A couple of years ago I began to write a children’s story ; it was inspired by a lost book from my childhood – I can’t remember then title or the author, but it was about a young girl who lived near a lighthouse. I wrote about ten chapters and then, as so often happens, I got caught up in writing something else. However, I’ve been thinking about it recently, and have some ideas to get it finished. Peggy and her sister Barbara have gone to stay with their grandma who lives near the sea, and an od sailor friend of hers is taking Peggy to visit Farholm Island. In this chapter – the last I wrote, Peggy is on board the Puffin with Mr Benbow, and his mate Ben.
We lumped and bumped and splashed along and Mr Benbow said look out for porpoises, which I did but we didn’t see any. I was a bit hungry and ate one of my sandwiches that Granny had made, and Mr Benbow had a mug of tea and asked me if I would like one. I thought only grown-ups drank tea; maybe he thinks I am quite grown up, so I said yes please. He told me to go into the galley and pour one and help myself to milk and sugar.
Mummy always says little girls can’t do things so I’m really surprised that in fact I can do things; I might mention it to Mummy in a polite way. I was pouring the tea from the teapot into a mug with red stripes on when Ben called me and asked if I would pour one for him with a dash of milk and two sugars. I was very pleased to do it because he is a very kind and nice person. I guessed a dash of milk might be the same as a splash of milk and when I gave it to him he said it looked like a drop of all right. I’m not sure exactly what that is but he smiled and winked at me.
I took my red stripy mug outside and was shocked! I couldn’t see anything! Well, I could see Mr Benbow and the seats and everything on the boat, but the fog bank had come while I was inside.
“How can Ben see where we’re going?” I asked. Supposing he couldn’t find the island? Or supposing we crashed into it? There was a fog once when I was at school and a man drove his car into the school gates.
“Don’t worry, Peg, he’ll find his way,” Mr Benbow said. “You’re not worried are you?”
“No, Mr Benbow, I think Ben must be a very good sailor so I’m sure we’ll be alright.” I thought he might be worried.
He laughed and said I was a caution. I don’t know what he meant but I think it was a nice thing.
Suddenly there was a gap in the fog and I could see we were quite near Farholm Island. Mr. Benbow told me there were puffins on the cliffs and maybe if we visited the island again he would take me to see them. I said I would love that because there was a puffin on the cover of my Worzel Gummage book. Mr. Benbow had never heard of Worzel Gummage so I began to tell him the story and then I thought I might be talking too much. Mummy says children’s prattle is very boring for adults, so I said I would stop now. Mr. Benbow very kindly said I could tell him the rest of the story on the next rainy day.
I’d been so busy talking that I didn’t realise we were nearly there! It was so exciting! Mr. Benbow told me to go in the cabin while we were tying up and I went in and watched out of the windows – I mean portholes.
I was really, really, really excited! I had never been on an island before! I have read the story of Secret Island lots of times, and now I was going onto a proper real island, not a pretend one!