Wandering off

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues from Tuesday:

Mum smiled.  “Looking good.  Do you want some furniture?  I’ve got a couple of deck chairs and a coffee table you can have.”

“Yeah, maybe,” said Luke, smiling, “thanks Mum.”

“I’ve got some old curtains as well, if you want privacy,” she offered.

“Why? You can’t see in the shed window from the house can you?”

“No, of course not.”

“Okay, good.”

“So you do want privacy.  Top secret stuff is it?”

“No, course not, well …. we just don’t wanna be watched, that’s all.”

“I quite understand,” said Mum, trying to suppress a smile. “Do you want lunch?  I could bring some sandwiches down here if you like.”

Luke shook his head.  “Thanks, yeah, but no, we’ll come up to the house for ’em.”

******

FRIDAY 13 JUNE

When Luke got home from school there was no one else there.  The house was silent.

“Dudley? D’you want to go outside?” he asked when he stepped into the kitchen.  The clang of an upended stainless steel water bowl was preceded by the sound of four clawed paws hitting the floor.  Dudley was at the back door in seconds.

As they walked to the allotments Luke and his oldest friend talked everything over.  Well, Luke talked, Dudley couldn’t get a word in edgeways.  Luke had always been grateful for good listeners.  The best, he’d found, were those who didn’t try to push their own opinions into the discussion; those who let him get out all his jumbled thoughts and feelings without comment or judgement; those who just listened.  That left Mum out.  And Dad.  At one time Luke’s first port of call when he needed to clear his head or puzzle a dilemma was the damson patch.  The rabbits’ listening skills were second to none.  Sadly Ash and Rusty had grown old and passed away in recent months.  Scratcher was still around but she’d moved into the house for company and was often so busy rearranging soft furnishings that it was hard to get her undivided attention.  That very morning she’d spent half an hour dragging the back doormat into the dining room.  She seemed to prefer it there, no one knew why.  Thankfully Dudley was always ready to lend an ear.

“Tomorrow’s C-Day,” said Luke, as if Dudley didn’t already know.  “Mum an’ Dad are goin’ to London to help Aunt Clara move so that’s perfect timing.  We should be able to get the chickens all tucked in before they get back.  As long as Tania’s dad gets ’em here in time.  She told him to go early but he said it was a long drive so he doesn’t know how long it’ll take.”

Tania had told her dad a white lie.  She didn’t want to but Luke reminded her the chickens would be killed if she didn’t.  She told him that Luke’s mum had an ingrowing toenail and his dad had to take her to hospital to have it removed so they wouldn’t be able to pick up the chickens they were adopting.  She asked him if he’d mind doing it instead and he kindly agreed. Tania’s dad had never met Luke’s parents and with any luck he never would.
Luke arrived with Dudley at the allotments, unlocked the gate and walked between the immaculate plots en route to his own.  The weird thing was, some of them didn’t look quite as immaculate as usual. What was yesterday a neat row of cabbages, now looked as though it had been trampled by a football team.  Some were strewn across the path and a couple of them had rolled under someone else’s bean poles.  The carrots on an adjacent plot had also been rudely and prematurely unearthed.  Dudley attempted to investigate but Luke wouldn’t let him.

“Dudley no!”  Luke wound the lead more tightly around his hand.  “If anyone sees you doin’ that they’ll think you made this mess.  An’ they’ll blame me!”

In fact the blame was fast approaching Luke’s position, as he soon realised.  The trail of destruction led all the way back to his own plot, at which the gate was swinging open.  There was no sign of Curly and Squirt.

“Curly! Squirt!” he called frantically.  He rushed to the shed and looked inside; he looked behind it and under the bushes.  They were gone.  Dudley started sniffing eagerly.  He seemed to be onto something.  “Where are they boy?” Luke let go of the lead.  “Find them boy, find Curly and Squirt!”  Dudley followed his nose across the grass to the open gate, out of the gate and along the path until he arrived back at the scattered carrots.  He loved carrots.

“No!  Stop it Dudley!  We’ve got to find Curly and Squirt!”

“Young man,” Luke was startled by the deep voice behind him.  He turned to face Allotment Committee Man, otherwise known as Mr Fred Tipton.  “I believe these belong to you.”  Mr Tipton offered Luke one end of a long piece of rope.  At its other end stood a very curly haired ewe, accompanied by her son.

“Thank you!” said Luke, “where have you been?” he asked them, “you had me worried sick!”

“Where they’ve been,” said Mr Tipton, “is all over these garden plots.  They’ve done a heck of a lot of damage.”

“I’m really sorry about that,” said Luke, “I’ll put ’em back now.  It won’t happen again.”

“No it won’t because you won’t be keeping them here any more.”

“What?  That’s not fair, it wasn’t my fault!”

“Whose fault was it then?”

“I don’t know.  Whoever opened the gate!”

“Who checked on them this morning?”

“Me.  But I bolted the gate!  I know I did!  I always bolt the gate!”

“You must have forgotten today.”

“I didn’t!” Luke insisted. “Somebody else must have let ’em out!  On purpose to get me in trouble!”

“They’re your responsib…”

“Somebody who wants an allotment!  Whoever’s next on your waitin’ list – they’ve got motive!”

Mr Tipton shook his head.  “I can’t run the risk of this happening again.”

“It won’t,” said Luke pleadingly, “I’ll get a lock, so no one else can open it!  Please don’t make us leave!”

“I’m sorry, the decision’s been made.  No more animals are to be kept on these allotments.”

Luke, Curly, Little Squirt and Dudley walked slowly home.  They cut through the park and Luke racked his brains for inspiration.  Would Mum and Dad let him keep the sheep at home?  After all, the garden was big enough.  And there was nowhere else they could go.  Plus, it wasn’t his fault.  He’d bolted the gate that morning, he knew he had. Someone else had let them out, whatever Mr Tipton said.

Half way across the playing field his cogitation was interrupted by someone calling his name.

“Walker!  Nice sheep!”

A group of boys by the swings laughed but Luke ignored them. He had more important things to worry about.

“Got kicked off the allotments did ya?”  They all laughed again, even louder.  Luke kept walking.

“You should’ve kept the gate shut!”

This voice he recognised.  Luke stopped and looked across at the laughing boys.  At that moment he knew.  Butler did it!

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Story continues on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children’s stories, humour, animals, animal rights, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, vegetarian, animal farming, chickens, birds

Getting ready

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues from yesterday:

Joe changed the subject.  “How do we tell them we want to adopt some. Is there an email address?”

“Er, … oh no, it says we have to phone this number.  We’ve got to talk to them.”

“The farmer?”

“No, Wixham Animal Action.”  Isabel was concerned.  “They’re not going to let us adopt without parental consent are they?”

“You do it,” said Luke.

“Me?”  Tania was apprehensive.

“Yeah, you’re good at soundin’ grown up.  Like when you did that impression of Mrs Tyler.  You sounded just like her.”

Tania smiled.  “Okay,” she said, picking up her phone, “what’s the number?”

While she waited for the call to be answered her heart beat hard and fast.  She turned away from the others so they wouldn’t make her laugh.

“Hello?” said the woman who eventually picked up.

“Oh, hello,” said Tania in her best Mrs Tyler voice.  “I would like to adopt some rescued chickens please.”

“Oh great, hang on a minute, let me get a pen. ….. Right, how many can you take?”

“Erm,” Tania looked at the others and mouthed ‘how many?’ but they didn’t understand her.  She put the phone on speaker.

“We like people to take at least three,” the woman advised, “because they’re sociable creatures.  Wouldn’t be happy on their own.”

“Oh yes of course,” said Tania, looking at the others for a sign.

“Shall I put you down for three?” the woman suggested, “or have you got room for more?”

Luke held up his open right hand.

“Five?” said Tania uncertainly.

Luke nodded.

