Marmalade’s Ninth Life


“Hello Marmalade,” greeted Obby. Of course he woke her up. He couldn’t go past quietly. She doubted if he could do anything quietly.

If she had been awake and seen him coming she would have made a quick getaway, but no she had dozed off. That’s the problem about getting older,one is inclined to have cat naps.

“Have you seen Mr Wilson’s new sports car?” he asked.

She didn’t answer, she wasn’t interested.

“Mr Wilson is going to give me a ride. Do you want me to ask if you can come too?”

Horror of all horrors,  she couldn’t think of anything worse!  She turned her back on him so he couldn’t see her horrified expression.

“Come on Marmalade,  don’t be like that,”he said, “You don’t do much except sit on the wall, and it’s very rude  to turn your back when someone is talking to you.”

She wished he would just go away.

“Good morning Mr Wilson, she heard Obby say, “ Do you mind if I bring Marmalade for a ride too?”

‘Please say NO, please say NO, please say NO,’  Marmalade muttered to herself.

“Bring the puddy cat,” she heard Mr Wilson say, and before she could jump off the wall and run for cover she felt two little sticky hands pick her up and put her in the car.The nightmare had started.

They took off like bank robbers with Obby yelping with delight, and Mr Wilson’s smiling like a BIG FAT PUDDY CAT! What a nerve he had calling her that.  She didn’t like familiarity.

They rode along the seafront, of course they did. It’s what people do with fast fancy cars and of course with the roof down.

“Look what you look like,” Obby said to her, “ It looks like you’ve been caught in a wind tunnel,” he laughed as he tried to smooth her fur flat.   The audacity of it she thought, she wished he could see what he looked like, not to mention Mr Wilson’s hair that looked like it was waving at everyone.

As the yellow sports car speed along , she closed her eyes, she was convinced she was going to die, after all she hadn’t any lives left!

‘How does one prepare for death,’ she asked herself, trying to take her mind off the speeding car. ‘Maybe this is my karma. I shouldn’t have been so horrible about Mr Wilson and his ridiculous car. Maybe I should have been nicer to Obby too.  Her mind was racing.

‘I promise  if I live I will nicer and more friendly, and more loyal too. I won’t think about emigrating across the road to that lovely glass house with a sea view and where the owners feed their cat salmon everyday, I will just settle for my tin of sardines. Please let me live. Please let me live.’ she pleaded.

Finally, they pulled into Mr Wilson’s Drive, and before the car had even stopped she jumped out the car and sprinted home. That was the worst day of all her lives!

“Where have you been?”asked her owner? “ I suppose you’ve been out enjoying yourself.” She eyed out the tin of sardines in her hand.

’If only you knew,’ thought Marmalade, ‘ That I’ve been staring death in the face today, all because of that horrible little hobbit boy and Mr Wilson’s stupid yellow car.’

She caught herself thinking her horrible thoughts again after she had made a pact to be nicer. ‘But after the day I’ve had, how could anyone except me to be nice!’

The End.





















Angry Seagull


C47AD367-C6A5-4A7A-975A-3C07B74431FFObby and Cyril sat on the rocks watching the seagulls.

“Hello seagulls,” shouted Obby, as he waved at them circling in the sky.

They flew down and rested on the rocks close to them. They were all friendly except for one, who kept on fighting with the others when they sat their minding their own business.

“I wonder why he’s like that,”asked Cyril, pointing to the angry seagull.

“I’m not sure,” said Obby, “But when I was watching them  fly in the sky, he didn’t seem to fly as high as the others.”

“Maybe he’s scared of heights,” said Cyril, “And that could be his problem.”

“Yes, maybe,” said Obby, “ Imagine being a bird with vertigo.”

“What’s vertigo?” asked Cyril.

“It’s a fear of heights.”

They both looked at the angry seagull flapping his wings in everyone’s face.

“He doesn’t have any manners,”said Cyril.

“I also noticed”, said Obby, “That when he dived into the water to catch fish he kept on dropping his not like the others.”

Cyril looked at the angry seagull. He felt sorry for him now.

“Maybe that’s why he’s so rude and angry,” said Cyril, “And bullies the others when they’re on land.”

“If you look closely,” said Obby, “You will see that all the seagulls have left a little fish for him on the big rock.”

