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Traditional Pean
ut Brittle U.S. Style
A traditional holiday classic

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw    Spanish peanuts if possible
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter  2 tsp. baking soda
Heat and stir sugar, syrup and water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add salt. Cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (234 degrees).

Add peanuts at 250 degrees.

Cook to hard crack stage (290 degrees), stirring often. Remove from heat.

Quickly, stir in butter and soda. Beat to a froth for a few seconds.

Pour at once onto 2 well-buttered 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch pans, spreading with spatula.

If desired, cool slightly and pull with forks to stretch thin. Break up when cold.

Yield: About 1-1/2 pounds of peanut brittle.

  Peanut Brittle Recipe

Original Message----- Subject: peanut brittle, of course!

This is a very simple recipe from my husband's family. what makes it so delicious is how light and airy it is and not at all sticky. You achieve this by adding the soda after you take it off the heat.

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
raw peanuts (however many you like)
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

Put all the ingredients, except the peanuts and soda, in a deep sauce pan. Put on medium heat. stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
Now add the peanuts. Stirring at all times, take mixture to 290 on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and stir in one heaping teaspoon baking soda (make sure baking soda is fresh).
Now pour out on a greased cookie sheet. do not tip cookie sheet to thin, this peanut brittle is best when thick which makes it more airy.

Ginny - Bradonton, Florida

Chapter One

A Special Day In The Shire

 The sun was shining brightly through the window of King Peppers’ bedroom. The king sat on the end of the bed watching as the sunbeams bounced back off the mirror of his wardrobe, dust was trapped in the light and seemed to be dancing like little dust bugs.
King Pepper comes down stairs“Hm m” said the king stroking his beard, “today is going to be a beautiful day.”
   He smiled then jumped up off the bed and went into the bathroom; showered and cleaned his teeth, and when he came out again he was looking deep in thought. he dressed himself in his favourite blue suit, then placing his crown on his head; he combed his moustache and went downstairs for his breakfast.
Queen Pepper was sitting at the table in the dining room already eating her spicy sausages and fried bread. The King said as he sat down to the table opposite her and filled his plate with poached eggs and bacon.
“Nice sausages my dear,  its a lovely morning don’t you think?”
He smiled at the queen lovingly, how pretty she looked with her purple curls hanging down over her shoulders and her crown perched on the top of her head, a bit squint as usual.
“Yes Pepper,” the queen replied taking a sip of her tea, “and I do believe it’s going to
Queen Pepper stay like this all day,” she added smiling.
The king gave her a big smile, a twinkle appeared in his eyes,
To warm to let it go to waste, do you think then dear? he replied stroking the ends of his moustache again.
"Now I wonder what we could do with this beautiful day?” he pondered.

He finished the last of his bacon and eggs, helped himself to some toast and Peppercorn marmalade, then picking up his coffee cup, went over to the window seat.  
He stood there looking out over the rooftops of the town below the castle wall, it wouldn’t be long until the little town began to bustle with the days work and if he was going to plan a special event he would have to decide in the next few minutes what it was going to be.
The king’s eyebrows wrinkled together as he looked at the little red roofs of the houses that were glistening in the sunlight, the dew still wet on the tiles.
Beyond the town the fields stretched away to the mountains, the yellow of the cornfields blending in with the moorland. Then the sun reflected off the glass of the sports stadium.
the sports centre

“That’s it, that’s it Pepper my darling," he said jumping up and down on the spot."
Queen Pepper didn't even raise her head. As usual there was a sudden thought and the day could begin.
King Pepper turned to the queen with a huge grin on his face.“I’ve got it! ” he exclaimed. “We’re going to have a Sports Day.” 
“Oh really Pepper, do you think we’ll have time to arrange everything? It’s a huge project my dear.” Queen Pepper was still smiling for she knew they would have time, they always did.  
        Every special day they had ever had in the Shire started like this with King Pepper waking up; seeing the sunshine and then deciding this would be the day for whatever it was they ended up doing.
“Poppycock, we’ve got plenty of time so long as we get Tommy in here straight away.” The king said as he picked up the bell and rang it. “Tommy can take his bike and be round the whole Shire before eight o’clock, I’ll make out the notice and have it ready before he gets here.”        
Princess Cornflower

        Pepper was just about to ring the bell again when the door flew open. A pretty little girl came dashing in, almost knocking the king off his feet.
“Daddy, Daddy have you seen the sun, its going to be a fabulous day, can we do something special, please can we? She said throwing herself round her fathers’ neck, but she was kissed on the cheek, patted on the head and put down firmly. "You'll have to ask your mother dear, too much to do I'm afraid, to much todo!"  And he was gone.
Princess Cornflower had been followed into the breakfast room by Minnie and Martha, they too almost bumped into the king as he
went bustling out into the corridor.
“Oops, sorry King Pepper,” they said at the same time, but the king didn't seem to notice them.
Oh no,” said Minnie looking at Martha and pulling a face.“Not again.”
“I’m afraid so." Queen Pepper said smiling. “And that’s a big one so there's no time to lose."
Only now did Cornflower seem to get her senses together “Come on then Mum, tell us what it is?” Cornflower said jumping up and down, “please?”
“Not just now my darling, you help the girls take the breakfast things into the kitchen and I’ll tell you all together so that Cathy can get the food started.”

Queen Pepper shook her head, picked up her glasses and made her way to the kitchen.
“Oh well, we might as well do as she says,” Cornflower said shrugging her shoulders. “Lets clear everything away.” she picked up the empty plates.
MinnieMinnie and Martha Speedwell were identical twins; they had not long turned seventeen and had been working at the castle since they left school. They had beautiful scarlet hair like their grandmother's and the only way you could tell them apart was by the ribbons they wore in their hair. Minnie wore hers on the left side of her head and Martha on the right.  Together the girls carried the dishes through to the kitchen.

  Cathy Fern was stood at the table already taking down everything that the queen was saying on a piece of notepaper. Cornflower loved Cathy almost as much as her mum, she had been at the castle for as long as she could remember, and she never seemed to change not like Daniel Burnett, the butler whom Cornflower was sure must be at least a hundred years old, she still loved them very much, they were all part of her life in the castle at Peppercorn Green.
Barnaby Nettle and his wife Buttercup were the only other two Googlenok’s who worked in the castle full time keeping everything running smoothly, mind you nine times out of ten the whole of the Shire managed to get involved somehow or other, especially on days like today,Martha and there were many days like today, believe me!
Queen Pepper was just about to tell the girls what the king was planning for the day when the sound of a loud bell was heard in the courtyard below.
Everyone rushed over to the window, apart from Daniel who sort of shuffled slowly his shoes squeaking with every shuffle.
“Hush, hush, everybody,” said the queen, letting Daniel get past her to the window.  “Tommy will explain everything much better than I can so I’ll just sit down and have another cup of tea.”
She went over to the table and poured herself another cup of tea, there next to the teapot was the left over spicy sausages from breakfast, and Queen Pepper did like a spicy sausage with a nice hot cup of tea. 
The girls watched as Tommy Reed placed his bicycle up against the stable wall. He reached inside his coat and pulled out a large piece of paper, which he unrolled carefully, then taking his bell and giving it one more ring he began to sing very loudly.

Tommy ReedOYEZ!  OYEZ!  OYEZ!

           Of course King Pepper knew that the whole of the shire would arrive sooner or later,Daniel Burnett and why because it always happened that way. Tommy Reed folded up his paper, jumped on his bike and peddled out of the courtyard. 
“My and wasn’t that a good song.”  Daniel said wiping a tear from the corner of his eye.

It was one thing having a town crier, but a town crier who was also the music teacher was even better.
“There can’t be many Shires that can boast a singing town crier, or should that be Shire crier.”  He added thoughtfully.
The queen put her empty cup on its saucer. “Well girls, now you know as much as me.  The King has decided on a sports day and a sports day we shall have, it is going to take some organizing so we had better get started straight away."
Princess Cornflower and the girls were still standing with their mouths open in shock.  “A
sports day,” spluttered Cornflower, “a sports day,” repeated the Minnie and Martha. 

“Come on girls it’s no good standing their with your mouths open catching flies, there’s a lot to do.” Cathy then handed pieces of paper to the queen, who glanced through them.
Cathy Fern“Minnie you can take this list to Stephen Barleycorn, and if he can have them all ready by eleven thirty, that will be fine. Hold on I think we had better put a couple of thick sliced loaves on here as well, then we can have some bacon butties at dinner time.”
“What a good idea the king does love his bacon butties on these occasions.”  Daniel
said smiling. “Martha you can take this one to Samuel Barberry, I shall need the oranges and lemons as soon as he can get them here so that Buttercup can start making the squash.” Cathy added, “nearly forgot about Samuel that will never do,”she pushed the note into Martha’s hand, “and do you think you could call on Kristine Spurrey and ask her if she could come and give us a hand in the kitchen, maybe she could bring Felicity with her.” 
“Oh yes and if its possible to have the onions early as well it would be very much appreciated.” The queen gave the princess the list for Dick Butterbur. “Now this one is for the meat and we will have to have it by ten o’clock at the latest.”
Queen Pepper looked at Cathy frowning. “I’ve got a good idea, if the girls ask everyone in the shops to have as much as they can ready by ten o’clock, Barnaby can pick the whole lot up in his cart. What do you think?”  
“A brilliant idea,” agreed Cathy nodding her head.  
“Mother, you’ve forgotten something on this list.” Cornflower said, something very important."
“I have.” said the queen, “ and what could that be?”
Barnaby Nettle

“Well its no good getting bread for the bacon butties if you haven’t got any bacon to go on them, now is it?” Queen Pepper took the note back off the Princess and added.
“ Three pound of best back bacon.” 
“Three pounds!” exclaimed Daniel, “ are you expecting to feed the whole Shire Ma-am?”
The queen laughed. “ That's the trouble Daniel, you never can tell.”  
It was just at that moment when Barnaby Nettle came into the kitchen, and found everybody laughing.“Ah well it is nice to hear you all having a bit of fun, I thought you would all be up to your eyebrows getting things ready for another of King Peppers crazy days by now.”
“Oh we are Barnaby, but crazy or not things go a lot better with a little laugh now and then.” the Cook said happily. “ And how is your back this morning, not playing you up I hope.”
“Don’t get a chance to rest it, even if it was.” Barny added.
He wasn’t really an old grump. It was just his way he moaned about everything. If the sun was shining he needed rain for his delphiniums, if it were raining hed complain that there was never any sunshine in this darned Shire. But deep down inside he loved the Shire and all the folk in it, so everyone put up with his moaning.
Cornflower has a drink of juice“I suppose you’ve got a list a mile long for me to be doing?” he said with a small grin on his face,(only a small one mind.)“Whatever it is I must have me cup of tea first, so put that kettle on again Cathy,I can’t work with me mouth dry, I say.”
“What a wonderful idea Barny,” smiled the queen who as always never refused another cup of tea.  “Right girls, you get on your bicycles, and get down to the town as soon as you can.” Cathy said handing the girls a drink of orange juice. “ You had better drink this before you go its already quite warm out there.”
ueen Pepper with her cup of tea.

“Cornflower you had better go to the stadium and see how your father is coping after you’ve delivered your message.” Queen Pepper added. “Minnie, you and Martha can call for Felicity and Kristine on the way home and bring them back with you, try not to be too long dears.”   The girls left the kitchen; Cathy began to sing as she put the kettle back on the range.
“ Now for that cup of tea.” Queen Pepper said sitting down at the table and writing out yet another list for herself.

Chapter Two after this small break


sunshine day

The world is a rainbow

With many kinds of people;
And when we work together
It's such a sight to see.

The world is beautiful when we live in harmony!

Now you be you

And I'll be me.
That's the way we were meant to be.
But the world is a mixing cup.
Just look what happens when you stir it up!

moon with mothsI see the moon,
And the moon sees me.
Sitting on my grandma's knee
God bless the moon,
And God bless me.
Shine on the ones I love.

I see the moon
The moon sees me
Under the shade of the old oak tree
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

moon through a spiders web.
Over the mountains
Over the sea
Back where my heart is longing to be
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.
Chapter Two
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Barny brings the cart and Prudence round to the front of the castle 
Queen Pepper and Barnaby finished their tea and said goodbye to Cathy and Buttercup, who had arrived just as they were leaving. Poor Barnaby, he often wondered if life in Peppercorn Green could be simple for just one whole week.
He hitched up Prudence to the cart and drove it round to the front of the castle. Queen
Pepper was dressed in a deep purple skirt and white blouse, she looked very summery.And all for a few games

“Now Barny I am going to have to call at Terry ’s store first, I’ve got a huge list of things I need,” she added looking at her list. “ Sugar for the squash and candy floss, gallons of tomato sauce for the hot dogs and beef burgers, coloured napkins, and what on earth Cathy wants with three boxes of wooden spoons I dread to think, never mind.” she said shaking her head, “not to mention what looks like a mountain of paper cups.”
She took a deep breath. “Then I want to call and see if Gabby Willow can get some flowers over to the stadium to decorate the stands. Oh yes, and I’d like to call on Mary Lou to see if she can make me up some rosettes for the winners of the competitions.”

She read through the list making sure she hadn’t left anything out and turning to Barny gave him a huge grin. Barny just shook his head and growled at Prudence. Buttercup Nettle
As they drove along the little lane, Barny was thinking of the day he met Buttercup, his wife. It was a day just like today, the old king; King Pepper’s father had arranged a picnic down by the lake. He saw Buttercup lying on the grass trailing her fingers in the silver water and fell in love with her there and then. He was only sixteen, Buttercup a year younger; she was the dairymaid at the castle. Barnaby had applied for a job at the castle and it wasn’t long after he had started work there that he and Buttercup were married.  The dairy had moved to the town now, but Buttercup still helped with the work around the castle and he looked after all the odd jobs.
“That was over forty years ago,” he said out loud.
“What was that Barny.” Queen Pepper said.“Oh nothing, your Majesty, just thinking out loud.” Barny said smiling to himself.
Honesty and Hope  As they reached the town, it was obvious Tommy had already done his job. Everyone seemed to be dashing round doing this and that.
Two of the Sorrel triplets were sat in the post office doorway eating toast.
“That reminds me,” the queen said on seeing
Honesty and Hopethe children. “If you could get the candy floss machine and canopy out of the old dairy when we get back, I’d be very grateful Barny?”
Queen Pepper climbed down off the cart. “Now I’ll meet you outside Dick Butterbur’s at ten o’clock.
Are you going to the stadium to see if the king needs any help?”
“On my way my-lady.” Barnaby said as he turned the cart towards the stadium. “I’ll be back at ten, don’t be late we have lots to do as you said.” He was still mumbling as he turned prudence around and headed off down the lane towards the stadium. 

        The King meanwhile had arrived at the stadium ages ago and he began by drawing out a plan of where he wanted everything to go. Already things were being put in their right
food tent places. Both the Shires football teams were in the stadium when he arrived, they were training for next month’s football tournament, and as soon as King Pepper told them what he was planning they offered their help straight away. Peppercorn United started by erecting the big tent for the refreshments and drink stand, then they placed a smaller tent to the side of the Nurse Nancy Campionbig one for the district nurse, Nancy Campion to use as a first aid post, this was probably going to be the most used tent of the whole day. Peppercorn Rangers began by arranging the seats for Judge Orpine at the far end of the stadium; from there the judges of the competitions would be able to view the whole arena. They placed a small canopy over the table and chairs for shade from the afternoon’s sun.
Then there was the king and queen’s seats to be placed at the top end of the stadium, King Pepper thought the queen would like the green and gold canopy, not that she sat down for very long she always seemed to be dashing here and there doing something or other. Shortly after nine o’clock the two rugby teams arrived at the stadium it didn’t take long for the king to find them tasks to do. everywhere tents were being erected
Osian and Owen Bugloss of the Peppercorn Greenbacks took the handcart over to Henry Carline’s; the barbecues had been left in the Smithy since the last barn dance. The rest of the Greenbacks laid out
Gabriel Willowthe course for the tug of war and the marble ring. Whilst over the other side of the stadium the Cornpepper Daredevils roped off the show jumping arena.

King Pepper had just finished putting up the nets for the discus and shot-put when Barnaby arrived with the cart, they used it to bring out all the equipment needed for the field events and placed it in the right places. They only had one small hiccup and that was when no one could find the mattresses for the pole vault and high jump but that was soon sorted out when Barnaby remembered they had taken them to the castle, for the Princess Cornflowers birthday party, with out no more ado. daisiesPoor Barny was dashing back to the castle to get them.flowers, lots of flowers
“And all this before nine thirty,” he muttered as he jumped up in the cart and made for the gateway.
As he was leaving the stadium Gabriel Willow and his wife Mary Lou arrived to start arranging the flowers. Mary Lou didn’t stay long, she had to get back to the shop to start making the rosettes and of course, she must also make a daisiesbouquet for Queen Pepper.“I
flowers, lots of flowers think white lilies and marigolds will look nice for her majesty’s bouquet.” She said to Gabriel as they arranged huge white daisies and daisiesyellow marigolds all around the arena.“I won’t bring the rest of the flowers down till this afternoon,” she told King Pepper. “ We don’t want them to wilt in this heat, now do we?”

“Do you think you could call into the builders yard on the way back, and ask David Willowherb to send some sand down for the jumping pits.” King Pepper saiddaisies looking at the nearly empty sand pits. “It looks like the Sorrel triplets have been building sand castles again, the sand is everywhere but in the right place,” the king added smiling.
"Yes it was all going very well in the stadium just as he thought it would." King Pepper thought as he stroked his beard stroking his beard.    
 Princess Cornflower had delivered her list to Mr. Butterbur, said goodbye to the twins and then set off to the stadium, she was going to call for her friend Ann on the way.    

Ann Carline had been Cornflower's best friend all her life, they had gone to nursery schoolAnn Carline, Princess Cornflower's best friend. together, then on to infants and now they were in Pepper Corn High together.  They had so many things they liked to do together, they both loved horses, and they would both be taking part in the show jumping that afternoon.
Henry Carline, Ann’s father had moved to the Shire eleven years ago just after Ann’s mother had died. He was a very good blacksmith, and was liked by everybody in the Shire, especially Mrs. Hop the poniesthe landlady of the Golden Oak. Cornflower and Ann were almost certain that they were in love with each other, and being as Ann was an only child and Mrs. Hop had a daughter Christina, well it would mean that if they got married, Ann would not only have a new mum but an older sister as well.
Cornflower kept her pony in the same field as Ann kept hers, so the girls decided to give their ponies a quick brush down and polish their shoes befor
e going on to the stadium. Ann’s father was going to bring them to the stadium paddock after dinner.
          When the girls arrived in the arena it looked like half the Shire was there already.
The boy scouts were busy filling in the long jump and triple jump pits with the sand from Mr. Willowherb's yard.
more buntingThe guides and brownies were putting up the bunting with the help of the fire brigadesbuntings ladders.
King Pepper and the Major were measuring out the ring for the marble shooting competition. King Pepper was the best marble player in the Shire, maybe even the whole of the world. In fact nobody could remember him ever losing a game and as he stood there with his hands on his hips surveying the ring it looked like he was definitely going to try and win the first ever Peppercorn Olympic title, though looking at Major Twayblade standing next to him, he looked like he wanted to win just as much as the King.  Opal Bennett the Gym Teacher
Opal Bennet the High School’s gym teacher was busy sorting out the discus and javelins, she had come all dressed up for the job, wearing her shorts and tee shirt, Cornflower was certain that if Miss Opal was also competing in the javelin and discus, nobody else would stand a chance, she was very, very good. Henry had arrived with a few iron bars that were going to be used as the
bar weights weights in the weight lifting competition, and being as he was the only one who could lift them, it was rather a safe bet that Henry himself would win that event.
Ann turned to Cornflower and smiled,
 “Gosh Cornflower, your Dad was right everything does seem to be going to plan.”
“Yea, if there ever was a plan” whispered Cornflower in her friends ear,”
sorrel tripletsI think it’s luck more than planning, myself.” 
The girls laughed and walked over to the barbecues, they had been lit early to get the coals glowing before Cathy arrived with the food. Messages had been sent to Mr. Rush the headmaster, Judge Orpine and Dorothy Willowherb asking them if they didn’t mind being the adjudicators.
Nancy Campion had brought quite a few bandages and plasters, some iodine and other bits and bobs in case there were any accidents. There usually were a few usually involving the Sorrel Triplets and she had an idea this event was not going to be any different from all the others.
This time she asked for a folding bed to be put up, just in case.
Sid SpurreySid Spurrey had offered to ferry the Shire folk to and from the stadium, free of charge obviously, and of course Tom Reed and his band would be providing the music. Sid's charabanc

The king looked round the stadium and smiled,
“Time for some dinner I think.” he said and jumping on his bike he made his way home to the castle.

Chapter Three Follows this short slideshow.

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                 Have fun looking at the Disney Princesses, whey are all available from Amazon Market Place.

Buttercup making the juice     Chapter Three   

  Back At The Castle

  Cathy Fern had changed her pinny twice already so had Buttercup and Felicity; they hadn’t stopped since Tommy had come round singing his message. 
As soon as Barnaby had arrived back with the food it was non- stop cutting, peeling and crying. Kristine had volunteered to peel and chop the onions; she had stood at the table crying for over an hour, with Daniel bringing in cold flannels to put on her eyes.  
poor Kristine, her eyes were so sore

Buttercup must have squeezed a hundred oranges and lemons. Then she had to cut up all the peel and put it in the huge cauldron with the juice and sugar.“ If you had your black coat and a pointed hat on Buttercup.” Daniel said laughing, “ You could be mistaken for a witch.”
Buttercup smiled at Daniel and carried on stirring the pot to make sure all the sugar was dissolved. Then it was left to simmer for an hour, with Buttercup stirring it every twenty minutes.
Cathy also reckoned she looked like one of the witches in a fairy tale book but didn’t say anything.
Queen Pepper had arrived back with Barnaby and immediately vanished into the conservatory to make her candyfloss.
candy flossNot only was it rainbow coloured candyfloss made up of the seven colors of the rainbow; each colour had its own special flavor. The green was mint, the red tasted of wild strawberries, whilst the orange and lemon tasted just like oranges and lemons.
But it was the violet, blue and indigo that made people wonder if she had a magic spell. The indigo tasted of iced elderberry wine, the violet was like a succulent sherbet fountain and the blue, well you name your own favourite fruit and that's what it tasted of.
If you loved pomegranates then it tasted like pomegranates or if your fancy was for a knickers bocker glory, then that is what you felt as the floss in your mouth ran down your throat. 
King Pepper said the
Cathey with her two big, mysterious pots queen had the recipe handed down to her from her grandmother, and he reckoned his grandfather always referred to her as an old witch, so maybe that was why it was so magic.
Kayleigh Willowherb had asked her father to drop her off at the castle as he passed by on his way to the stadium to deliver the sand. She had really come to call for the Princess, but had ended up helping out in the kitchen.
Cathy had given her
Felicity fills the tomato sauce dishesall the bread rolls and baps to cut and butter, then she had to put them all back in the trays that Mr. Barleycorn had left. She could 
never remember seeing so much bread in her life before. Cathy had been busy making bread as well, only two long rolls, but no one was allowed to know what they were for. She had also made two big pots of stew or something, put lids on them and put them on the range.
“ These won’t need any looking after.”  She said and that was that, there they sat bubbling away all morning. Felicity had the boring task of pouring bottles of tomato
Minnie with the green apples sauce into large plastic dishes and putting lids on them when they were full up.
“ It will be a lot easier to use a spoon than end up with tomato sauce on everything.” Buttercup said after she had shook a bottle and ended up with most of it in her hair.
Minnie and Martha were having great fun, Cathy had made some really sticky toffee
Martha with toffee applesand as Minnie stuck the sticks in the apples, Martha was dipping them in the toffee it seemed like there was more toffee on the twins than on the apples.

  “ You two are going to need a good scrub before you get to the stadium this afternoon, just look at the state of your shirts.” Cathy said shaking her head.
Buttercup had just finished slicing the last of the tomatoes as Queen Pepper arrived back from making her candyfloss.“ Time for those bacon butties I think,” she said pinching a slice of tomato off the plate.
Everyone looked up at the clock. “Goodness me its half past twelve already.” Cathy said wiping her hands on her apron. “ I’ll just get Daniel and Barnaby to take some of these trays through to the parlour and then I’ll put the bacon on.”
Cathy makes more bacon butties

“ Did I hear the word bacon”? King Pepper said as he came through the kitchen door. “ How are you all getting on, nearly finished my dears?”
“ Yes its almost done, just a few finishing touches here and there and we’ll be ready to take it all to the stadium.” Cathy said turning the bacon over as she talked. In no time at all they were all sat round the table tucking into their dinner.
“ I never realised I was so hungry,” King Pepper said as he finished off the last bacon sandwich.
Princess Cornflower and Ann could smell the bacon cooking as they cycled up towards the castle. They had met up with Jody and Heledd as they were leaving the stadium. All four girls jumped off their bikes and left them outside the stables before going inside. 
Queen Pepper butters more rolls.Cornflower just heard her fathers’ last words as they walked into the kitchen.“ I hope that wasn’t the very last bacon butty, father dear,” the princess said walking over to her fathers’ side. “ Oops, I knew we’d forgotten someone.” King Pepper said smiling, he still had bacon grease on his chin and the Queen wiped it away with her napkin.“ I can easily make you some more, my darlings.” Cathy said getting up from the table.“ No it’s alright thanks Cathy.” Cornflower said giving her a hug.
“ We stopped at Mrs. Barleycorn's as we came past and she gave us a cup of tea and all the doughnuts that had come out without holes in them, honest Mum I’ve never seen so many doughnuts in my life, she will need a tent just for hertea and doughnuts and the doughnuts.”
The girls helped sample somemore of Buttercup's squash, it was delicious.“ Are you coming back to the stadium with us now, Kayleigh?” Cornflower winked at Kayleigh. “ Or do they still need you for slave labour?”
“ Oh as if I would.” Cathy said going a pretty pink, “ You offered to help, didn’t you pet?”“ Yes, of course I did.” Kayleigh laughed at the cook. “ She’s only pulling your leg. In fact it was quite good fun, and you missed out on one of the funniest sights you’ll ever see in your life.” She took a glass of lemonade off Cathy and continued with her story.
“ It all began when Mrs. Nettle shook a bottle of tomato sauce which didn’t happen to have the lid screwed on proper, she was covered in it.
Her hair was red; blobs were running down into her eyebrows and onto her glasses. She
King Pepper's team was purplelooked like she's been in a fight with a combine harvester.”
“ It must have looked hilarious,” Felicity continued. “ For it even made Mr. Burnett laugh, and you know how often you see him laughing.”
“ Don’t be rude young lady.” Daniel replied, putting his hand over his mouth trying to hide the smile that spread over his face. “ You must admit it did look rather funny, Buttercup?”
“ Well you might have looked funny, Mrs. Nettle but your squash is definitely the winner of the competition.” Jody said smiling at Buttercup. “ And
Queen Pepper's sash was green talking of the competition Daddy, where is the list of competitors?”
Pepper spluttered into his cup of tea. “ Oh darn it, I knew I’d forgotten something.” “ Oh well that's it then, we’ll have to call the whole thing off.” Queen Pepper frowned, shaking her head in Pepper’s direction. “ Not a chance,” Cornflower said laughing, “ we knew you’d forget, you always forget at least one important detail,” she kissed her father on the forehead.“ But we have it all under control.” Heledd added.
“ We thought it best just to have two teams.  King Pepper can lead the purple team who will wear the  purple sashes and your team can wear the green sashes which we wore for the dance marathon last month.” she said to Queen Pepper.

“ Well,” said Pepper quite taken aback by the way the girls had arranged everything.
“ You seem to know what your doing, so I think the best thing to do is to let you get on with it, and we’ll see you at the stadium at three o'clock."

Chapter Four after a short break
but you will need to take a deep breath before carrying on.xxx

The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

spiderThere was an old woman who swallowed a spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old woman who swallowed a birdJay
How absurd to swallow a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

catThere was an old woman who swallowed a cat
Imagine that! She swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
How absurd to swallow a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old woman who swallowed a dogdog
Oh, what a hog to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
Imagine that! She swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
How absurd to swallow a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old woman who swallowed a goat
goatShe opened her mouth and it went down her throat
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog
Oh, what a hog to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
Imagine that! She swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
How absurd to swallow a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old woman who swallowed a cow
I don't know how she swallowed a cowcow
She swallowed a cow to catch the goat
She opened her mouth and it went down her throat
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog
Oh, what a hog to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
Imagine that! She swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
How absurd to swallow a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her
horseShe swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly --
Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old woman who swallowed a horse
She dead, of course!

Chapter Four


          Queen Peppers big tentIt was almost half past one when the girls arrived at the stadium, most of the preparation was completed, and the trestle tables had been covered with brightly coloured cloths. The squash with its mountain of paper cups and the toffee apples had been placed on the table nearest the door. 
Queen Pepper’s candyfloss machine had been bought down from the castle, and Rowena Bugloss who helped in the flower shop had decorated it with bright coloured ribbons and flowers. 
“ Oh isn’t that beautiful just like a rainbow.” Mrs.
Barleycorn remarked when she arrived to string up the doughnuts she had made, the sugar on them glistened in the sunlight. “ I hope they don’t melt with this heat,” she said as she threaded the last few doughnuts on the string.
Cornflower was right she had made an awful lot of doughnuts, there where at least ten strings reaching from one side of the tent to the other.  The beef burgers and hot-dogs had been put in huge cooler bags to keep them fresh, and the
cups of teabarbecue was glowing wonderfully. The onions had already been put on to fry gently; the smell was amazing it filled the arena. Cathy Ferns huge pots had been brought down from the castle they were simmering on one of the small fires, the two long parcels wrapped in foil were, in a basket by the side of the fire, on the handle of the basket was a note that said “Do not open.” and signed Cathy Fern.   
The toffee apples and sandwiches filled one of the long
The bouncy castle was fully blown up at last. trestle tables, in fact food wise everything was almost ready. Elsie Barberry from the coffee shop was laying out the cups and saucers for the tea and coffee, the milk was in a big churn under the table and the sugar was in those small packets. Sally Stonecrop from the General Stores and Marigold Speedwell, Minnie and Martha’s mother had offered to help Cathy and Buttercup with the food.
Pauline Sorrel had been very brave and offered to look after all the children under five, mainly because nobody else offered to look after the triplets, who I can assure you were quite a handful on a normal day let alone a special day,
but at least this time they would have the bouncy castle to play on.
Up in the bandstand Tommy Reed and his band were tuning up their instruments, there was a true feeling of excitement all round the arena.  

The princess and her friends stood by the entrance gates giving all those taking part either a green or purple sash to wear depending on whose side they’d been selected for. 
The only slight upset came when little Hope Sorrel who was supposed to present the bouquet to Queen Pepper managed to spill an ice-cream down the front of her new dress, so Mrs. Barleycorn had to dash home to fetch her youngest daughter Clover to present it instead. It was almost three o’clock and the noise inside the arena was unbelievable then suddenly you could have
heard a pin drop as King Pepper and the Queen came in through the main gates.
The band struck up the
Peppercorn National Anthem; everybody stood still singing at the top of his or her voices. Then little Clover took the bouquet up the steps and presented it to the Queen, who was dressed in a sapphire blue jogging suit edged with silver, she wore her small silver crown and had a necklace of silver corn round her neck.  The king had decided to wear his emerald green tracksuit with the gold belt, they both looked very colorful. King Queen Pepper is so excited Pepper raised his hands and the stadium went quiet again.
“ Folks of the Shire, it is my pleasure to welcome you all here today, and for so many of you to turn up at such short notice, I do believe your getting use to it,”
The King waited while everybody stopped laughing. “ I won’t keep you from your afternoons fun and games all I’ll say is run well, play hard and eat hearty and this could turn out to be one of the Shire’s bestest days.”
King Pepper gave a huge
Young Clover had the bouquet for the Queen smile, everybody cheered and the games began.Queen Pepper left the stand and went to start up the candy floss machine, the King made his way over to where the marble shooting contest was due to start at three thirty. The first race was the high hurdles for men, this was won easily by Philip Sorrel the Postman, he claimed his success was due to the practice he had everyday jumping over the town folk’s fences and walls escaping the teeth of the owners dogs. Felicity Weaver won the ladies dash, a straight run from one side of the track to the other, having four brothers and two sisters, Felicity said she had to run The triplets were so pleased with their daddyfast to get away from them. Kristine also took part in the dash for the King’s team, but her shoelace came undone and she tripped and fell. She was the first one to need the attention of Nurse Campion, only a graze but it still needed a plaster to keep the dirt out. Poor Constable Lavender was disqualified fromP.C. Lavender knocked the hat right off the discus throwing, not once did the discus land in the playing area, and when on his third throw he almost knocked Lady Larkspur’s hat off, it was decided by Judge Orpine that he might hurt someone badly if he was allowed to continue so he was disqualified.

He was also due to take part in the javelin competition but thank goodness he withdrew his name, he probably would have ended up piercing somebody’s ears or something. Opal Bennett won both the javelin and the discus for the queen’s team. Poor Queen Pepper ended up with rainbow candy floss down the front of her new jogging suit, she had forgotten she had the candy floss in her hand and every time Opal threw the javelin, the queen would jump up and down waving her hands in the air. The best throw of the day came during the Florence Weaverred wellie throwing competition. Florence Weaver the farmers wife walked over to the line, picked up the wellie and gave it a mighty throw over her headBashed Mr Rush on the head unfortunately she let go of it a bit to soon and it went sailing through the air and landed on top of Augustus Rush, the headmaster of the High school.
The children rolled about on the grass laughing their heads off, they thought it was hilarious. Mrs. Willowherb had to ask them to be quiet in one of her sternest voices, but it was funny she admitted later to the Queen who wanted to know what had made the children laugh so loudly. The marble-shooting contest had almost drawn to it end and the whole of the stadium stopped to watch the draw for the final four places. King Pepper was drawn against Marcus Plantain from Oakland Shire, and  The Major MissesDavid Willowherb was to play against Major Twayblade.
The first semi final was between the Major and David, only one point separated them when they came to the final roll. David Willowherb tried his best but unluckily his final marble landed in the sand.  The Major was through to the final. Marcus hadn’t been playing marbles all that long and was beaten easily by the King. And so it was decided, King Pepper would play the Major in the final. They both stepped into the circle and shook hands. “ May the best man win.” the Major said to the King. Then they took up their positions.The Major rolled his first three marbles, the blue one cannoned off the jack and began to roll towards the edge of the ring, it stopped an inch from the edge. King Pepper shook his marbles in his hand, blew on them twice and let them roll, all of his marbles stayed in the ring. They were both equal with one throw to go. Everybody held their breath, not a sound could be heard, and even the Sorrel triplets were quiet for a change.
The Major’s hands were beginning to sweat, the marbles were sticking together, he placed them on the ground and wiped his hands on a towel. Picking them up again he kneeled down onto the pad and let the marbles roll. Once again he had to hold his breath as the marblesgreen marble rolled to the edge of the ring, but this time it didn’t stop and it rolled into the sand. King Peppercorn wiped his hands on his lucky purple towel that Queen Pepper had given him for good luck. He bent down to pick up his last three marbles; he held them tight in his hand for a moment and then gave them his lucky shake.
He opened his hand again all three marbles shone in the sunlight, a purple, a white and a gold one, lying there snugly in his palm of his hand, he bent his head down to his hand and blew on them gently. “ Go gently, my dears,” he whispered and let the marbles roll.  The white one stopped close by the jack, the gold one rolled slowly past then slowed down stopping just two inches past the jack but the purple one carried on rolling closer and closer to the edge of the ring. Queen Pepper put her hands over her face and held her breath. There was a loud gasp from the I can't bare to Look folk of the Shire and then the marble stopped rolling just one inch from the lip of the ring. An almighty cheer went up from the crowd. The Queen took her hands away from her face to see her husband, the King of Peppercorn Green dancing a jig in the middle of the marble ring. Then he stopped and turning to Major Twayblade shook his hand and patted him on the back. “ Good game you played there Major.” The king said smiling and shook his hand again.      

It took a little while for the folk of the Shire to calm down but it was almost time for theKing Pepper won the gold medal equestrian events to begin, and this time it would be the young Princess who would be taking part. Cathy Fern had not seen a lot of the games due to working so hard in the food tents but she did take time off to go and watch the show jumping, and a wonderful competition it was to. Nobody was surprised to find that the two finalist in the final jump off where Princess Cornflower and her best friend Ann Carline. This time it was the Princess to go first and she managed a clear round in just one minutes and fifty-three seconds. Then it was Ann’s turn, by the seventh fence Ann was four seconds quicker than the Princess, only two more fences and she would be the winner. She gripped her pony Buttons with her heels as she jumped the last fence, Buttons kicked back with his hind legs and the pole wobbled but stayed there. Ann knew it would have slowed her down but she raced for the winning Ann receiving her rosette for coming firstline. The clock flashed up her time, One minute fifty two seconds.
Princess Cornflower let out a shriek of delight and gave her pony Shadow a huge hug, then she went over to Ann and gave her an even bigger hug. They left the arena together hand in hand;
when your really good friends it doesn’t matter who wins or loses for you always know it could be your turn tomorrow.
The Princess looked so proud when the King presented her best friend with the red rosette for coming first.” And then she pinned it on Buttons bridle, Cathy told everyone.
“ I’m sure he knew he’d made her happy.” Cathy added as she put the last of tomato sauce into a dish and
Earnest Meadowsweetplaced it under the table.“ Don’t give this to anyone she told the ladies, I need it for later.” The tug of war competition was played down to the final between   
The Cornpepper Daredevils and the Firemen of the Shire, it went to three pulls with the firemen coming out the winners.  King Pepper looked round the stadium and smiled, it was so lovely to see everyone having such fun.
 “ I wonder what we could do next week,” he said out loud.
It was a good job Barnaby Nettle hadn’t heard him he would have had a heart attack.


A Special Day In the Shire
Buttercup is like a witch

If you have any ideas do leave a
message for me at
Special Day in the Shire

Chapter Five

the stacks of cups were getting smallerThe mountain of paper cups had now shrunk to a small hill that was a good job for there was only one barrel of squash left. The hot dogs and beef burgers were finished and there were only a few teaspoons of red sauce left.sorrel triplets triplets had their fair share of them as well.” muttered Barnaby, who had, had the dreadful task of emptying the buckets when the girls had finished using them. Adrian Speedwell and Mark Clary had tossed a coin to see who would have the last doughnut. Adrian won and ate it down quickly before anyone else challenged him for a bite.Judge Orpine and Mrs. Willowherb had been kept very busy counting up the points for both sides. Mr. Rush, having recovered from his wellie bashing had done a wonderful job refereeing most of the competitions with the help of Andrew and Mark ImageHawthorn, but now it was almost over and the Queen had asked that everyone should find a space to have a rest before the final event took place. Queen Pepper took off her apron and walked over to the main stand.“ As you all have been told already, the final race of the day shall be a relay.” Everybody nodded his or her heads in agreement.“ I believe the two captains have already chosen the teams, and I would now like to ask the two teams to go to the starting blocks.” Queen Pepper said smiling down at the tired faces of the competitors. The Queen’s team had been picked as follows, William Bartsia was to run the first leg, followed by Kayleigh Willowherb, thirdly would go Hector Loosestrife, who had won the men’s thirty meter dash and bringing up the rear would be the team captain Poppy Bisort. VictoriaThe King’s team hadAdrian was already full after eating the doughnut Adrian Speedwell to begin the race, but after all that he had eaten he didn’t think Speedwell was very appropriate. Princess Cornflower would be running the second leg, Josh Weaver, who had come second to Hector would be running the third leg and their captain Victoria Knapweed, who had also won the thirty meter dash for the ladies would run the last leg.It was all set; the eight runners were standing by their blocks. The race would be one lap of the circuit each. Herbert Gromwell, the Bank Manager had been chosen to start the race, he was also the football referee and the only one who had a proper sports whistle. King Pepper stood up on the podium and called for everyone to be quiet. Once again the stadium went quiet, and King Pepper help up his hands in appreciation.“ Before Mr. Gromwell starts the race I have someone to introduce to you, you all know her well and I would like you to put your hands together for the one lady who makes our special days extra special.” He looked over his shoulder and called Cathy Fern to the stand. “ I give you Peppercorn Green’s one and only Miss Cathy Fern.”
Cathy climbed up
onto the podium and stood blushing next to the king. She had put on a clean bright yellow pinny and cap and looked rather splendid.
In her hand she held the two long parcels she
Cathy fills the baton's had placed in the basket marked, “ Do not touch.”   “ Hm hmm,” