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Chapter 3

Voyage home

"McClown, are you ready? Can't you work faster? Do I have to do everything myself?"

Lord McShredder was so angry that he almost got up from his comfortable wheelchair to look for his butler. Impatiently he searched his trouser pocket for some tobacco. There were only some crumbs of tobacco and the rest of a handkerchief but he stuffed everything into his pipe.

"McClown! It is urgent!"

Panting and gasping the poor butler came running.

"Sir, the buyers for the house are waiting!"
"He? The tires of the grouse are trailing? McClown, that's gibberish. I hardly have any tobacco left and you are joking. Now go and get me some tobacco and don't stand about here lazily."

Frido McClown ran as fast as he could. But he was still rather close when he again heard the croaking voice of his master.


He turned on the heel and ran back to the spot where he just had been standing. With glittering eyes he listened what milord had to say to him.

"If you are taking a stroll to the town, do also bring some tea. A nice cup of tea serves for calming down. You should drink one, too. You are looking a little nervous. - Eh, McClown, do stop kicking the fence!"

The butler's patience was spent indeed. The suitcases were almost packed. Some items were missing, such as the collection of His Lordship's tobacco pipes which numbered about 600. All the newspapers and yellow press which McShredder had collected over the years would not go back home. Frido McClown had taken a plank out of the dining room floor and hidden pipes and newspapers there. Then he had nailed the plank again and was glad that he did not have to take along all this rubbish. By now he had reached the little town which was a few minutes’ walk from the hacienda. He bought what he had been ordered to, returned, set the kettle on the stove, made a deal with a former torero, who had retired, and sold the house to him. Then he took the tobacco to Lord McShredder, prepared the tea and made a phone call. While he was dialling, he heard a croaking "McClown, where is my tea?" but he just did not heed it.

He rang up his old friend, the captain. It was the one who once had taken him along to Reykjavik as stowaway. Never the butler would forget how this sailor had saved the hamsters from certain death. There had been a storm and he had stumbled over a fender. O the dear, cute hamsters! Tears came to his eyes, he thought of the stormy balloon-landing in Strathy Point. Well, just now the captain had promised to take them back to Scotland. In two days he would meet them in the port of Vivero. While the butler wondered how they were to get to Vivero he went back to His Lordship.

"McClown, you are sleeping in the middle of the day! Now you've forgotten the tea. If I don't to everything myself…"

"He? Sir, I'm on the bottom of the sea? I didn't realize that…"

The butler aped the deafness of milord and ducked away when McShredder threw his pipe at him. Then he went to finish the packing. He did not heed the swearing of milord. With satisfaction he watched how McShredder struggled out of the wheelchair to pick up the hot pipe before the carpet was on fire. The packing was soon finished and the butler heard milord crowing again:

"McClown, where is the ship?"
"Sir", McClown shouted, "the ship is in the harbour, if you please."
"Which harbour?"
"In Vivero, Sir."
"Where is that?"
"Behind Magazos, Sir."
"Aha, and where is Magazos?"
"Behind Fonterova, Sir."
"Aha, and Fonterova?'"
"A few kilometres to the west, Sir. In Spain, Sir. On the planet Earth, Sir."
"Aha, and where… McClown, I'm not stupid! Of course I know that we are in Spain. Then find a solution how to get me there. It is not very comfortable for me to be carted by you over the bumpy roads."
"Certainly, Sir, I will immediately look for a vehicle."

The few inhabitants of the hamlet Fonterova spent a comfortably boring life. Nothing ever happened in this backwater but this afternoon a change occurred. While village and people were dozing, a man approached their place from eastern direction. He dragged a donkey behind him. The donkey pulled an old wooden cart. On this cart a wheelchair was mounted. In the wheelchair a man was sitting smoking a pipe. He obviously was angry. The sleepy villagers heard the old man scolding the other one who dragged the donkey.

"McClown, you madman, why did you not order a taxi?"
"Sir, there are no taxis and we sold the tractor."
"McClown, I want some tea!"
"There is no tea, Sir, and please stop shouting, the donkey is going to be wild."
"No tea! You ungrateful dog!"

The Spanish villagers watched the infuriated man on the throne-like wheelchair throwing his pipe at the younger man. But the pipe hit the innocent donkey and the hot ash singed the donkey's mane. The donkey did what everybody would do when he is singed: he yelled in pain and ran. Delighted, the villagers watched what was happening on their dusty road. A donkey with smoking mane raced along the bumpy road, dragging behind him a cart. The old man in his wheelchair was still sitting in the cart, but he bounced up and down and hardly could hold to the cart. And then there was the man who up to now had dragged the donkey. Now he wildly waved his arms, shouted and ran after the cart.

The eyes of the villagers followed this funny group for a long time until only a little cloud of dust was to be seen in the setting sun. One of them, an old man with only few teeth left, shook his head and said to his neighbour:

The neighbour, who had just closed his eyes to doze on, opened them again and replied:
"Yes, always hectic. Don't know leisure, these gringos."

It did not take Lord McShredder and his butler long now to reach the port of Vivero. The poor donkey had only half his mane left. In pain and with a loud "Eeyore" he jumped into the water of the harbour. The butler desperately tried to hold the wheelchair with milord but with a splash they all fell into the water.

"Me lads, ye're there, tha's swell. We may be off on t' double."

The captain laughed. He was standing at the railing of this ship and hurled a rope towards McShredder. It took some time to heave the swearing lord on board. The donkey swam to the shore for the wooden cart and the wheelchair were quite shattered and floated in the water. McClown was the last one to get on board because he had to get all the suitcases out of the water. But finally everything was done and they could travel home to Scotland.

The ship left the harbour and soon they would see the old castle again..

1 (not of spanish origin)