Here we are on part Thirty-two. Before we go any further, I am asking you to join me in a dream. Also please remember I am a slightly damaged child, partly deaf, colour blind, and extremely shy. I often hear them say ‘He lives in his own little world, doesn’t he’, and ‘Is he all there?’
Now that you are in my little world, we can continue the story.
Coming from the whispering Aspen trees that border the orchard, I can clearly hear the conversation.
‘Oh, Bronwen, this place is so blooming boring; I have been stationed here for a whole year, and nothing has ever happened. What is so important about these blinking stones anyway? They’re scattered about all over the place. The locals are very odd, they don’t speak to anyone, and when they do, they may as well come from the moon. I notice they always say good morning to those Magpies though, I wonder what’s so special about them?’
It’s not every day that you hear the conversation of a couple of Raven’s, but this is Chertsey—stranger things have happened in this old town—I can tell you. The orchard really is a dreamland though, everything is nice and sweet, no one is ever ill. It’s the sort of place a child like me would dream up.
Ravens, with their shiny black feathers and their knowing looks, have been here for centuries. That was before the Abbey fell out of favour with a certain king—whose name is hardly ever mentioned in the Conspiracy of Raven’s living in Stangarthes Hill. Who can blame them? They were turfed out of their comfortable quarters in the Abbey and ended up—in a tree!
Bran, or Taffy as the other Raven’s like to call him is fed up. He has been posted from Carnarvon castle in Wales after a fight with another bird, this is where he lost an eye and always looks at you cock-eyed.
As well as his disability, Bran has found it hard to understand the other ravens with their cockney accents, most of them have been demoted for misbehaviour, from The Tower of London.
These Londoners scoff at their country cousins, they consider themselves a cut above. After all, it takes just six Ravens to hold the destiny of the Monarchy in the tips of their clipped wings.
The cocky Londoner’s may scoff, but even a grumpy, one-eyed, Welsh Raven and his partner Bronwen, who has a slight speech impediment and a huge chip on her shoulder have one important advantage—they can fly.
Chertsey is regarded as a punishment posting. Bronwen is trying to teach Bran the local lingo, it is not going very well—possibly because she has a very bad stutter.
‘The tttttrouble with you Bran is you jjjjust won’t listen, it’s not water it’s wortah, and buttah not butter. No wwwwonder the others can’t understand you.’
‘That’s easy for you to say Bronwen.’
He says this without thinking and then wishes he could bite his tongue (a tricky thing for anyone to do, let alone a Raven). Bronwen turns her head very slowly—like ladies do when they are not sure what has just been said.
The hackles in her throat start to rise and she starts clicking.
‘Toc, Toc, Toc.’ She goes.
Luckily for Bran, their attention is caught by a commotion in the orchard below, they see me sitting on the bridge, and a gang of boys noisily scrumping apples. The boys are unaware of the watching eyes high up in the Aspin trees. They may possibly hear Bronwen clicking away like a woodpecker—she is still terribly hurt.