On Sunday, I finally took Hannah camping, as I had promised quite some time ago. The weather was great and off we went, a Dad and Daughter camping trip! We ate fish and chips in Swansea, had a coffee and cake (dad had coffee, daughter had cake!) at Tombolo’s in Coles Bay, and then started walking over the Wineglass Bay Lookout, and down to Wineglass Bay. Wineglass Bay Beach seemed to last forever, but we eventually arrived at our camp spot, at the far end of the beach, which was warm, and still, and deserted. It was beautiful, as we ate our pasta for dinner and then explored after dinner, finding amazing views, and shells and bones. Wallabies were interested, and none too shy, of us and our packs and things.
Camping overnight went well, and the following morning, we walked back out, and back over the Wineglass Bay Lookout. To pass the time as we climbed, Hannah gave me a Five Things Story to tell. This is a little tradition we have, where one of us gives the other five random things, and we have to construct a story out of it. Here’s the story for the climb:
Five Things: Little girl, man, spy agency, secret spy lamp, magical talking hairbrush
Daniel Higginbottom was, to all appearances, a very ordinary man. He drove a boring brown car, ate boring breakfast cereal, and worked as an accountant in the Department of the Treasury in the Kingdom. But as we shall see, things aren’t always quite what they seem. Not even to Daniel.
One morning, Daniel arose, got dressed, ate his breakfast, and drove his ordinary brown car down to his office, where he parked in his usual spot under the building, and took the lift up to his office. And here’s where we discover the first thing. For while Daniel appeared to work in the Department of the Treasury, in actual fact, his job was definitely interesting. Because Daniel was a spy!
On this fine morning, Daniel walked into the Spy Master’s office, to which he had been summoned the instant he arrived in the building.
“Daniel, my man, I have a new mission for you! Do you wish to accept it?”
“What? How can I decide if I will accept it unless I know what it is?”
“Well, I could tell you, but then if you didn’t accept, I’d have to kill you,” his boss replied.
“Uh, well, in that case, I accept!” said Daniel.
“Good man! I knew I could count on you!” cried the Spy Master. “Now, in the neighbouring kingdom, there is a princess who has a priceless magical talking hairbrush. We require you to obtain this hairbrush and return it to our kingdom. Any questions?”
“None so far,” said Daniel, who as you can probably tell by now was a very confident fellow.
“Very well. We have prepared your usual Spy Gadgets, and one new one: this tube of toothpaste which I am passing you now appears to be completely normal, until you press it just so” – and the Spy Master pressed it, just so – “and then it turns into a Secret Spy Lamp.” And so it did.
“Excellent!” said Daniel enthusiastically. He turned and walked out of the office, collecting his Spy Kit on the way, and made his way back down to the car park. I should mention at this point that he was now known as Fred Smith, Agent Extraordinaire. And there was no way that Fred Smith, Agent Extraordinaire could possibly drive a boring brown car. No, he drove a bright red sports car.
And so “Fred” drove his bright red sports car all the way to the neighbouring kingdom. He had no trouble making his way to the capital, and as soon as he arrived, he saw the posters announcing that there was to be a Ball at the King’s Castle-Palace the following evening, to celebrate the eighth birthday of the princess. “Excellent!” thought our intrepid agent. Now he just needed to get an invitation.
He drove around the beautiful little city that surrounded the palace-castle up on the mount, until he found a couturier, where a steady stream of young ladies entered and exited, getting last minute changes made to their ball gowns. He watched and waited for a bit until he spotted a young lady that he decided would be his target.
He approached her and introduced himself. Then he asked about all the people going into the milliners’ store, and she explained about the Ball.
“Oh wow!” said Fred-Daniel. “I’ve always wanted to go to a Ball!”
“That’s amazing!” exclaimed the young lady. “It just so happens I have a spare invitation. Would you like it?”
“Would I ever?” responded Fred, enthusiastically as ever. “Boy,” he thought to himself, “this mission is a walk in the park. Twenty minutes in and I’ve already got a way into the Palace!” And then he tried his next card: “would you like a lift home in my bright red sports car?”
“That would be lovely,” said the young lady. (And here, may I add, if an enthusiastic young man ever offers *you* a lift home, especially if he is driving in a bright red sports car, I would highly recommend you *don’t* accept!)
A few minutes later, the young lady said, “please drop me at this corner.” They stopped, and she continued, “I’d really like to introduce you at the Ball – would you like to pick me up from this corner tomorrow evening, at 5pm?”
“Certainly!” said Daniel-Fred. “How much easier could this mission get?” he thought.
