Читать онлайн «Alfie Far From Home»
‘Oh,’ said Viola in a small voice.
It was clear that she wanted to come with us but, instead, she followed her mum to the piano.
As I wandered outside the following morning, I saw Humphrey glaring at me. ‘Hi Humphrey.’
‘You still here?’ he replied.
‘Well, I don’t really have a choice,’ I pointed out. ‘It would be nice if we could be friends?’ I raised my whiskers hopefully.
‘I already told you – I don’t like other cats on my campsite.’
I was about to argue, but then rounding the corner were the three children from last night. I discovered, after Stanley had got me safely out of the clubhouse, that they were Nathan, Emily and Jack. Nathan was the oldest at twelve – he was staying with his uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Green. He had come from America, which was very far away. Emily and Jack were brother and sister. Emily was ten and Jack was seven. As soon as he spotted them, Humphrey changed; he was nice to children. Stanley stepped out of the van.
‘Hey, Stan, meet Humphrey the campsite cat. He’s really cool,’ Nathan said.
I miaowed. I was cool too.
‘Wow, he’s big. Alfie and he can be friends,’ Stanley said, picking me up.
‘What are we going to do now?’ Jack asked excitedly.
‘There isn’t a whole lot to do here,’ Nathan said. ‘My uncle sure likes his rules, but we can go to the playground, I guess.’
‘Lead the way. I’m an adventurer and generally I can find adventures everywhere,’ Stanley said confidently.
‘Yay!’ Jack said. I wasn’t sure why.
‘Vi, are you coming?’ Stanley shouted into the van.
Viola emerged, smiled shyly at the others and they all set off. I started to follow.
‘You’re coming too?’ Humphrey asked, not sounding thrilled.
‘Yes, I’m an adventurer’s cat, after all,’ I replied huffily.
The playground had seen better days. There were a couple of swings, a slide which was scuffed and rusty, a roundabout which creaked when it moved and a see-saw.
‘We don’t have much to work with to make an adventure,’ Stanley said as he surveyed it.
‘I told you that, pal,’ Nathan said, patting his shoulder.
Jack was on the swing, asking his sister to give him a push, and Viola, I noticed, hung back again. I went to rub myself against her legs, but then I spotted something under a nearby bush. Viola followed me as I dived under it.
‘It’s a football,’ Viola said, as I nudged it to her with my nose.
‘Nice one, Vi,’ Stanley said. ‘Right, we can make an assault course.’
‘What’s an assault course?’ Jack asked, wide-eyed.
‘It’s like a race where we do different things. ‘We can start the course here.’ He walked towards some wooden stumps with a bench at the end. They were all different heights. ‘Right, follow me!’ he said as he climbed from the bench to the tallest one. ‘It’s going to be cool.’ He excitedly explained to everyone how it would work. ‘Right, let’s go,’ Stanley announced.
They took it in turns. They had to jump over the bars of the roundabout while the other children spun it, then when a bit dizzy they had to stand on the swing and do ten swings without falling off; run across the see-saw, and finally walk up the slide with the football and then throw it between the swings, like a goal. I had to admit it was impressive, although it didn’t look safe.
‘There’ll be trouble,’ Humphrey grumbled, coming up beside me.
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘It’s against the rules. Mr Green’s rule book clearly states that the playground must only be used as it should be.’
‘But he’s not here,’ I pointed out.
‘Don’t say I didn’t warn you,’ Humphrey replied before climbing a tree to watch. I thought about joining him but then I’m not exactly a fan of trees, having been stuck up one in the past, so I stayed on land.
The children were having a lovely time and Viola started to smile at last. But then I heard, ‘peep, peep, peep’. The whistle was loud and a bit too close for comfort.
Jack, who had been standing on the swing, fell off. Emily and Viola rushed to him; he’d landed on his bottom.
‘Peep, peep, peep. Just what do you think you are doing?’ Mr Green shouted.
‘Um, Uncle, we were just having a race,’ Nathan explained.
‘Nathan, you should know better. When we invited you to stay we expected you to obey the rules.’ He pulled his book out. ‘You have broken rules 77, 89, 111 and many more. I’ll take that—’ He snatched the football out of Stanley’s arms. ‘Balls can only be played with in the designated ball area, rule 199.’
‘Wow, he likes his rules,’ Stanley said after he’d gone. I miaowed in agreement.
‘Boy does he.’ Nathan looked downcast. ‘It’s not like I even asked to come to stay. I was hoping to spend the summer back home in the US, playing with my friends, but no, because my parents were busy with work, I end up miles from home, in a caravan with Aunt and Uncle Green!’
‘Sorry to hear that, mate.’ Stanley squeezed Nathan’s shoulder sympathetically.
‘What shall we do now?’ Jack asked. Viola looked at Emily but stayed silent.
‘I know a real good trick,’ Nathan said, suddenly grinning.
‘What?’ The others crowded round him.
‘Follow me to the shower block and I’ll show you.’
They all walked off and I made to follow them. I felt Humphrey come up beside me.
‘Hiss,’ he said.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘This is not a good idea. Nathan’s unhappy and I think he’s looking for trouble.’
‘What’s the matter with him?’ I asked, interested. I was a cat who always helped humans in trouble, after all.
‘He’s homesick. Poor kid got sent over here because his parents are working away and he misses home.’
‘That’s something I have some experience of.’ I explained about Stanley and Viola and how I’d accidentally ended up in the van.
‘We’d better go and keep an eye on them; this isn’t going to end well.’ He bounded off and I followed him.
Nathan led them to the back of the shower block. He giggled as the others watched him turn a big tap. Four people, wrapped in towels, heads covered in shampoo, ran out screaming.
‘It’s freezing,’ someone cried.
‘The water’s gone cold,’ someone else shouted. Lots of voices shrieked all at once.
‘You did that?’ Viola asked. She looked cross. Nathan fell about laughing.
‘But we’ll get into trouble,’ Emily said. Jack looked as if he might cry.
‘Run,’ Stanley said; they all ran. I heard the whistle and Mr Green rounded the corner, blowing it furiously. Angry people crowded round him as he tried to pacify them, with Humphrey at his feet.
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