Cyril could see a pile of fish.

“He’s not very grateful,” said Cyril, “By the way he acts.”

“It doesn’t seem to bother them,”said Obby, “ As long as he has something to eat they seem happy enough to put up with him and his bad manners and they probably know he’s not a natural catch, nor a great flier but pretend they haven’t noticed.”

“I suppose,” said Cyril, “Like my big sister who pretends not to be scared of the dark, and I hold her hand pretending I’m scared.”

“ Exactly,” said Obby.

The End.







Under the Rock




“Cyril what you doing under that rock, I thought dassies liked the sun?”Gugu asked him.

“I’m hiding from Izzy Biggins, he’s back in town.”

“Well,” said Gugu, leaning forward with her hands on her hips, “If I was you and I’m not, because I’m NOT a dassie,  I wouldn’t hide from Izzy Biggins or anyone else AND I would CRAWL out from under that rock and go about lazing in the sun as usual.”

“But he calls me horrible names,”  said Cyril, “He calls me Cyril the Squirrel.And I don’t like it ONE BIT.”

“People call me names too, but do you see me hiding away and not doing the things I love, like going to the library? “I’ve also heard you and Obby call me names too.”

“No we HAVE NOT,” he said, feeling his fur stand up on end.He hoped she hadn’t noticed that he had a guilty look and that his voice had suddenly gone all high.

“Yes you HAVE, I’ve HEARD you call me GUGU -KNOW -ALL and BOOKEYES. How do you think that makes me feel?”

Cyril looked down, he felt ashamed.

“Do you see me hiding from you and Obby?”

Before he could answer, she answered.  He wished she wouldn’t do that, answer ALL her own questions, ‘She  might as well have a conversation with herself,’ he thought to himself.

“No,” she said, “I still say hello to you and Obby, and have EVEN taken both of you to the library with me.”

Cyril kept his head down. He couldn’t look at her. He felt embarrassed. He wished he had crawled deeper under the rock, so she hadn’t seen him in the first place.

“Also,” she said, “I feel VERY SORRY for Izzy Biggins and all his name calling because he doesn’t know how to make friends, so he’s pretending he doesn’t need any,” she stopped and lowered her voice, “Between you and me  I think he is very lonely and unhappy.”

Now Cyril felt sorry for LONELY and UNHAPPY Izzy Biggins. Really all he wanted to do was hide away from him, and NOW he’s the ONE feeling bad! ‘ It wasn’t supposed to be like this,’ he thought to himself. ‘It’s not fair.And on top of all of this Gugu knows that he and Obby are name callers too!”

“ Sooooo,” said Gugu, “ Are you going to CRAWL out from under that rock?”

“Yes,” said Cyril, “As soon as you’re gone.”

“I will be BACK Cyril AND I want to see you on top of the rock, not hiding away from the world.”

“Yes Gugu,” he said.

Cyril let out a big sigh as he watched her walk off towards the library,  ‘PHEW, she’s bossy,’ he whispered under his breath.

He crawled out from under the rock;  in the distance he saw Izzy Biggins sitting all alone, so he decided to go and say ‘Hello’.

The End





Obby and Cyril sat on the whale’s tail bench and as usual Obby was doing most of the talking. He was talking about his trip; abroad, overseas, across the water, the other side of the world, across the deep dangerous water, somewhere beyond the horizon….he went on a bit.

He spoke to Cyril like a man who had travelled the world as he spoke of his journey from Hermanus to England. He described his arrival in a country where it was dark, cold and raining, where he found the kindness of a lady at a charity shop who gave him a hat and scarf to keep warm.

He spoke about the excitement of catching a train for the very first time, arriving in London and not knowing where to go to find his friends. He spoke about the kindness of a stranger, who took the time to help him find his friends, Bobby and Rudy Bear, and no, they were not at Paddington station, but on a bench opposite BIG Ben.

He spoke about the moment of finding them,being happy and sad, sad because they had lost their grandpa to an another world and happy because they were Happy to see him.

Journeys, adventures and sights and sounds of London, he described in great detail, as he did about his job for a week at Buckingham Palace( which really was walking a dog outside the grounds of Buckingham Palace).

He spoke about the start of his journey home, and how a Big Bird swooped down and grabbed him from the banks of The River Thames, and dropped him in the ocean where Elphick the whale was waiting to bring him home.

