Read The Wombles Go round the World Online
Authors: Elisabeth Beresford
Chapter Three: He Flies through the Air
Chapter Four: One, Two, Three, GO!
Chapter Four-and-a-half: Silence
Chapter Five: The âGingerbread' Burrow
Chapter Six: Yellow Sky at Night
Chapter Six-and-a-half: Something Awful, Dreadful and Horrible
Chapter Eight: . . . And Found
Chapter Eight-and-a-half: Crossed Lines
Chapter Ten: Great-great Aunt M. Murrumbidgee
Chapter Eleven: Crackers, Balloons and Kites
Chapter Twelve: â
Chapter Twelve-and-a-half: Welcome Home
Welcome to the Wonderful World...
I am delighted that Bloomsbury is reissuing the Wombles books. The Wombles have always been environmentally aware, recycling the rubbish that they find and putting it to good use, so it gives me particular pleasure that their adventures are also being recycled!
We cannot rely on the Wombles to do all our recycling for us but I hope they will encourage everyone who reads their adventures to follow their example and have fun into the bargain.
The Wombles have always made people laugh and I hope they continue to do so.
An additional note from Great Uncle Bulgaria
When I first saw Elisabeth Beresford, I knew that I had met the right Human Being to whom the Womble adventures could be told. It was Boxing Day and she was with her children, Marcus and Kate, walking on Wimbledon Common. They were letting off steam, having had to be on best behaviour over Christmas as their house had been full of elderly relations. I heard Elisabeth's daughter say, âOh Ma, it's wonderful on Wombledon Common' and that was it! Elisabeth became aware of our existence, the burrow, and the way we Wombles recycle all the rubbish you Human Beings leave behind.
She told me that she had written lots of children's books, including magic stories, so I told her all about us but I made her promise never to give away the location of the burrow. Since then, we've appeared in books, made records and appeared on television. The young Wombles think it's great fun but I prefer a quiet life.
I am very happy to give my pawprint to this reprint (Bungo insisted I use that joke) and hope you enjoy our adventures as much as we did. In fact, we have had so many adventures in the Wimbledon Burrow, I thought it would be a good idea if we had a book which recorded a few shorter stories which we sometimes recall and laugh at during Story Time. This is that book!
Now I must go because Orinoco has just found today's edition of
. Of course, he has gone straight to the kitchen to claim his reward from Madame Cholet. I think I heard him muttering something about daisy and dandelion fizz . . .
Carry on Wombling.
Great Uncle Bulgaria
The Womble Burrow
Once upon a Time
âOnce upon a time,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, âthere was a very old, very wise Womble called Great Aunt Thessaly and she lived . . . are you listening, young Bungo?'
âYes,' said Bungo who, if the truth be told, had been listening with about half of one ear. The other one and a half ears were busy attending to the Womble sitting next to Bungo, because this Womble was making some very strange noises.
,' it sounded like.
âThen what did I just say?' asked Great Uncle Bulgaria, looking very hard at Bungo over the top of his spectacles.
âOnce upon a time there was a very old, very wise Womble called Great Aunt Thessaly and she lived,' said Bungo, speaking very fast in a sing-song voice. He nearly added, âAre you listening, young Bungo?' but for once in his life he acted sensibly and decided not to be cheeky. It was just as well, because Great Uncle Bulgaria had now taken out his second pair of spectacles and put them on the end of his nose, which was a sure sign of trouble for any young Womble who got above him or herself.
âHo-hum,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, looking through both pairs of spectacles in a way which made Bungo's fur start to turn prickly.
There was a moment's silence in the Playroom, during which every Womble but one went as still as a field mouse when it senses that an owl is watching it, and then just when Bungo felt he couldn't stand it a second more, the silence was broken by . . .
Bang, wallop, crash.
And Orinoco, who had been fast asleep for at least ten minutes, fell off his chair.
