05 - Rosabel to the Rescue

One of the "Guardians" investigates an infestation problem in the Deep South

Part 1: Rosabel is Summoned

By Pam Bateman

Tap-tap-tap, then silence… Tap-tap-TAP-tap-TAP – more insistent this time. Granny Mouse went to the front door and opened it. At first she couldn’t see anyone and was about to close the door again when she heard an indignant little squeak. Peering down she saw two of the Fivepenny TweedyMice huddled together against the wind.

Suzie and little Cyril on the doorstep

“Why! It’s Cyril and Suzie! Hello little mice, what brings you two out on such a windy day? And, Cyril, why aren’t you wearing your Dr Who scarf?”
“Good morning, Granny Mouse,” they said politely in unison.
“Well, we believe that Rosabel, one of the friendly R— ooops Guardians, is staying with you temporarily and…” began Suzie.
Cyril interrupts: “Yes, and we’ve been relegated…”
“He means delegated,” corrected Suzie.
“Yes, well, er, we’ve come to escort her back to Fivepenny with us. Her friend Ragnar has come to live with us and he’s very much looking forward to seeing Rosabel again. And as for my extraordinarily long Dr Who scarf, well I kept tripping over it and making my whiskers muddy so I decided to wear this one instead.”
“Is Rosabel going to stay with you for long?” asked Granny Mouse.
“No,” Suzie answered. “We think she’s going to help a friend in England who has an infestation problem of some kind that needs dealing with… but that’s another story.”

Hearing Granny Mouse talking to someone at the front door, Rosabel proceeds sedately down the stairs, her ten little protégées scurrying past her, tumbling over one another in their haste.

“Careful, little ones,” cautioned Rosabel, “We don’t want any injuries.”
“Oooh look!! It’s Suzie and little Cyril! They’ve come to visit us! What a treat!” exclaimed Catherine, Sarah. Morag and Rosa simultaneously.
“We can’t stay long – well perhaps just for one night,” added Suzie on seeing the disappointment in several little faces, “because we’re on an important mission.”
“Yes,” said Cyril, proudly, “We’ve been specially chosen to bring your Guardian back to Fivepenny so that she can go somewhere else. I’m not quite sure about the next bit because it gets rather confusing – something to do with incestation I think.”
“We’ve been told that a Guardian is urgently needed by a good friend in England who…” began Suzie.
“Yes,” said Cyril again. “And if Rosabel can cope with you lot, then she can cope with anything!”
 “Cyril!! You weren’t supposed to say that,” whispered Suzie. “It’s not diplomatic.”  

“Oh, I see,” said Esther slowly, not seeing at all, “But what are you doing sitting at the bottom of the stairs eating Granny Mouse’s favourite cheese?” she asked, somewhat enviously.
“It’s a special treat because we’ve come all the way from Fivepenny braving the elements,” said Suzie.
“Yes,” said Cyril yet again, “and the weather’s not very good out there either.”

After supper (yes they all enjoyed some of Granny Mouse’s special cheese) the mice spent a fun evening together, scampering about and playing hide-and-seek. Rosabel admitted to Granny Mouse that, although she would miss them all, she was rather looking forward to her new venture, and to seeing her friend Ragnar again.

The next day, the wind having died down considerably, all the tweedy mice came to the kitchen to wish Rosabel, Suzie and Cyril a safe journey.

Sarah presented Rosabel with a little gift and a tweedy scarf to show their gratitude to her for being such a kind and gentle Guardian to the girl tweedy mice over the past few weeks. Wiping away a tear, Rosabel thanked them all, and after giving them all an affectionate squeeze, she went away, flanked by Cyril and Suzie.

© PRAB 2019.

Part 2: Down to Business


'Hi, I'm Ragnar! 
'Suzie and Cyril are on their way back to Fivepenny, with Rosabel. She's a friend of mine, a Guardian, who has a long journey coming up! So, this morning I'm here in Stèornytown where I have a couple of jobs to do! 
'The main one is, I have to check on the RTP system. Now, that stands for Rapid Transit Portal, but I think you People call it Post Office, or, postbox! It's the quick travel system for the TweedyMice who are going to all parts of the country - indeed, the world - to live in their new homes! What is less well known, is that we Guardians use it when we have urgent jobs to do all over the country, looking after colonies of TweedyMice!

