Posts Tagged ‘Lost ball’

Titch’s Secret Society Chapter 3

February 25, 2012


A Strange Encounter


“I couldn’t have knocked it in a worse spot,” declared Titch in an anguished voice. “The trouble is it would have bounced such a lot in amongst all these stones. It might even have hit the cloister wall over there and bounced off in another direction.”

“I wonder if it rolled down that passage and into the cellar,” queried Bunny.

“I hope not,” replied Gogs. “It’s jolly dark down there.”

“It’s not very light out here now the sun’s gone down,” added Titch.

After searching unsuccessfully for some twenty minutes, Titch, feeling a little guilty as the main cause of the search, suggested that, as they really had no idea of the whereabouts of the ball, they should split up and each look in different places.

“Miff and Bunny, you look in the old refectory there,” he said pointing to what had once been a long room where the monks had eaten their meals. “You can get over that gap there where the wall is lowest. Gogs and Smudgie, you can look along the passage leading past that old room to the cellar. I’ll look over on the other side of the cloisters.”

This new search, although well organised, was equally as unsuccessful as the first. After a further fifteen minutes’ searching, the light was failing rapidly and Bunny and Miff rejoined Titch at the other end of the refectory.

“Sorry about your ball Bunny,” murmured Titch apologetically.

“Oh, that’s all right,” returned Bunny sportingly. “I don’t suppose . . .”

He broke off and all three looked quickly in the direction of the old cellar. They could distinctly hear the voices of Smudgie and Gogs who seemed to be having a heated argument with someone.

Their footsteps echoed as they ran through the old cloisters and, on turning a corner at the end of the refectory, they saw Gogs and Smudgie standing near the cellar passage and arguing strongly with a burly and rough-looking man in a black  leather jacket who held both boys by their collars.

“You let us go!” protested Gogs in his high-pitched voice. “These ruins don’t belong to you.”

“No!” joined in Miff. “An’ we’re staying till we’ve found Bunny’s cricket ball.”

“Oh!” grunted the man. “And who’s Bunny?”

“I am,” announced Bunny, calmly walking in the direction of the arguing trio.

“Oh, you are, are you? And what are you snoopin’ around here for, may I ask?”

“We’re looking for a ball,” returned Titch. “I accidentally knocked it into the ruins when we were playing cricket.”

“Well, my advice to the lot of you is to get out of the ruins, and quick!” yelled the man placing his hands on his hips and glaring at the boys who showed no sign of moving.

“All right Mason, I’ll handle this,” said a quiet voice. Turning round the boys saw a well-dressed and pleasant-looking man making his way towards them.

“Go back to the car. I’ll join you in a moment,” he said to the man he had called Mason, who, without a word, immediately left. When he had gone the man turned and smiled at the boys.

“Now then, what’s the trouble, eh?” he asked.

Titch explained about Bunny’s cricket ball getting lost and how they had failed to find it. Gogs and Bunny joined in and explained how the man had grabbed them by the collar and told them to go.

“Ah! I see,” said the man still smiling. “You must forgive my friend. I’m afraid he’s a little quick tempered and hasty. You see, we are members of the South London Occult Society. We make a hobby of investigating ghosts and haunted buildings and the like. At the moment we have some sensitive scanning equipment hidden at various places in the old abbey. Naturally such equipment costs a lot of money and I expect my friend, Mr Mason, was afraid you might accidentally damage it. I expect you’ve heard that a ghost is supposed to walk this place, and we hope that, with our instruments, we will be able to find out whether there is any truth in the story.”

“Oh, I’m pos’tive we haven’t damaged any equipment,” blurted out Gogs. “We haven’t even seen any, have we boys?” The others agreed.

“No, no, of course not,” hastily added the man. “The stuff is well hidden, naturally, and I’m quite sure you haven’t touched it. Now then, to whom does the lost ball belong?”

“It’s mine,” replied Bunny.

The man offers Bunny a £5 note to buy another ball.

“Well, then,” said the man putting his hand into his pocket and pulling out a wallet, “suppose I give you a five pound note and you get another ball. I’m sure you won’t find it now it’s almost dark, and we really must get on installing our equipment. If I were you I should have a look for the ball when it’s light. If you find it, then you’ll have two.”

“Thank you very much sir!” exclaimed Bunny taking the proffered note.

“Well, boys, I really must be getting back to my car to rejoin my friend. Good evening!” And with that he walked away in the direction of the Straight Mile which was the main road bordering the common.

Titch’s Secret Society Chapter 2

February 18, 2012


Lost Ball

  Pontyrabad, according to the official holiday guide, was “a small peaceful Welsh coastal town, one of its main attractions being a 12th century Benedictine Abbey, the ruins of which grace a peaceful green common a short distance from the sea”.

At the moment. however, the common was anything but peaceful.

Titch and his friends playing cricket on the Common

    “Howzat?” bellowed four voices in unison. Titch  turned quickly, bat in the air, to look with dismay at his middle stump now lying flat on the ground behind him. He turned and grinned good-naturedly at Gogs, the cause of his downfall.

