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Torch and the Cat of 9 Tales – Day 5 (all)(511 words)

Max started to look down.  What he saw wasn’t a small collection of emergency services people.  What he saw was a small collection of emergency services people and a whole load of other people starting to congregate.  Having just focused on the cat, the Chief sensed that there was something else going on behind him – and almost jumped when he saw the size of the gathering crowd.

Shawn pushed his way to the front of the crowd and Chief bent down to speak to him.

“How did you get to hear – the tin rattling wasn’t that noisy?”

Shawn was quick to reply. “It’s on the town website! Nearly everyone has signed up for text alerts so we’re all here! MAX!” he cried out.

Max looked down and saw Shawn.  He instantly climbed down the tree and jumped on Shawn.  The crowd went “OHHH!!” and then as Max rolled over, they could see Shawn smiling as he was tickling the giant cat’s tummy… where they all went “Ahhhh!”

Betty quickly got close to Max and went to stroke him and check that he was OK.  The purr was deafening – and Betty realised that she still had the microphone on.  But Max had heard the sound of what he thought was another cat and quickly sprung to his feet.


Shawn thought quickly and jumped onto Max’s back. He climbed up to his head and said “Home!”  Max’s ears pricked up and he darted off.    Constable Lodge jumped onto the back of Bambi and they scampered off behind.

“Aren’t you going to follow them?” the Chief asked Betty.

“No need” she replied.  “When I got close enough I stuck a tracker onto Max’s fur – we can find out where he’s gone from that.”

“I’ll give you a lift” said the Fireman, “I’ve brought my Skidoo.”

“But there’s only one seat” said the Chief.

“And?” asked Betty.


The fireman walked up to the Chief.  “Hi, don’t think we’ve met yet.  I’m Felix.  Felix Leiter.”

The chief looked at him curiously.  Felix smiled. “Yes, my parents were big James Bond fans.  Especially my dad, Gary.  His friends called him Gaz.”

“Gaz Leiter?” asked the Chief.

“Yes, do you know him?”

“No… but it was nice to meet you.  OK, you guys go and catch a cat – I need to speak to a reporter.”


Shawn was hanging onto the fur of Max as he ran towards home.  Max dashed into the house – Shawn only just managed to hang on until Max went to hide under a chair – which instead struck Shawn and he fell off.  He looked up at the man standing over him.

“Hello” said Doctor FrankieWiener. “Welcome to my laboratory.”


There are 19 parts in this present!  Okay, only 18 are actually needed, but compared to some of the previous ones, this present is pretty cool! I do like the way that the rear tracks are made up – and that sitting flat the whole skidoo is actually tilted back a little.  For a winter present, this one is probably the most appropriate to date!

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Torch and the Cat of 9 Tales – Day 4 (all) (534 words)

The chief was almost fast asleep when the call came in.

“No, I can’t eat another giant marshmallow…n’ uh?”  He quickly came to and after checking that all the pillows were still on the bed, he answered the phone.

“What is it?” he asked.  “Really?  No – OK, I’ll see you at the zoo.”

He’d often had weird dreams before when he had thought that someone had phoned him about something peculiar – but they seemed trivial when the words “giant” “cat” “cage” and “escaped” are said from a worried Constable Lodge.

The Chief was quickly dressed and downstairs.  He got into the car and reversed onto the road, before driving off at speed towards the zoo.  What he didn’t see as he turned left was another car switch on its lights and start to follow.

The Chief was at the entrance to the zoo and there was Constable Lodge and Betty.

“How did you get here so quickly?” the Chief asked the Constable.

“Bambi brought me” the Constable replied.  Before the Chief could ask if ‘Bambi’ was the constable’s pet name for Betty, he noticed that Lodge was pointing at the unicorn.

“Fine” said the Chief.  Right now, amongst the giant escaped cat and other weird events that take place at this time of year, this was a perfectly normal form of transport. “Betty, tell me what’s happened.”

“Well Chief, it’s exactly as Constable Lodge explained.  It would seem CAT MAXIMUS has managed to escape from the cage.  It would seem that the head keeper didn’t close the door properly – or possibly the lock was a little old and rusty – but the cat managed to open the door and escape.”

“Did we get any footage of the escape?”

“We’re just checking the CCTV now Chief.  It’s a clever cat though – it would have had to be quite stealthy to escape.”

“What – like a cat burglar?”

“Yes… oh, I see what you did there, Chief!”

In the protection of the bushes, a man made a few notes on his notepad.  “This will be front page news!” he said and carefully made his exit.


The Chief’s radio crackled into life.

“Chief, Gail and I are in the town centre.  There’s a huge cat trying to climb the tree here!”

“OK” answered the chief, and then turned to Betty and Lodge. “At least we know where it is now!”