He spoke about his journey HOME, how he noticed lots and lots of plastic and rubbish floating about, how it made him feel sad because it was covering up the beauty of the ocean and putting sea creatures at great risk. He spoke about the beautiful night sky and wondered if the sky was getting dirty too with all the world’s pollution. It probably was.

He spoke about the things he had learnt and seen, and the friends he had missed,  ‘Yes, Cyril, I missed you too.’ This of course made Cyril very happy. His best friend was home, for now …and that’s all that mattered.

The End.











The Great Pretender


“I can’t BELIEVE IT, the LAST person I want to see is the FIRST person I’m looking at!” Obby  looked towards the shore to see Gugu standing there.“Maybe she hasn’t seen me,” he said to Elphick.

“I can see you Obby” Gugu shouted from the shore. “I’m not blind.”

“Hi Gugu,” he shouted back, pretending he hadn’t seen her as he waved from the whale’s tail.

“ WE’VE YOU BEEN?” She stood there with her hands on her hips, demanding answers. You’ve been gone a V E R Y long time, and you’ve M I S S E D a lot of school.”

Gugu of course, loved school. In fact,  she was the only person Obby knew who didn’t like the school holidays, and when it was the school holidays she made Obby and his friends play school, and of course she was the teacher.

“I’ve been on a LONG LONG adventure he replied, in fact I’ve just arrived from England, isn’t that right Elphick, he said to the Southern Right Whale. He especially came to pick me up.”

“You mean he went out of his WAY for you, are you sure you weren’t in any trouble Obby, because everyone knows that trouble finds you.” Gugu said to Obby.

“No, trouble didn’t find me.” He gave Gugu a cheeky smile.

“I can’t hear you” Gugu shouted from the shore. Tell Elphick to swim closer.”

“He can’t the water is too shallow, he will get stuck.”

“So how  far is England from Hermanus?” she asked him.

“It’s FAR FAR away,” he answered.

Gugu rolled her eyes.

“Is England North or South of the equator?” She asked.

“It’s West of the Horizon,” he replied, with a big smile.

Gugu shook her head.

“What’s their national flower?”

“The Sunflower” he answered, “The Big Yellow One.”

Gugu sighed, LOUDLY.

“And their national bird?”

“Mr Big Bird”he answered.

Gugu looked  up to the sky and shook her head.

Obby was enjoying the questions, “ Ask me more, this is fun.”

“No you didn’t get one question right.” She rolled her eyes again. “ I SUGGEST you get off the whale’s tail and come with me to the library so you can look up some facts about England!”

“She’s very bossy,” Obby whispered to Elphick and ANYWAY I knew all the answers.”

“Really?” Elphick said in total surprise,  “So what are they young man?”

“Hermanus to England is  13,524.8 km. England is North of the equator. The national flower of England is the rose, and the national bird of England is the Robin.”

“Why did you pretend you didn’t?” Elphick asked him.

“Because I like it when she takes me to the  library and we read books together. I learn a lot. That’s why I’m so clever.” He liked to blow his own trumpet.

“You’re a great pretender,”said Elphick.

“Thank you.” Obby liked compliments.

“Why are you whispering Obby, it’s very rude.” Gugu shouted from the shore.“ Hurry up and swim to shore,  I haven’t got all day.”

“I better go,” said Obby, otherwise she won’t take me to the library,” and with that he dived into the water and swam happily towards the last person he wanted to see first, so he said- The Great Pretender.


The End.

















Mr Big Bird



“I think I must think about thinking about going home,” Obby said.

“I think you should think about thinking of staying longer,”Bobby said to Obby.

“What do you think?” Bobby asked Rudy.

“I was thinking if Obby had thought about how he was going to get back to Hermanus.”

“No I haven’t thought about that,” said Obby, “that’s why I said I should start thinking about thinking about going back home.”

“But you didn’t think about coming to England when you left Hermanus on the whale’s tail,” replied Rudy.

“Thats right, I just climbed on Elphick’s tail, without thinking where we were going. And then I didn’t think when I told him to go a different route which made him cross, and then he flung me on the ship to England. And here I am with you two Bears  in London. And to think this all happened without a thought,” Obby said with great pride.

“I think this time you should have a plan, a well thought out plan about how you are going to get back home,” Rudy told Obby.

