Saturday, 16 February 2008

The First of our Tales From The Marshes

Shades of blue and green on the slowly revolving earth are blurred only by the veils of cloud that dance across its surface. There, below, you can distinguish landmass from ocean, mountain from sea. Across its habitable surface, many varieties of the creature known as human being dominate the lands and rule the water. There are enough variations to make an assortment box but they are all big and most of them are out to get each other although they'll say that they're not. They regularly have punch-ups managing to inflict severe damage upon their enemies whilst sustaining many casualties themselves. All this destruction is only ever halted to tend to those who've suffered some major natural catastrophe. It's a peculiar way to exist but then humans are peculiar beasts. They're constantly devising new and even more sinister ways of inflicting this pain on each other with the ultimate goal of finding the weapon that can blow the whole planet apart in one single shot. The planet, though, had its own way of getting even and every now and then it will teach them a hard lesson. Evolution too has its place in this ever-changing profile, but there is one simple race of creature that has found stability of existence that has remained unchanged - but for a few minor tweaks! Their human counterparts are so savage and violent and yet, in the animal kingdom, they are also the only creatures that cry - this causes much amusement to this alternative yet diminutive people.
Ask any Dyke Dweller - he'll tell you no lies. Across that same habitable surface, another human-like race has evolved, almost like miniature humans. Their teachings and philosophies however, preach peace and harmony and they do not strive to replace what they have already with something more sophisticated in the name of seeking perfection. Their efforts are devoted to protecting the life they have perfected. Even in death they're streets ahead of their bigger counterparts. Generations earlier, one gifted Dykie had come to realise that the eating of certain plant roots gave rise to the production of a particularly sinister kind of flatulence. The gas produced, if bottled, could then be administered in high dosage to an ailing Dykie who had no will to live. The end was swift and often very smelly but it had the desired result whilst the humans were still debating about the ethics of it all.
In the human world, there had been many legends throughout the ages about this smaller race of people. Ireland has its Leprecauns, Cornwall has its Piscies, Norfolk has its Dykies and there are many fables told around the world, such as those about the tiny people of Lilliput. There are simply too many such legends for them to be fictional. There has to be a certain credence given to them but the humans look down on such tales with scorn and leave the stories of their close encounters to be written in childrens books. Children though, have far greater vision before their minds become silted up with human education and, believing what they read, many a youngster has set off into the woods during their school holidays with the intention of finding them. Very often they have but who will believe them? The adults will put it down to a furtive imagination on the part of the child and so the fairy tale is perpetuated without the adults ever realising that it is all true.
Deryk is typical. At twelve inches tall in his wellied feet, he is sturdy in build with a rugged weatherbeaten face. Dykies tended not to grow facial hair although there have been exceptions, usually among the females. The hair on Deryks head is neatly cut in a straight line right around his skull. This makes him look rather like a miniature version of one of the three stooges, something that is also reinforced by his apparel. Dyke Dwellers are remarkable at recycling and they manufacture all of their needs from human cast offs. His rough warm jacket has been woven from sheeps wool plucked from the grazing marsh. It has big deep pockets for storing useful bits and finds. There's a secret bit too for the odd item that requires to be hidden from general view - contraceptives and such. The shirt is retailored from a human T-shirt. It was no longer possible to read what had been printed on it but one of his friends reckoned that it must have been very rude. They hadn't used the bit with the beer stains and that was the rudest bit of all!. His trousers are very fashionable and perfect for walking the marshes. They're in a fetching shade of green and had once been part of a wax jacket which means that the stiff fabric makes his legs crackle and whirr when he walks. The outfit is completed by Dykie wellies. They're always very distinctive and are regularly made from - well, we'll talk about that later.
