We began a new ‘read-aloud’ book on Thursday. A book that was written quite a long time ago, by a man called Clive King. A book called ‘Stig of the Dump’.
A preparatory discussion cleared up that by Dump, the author meant a place where rubbish was left; rubbish like wrecked cars and old bicycles; empty oil drums…..
and glass jars.
But try as we might, we couldn’t decide what a Stig might be. Time to begin I think.
The opening chapter introduces us to Barney, a boy who was staying, along with his older sister Lou, with his grandparents. He is bored and planning a visit to the old chalk pit; somewhere that incidentally, he has been warned about going too close to. Somewhere with hidden dangers…..
But Barney being Barney (and I suppose boys being boys) decided to ignore those warnings as he ventured rather too close to the edge of the pit…..
where the tree roots were exposed and the chalk was all dry and crumbly. And where, if he looked carefully down towards the bottom, he could make out what looked tantalisingly like the propeller of a plane and perhaps the buckled wheel of a bike.
And then suddenly, before he had time to think, he was tumbling over and over, down to the bottom, bouncing from branch to branch, getting tied up in strands of ivy…..
and a tangle of old man’s beard on the way.
Luckily his landing was softened by a bed of moss.
When he opened his eyes he seemed to be lying on some kind of platform, with his feet secured above his head. And as he peered into the gloom he realised that there was somebody there – or something.