The sun nudged its way higher through the morning sky, as Father Mosely stared out of the kitchen window and into the bustling garden beyond.
The birds were heralding the joys of summer and the air was filled with the activity of hundreds of tiny insects, hurrying to and fro between each flower.
“What a glorious day for a trip to the seaside,” he mumbled aloud to himself.
He turned and stepped forward to the base of the stairs. Upstairs, the hum of incessant chatter and tinkering could be heard as the two small adopted elves (Maxwell and Skippy) were playing with toys in the loft. Father Mosely rested one hand upon the upturned end of the banister rail and leant forward to stretch his neck upwards to the source of the activity.
“Come on down, you two!” he called aloud up the staircase. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Immediately the scampering of tiny elven footsteps could be heard drumming down the stairs in a frenzy of excitement and two eager and thrilled small faces appeared before him.
“How would you two fancy a day out on the beach at New Brighton?” Father Moesly asked the two little elves. “We could catch the bus from the village centre and be there within the hour.”
Maxwell and Skippy turned to face each other and their faces began to glow with anticipation at the thoughts of some new adventure and their pointed ears began to tremble with excitement. But, as their glances crossed, they looked at each other’s quivering ears and their smiles dropped to a look of resigned disappointment.
“We haven’t ever been to the seaside before.” Skippy groaned with a sigh, “It will be full of strangers.”
“They’ll stare at our ears and make hurtful comments,” Maxwell added with a groan of resignation.
The heads of the two elves dropped sullenly and a brief awkward silence hung in the air.
“It’s the muttered tuttering, the extended glance, the second peek over the shoulder that worries us,” Maxwell concluded sadly. “We’d be too nervous to enjoy ourselves at New Brighton.”
Father Mosely muttered to himself in agreement and raised his hand to scratch his forehead. He stood in sombre thought and assessed what the two little elves had said and, deep within himself, he completely understood every concern that they had. He paused. He concentrated. Then, with a small yelp of inspiration, he clicked his fingers as his eyebrows rose.
“Just wait here a few minutes,” he exclaimed and, with that, he quickly dashed out of the rectory and into the adjoining church hall.
The local operatic society was rehearsing “Pirates of Penzance” for a summertime performance and he knew the exact location of a large chest filled with assorted costumes and props.
Within minutes Father Mosely returned into the rectory carrying two large strange objects in his arms, with a third bizarre three-pointed contraction perched upon his head. The two elves stood there, mouths awide, looking at the priest in befuddled amusement.
“These,” stated Father Mosely with a knowledgeable air of authority, “are called tricorne hats, worn by the most feared and dangerous pirates of the Seven Seas. Look at how far the pointed ends extend over the head. No one will ever see your elven ears if you wear one of these. Let’s all be pirates for the day!”
He pushed the two remaining tricorne hats into the waiting hands of Maxwell and Skippy. The two elves stood there and stared in wonderment at the weirdly shaped hats that they saw before them. Skippy turned his black velvet hat over in his hands and stared at the beautiful white plume of a feather that was nestled on the golden braided brim.
“Why!” he exclaimed, as he placed it upon his head. “It’s wonderful!”
Maxwell examined his brown leather tricorne carefully and spotted a row of three copper buttons lined up in a row, like a set of medals upon a veteran’s chest.
“Why!” he exclaimed, as he placed it upon his head. “It’s sheer brilliance!”
With that, the two small elves marched backwards and forwards enthusiastically across the living room floor, like a pair of soldiers on sentry duty, muttering pirate mutters and grumbling pirate grumbles.
“Well, shiver m’timbers!” laughed Father Mosely. “We three make a fine band of pirates. Let’s go into the village and catch a galleon from the bus stop. The number eight will be leaving in a few minutes.”
With that the three of them dashed from the rectory, with thoughts of swashbuckling and plundering swimming through their thoughts.
2 The Bus Journey
Father Mosely led Maxwell and Skippy through the village towards the bus stop.
Sure enough, the number eight was on time and waiting at the bus stop, ready to start the journey to New Brighton. Father Mosely stepped up onto the platform of the bus and the two small elves followed behind him.
“One adult pirate and two small pirates (return) to New Brighton, m’hearty,” chuckled Father Mosely to the driver.
The driver looked up at the three new passengers as they boarded his bus and he smiled a broad grin.
“Aye, Aye Captain,” he laughed as he took the fare and handed Father Mosely a triple strip of tickets.
The two small elves scampered up to the top deck and to the front of the bus. The front seat was empty and they both settled down, ready for the journey.
“You stay on the bridge,” chuckled Father Mosely, as he sat down behind them, “and I’ll report to the crow’s nest.”
The three of them sat and waited for a few minutes, until the hand of the church tower clock in the distance turned to signal the hour and a single chime was heard ringing over the rooftops of the village.