Deryk looked up at the star that shone just above his head. As his gaze wandered, so did his head, the motion of which caused his little body to topple over backwards and he fell on the sodden grass.
"Sodden grass."
Muttered Deryk to himself. There was no-one to hear him.
Once the clouds had passed in front of the moon, he would be able to forage in safety. He was near to a human house and had to be careful. There were very few such dwellings on the marshes but they were a rich source of cast offs. The humans spent much of their working life amongst gadgets and things. In fact, they'd invented a thing called work which employed a vast amount of gadgets and enabled them to earn tokens with which to buy more gadgets that they could use at home. If work didn't provide them with enough stress, then the gadgets would, The humans relied totally on gadgets and they were always breaking down at the most inconvenient time. This gave employment to another army of workers who tried to repair the gadgets. Many more were employed in the manufacture of gadgets and there were some who even earned a living from taking away gadgets and dismantling gadgets. Without gadgets the humans would die of boredom.
Dyke Dwellers on the other hand, led the perfect life. They had every conceivable gadget and more to provide for their needs. They had already made many inventions that their human counterparts hadn't even dreamt of yet. Decoration was a major feature. The human philosophy was to make a thousand varieties of one item to cater for taste. Dykies made one item with a thousand different guises. Simple but effective.
So here was Halvergate marshes. A vast expanse of drained land nestling behind the historic sea port of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, England. Deryks mind wandered back in time. It was a far cry from the distant land of his forefathers in Holland. Polygamy was permitted at one time there. It was a very similar habitat to Holland but the English humans weren't like their cousins from the Netherlands. They'd crossed the channel in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and settled on this vast expanse of marsh, woodland and meadow. The abundance of wildlife and vegetation had been the perfect landscape for the Dykies who could use the waterways to their advantage whilst those same cuttings made it difficult for humans to traverse too easily and so kept them at a distance. Mind you, humans too had discovered these same virtues but the vastness of the area meant that they could co-exist without too much risk of being discovered. Dyke dwellers had become masters of camouflage and their underground homes were always tucked well out of sight or fear of intrusion.
The old red traffic cone followed on obediently behind him. It's luminous white band glowed now and then as it caught a moonbeam. He marched on, his little wellies making determined footprints in the mossy carpet. The blue nylon rope from the cone pulled down on his shoulder. His rough hands gripped the knot that he'd tied in the other end. Soon he reached his boat and, with one mighty tug on the rope, the cone spun up in the air and landed in the empty hull with a clatter. In one athletic bound, Deryk followed it. Deftly he flicked the mooring rope which sent a curl towards the branch it was resting over. The rope obligingly lifted itself over the branch and came to rest back in the boat. Deryk smiled to himself. Clever sod he thought.
So, Deryk was on his way. Gliding through the still waters, his vessel leaving a glimmering ripple behind in the moonlight.
It was a perfect night. The wind danced through the cut of his hair lifting it like a dancing mop. His sleeves were rolled to the elbow now and his legs stood astride the cone planted firmly in their stiff red wellies. Manfully Deryk punted down the narrow waterway. He really did look a right little pillock.
The first signs of dawn were spreading across the distant horizon along the coast as he punted his tiny craft down the quivering waterway. Sometimes, on a still night such as this, his mind would recall the stories of his ancestors who'd done much the same for centuries in the dykes of Holland.
Suddenly, reality shocked him back to the present as he was sent stumbling forward. The boat had come to a dead stop without reason! Perhaps some submerged object had got in his passage.
to be continued soon.