“Five?” asked the woman.

“Yes,” Tania smiled, “five please.”

“Good.  Okay, now do you have a garden and a house for them?”

“A house?”

“A chicken house for them to sleep in.”

“Oh yes, a shed.”

“It’ll need nesting boxes and perches.  And it’ll need to be fox-proof,” the woman explained.

Luke nodded at Tania.

“Yes,” she said, “it will be.”

“Okay then, I’ll just take your name, address and phone number and then we’ll get back to you on the thirteenth to give you a pick up location and time.”

“Pick them up?”

“Yes. Is that a problem?”

“No no, that’ll be fine,” said Tania with feigned confidence.  “Absolutely fine.”

******

SATURDAY 7 JUNE

When the doorbell rang Luke rushed to answer it.

“Expecting someone?” asked Mum.

“Joe and the others.”

“Oh.  Will you be going out?” she called after him.  She’d been hoping to have the house to herself so she could give it a good spring clean.

Luke returned from the front door with his friends in tow.  “We’ll be in the garden,” he told his mother as they headed for the back door, “where’s Dad?”

“Working in the garage.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Mum was relieved until she remembered, “oh but you can’t go in there!” she shouted after him as he approached the garage door.  Luke stopped and looked back as Mum rushed down the garden path in her slippers.  “What do you want Dad for?” she asked, “he’s busy, doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Just wanted to borrow a screwdriver.”

“Okay, I’ll get it.  Flathead?”

“Phillips.”

“Okay.”  She entered the garage and closed the door behind her.

“Dad’s a bit grumpy,” Luke explained to his friends.  They nodded.  Moments later Mum emerged with the screwdriver and the Society resumed course for the damson patch.  They entered the shed.

“Not bad,” said Isabel.  “It’s solid.  Bit dusty but we can sweep it out no problem.  This’ll make a good chicken house.”

“Let’s put this on,” said Tania, “where do you want it?”

Luke showed her the hole he’d hammered in the wall years ago to make a door for the rabbits.  “Down here,” he said, moving the boxes that were blocking it.

“Perfect, that’s just the right size,” said Tania, holding the new cat flap up against it.  “Once we’ve got this on, the chickens can go in and out during the day and at night you can lock it closed to keep them safe.”

“Great,” said Luke, smiling, “thanks.”  He handed Tania the screwdriver and she got to work.

The others swept the floor, dusted off the cobwebs and cleaned the window.  In less than an hour, the shed was almost fit for purpose.

“What are you going to do about bedding?” asked Isabel.

“I’ll get straw from the bale in Curly and Squirt’s shed.”

“I thought it was better to use shavings.”

“Straw’s all I’ve got, it’ll have to do.”

“That’ll be fine,” said Tania. “What about nesting boxes?”

“Ahh,” said Luke, smiling.  He opened the door and went outside for a moment.  When he came back he was dragging an old rabbit hutch.  “This was what Butler kept Scratcher in before I rescued her,” he explained.  “When he left it out for the dustmen I went and got it.”  It was in good clean condition.  Luke opened the doors.  “I’ll take the doors off and make a straw bed on both sides.  They can lay their eggs in there if they want to.”

“There’s only room for two though,” said Isabel.

“Three,” said Luke, “I’m sure three of ’em could fit comfortably in there, and they’re not likely to all wanna lay an egg at the same time are they?”

“Actually,” said Joe, “don’t take the doors off.  If you open them wide and fix them open, the chicks can perch on them.”

“Good thinking!” Luke agreed, “What can we fix ’em with?”

At that moment Mum put her head round the door.  “Ready for lunch?” she asked. “Ooh, this looks tidy.  You have been busy.”

“Muuum!  This is a private meeting!” Luke escorted her back outside.

“What are you up to in there?” she asked, “is it going to be your HQ?”

“Er, yeah, that’s right,” it was as good a cover as any.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

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Emergency Meeting

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

SUNDAY 1 JUNE

An emergency meeting of the Secret Society was held in Luke’s bedroom.

