Part 6 – From puffins to programs!
The sun was fast heading up over the horizon when Wookie stirred and stretched enjoying the warmth of the covers in the early morning chill. Then she realised Shannon was gone. Looking round she could see no sign of where her Top had gone when a sudden comment of “Mmm they look real good “ and she knew exactly what Shannon was doing.
Leaping out of the covers quickly and dressing Wookie was outside in a couple of minutes and making her way over to the fire pit where Shannon, in the company of Hermione and Willie, was in the throes of making blueberry pancakes and some other flavours but Wookie’s eyes were firmly fixed on the ones that were being piled on a large plate already cooked and steaming gently in the crisp air!
“Make sure you save some for the others” came the stern comment as Wookie reached to help herself. Glancing up into her Top’s face and seeing the eyebrow already raised Wookie smiled weakly as she politely took only two of the delicious looking pancakes.
Shannon smiled back, a twinkle appearing in her eye, as she knew only too well how much Wookie loved this meal for breakfast.
“OMG are they really pancakes being cooked?” Siobhan gasped as she approached the group.
“Uhh who’s cooking at this ungodly hour for fec…OW!” groaned then yelped Em as she rubbed her stinging bottom .
“What have I told you girrrrl, language!” commented Bubba who moved forward to dish up some pancakes for Em and herself.
“Oh, sorry Shannon..umm Ma’am I didn’t know it was you. Umm I’m sure it’s delicious whatever the fe…whatever it is!” Em quickly blushed when she saw Shannon cast a glance at her that would freeze a brat at 10 paces.
Snatching her plate from Bubba Em shot off to sit down next to Siobhan grumbling about ‘it being exceedingly Top heavy here this morning, not very conducive to a young lady wanting to partake of her morning repast in quiet solitude’ – (Author’s note: At least that’s what I think her phrase …’Wtf*^%@*^arlltf+_*?>*$@~±*off!’ ….translates as!)
(Siobhan’s genteel snorting with laughter backed up the translation the Author felt!)
Em looked up to see the Look from Bubba causing her bottom to tingle again. Choosing to concentrate on the fresh pancakes she had in front of her seemed a better option than staying in her Top’s eye line. Bubba smirked before sitting down beside her and tucking in to her own breakfast.
Soon everyone was ensconced round the open area devouring the various flavoured pancakes as they were cooked. Wookie was chuffed that she was able to have more blueberry ones that Shannon added to her plate every so often.
Sparks paused mid chew and wondered aloud “Where on earth did all the foodstuff come from because I know we didn’t bring any up?”
Without batting an eyelid Shannon responded “Hermione did a wonderful job in provisioning everything and I believe that should satisfy everyone here, is that so?” she directed her gaze at every person there present, receiving immediate murmurs of consent in return and a grateful bow of the head from Willie for shielding Hermione.
Once everyone had eaten their fill Shannon tasked the brats to clear everything away and ensure all items be returned to Hermione’s pack.
The Tops and Stag took the opportunity to check down the well again but even in daylight could not see anything unusual.
“How was that done?” Bubba pondered.
“Beats me but it was damn clever “Willie commented duly impressed.
“I believe at some point ladies I will definitely get to the bottom of it!” the positive statement and raised eyebrow left no-one in doubt as to Shannon’s meaning.
“There is no doubt about that and I am sure Wookie , just like Luc, will feel the Force!” Sparks grinned.
“Oh, Wookie will feel the Force all right, probably for about a week I would imagine” the determined glint in her Top’s eye causing the other Tops to laugh.
Shortly after everyone assembled by the fire pit with all their kit. Wookie went to stand by Robin. Both had hold of their rucksacks.
“Everyone ready?” Willie checked around the group satisfied they all seemed ok.
“Right lets make our way down to the boats. Steady now, you know how steep the stairs are and NO RUSHING brats! “ she stared at each brat, her eyebrow raised – how does she do that? each one wondered as Willie led the way off to the stairs.
Wookie nodded to Robin who grinned back. Without missing a step the pair hung a quick right heading towards the outcrop.
“No worries ladies we are just going to see the puffins one last time …” as they walked over onto the large pointed rocky spur.
