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Jane Badger Books

Judith M Berrisford: Cats of Winkle Bay series eBook bundle

Judith M Berrisford: Cats of Winkle Bay series eBook bundle

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Save and buy both cats eBooks by Judith M Berrisford

The Cats of Winkle Bay; The Far-From-Home Cats

EBOOK BUNDLE OF 2 BOOKS

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Just before four o’clock on Tuesday afternoon there were fifty-two cats in Winkle Bay.

There were black cats, white cats, tabby cats, tortoise-shell cats, long-furred cats, short-furred cats, Siamese cats, Persian cats, shop cats, house cats, school cats, harbour cats and just cats.

They sunned themselves on the walls of the cottage gardens. They sat in the doorways of the shops, purring, and rubbing against the legs of passers-by. They padded to the harbour to meet the fishing-boats, and to miaow for scraps when the fish boxes were lifted on to the quay-side.

Some of the cats lived on the boats and went to sea. They braved the ocean waves, sailed to foreign parts, and lived on ship’s rats and tinned milk and meaty scraps from the galley.

While some of the cats regularly went to sea, the others stayed ashore, stalked along the garden walls, sharpened their claws on rose­arches, and pounced on mice in the tufts of heather on the headland.

They, too, enjoyed themselves because Winkle Bay—with its fishy quay and its plump mice—was a wonderful place for cats, and the fifty-two cats who lived there had a truly wonderful time.

Any moment now the number of cats living in Winkle Bay was going to rise from fifty-two to fifty-three because, as the clock outside the Deep Sea Mission struck four, a newcomer arrived in the town.

His name was Marmaduke Mittens. He was only five months old, not much more than a kitten, though he liked to think of himself as a cat. He was mostly black, but had a white ‘shirt-front‘, spruce white whiskers, short white ‘socks’ on his back paws, and long white ‘mittens’ on his front ones.

Slowly, because he was quite tired, Marmaduke plodded down Harbour Road, which sloped to the quay. He had left home that very morning. He had not been at all happy in that draughty house in that mouse-less new housing estate a few miles from Winkle Bay, where he had lived with a childless married couple who had not understood cats. They mauled him about when he wanted to sleep. They did not heed his miaows promptly when he stood by the door asking to be let out. They never washed his saucer thoroughly, and were only generous with the milk when it had begun to turn sour.
Ugh! Marmaduke lashed his tail at the thought. It really was quite disgraceful.

In the whole of his young life he had never tasted liver, pilchards or any really appetising fish at all.

So, shaking the dust of his so-called home from his neat white paws that morning, he had set off into the world to better himself.

He had reached the cross-roads at the end of the housing estate. He had sniffed East, West, North and South.

Where should he go? Which road should he take?
Marmaduke had sniffed four times, and then had followed his nose and walked jauntily into the fish-laden breeze that blew from Winkle Bay.

Here he was, some hours later, walking down Harbour Road, the fascinating main street of Winkle Bay.

His whiskers twitched as he smelt fresh raw meat from the butcher’s open doorway; then herrings and salmon from the fishmonger’s; ice-cream and sardine salad from the Orange Café. All these smells mingled with the salty smell of the sea; tar on newly painted boats; lavender from the cottage gardens, and—most important of all—fish galore!

Other cats were also on their way to meet the fishing-boat, the Saucy Kate, which had just come into harbour. On the quay some cats were already waiting. There was Blackie from the Post Office, Sandy from Seaview House, Tiddles from Beach Villa and several others—all alert at the prospect of fish scraps.

As the boxes of fish were lifted on to the quay-side the exciting smells grew stronger. Marmaduke Mittens purred, and pressed his front paws up and down on the cobbles as cats often will at the prospect of a tasty meal.
‘Look at those cats!’ exclaimed a young fisherman aboard the Saucy Kate. ‘You’d wonder how they knew we’d come into harbour!’

‘I suppose they can smell us a mile off,’ said his ship-mate. ‘That’s right.’ He nodded. ‘Give them the throw-outs.’

As the crew of the Saucy Kate tossed the fish scraps on to the quay the cats of Winkle Bay sprang to claim their share.

Marmaduke pounced on a cod’s head, and crouched over it. He ate hungrily. This was the most delicious fish he had ever tasted.

Suddenly he looked out of the corner of his eye. From the deck of the Saucy Kate sprang a big, brown tabby cat with a torn right ear. He landed on the quay just beside Marmaduke.

Marmaduke put both front paws on the cod’s head and hissed to warn the other cat not to steal his fish.

‘Don’t use that tone to me, me lad,’ the big brown tabby said in a quite friendly way. ‘I can tackle two your size with my left paw. Not that I’d want to. I’m not one to make trouble ashore or afloat. I don’t want your fish. I had my fill when it was caught. I’m the ship’s cat on the Saucy Kate. My name’s Brown Tabby.’

‘I’m glad to know you,’ Marmaduke said politely. ‘I’m sorry I hissed at you.’

