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Jane Badger Books

Judith M Berrisford: The Far-From-Home-Cats (eBook)

Judith M Berrisford: The Far-From-Home-Cats (eBook)

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Marmaduke and his friends are wandering around Winkle Bay one day when they see a removal van. Could there be mice? Is it worth investigating? In they go, but then the door is closed, and the cats are whisked away, miles from Winkle Bay. Can they find their way back? They have a lot to contend with, from cat thieves to cars.

This is the sequel to The Cats from Winkle Bay, and was originally published in the 1950s. It's even harder to find than the first book, so we're delighted to bring this charming cat story back for a new audience.

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Read a sample

Marmaduke Mittens was a black-and-white cat. He had white whiskers, a snowy nose, neat white ‘waist-coat’, white ‘mittens’ on his front paws and smart white ‘socks’ on his back paws. The rest of him was glossy black.
He belonged to Mrs Rose, a widow who ran the Wool Shop on Winkle Bay Quay. Another cat also lived at the shop. She was named Amanda and she was a blue Persian. Often the two cats, Marmaduke and Amanda, strolled out together, mousing on the headland, or padding along the quay, enjoying the fishy smells. They were good friends.

This morning they were walking along the harbour wall, looking for another friend of theirs—Brown Tabby, who was ship’s cat aboard the Saucy Kate, one of the Winkle Bay fishing boats. Brown Tabby was an adventurous cat and both Marmaduke and Amanda admired him very much indeed.

When they reached the part of the quay where the Saucy Kate was moored, Marmaduke paused, looked back towards Amanda who was following and mewed:
‘Here’s the Saucy Kate and the crew are aboard, getting ready to sail, but I can’t see Brown Tabby.’

‘He usually sits on the wheel-house roof,’ said Amanda. ‘But he’s not there now. I wonder where he is.’

‘Right here, you landlubbers! Mew-ahoy!’ came a hearty miaow from the middle of a coil of rope on the quay just beside them. From the top of the coil appeared Brown Tabby’s striped face. He dodged down again, and then, to the other cats’ delight, came up with a dead mouse in his mouth. He tossed it on to the quay. ‘That’s one mouse who won’t have the chance to stow away on my ship.’
‘Surely no mouse would dare!’ put in Amanda.

‘You’d be surprised.’ Brown Tabby jumped out of the coil of rope. ‘They sometimes run along a ship’s mooring ropes and get aboard that way. I’ll just check whether any have come aboard while my tail was turned.’

He sniffed round the rope and along it, and then padded to the gangway, sniffing there, too.

‘All clear,’ he reported. He stretched himself and then asked: ‘What have you two landlubbers been doing since I was last ashore?’

‘Just snoozing and watching things from the Wool Shop window,’ said Amanda.

‘And patrolling the mouse-holes,’ added Marmaduke quickly, wanting his sea-going friend to think well of him. ‘We’ve found some new ones on the headland. As a matter of fact we’re going there now. Won’t you come with us?’

‘’Tisn’t often I go as far inland as the headland,’ said Brown Tabby. ‘But my ship won’t sail until highwater, and that won’t be for another hour, so I’ll come.’

Brown Tabby set off beside his two landlubbing friends. He had a sailor’s roll. This was a habit of his—a way of walking that he had found to be best when he was padding along the heaving decks of the fishing boat during rough weather at sea.

One of his ears was rakishly bent: that was the way it had healed after a fight with three rats in the ship’s hold. His whiskers had a swept-back look. In fact they were bent by being blown by the sea winds when he sat on the wheel-house roof of the Saucy Kate.

Both Marmaduke and Amanda knew that there was no other cat in the world who was quite so wonderful as Brown Tabby. Now they wanted to show him that life ashore could be as interesting as life at sea and they were looking forward to introducing their friend to that mousy colony among the gorse.

The three cats had not gone far; in fact they had just turned off the quay and were padding along Cable Street when they suddenly stopped.

A little way ahead of them a furniture-removal van was drawn up outside one of the houses in the middle of the row. Inside the van were various pieces of furniture, including some cupboards. It was these cupboards that particularly interested the three cats. All cats—whether landlubbing cats or sea-faring cats—have a strong sense of curiosity. They love to look into things—and especially into cupboards.

So while the removal men were still in the house, the cats, led by Marmaduke, padded up the ramp and into the van.

‘Mew! Disgraceful! Mewew!’ came a disapproving miaow from behind a lamp-post.

The three cats turned guiltily to see a smug-faced tortoiseshell cat sitting there, and pretending to look shocked. She was Selina, a sly, mischief-making cat who was not much liked by the other cats of Winkle Bay.
‘Mind your own business!’ Brown Tabby growled, over his shoulder, as he padded towards a meat-safe that was stacked at the far end of the van.

‘I suppose that meat-safe is your business,’ sneered Selina. She turned to Brown Tabby and Amanda. ‘Vulgar curiosity! Still, I suppose one can’t expect any better from a rough sea-cat, but you, Marmaduke, and you, Amanda—I am surprised. What would Miss Rose say?’

‘Oh, hold your miaow do!’ Amanda said rudely. ‘I’ve a good mind to give you a thorough scratching.’

‘Mew! Miaowl!’ Selina began squealing before she was even hurt. Then a sly look came into her eyes and she suddenly looked towards an old warehouse at the end of Cable Street. ‘Oooh! What a big rat!’

‘Where?’ demanded Brown Tabby, bounding to the ramp of the van.

‘It ran across the street and under the gates of that warehouse,’ Selina reported. ‘It was enormous. It would take a brave cat to tackle that rat.’

‘I didn’t see any rat,’ Amanda said suspiciously.

‘Come on, you landlubbers!’ roared Brown Tabby. ‘We’ll get him!’

Following the lead of the fearless ship’s cat, Marmaduke and Amanda streaked to the hole in the warehouse door. They sniffed around there.

‘No rat’s been through here for days,’ Brown Tabby announced.

‘That Selina!’ Amanda said crossly. ‘She’s tricked us. She wanted to get us out of the way for some reason. I expect she wants to sniff round those cupboards herself. She was probably trying to pluck up her courage when we came on the scene.’

‘Yes!’ Marmaduke agreed. ‘Look!’

All three cats turned towards the furniture van. Two men had just put in a bedstead, and were entering the house again. Meanwhile, Selina, the whole of her tortoiseshell body quivering with inquisitiveness, was creeping into the van.

‘Well!’ gasped Amanda. ‘She pretended to be shocked about our prying, and then she tricked us out of the way so that she could pry herself. The sly thing!’

All three cats angrily ran back to the van and jumped inside—just in time to catch Selina in the very act of trying to paw open the door of a dining-room side­board!

Page length: 88

Original publication date: 1967

Who's in the book?

Cats:
Marmaduke Mittens, Amanda, Brown Tabby, Selina, Blackie, Nobody’s Cat

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

Other titles published as

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