison, grabbing her hat and umbrella and making for the door. She was gone and down the street before Tristan could stop her. 

Alison knew roughly where the little red dot was, but wasn’t quite sure exactly which house it was. The first door she knocked on was opened by Ernie, the man with the round face who was always carrying eggs. ‘Hopscotch, nobly knees, porridge, pyjamas,’ said Ernie. Alison shook her head in confusion and went back out into the rain.

The next door belonged to Policeman Ant (who wasn’t really an ant – that was just his name). ‘No, I’ve not seen Chorley,’ he said, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I do.

Alison walked down the road knocking on doors, and while everyone knew Chorley, no one knew where he was.

At last Alison reached a big house with an orange door. ‘Strange’ thought Alison taking her coat off and wiping the sweat from her brow, ‘It’s stopped raining and it’s really hot – in fact it’s boiling.’

The door was opened by the ‘orange woman’.

‘Hello love,’ she said. ‘Have you come looking for Chorley? He’s out in the garden on the sun lounger by the pool.’

‘By the pool?’ said Alison looking surprised.

‘Yes love – haven’t you noticed how half way down the street, the sun is always shining? It never rains here. The only umbrellas we have are in our cocktails – we’ve created a tropical paradise.’

Lounging by the pool.
She was right, half way down the street the sun always did seem to be shining and now Alison knew why. She also now knew why the ‘orange family’ were orange. They all had an amazing sun tan.

Alison followed the ‘orange woman’ outside into the garden, squinting in the bright sunshine. There was Chorley, lying stretched out on his back on a sun lounger, fast asleep.

Chorley sun bathing.
‘Chorley .....,’ said Alison.

Chorley opened one eye, and then the other.

‘Haaaarrrrrrowwww’ he said.

‘So this is where you come to – and why you never come home wet, even when it’s been raining. Well I think it’s time to come home now.’

Chorley smiled at her as he jumped down from the lounger. He thanked the ‘orange woman’ before heading for the door. 

‘One thing that I’m still puzzled about Chorley, is how you manage to get back up the road to our house, in the rain, and still be bone dry.’

Chorley said nothing, but whistled loudly. 

The leaves in the hedge started to rustle loudly. Alison looked round in alarm as Coggles, the Old Irish Wolfhound from the pub shoved his big shaggy head through the leaves.

Chorley went and stood underneath Coggles and then they set off together walking back up the road in the rain towards home. Chorley didn’t need an umbrella, he had a ‘Coggles brolly’ to keep him nice and dry!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Chorley goes flying (8)

It was an ordinary Tuesday morning. Chorley was sitting on the roof of the shed with Boris and Alan, the two fat wood pigeons.

Chorley on the shed.

It was a cold and crisp Autumn day. The sky was bright blue and the leaves on the trees were just starting to turn russet brown.

Autumn leaves.

‘So what’s it like to fly?’ asked Chorley, licking his whiskers.

‘It’s great,’ said Boris. ‘You just stretch out your wings, give them a flap and off you go.’

‘Yes, and once you’re up there, you can see for miles and miles,’ said Alan. ‘And if you see someone below you, you can drop things on their head!’

‘Like what?’ asked Chorley. 

‘Well, the other day I dropped a muffin on Ernie’s head. Just as a joke you understand. Oh how he laughed!’

‘What did he say to that then?’ asked Chorley.

‘Oh, you know, the usual, ‘Muffins, doughnuts, barm cakes and Wensleydale’, or something like that. I haven’t got a clue what he’s talking about half the time.’

‘I wish I could fly,’ said Chorley with a sigh, ‘it sounds like a lot of fun!’

Chorley was just imagining himself flying around in the sky, when ......

‘Harrow – what’s going on here then?’ said Chorley.

‘Didn’t you see the notice outside the pub?’ said Boris. ‘There’s bungy jumping this evening at six o’clock in the car park. That’s the big bungy crane.’

‘What’s bungy jumping?’ asked Chorley.

‘It helps people to fly – they tie a big rubber band around your middle, winch you up to the top of the big crane and then you jump off and fly through the air until, ‘BOIIIINNNNNNGGGGGGG’ you reach the bottom of the band and bounce back up again. If you want to fly Chorley, you should give it a go!’

‘Hmmmm, maybe,’ said Chorley shaking his ears. The little bell on his red collar tinkled with excitement.

By the time the hands on the clock face had moved round to six o’clock, Chorley was in the queue waiting his turn to bungy jump. But word had spread and the queue stretched all the way around the one-way system in the village.

