Billy and his mates, Roger and Darcy went down to New Brighton beach. It was sunny and bright but the wind was strong and cold. So they had dressed up in their nice warm thick coats against the bracing breeze. Billy had his Royal blue jacket but Roger had chosen his bright red fleece. Of course Darcy had picked her pink Finnish coat. She always chose pink. They had met on the sparkling sand like schoolkids seeing their friends in the playground for the first time again after the long summer holidays and after a little excited circling each other, nose to tail, getting all the latest from each other, they had a game of tig near the old fort. They had been told to stay on the bit of beach facing the lighthouse but, catching his breath after the chasing about, Roger suddenly said to the other two, “I know, why don’t we go exploring?”
The other two looked back down the beach. Billy’s owner was further away, pointing a long lensed camera out towards the lighthouse, and Darcy’s was pre-occupied chatting to another ‘tog’ (as she had heard him describe them) near the tall walls of the fort. Roger looked back at Darcy. “Shall we?” Darcy hesitated, and looked back to Him, but he was just nattering. “Come on!” she said, “Quickly before they notice we’ve gone!” and the two of them scampered round the corner of the fort, towards the ramp and draw bridge at the front.
“Under here!” Billy called to them, and they ducked into one of the arches under the ramp. The wind thrust them through to the other side and suddenly they were on a stretch of beach all of their own. Looking back, Darcy was suddenly a little fearful. “Where are we going?” she asked the two boys. But they were trotting along the line of rocks above the line of sand, sniffing and regularly cocking their legs rudely so that she saw everything. Roger noticed her lagging behind. “Hurry up!”and she dashed to where he was, stopping to raise her rear on one leg to pee in an unladylike manner just where Roger did it.
Now they trotted forward more quickly, three of them abreast on the beach, snouts often to the sand. Suddenly Billy stopped. Following his nose he had almost run into an object just above the shoreline, round and green. Shiny. “It’s just a bottle,” said Roger, coming over for a mandatory sniff. But bright as ever, it was Darcy who spotted there was a note….a message inside. “I wonder what it says”, said Billy looking up. “Don’t look at me!” said Roger, “I can’t read!”
“It says HELP!” said Darcy. “Probably written by a shipwrecked sailor with minimal communications aids and survival equipment to hand, and marooned on a deserted sub-tropical island a long way from here.”
“Oh!” said Billy. “What shall we do?”
“Perhaps we could send him some proper writing paper and envelopes…..and stamps” suggested Roger.
“So that he can put them in a bottle and chuck it in the sea???” said Darcy incredulously. “Don’t be daft! We’ll do nothing. Come on boys, take me on a proper adventure”
And with that, she led the way in her little pink coat, younger Roger in her wake and older Billy slowly gathering pace a few lengths back.
The three amigos were really happy, tails erect, as they walked along in the sunshine, sheltered from the cold wind on this side of the peninsula. The two boys had paused to investigate a strong, pungent smell emanating from behind one rock so it was Darcy who came to the man sitting on the bench alone, first. She didn’t tend to judge people much by appearances but instead looked up into people’s faces to see if they had friendly eyes and mouth. He was an old man. Lines on his face. White whiskers. An old sea captain’s hat on his head. Kind eyes. Warm smile. He extended a wrinkled hand, one weathered by world storms and hard labour, and touched her on the forehead. And he stroked her gently. She stood up on her legs, her front paws on his knees. He bent down and looked into her dark round eyes. and then he kissed her on her nose. Such a beautiful nose, above her grey schnauzer beard. And he pulled her closer loving her, even though they had only just met. Presently Roger and Billy came up and stood either side of her, front paws up on his legs, all three of them gathered round close to the old man. And he chatted to all three of them, asking them where they were going, what they were doing……….smiling at them. And he said, "Well my little crew, I wish you a safe voyage and a speedy return!" And then an elderly woman appeared behind. She smiled down at the dogs and reached to stroke all three of them too, before she straightened and said, "Alright, Mr Harrison, it’s time for me to take you back now". And she put a hand under his arm to help him rise to his feet. She led him off slowly towards the promenade.
The band of little dogs watched them go, saddened to see a man so gentle and kind leave. Billy shook his head, "What strange lives humans live". Never mind, they turned back towards the length of beach ahead. "C’mon! guys" said Roger "We’re supposed to be on an adventure. "Race you to those rocks!"
Well they all laughed and kicked out as fast as their tiny legs would allow and ran with happiness and freedom in their hearts. And they all bounded up the rocks, Roger claiming the highest spot. But it was Darcy who suddenly said, "What’s that?" The two boys turned their heads to look where she was facing, mutts falling open as they gasped at the sight in front of them along the next stretch of beach.
"Oh wow!" the three furry friends exclaimed in unison. "Look at that! A ship! A pirate ship!"
Together they leapt off the rocks and raced headlong over the sand. "I want to be Chief Steward!" panted Billie. "And I want to be First Mate!" yelped Roger.
"No, you’re the Ship’s Cat" wheezed Billie. "Well, I’m the Captain!" called out Darcy, racing along in her pink jacket. And then, "No, I want to be a Pirate Girl! I’m in charge!"
They couldn’t contain their excitement as they shot round the bow and down the ship’s far side, and back round under the high stern before they spied the steps up onto the main deck. Roger leapt up to the bow, and took sight over the top of a cannon barrel. Billie dived down through the hatch to check out below decks whilst Darcy climbed up to the poop deck to put her paws on the ship’s wheel. "C’mon me hearties!" she shouted to the others. "You lazy scurvy dogsbodies!" she bawled. "Look lively!"
A head poked up through the hatch, "No treasure down here Cap’n" said Billie. "Land Ho! yelled Roger before almost immediately crying out, "Enemy ship on the starboard bow!!! Open fire!!!"
And then there was a bark that distracted them. Well, two of them. Looking down the three friends saw two dogs sitting politely at the bottom of the boarding steps. "Permission to come on board" called the taller one. Roger and Billie, looked to Darcy, "Arrrr, come aboard me luvlies and take thy places in the rigging" in her best pirate accent. "We sail on the next tide! Chief Steward, bring us some bones"
"I’m hungry" said Billie. "I’m hungry too!" said Roger. The two newcomers just sat silently, big eyes staring at the other three, so well behaved and polite. And then Roger started pulling at one of the rope heaving lines tangled amongst the woodwork. And he pulled and pulled and shook at the rope like a Jack Russell with jaws locked on a man’s ankle. "What are you doing Roger" yelled Darcy. "Stop that! That’s an order!" But he wouldn’t let go.
All of a sudden there was a groan and their world moved under their feet. Roger immediately let go of the rope and stood up with alarm "What was that?" Billie cried, fear on his round face. Darcy grabbed for a handrail to steady herself. The ship tilted one way, and then the other, and then they heard the water. The tide! It had come in so fast! They ran to join Darcy on the poop, horror written on their faces. Looking all around, taking in the enormity of it in. They were afloat and drifting down the Mersey and out to sea!
Hmmm. I don’t really think I should have bothered to start that
Tagged: , miniatures , schnauzer , jack russell , small , dogs , new brighton , fort perch , beach , wirral , merseyside , miniature , lighthouse , coats , pink , story