When lockdown came around, I didn’t even think about it but then I started writing a story for my grandson Ben, sending it to him in instalments once a week. It keeps us in touch and him entertained. It gives us both something to look forward to and it adds a little purpose to an otherwise uneventful life – mine, not his.
So I’m going to publish them on here, where he won’t see them, and I’ll continue sending him and instalment each week. you might enjoy reading them I don’t know. It’s hard to tell if your own work is any good. If you read them and enjoy them, let me know. If you read them and don’t enjoy the experience, stop reading them but I don’t need to know thank you!
STITCH In Time – Part 1
Len and Pooart Set Off
Somewhere in England there lives a man called Ben. When he was at school, there was another boy in his class called Ben and because the Ben we’re talking about was tall and actually a little bit plump, his friends called him Big Ben. He didn’t mind and when he was grown up and got married and had a son of his own, He called him Ben too. When his son Ben got older, things got a bit confusing – like when Ben’s wife said “Ben”, they both answered or neither of them did, thinking she meant the other one. So Big Ben started calling his son Little Ben, which was ok for a while but, as Little Ben grew up, he wasn’t too pleased with being called Little Ben, so he squished it together, first to Lil Ben and then to Len and funnily enough neither his mum nor Dad minded too much, so instead of being Ben, he became Len.
When Ben became Len, he was about 10 and he went up with his mum and dad to see his Grandma and Grandad in Yorkshire, which was where they lived. They stayed for about a week and had a great time, with Ben helping his grandad out in his big shed in the back garden on rainy afternoons. Grandad was very good at mending things and quite good at making things and Len was quite good at thinking of things for Grandad to make. Grandad’s real name was Stewart, but once, for a joke, Len had called him Pooart, because he had farted and it smelled really, really bad and sometimes, for a joke, he still called him that.
At the back of the shed, in one corner, there was something covered with a big blue cloth that Grandad wouldn’t let Len look at, not once all the time he was staying at their house. Len was curious, in fact, Len was nosey but he knew better than to poke his nose in where it wasn’t wanted and although he asked
“What’s in the corner?” Grandad just tapped his nose and said
“Never you mind.”
The day before they were due to go home, Len’s mum got a phone call from their neighbour to say that it had been raining day after day while Len and his mum and dad had been up in Yorkshire and now the stream that ran past the bottom of their garden had flooded. First it had just flooded a bit, but gradually the water had run along the garden, up the path and had seeped in under the back door.
It wasn’t just their house, the other three houses on their side of the street were flooded too, but only their house was empty, with no one to help clean it out. Len’s Mum and Dad had a long discussion that night after Len had gone to bed and when he got up in the morning they told him what they had decided.
“We’re going to go home early.” said mum “and see what we can do about cleaning up the house and getting things mended and doing all the paperwork, Now, you can decide for yourself; you can come home with us or you can stay here with Grandma and Grandad for a few days. Which would you prefer?”
Well there was no question in Len’s mind, even though he liked the idea of paddling about in the kitchen and splashing in the water but he didn’t like the idea of a house that had no heating and you couldn’t cook and maybe couldn’t have any electricity or Wi-Fi, so it wasn’t difficult for him to decide to stay with Grandma and Grandad and that’s what he did.
Len’s Mum and Dad packed up the car and left just after lunch, telling him to be good and not be cheeky and he hugged them and kissed them and felt just a little bit strange as they drove away without him, because he’d never stayed there on his own before. Then he turned around and walked back into the house to where Grandma was waiting with a cup of tea for him and Grandad was watching Last of the Summer Wine on television.
“Come and sit here Len,” said Grandad, “ this is a funny bit.”
Without a second thought, Len grabbed his cup of tea and scrambled on to the settee at the side of Grandad and settled down to watch Last of the Summer Wine. And it was funny and he had quite a nice afternoon, doing some drawing, playing on his laptop and then having tea with Grandma and Grandad and it wasn’t until bedtime that he missed his mum and dad a bit.
He called them on WhatsApp and they had a chat and they showed him all around the kitchen, where the floor was still covered in mud and the sitting room, where the carpet was soaked and muddy and the settee was ruined and he was actually quite glad to be snug and warm at Grandma and Grandad’s house.
The following day it rained a lot in Yorkshire too, but Grandma and Grandad lived on the top of a hill and there was no way they were ever going to be flooded, but even Grandad admitted that you can only watch so many episodes of Last of the Summer Wine before you get a bit bored. Grandma had Len making pastry to make some jam tarts and that was fun for a while as well and then after lunch he didn’t like to say anything, but he was a bit bored.
“Well if you’re so bored” said Grandma, who could read him like a book, “you can wash the lunch pots. I’ve got things to do.” Len wasn’t all that pleased but he admitted that it wasn’t particularly hard doing the pots. It didn’t take all that long and when he had finished pot washing, he looked round for something else to do. He couldn’t find Grandad anywhere, so at last, having done a full circuit of the house, he asked Grandma and she said;
“I expect he’s out in the shed. I suppose you can go out. In fact, you can take him a cup of tea. Well go on then, don’t hang about getting under my feet.” (Which meant she was going to play games on her tablet for a while.) Len ran out of the back door, flask in hand, and through the pouring rain to the shed. He hammered on the shed door
“Can I come in, Grandad, it’s raining. I’ve got you some tea.”
“Well you’d better come in, I suppose,” said Grandad , but he didn’t look all that pleased and as Len shut the door he realised why. The thing in the corner was no longer covered up and in fact it was no longer in the corner. It was out on the workbench and the cover was in a screwed -up heap on the floor. Len did not say anything. He didn’t ask any questions. He just looked and tried to work out what it was. But in the end, he had to give up and he looked at Grandad, who had a very wicked grin on his face.
“Go on then, ask me what it is.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not telling you. You can guess. I’ll give you a clue. It’s a mode of transport.”
“But it hasn’t got any wheels,”
And it hadn’t. It was just a box, in fact it looked as if it had been made from several biscuit tins soldered together. There were wires and sort of sparky bits and bits of tubing and of course there was a flashing light and there was a big red button with a label that said
DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON!!!