‘Forget it!’ said Brown Tabby. ‘Hey, look out!’ the big tabby suddenly warned as a scraggy black cat slunk from behind a bollard and reached out a sly paw to steal Marmaduke’s fish. ‘Keep your eye on that cod’s head. You nearly lost it. Grrr!’ He snarled at the black cat, who fled. ‘Be off with you!’

Brown Tabby walked all round Marmaduke, and then sat in front of him.

‘I’ll keep guard while you finish that fish,’ he told Marmaduke. ‘That’s right—enjoy it. I won’t let anyone take it away from you. We seafaring cats like to see fair play.’

Marmaduke swallowed the last bit of fish.

‘Thank you, Brown Tabby.’ He looked admiringly at the bigger cat. ‘It must be wonderful to be a ship’s cat. I think I’ll go to sea.’

‘Ho, you do, do you?’ Brown Tabby chuckled, jumping aboard. ‘You’d better wait until you’ve grown a bit more. The shore is the safest place for a little fellow like you. You’re too young to leave home.’

‘But I have left home,’ Marmaduke pointed out. He fluffed himself up so that he would look bigger. ‘I ran away this morning to better myself. And I’m sure there’s no finer place for any cat than to be aboard a fishing­boat. So I’m going to be your ship-mate on the Saucy Kate!‘

To show Brown Tabby that he meant what he said, Marmaduke ran confidently to the edge of the quay and sprang towards the deck. At the moment that Marmaduke jumped the Saucy Kate rocked away from the quay-side, straining at her mooring ropes.

Too late Marmaduke realised that he had jumped short. In dismay he looked down at the widening gap between the Saucy Kate and the quay. He was going to fall into the water.

He gave a miaowl of despair and clawed frantically, trying to reach one of the thick mooring ropes. His front claws caught in the fibre. He held on, got a firmer grip, and managed to scramble along it to the quay.

All his jaunty confidence had now gone. He looked down at the water and shivered while Brown Tabby shook his head gravely.

‘Mhew!’ Marmaduke said in a small voice. ‘That was a near squeak.’

‘And I should think it’s taught you a lesson!’ Brown Tabby said sternly. ‘You’ll be safer if you stay ashore until you’re a bit older. And another thing—keep your wits about you when you’re on the quay.’ He suddenly raised his voice. ‘Hey, look out!’

Brown Tabby had seen a deck-hand about to throw a bucket of dirty water over the bows of the Saucy Kate. A gust of wind blew the water towards the quay and over Marmaduke, drenching him. His wet fur clung to his little body, and his mouth opened to give a pitiful mew.

‘See what I mean?’ said Brown Tabby, trying not to laugh.
‘Oh! Sorry, Puss!’ apologised the deck-hand when he saw what had happened.

‘Miaaaa-ha-ha!’ chortled Blackie from the Post Office, jumping on a fish box to get a better view of Marmaduke. ‘What a funny sight! Miaow-how-how!’

‘Mew-he-he!’ giggled Tiddles, from Beach Villa.

‘Miyo-ho-ho!’ rumbled Sandy, the plump ginger cat from Seaview House.

‘Ha-ha-ha-ha!’ cackled the seagulls.

Poor Marmaduke! Dirty water was running off his neat white nose on to his once spotless shirt-front, and dripping on to his newly washed mitts.

Most of the cats on the quay were laughing at him, and even Brown Tabby was trying hard not to smile.
Marmaduke tried to swish his tail, but it was too heavy and water-logged. He felt miserable. He had made himself look very silly—and in front of such a fine seafaring cat as Brown Tabby too.

More cats gathered round Marmaduke to laugh at him. Now if there was one thing Marmaduke could not bear it was being laughed at. Leaving a wet trail behind him, Marmaduke crawled behind the Lifeboat Station. He felt better now that those grinning cats were out of sight. He settled down to a thorough wash.

He licked his right front paw several times before using it to clean his face. Now to smarten up his white shirt-front. He licked it well, and then began to wash his front paws. He bit at the fur between his toes to ‘comb’ it. A good cat always paid particular attention to his paws, he told himself.

At last he was spruce and spotless again, but still rather damp. He padded down some stone steps on to the pebbly shore. He jumped into a rowing-boat that was beached on the tide­line. Then he yawned, curled himself into a small furry ball and fell asleep.

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Who's in the book?

CATS OF WINKLE BAY
Cats:
Marmaduke Mittens, Brown Tabby, Selina, Lulu, Fluffy

Humans:
Miss Tippitt, Mrs Rose, Bert Barton, Mr Roberts, Sam

FAR FROM HOME CATS
Cats:
Marmaduke Mittens, Amanda, Brown Tabby, Selina, Blackie, Nobody’s Cat

Humans:
Mrs Rose, Miss Pettit, Charlie, Eddie, Miss Dancy, Young Bert, Mrs Venning

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