Chorley was still a growing kitten, which meant that he got hungry – a lot! Six o’clock was tea time. As the queue edged its way forward he found himself outside Pany’s chip shop.

‘Allo Chorley,’ said Mister Poppolopodos, the chip shop owner. ‘Is yew going to do the throwing body into sky thingy?’ 

‘Hello Mister Poppolopodos. Yes, I’ve been talking to Boris and Alan, the fat wood pigeons, and they say that flying is brilliant, so I’m going to give it a go. But its tea time and I’ve not had my meaty chunks yet. I’m so hungry and it’s making me feel a bit funny.’

Chorley hadn't had his meaty chunks!

‘Not be worrying Chorley,’ said Mr Poppolopodos. ‘Here is large battered sausage and onion rings to fill belly basket. Salting and vinegar?’

‘Wow yes please – thank you. Yum yum.’

Chorley wolfed down the large battered sausage and onion rings, rubbing his tummy and licking the grease from his whiskers.

By the time he’d finished his chippy tea, Chorley had almost reached the front of the queue. In front of him in the line were Disco Dave and all members of the ‘orange family.’

The crowd waiting for Disco Dave to jump from the crane.

Disco Dave had got specially dressed up for the occasion. Gone were his light blue denim jeans and jacket. Instead he’d dug out his best white wedding suit, spotty yellow tie and pulled his long grey hair back into a pony tail to stop it from flopping into his eyes when he jumped off the bungy crane.

Disco Dave waved to the crowd below as he was winched high up above the houses. When the crate finally reached the top, the crowd below counted him down.


‘AGGGAAADOOOOOOOO!’ shouted Disco Dave as he stretched out his arms, jumped head first and performed a perfect swan dive, before reaching the bottom of the rope and bouncing back up again.

‘Well done Disco Dave,’ shouted the crowd as Dave was lowered gently to the floor.

Next it was the turn of the ‘orange family’ who were all wearing big orange crash helmets.

‘We’re all going together. All three of us,’ said the ‘orange woman’ through her visor.

With that, the ‘orange family’ were winched up all together in the crane. When they got to the top, the bungy rope was wound tightly round all of them. The two ‘orange sons’ and ‘orange mother’ put down the visors on their crash helmets and as the crowd counted back from five, they gave an enthusiastic thumbs up sign.

‘MAAAGGGGGAAAALUUUUUFFFFFFFF!’ screamed the ‘orange family’ as they belly flopped their way through the air, bouncing back up again like a trio of giant rag dolls. They were beaming as they were lowered back to the ground.

‘That was wicked!’ said one of the ‘orange sons.’

‘Brilliant!’ said the other.

‘Cracking!’ said the ‘orange woman,’ looking for her teeth in the flower beds.

Next it was Chorley’s turn and he was starting to feel a little bit nervous. He was also starting to feel a little bit sick. He wished he hadn’t eaten the large battered sausage and onion rings now.

‘Come on Chorley,’ said the ‘Bungy Man’, I haven’t got all night.

Chorley got gingerly into the crane’s basket. Flying didn’t seem like such a good idea now. 

‘Maybe I’ll just go up and have a look at the view and then come back down again,’ he said to no one in particular.

Suddenly there was a flurry of feathers as Boris and Alan, the fat wood pigeons landed on the top rail of the crane’s basket. 

‘It’s really, really high up here,’ whispered Chorley.

‘It’s great,’ said Boris. ‘Look, you can see right across the roof tops to the Mersey River.’

‘I can’t do it!’ Chorley did a little onion ring burp!

‘Of course you can. Where’s that brave nearly grown up kitten who isn’t afraid of anything?’ said Alan. ‘Come on, we’ll do it with you.’

‘But you’ve got wings,’ said Chorley, sticking out his bottom lip.

Still, he had to hand it to them, the view once they got to the top was amazing. He could practically see Blackpool Tower.

Down below the crowd started counting him down.

‘Five. Four. Three. Two. One ....... JUMP CHORLEY, JUMP!’

‘Come on,’ said Boris and Alan. We’ll be with you.

With that, Chorley shook his ears, took a deep breath and jumped into the black space below.

PILCHARDS AND PRUUUUUUUUNNNNNNSSSSSS,’ yelled Chorley as he left his stomach behind and flew though the air.

‘This is great,’ said Chorley as he swooped down head first, the wind in his fur, with Boris flying on one side and Alan flying on the other. ‘WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!’