âWhat is it? Who did that? What's happening?' Orinoco asked crossly, rubbing his eyes and patting his nose tenderly where he'd hurt it on the floor. âOh sorry, Great Uncle Bulgaria. You'd got to the bit in the story about Great Aunt Thessaly taking you to see Queen Victoria reviewing her soldiers on Wimbledon Common, I expect.'
âNo, I had
,' replied Great Uncle Bulgaria. He shut the large, important-looking book in front of him and looked at all the young Wombles rather crossly. âDon't you like me telling you stories any more?' he asked.
âYes,' said Bungo.
âMm,' said Tomsk, who is a Womble of few words.
âRather,' said Orinoco loudly. âI say, is it time for our late-night acorn juice and bracken buns yet? I'm starving.'
âNo, it isn't and no, you are not.
you had three helpings of bramble pie for supper so how, I ask myself, can you be hungry in the least little tiny bit?' demanded Madame Cholet, who had just come into the Playroom for a moment's rest. She had been cooking all day and she was not in the best of tempers.
âYes, I say, really we do like it,' said Wellington, âwe like Womble stories very much, Great Uncle Bulgaria. The only trouble is that . . . sorry.'
?' asked Great Uncle Bulgaria.
Wellington took a deep breath which misted up his spectacles, so that he had to take them off and wipe them clean on the end of Orinoco's scarf, before he could go on, in a rather muffled voice.
âWell,' said Wellington very bravely, âwe know all the Womble stories off by heart because we've heard them so often. And . . .' Wellington took an even deeper breath, during which Orinoco kindly removed his friend's spectacles, cleaned them and returned them and Great Uncle Bulgaria waited impatiently, âthe stories are all about long ago and â er â rather
Wombles, you see. There's nothing about us. Sorry.'
âDear me,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, âdear, dear me. Well, well. I see. Ho-hum.'
âIs it time for our late-night bracken buns and acorn juice yet?' asked Tobermory, putting his head round the door.
Madame Cholet looked from one Womble face to another and got to her back paws.
âYes, I believe so,' she said. âCome everybody, and Orinoco, please don't push to the front of the queue, hm?'
âWhat's the matter, Bulgaria old friend?' asked Tobermory, when everybody else had left the Playroom. âI thought you always enjoyed reading stories to the young Wombles of an evening, but tonight you look properly down in the dumps.'
âI feel old, Tobermory, old.'
old, very old,' said Tobermory reasonably. âI mean nobody could call getting on for three hundred exactly
, now could they?'
âOld and out of date, just like this book,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, giving
The Womble History of the World, Vol. Nine
, a thump with his white paw.
âSteady on,' said Tobermory and he took the enormous book away and dusted it down carefully with a duster which he kept in his apron pocket. âLovely bit of binding that, but it's getting a bit dry and cracked which isn't to be wondered at, seeing as how it's about a hundred years old, if not more. I'll get young Shansi to give it a rub up with a touch of buttercup oil. Very neat with her paws is Shansi. Sorry, you were saying?'
âI was saying I felt old and out of date. In fact, useless,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, who was working himself up into quite a state as he rocked backwards and forwards in his chair, which began to creak alarmingly.
âThat'll need repairing next if you carry on like this,' said Tobermory.
âIt's a pity you cannot repair
,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, âbut alas I'm . . .'
âI know, I know, out of date, useless, et cetera, et cetera.' Tobermory stopped rubbing
and looked searchingly at his old friend. He had been mending the latch on the outside of the Playroom door and so he had heard everything that had happened; and now, putting two and two together and â being Tobermory â adding it up correctly, he saw exactly what the trouble was. The young Wombles were bored with hearing the same old stories over and over again; they wanted to hear new and exciting tales about the present-day Wombles. They wanted adventures and thrills, but how was he going to get Great Uncle Bulgaria to see this? Rather as Wellington had done, Tobermory took a deep breath and decided to jump in at the deep end. He did it very cunningly.
âOh well,' said Tobermory in an offhand sort of voice, âif you really feel as old and worn out as all that, Bulgaria, there's only one thing for it. You'll have to retire. Now let me see, who could we get to come and run the burrow for us?'
