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Episode six: We’re friends, aren’t we?
The lighthouse at Dungeness is like all lighthouses, very round and very tall. The steps inside follow the walls and after a while you feel you are moving around in circles without actually going anywhere. It’s only when you get to the top that you realise how high you’ve climbed.
Once Truffles, Bo Doodley and Wolfie had bought the tickets to visit the lighthouse, they started to climb the steps. DeDe went first and jumped up the first few before taking a moment to look back and see how the others were doing. Harley and Lily-Poo were just behind her and were pleased she’d stopped, because they wanted to take a sip from their water bottles. Bo Doodley was in a hurry so she rushed on past them.
When the others were almost half way up, Dante and Phoebe were still at the bottom, because they were having trouble climbing onto the first step. The steps were so tall and their legs so short that they couldn’t reach the top of the first step. After trying a couple of times Dante wondered if he could use his front paws to pull himself up, but sadly this didn’t work either. Every time he thought he was nearly there, he lost his grip and slid back down. After so many tries both he and Phoebe began to cry. They don’t like being left behind.
Just when Dante and Phoebe thought they would never get anywhere near the top, Truffles had an idea. If he lay down Dante could climb on his back and he could carry him right to the top! And if Wolfie did the same for Phoebe, they would all be able to join the others.
Dante cheered up and climbed on Truffles’ back, wrapping his front legs around Truffles’ big furry neck. He held on tight while Truffles slowly lifted himself off the cold lighthouse floor. Dante had never been this far off the ground and began to feel just that little bit wobbly. But after a few steps he felt safe and Truffles picked up speed by jumping two steps at a time. They soon caught up the others, who were almost at the top.
As Phoebe watched Dante and Truffles climb out of sight, Wolfie lay down and let her jump onto his back just as Truffles had let Dante. She wrapped her little front legs around his neck, and hung on tight as Wolfie got up. She also hadn’t ever been so high off the ground, but unlike Dante she loved it and didn’t feel one little bit afraid. Wolfie got into his stride and climbed the steps two at a time.
The others were already at the top when Wolfie and Phoebe got there. Lighthouses are much smaller at the top than they are at the bottom so there wasn’t much room for Wolfie to lie down and let Phoebe climb off his back. As Phoebe slid off his back her paw lost its grip and suddenly she was flying back down the steps. The more steps she rolled down the faster she went.
In a flash Wolfie jumped up and ran down after her, this time three steps at a time. When he overtook her, he turned himself around and blocked her falling any further. Then bump! Phoebe fell slap into his thick black fur.
Although Phoebe is small, she felt very heavy as she collided into Wolfie’s side. As soon as she stopped she grabbed Wolfie’s neck and felt safe again. They looked into each others eyes realising how lucky they were not to be lying in a heap at the bottom. Wolfie had been a true hero, he had saved her.
They both rested for a moment and got their breath back, before wondering what to do next. Should they go back up to the others, or should they continue down to the bottom and get over their shock? They looked up and saw Bo Doodley peering back down and calling “you must come back up and have a look at this wonderful view!”
Although Phoebe is normally brave, she felt a little less brave after her fall. She closed her eyes as she climbed back onto Wolfie’s back and they started their climb. When they reached the top the others made sure Wolfie had lots of room to lie down this time. They all held their breath until Phoebe had slid of his back and was safely standing on all four paws. Once she was safe, they all jigged a little doodle dance to celebrate.
As they finished dancing they remembered why they’d made such a big effort to get to the top. They’d come to see the wonderful views of course! One by one they turned around to look through the iron grills and wonder at the vast space around them. They thought they could see Camber one way, and across the sea to France the other. Behind them they were certain they could see as far as London and perhaps even Edinburgh in Scotland. Lily-Poo was certain she could see her house in Chislehurst, and her furless two legs sitting in the garden with a big glass of wine.
As they wondered at the views and the wide open spaces, Lily Poo marvelled at how small they all were and how large the world around them really was. When we’re all on the beach at Camber it all seems so very different and we feel so much bigger, and so much more important than perhaps we really are. She shared her thoughts with DeDe who said, “There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. Lily Poo thought this was a very strange thing to say, because DeDe knew her name wasn’t Horatio. When she reminded DeDe her name was Lily Poo, DeDe sighed whispering, “Doesn’t anyone know their Shakespeare these days?”
They decided it had been well worth the climb and were all happy to see the view and the far away places. But when they looked down to the road, they realised how very high they had climbed. The furless two legs walking on the ground and the cars driving to the beach all looked like the ants that run around the sand at Camber.
Harley didn’t like looking down because it made him feel sick, so he decided to keep his eyes firmly fixed on the clouds in the distance. He wondered if he could see his house across the marsh, and luckily this made his sick feeling go away. He thought the clouds looked as fluffy as his fur did after a bath, and wondered if they smelt as nice as he did when he was squeaky clean.
Once they’d seen all they wanted to see they started to make their way back down to the ground. DeDe and Harley went first, followed by Lily-Poo and Bo Doodley. Dante and Phoebe looked at each other and then back at the high steps wondering how they were going to get down. Without saying anything, Wolfie knelt down and let Phoebe climb on his back, wrap her front legs tightly around his neck and they quickly set off. Truffles did the same for Dante and before they knew it they were safely back on the ground.
The lighthouse keeper carefully counted them one by one to make sure nobody had been left behind. It was nearly closing time and he didn’t want anyone locked inside for the night. When he knew they were all safely down, he put his hand into his pocket and brought out a large box of Winton’s Liver Cake. He handed each of them a big piece, making sure Truffles and Wolfie had extra for being so kind.
As they finished their liver cake, Dante and Phoebe gave Wolfie and Truffles big hugs to say thank you. Because without them they would never have got to the top of the lighthouse and seen the beautiful views. Truffles said, “Well we are friends aren’t we, and isn’t that what friends do for each other?”
Dante felt a tear well up in his eye, so he quickly looked the other way to be sure nobody noticed. As he wiped his eyes he thought, I now know what the radio meant by a lovely weekend. A lovely weekend is time spent with friends and those you love.
Their thoughts then turned to catching Billy train and home.
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Image Credits: Vicki Batt .