Umbridge – episode three

An everyday story of extraordinary country folk

The story so far:-

Young John Farmer arrives home from University to find that all is not well at Rookfield Farm.  Both the prize Boar, Quinton, and his Father, Loon E Farmer, are unwell and will not touch Old Bart’s Triple X Special Bitter. In fact neither will eat nor drink anything except lemonade.  The cause has been identified by MAFF Scientists as being due to a rare virus known as Triple X Lemonade Disease.  The only known cure is to drink pints of shandy and then to slowly decrease the lemonade content.  Meanwhile, after obtaining a supply of Old Bart’s and Lemonade, John meets Grace Ourchurch, the fifteen stone vicar’s daughter on her new bicycle outside the ‘Chick Inn’.

Now read on:-

“Well, John,” said Grace, “What was it you wanted to ask me?”

     “It’s really rather embarrassing,” replied John uncertainly.

     “Go on, John, you can tell me,” she insisted.

     “Well,” said John taking a deep breath, “I wonder if I could have a go on your new bike.”

     “Oh,” said Grace in disappointment.  “Well, all right.  Don’t go too fast.”  She dismounted.

     John set down his rucksack, which contained the bottles of beer and lemonade, mounted the bicycle and rode off.  He rode three times around the village green before he returned to where he had left Grace.

     “How was it?” she asked.

     “Not bad,” he replied, “though I don’t think the saddle springs will last very long.”  With that he dismounted, took up his rucksack, bade farewell to Grace and then continued his journey home.

     He had only walked a quarter of a mile when,  “Bang!”  He felt a sudden gust of wind as something passed through his hair, close to his scalp, and embedded itself in the branch of a large oak, which broke off and crashed to earth.  Terrified, he threw himself to the ground.

     “Well, if it baint young John Farmer!  Sorry, John I thought you was vermin.”

     John lifted his face from the earth.  It was Tom Mellors, head gamekeeper to Lord and Lady Chasterly.  In his hand he held a smoking shotgun.  At his side was his faithful ferret, Gip, who when not chasing rabbits, was fed on a diet of beefburgers and crips.

     “It’s a good job you’re a bad shot, Tom,” said John getting to his feet and brushing the dirt from his clothes.

     “Sorry,” repeated Tom, “but you gotta keep on yer toes in this job.  Why only t’other day I comes across a group of men breaking eggs  into saucepans o’ boiling water.”

     “Gosh, why were they doing that?”

     “They was poachers.  Down Gip!”  He gestured sternly to the  ferret.  “You must ‘scuse Gip,” he said.  “We’ve just cleared out a band of migrant rabbits over on Watership Down an’ E’s a bit excitable.  Well I must be off now.  I got an appointment wi’ ‘er Ladyship in the potting shed.  ‘Ere, Gip!” With that the ferret leapt nimbly into his trouser pocket and the two of them set off through the woods.

     John checked that none of his bottles were broken and then continued on his way.  He had just reached the gate to Rookfield Farm when he saw his mother running towards him.

     “John!” she cried.  “It’s the Ministry of Agriculture.  Apparently there’s a Triple X Lemonade Disease Eradication Scheme.  They’re going to shoot Quinton!”

Can Quinton be saved?  If so, will Triple X Lemonade Disease spread throughout the country, leaving terror and empty lemonade bottles in its wake?  What will become of Loon?  Find out in the next exciting instalment of Umbridge.



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