Lots of grunting and groaning can be heard coming from inside the folly!
"Zak push it harder!"
" I am! You try pushing your side harder!"
"Together on three! "says Toby " Three!"
"What happened to one and two? " demands Zak
"Why do we have to hide it again? " asks Zak
" Stop asking questions and push harder!"
The boys have been arguing so much they've failed to hear the approach of a vehicle... finally Toby listens..... over the sound of an approaching car? he can just make out singing.. " and if one green bottle should accidentally fallllllllll... theyyy be fifty one green bottles hanging on the wallllll "
"Shh !" whispers Toby " Someone's coming"
Zak is glad to stop trying to push and rests ,catching his breathe, while Toby looks over towards the archway... is the sound getting nearer....
Yes ! " Quick Zak come and stand in front of the sleigh! Quick !"
"What? Why? "
" Just do it!"
" 49 green bottles hanging on the wall l l "
into view drives a small vintage open top bus .. full of singing ... bears.. " and if one green bottle should accidentally fa l l l l l l l "
As those on the top deck belt out their song, Gertie on the bottom deck groans " Who on earth decided to sing ten green bottles! I'm sick of hearing about green bottles!"
Just as her best friend Amie ,is about to reply the singing stops and Gustave bangs on the roof " Halt! Halt! "
"What now " complains Gertie " He cannot need to go again? " surely!"
"Look " calls Gustave " Zak and the naughty Toby .. over there !"
" Oh no he's seen us !" whispers Zak
"Start walking towards them " Toby whispers back
Edward climbs out of his seat and stands and stretches beside the bus, these long bus journeys were hard on his old stuffing!
" Hello lads" he calls cheerfully " what are you up to? so far from the house "
Hurrying forward and hoping that Edward cannot see the red sleigh " Nothing " says Toby back " Why do we have to be up to something!"
Edward moves towards them, so they hurry faster.
" I didn't mean it like you were UP TO something " Edward says soothingly " I just wondered if you were playing or such "
Giving Zak a dig, not missed by the ever seeing Edward , Toby says in an aside " Don't say a word!" Toby knows that if Edward asks Zak directly he'll spill the beans like the big sissy he is!
"Did you have a good holiday? "Toby asks trying to change the subject " The weathers been awful here all week... rain and cold ...terrible!"
Not fooled one bit Edward heads back to the bus and climbs back in his seat " Alas " he replies " last weeks terrible weather was the same for us but we did have a lovely two weeks before that "
" Good Good " mutters Toby
Leaning out the bus Edward asks " Can you lads follow us home to the house? I'm afraid we may run out of petrol before we get there plus another couple of hands will help us unpack the bus much quicker "
Toby's about to say no when he looks at Edwards face....... drat .. he knows if they don't follow the bus Edward will get back out for some reason and go look where they've left the sleigh!
so he replies " Of Course love to help come on Zak "
Gustave bangs on the roof " Forward!" he commands
Stanley, who is driving, calls out angrily " I don't need you keep telling me what to do and when to do it!"
Gustave looks down " Shall I drive? "
There is a collective gasp on the bus and breaths are held
" No thanks " says Stanley " I've no wish to lose another life after last time !"
" That was NOT my fault !" he growl's his accent thickening "If that old bear had nor step out in front of me I'd not have landed us in the bushes!"
"Whose he calling an OLD bear " demands Amie from down on the lower deck " I'll have you know I'm younger than you!" she shouts at the ceiling!
Toby and Zak follow the bus listening to the bears argue
" I'm bearly " snigger's Gustave " 35 where as you are at least 80 if you are a day!"
"WHAT! " screeches Amie " Stanley STOP THIS BUS! I'm going to box that bear's ears until he's deaf a post , like the one he's got for a brain "
"I'm not stopping" grumbles Stanley " we had to wait half an hour earlier ,while you chased him round the lanes and you didn't catch him then and you won't now! " he huffs " and I've no more energy for carrying your portly self back to the bus again "
"Stanley!" says Gertie shocked, as Amie's speechless ... well for a few minutes
everyone, even the boys wait with baited breath for Amie to speak...
"Stanley Blenkenforth if you think I will EVER make you another of my award winning cream and apple puffs ,EVER again you are sadly.." here her voice deepens " mistaken "
"Oh hush you silly woman " laughs Stanley softly, winking at Amie's red face in the driving mirror " You know I love every inch of that plump little chassis ! "
After the barest of pauses the occupants of the bus burst into voice " AMIE! you sly old thing ! are you and Stanley an item!" demands Gertie " I'm your best friend and you didn't tell me !"
"Well you'd have told everyone" says Amie
Hugo at the back of the bus asks " What's a chassis? and where does Amie keep hers? " pausing to think he continues " and why does Stanley love it all and can I have one of your award winning cream and apple puffs , I'm starving "
Upstairs Gustave is again offering to drive the bus " Come on Stanley you can go cuddle Amie's chassis that you love so much " he laughs
Anastacia , he's own truelove, pushes him in the shoulder from her seat behind him " Gustave behave! you don't want to miss out on having some of Amie's cakes then next time she's baking do you? "
"Now look what you've done Stanley !" says Amie wondering how to explain to young bear cub Hugo what her chassis is and should she be telling a cub of his tender years such things?
Toby and Zak listening to the goings on bus totally forget all about the sleigh and start asking questions of Zebedee riding on the back looking at them
Zebedee smiles from under his Inca style hat " Hug any good trees while I was away boys? " he asks
Meanwhile as the bus and boys move further away in the garden....
from out of the bushes comes a very stately reindeer , looking some what relieved.
Stepping in front of the sleigh he pauses.. that was a close thing if those lads had got this further into those bushes I'd have had trouble getting it out again.
Deciding it would be too dangerous to wait until dark to return the sleigh to the north pole, he starts to mutter a spell that binds the sleigh by invisible ropes to his body.
Using the last of his magic dust ,he mutters the spell that will make him and the sleigh invisible to anyone should they look skyward for the next couple of hours. Sighing he starts forward promising himself that's the last time he does Rudolf a favour.. Comet can you just go down to the south and bring me back a .. never mind .. he'd fallen down before he could complete Rudolf's request.. those drone things people were flying now need to be controlled he mutters , then with a blink the folly is empty and a child looking up sees a ripple in the sky as if something just passed by but nothing was there?