Quickly they were all on the scene.  The Fireman was stood there, bullhorn in hand.


“Come down Kitty” he called. But the cat ignored him. Betty tried shaking a small tin of biscuits, but given the size of the tree, it was unlikely that anything would hear the rattling. Gail then smiled.

“I’ve got an idea” she said and went back to her car.  In an instant, she returned with her speaker and two microphones.  She switched everything on, then gave a microphone to Betty.

“Try shaking the tin now” she said.


Betty rattled the tin with the microphone close.  The cat stopped and looked down.


Day 4 –

We get a fireman with a Bullhorn!  I have to say that I am really impressed with the printing on the fireman, complete with the angle torch, belt and reflective printing!

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Torch and the Cat of 9 Tales – Day 3 (all)( 658 words)


As you head out of town on the main road, just before you get to the sign that says “Farewell, safe travels!” there is a little wooden sign.  Most people would miss it as they’re not looking for it as it is quite close to the ground, and the paint has started to peel.  But should you actually see the sign you would read the words


Should you then decide to take the next turning on the left, you will see another sign which says

“NO VISITORS” and under that another sign that usually says “THREE PINTS OF MILK PLEASE”, especially in the morning.  But if you should decide to go past those signs (and the one that says “BEWARE OF THE BUTTERFLY”) you will arrive at the top secret super secret hideout and Laboratory of Doctor FrankieWiener.  His real name was Trevor Bladger but after his science experiment to produce the world’s biggest sausage his name was changed forever.  But it was his pursuit to make the biggest, largest and most incredible sized vegetables that meant he was no longer able to take part in the town’s annual autumn fayre as many of the other residents complained that he hadn’t really put the same effort into making the biggest melon compared to Mrs Beetroot (who interestingly had never thought to grow any beetroots in her garden) and he was run out of town.

Actually, he hadn’t really run out of town – he’d taken part in the town’s fun run, taken a wrong turn and ended up at a small house down the track that we’d talked about and decided to stay there.


Trevor was walking round the house looking for Fluffykins his pet cat. He’d adopted Fluffykins a while back and it had brought him a lot of company.  He tried whistling, and calling out and even rattling his favourite biscuits… but nothing.  Then he saw the cat flap.  Or rather, there he saw where there used to be a cat flap… or rather, where there used to be a door that used to have a cat flap in it.  What was there was a large amount of wood, just about hanging onto the hinges with a huge cat shaped hole where a cat flap may possibly have once been.


“uh oh” said Trevor. He immediately rushed down to the basement, where he discovered one of the flasks now laying on the floor.  Fortunately it hadn’t broken, but it was clear that something had drunk its contents.  Being quite clever, Trevor realised who had just drunk its contents.  And then left the house.

Trevor rushed to the phone to call Betty – but just before his finger pressed the button he realised it was going to sound weird and possibly get him arrested for experimenting on cats.  He put the phone down and thought for a while.

“I know” he thought “I’ll make another pet!”


Back in the Station House, Gail was plugging her guitar into the speaker.  Constable Lodge looked over at her.

“I’ve got to play something for the annual Christmas show” she explained.  “I thought I’d try learning the tune to the Talking Heads song.”

“What, ‘Burning down the house’?” asked Constable Lodge.

“No”, replied Gail “that other one they did.”

She picked up her guitar and started to play the first few chords then stopped.

“You’re right” she said to the Constable. “It IS Burning down the house!”

“Thought so” smiled Constable Lodge.


Day 3

So today we get an amplifier and a microphone.  Already I’m starting to wonder what the plan is going to be for these items and I can see the pictures on the box!  Personally, I think I would have put the guitar in here so it was a complete set, rather than with the Gail the Firelady/person/man.  Still, I have got two microphones now, which could be useful later on…

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Torch and the Cat of 9 Tales – 2 (all)(797 words)

The Chief hadn’t stepped one foot into the police station before Constable Lodge had rushed up to him.

“Chief – we’ve been getting complaints all night from people near the zoo” he said.

“But there is no-one near the zoo” replied the Chief.  “The only thing that’s near the zoo is the Arena!”

“Exactly!” said the Constable. “Last night it was host to Just Zayne with No Direction – and no-one could hear anything over the caterwauling!”

“From who?” said the Chief.

“The cat!” replied the constable.  “There were reports of wailing and screeching all night!”

“How would the fans have known the difference?” asked the Chief “It all sounds like wailing and screeching to me!”

“That’s not true” said Gail, picking up the guitar.  “Wailing and screeching sounds like this…. Whereas the No Direction songs sound like this….“ her fingers picked the strings as she played their most popular hit.


Constable Lodge stopped and put his hand up.

“You – you, the writer.  You know the rules, you can’t just suddenly put an advent toy into the story; you have to have had a reason for it being there!”

