Ellie’s Christmas Carol

It was the middle of winter, nearly Christmas, but nobody was ready for the holiday because a great storm had almost wrecked the country. Strong winds had blown down trees, electricity pylons and television aerials. Heavy rain had swelled the rivers, washed away bridges, flooded houses and blocked drains. There was no electricity, no gas, no water, no television, no telephone and no computers. Then the rain stopped and it got very, very cold. The rivers turned to ice and the roads were so slippery that cars could not drive on them. Then there was a snow storm. The wind blew the snow into high drifts that covered houses, hospitals, shops, hills, fields, lanes and tracks.

The country fell silent. Wild animals scurried around to keep warm; birds flew silently overhead, searching the frozen landscape for a hedge or tree poking through the snow. Farm animals shivered in their sheds; milk could not be collected so farmers threw it away.

People could not go to work. There were no buses or trains; aeroplanes could not take off or land. Petrol stations ran out of fuel; nobody could use their cars or motor bikes, and bicycles were too dangerous to ride on the ice and snow. Nobody talked about anything except the weather and the broken world. Most people wanted to just crawl under a great big duvet, go to sleep, and wake up when everything worked again.

To read the whole story, see  Ellie’s Christmas Story.


The Man in the Hat

There once was a fellow, The Man in the Hat, Who wore one both inside and outside his flat. He wore it at meals, in the bath, and in bed To keep his thoughts safe; his ideas in his head. No matter what time of the day or the night They never escaped (if he kept it on tight.) Some people just laughed; some stopped for a chat; Some were aghast at – The Man In The Hat.

He had brain cells to spare, The Man In The Hat, Despite ten million thoughts about this and that: eddy bears, picnics, Lord Byron, the Sea Whether young children should have jam for tea, The price of tomatoes, eggs with two yolks, The weight of the Earth, the source of good jokes, Under his Thinking Cap, that’s where he’s at; Ideas were like jewels for – The Man In The Hat.

He didn’t speak much, The Man In The Hat, He had lots of secrets, except from his cat, (Whom he fed on tinned milk, fried carrots and cheese, And once in a while, a small fish, if you please!) While Tarquin (the cat) was having his dinner The Man In The Hat grew thinner and thinner. When she’d finished her meal, he gave her a pat And she stared with love at – The Man In The Hat.

He only ate breakfast, The Man In The Hat, Then he’d go for a walk – to stop getting fat. He’d take his left overs, some peanuts, and bread, And stand in the park with the food on his head. That was the signal for birds to take flight Then land on his hat, just out of his sight. The sound of their beaks going rat-a-tat-tat Was their way to say “Thanks” to – The Man In The Hat.

He’d walk a long way, The Man In The Hat, To have tea with his friend, an old lady called Pat. Then he’d go home to sit in his chair To ponder: why Elvis Costello was fair? Or if Ant and Dec would always be there? Or what Britney Spears was likely to wear? Or whether The Muppet Show needs Roland Rat? Such rich thoughts sustained – The Man in The Hat.

At teatime on Mondays, The Man In The Hat Brushed it clean, ’till it shone, like the hair on his cat, So the crumbs and the dust and the flies (which were dead) Would not get mixed up with ideas in his head. One day though, while grooming, he had a great fright He felt his hat wobble and lean to the right: His hair underneath had grown thick, like a mat, Which greatly unsettled – The Man In The Hat.

The experts were called to The Man In the Hat: A barber, a hatter, a retired bureaucrat. But for cutting his hair without losing a thought From under his hat, their ideas came to naught. So generals, prime ministers, the Laird of That Ilk, Father Christmas, archbishops, a Q.C. in Silk, Gravely reasoned but, sadly, had to say that They could do nothing for – The Man In The Hat.

He was filled with despair, The Man In The Hat, And even imagined his hair in a plait. Then his thoughts were disturbed by a knock on the door Which surprised him, though less than the sight he then saw. A lady marched in (to his utmost alarm) With a Hoover Vacoom loosely under her arm. On her head, a big fruity, flower’ry hat sat Quite firmly, it seemed, to – The Man In The Hat.

“Come in,” (once she had) said The Man in The Hat. “Sit down,” she commanded, and down he soon sat. She plugged in her Hoover and inserted the hose Right under his hat and (as you’d suppose) Hoovered his thoughts up, into the machine, Then she took out a razor and shaved his head clean. She hoovered his hat, put it back, and said that: “As bald as a coot, you’re – The Man In The Hat.”

“My ideas!” cried our hero, The Man In the Hat. “Here they come,” said the lady, “Don’t worry ’bout that.” Reversing her Hoover she blew them all back From the bag of her lusty, trusty old vac. He turned and looked at her, love in his heart: “You’re a genius,” he said, “we must never part!” And so they were married, and soon there were brats, For the Man and the Lady in their different Hats.

Politics For Children Beware the modern politician Who always has a fixed position Their principles will never vary Their words, though, seem to be contrary.