The moment Wookie changed direction Shannon’s Top instinct kicked in. Looking up she saw the direction they were headed.
“Do not go near that edge Wookie..Robin!” the unmistakable command was rapped out loud and clear for all to hear as she veered off to follow them and bring the girls back to the group. Unfortunately this time Shannon was not fast enough to reach the brats….
The main party stopped, turning to see what was going on.
Just in time to see Wookie and Robin walk off the edge of the outcrop……!!!!!
“NOOOOO!” came the collective yell from the group whilst Shannon stood frozen momentarily not believing her eyes. Then abruptly her Top instinct kicked up into full Top gear and to everyone’s absolute surprise she stood for a minute gaining total control once more before she strode over to the outcrop and proceeded to examine it meticulously.
She was shortly joined by Willie, Bubba and Sparks. No words were spoken, they didn’t have to be. The Top Telepathy did it’s work and they all knew what they were looking for.
“Ah Shannon, I believe this is what you’re seeking yes?” Sparks pointed down to one of the footing pegs Robin had sited the previous day. They all leaned over that spot and the simple harness system, so cleverly installed, was now easily visible to the Tops. From that point they could also see the setup that caused the ghostly spectre to rise from the well.
“So that’s how it was done!” Bubba spoke softly as realisation dawned on the women at the inventiveness the brats had shown.
They leaned back each lost in their own thoughts for a second.
“Damn but you’ve got to hand it to them, that’s one exquisite piece of handiwork. I was convinced they’d jumped!” Willie couldn’t help a look of admiration showing for the brats’ ingenuity. She studied Shannon carefully as she touched her arm.
“Are you all right Shannon because I know that would have scared me initially?” her concern was evident causing Shannon to smile briefly .
“Yes, I’m fine thank you for your concern Willie. Luckily I was able to realise that ironically Wookie would never simply walk off a ledge because in her brat logic ‘that would be dangerous Ma’am!’ “ as she imitated Wookie’s voice perfectly. The women laughed, easing the tension.
“So now we go and find them?” Sparks looked around the stern but relaxed faces.
“Oh yes we most certainly do” Shannon stated, her eyebrow almost at her hairline and her face a picture of total Top determination to track down her brat.
As they stood she turned to Willie.
“We are at the Blarney Hotel tonight I believe.” A slight query in her voice.
“Yes ,we should be there hopefully by this afternoon, early evening” Willie caught on to Shannon’s intent. “I’ll ensure you have a secluded room “ she nodded, a small smile appearing.
“That would be much appreciated Willie thank you “ she nodded in return “ I will ensure my brat is aware of the arrangements. It will give her something to think about on the drive over whilst she enjoys the novelty of sitting comfortably, that is.”
Chuckles came from the others as Willie escorted them all back to the group standing by the stairs.
Willie quickly filled everyone in on what had happened and their plan to go find the errant brats before leaving the Island for their journey to Blarney Castle. Hermione looked at Siobhan and Em her face showing total admiration for that incredible escapade bringing smirks of silent cheering for the daring duo on their faces. Way ta go brats!
That step over the edge was one heart stopping moment for both Wookie and Robin even though they knew their boots were already safely in the harness strap allowing them to appear to just step off into space.
Once down on the ground they swiftly removed the straps and made their way down towards the rocky escarpment where Wookie had seen the main nesting site of the puffins. She had always had a fascination for the beautiful little sea birds and really wanted to see them up closer. Trouble would be in store but she didn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Luckily Robin was just as enthusiastic as she was which meant they could at least help each other if they encountered any problems.
The girls spent the next half hour thoroughly enjoying watching the little birds nesting, flying, diving and even squabbling and fighting.
“Just like any family group” Robin mused a huge grin on her face.
“Wow you’re so right there! I think they’re awesome. Hey can you hang on to my legs I just want to see if I can get a closer shot.” Wookie leaned over as Robin threw her body weight on top of Wookie’s legs seeing her friend perch rather precariously over a sloping ledge.
Bringing her camera into focus Wookie started with a few quick shots before switching to video mode. This was gonna be awesome. Training the camera round she managed to get a full panoramic sighting and spoke over her shoulder.
“This is fabulous Robin. You ok there?’
