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Little Mr Poonlop's Seventh Holiday

by J D Lowe

to Zoλ, Chloλ, Adam and Madam (my kid sister)

Chapter 1

The cheerily chirping little birds told little Mr Poonlop it was a fine day in early spring. So little Mr Poonlop got out of his little bed, put on his little dressing gown and went over to his little bedroom window.
He opened his little curtains and looked out into his little garden. It was indeed a lovely sunny day. Not very warm but lovely. Well, quite chilly actually but at least it wasn't raining. Little Mr Poonlop said it was all right anyway and I said he couldn't expect me to write much better weather at that time of year.
So after little Mr Poonlop had been to his little toilet and washed his little hands, he went down his little stairs to his little kitchen and put his little kettle on. He cut two slices of bread from his little loaf and put them under his little grill. He opened his little fridge and took out a little bottle of milk.

Let's just stop for a moment.
By now you may have just noticed that everything in Mr Poonlop's life is ... well, a bit on the small side. I don't know if you're fed up with hearing the word "little" yet but I know that Mr Poonlop is. And I'm certainly tired of writing it.
So, from now on, just take it for granted that everything in this story is little, unless I say it's big, and I promise I won't keep using that word all the time.

Where was I? Oh, yes ...

Mister Poonlop was just about to make a nice cup of tea, when there was a tap on his front door. In fact there were two taps on his front door, one marked hot and the other marked hot.

You see, unfortunately for Mr Poonlop, when his house was being built, the architects had a rather jolly office party. At this party, some of them had a bit too much to drink and started behaving in a very silly way. They decided it would be great fun to mess around with the plans for Mr Poonlop's new house.
That was why Mr Poonlop had to turn on the light switch in his airing cupboard to make his shower run and why he had two hot taps on his front door.
Now I've explained all that to you, Mr Poonlop can go and answer the door, because there was also somebody knocking on it.

Chapter 2

Mr Poonlop opened the door and found his friend Sid standing there. Sid was knocking at the door because he had some post for Mr Poonlop. He had some post because he was a postman.
‘Hello, Sid,’ said Mr Poonlop.
Now, Sid had to knock at the door to give Mr Poonlop his post because, although Mr Poonlop's house had three letterboxes, two of them were on the roof and the other was in the cellar, thanks to those tiddly architects. Mr Poonlop didn't mind this because it gave him a chance for a chat with his friend whenever there was any post for him. And that was why Sid was so surprised this morning when, straight after saying, ‘Hello, Sid’ to him, Mr Poonlop added, ‘Sorry! Can't stop!’
He grabbed the pile of envelopes from Sid's hands and ran back into the house, slamming the door behind him and leaving the poor postman staring at two hot taps and a loo-roll holder.

Please do not think that Mr Poonlop is in any way a rude little man. It's very early in the story and I do want you to like him. He really is very nice indeed to everyone he meets and to all the furry little animals.

Yes, and birds and fish and reptiles and ... look, he's nice to everything, all right? He was too nice to complain about all the silly things the builders did to his house, so he's hardly likely to be nasty to his friend the postman, is he?

No: I'm afraid it was all my fault.

The truth is that Mr Poonlop had to rush back into the kitchen to rescue his toast from under the grill, where I was writing flames all over it. He had trouble seeing his way to the stove too, because I was also writing lots of steam from the kettle, which had boiled nearly dry. But he managed to turn everything off and blow out the flames.
Instead of toast he now had two pieces of warm charcoal and there wasn't enough water in the kettle for a cup of tea, so he cut himself two more slices of bread and refilled the kettle, muttering about mean-minded authors who make life difficult, just to get a cheap laugh (I think he meant me).
With the kettle back on the stove and two new slices toasting under the grill, Mr Poonlop settled down to look at his post. He was quite excited to get so many envelopes. Unfortunately, as he looked through them, he sighed with disappointment.
‘Bill … Bill … Bill … Bill …,’ he said, as he looked at most of them.
He gathered them together and took them straight to the house next door.
‘Here, Bill; these are yours,’ he said to his neighbour (it's a good job that you're a young reader, because that is a very old joke!), ‘I grabbed them off Sid by mistake because I ... Oh, no!’ With that, he ran off home, leaving poor Bill looking very confused.