“Did anybody’s parents say yes?” asked Luke. Everyone shook their heads.

“My dad said they’d ruin the garden,” said Tania.

“Yeah, that’s what my mum said,” agreed Isabel.

“Joe?  What did yours say?”

“Didn’t ask them.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Why not?” Luke was more than a little affronted.

“To keep ’em at mine I mean, I don’t know what my lot would do to ’em.”

Luke nodded.  “There’s on’y one thing we can do then.”

“What?”

“Keep ’em at mine.”

“I thought your mum said no,” said Tania.

“Yeah but the way I see it, I’ve got the perfect place for ’em: the damson patch.  It’s fenced, it’s got a shed, and the rabbits don’t live there any more.”

“But if your mum said no …”

“It’s really overgrown now so I don’t think they’d notice.”

“They’re bound to tidy it up one day,” warned Joe, “they’ll see ’em eventually.”

“Yeah but not straight away.”

“But when they do – what will you do then?”

“By then I’ll have proved that I’m lookin’ after ’em properly, and still gettin’ all my homework done, and lookin’ after the other animals.  I’ll have proved her wrong so she’ll have to let me keep ’em.”

The others shook their heads again.

“You’ll never get away with it,” said Isabel, “even if you do at first you’ll be in a heck of a lot of trouble when they do find out.”

Luke shrugged.  “I’ve been in trouble before.”

“Ookaay.  It’s your funeral.”  Isabel opened her laptop.  “What’s that address again?”

When they reached Wixham Animal Action’s website, the chicken re-homing appeal was on the front page.

“It says here there’s nine thousand!”

“Nine thousand?  That’s a big farm!  Is it closing down?” asked Tania.

“Erm …. no.  They’re just getting new hens.”

“Why?”

“Says here it’s the law.  Hens can’t be more than seventy two weeks old because after that their eggs aren’t good enough for supermarkets.”

“So they replace them with new ones?”

“Yeah.  Look, it says they would normally go to slaughter at seventy two weeks but this farmer doesn’t want them to be killed.”

“Why is he a farmer then?” asked Luke.  Isabel continued to read silently.  “Why is he a farmer if he don’t like killin’ animals?” Luke asked again.

“She.  Well, they.  It’s a family farm,” explained Isabel.  “Look at this picture – it’s an organic free-range farm.  The chickens look happy don’t they?”

“Yeah but they’re still gonna be killed.”

“Well she’s trying to get them re-homed so they won’t be killed.”

“Let me get this straight,” Luke’s hackles were up.  “These are nice farmers who don’t want their chickens to be killed so every seventy two weeks – what’s that, a year and a half? – they’ve got to find homes for nine thousand birds?”

“Yes.”

“But if they can’t find enough homes they go to slaughter anyway?”

“Yes but that’s why …”

“And then they breed another nine thousand new chickens who are gonna need homes the next year otherwise they’ll go to slaughter as well.”

“Yes.”

“So this’ll happen every other year.”

“Erm, I guess so – yeah, it says here they’ve done it eight times before.”

“And in all that time it never occurred to ’em that the best way to make sure your birds don’t get slaughtered is to stop bein’ chicken farmers!”

Isabel did her best to zone him out while she continued to read.  “Well, the farmer says that most people won’t go vegan so if she closed down her high welfare, organic, free range farm, people would just buy their eggs from low-welfare factory farms and that would be much worse for the chickens.”

“That’s a rather defeatist attitude,” said Tania.

“She says you should blame the consumer not the farmer,” added Isabel, “if consumers didn’t buy them the farmers wouldn’t produce them.”

“Of course,” said Tania, “the farmers are blameless!” and she winked at Luke.  Luke sighed.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

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Panic and retreat

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

Luke stood still, his face flushed hot.

“They know!” he thought with horror.