“Yeh but don’t go any closer to the edge Wooks, I can only hold you for so long and you are tilting down right?”
“Yep no worries I’ll just take this side …oh crap…” as she felt herself slide forward a little…
Wooks hang on, don’t move” Robin yelled as she desperately stared round looking for something to hang on to.
Wookie froze as she stared into the rocky escarpment in front of her that went all the way down…into the sea below!
Seeing a foothold beside Wookie Robin placed her foot there checking it was sound. All good she thought. Then over her shoulder Robin saw a small overhang she could hold on to.
“Wooks I’m gonna grab your belt and pull you up if I can. As soon as you see anything you can hang on to grab it. You got that?”
“Yep got it Robin.”
Carefully she leaned down taking a firm hold of Wookie’s belt then turning she leant back finding a solid grip on the rocky overhang. Slowly she took the strain and with all the strength she had, began pulling Wookie back up towards her. Robin knew her best chance was to pull slowly ensuring maximum effort went into pulling Wookie up rather than yanking because that could cause her to lose the grips she had.
Inch by inch Wookie felt herself sliding up towards Robin. Looking around her she suddenly spotted a protruding rock she was able to get some push against and she quickly got both hands down pushing steadily holding her grip.
What seemed like hours but was only a few minutes Wookie was lying sprawled out on the ground next to Robin who lay on her back getting her breath back.
“Wow that was scary” Wookie admitted.
“You can say that again!” Robin puffed.
Sitting up Wookie checked her camera was ok before she switched it off and packed it away.
“Still we got some amazing photos and video Robin. I’ll email them ok?” her irrepressible excitement soon had Robin up laughing and joking as Wookie decided Robin was a Wonder Woman candidate for rescuing her!
“Uh speaking of superhero women Wookie, do you think we’d best get down to the harbour before uh, you know who comes to find us?”
“Oh my god , yes Robin, hell yes I think I’m in enough trouble already without adding to it” Wookie grimaced but was still secretly glad they had done the puffin sightseeing.
Grabbing their stuff the two intrepid adventurers found the quickest way down to the harbour they could find.
As they appeared on the road above the harbour the girls could see the other brats and Stag sitting by the boats whilst the Tops had split into pairs and were climbing back up the Island by opposite paths thus covering twice the amount of ground in one fell swoop.
Wookie gulped when she saw the purposeful stride of her Top who’s impassive expression merely altered a fraction as her eyebrow rose when she spotted Wookie and Robin on the path above.
“Now’s the time to stand still, smile and wave Robin” Wookie hissed as she did just that. Robin joined her fully aware of the situation.
Within minutes Shannon and Bubba came into view. Waking directly in front of Wookie Shannon eyed her from top to toe checking for any injuries or hurt of any kind. Turning her attention to Robin she carried out the same inspection. Satisfied the girls were in one piece and safe she glared at them.
“We are ALL going to the boats and returning to Port Magee. There will be no further prevarication. Is that understood young ladies?”
“Yes Ma’am” came the chorus accompanied by fervent nods and hopeful smiles.
The look and raised eyebrow from Shannon merely confirmed they were most definitely in trouble.
Turning back around Shannon strode off with Wookie and Robin following and Bubba bringing up the rear.
Back at the boats Willie split the party up so Shannon, Wookie, Hermione and herself went with Robin leaving Sparks , Bubba, Siobhan and Em with Stag. This meant there would be a totally uneventful and preferably relaxing trip back to Port Magee since the weather had turned out beautifully sunny. Before long they were heading at a brisk pace back to port. All the brats turned facing the Island each appreciating and loving the great time they had enjoyed there. Definitely a bank of memories on that outing!
Mooring up the brats were dispatched to fetch all the luggage from the rooms. Willie went over to reception to settle the account whilst Stag left after promising to join them at Blarney Castle. Bubba and Sparks went to fetch further food and supplies for Swattie and Wee Donkey in readiness for the road trip giving Shannon a chance to have a quick word with Robin.
“Young lady I’ve sent a quick email to your Top and she will be in touch with you shortly. I have also taken the liberty to ask if she would be agreeable for you to accompany us to Blarney Castle and the wedding. I trust you do not have any problems with that request, if you wish to come with us?” the question, whilst delivered sternly was genuinely meant as Robin saw the slightest of twinkles in Shannon’s eye.