“Hoist the main sails!” announced Father Mosely, as the bus driver below started up the engine and the number eight began to shudder and vibrate.
Within a few seconds of warming the engine, the driver placed the bus into gear and the number eight juddered and then rolled forward out of its berth, along the main road and into the oceans of verdant fields beyond the village. Very soon they knew that they would arrive at their destination of New Brighton by the sea.
The next twenty minutes seemed to pass in a fleeting moment.
In Maxwell and Skippy’s minds they were real pirates, sailing across oceans of mysterious monsters and spying passing galleons laden with treasures.
Very soon, the distant rooftops of New Brighton appeared on the far horizon and, beyond that, the vast flickering ocean beckoned them with a salty air of fresh promises.
“Land ahoy!” called Father Mosely, as the bus drew in closer and the two elves looked out to view the sea for the first time.
“Isn’t it vast!” they both exclaimed together, their mouths dropping in wonder at their first sight of the ocean.
Soon the bus pulled into the main stop in town and emptied, as each passenger stepped off and down onto the pavement. Finally, the three pirates took their turn and stepped out into the clear blue dazzling seaside light of New Brighton. Father Mosely took the two elves, one in each hand, and walked them the short distance from the town centre and onto the town’s promenade. All the time, Maxwell and Skippy looked in wonder at the new sights, listened in awe at the new sounds and smelt in amazement the new smells of the seaside town. Their incessant and excited chatter filled the air.
A few short steps later and they were on the beach. It was immense! The sands seemed to stretch into the distance in either direction: out to their left and out to their right. To one side of the central beach there stood a huge construction of metal and wood poking out from the shore like a steely finger onto the surface of the sea. This was, they soon learnt, the main pier and they were very keen to explore it first.
“Lets walk the plank!” laughed Father Mosely as he held each elven hand carefully and led them towards the mammoth seaside structure.
The sand collapsed beneath their feet as they walked across the soft golden beach. It was a sensation that they were unaccustomed to. Everything was so new and different to their young immature senses. The three pirates stepped up off the beach, onto the reassuring stability of the promenade and they strolled towards the foot of the pier. Seagulls soared over heard and the waves sloshed and lapped far beneath their feet in the footings of the pier, as they stepped forward with some trepidation across the planks, further and further out away from the security of the shore. The sights and sounds of waves beneath their small steps and the weathered planks of the pier filled their minds with excited frenzies of exhilaration. This was certainly a sensation that they had never experienced before. Father Mosely reassured them constantly and soon Maxwell and Skippy began to feel very brave pirates indeed. Within minutes they dared to leave the reassuring grasp of his hand, to walk and prance forward on their own.
During that morning, the two elves were offered such a variety of nautical delights. After walking the plank (exploring the pier) they hunted for gold doubloons on the beach (looking for dropped pennies in the sand), sunk vessels with cannon fire (throwing pebbles onto tin cans on the beach) and discovered a parrot that could talk (actually, a seagull that could squawk.) Soon midday arrived and the trio were beginning to feel the pangs of hunger drawing in.
4 Roger’s Café
“Let’s wander into the town and find somewhere to eat,” suggested Father Mosely.
He had in fact wanted to take a short break and was looking for an excuse to return to the town centre, to find a bookmaker for the afternoon races. Father Mosely took both elves by the hand and the three of them walked away from the seafront, along a side road, to where a betting shop stood opposite an empty plain-looking café.
“I’ll just pop into the bookies,” explained Father Mosely, “and, if you two sit on this table by the road, I can watch you and make sure that you are both safe.”
The two elves sat on an exterior table outside the café and Father Mosely popped into Roger’s Café and ordered a plateful of chips for each elf, with a side helping of cabbage (of course) and a glass of milk too. He soon learnt that the catering business was slow for the small café. Roger, the owner, explained that he was grateful for any trade, having only recently opened up and still finding it very difficult to establish a reputation.
“Let’s hope that your luck changes,” Father Mosely replied. “If today is a lucky day then I shall be in for a treat across the road too!”
With that, he left Maxwell and Skippy at Roger’s Café, munching on their lunchtime meal, while he disappeared into the bookmaker’s shop opposite and he watched them both from the window. Occasionally, he would look up from his betting slip and give them a wave through the bookmaker’s window and, in turn, the two elves would wave back.
The first time Maxwell and Skippy waved back, a family of four was passing by. The parents spotted Maxwell and Skippy’s wave out of the corner of their eyes and looked up to where the two little pirates were sitting, eating chips and waving frantically across the road. They looked up and down the street and saw not a soul. They waved back.
“What delightful little pirates!” the lady whispered in delight to her husband.
“Shiver m’timbers!” Maxwell and Skippy exclaimed, with a cheerful smile.