Friday, 15 February 2008

The First Tale continued (pt2)

Maybe a floating sod had blocked the dyke. Leaning over the bow he peered down into the black grey water. The first light gave his reflection an eerie visage and the ripples distorted his face so that his immediate reaction was to pull back into the safety of the boat. Deryk was not one to be easily frightened though but it had been a horrible sight. He scrambled back to look again, this time he bravely extended his arm and brushed the water so the face disappeared. He groped under the boat trying to feel the obstruction.
"Want any help?"
Deryk was upon his feet before you could say enema, but this time he leapt the wrong way and tumbled with a messy splash into the cold night water.
The question had come from the bank and sounded nothing like you or I would ever recognise. It was like a squeaky chatter to the untrained ear but Deryk was in no doubt what it was. It was Miggy.
"You long haired spiny backed toothy idiot."
Squeaked Deryk in Miggy's native tongue as he spluttered out some more muddy bits of the river from his mouth. Miggy looked hurt. His spiny uncombed fur sprouted from his back in all directions, glistening with the beads of water that still clung to him. His large discoloured teeth protruded from his mouth even when his lips were closed together and his dark intense eyes gave him more of a kindly look than one of a fearsome creature. Fearsome creature he was though and an extensive manhunt had wiped out almost the whole of Miggy's colony in the broads area. It wasn't until after their extinction programme had been hailed as a success by the humans, that those same people came to realise that the poor old coypu had been wrongly persecuted. They were considered vermin though so that was a good enough excuse. The Dyke Dwellers though, knew far more about this rodent and its capabilities, so, they built a secret enclosure where the coypu could safely live until the main danger had subsided. Consequently, even when verbally abused, coypu would always think kindly of the Dyke dwellers because, if it hadn't been for them, Miggy and his kind would have been extinct long ago.
Miggy slid down the bank and slipped silently into the water scarcely disturbing the surface. In a moment, a very wet and dripping Deryk was lifted upward and, clinging to Miggys back, he was carried up the bank where he could clamber down onto soft earth and waving grass. This was not how he'd expected to conclude his nights work! Miggy stood and looked at him with dark piercing eyes, his mouth barely open, a whisp of hot breath escaped into the thin morning air. Deryk tried to squeeze the water from his clothes. The wax trousers tucked into the wellies had made a good watertight seal and now his legs had filled out like oversized jodpurs and swayed from side to side as the water tried to escape.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

the story continues - pt.3

Since the 1980's, it was widely believed that Miggy and his kind had finally been exterminated. Coypu came originally from South America where their fur was much prized. Just like Deryk and his descendants, they'd sneaked a boat ride in search of new lands and colonised this part of East Anglia.
The problem was that the humans had defined Miggy and his kind as an aquatic rodent and pest and an extensive programme to capture and destroy them all had been hailed a success.
The coypu was to be found no more on the marshes but, like the Dykies, they were still there but now, like their co-dwellers, they stayed away from human contact.
What the humans had failed to grasp was the finer qualities of the creature. The ancient Indians in their native land had discovered centuries earlier what the Dyke dwellers now valued from a coypu. Their dung.
Coypu dung had amazing healing qualities. Slapped on an open wound overnight, the next day would find the rift healed over and very little scar tissue to show where the tragedy had happened.
It was the coypu eating and digestive abilities that gave the dung this power but Deryk usually declined to use it if he knicked himself whilst shaving.
It was because the Dykies had been so helpful in concealing the last colony of coypu during the final cull that they, in return, did all they could to help the little folk.

Deryk stood for a moment as the water found creases in his trousers out of which to cascade. He looked rather like an ornamental garden fountain.
"You look a right pillock."
Complimented Miggy with a grin.
"I suppose," he continued without waiting for Deryks response, "that you're taking the cone to Juggy at the factory?"
Deryk nodded but made no sound except the squelshing of his wellies as he began to stomp with one foot then the other to encourage the water to leave sooner rather than later. It didn't seem to make much difference.
"'Ang on then."

Miggy slipped silently into the water with scarcely a ripple. The boat began to rock from side to side, then heaved up into the air before coming back with a splash. Miggy re-emerged now with a branch gripped tightly between his large front teeth.
"Gis is gwats squapped gyo."
With a mouth full of branch, that's how it came out! Deryk understood.
"You sound just like grandad when he's had too much nettle wine." Miggy struggled to pull the branch up the bank as Deryk chuckled at his own joke.
Miggy spat out the branch.
"And you look as though you need to dry out too!"
That was a clever reply for a coypu.
The delay in his journey meant that dawn had cracked by the time that Deryk reached his destination. There, where the marsh met the river that flowed out to the sea, stood a gigantic factory that the humans used to convert sugar beet into refined white sugar. The steam and noise made by the factory was the perfect cover for the Dykie activities although, being in such close proximity, they had to be careful that they weren't discovered. Many moons ago, a Dykie was tragically killed when he fell into the humans mechanism and it wasn't until newspaper reports about pink sugar that they realised what had happened to him.


Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Daytime Activities

Misty mornings are what we like most. When the snow's on the ground we can leave tracks for you to find and follow. But misty days mean that we don't have to wait for nightfall before venturing out especially if we're hunting. Over the marshes the food can be harvested without fear of beeing spotted by a gourt. At the landfill site we can remove as much as we like as long as we don't get squashed flat by the trucks! Rasher yesterday found a little two wheeled cart. Not only did he bring it home but he used it to carry loads of other useful bits and pieces. Loop has more bits to use for his rubber detector he's developing. Talking of rubber, our supplies are running low. Although we've a stockpile of wellies for emergencies, we can't build any new dwellings until Juggy our smelter and his assistant Klonk have rolled out some new waterproof sheeting. They're skilled in manufacturing the rubber plates that are welded together to make watertight insulated underground dwellings. Rubber smelting and welding is a fine art and not without its hazards as Juggy's face will testify. His skin is marked by the hundreds of burning spots of rubber that have splattered him over the years. If it wasn't for coypu dung's healing properties it would have disintegrated years ago!
Anyway, we're expecting more mist tomorrow and you never know, the gourts may well have disposed of more rubber than we can handle so it's just as well we can work by day as well as by night at this time. Froodidoo.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Invaluable Coypu

Considered a pest, the Coypu was once common to see on the Marshes in the hinterland of Great Yarmouth. Originally from South America they'd managed to cling on to this part of East Anglia until the 1980's when the human gourts decided that they had to go. To the Dyke Dwellers this death sentence could not be understood. We see no reason to destroy any creature unless it is a necessity of survival. The coypu were of great assistance to us and the gourts had no idea of just how useful. Then I suppose the gourts want stone and wood dwellings as they're so big and clumsy. Our demands are much less. The coypu was (is) a fantastic burrowing machine. This helps us immensely when establishing a new route or constructing a new dwelling. I say 'is' because we're not so stupid. When they started shooting across the marshes, we took the precaution of preserving two breeding pair and today over twenty years on we have a controlled pack of fourteen. We're good to them and they're good to us and that's the right order of things. Not only that, we also benefit with coypu medicine. Cuts, stings, rashes, bites - any condition where the skin needs to regenerate or heal and the coypu assist us. Their special anal glands and mixture of dung have such good healing qualities that we rarely suffer from those kind of conditions for long. Got a problem - get some coypu dung on it! But you can't have that pleasure of course because you've killed all yours. Just don't come looking for ours. Froodidoo. Anon.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Loop the Inventor

OK here I am then. Loop is my name and I am one of Dwellers who make things and if there is nothing to make then we invent something. The human gourts are inventive. You made this Internet after all but you've missed so much along the way. The trouble with you is that you make too much of a hurry and in your effort to reach a goal you miss the added benefits along the way. Deryk ask me to explain our underground heating so here go.
Big tide water come and go twice a day. We have long pressure tubes all along the water edge. Tide come in and push in pressure tubes compressing much air which can be stored. Air is used to run through many tiny pipes and as it rush through friction create heat. Tiny tubes run many times through water tank making water warm. Extra pressure then used to pump water round all our dwellings. also keeps the supply of drinking water too. Tide never lets us down. When extra high tide comes along we all have bath. Froodidoo Loop.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Beat The Cold