It got worse.  He watched as two police officers walked up to the organisers’ table.  After a few moments a man there pointed in Luke’s direction.  The police officers started to walk towards him.  He ran.  All he could think was that he needed to get out of there.  They might know his name but would they know his address?  He didn’t look behind, that would be suspicious, he just ran as fast as he could.  The wheelbarrow was slowing him down.  He had to leave it.

He climbed the low post and rail fence and jumped down into the car park.  His first instinct was to find Grandad’s car, but then he thought that if they knew his name, they might know who his grandparents were, they might be waiting for him there.  He hesitated, crouched between a Mini and a Fiesta, and tried to see Grandad’s car without being seen.  Yes, that was it, and there was Grandad.  With another policeman.

There was nothing for it, he had to go back into the market, he had to try to be invisible in the crowd.  But he was scared and wanted an ally.  He made a beeline for the black-haired lady’s stall.

The lady, who was just beginning to pack up her stall, putting leaflets back in their boxes, was surprised to see Luke racing towards her, all red in the face and out of breath, looking like he feared for his life.

“Hide me!” said Luke desperately, and sunk to the floor behind the biggest box.

The lady was alarmed.

“What’s wrong? What are you …?”

“Shhh!” said Luke in a vehement whisper, “don’t talk to me!  Don’t look at me!  They might be watching!”

“But …”

“Excuse me Miss,” another woman’s voice interrupted her.  She turned to face a policewoman.

“Is this your stall?” she asked.

“Yes it is.”

“And your name is?”

“Jessica Rabbit.  Would you like a leaflet?”

“I would like to have a look, yes, thank you,” and the policewoman began to paw the various piles.  “Is this all you’ve got?”

The black-haired lady casually dropped her jacket on top of Luke as another officer stepped around the stall to look in the boxes.

“I’ve got these as well,” she answered, “as you can see,” and she lifted the boxes onto the table so that they wouldn’t need to rummage around the other side.

The policewoman found what she was looking for – three different anti-dairy leaflets.

“Is there any reason you were hiding these?” she asked.

The lady laughed.

“I wasn’t hiding them, I was just in the process of packing up,” she explained.

The police officers exchanged cynical glances and while the male picked up the box of leaflets, the female addressed the stall-holder.

“I am arresting you on suspicion of offences under section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971.  You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.  Do you understand?”

“Not remotely,” the lady replied, “what am I supposed to have done?”

Luke stayed motionless under the lady’s jacket.  He felt bad that she was getting blamed for what he’d done, but was somehow unable to move or speak.  He just sat still until he couldn’t hear them any more. He waited till they’d gone.

When he stood up and watched them retreat past the other stalls, seemingly diminished in size, his courage returned.  He donned the khaki jacket, pulled the hood over his head and cautiously followed. The officers and their captive approached a police car and the policewoman opened a rear door, put her hand on the black-haired lady’s head and assisted her into the back seat.

Luke was worried they would drive away before he could get to them but luck was on his side again. Another policeman with a camera called to his colleagues and they walked a few steps away from the car to talk to him.  That was Luke’s chance.

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Story concludes tomorrow, or read the whole of chapter 11 now 🙂

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Strong and determined

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from Friday:

With a wheelbarrow full of three different leaflets which told the truth about the dairy industry, Luke headed for the car park.  The wheelbarrow was heavy and the cars were parked quite close together on uneven ground, so it was rather difficult to stop the barrow from tipping.  But Luke was strong and determined so he only lost control of it a couple of times, and on those occasions the cars he grazed were already scratched anyway.  He put one leaflet under a wiper blade, on the windscreen of each car.  He’d seen it done before with car-wash flyers in the supermarket car park.

Some wipers were easy to lift, some of them required a bit of force, a couple of them came off, but when that happened he was luckily able to find a window or a sunroof open so he tossed the leaflet inside. Considerate as always, he tossed the wiper blade in with it.

After some time – he had no idea how much – Luke had leafleted most of the cars in the car park.  He had intended not to miss a single one but when he saw an angry man, waving a wiper blade, fast approaching his position, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retreated behind the long queues for the portaloos.  He had almost half a box of leaflets left and wanted to use them.  It wasn’t long before he found an opportunity.

