by Dawn Knox
tea made with tea leaves
Previously: Against all odds, Crispin has organised Doggett and Nina’s wedding and now, the day has arrived.
The Wedding Dawn
Crispin was having a nightmare about teabags. Giant teabags. They flew overhead, swooping out of the sky with wickedly sharp talons extended down as if they were going to seize him. One of the teabags carried two golden rings in its beak which it seemed to be showing off as it swooped ever closer to his head.
“Go away!” Crispin batted the air, fending off the enormous, menacing teabags. He screamed and ducked as one particularly threatening one dropped out of the sky, its unblinking eyes fixed on him.
“Arrgh!” Crispin sat up in bed with sweat dripping down his face. Relief flooded through him as he realised he’d been dreaming and the giant teabags had gone. He checked the clock. It was 3.15 am on the day of the wedding and this time tomorrow, it would all be over. Would he survive the day? That remained to be seen…
One thing was sure, there were going to be changes in his life. The stress of the last few weeks had been too much. For a start, in future, he would buy loose tea leaves. He never wanted to look another teabag in the face. And he’d take control of his life. He was fed up being told what to do all the time. Perhaps he’d take a holiday. Bartrum only granted permission to leave the Garden in exceptional circumstances and Crispin was certain that reluctance to do everyone’s bidding—including Bartrum’s—wouldn’t qualify. The only way I’m ever going to be able to live my life in peace, thought Crispin is if I run away.
That was it! Why hadn’t he thought of it before? He’d run away. His mind began to whir feverishly with plans and possibilities. As soon as he could get away from the wedding, he’d leave the Garden and by the time anyone wanted him to do something, he’d be gone. He stuffed a few things in a rucksack and hid it in the wardrobe ready for his escape.
He hummed a tune as he left his bedroom and walked through the living room to the kitchen.
“Shut up, can’t you?” said Sylvester crossly, “Some people are trying to sleep.”
“Well, why’re you on the sofa and not in your bedroom?”
“There’s no room.”
“What d’you mean there’s no room? Who’s in there?”
“But their basket isn’t that large. Surely there’s room for you as well.” Crispin paused. “Please tell me they’re still in their basket…”
“Umm. Not exactly.”
“You mean you’ve got twelve doves loose in your room?”
“Not exactly. One escaped through the window…”
“I felt sorry for them being cooped up. I made a space for them to sit on the chest of drawers and I expected them to go to sleep but they just kept flying around the room and I couldn’t get them back in the basket.”
“Well, if you want your breakfast, you’d better go and round them up.”
Sylvester’s cajoling soon turned to swearing as the squawking and flapping became more frenzied.
Crispin took pity on him. After all, he’d been trying to be kind. “Shall I bring you some breadcrumbs? Perhaps you can lure them down with some food,” he shouted.
“No! Don’t come in!”
“All right. Suit yourself.”
There was a crash, followed by the splintering of wood and enraged screeching.
“Don’t peck!” Sylvester shouted, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”
There was the sound of a basket being slammed shut and a loud sigh of relief.
“What’s going on in there? Have you got them all?” Crispin called.
Sylvester’s door opened a fraction. “Well, I’ve got eleven of them. The other one’s in the Garden. We might be able to get him later.”
“Your breakfast is ready,” said Crispin.
“Right, I’ll be out in a minute.”
The door closed.
How odd, thought Crispin, he can’t usually wait to get to his breakfast. It’s almost as if he’s hiding something…
“Are you hiding something?”
“Well come on out or I’m coming in.”
Sylvester sighed and opened the door slightly.
“It’s probably best you don’t come in or even look in here today,” he said, “it’s a bit of a mess. Those doves don’t seem to be house-trained.”
It was still dark when Crispin and Sylvester left the Toadstool, dressed in their finest clothes. The escapee dove had been remarkably easy to catch when lured with breadcrumbs, and they’d hastily pushed him into the basket with the other birds.
“Where are we going first?” asked Sylvester.
Crispin consulted his timetable. “We’ll check Stanley’s all right.”
