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James Sutherland Books
The sequel to Norbert - another comic adventure featuring the silly old horse and his friends!
It is the middle of July and the summer sun is beating gloriously down on the English countryside. But in Finbar’s Field, things are far from rosy. Norbert, the fat old cart horse is more depressed than ever because Colin the Cuckoo, his only friend in the world, is preparing to fly off for the holiday of a lifetime on the French Riviera... leaving him behind!
The badgers who reside underneath the hedge are no company due to their nocturnal habits, and Delilah, the pretty pony who lives in the next field is continuing to ignore him.
When Colin’s holiday plans go horribly wrong, however, it is down to Norbert to save the day!
Will he manage to transform their field into a passable imitation of the French Riviera without incurring the wrath of Farmer Finbar? And will he win Delilah’s affections in the process?
Another comic caper from Norbert and friends!
It was the middle of July and the sun shone brightly down on Finbar’s field. Bumble bees were bumbling, busily collecting pollen from the clover which was in full bloom. In the hedgerows, sparrows chattered and blackbirds chirruped; in the undergrowth beetles beetled about as only beetles know how.
“Colin?” Norbert, the fat old horse was standing beneath the huge sycamore tree, peering up into the branches in search of his feathery pal, Colin the Cuckoo.
“Are you there?”
“Yes Norbert. Either I am here or you are hearing things.”
“Oh.” Norbert stood in silence for a moment, thinking as hard as he could. He was confused. Was Colin there or not? Norbert didn’t like being confused and he was debating whether or not to trot back across the field to the spot where he had been grazing, when the voice again filtered down through the greenery.
“And to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”
Norbert smiled a horsey smile to himself. Colin WAS there after all!
“I was feeling a bit bored, so I thought I would come and see what you were up to,” he whinnied happily.
“Oh?” Now Norbert was even more confused.
“Nonsense. Tripe, piffle and poppycock. ”
“I’m sorry Colin but I don’t understand.”
“These, Norbert, are words which describe your statement that you were bored.”
“I could have added ‘gobbledegook’ into the mix, but thought this might be beyond your vocabulary.”
“Yes, Colin. It is beyond my... my... What was it you said?”
There was a rustle of branches and the cuckoo’s beaky face appeared among the foliage just above Norbert’s enormous, fat head.
“You see, Norbert, in order to be bored, one must have a brain. And it is in this department, my equine chum, that you are, alas, found wanting.”
Unable to understand a word that his friend was saying, Norbert returned to his original enquiry.
“So what are you up to, Colin?” he said simply.
“If you must know, I was reading.”
“Oh.” This did not surprise Norbert. Colin was always reading. Perhaps this was why he was so clever. “What are you reading?” he persisted.
“Before I was interrupted, I was reading what is often referred to as a travel brochure.”
“Will you please refrain from repeating the word ‘Oh’ every ten seconds! It is very, very irritating to the listener.”
“I’m sorry Colin. What’s a travel badger?”
“Not badger, Norbert. Brochure. It’s a kind of magazine that helps people decide where they might like to go on holiday.”
You might be one of those who firmly believe that it is not possible for a cuckoo, or indeed any other bird, to actually growl. Yet, this is unquestionably the sound that Colin now made, such was his irritation at Norbert’s lack of conversational prowess.
“Are you going to go on a holiday, Colin?” the horse continued, happily oblivious.
“I am considering it, yes. As you yourself have indicated, life in this particular field is, for want of a better phrase, extremely boring.”
“Where are you going Colin?” Norbert sounded a little anxious, fearing that Colin’s absence would make the field an even duller place than it already was.
“I haven’t decided just yet. It says in my brochure that the French Riviera is rather agreeable at this time of year. Speaking of which, I must get back to my reading. Goodbye Norbert.” And with these words, Colin’s beaky visage vanished back into the dense foliage of the sycamore tree.
“Colin?” Norbert had always been very slow to take a hint.
“Is it far to the French Riviera?”
“Did you ever study geography, Norbert?”
“No, Colin. Did you?”
“That’s none of your business. You need only know that the French Riviera is several hundred miles due south of here as the crow, or rather, the cuckoo, flies.”
“Oh.” Norbert failed to conceal the worry in his voice.
“What do you mean by that?” Colin clucked, his cross-looking face again appearing from among the leaves.
Noticing his friend’s increasing irritation, Norbert tried his best to be diplomatic.
“Oh yes, Colin,” he gurgled. “I’m sure you would be fine...”
“For once in your life, Norbert, you are correct in your assumption.”
“But,” Norbert continued doggedly “I was thinking about that time when you flew up to the farmhouse to get me a toothbrush.”
“Oh?” It was Colin’s turn to utter the forbidden word.
“Well, it’s just that the farmhouse is only over there and you seemed a little bit...” Norbert shuffled awkwardly on his hooves as he searched his limited vocabulary for the correct word. “You seemed a little bit tired,” he said, finally.
“How dare you! To think that you would have the impertinence to suggest that I, Colin the Cuckoo of Finbar’s Field, would be incapable of making a simple journey to the French Riviera...”
“Have you forgotten that the cuckoo flies south for the winter?”
“Enough, Norbert. Talking to you has helped make up my mind. Tomorrow, I fly for the Riviera. Goodbye, Norbert – and I mean it this time!”
Sadly, Norbert began to plod back towards the corner of the field where the juiciest grass could be found. He had not travelled more than a few paces, however, when something very unusual happened: he had an idea. It was with more than a little trepidation that he turned and headed back towards the sycamore tree.
“Colin?” he ventured.
There was a muffled cry and a sharp rustling of branches before an angry face appeared.
“What is it now?”
“Can I come?”
The cuckoo started visibly at the suggestion, almost falling from his perch in the process.
“Certainly not!” he squawked, his face a mask of horror. “You have said many ridiculous things over the years, Norbert, but with this, you have surpassed yourself. Whoever heard of a horse going on holiday?”