Barnaby – dad owl / Tilly – mum owl
Max Ecklefeckin – black and while cat
Jenson Jones – tortoise
Rocky Kildare – Coco Dax – Beau Barker – dogs
Mr Poop – pigeon
Lucie Lou – duckling
Barnaby the owl awoke with a jump. He blinked several times to clear his sleepy eyes and then smiled to himself.
“Tradition that’s what I like.” Barnaby muttered to himself; and today promised to be very traditional.
“It’s November the fifth” he reminded his Wife Tilly.
Every year for past few years, this day was well known on Acorn Crescent
for its midday squeaky toy competition and evening Bonfire and Firework Extravaganza. Barnaby Toots is always a judge, along with Mr Poop and Jenson Jones.
The poster on the green stated that the contest is open to all dogs from the Crescent. Squeaky toys must be brought to the judges table by 10am, together with a name tag of the dog who will be taking part.
The competition organizer, Max Ecklefeckin the cat, was sitting at the judges table awaiting the first competitor. At 9.30 he was pleased to greet the first one; Rocky Kildare the Bull Terrier was proudly carrying his squeaky seagull and promptly dropped it at Max’s feet. Rocky gave a loud bark of confidence. “Please be back here by 11.45” Max said as he trotted away.
In the distance, Coco Dax the Dachshund and her friend Beau Barker the Scottie dog were seen making their way across the green.
Beau came to the table first with his very tatty but favourite squeaky tennis ball. Coco followed closely behind with her red squeaky bone – but didn‘t really want to let go of it. Max reassured her that he would take good care of it.
“See you all at 11.45” he called as they made their way back home.
Most of Acorn Crescents residents started to arrive on the green at about 11.30 carrying twigs, branches, newspapers or anything which could be used to build the bonfire for the evening. Soon, a two metre high bonfire could be seen taking shape. Mr Poop the pigeon was busy adding the final touches by flying to the top with the smaller, twigs placing them carefully with his beak.
“I think that’s it.” he said. Everyone nodded their approval.
Max was very pleased with the competition prize. Kindly supplied by Solomon, the butcher’s Alsatian; a rather large marrowbone sat on a pedestal on the judges table.
“Let the best dog win!” declared Max.
Soon the judges were all in place and each judge became familiar with sound of the squeaky toy that they would be listening for. The winner would be the dog who could squeak their toy the most times in three minutes.
It was almost midday and Beau was fidgeting while waiting for the start, tennis ball at the ready in his mouth. Coco had her red bone on the grass in front of her and Rocky couldn’t concentrate for drooling at the juicy marrowbone on the table.
Max was checking that the judges were ready for the start; he was a little concerned that Jenson Jones the tortoise was dropping off to sleep. Suddenly Coco squeaked her bone by standing on it by mistake, Jenson jumped in fright and started to count one, two…..
“No, no” said Max “that wasn’t the official start but we are almost ready.” Jenson was relieved but his heart was thumping a little.
Max asked the contestants if they were all ready and they all nodded back in agreement.
The loud horn was sounded and the squeaking began. Rocky was slow to start; his gull was rather awkward to squeeze between his teeth, but soon he had a good rhythm and was quickly catching up. The gull made more of a quacking noise than a squeak, but this was still allowed. Lucie Lou the duckling was confused by the noise and kept looking over her shoulder thinking it may be one of her friends.
Coco was squeaking happily with her red bone between her teeth, although it seemed to be wiggling from side to side of her mouth more like a mouth organ, this made the crowd chuckle and lots of laughter could be heard.
Beau’s tennis ball was making a high pitched noise when he squeezed it.
Max called out to say only 30 seconds were remaining so each dog could try extra hard.
The horn sounded to signify the end of the competition and all toys were dropped on the floor.
Mr Poop asked the small crowd to be patient while the counting of squeaks took place. Everyone started to shush each other as Max came to the microphone with the results.
“In 3rd place with 39 squeaks is Coco Dax. In 2nd place with 43 squeaks is Beau Barker. Which means in 1st place for this year with 45 squeaks, the winner is Rocky Kildare.
Everyone started to applaud and cheer all the contestants for their effort. The juicy marrowbone was presented to Rocky who quickly lay on the grass and started to tuck into it. 2nd and 3rd places were given a consolation prize, a small bag of treats each for taking part, so they were very happy too.
Later in the day, the evening’s Bonfire and Firework Extravaganza started promptly at 6 0’clock. The lighting of the bonfire gave off some welcome warmth, faces glowing orange in the light.
It seems all except one of Acorn Crescent residents were at the bonfire. The exception was Coco Dax who is afraid of loud bangs from fireworks; she preferred to stay in the warm and watch from the lounge window.
Lots of tasty hot treats were brought along, including a delicious soup from Tilly Toots.
The firework display began on the far side of the duck pond for safety. It started with colourful rockets soaring into the sky and Catherine wheels swirling round and round; then the Roman candles with their flower shaped flames raining down to the ground. The crowd ooooooooooooooed and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhed at each one. The finale came with several different rockets exploding together in the sky; red, green, gold and purple.
So that was it for another year, everyone chatted as they left the green about what a wonderful success the day had been, and how nice it had been to see each other, and how they couldn’t wait for the next get-together.
By the time Coco’s owners arrived home she was curled up fast asleep on the window sill looking very contented.