The writer paused at the keyboard.  “But it wasn’t just put there.  Gail’s a Fireperson, right?  And what do Firemen and Fireladies have – an axe.  And that guitar is also called an Axe, so it’s something that Gail would have had with her.  Can I carry on with the story?”

Constable Lodge stroked his chin. “Well, it all seems a little iffy to me.  But as you’re typing this story, I guess that this is all perfectly okay and that there was nothing to worry about.  As long as you don’t have me doing anything silly, we can carry on.”

And with that, Constable Lodge got onto the unicorn and rode off.

“Oi!” said Constable Lodge.


“That’s as maybe” said the Constable “But the fans wanted their money back – and the show’s producer wants to claim his money back too.”

“Well that’s not going to happen – at least, not from us. We need to find out who owns this cat, or at least made it to be so big.”

The Chief left the station and headed over to Animal Control, where Betty was just about to leave.


“Hi Betty” said the Chief “Do we have any idea or information about our mystery moggy?”
Betty smiled.

“Actually, we did find some records about a missing cat – and apart from its size they match up.  I’m hoping that there might be a microchip embedded in its fur – it’s a long shot, but we don’t have many stray cats round here, so that might be a solution.  I’ll let you know what I find.”

“You don’t have to” replied the Chief, “as far as I’m aware my involvement’s over.”

“It would have been” said Betty, “But with Torch not around you’re the lead character in the story – so it comes back to you!”

“Thanks Torch” said the Chief, to himself.


In the school, Billy was making a start on his new project in Design Tech.  Originally he was going to build a frame for his bike that would allow him to carry more newspapers on his round without having to go back to the shop, but with the capture of CAT MAXIMUS as the newspapers were calling the mega cat Billy wanted to make something that would be the biggest cat toy.  He’d already sketched a few things out and was starting to cut out the materials. His mum had already agreed that she would do any sewing required.  Soon the end of day bell rang and Billy gathered up all the pieces of fabric and headed off to the zoo.  The Head keeper knew Billy and let him in – he quickly went up to the cage with CAT MAXIMUS who started to hiss as he approached.

“Come on Max” said Billy “you know who I am.”  He threw a couple of small treats into the cage and in an instant Max started to purr.  “That’s better.  We need to work out how you came to be so big, but until then I’ll come and visit you every day.”  With that, he sat down in front of the cage and with Max getting closer, started to pet him.


Advent present – 2

So day 2 present is a fireperson.  With a guitar.  It’s nice that we’ve started with a lady fireperson as our first minifigure in the advent box… but I’m not sure about the guitar, or why it was included.  As a small learning opportunity though, the term “axe” for a musical instrument dates back to 1955 and was a reference for the saxophone!  More commonly though, the guitar / axe reference seems to be attributed to Gene Simmon’s bass guitar which looked like a double-headed axe with strings.

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Advent Story – 1 Torch and the Cat of 9 Tales (all)(794 words)

It was December, and the Chief of Police was starting to get all the Christmas Decorations out from the cupboard.  Because of building works to the Police station, the Fire station was doubling up as the Police station too.  Torch was on an extended holiday, so the Chief was left to himself.


“Tinsel, lights, tree topper, decorations… oh, no… I thought that was a fake one!”  He stood there, with a spludge of white with a hat sitting on top of it. “Fortunately, I managed to get a couple of light-up Snowmen, so I’ll just start to build them.”

After building the two light-up figures, Chief got a mop and swept up the last remains of last year’s snowman.


Just then, his radio crackled into life.

“Err… Chief… This is Constable Lodge… umm we have a report of a tree in a cat.”

“Don’t you mean a cat in a tree?”

“No Chief.  I’m here now – and it’s definitely a tree in a cat.  Can you come down to the Park… might be worth bringing Animal Control along too.”

The Chief was amused – a tree in a cat!  How absurd!  However, Constable Lodge wasn’t a small fellow and had been brought up on a farm, so was quite used to dealing with all manner of animals – so if he suggested Animal Control, this was going to be worth checking out.  He picked up the phone.

“Hello Betty, this is the Chief.  It sounds absurd, but we’ve had a report of a tree in a cat.  Nope, not a cat in the tree – yes, that does sound unusual and I hope it’s a prank too – but over the years I’ve learned that this could go any direction.  Could I pick you up on the way to the park – you might want to bring something with you.”


When Betty and the Chief arrived, a small crowd had already formed.  Constable Lodge beckoned the Chief over.  The cat was now sitting on the remains of what was the town’s historical tree and purring quite happily.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it was about the height of the constable and as broad as a bear, it would look quite cute.

“Oh dear” said Betty. “I only brought one tranquiliser thinking it might be a normal large domestic – we may have a big problem if it attacks.”

“So what do we do?” asked the Chief. “It certainly can’t stay here! Where can we take it?”