So Agent Fred made his way to his hotel, where he slept and then breakfasted somewhat in the manner of his alter ego, that is, boringly, and prepared for the Ball that evening. Near 5 o’clock, all dressed up in his finest clothes, he made his way to the corner, where sure enough, the young lady was waiting!
They drove together up the hill to the castle, a windy road clinging to the edge of the cliff, passing every now and then houses perched on the very edge of the precipice. Finally, they arrived at the palace gates, and the young lady leaned over and said, “Madelina Brompton, and guest.” (So now we finally know her name.) The palace guard seemed to think this was just fine, and opened the gate, and in they drove.
They followed the line of cars carrying guests to the Ball, until Madelina told Fred to park in her own parking spot, before they reached the front door. As soon as the car pulled to a stop, four men leaped out of a door and surrounded the car! Daniel-Fred looked at Madelina with astonishment, as she now sat there holding a gun, pointing at him. “Out of the car, please, Mr Smith, or should I say Mr Higginbottom!” she asked.
Daniel certainly felt confused. How had she cracked his secret identity? But he didn’t have much time to think about that, as he was hustled down the stairs and into a dark cell. As the door slammed, he started to feel a bit sorry for himself, until he remembered his toothpaste tube. They hadn’t taken that from him, at least. He could have clean teeth … no, wait, he could see! He pressed the toothpaste tube just so, and it lit up, just so. He explored his cell carefully, and finally found down in one corner, some writing scratched on the wall: “the way lies beneath.”
This seemed too good to be true, but Daniel was enthusiastic and confident, even despite this minor setback in his plans, so he set to testing all the flagstones until he found one that lifted up. And indeed there was a passage out from his cell from this flagstone. Without hesitation, he dived down the passage, and shortly thereafter found himself in the sewer tunnel under the Palace.
A few minutes later, he found himself outside the Palace walls, the Palace high above him on the cliff face. But Daniel was on familiar ground again: he knew how he could get into the Palace, and instantly started to climb his way up the cliff face to the windows shining out into the night, high above him. Surely there would be an open window somewhere, and he wouldn’t have to climb all the way to the roof!
And there was, above and to the right, an open window. Carefully but smoothly he climbed up the wall, swinging himself from handhold to handhold, just like any secret agent would. He reached the window very quickly indeed, considering how high the cliff was, and how high the walls reached above the cliff, and swung himself inside, behind the curtain, and caught his breath.
He felt like gasping for breath, and his heart hammered in his chest, but he could hear someone talking in the room, on the phone it sounded like, so he worked hard to make no noise at all. The person’s voice sounded somewhat familiar, and he listened as she spoke: “… yes … no problem at all … he did seem rather the confident sort … oh no, I’m sure he has escaped from that cell now … any moment now I’m sure he’ll be climbing in my window and I’ll be ready …”
Daniel froze. But only for a second, and then he dove back out the window, and clung grimly to the wall, waiting and straining to hear the rest of the conversation.
“ … just a second …” and, yes, it was Madelina Brompton who pulled the curtains back and looked around while Daniel pushed himself against the wall and tried his hardest to keep out of sight in the shadows. She let the curtains swing open and went back to the telephone “ … no, no sign of him … he mustn’t be as good as we thought …” and here Daniel grinned to himself in grim glee – at least here he had outwitted her! Madelina finished her conversation and Daniel heard the door close. He waited a minute, and then hauled himself back into the room.
Daniel pondered. What was going on? How did Madelina know about him? Did she know about his mission? Had someone given him away?
But the room was now deserted, and Daniel quickly cracked the door open and looked down the hallway. It shouldn’t be hard from here to make his way to the Princess’s suite, he thought. And it wasn’t. The hallways seemed to be deserted, although he could hear in the distance the sounds of a Grand Ball.
Daniel looked at his clothes regretfully. They certainly weren’t spick and span now, ready for a Ball, after having clambered through a secret passage, slithered down a sewer, and climbed up a wall. Despite that, they were surprisingly clean!
Without a lot of trouble, and without being spotted, he found the Princess’s suite, and eased his way in the door. And there, sitting on a dressing table, visible through the open door of the dressing room, was a hairbrush. No doubt, the very hairbrush he had been tasked to collect!
He quickly strode across the room, walked into the dressing room, reached for the hairbrush, and felt someone looking at him. He turned, and there sitting in the corner of the dressing room, was Madelina Brompton!
“Welcome, Daniel!” she said. Daniel swung around to leave, but someone was now standing in the doorway. His Spy Master was standing in the doorway. Daniel’s world was falling. What was going on? Now, the young princess arrived in the doorway too!
The Spy Master looked at him. “Daniel,” he said, “you’ve been too over-confident recently, and we wanted to teach you a little lesson. You fell for the basic trick of trusting a stranger! And see where it got you!”