Stanley was all right. In fact, he was more than all right, he was magnificent. He’d brushed his white coat until it gleamed and polished his spiral horn until it shone like silver. The bells he’d attached to the knitted harness jingled merrily as he stamped and shook his head, eager to set off.
Jubbly arrived, resplendent in shocking pink satin and silver livery and a jaunty cap with a feather.
“I hope you’re not thinking of using that whip, old chap,” said Stanley when he saw him.
“It’s just for show. One needs to look the part, you know. Is everything ready? Are the doves in the carriage?”
“I hope you cleaned the basket out this morning, said Jubbly, “They’re messy creatures.”
“No need,” said Sylvester, “their basket is quite clean. Trust me on that.”
“Right,” said Crispin, checking his watch. “It’s nearly time for Jubbly and Stanley to pick up the bride. Park at the bottom of the Alpine Garden and wait for her there. You’ll then pick up the bridesmaids and drive around the Garden. Sylvester and I will meet you at the Sunken Garden with Doggett.”
The bells jingled as Stanley strained against the harness.
“Giddy up!” shouted Jubbly, waving the whip in one pink-gloved hand and flicking the reins with the other. The wheels slowly began to turn as the knitted carriage creaked, trembled and then began to move forward.
“We’re off!” shouted Jubbly and he waved his hat at the Elves as the carriage rolled by.
“One unicorn-drawn, knitted wedding carriage,” said Crispin and with satisfaction, he placed a large tick on the first item on his list.
He’d barely had time to sigh with relief when the carriage, which had disappeared into the pre-dawn gloom ground to a halt and both Jubbly and Stanley began shouting.
“Use the brakes, old chap!” Stanley yelled angrily, “If I stop, the carriage has to stop.”
“No one showed me where the brakes are,” replied Jubbly, equally angrily.
Crispin ran towards the carriage. What had happened? Had the wheel fallen off?
“Why have you stopped?”
“Bally idiot ran out into the middle of the path and stood there, pointing a bow and arrow at me,” said Stanley.
“Just like a highway robber,” said Jubbly. “He was terrifying.”
“Who?” asked Crispin.
“A Gnome dressed in camouflage gear,” said Stanley.
“Did he say anything?” asked Crispin.
“He made a sort of ‘Eeeeee’ sound, like air coming out of a punctured tyre.”
“D’you know what he wanted?” asked Crispin.
“No. He just stood in the middle of the road holding a bow and arrow. I lowered my head, shoved my horn up his nose and said ‘That’s not a weapon, this is a weapon.’”
“You should have seen his face,” said Jubbly excitedly. “It turned as green as his outfit. Then he dropped some bits of paper and ran off into the woods.”
Sylvester picked up one of the sheets of paper. “It says ‘Save our Planet, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew. The world will be destroyed by carbon footprints. Beware. Stamp out carbon footprints before it’s too late.’ What does that all mean?”
“I’ve no idea,” said Crispin, “we’ll worry about that later. C’mon, we need to get to the Alpine Garden. No, don’t drop it, Sylvester! Pick them all up. We can’t have litter blowing around the Garden during the wedding.”
Sylvester retrieved all the bits of paper and stuffed them in his pocket.
Boggy peeped out nervously, from behind the holly bush, panting with the exertion of having run through tangled undergrowth. He’d had an amazing escape. That terrifying white beast had threatened him and nearly impaled him with some sort of sharp implement like a thermic lance. And he’d nearly run Boggy over.
It had all been such a surprise. Boggy had been crossing the path when he heard the rather pleasant jingling of bells. Pausing in the middle of the road to see what was making such a lovely sound, he didn’t see the enormous, ghostly thing materialise out of the gloom until it was almost upon him.