The ice cream van was parked close to the line of trees which skirted the market.  It was doing a roaring trade.  Luke felt that it wouldn’t do any trade at all if there was any justice in the world.  He was sure it wouldn’t if everyone knew the truth.  That thought gave him an idea.  This idea, he was well aware, was not, strictly speaking, legal.  But it was moral and that meant he was right to do it.  He would do what Robin Hood would have done, whatever the consequences.  He was an outlaw after all.

He left his wheelbarrow in the shadows behind the trees and ran back to a craft stall he’d seen earlier. The lady on the craft stall was demonstrating how to make paper maché models.  She was doing the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ bit, revealing a stiff, hollow, paper pig ready for a coat of paint. The tub of wallpaper paste that she’d been using in an earlier part of her demonstration was tucked away under her stall.

“I jus’ need to borra a bit,” Luke told himself, “I’ll bring it back before she misses it.”

Within minutes he was pasting leaflets all over one side of the ice cream van, unseen by the ice cream seller or his treat-seeking customers who stood in line on the other side.  He worked fast, knowing he might be spotted and stopped at any moment.  At the same time he was encouraged by a feeling that some great spirit was watching over him, enabling him to complete his mission unhindered.  The spirit of Robin Hood?  It couldn’t just have been luck that he’d been able to get his hands on exactly what he needed for this job.  The label on the side of the tub of paste read:

MELROSE WHEATPASTE

suitable for paper maché, scrapbooking

wallpaper application & billboard posters

NON TOXIC * STRONG * DRIES TRANSPARENT

WARNING: WHEATPASTE POSTERS, ONCE APPLIED, ARE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.

It couldn’t have been more perfect.  Luke fearlessly pasted over colourful illustrations of lollipops, ice cream cones, and a happy cartoon cow who bore no resemblance to her real-life counterparts.  The van’s lies were soon obliterated by pages of facts and figures about the cruel reality of dairy farming, including miserable photographic proof.  When the side of the van was completely covered in leaflets, as high as Luke could reach, he stepped back to see the full effect.  It was good.

Unable to believe how well this was going, Luke slipped unseen, back the way he’d come.  He re-emerged from behind the line of trees when he reached the craft stall and returned the paste.  Then he tucked the remaining four leaflets in his back pocket and pushed his empty wheelbarrow from stall to stall, looking for Nan and Grandad.  He looked for ages until eventually he came close to the organisers’ table and heard his own name over the Tannoy.

“Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van.  Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van, near the car park and the toilets.”

*******************************

Story continues tomorrow 🙂

To read the whole of Chapter 11 now, click here 🙂

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Way of the world

For chapters 1 to 10 click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

He smiled broadly as he considered how fortuitous this outing had turned out to be; how lucky it was that this week of all weeks he’d needed a wheelbarrow.

***

Nan and Grandad loved to go to car boot sales, antique fairs and flea markets.  They would drive for miles to get to them and rarely a Sunday went by without Nan acquiring a ‘new’ old plant pot, or handbag, or garden bench, or record or book or who knows what.  So, when Luke decided he needed a few tools for his allotment – a rake, a bucket or two, and a wheelbarrow – he asked Mum to ask Nan if he could go with them that weekend.  She said yes, as long as he behaved himself and didn’t eat or drink anything in Grandad’s car, or put his feet on the seats.

“Will she ever get over the chocolate biscuit/chewing gum incident?” he thought. “It wasn’t even my gum – it had got stuck on my shoe because of a dropper and the chocolate crumbs … ”

Anyway, he promised to be good, and it was arranged.

Six days later, Luke was sitting in the back of Grandad’s car; seatbelt on; feet on the floor; no food or drink whatsoever.  They turned into a farm lane and drove past a field of grazing cows, one of whom had a baby with her.  They waited in a long queue of cars approaching the flea market and Luke was able to watch mother and baby for a few minutes.