“What I think is funny,” said the princess, “is that you just believed that my hairbrush was magical and could talk! That’s just crazy!”
“But I can talk!” said her hairbrush.
After the lookout, we made our way to the carpark, deposited our big packs, and immediately started the climb of Mt Amos. We knew we had only 3 hours to get to the top and back, and it certainly was a challenging climb! But we made it! And got back to the car park, only 2 hours and 50 minutes later.
We took lots of photos. Here are some of the best holiday photos (the scenery photos are later):
Hannah and Dad Trip – Holiday Photos, a set on Flickr.
Then we drove back, stopping in Swansea for fish and chips, and a quick sorbet at Kate’s Berry Farm, before driving all the way back to Hobart, to the telling of another Five Things Story.
Five Things: king, queen, ballerina, diamond, boy
Once upon a time, in the far-off Kingdom of Knott, there lived a kindly King and Queen. They loved their Kingdom, and looked after it, and the pride of their hearts and in fact the pride of the entire Kingdom was the stupendous diamond that was on display in the most important ballroom in their palace!
This diamond sat on a velvet cushion in a glass display case in the ballroom. The King would sometimes lie awake at night, worrying that the diamond might be stolen, but he had protected the diamond as best as he knew how, with the Palace Guards, a secret camera, and even the glass case itself was bulletproof! All would come from far around to gaze upon the magnificence of the diamond. The King and Queen would often stop, on their way to bed, just to admire it!
Now, the Kingdom of Knott (not the Kingdom of Not, nor even of Nott, or Knot, but Knott) was going to have a magnificent celebration. And the highlight of the celebration would be the solo ballet performance by none other than the most famous star of ballet, Madame Tutu! The whole Kingdom waited for the day to arrive.
All but one, that is. Young Jack was not really looking forward to the day to arrive. Jack worked as a servant in the Palace, in the kitchens, and he was the least important person in the whole palace. His usual job was to peel the potatoes for the all the meals and banquets, and to be bossed around by everyone else from the Head Cook on down to the Scullery Maids.
But Jack was also a nice boy and didn’t complain or really even mind that much! All the same, the Grand Banquet on the day of celebration would involve a lot of potatoes so he was dreading that a bit! Of course, the king and queen had no idea that he even existed, because they would never go into the kitchens.
The day before the celebration finally arrived. Madame Tutu arrived, in pomp and state, dressed in resplendent gown and trailing feathers and jewels. She was immediately taken to see the diamond, and it was hard to tell which outshone the other – the ballet dancer, or the jewel! After mutual admiration (if a diamond can admire…) Madame Tutu retired to her suite to prepare for the big day.
Downstairs, Jack peeled potatoes. Lots and lots and lots of potatoes! In fact the pile looked so large, it didn’t seem like he’d ever finish it. But finally, after midnight, he finished peeling the last potato, placing it on the huge pile next to him, ready for cooking, and climbed wearily into his bed, between the scullery door and the potato bin, pulling the old sacks that he used for blankets over his shoulders and instantly falling asleep.
Back upstairs, Madame Tutu’s bed didn’t have any sacks for blankets. No sir! In fact, she had silk, and cushions, and duvets, and a mattress ever so soft and large. But surprisingly enough, Madame Tutu was not in the bed. She was sitting at a table, looking at a large piece of paper. Paper that looked surprisingly like a floor plan. And in fact, it was a floor plan of the palace! What on earth was she up to? And then she picked up an instruction manual for a security camera. Why would she be interested in that?
With a satisfied smile, she placed the manual down on the table, and started to get changed. But not into pyjamas. She put on black tights, black top, and even small black shoes. She put on a black belt with little compartments on it, and a thin black rope looped up on it. She pulled black gloves over her hands, and finally pulled a black mask over her head! What was going on?
Madame Tutu opened her door, and stealthily crept down the stairs, into the servants’ wing, where she slipped past the sleeping boy Jack, and opened the scullery door. A chill breeze blew in and down Jack’s neck, and he woke up and opened one eye lazily. He saw a lady all dressed in black clothes quietly closing the door, and creeping back up the stairs.
Now Jack was curious, so he slipped out of bed and quietly followed her. And saw her stop just outside the grand ballroom, and unhook her rope and toss it over a beam far overhead. Then she quickly climbed up the rope and swung through a window up near the ceiling, into the ballroom itself! Jack could just see her, putting something on top of the security camera in the ballroom, before she swung back down into the ballroom and out of sight.