He’d only read about carbon footprints and how dangerous they were but he had a feeling that the white beast pulling the pink creature on top of the moving monstrosity might well be the sort of thing that made carbon footprints. Exactly how a footprint could be so hazardous, Boggy had no idea. After all, it was merely what was left behind after something had been somewhere and it was hard to imagine how a footprint could possibly be threatening, but you couldn’t argue with science, could you? Anyway, the whole incident had given him quite a turn and he’d almost dropped his bow and arrow. In fact, he had dropped his information leaflets but he didn’t dare go back and look for them. It was a shame he had no idea how to shoot an arrow from his bow or he’d have given that snooty, white beast a shock. Perhaps he ought to think about getting a different sort of weapon although he couldn’t imagine what. Perhaps one of those sharp, spiral thermic lances? But somehow, a bow seemed the weapon of choice for an eco-warrior.
Boggy peeped out from behind the holly bush again to see if anyone had followed him but there was no one there. The voices he’d heard earlier were now silent and the jingling of bells was becoming fainter.
The sunrise had been spectacular. Not that Crispin had noticed. He’d been too preoccupied with his list.
The sky was still tinged with pink and orange when Nina and Doggett arrived, hand in hand at the bottom of the Alpine Garden. Nina was beaming and Doggett was flashing and sparking.
“You look beautiful, Nina,” said Crispin.
Nina beamed more broadly, if that was possible.
And she certainly did look spectacular in a white satin and tulle, off the shoulder gown, with lacing at the back.
Crispin helped her into the carriage and placed another tick on his list.
“I hope this dove basket is clean. I don’t want to release a load of filthy doves. And you know how messy they can be…” said Nina.
“Trust me,” said Sylvester, if there’s any mess anywhere, it’s not in the basket.”
“Right,” said Crispin, checking his watch, “it’s time to leave. Jubbly, you need to go to the Wendy House and pick up Wendy, Lulu and the bouquets. Make sure you go all around the Garden, so everyone gets a good look at the bride and her party and then meet us at the Sunken Garden. Doggett, Sylvester and I will pick up the buttonholes and make sure Queenie and Granny get there on time.”
“Giddy up!” shouted Jubbly, waving his whip.
“D’you think Nina knows she looks like a meringue?” Sylvester whispered to Crispin.
About the author
Dawn’s two previous books in the Chronicles Chronicles series are The Basilwade Chronicles and The Macaroon Chronicles both published by Chapeltown Publishing.
The Crispin Chronicles
Links to the previous chapters:
Chapter 1 – Her Ladyship’s Garden - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/04/the-crispin-chronicles-1-her-ladyships.html
Chapter 2 – The Letter from OFSGAR - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/search/label/The%20Crispin%20Chronicles%20-%20The%20Letter%20from%20OFSGAR
Chapter 3 -The Sweet Smell of Success - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-3-sweet-smell-of.html
Chapter 4 – A Visit from Peggy the Pram - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-4-visit-from.html
Chapter 5 – Nightly Disturbances - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-5-nightly.html
Chapter 6 – Just Desserts - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-6-just-desserts.html
Chapter 7 – A Little Girl at Large - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-7-little-girl-at.html
Chapter 8 – The Halloween Party - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-8-halloween-party.html
Chapter 9 – A Glimmer of an Idea - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-9-glimmer-of-idea.html
Chapter 10 – Doggett Sees the Light - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-10-doggett-sees.html
Chapter 11 – Doggett’s Blues – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-11-doggetts-blues.html
Chapter 12 – A Genie out of the Bottle - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-12-genie-out-of.html
Chapter 13 – The Christmas Beast - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-13-christmas.html
Chapter 14 – Bellarella - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-14-bellarella.html
Chapter 15 – The Stag Omen - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-15-stag-omen.html
Chapter 16 – The Wedding Carriage - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-16-wedding.html
Chapter 17 – A Wild Stag Night - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-17-wild-stag.html
Chapter 18 – Wedding Preparations - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/10/the-crispin-chronicles-18-wedding.html
Chapter 19 – Even More Wedding Preparations - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/10/the-crispin-chronicles-19-even-more.html
Chapter 20 – One More Sleep - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/11/the-crispin-chronicles-20-one-more-sleep.html