Deryk D writing again today. I've been trying to get Loop our technical wizard to tell you something but as yet he's still one of the few who don't think this is right to talk to you gourts. Still, I can tell you how we stave off the cold such as we have experienced this week. It's a worry for us when the snow covers the ground evenly. It means that if we venture outside you may be able to trace our steps. Although we're now using your Internet for our own purposes we still cannot allow you into our world. If we do we will be lost. You'll want to exploit us like you do with so many other species. We've read the tales from the tribes in the deepest jungle and how their way of life is lost forever after contact with the gourts.
So, living underground in the marshes is not so hard. Some warmth comes from the earth itself and we can harness some of the trapped heat. I know you have systems now that do much the same by taking heat from the earth. We also use nature to provide us with constant free heat. It was devised by Loops grandfather many years ago. I was going to tell you about it now but I've been told that I must not.
I will try to talk Loop into writing here and perhaps he will explain. I can't see the harm in revealing how we remain cosy warm and dry by simply using what the earth gives us for free.
The snow did not last long so we were soon able to come to the surface for fresh food. That's another thing that I would like to tell you about when you return next time. Froodidoo.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Rasher says Heloooo

Helooo. I'm one of the youngers, always in trouble but often coming home with new tales to tell and new things to play with. Well, not play, but to experiment with. I've helped make lots of things with my uncle, Myke who's great. Last year we modified a gourts cast away sanding machine to make a vibrating chair for Grandma. She loves it and very often nods off to sleep with it on. She's learnt to keep her mouth shut now when she uses it, because her jaw drops open when she's asleep and her false teeth drop out. Maybe if we made it vibrate less? Froodidoo. Rasher

Friday, 25 January 2008

Anjela writes

So here I am for the first time on the internet thing. There are still some in our community who say it's not right and we shouldn't be doing this. Maybe that's why it's so exciting. You know we girls love the thrill of doing something we shouldn't. Maybe your gourt girls are different. I've seen some of your magazines that the boys bring home from the landfill place. I think too much makeup and too little clothes. Turn the heating down, that'll teach them to wear something proper when they're digging up potatoes and carrots.
Why does the price make something more desirable. I made a Gucci handbag last week from an old curtain, a dog lead and some shower curtain rings. I compared it to the picture in a gourt magazine and the boys couldn't tell the difference. Cost - nothing. And when I get fed up with it I can just pull it apart and re-use the bits or send it back to the landfill. Lost - nothing!
Anyway, my pot is boiling and it's time for tea. Froodidoo. Bye bye - and don't come back! xx

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Syd Speaks

Hello, it's me!
You know you have all those fancy medicines for curing all sorts of problems that you Gourts seem to suffer from. Have you ever thought why animals don't have quite the same range of afflictions? Well, we're the same and what we've done is simply taken a lesson from nature. When you get down to it, whenever nature creates something that might conflict with us, she also at the same time creates the antidote. All you have to do is find it. But you know what keeps us little dyke dwellers healthier than anything else? It's bein' happy and livin' without stress. Now bugger off and leave us alone. Froodidoo. Syd.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Moonlight Last Night

Such a good night to get out. The moon was full and the sky was clear. My friend Rasher has been working on a new rubber detector as so much of it helps us survive on the marshes. It has so many uses not least the wellies that keep our feet dry. Finding the necessary parts though has been a nightmare. Just before Christmas we had the workmen on the rail line and they were wonderfully careless. Two flasks, industrial gloves (numerous) a waterproof jacket and even a mobile phone came in very handy. Sometimes the old phones can be cannibalised for parts but this one had loads of credit on it. Wish we had someone to phone! Besides, we've our own radio phones to communicate with but you never know - we might need to phone a gourt one day! The industrial gloves were large so Anjela was able to make us some hard wearing shorts for the summer. Ideal for when we go looking through the landfill site. Anyway, Rasher's still not got what he's looking for but then, we're very patient and we've plenty of home made vin to pass the time. Bye bye - and don't forget - KEEP AWAY! Froodidoo.