Close up of Blossom crouched in the grass, with leaves and twigs in foreground.

Shortly after, they came to a little tunnel dug into the back of the garden…

“This way. Keep the wall to your left,” said Bandit. “Snoop, you bring up the rear.”

 

Shortly after, they came to a little tunnel dug into the back of the garden; an old, open water drain leading underneath the stone wall into the farmyard. A large rock lay against one side of the wall. Blossom ducked his head and followed Apollo into the tunnel.

A moment later they were in the farmyard where the surrounding buildings towered above Blossom. Black and forbidding they cast long shadows across the bare earth of the open yard. He sniffed all the strange new scents.

But there was no time to look about him because Bandit and the others were already scurrying across the yard, keeping to the shadows where possible. They led Blossom past the machinery shed and then past the barn, where the great, heavy timber doors rattled and squeaked as they moved back and forth on their hinges, caught by the wind.

“Quick, this way,” said Bandit. He led the adventurers past the dairy, along the fence of the cow paddock, then down a short side-lane where huge pines crowded out the sky above.

The wind was much wilder away from the protection of the walled garden and the sheds. It had a voice of its own, and Blossom shivered as it wailed mournfully through the long-needled Sheoaks and pine trees.

 

 

Finally, they reached the apricot orchard and climbed through the fence. Blossom had never seen grass so long. He looked behind him, but he couldn’t see the farmyard or the stone wall that enclosed the house and garden. The wind was less noisy in the orchard paddock. The trees were covered in flowers, although not yet in leaf. The darkness was filled with noises. Frogs croaked loudly from down along the river and the creek that bordered Lavender Farm.

 

 

Other sounds too: Blossom heard the soft cluck of chickens disturbed from sleep, the low grunt of the pigs, and a rooster calling from a nearby farm. Across the valley, a dog’s bark rang faint through the deep night.

 

 

Adventuring seemed far more dangerous than the stories of Archie’s pirates.

However, Blossom’s fears faded once they were through the fence and into the long, sweet grass. His mouth watered: everything smelt so good. The air was fragrant with new, delicious scents, all juicy and green. He’d never seen the long succulent leaves of dandelions, sweet clover, and other meadow flowers that grew amongst the grasses. They glimmered now in the moonlight, looking like stars, white and silver.

He moved further into the open as he endeavoured to taste them all; first this delicacy, then another. When he was full, he stretched out on the damp grass and gazed up at the clouds swirling and shifting in the moonlight.

Freedom and adventure!

It was everything he’d dreamt about.

He was so full and happy, he lost all track of time.

A strange rushing sound suddenly set Bandit and Snoop on alert.

 

Bandit in the grass at night, suddenly sits up, alerted by a strange sound.

 

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