Monday 10 August 2015

A Boggle At BewilderBroad

It was Mildred the Crocklebog's birthday and she was feeling a bit lonely down on the Scary Lake, so she decided to invite all her friends round for a special party.

Now, Crocklebogs live for a very long time and have really really good memories. Mildred was 150 years old and she thought it was about time she told everyone the truth about the Scary Lake.

"Lithen everyone" said Mildred, "I want to tell you all a thtory". The young Boggles and Twiggles got very excited when they heard this, and started trying to guess what the story would be. "Swampy's first visit to the Scary Lake" said one. "Moss getting lost in the Muddled Maze" tried another. "Shhhh" said the older ones.

"It'th none of thothe thtories, " said Mildred, "thith one ith all about the fun we had on the Thcary Lake when I wath young. It was thix feet deep, full of birdth and wildlife and you could even thail on it."

There was a gasp, and silence. Six feet deep? Sail on the Scary Lake? This was heresy. Nobody was allowed to take a boat on to the Scary Lake. Well, nobody except the owners, who said they hated boats. But really they just hated other people's boats.

"Yeth, " continued Mildred, "there were wherrieth, and keelth before that, and it used to be thuch fun waving to them when they thailed acroth the lake."

Well, what an exciting story this turned out to be. So the old legends were true! There really was a river outside the Scary lake, and you could sail in and out to far off places like Blorning and Troxham, where the Grockles went on their holidays.

"What happened? What happened?" burbled the Boggles. "Tell us!" squealed the Twiggles.

"Well, " said Mildred, " there wath thith big colony of gullth living on the Lake, and the ownerth liked having them there. Tho they dethided to thtop anyone thailing a boat on the lake."

There was a puzzled silence and then Swampy asked "But why would they do that? Everyone knows that boats and wildlife get along just fine."

"Yeth. " said Mildred. "It was a trick to clothe the lake tho that nobody elth could enjoy it. Nobody wath brave enough to argue and then the treeth thstarted growing all around the lake and before long everyone forgot that the river wath even there."

"So there really is a river?" asked Moss, thrilled.

"Oh yeth, " said Mildred, "and other laketh full of birdth and inthecth and all kindth of wildlife."

"Really? " asked Leaflette. "So why isn't our lake full of birds and insects and wildlife? Why is it all boggy and smelly?"

"I think I can explain that" said a slow, deep voice. Everyone turned to look at The Old Man Of The Marshes, who had crept in whilst they were listening to Mildred. "You see, these lakes aren't natural at all. They are really 'Broads', dug out by Boggles hundreds of years ago who needed peat to burn and keep warm."

"When they'd finished digging, they flooded the Broads," continued The Old Man Of The Marshes, "and the only reason they stayed like that was because boats sailed across them and kept everything stirred up and alive. Once the boats were gone, the Scary Lake got shallower and shallower and the water got murkier and murkier. Until now only Mildred the Crocklebog can live in it."

"But why hasn't someone looked after it?" asked Rosie.

"Well, sometimes humans don't look after things very well," said The Old Man Of The Marshes, " and they think that nature will take care of things for them. And when they realise they made a big mistake, they like someone else to come and pay for it to be fixed."

"And someone is going to?" asked Swampy, hopefully.

"Oh yes" said The Old Man Of The Marshes. "But the funny thing is - they still don't want the boats back."

"But that's ridiculous. " said Rosie. "We need the boats back on the Scary Lake as soon as we can. So  they can help bring it back to life, and we can get out and explore the Big River!"

"Yes" said The Old Man Of The Marshes. "And you young Boggles and Twiggles can help. You need to get over to and sign the petition on your MarshPads. No public money without public access!"

"No public money without public access!" agreed everyone, and gorged themselves on snozzleberries.