“Umm if that’s good with you Ma’am I think I would but I need to talk with my Top first if that is ok?” Robin didn’t know whether to grin or worry about the said ‘talk’ so chose to stand there silently.
“Of course. Let me know your final decision when you can” Shannon nodded, paused for a deliberate moment before adding “oh and that was an extremely foolhardy thing to do young lady!” the look and eyebrow were back in place as Robin gulped “however it will be good to have you along Robin and…” again the pause ” I believe that’s for you!” as Robin grinned then stood in amazement as her mobile started ringing…how on earth did she know that call was coming?
Shannon turned and walked away with a small smile on her face…ah! it’s good to keep them on their toes!
Willie had arranged a private lunch for the group prior to their drive on to Blarney Castle in Cork. Everyone, bar Shannon, gathered in the side room helping themselves from the various, tasty looking dishes laid out on the buffet table. Wookie quickly filled her plate and found a couple of spare seats next to Willie and Hermione knowing Shannon would soon find them. The food was delicious and the conversation lively. It was a while before Shannon, along with Robin who was beaming, joined them but Wookie had been caught up with discussing the ghost tale and hadn’t noticed the time slip by as Shannon took her seat beside Wookie, a filled plate in her hand.
Once everyone had eaten their fill Willie cleared her throat getting their attention.
“Time to move on to Blarney Castle ladies. Hermione and I have a couple of arrangements to make so I suggest you all make your way and we will meet up at the hotel.” she looked at the other Tops , receiving nods from each.
“Shannon has the details so I’ll leave you all to sort that part. Safe trip one and ALL!” Willie’s Top stare encompassed every brat in the room causing a small shifting in seats and angelic smiles to appear promising total compliance….which did not fool a single Top!
Out in the car park they waved Willie and Hermione off before turning to Shannon.
“Bubba and Sparks I’ve just sent you the contact details for the hotel. I am happy for us to travel in convoy so to speak or if you wish to make your own way that’s fine too. It’s your choice ladies.”
“Typical, it’s always the Tops that get ta choose, never us!” Em muttered to Siobhan who nodded in agreement.
“I will be happy to let you choose whether it’s the hairbrush or paddle later brat…you know, when we have our ‘talk'” Bubba whispered in her ear.
Em froze, damn she was sure Bubba had extra sensory hearing…she never missed a single word Em said no matter how softly spoken.
Sparks glanced at Bubba who nodded in agreement .”We’re happy to convoy Shannon, safer in the long run.”
“Excellent ladies. We will take Robin with us and I’m sure she will be happy to keep a watchful eye on Wee Donkey and Swattie.”
“Sparks you and Siobhan happy to ride with us?” Bubba queried.
With that Shannon clapped her hands “Right lets load up and head on out. Time is of the essence ladies!
Within minutes Wookie’s Wheels was ready with Wee Donkey on her bed in her usual space on the spare seat along with a snack bowl of assorted tasty nuggets of wood and her drinking cup whilst Swattie had her special safety bed along the back shelf allowing her plenty of room to stretch out, watch the traffic /scenery as well as partake of a snack or two from her selector tray filled with nutritious treats besides her drink dispenser.
As for the passengers there was still plenty of room! . Robin was more than happy to watch over the animals whilst Wookie drove leaving Shannon in charge of everything else.
Checking that Bubba had the others all aboard her deep red GMC Yukon SUV Shannon told Wookie to head on out to the main road. Before long both trucks were speeding along (Author’s note: within the legal limits obviously reader!) everyone in good spirits, music blaring and general chitchat abounding.
Wookie was thoroughly enjoying the drive pleased that the satnav Diddly was working well. Shannon was sitting back taking in all the beautiful sights and sounds they encountered as the miles sped by. Robin was busy watching Wee Donkey munch happily on her nuggets. She certainly liked those Robin mused as she glanced around the small animal’s bed checking none had gone astray. Ah what’s that she thought as she espied a small piece tucked under the mattress. Reaching over Robin carefully grasped it and pulled…only to find it was no tasty snack but a rather handsome looking walnut backed hairbrush!