âRetire! Run the . . .'
âNow there's Botany, for one. He's getting a bit white in the fur of course and he's all wrapped up in his gardening experiments, but I must say he keeps those little greenhouses of his a treat. Always neat and tidy. No problems for me there, I'm glad to say.'
âBotany!' exclaimed Great Uncle Bulgaria, sitting bolt upright. âWhy, he'd have the burrow full of potted this and seed trays of that before you could say “Womble”. He's already installed the underwater farming tanks as it is!'
Tobermory pulled a clipboard out of his apron pocket, took a pencil from behind his ear and began to write busily as he went on.
âAll right, I must admit I have to agree with you there. Botany might very well turn the burrow into a sort of underground greenhouse. So we'll cross him off. Ah, but have you considered Cousin Yellowstone as your successor? Now there, you must agree, is a very efficient Womble. Runs his burrow in the States by computer, so I believe. Clockwork computer, that is. Yellowstone's Wimbledon Common bred don't forget and I dare say he'd like to come home again. And what's more,' said Tobermory, carefully avoiding Great Uncle Bulgaria's eyes which were now looking not at all old, but very bright and frosty indeed, âwhat's more, I have heard that Yellowstone's thinking of writing some new, modern Womble stories. What do you say to Yellowstone taking over?'
âNever,' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, thumping his stick on the ground. âClockwork computers indeed! Why, they waste more time than they save. And what do you mean, new,
âOh, just bringing Womble History up to date,' said Tobermory vaguely. âYou know how American Wombles like that kind of thing. All right, so I'll cross out Yellowstone. Which leaves . . .'
âLeaves who?' said Great Uncle Bulgaria in a very ominous tone of voice.
âThe MacWomble, who else? Cairngorm, the MacWomble the Terrible of the Loch Ness Burrow. He's got plenty of energy and enthusiasm and he's young yet. Not more than two hundred, if he's a day. Yes, Bulgaria, he might just be the Womble for the job. And being Scotch â sorry, Scottish â he'd be keen to write a new History. They like that kind of thing up in Scotland too, I believe,' said Tobermory even more vaguely, as he hadn't the least idea if they did or not.
, NEVER!' said Great Uncle Bulgaria, quite forgetting that he was old and out of date and useless. In fact he roared the last ânever' so loudly that Shansi, who was just bringing in a tray loaded with bracken buns and acorn juice, dropped it in the doorway.
âStupid little Womble,' snapped Great Uncle Bulgaria rather unfairly, âpick that up. Return to the kitchen and tell everybody that I have an Important Announcement to make.'
âYes, Great Uncle Bulgaria,' whispered Shansi, and she did as she was told and scuttled off as fast as her back paws would carry her.
âWhat announcement, then?' asked Tobermory, wiping his grey moustache with the duster in order to hide the fact that he was trying not to smile.
âWait and see,' snapped Great Uncle Bulgaria, jumping out of his chair and beginning to march up and down the Playroom. âReally you can be almost stupid at times, old friend. It's all as plain as a tidy-bag. We have been living in the past. Who wants to hear the same old stories over and over again when there is so much happening in the present? There are so many new chapters to be added to
The Womble History of the World
. There is, for example, the adventure of Bungo and the spotted
dog . . .'
âTomsk and the Snow Womble . . .'
âThe occasion when Orinoco ran away to Fortune and Bason . . .'
âThe arrival of Cousin Yellowstone . . .'
âThe time when we had to leave the Wimbledon Common Burrow and I was in charge of getting all of us to Hyde
Park . . .'
âAfter Bungo and Orinoco had gone up to Scotland and been captured, so to speak, by the Scotch, sorry, Scottish Wombles . . .'
âWhen Tomsk was nearly arrested outside Buckingham Palace and Wellington saved him . . .'
âLet alone all the troubles we had when we got to Hyde Park and that Russian Womble came under the wire from Kensington Gardens. Now what was his name?' said Tobermory, scratching behind his ear with his