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.This had been one of the best days ever!‘Please,’ I begged.‘Just for a little while?’‘Oh we might as well let the child,’ Grandpa said.‘She’ll be stuck with us old things again tomorrow and the boy’s a fine little fellow – not like that extraordinary father of his… Only of course he’s not his father…’ he remembered.Before Brenda could ask anything, he said, ‘Go on Janey – off you go.’I tore across the campsite towards the Ship of Dreams, but as I came close I saw the door was closed.I slowed down.It seemed odd, because it was such a warm evening and there was only one window open.As I got even closer, ready to knock, my insides knotted up at the noises coming from inside.There was a sobbing, a terrible gulping and gasping which sounded like a gigantic baby crying.Then I heard,‘I can’t stand any more of it – you’ve got to stop it.It’s driving us all mad…’Was that Maggie? It sounded like Maggie, only her voice was shrill and high, almost like Pecky Shut-Up’s.The giant baby inside shouted something back that I couldn’t make out and the peculiar sound of the voice made me feel queasy.Was this a row – or what? And where were Fizz and little Clarey?The next thing I head was a great splintering crash and a shriek from Maggie followed by her crying hysterically.I couldn’t stand hearing any more.I ran round behind our van which seemed suddenly reassuring with its red and white spotty curtains.I sat in the bushes so that no one could see me, breathing very fast, sick at what I had heard.All I could think about was whether Fizz was in the van.What on earth had I heard, and what was going on? After the lovely day we’d had, suddenly everything felt bleak and frightening.After a time, I started to feel chilly, so I went back inside.‘Oh – changed your mind dear? Brenda said, sounding pleased.‘Yes – ‘ I couldn’t look at her.‘They’re busy.’ I certainly didn’t want to talk about it.‘Shall we do some patchwork?’Brenda looked really happy and I was glad I’d suggested it.It’d help keep my mind off things, anyway.That evening we joined together the two sections we’d been working on separately.It was a hectic mix off all sorts of flowery dress materials, like a garden gone mad, and I was surprised how big it looked.We hadn’t even touched the dreary green stuff yet.It was only when I lay in bed, in the dim light behind the big grey curtain, that I really faced the truth that the noises I had heard, the giant baby crying in the Ship of Dreams, had been Archie Chubb.SalamanderI.My Log Book was filling up now, with post cards, maps and pages of writing abut the places we had seen.I’d had to say goodbye to Fizz again and nearly cried but managed to save myself the embarrassment – just.‘Look – I’ll see you,’ he said, all casual.He turned away, too quickly and loped off towards the Ship of Dreams without turning back.I hoped it was because he minded as much as I did.‘Yeah,’ I said swallowing hard.‘See you.’We’d come south now, but on the way were Pisa, Siena, Rome.In Siena Grandpa and I climbed right to the top of the Cathedral tower right up inside the bell.It was scary! I realized Grandpa was having much more fun with me there.Brenda was not one for adventures.I knew I’d always remember the trip, but in a way it was a record for Mum as well.She’d just have to put up with me ranting occasionally! When I was writing I often thought of her, tramping through the snow and the giant Himalayan peaks and I commanded Kanche the Mountain God to keep her safe.Your not having her as well as Dad, I scolded her fiercely.You’ve got to let her come back to me.I sent Charlotte cards from Pisa – the Leaning Tower, what else? – and Rome.We only spent a day in Rome.It was grand but very busy and hot.At the Poste Restante there was a card from Charlotte, telling me she had taken up playing tennis and that Miss Marshall had broken her ankle.This time I didn’t mind so much that the card didn’t really say anything.Both Charlotte and Miss Marshall felt like people I hadn’t seen for a hundred years.Everywhere we went I hoped we’d see Fizz again but so far, no luck.There was no letter from Mum.I knew she was too high in the wild mountains, up with the snow leopards, to be able to send any post, but I still felt worried and disappointed when there was nothing.I saw Grandpa looking at me as we came out again into Rome’s crazy, zooming traffic.‘What we need at a time like this,’ he said, ‘is a really good ice cream.’And a really good ice cream was what we had, with chopped hazelnuts and swirls of chocolate sauce on top.I wrote other things in my LOG, like Grandpa’s list of YOU DON’TS:YOU DON’T WEAR SOCKS WITH SANDALSYOU DON’T EAT BREAD WITH PASTAYOU DON’T SMOKE A CIGAR WITH THE BAND ONYOU DON’T WEAR BROWN BOOTS WITH A BLACK SUITYOU DON’T, EVER BUY ANYTHING FROM MARKS AND SPENCERSWhy? I have no idea.It’s just him.II.South of Rome we were hit by Tummy Troubles.Or at least, Brenda was.And of course it was Grandpa’s fault.We’d been bowling along country roads all day, between farms and vineyards, the vines all in their straight rows, and the mountains to the left.These were the Apennines, Grandpa said, the spine of Italy, with little villages perched on crags, church towers peeping up above the rusty-coloured tiles on the houses.‘The South.At Last.’ He said this several times a day, now we had left Rome.He seemed in a mighty hurry, reluctant to stop anywhere.Winding along country roads one evening, it was hard to find anywhere to stop, and when it was almost dark we saw a rusty sign pointing down a track.‘Here we are!’ Grandpa said cheerily.‘Well this doesn’t look very good,’ Brenda protested, as we bumped along it.‘All the glasses in the caravan will be broken if we keep this up! And it looks as if the place has closed down.’But Grandpa wasn’t one to be stopped once he’d made his mind up about something.‘Look,’ he insisted as we turned into a completely empty field.‘It’s a nice little spot – suit us down to the ground for the night.’‘Well I’m glad you think so,’ Brenda murmured.It did look nice though, a long strip of green with a row of pine trees down one side, all leaning over a bit to the right as if they were reaching for something.Brenda sealed her mouth up with a sigh.I did think she complained a bit too much about some things.After all, what else was Grandpa supposed to do at this time of night?But as I scrambled out of the back, I grazed my knee so harshly on the nose of one of the stone dogs that it made my eyes water, and for a moment I could see Brenda’s point of view.Grandpa really was exasperating!‘And where,’ Brenda demanded, looking round with hands on hips, ‘are we going to get any water?’‘I’ll find some!’ Grandpa picked up the white plastic water carrier and strode off.He didn’t come back for half and hour.Feeling a bit sorry for Brenda I stayed in to help her peel potatoes while she opened two tins of stew.‘I don’t know why,’ she said, with a vicious turn of the tin opener as if she’d like to wring someone’s neck.‘He has to take us to these squalid fields in the middle of nowhere.It’s not as if Italy doesn’t have nice little places buy the sea with a bit of life going on in them.Look at this!’ She pointed indignantly out of the window [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]