What!?! Robin was perplexed, how on earth did that get in Wee Donkey’s bed she wondered. A sudden movement behind her heralded the arrival of Swattie who gently took the brush in her mouth and carried it back to her bed, laying it down almost reverently on the pillow section. Turning to look back at Robin it was as if the dog smiled saying ‘don’t worry I will take care of it!’
The confused girl found herself almost smiling back as she seemed to understand exactly what the dog was saying. Bemused she turned to look out the front screen only to catch Shannon’s eye in the rear view mirror in the passenger visor. The Look was enough to explain some things at least to Robin. One being, that hairbrush should not have been there and another being, Swattie was capably ensuring it’s safety. Smiling sheepishly she saw Shannon nod in confirmation that Robin was not the culprit which helped ease the girl’s mind. She elected to simply forget about it, after all who wanted to ponder over a hairbrush at any time really? A bag of trail mix found its way over to the back seat and Robin instantly forgot any reference to the brush whatsoever!
Approaching Cork Wookie started paying attention to Diddly knowing she would soon be driving into city traffic. All was going well until they were coming up to a T-junction. Wookie slowed waiting for the directions.
“At the roundabout take the third exit” came the measured tone from Diddly.
Wookie braked carefully hoping Diddly would correct the direction.
“Wookie turn left at the junction” Shannon ordered briskly. Wookie did so and continued along the main road. There were now signs for the ring road exit which would be the ideal route to take. Diddly kicked in again.
‘ Continue on the present route’
Wookie knew she had time before the exit so stayed as directed. The next exit sign for the ring road drew near. Wookie prepared to exit ….but …
‘Take the centre lane and continue on the present route’
Wookie, startled, shot a glance at the satnav.
Wookie take the ring road exit and stop at the services at the roundabout where indicated” Shannon instructed.
Wookie complied and within a few minutes had pulled up in the services parking area.
The satnav started again.
‘Make a U-turn when possible and proceed to the route”
“DIDDLY CEASE!’ barked Shannon “EMPTY YOUR CACHE AND REBOOT NOW TO PROGRAM ONE”
There was total silence in the truck. Wookie and Robin sat mesmerised, staring at the satnav not quite sure what to expect. They didn’t have long to wait.
‘Cache emptied and reboot complete. Program one now fully installed. I await your instructions Ma’am’ was the clear, totally respectful response from Diddly.
“Excellent Diddly. Now I will have no more nonsense with ridiculous directions that are patently wrong. Is that understood?” the stern tone said it all.
‘Yes Ma’am fully understood and assimilating as we speak.’ came the polite reply.
“Good now proceed to the destination given please Diddly and remain alert”
“Yes Ma’am remaining alert as we speak and may I take this opportunity to tender my apologies for the malfunctioning of my programming.’
“Apology accepted Diddly now, to the job in hand, time marches on. Show me what you are made of young lady!” came the clipped reply loaded with authority. However the slight smile revealed the Top’s acknowledgement to the computer’s unexpected personality trait.
‘Yes Ma’am proceeding immediately Ma’am. At the exit turn left and proceed to the roundabout to take the second exit on to the ring road.’
“Wookie! Are we going to sit here all day?” commented Shannon with a satisfied air. Finally we have some order here!
Desperately trying to get her head round what she had just witnessed Wookie grabbed the wheel and drove on as she was directed. Glancing in her mirror she saw the same look of sheer incredulity on Robin’s face. Their eyes met and as realisation dawned that Shannon had somehow reprogrammed Diddly allowing her to Top the satnav, both brats had to stifle their laughter so Wookie could concentrate on driving. However their smothered giggles or shaking of heads did not go unnoticed.
“Never underestimate the expertise of a Top young ladies” came the serene observation!
Not surprisingly the group soon found themselves arriving expeditiously at the hotel near to the famous Blarney Castle. Piling out of the vehicles Robin and Wookie couldn’t wait to recount Shannon’s Topping of Diddly! Within minutes the brats were falling around laughing uncontrollably and mimicking Diddly’s voice…
“Ma’am at the next junction turn left if you agree that is”
“Driver proceed on the route for 7 miles obeying the speed limit otherwise you will be breaking the law, right Ma’am?”