He could see how attentive the mother was to her baby and how the baby followed his mother wherever she went.  It was nice to watch.  Then he saw two farmers with a wheelbarrow walk over to them and lift the baby into it.  The baby cried out for his mum and the mum tried to get to her baby but one of the farmers obstructed her so that the other one could wheel the barrow away.  He walked briskly, almost breaking into a run to get to the gate as quickly as possible and the mother cow hurried after them, calling all the time to her baby and him calling back to her.  The farmer with the wheelbarrow got through the gate and closed it and the other one climbed the fence.  They put the calf into a trailer and drove away in the Land Rover that towed it, along the track that bordered the field, until they got to the road and were soon out of sight.  The whole time the mother cow was running along the edge of the field, trying to keep up with them, calling for her baby.  When the trailer was out of sight she just stood at the fence and called and called, a most miserable, pining sound, as she watched the direction in which they’d fled, pleading for her baby’s return.

“Where are they takin’ ‘im?  Are they gonna bring ‘im back?” Luke desperately asked his grandparents.

“What love?” said Nan.  She hadn’t been watching.

“The baby cow!  They took ‘im away from ‘is mum!  Why did they do that?  When will they bring ‘im back?”

“They won’t,” said Grandad, matter-of-factly.

“What?! Why not?” Luke demanded.

“The farmer keeps cows for their milk.  He needs to sell as much milk as possible so he can’t have the calves drinking his profits can he?  He’s got to make a living.  Way of the world Luke, you might as well get used to it.”

Luke was outraged.  He’d known instinctively that it wasn’t right to steal a cow’s milk and was certain it couldn’t be natural to drink it if you weren’t a baby cow, but he’d had no idea that farmers actually kidnapped babies away from their mothers; that a mother who’d done nothing wrong, who was giving him her milk, was not even allowed to keep the baby who made the milk possible.  And the baby – what would happen to the baby?

“Does everybody know this?  Does everybody know what the horrible farmer is doin’?” Luke felt that surely people wouldn’t buy the milk if they knew.

“He’s not horrible Luke,” Nan tried to explain, “cows are not people, they don’t have the same feelings and emotional attachments that we have.”

“Yes they do!  Din’t you see?  Din’t you see ’em together?  They love each other!”

“Luke,” Nan answered quietly, “the farmer’s got to earn …”

“I could earn a livin’ stealin’ other people’s jewel’ry and sellin’ it to someone else, but if I did that you’d tell me off!”

“It’s not the same …”

“Too right it’s not the same coz I wun’t be kidnappin’ someone’s baby!”

While Luke fumed Grandad reached the car park and they all got out of the car.  Luke couldn’t stop thinking about the cow baby and the cow mum crying for each other.  He trailed slowly behind his grandparents, very unhappy in the realisation that this was the way of the world and there was nothing he could do about it, not really, not for that baby or that mum.

“Grown ups always say ‘you must be good’, ‘you must be kind’ and then they do things what they know is unkind,” Luke mumbled frustratedly to himself, “they don’t follow their own rules, so they can’t expect me to follow ’em.  They should follow my rules – mine make more sense, mine do what they say instead of just say and not do!”

And so, as he railed against the world, he wandered away from his grandparents and browsed the stalls alone.  He wasn’t worried.  He’d find them later.

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Story continues on Monday 🙂

To read the whole of Chapter 11 now, click here 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, books, children’s books, juvenile fiction, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, cows, animal farming, animal rights

Big Blue Sky revisited

vegan Christmas book

Big Blue Sky has been digitally remastered (I don’t really know what that means but it sounds good 😉 ) – actually it’s got a new font and a new illustration and some new cover art – so I thought, seeing as it’s that time of year again, we’d re-tell Clarence and Luca’s story.  It begins here:

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

continues tomorrow 🙂

or you can read the whole digitally remastered 😉 story here now 😀

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vegan children’s story, vegan Christmas story, turkeys, animals, birds