The main RTP

'This is the RTP in the centre of Stèornytown! Do you notice something? If I go round the corner...   

Another RTP

'...there's another RTP, here. Do you - SEE - anything?
'Yes, those eyes on the RTPs are the sign for the Guardians that this is one of their portals! Anyway, all seems in order here, so off to the next job!
'Now, when other colonies of tweedy mice turn up, it's our job to make contact, mainly to say hello, and make friends with them! I had a report from the centre of Stèornytown that a small colony of quite timid and intellectual mice were at a shop called Tweedtastic.
'And here are two of them! Hi, I'm Ragnar!'

HouseMice at Tweedtastic

'Ooh, we're very pleased to meet you!' squeaked an orange HouseMouse, nervously.
'Hello, Ragnar! Welcome to our shop!' said a HouseMouse wearing a nice Scottish pendant. 'This is where we set off to our new homes!' 
'Well, we chatted on, mainly about cheese, but the HouseMice also described how most of them have activities, like, jewellery, knitting, reading, fishing. Very clever mice!'

KeyMice at Harris Tweed Hebrides

'Then, I went next door to Harris Tweed Hebrides and said Hello to more tweedy mice, from a place called Orb Designs! They all work in security, looking after people's keys for them! 
'People are very careless with their keys,' explained a green KeyMouse. 
'So our job is very important!' stated an orange KeyMouse, proudly.
'But it can get a bit cramped in their pockets!' added a pink KeyMouse.    

'Well, that was a good but busy morning! Now back to Fivepenny!'

'Yes,' explained Ragnar to the TweedyMice. 'Everything is in place for Rosabel's journey! We just need...,' he stopped, as there was a knock at the door, and a Cyril-sounding squeak.
'Hello! ... We're here! ... Hi! ... It's us!...' came a variety of squeaks and squeals from excited TweedyMice, as the door opened. 
There was a pause.... 

Rosabel arrives in Fivepenny with Cyril and Suzie

'Hello, I'm Rosabel! I'm very pleased to meet you!' 
'Would you like some cheese?' asked Victoria. 
'Yes, please!' replied Rosabel.
'Y-E-S!!' echoed a chorus.

The Fivepenny TweedyMice welcoming Rosabel

And the TweedyMice did what TweedyMice do best, and welcomed Rosabel with lots of cheese. And chatter.

Cheese party

'How is Granny Mouse?'
'Are the youngsters as naughty as we were?'
'What about Viola? France!'
'Well, Kathy-Lynn in Canada, Prince Edward Island, she looks after a herd - flock? - of guinea-pigs!' 

Next morning, Ragnar and Rosabel were up early, wearing their down-to-business expressions.

The briefing

 'It's a very - fluffy? - scarf!' said Ragnar, slightly bemused.
'The TweedyMice gave it to me, and the minimouse, as leaving presents! Don't worry, I can focus on the job! What intel do we have?' asked Rosabel, serious now.
'Sketchy. An infestation, invasion, Colchester, the house where TweedyMice Heather and Lady Seaforth live.'
'Seven,' said Ragnar, 'at the last count. The Person there, who looks after the TweedyMice well, she captured seven and freed them!'
'Let them live? That's - good?' questioned Rosabel.
'Depends where she put them! Report says, compost heap.'
'Distance? From the house.'
'Don't know.'
'Could have got back in?'
'Any fires, smoke, you know, suicide mice, chewing electric cables?'
'Not as far as we know. Can't ignore the possibility. Needs checking.' 
'So, establish a perimeter. Close all access.'
'Assume cavity walls, yes, close off tunnels.'
Rosabel nodded slowly.  

Rosabel's equipment

'Robbie and Kirsty have been getting your gear ready. Over here. Binoculars, to keep watch. Baton, yes? Now I think you should take a gun!'