“Well done Gogs! I must remember to do the same for you sometime.”

The other four boys converged on Titch who was still standing at the wicket.

“I vote we have tea now,” said Bunny, and to reinforce his idea he started to pull out the two remaining stumps. But no one disagreed with him. All five were hungry after their afternoon’s cricket and it was now well past their normal teatime.  It was often their custom to have what they termed a ‘cricket picnic’ on Pontyrabad common. Having collected their gear together they sat down on the springy green turf to eat their meal.

They were halfway through an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, cakes and other tasty items when their banquet was suddenly interrupted by a man’s voice right behind them.

“I hope you young gentlemen don’t make yourselves sick.” Turning around they saw a middle-aged man with a large moustache making his way across the common. As the boys turned he gave them a smile and waved his walking stick.

“Evening sir!” chorused the boys suddenly realising who the speaker was.

“Coo!” exclaimed Miff in a half whisper to the other four. “It’s old ‘Fungus’ our new history teacher.”

“Whacko and bang on!” joked Titch twirling an imaginary moustache now that the teacher was at a safe distance and out of earshot.

“I wonder where he’s going,” mused Smudgie.

“Home of course,” replied Titch.

“Does he live around here then?” asked Gogs looking over his shoulder at the now distant figure.

“Yes,” replied Titch. “He lives in one of those flats in the big houses on Common Crescent.”

“Oh yes,” added Bunny. “I can see his car parked outside.”

“What I don’t understand,” drawled Gogs in a puzzled voice, “is why he came to our school when none of the other teachers have left.”

“Yes, I wondered about that too,” added Smudgie.

“I thought it strange myself,” agreed Titch, “until about a fortnight ago when I had to take some chemistry books to the staff room for old ‘Stinks’. ‘Fungus’ was chatting to him and said that he had come to relieve the staff shortage a bit. Apparently there’s a great shortage of men teachers all over the country and really we could still do with a few more at our school to balance the staff better.”

“A few more teachers!” eclaimed Miff. “Coo! I reckon we’ve got a few too many. I’m willing to part with a few of ours any day.”

“Me too!” agreed Gogs.

“Well, anyway, that’s why he’s come,” ended Titch.

“We could have done a lot worse,” stated Bunny.   “He’s not a bad sort really. He’s jolly interesting, and that’s more than you can say for Miss Morrison’s history lessons.”

“You must be joking!” burst out Miff. “Hist’ry interestin? What’ll the boy say next?”

“No, I mean he’s not all dates and names of Kings and such like,” replied Bunny defending his opinion of the new teacher. “He tells you how people in olden days used to live, the things they used to eat, and the games the kids used to play and all that.”

“Of course there is one good thing he’s helped with,” said Gogs thoughtfully as he surveyed the grass and brushed his long dark hair away from his eyes. “He helps out a lot with the boys’ cricket.”

“Yeah, that’s true,” added Bunny. “With old Millie, all she wanted us to play was rounders. Huh! Rounders! We do get to play more cricket now.”

“I must say I was jolly surprised at all the things he knows about Pontyrabad,” said Titch, “considering he doesn’t come from round this way, I mean. I wonder where he does come from?”

“London,” replied Gogs simply. The others were amazed at hearing such a confident reply coming from him.

“And how on earth do you know that?” asked Miff.

“Well, I was outside the Head’s office the day he came. I was waitin’ for a telling off by the Head and I heard him tell the sec’try”

“Just imagine, Gogs,” teased Titch, “if you hadn’t been sent for a telling off we’d never have known where he came from.”

“I’m not a bit interested where he comes from,” protested Gogs. “I’d much rather not had the telling off I can tell you!”

“Cissy!” jeered Smudgie, at which Gogs flung his empty banana skin at him catching him full in the face. Smudgie launched his reprisal attack at once and fell upon Gogs trying to stuff a hastily gathered handful of grass down the back of his shirt, and in a few seconds the two boys were rolling over and over on the grass until they were interrupted by a shout from Titch.

“Come on you two nitwits, it’s time we were going.” Then he grabbed his bat and ran a few yards off.

“Just one last knock, Gogs, before we go. I’ll knock you for six this time.”

Gogs, who was always ready to fall in wih a challenging suggestion, rose to his feet. He grabbed the ball and, after brushing his hair from his left eye, flung the ball down hard at Titch. A smart piece of footwork enabled him to take the ball on the half-volley and it soared high into the air. Up and away it went followed by the admiring gaze of the other four, and eventually fell amongst the ruins of the old abbey where it bounced amongst the stones.

“Six it is!” yelled Bunny as he dramatically raised both arms above his head in true umpire’s style. “The only trouble is that now we’ve got to find my ball. Come on you lot, that’s my new ball. We can gather our kit together when we’ve found it.”

Though the grass on the common was fairly short, being regularly cut by council workmen, their search for the ball was considerably hampered by the stonework which was scattered about where the grass was much longer. The five boys made their way in amongst the old ruined cloisters, but, although they looked everywhere for it, the elusive ball could not be found.

 [D1]Illustration: Boys playing cricket on common   DONE