Christine Cohen Park
The First Story......
Grandma Christine leaves her home in Lewes Sussex to visit Jake in North London where he lives with his Mummy and Daddy and cat Bon-bon. She takes a train, then the London Underground, and the last part she walkes. She carries a wicker basket with a book in it and something for Jake’s tea. When she arrives she is hot and exhausted, ready to rest for a while with a cup of tea. But very soon Jake has finished the last of what was in his lunchbox and the bun grandma brought him. He wants her to finish her cup of tea QUICKLY and get down on the floor and play with him. She tries to think of a way to delay the moment.
‘Jake, I’ve got a story for you today. You remember my dogs?’
Jake pictures Grandma’s dogs Drummer and Munro.
‘Last Sunday, Munro (the one on the right of the picture) got stuck down a rabbit warren. The fire brigade had to dig him out.’
Jake wishes he’d been there. ‘How did Munro get stuck?’
‘It’s a long story. I was having lunch with Auntie Eva and in her garden there are lots of rabbit holes.
‘Suddenly Munro was nowhere to be found. Then we heard him barking from underneath the earth. We went into the garden. We didn’t know which hole he was stuck in.
‘We put our ear to many of them, but Munro’s whimpers sounded a long way off, very quiet, like this...woooof, wooooof. He sounded as if he was in trouble..
‘Auntie Eva got out her spades and we dug and dug at the hole that looked the most likely. But when we had dug as deep as the spades would go there was still just a small hole not large enough for a dog to get out of, and no sign of Munro. We called to him from the other holes.
‘He wasn’t answering our calls by then, so we didn’t know where he was any more. We called and called and it was just silent.’
Oh dear, thinks Jake, this is bad.
‘Then Auntie Eva phoned 999 and soon a fire brigade came to the house with six firemen in it. All the neighbours looked out of their windows. One man stayed in the car but the other five got out. They dug at different mole holes but they couldn’t hear any dog barking.
‘One tall man lay on the ground and used a machine to see if he could find out where Munro was because the machine should detect the temperature of his body. It didn’t work.
‘Suddenly Munro started barking again. The firemen all started digging in different places where they thought the sound was coming from. I pointed to the hole I thought he was in. The fireman dug there. They came to some heavy slabs of concrete and had to haul them out of the way. They managed to dig an opening, just a small one far into the earth. We could hear Munro now inside.
‘I lay on the grass and looked right into the hole and I saw two brown eyes. Munro was completely buried in earth. He looked quite cross – Help, how have I got into this situation!
‘Then the firemen dug some more to loosen the earth round him. Then we saw a tiny spray of earth and knew Munro had started digging himself. So we called together, Come on Munro, come on Boy, you can do it! He pawed away at the earth his movements getting stronger as he had more space and faster still. And suddenly this dog covered from head to feet in earth climbed his way out of the hole and shook himself. And the men said, ‘Oh what a funny looking dog!
‘But I was very pleased to see him, and he me. He had been down the hole for three hours, and that’s a long time, Jake. It’s like from the time you go to nursery school to the time you come home. I took him off to wash all the earth off. The firemen came too, pleased that they had helped us save Munro. One of them rubbed the shampoo into a lather as I showered him down. Then we towelled him dry and he didn’t look like a funny dog anymore but like a very nice dog. Auntie Eva made all the men tea. They sat around drinking and laughing, and stroking Munro, who couldn’t stop wagging his tail.’
Jake gets two little plastic men from his train set and hides them down the back of the sofa. He has small hands so he can push them a long way in.
The figures are Munro and Drummer and they are both lost. He and Grandma have to call out, ‘Munro! Drummer! Where are you?’ They do that a lot. But there isn’t a sound, or a movement. Oh dear,’ says Jake with satisfaction, ‘they are quite, quite lost, Grandma.’ He has that twinkle in his eyes again.
Grandma tries to rescue them by putting her hand down the sofa. Her fingertips feel all the bits of dust and fluff and crumbs from old meals that have gathered there, but not the two figures. ‘I think my hand is too large, darling. I can’t get at them. You’ll have to do it.’
‘Oh no,’ declares Jake, ‘I can’t. Poor Munro and Drummer are very lost. I think they will have to stay there.’
‘But they can’t stay there,’ Grandma protests.
Jake thinks hard. ‘I have an idea. We could get my tool box.’
‘Yes – what for?’
‘Grandma, we’ll need the drill to drill holes in the sofa. The screwdriver to undo the bolts. The hammer to hammer out the pegs.’
‘And the saw?’
‘We may need to saw the sofa in half…’
So Jake gets to work with his drill, his saw, and all his other tools.
After a while Grandma is sitting on the floor and around her are bits of the sofa. (Pretending.)
Jake makes Grandma put her hand back down the sofa again, past all the bits of debris. This time out come to the two little figures. Found!
Jake gets busy with his toolbox and puts the sofa together, so it is all mended when Mummy and Daddy come home from work.
Then Jake gives Munro and Drummer a sausage as a reward, because they have been lost and are found again.
Then Jake sits down to a big supper after all that work. And Grandma has another cup of tea...
You might want to play the same game. Anything very tiny in your house could be made into Drummer and Munro. They could be little animals or toy figures, they could just as well be teaspoons. Choose a place to hide them. Down the back of a sofa, or the back of a chair. Hide them as deep as you can. Then ask Mummy or Daddy to look for them. Call for
them: Drummer…Munro…where are you?
When they can’t be found, pretend to be the firemen come to rescue them, or get out your play tool box (or imagine one) and pretend to take the furniture apart till the two little dogs are discovered. Then put the furniture back together and get ready a little doggy snack as a treat for the dogs. Now, if you’ve followed the whole story and the game, it might be time for a treat for you, too. Isn’t that right Mummy, Daddy?
Tips from Jake for More Things To Do To S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Mind
You can look up Lewes on a roadmap or a google map, and trace the journey from there to North London that Grandma Christine made.
You can read our list of how kids should be to their dog friends click to see it, or make up a list of your own.
You can find out all about what firemen do when they are not digging dogs out of rabbit holes!