Jack quickly crept into the ballroom. This lady in black was certainly up to no good! He watched her pull out a diamond saw from her belt and cut a hole in the magnificent diamond’s display case. It may have been bulletproof, but it wasn’t sawproof! She pulled the cut piece of glass away with a sucker, and pulled a small rock out of her belt (her belt had a lot of useful things in it!) The lady (who we know as Madame Tutu) hefted the rock in her hand before gently, ever so gently, passing it through the hole in the display case, and smoothly, but quickly, replacing the diamond with the rock!
She placed the diamond in her belt and then Jack acted. He jumped out, grabbed her rope, and tripped her over with it! All of a sudden, the graceful, lithe lady in black didn’t seem so graceful as she fell over with a thud and uttered a whole lot of very unladylike words! She tried to fight but Jack had surprised her and managed to tie her up. Then he raised the alarm. How did he do that? Well, he just pulled the rock off the diamond’s cushion, and the diamond alarm system went off immediately!
The palace guard came charging in. He knew Jack, of course, and in fact Jack was his nephew. Then he saw the lady in black. Jack told him to look in her belt compartment, so he did, and discovered the diamond! The king and queen came running in, the king in his dressing gown, and with a night cap on, not looking at all like a king, and the queen in her dressing gown and hair rollers, not looking at all like a queen! They stared as the palace guard took off the lady’s mask, and all gasped as they realised it was none other than Madame Tutu! The palace guard told the king and queen that Jack had uncovered the plot, and the king was astonished, and asked Jack what he would like as a reward.
Jack was embarrassed. “Oh I don’t need anything,” he said, “I was just happy to save the diamond!”
“In that case,” replied the king, “I think I will give you a knighthood! But for now, off to bed!”
And with that Jack went back down to his bed, between the scullery door and the potato bin, pulling his sacks over his shoulders and eventually falling asleep again. Madame Tutu was taken down to a cell, where a much more uncomfortable bed than she had been expecting awaited her!
The next morning, Jack told the other servants what had happened, but they laughed at him and told him to go and clean the big pile of dishes. Only moments later, though, a huge stir went through the servants’ hall, as none other than the king made his way down the stairs and asked for Jack! Could it possibly be true? And it was, as the king took him upstairs, where servants fussed over him, and cut his hair, and his fingernails, and scrubbed him until he was pink, and generally pushed and pulled until Jack thought he might prefer scrubbing potatoes! They dressed him in clothes so fine that Jack didn’t know what to say, and was afraid to even look in case he tore or stained them.
Jack was led into the grand ballroom, where all the nobles of the kingdom waited for the ceremony to start. The royal herald stood and announced, “please welcome Madame Tutu, here for her solo ballet performance!” The king leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Um,” said the royal herald, at a loss for words, for once in his life, before he recovered, and said, “Due to unforseen circumstances, we shall be cancelling Madame Tutu’s performance and shall instead have a knighthood ceremony!”
The nobles all looked at each other and started whispering. What could be going on? The king called Jack forward, and in an official and pompous voice, explained: “Last night, Madame Tutu was caught red handed, attempting to steal our most precious and beloved jewel, the Royal Diamond of Knott! Caught red handed, that is, by none other than young Jack here, as he went far above and beyond his duties …” Here he paused and looked at Jack, and whispered, “Ah, what are your normal duties, Jack?”
“Peeling potatoes, Sire,” Jack whispered back.
“Oh… ah,” continued the king, and then decided to leave Jack’s duties unmentioned, “ … and he raised the alarm and rescued our kingdom from certain ignomy and disaster!” As you can tell, the king liked to use big and official sounding words in his speeches. “Thus we have ascertained that we must offer Jack no less than a knighthood for his services to the Kingdom!”
The nobles stood and applauded! Jack stood first on one leg, and then the other, and wished he could disappear into his shoes. But the king took out his sword, and laid it first on one shoulder, and then the other, and proclaimed, “I hereby name you Sir Jack, Most Honourable Knight of Knott!” (Does that sound complicated?)
From that day on, Jack’s life was never the same. In fact, it was much more complicated, even if he did sleep in a more comfortable bed, and occasionally he would think back to his simple life peeling potatoes. But of course, Jack grew up and served the Kingdom as a Knight, and finally ended up marrying the princess. But he never really did like eating potatoes all that much!
Do you want to know what happened to Madame Tutu? Well as I said, the king and queen were kindly, so they decided that her punishment should just be to peel potatoes, for the rest of her life!
I won’t try to relate Hannah’s Five Things stories, as I’d be sure to make mistakes. So perhaps I’ll ask her to write them up and add them to the story!
Hannah and Dad Trip – Scenery, a set on Flickr.
(Edited, 11 Mar, a milliner is a hatmaker, duh)