Chapter 5: First Patrol
Ginger just could not wake up. Florentine got to her feet but her legs were wobbly. Everyone had to admit that they were quite young and perhaps needed longer to recover from their journey of the day before. They left them to rest. However, Button Mushroom and Hickory were up and showered, keen to keep up as Turmeric and Coriander led them up into the hills to the first of what they would come to know as the listening posts.
They were enthralled as a voice wafted in clearly from a neighbouring region.
“Hello, it’s Christine. Yes Christine,
And everything is pristine.
Who are your new guests?
Are we supposed to guess?”
“Coriander calling. Coriander calling.
Your nosiness, I say, is quite appalling.
Yet of course we find it only fair to say
We’ve Button Mushroom and Hickory here today.”
“Well fresh new friends are always welcome thrills.
I’ll spread this latest news among the hills!”
Coriander was about to reply when he realised that Christine would already have set upon her task of informing the rest of the area. On they strode to the next post.
A chorus of young voices greeted them at the next stop.
“Hello Button Mushroom
And hello Hickory too.
We’ve come along to greet you
And say ‘how do you do’.
Button Mushroom blushed as she set about making a reply.
“Don’t worry about making your voice loud,” said Turmeric helpfully. “Just speak clearly and the hills will carry your voice.”
Taking a deep breath, Button was just about to reply when a note like a trumpet struck the air. She jumped in alarm. Coriander and Turmeric told her to keep still and listen. It was indeed an alarm note being sounded and there should be a message to follow. A deep, mellow voice descended from a distant hilltop.
“It’s Nimbus from up yonder Birrens flock
(Well bred and from the finest Scottish stock).
Our scouts out now patrolling are concerned
About their latest sighting. We have learned
Of Cinnamon, Prunella, harshly chased
By Herbert and by Ashley in a haste.
Get back and guard Fort Housestead, at the double!
It looks as if there’s going to be trouble.”