“We could see if it wants to go to the zoo” suggested Constable Lodge. “Although the Penguin enclosure is being painted… maybe it would like to go to the cinema instead?”

“Not helping” said the Chief.

“I’ve an idea” said a small boy, “you could get it to chase a ball.”

Betty looked round at the boy. “What a brilliant idea!”  Do we have anything ball shaped we could put on a string?  We could then get the cat to follow the ball back to the pen!”

Chief paused for a moment.  “I have just the thing!”  With that he ran back to the Station House and quickly returned with the small light-up snowman.

“The power cord is about four metres, so we could drag it with that”
Betty threw the snowman just in front of the huge cat.  Instantly, the cat looked at it.  As Betty drew it away, the cat pounced – and with a small jerk it just escaped capture.  They started to walk away; dragging the snowman – the cat watching and pouncing – until finally they got to the van and with a final throw and pounce the cat was caught in the animal control van.

“Given its size, I am going to have to take it to the zoo – they have special containers that can hold it so that we can start to understand why a standard cat has become so very big.”

The Chief looked at the small boy, who was still with them all. “That was a brilliant idea” said the Chief, “We didn’t need to use anything to put it to sleep! What’s your name?”

“Shawn” replied Shawn.  “But where’s Torch? I thought he was the main person in the story.”

“He is” replied the Chief, “Or would have been if he’d been around!  But I can see you’re going to be a helpful person on this story! Thanks!”


Advent present day 1 – Snowmen

This is possibly the weirdest first advent gift so far.  Typically, these open with a minifigure, which can then be used to play – but short of writing a story about a snowman that comes to life (NOW I think of the idea!) I’m not sure what additional things I can do with this.  But that coming to life snowman idea could be useful…

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Oopsy! Sorry! (all)

So, I’ve started to get ahead of the game and start writing the advent story – and managed to inadvertently post the chapters rather than schedule them.  I’ve corrected that (but I’m sure I’ll make that mistake again later on this month) and return you to the normal story line….

Look – here’s a cat wanting to play with my wiener…


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It’s coming… but (all)( words)


In a few days it will be December – and for regular readers of this blog that means one thing… my advent story challenge (sorry). If you’re new to the blog (hello and thank you!) then let me explain how it works.  I have an idea for a story and over the 24 days I write and post small chapters (chapterretes?) of the story; but there’s a challenge.  Each day MUST feature the advent toy from the Lego City Advent Calendar – and it must be included in the story so it seems it should be there.  So if you were to use the roller skates from the above picture, I would have possibly had to work out how to cool the can quickly (probably has some radioactive food for Santa’s reindeer) and rather than run I used the skates (possibly because the tail tripped me up).  So there’s a reason – even if it is tenuous.

All makes sense? Great!

As my blog title said though, there’s a but (stop sniggering).  In previous years (I think this must be the fifth year I’ve done this) I’ve had a couple of other rules:

  • each section cannot be less than 500 words
  • I can’t know what the advent toy is BEFORE I start to write the chapter

I put those in to really test my creative writing. When I started, I had time and opportunity to sit, photograph (there’s always a couple of pictures with the story), edit, write and post. Last year it became a lot more difficult to do all that – there was little time and it started to be a bit too much of a challenge and almost stopped being fun.  Because I work from home during much of the week, last year I got my wife to carefully package the toys into their own bags ahead of me taking them away. But it seemed unfair to put pressure on someone else.  So, here are my advent challenge rules to myself for this year:

  • There has to be a post for every day of advent and it has to feature at least one picture.
  • There is no minimum word count (and there is no maximum word count either)
  • I can be aware of the advent toy ahead of the day that I write the story (but see the notes following)

So here’s the thing about that last point. Last Monday, whilst the advent box was still firmly sealed, I wrote the notes for the overarching story line.  That’s the basic flow that I want to achieve for the story and is made up of one or two short sentences for that day.  So as I prepare for the week ahead, I have started to pull together by Advent Story Box (things that I think will be useful for the pictures) and that includes packaging up the first 5 advent toy gifts – but I wanted to be clear that the bigger story hasn’t been influenced by the toys (and actually as the story goes ahead I think that will be very obvious!)


It was pointed out to me that this is a personal challenge and that I really didn’t need to create difficult rules for myself – in fact it didn’t matter if I didn’t do it. I did agree that this was a fair point – ultimately a blogger is only writing for him or herself but then chooses to share with the world.  But I do like the challenge – heck I love the opportunity to really flex the creative part of my mind like this – and my relaxation of the rules is only to ensure that I still have fun doing this and don’t end up finding myself desperately trying to write the short story at 2 in the morning (again).

So there you go.  Wordpress tells me I’ve been writing this blog for 9 years now and I’m not about to stop any time soon – and certainly not for the 24 days of Christmas!