“If you are overtaken by an eejit driver do not respond because that would be dangerous to you. Am I correct Ma’am?”
“Ma’am you have arrived at your destination. I hope you have enjoyed your journey and thank you for driving with Diddly Squat satnav. I remain at your service!”
Em and Siobhan were practically crying with laughter whilst Robin and Wookie were trying desperately to get their breath back.
“Are we done with the hysterics ladies?” the rhetorical question cut cleanly through the brats merriment bringing an immediate curbing of their hilarity as they stopped dead staring at Shannon.
“Uh yes Ma’am” Wookie spoke up for the group “I was just informing the girls about your amazing feat of computer wizardry in sorting Diddly out and..”
“Wookie, you are rambling, stop now!” the command was explicit.
“Yes Ma’am stopping right now” as she mimed zipping her mouth closed. Em sniggered, receiving the full Look with eyebrow raised…how does she do that!
“To the foyer ladies, now if you please” Shannon was in full Top mode and within minutes had the brats and other Tops all assembling near the Reception desk.
Looking up she saw Willie and Hermione enter from the lift and join the group. Willie confirmed she had checked the reservations and once everyone had booked in they could adjourn to the bar for a drink before dinner.
It was a matter of a few minutes for registration and the rooms to be allocated which meant they could all take their luggage up and regroup shortly after in the bar.
Wookie had collected Shannon and her bags and was making her way to the lift. Shannon was holding Swattie’s supplies and noted her beloved dog was grimly holding fast to her walnut backed hairbrush. Leaning down she gently removed it from the protective dog’s mouth.
“That’s my precious Swattie, good girl. I knew I could rely on you to look after my favourite implement!” She was fully aware that a certain young Irish brat had heard every word spoken and the eyebrow was already in place by the time she straightened up and stared directly at Em, who instantly found the hotel’s flooring of incredible interest as the blush covered her entire face and ears.
The bags emptied and all sundries put tidily away everyone soon gathered downstairs in the bar. Willie had already text the Tops for drink orders and had a round all ready for them as they arrived.
Relaxing after the good ride over the ladies all chatted amiably enjoying the social interaction. Just before going into the restaurant for dinner Willie put forward a proposed itinerary for the following day seeking everyone’s ideas.
“Ladies I am suggesting the Tops take this opportunity to participate in the Palace tour we spoke of the other day…”, which instantly elicited a collective muffled groan from the brats, each one thinking ‘what was it with the Tops always wanting to look at old houses and buildings and stuff”
Willie shot a stern look around the brats before continuing “having already ensured our beloved brats have everything they need to spend the day shopping at the city centre mall. This is if you believe they can behave themselves of course!”
There was a chorus of relieved sighs and murmurs of promised good behaviour all round coupled with attempted angelic smiles none of which quite seemed to appear genuine.
Shannon, Sparks and Bubba looked across at each other and a collective nod of assent was given to the proposal.
“That’s settled then ladies. Let’s go into dinner.” Willie smiled seeing delighted faces all round.
The company moved as one heading towards the restaurant. Wookie walking alongside Robin with Em and Siobhan behind. As they passed through the bar room door into the reception area Wookie saw Hermione glance and then look quickly again at one of the Information boards on the wall. Throwing a momentary look over her shoulder directly at Wookie she turned back and continued walking talking to Willie. As Wookie drew near the board she swiftly scanned the information there looking for whatever had caught Hermione’s eye. Just when she thought she had missed it she saw the notice. OMG perfect she thought and rapidly “accidentally “stumbled causing Robin to turn to help her keep her balance and the other two to walk into her ensuring Wookie would end up on the floor. The seconds it took them to pick her up she was able to whisper frantically about the notice. Each carefully shot a casual look across whilst still “helping” Wookie up. Once sorted they stared at each other their eyes wide with excitement before they quickly followed the Tops into the restaurant doing their level best to contain their anticipation.
Wookie’s imagination was alive and kicking as she recalled the notice.
“Blarney Castle home to the famous Blarney Stone. Gain the gift of the gab once you’ve kissed the stone!
Meantime don’t forget our little known speciality. Come and visit it if you dare! Take care though these are genuine live plants that are cared for in our very own
TO BE CONTD….