The lady took hold of her husband’s arm, did a U-turn along the path and headed into Rogers Café. Their two children followed in behind
“Let’s have lunch here,” she explained to her husband. “I love the little pirates outside!”
Father Mosely looked up at the two small elves eating their chips and waved. Maxwell and Skippy waved back again.
This time a group of six men were passing. The taller man at the front spotted the wave out of the corner of his eye and looked up to where the two little pirates were sitting, eating chips and waving frantically across the road. He looked up and down the street and saw not a soul. The man waved back.
“What funny little pirates!” the man exclaimed to the other men.
“Shiver m’timbers!” Maxwell and Skippy exclaimed, with a cheerful smile.
The man pointed in the direction of the café, did a U-turn along the path and headed into Rogers Café. The rest of the group followed in behind
“Let’s have lunch here,” he said aloud to the group, “I love the little pirates outside!”
Father Mosely looked up from his betting slip. He saw that Maxwell and Skippy were nearing the end of their meal and he gave another wave.
This time, when Maxwell and Skippy waved back, a group of eight pensioners were passing. One of them spotted the wave out of the corner of her eye and looked up to where the two little pirates were sitting, eating chips and waving frantically across the road. She looked up and down the street and saw not a soul. She waved back.
“What delightful little pirates!” the pensioner chuckled to her friends.
“Shiver m’timbers!” Maxwell and Skippy exclaimed, with a cheerful smile.
The lady smiled again, did a U-turn along the path and headed into Rogers Café. The rest of the group followed in behind
“Let’s have lunch here,” she explained to her friends. “I love the little pirates outside!”
By the time that Maxwell and Skippy had finished their chips, the café was awash with customers. Queues had built up at the counter, the tables were packed and crowds of people were gathering outside, peering at the menus hanging in the window. Inside, Roger the owner, was frantically running from table to table carrying an arm full of plates, brimming with fish and chips, sausages and mash, Shepherd’s pie and peas. Despite the noise of clattering plates and the bustle of customers’ chatter, he was beaming from ear-to-ear with a huge broad smile. Business had never been so good. He glanced outside and spotted the two “delightful little pirates” that everyone inside his café was talking about.
Despite the queue by the counter, despite the pile of unwashed plates in the sink, despite the excessive workload in dealing with a café full of customers, Roger still had time to pop outside with a tray bearing two large Knickerbocker Glories, resplendent in fresh whipped cream with a large glacé cherry on top.
“Complements to the two of you!” he stated. “I’ve never been so busy!”
With that, he dashed inside to return to the growing queue of customers amassing in his café.
Maxwell and Skippy stared down at the table in delight. It was the first time that they had ever seen a Knickerbocker Glory. On the table in front of them stood two tall conical-shaped glass cups. Inside, through the glass, they could see layers of raspberry ripple ice cream, assorted chunks of fruit cocktail segments and masses of freshly whipped cream. Red-coloured raspberry-flavoured syrup oozed down between the gaps in each layer. On top of the desert stood two fan-shaped wafer biscuits delicately protecting a large glacé cherry at their base. By the side of each glass was a single long-handled spoon with which they could use to extract the sweet-tasting treasure from its cache.
They certainly didn’t need prompting to taste the delight for themselves. It is hard to explain the sheer exuberant pleasure that two small elves can experience when tasting a Knickerbocker Glory for the first time. Especially, when these two elves are more used to a diet of simple cabbage leaves! Suffice to say, they relished every tantalising mouthful of the ice cream dish and soon there was nothing left but an empty tall conical-shaped glass in front of each one of them.
Father Mosely returned from the bookmakers and saw the remains of the feast upon the table.
“My oh my!” he exclaimed. “Your first trip to the seaside and your first taste of a Knickerbocker Glory! What more in life is there left to live for?”
He smiled and the three of them popped into the café to thank Roger for his generosity.
“My pleasure!” Roger explained. “It was a struggle to get established and your two little pirates have inspired me to theme the café. From hence forth, this will be known as ‘The Jolly Roger’ and I shall place a pair of pirate mannequins in the window to tempt in passing trade.”
Indeed, he was true to his word. The next time the three of them ventured into New Brighton for a day out. The Jolly Roger was decked out with pirate bunting and furnished with a new skull and crossbones café sign across the façade. There, in the window, sat two pirate mannequins sitting at a table with a glass of grog in each of their hands. Inside, of course, the café was packed with customers – but what would you expect?
Moreover, whenever they returned to eat at the new Jolly Roger in New Brighton (and whenever Father Mosely returned to bet in the bookies opposite) they were always treated to a free Knickerbocker Glory, with an extra large glacé cherry on top!
In this book, Father Mosely takes two small adopted elves, Maxwell and Skippy, to the beach at New Brighton for the very first time. Find out what amazing adventures they have and how they get the taste of their first ever Knickerbocker Glory.