“I don’t want him to go” said Bobby.

“I don’t want him to go either,but if Obby is thinking about thinking about thinking of going home, maybe he thinks it’s time to go home.”

“Is that true?” Bobby said.

Obby took Bobby’s hand, “I have to go home sometime, Hermanus is my home, like London is yours.”

Obby could see Bobby was sad.

“But that doesn’t mean I won’t be back, or that we will never see each other again,” Obby told his friend.

“Are you going back on the same ship?” asked Rudy.

“When I start thinking about thinking of going back, I will be thinking of flying back” said Obby.

“I think we must all stop thinking about thinking,” said Bobby.

They all agreed to stop thinking immediately. And sat quietly thinking about not thinking  and while they were all busy with their own thoughts on how to stop thinking about thinking the strangest thing happened! A BIG bird swooped down from the sky and before they knew what was happening Obby was in the air.

“Look,” shouted Obby down to his friend’s, “I’m flying.”

And there he was in the air with his arms flapping away while the Big Bird held him tightly in his  strong claws, as they swirled and swooped high in the sky.

“It’s beautiful up here, I can see the whole of London,” he shouted down to the bears. “This is so exciting. Should I ask him to give you a ride too?”

“No, please don’t.” Bobby shouted back.

“Phew” said Rudy, luckily he didn’t grabbed us, because we don’t like heights.

“Mr Big Bird, are you going to Hermanus?”

“I don’t fly to South Africa, the swallows do,” he mumbled.

“I don’t suppose you have their number on you perhaps?”

Mr Big Bird didn’t answer, he wasn’t the friendliest of birds.

“So where are you going?” Obby asked.

“I’m going to the sea.”

“That’s nice. I hope you have a lovely time. Just drop me off where you picked me up and you can be on your way” he said.

“No” said Mr Big Bird,  “I’m taking you with me and I’m going to drop you in the sea.”

“Now that’s not very nice, I don’t say horrible things to you-like I’m going to pull your feathers out so you fall from the sky. Do I?”

“I’ve got instructions to drop you into the sea,” said Mr Big Bird.

“Whose instructing you to do such a horrible thing?”

“It’s a big fella named Elphick” said Mr Big Bird, “He said, he’s come to take you back home.”

“What’s he look like?”

“He’s a big Southern Right Whale, with a white patch above his right eye.”

“That’s right,” said Obby. “So why does he want you to drop me in the water and not on his tail?”

“Because he said you must ask permission to board otherwise you won’t learn that he is the captain and that he decides where to go and not you! He mentioned something about a big ship, but I can’t remember what he said. It was a bit of a long story and I wasn’t really listening because I was thinking what I should have for lunch- I’m a bit bored of fish.”

Obby couldn’t believe it. Elphick had come to take him home.He really was a true and trusted friend.

“I have to say goodbye to my friends first.”

“You must be quick,we have a long flight,”said Mr Bird.

Obby was returning home on the WHALE’S TAIL. He was happy.

The End.







































Letter to Cyril- That’s Me


Me and Soldier

To Cyril,

That’s ME in the picture!

It’s a long story but I give you the short one…

I went to Buckingham Palace and asked for a job, and the man in charge asked me what I could do.

“Lots” I said.

“I’m a good shot,” and showed him my catapult. I wanted to aim for a flower on a lady’s hat to show him,but he said “NO!”

“I can stand for a very very long time.” So I stood for a very long time on one foot too!

“I can march, left right, left right, salute and turn.” I pointed to the soldiers changing guard and wanted to join them, he said “NO.”

“I can swim.” I pointed to the palace pond, he said “NO!”

“I can hold my breath under water.” I pointed to the palace fountain, he said “NO!”

“I’m small but MIGHTY.” I showed him my muscles. He showed me his muscles and said his were bigger, I said, “NO.”

After a LOOOOOONG interview, I got a job!

This is my job.

Everyday, for ONE WHOLE week, I must walk Soldier for ONE WHOLE hour until his owner comes back in ONE WEEK’S TIME. And I get to wear a uniform for the WHOLE WEEK too!

There was only ONE condition, I had to hand over my catapult. “NO weapons”, he said.

I must go now, because when BIG BEN strikes 2 past midday I must report for duty.

Over and Out.