'Thought you'd say that!' smiled Rosabel. 'I don't think the Person would like that, if she's freed the Colchester Seven!'
'Better safe than sorry?'
'I have been looking after young TweedyMice; I think I can handle these wee squeakers!'
'Mmmn, good training!' grinned Ragnar.

'Come on, you two!' called Suzie. 'The RTP pod's here!'

The RTP pod (with Cyril perched precariously on top)

'I like your RTP pod!' said Cyril, excitedly.
'You must be going first class!' exclaimed Kirsty. 'Look at the nesting tweed!'
'You'll be very comfortable!' squeaked Victoria.
'Have you got everything?' asked Robbie.
'We've put your cheese in the rucksack.'
'And your equipment!' added Ragnar.
'And a bottle of cheese cordial!' piped up Paprika.
'Oh, thank you everyone!' smiled Rosabel, as she set off on her long journey.
'Oh, where's Cyril?'
'Coo-ee!' came from on high.
'Have a good journey!'
'Cyril!' said Suzie. 'Come down, you'll fall!'    

© 2019 AW

Part 3: Reconnaissance and a Problem Solved - Let's Picnic!


Chapter 1 - Fivepenny, Isle of Lewis

Text received from Rosabel in Colchester

'Already?' squeaked Cyril, excitedly. 'That's - just 24 hours!'
'Just got the message, via Squeaker, look!' reported Ragnar. 'Yes, Rosabel travelled from Stèornytown to Colchester, in the Deep South, in just 24 hours!'
'But - people can't do that distance, that fast!' exclaimed Cyril, still amazed.
'Only if they fly!' explained Ragnar. 'But she used the RTP, and travelled first class!'
'Wow!' wowed Cyril.

Chapter 2 - Rosabel Reconnoitres in Colchester, the Deep South

'Ragnar? Rosabel! Weather, visibility, good. Heather and LS - that's Jade, but she likes to be called Lady Seaforth! Don't ask! They want to go on a picnic later, so I'm off to reconnoitre, make sure it's safe and the perimeter is being maintained. There's a safe zone here, bounded by a wall - that's established as the perimeter for the Wild Mice. Beyond that, is the Wilderness, including the Compost Heap. There've been no recent incursions, so we're hopeful there'll be no problem!'

Watching at the hole     Photo © JC 2019

'Just near the boundary wall. Here's where they got past the wall! Doesn't look like it's been used recently! We can keep a watch on that!'

Watching from the wall    Photo © JC 2019

'The boundary wall, further round. Looks clear. I'm going to leave my pack and go further in.'

Watching on grass     Photo © JC 2019

'Good! All clear so far!'

'Here's the boundary wall again, deeper in the Wilderness and the Compost Heap. Still looks clear. Smells - a wee bit pungent!' 

Watching at compost heap     Photo © JC 2019

Chapter 3 - Let's Picnic!

'So, can we have a picnic, Rosabel?' asked Heather, eagerly.
'Yes, there's a nice picnic place by the bluebells!' added LS - Lady Seaforth!
'Good news, Tweedies!' announced Rosabel. 'I've reconnoitred - '
'Reckonwhatted?' squeaked LS. 

Rosabel's favourable report     Photo © JC 2019

' - looked round, this morning,' went on Rosabel. 'I found a hole they probably used to stay hidden, but it's not been used for some time. And I think the boundary wall works as - a boundary!  The Compost Heap and the Wilderness are behind it, so the Wild Mice have plenty of room, without bothering us or the house!'
'They stay on their side of the line,' said Heather. 'And we don't want to go wandering round the Compost Heap, do we, LS?'
'Ooh, definitely not!' agreed LS.
'Now, did someone mention bluebells - and a picnic? And does that include cheese?' 'Absolutely!' said Heather.    

Heather 'just checking' the cheese     Photo © JC 2019

'Come on, follow us!' squeaked LS. 'We were setting it all up while you were reckonthinging the Compost Heap!'

'What a delightful setting!' exclaimed Lady S     Photo © JC 2019

© 2019 AW

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"Magnanimice" is an invented word meaning magnanimous (kind-hearted) mice