Mr Poonlop cut two more slices of bread, threw two more pieces of charcoal in the bin and filled his kettle once again. He opened his back door to let out the smoke and steam, sat on his doorstep and looked at his garden.
He looked at the chimney, which was in the middle of his lawn, upside down. This wasn't just the architects' fault. Of course they hadn't helped by instructing the builders to fix it to the roof with cheese spread instead of cement, but you couldn't blame them for the high wind that actually blew it off. It had been embedded in the grass all winter and this was quite worrying because it meant that every time Mr Poonlop lit a fire all the smoke went into the middle of his garden.
‘That's another thing I ought to get fixed this Spring,’ he thought; and he went back into the kitchen to have another go at making his breakfast and reading his post.

Chapter 4

So little Mr Poonlop got dressed and ...

‘What happened to Chapter Three?’ he asked me.
'Good point,’ I replied.
Sorry about that ...

Chapter 3

When he went back inside, Mr Poonlop found that the air had cleared and I had written him a nice pot of tea and two slices of golden toast. I'd even written hot, melting butter over them. I hadn't opened his letters or read them though, because people prefer to do that for themselves.
Most of the envelopes contained junk mail. In fact, due to a slight spelling mistake, one of them contained gunk mail and poor Mr Poonlop had to wash his hands after opening it, muttering to himself about stupid authors who ought to get a dictionary (I think he meant me).
There was only one real letter, from his Auntie Mildred in Cornwall.

The letter asked Mr Poonlop how he was keeping, told him his Auntie was fine, told him the weather in Cornwall was fine and that Auntie Mildred's dog, Wibble, had gone missing for three days but had turned up safe and sound four days later.
Then it told him that the weather in Cornwall was fine, asked how he was keeping, asked how the weather was where he lived, told him that Wibble had gone missing for a week but then turned up the day before and that his Auntie Mildred was fine.
Then, on page nine, it told him that his Auntie was fine, that the weather where he was was fine, asked him how the weather in Wibble was keeping and told him that his dog, Cornwall had turned up for three days but then gone missing.

His Auntie Mildred had always been a bit forgetful. In fact her name wasn't Auntie Mildred but she'd forgotten what it was years ago. Mr Poonlop couldn't remind her either because he had no idea who she was at all.
He didn't mind though because she'd also enclosed a card and a ten pound note for his birthday. In fact, being so forgetful, she'd actually enclosed five cards and four ten pound notes. He couldn't help but smile — it wasn't his birthday! In fact, Auntie Mildred's cards were exactly one year late.
After reading that, he was about to throw the other mail in the waste bin, when he realised that one of the items was a travel brochure. Idly he flicked through its glossy pages, showing exotic locations, sun-kissed beaches and happy, smiling holidaymakers.
And he realised that a holiday was just what he needed.


Before we start Chapter 4 again, this might be a good time to explain something about this story.
As I'm sure you know, to make books for young people sound more interesting than they ever really are, the titles are always about the biggest, the best, the first and so on. You know the sort of thing: “The Littlest Fairy", "Annabelle's First Chicken Sandwich", "The Best Bottom in the World" or "Jimmy's Longest Worm".
So obviously I wanted to call this story, "Little Mr Poonlop's First Holiday".
But then Mr Poonlop said that was terribly unfair. If this was to be his first holiday, then he must have been a very sad little man who never had one before. I said that we could just pretend but he said that if I wrote that it was his first holiday, then it would be true. In fact he said that if I called it "Little Mr Poonlop's First Holiday", he would refuse to be in the story and that would have made it very difficult for me to write and even worse for you to read.
So, after a lot of arguing, we agreed that he had been on six holidays before, mostly to the seaside, where he'd had a wonderful time — and I could call this story "Little Mr Poonlop's Seventh Holiday"


Chapter 4

No! That’s all you’re getting here!

But if you want to find out what happens to little Mr Poonlop and where he goes on his seventh holiday, you can.

There is now a new, improved format for the full story and pics Poonlop!

You need to download a file and print it out on 20 sheets of paper which you can make into a book.
I've left a load of spaces for you to draw in your own illustrations and there's even a cover you can download.

(Or, if you prefer, you can just have the whole thing as a rich text file)

All the instructions are on Mr Poonlop's Book Page, so why not go take a look?
It's absolutely free (unless you want to pay)!

Or else you could just go to his Little Home Page to see what else is happening.