Down below, the crowd could hear him, but because Chorley had dark black fur, they couldn’t see him. All they could see were the reflective strips on his little red collar which sparkled in the street lights.

Here comes Chorley in his fluorescent collar.

When Chorley finally stopped bouncing back up and down, he was lowered gently back to earth and onto all four paws.

‘Well done Chorley,’ shouted the crowd. 

‘Yes, well done,’ said the ‘orange woman’, I know you were scared, but you did it anyway. 

‘Yes I was scared,’ said Chorley wobbling off, ‘but I had Boris and Alan to help me.’

Chorley knew that he was very lucky. Not only did he have some really good friends, but he was the only nearly grown up kitten he’d heard of who knew how to fly!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Chorley stops a crime (7)

Chorley was a nearly grown up kitten of great mystery. 

I've got my eye on you!

Although he loved his new grown-ups, Alison and Tris very much, he needed more. There was a whole world of people and adventures to explore. 

While out on patrol, he’d pop back through his cat flap every once in a while to check his grown-ups were still there. 

‘Harrow! Haaarrrrow’ he’d announce. 

‘Harrow’ his grown-ups would shout back. 

Once he’d found them, he’d jump on one and then onto the other (he didn’t like to show any favouritism), purring and pushing his head against them demanding attention. 

‘I wish we knew where you went and what you got up to when you go off adventuring’, said Alison.

Chorley did indeed have many adventures, but that information was classified. Once he’d jumped over the wall of the yard, he was on very important and very secret business. Chorley Bucket was in charge of Neighbourhood Watch!

Chorley’s job was to patrol the houses in the local area and check for doors and windows that had been left open. 

‘An open door or window is like saying ‘Come on in and steal my stuff’. It’s just inviting crime’, said Policeman Ant. He wasn’t a real ant – it was short for Anthony.

Chorley was like an opposite ‘Cat Burgler’!

The street where Chorley lived was very friendly and people often left their back doors open so Chorley had a big job to do to remind them to be alert. 

One night Chorley spotted a young hooded human lurking in the alleyway at the back of his row of houses.

Chorley keeping watch.

‘Harrow  - who goes there?’ demanded Chorley. The hoodie said nothing and carried on walking towards the beautiful woman with the dark hair and nice smile’s back gate.

‘Halt – I said’ shouted Chorley. But the hoodie still ignored him.

By now Chorley had been joined on the top of the wall by Stanley the stripy snail and all Stanley’s snail friends. 

Stanley the stripy snail.

Chorley was very angry. He was so angry he saw red. 

‘Oh no you don’t, you potential thief’, he shouted. ‘Not on my patch!’ 

And with that , faster than you could say ‘pilchards and prunes’ he picked up Stanley who was sitting next to him and hurled him at the would-be burglar.

‘Take that!’ he shouted as Stanley (who was somewhat surprised) went flying through the air.

‘Oouuch’ said the hoodie turning around as Stanley’s hard shell hit him squarely on the side of his head. 

But Chorley wasn’t going to stop there. One by one he picked up and threw Stanley’s snail friends who were conveniently lined up on the top of the wall.

The would-be burglar hadn’t expected opposition like this. It was like being attacked by flying snails.

‘Stop-it, stop-it’ he cried as he ran away back down the alley. 

‘And don’t come back!’ shouted Chorley as he disappeared around the corner.

Once Chorley had calmed down, he remembered about Stanley and all his snail friends. He hoped they were alright. One by one the startled snails climbed back out of the alleyway and up onto the wall.

‘Sorry Stanley’, said Chorley. ‘Are you OK? Did you break your shell?’

‘I’m OK. But I think Reginald may have taken a hit’, said Stanley.

Poor old Reginald the snail was a sorry sight, with a big crack right across the back of his shell. 
'I’ll be alright. It’s only a little crack’, said Reginald.

Chorley quickly found the first aid box but it was too big to fetch outside through the cat flap. So he opened it up and looked for a bandage which he carried gently in his mouth back out into the yard. 

‘I’m sorry’, said Chorley again, once Reginald had been bandaged up.

‘Chorley – we all understand that you have a job to do. Keeping our streets safe is very important and we were happy to be part of your crusade against crime. My shell will grow back and mend’, said Reginald.

‘What have you been up to this evening then?’ said Alison when Chorley jumped up on the bed for his regular 11 o’clock check-in.

What's that on your paws Chorley?

 ‘Yuk – you’ve got snail slime on your paws’!

‘If only you knew’ thought Chorley. ‘If only you knew!’

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