By Ian Souter
The sun slipped silently through the window,
sprinted with enthusiasm across the floor
and then leapt energetically onto the bed.
Tom stirred, as light and warmth crept across him
like some yellow, mellow stretching cat.
Turning, he welcomed the gentle snuggle
and lay calmly for a few moments,
allowing the hug to generously spread over him.
Then his mind was up, indeed springing up
as Tom allowed his thoughts to take up needles
and begin knitting a few ideas together;
yes knitting together a plan for the day.
It was Saturday – Tom’s day of freedom.
Before long Tom had a Fair Isle jumper of thoughts for his day
while his face had become a road map of adventure.
Now he slowly took out his imagination,
added a few further ideas to finalize his day,
then slotted his imagination back into place.
Yes he was definitely ready – planned and sorted!
An hour later he was breakfasted, washed and on his way.
His way being to visit his grandfather’s cottage,
the cottage that lay deep in the woods on the other side of town.
It was a secret cottage hidden in the greenery of the forests;
a cottage that even Little Red Riding Hood
would have been pleased to visit!
Tom slipped out of his front door offering a quick goodbye
and set off with lumps of grey surrounding him;
the sun having long since danced away.
Above him the roof of a sky was now concrete
and the houses around him appeared dull and bored
but he slipped on quickly until he reached the High Street
where noise suddenly slapped all about him
like thrashing waves in a stormy harbour.
The busy street around him breathed heavily,
bustling with overcrowded people
and hustling with coughing cars
while an aeroplane suddenly tore across the sky
ripping it in half.
They were rushing:
off to work
off to shop
off to visit
and Tom was off towards his grandfather’s cottage.
He turned down an alley with his nose twitching
at the pollution but finding no solution;
he was just pleased to be leaving the congestion behind.
Soon he was heading towards open fields
and the closed, greenery of the woods.
Here, a last row of wobbled cottages appeared to step back
allowing him to pass through to another world.
The world of trees, plants, ferns, insects and nature
then if by order the sun appeared again,
sprinting after Tom as if they were both late
for a very special party!
Tom now picked up the trail of the river
that ducked into the forest;
he threaded, treaded the stitched path
that ran alongside its mossy bank.
Soon he felt a breeze tickle at him
and warm air trickled over him;
above a lone cloud tried to slip past unnoticed
while the river giggled along
without saying a word.
Tom now slowed and watched a slice of sunlight,
imitate a piece of precious jewellery,
as it settled on the far bank
and winked brightly and keenly at him.
He warmed a few thoughts on it
before filtering onwards
leaving an amiable smile behind
as a good-natured thank you.
A few moments later he could see his grandfather’s cottage,
time having pushed it back into the greenery,
it was a hidden secret, lost from the outside world.
The cottage appeared embroidered onto a leafy backdrop
and Tom could see a clearing in front of the cottage
that lay like a huge, welcoming mat.
It was dotted with flowers tripping over each other
and up above in the canopy of the trees
the sun flopped lazily and hazily
without a summer’s care in the world.
A secret cottage, a secret visit…
but there was one more secret
that Tom now began to think about
as his hand touched his canvas pocket!
A secret that he hoped would please his grandfather.
Tom knew that his grandfather was getting older
and how his grandfather liked to live alone
with only nature as his neighbour.
No telephone, no outside contact
but if something was to happen…?
So this thought had worried away at Tom
until his knitting needles had come up with an idea.
Tom smiled again as he touched the plastic body
of the mobile phone that nestled inside his pocket.
His grandfather had always resisted technology,
repeatedly saying he was an elder-saurus
who didn’t fit in with the modern ways
however on his last visit Tom had noted a change.
He had mentioned to his grandfather
about the paths leading in and out and all about his cottage
and wouldn’t it be easier to have a phone
that could send messages in the same way
in and out and all about to… the outside world…
to Tom, or Tom’s parents, or anyone his grandfather needed to talk to.
Of course his mobile number would be private
just like his grandfather wanted to be!
Tom now slowly raised his eyes
as a crack in the front door of the cottage appeared,
followed by his grandfather edging into view.
Grandfather was carrying his usual warming smile
then Tom suddenly felt a warmth deepen inside him
as he felt he was…at home!
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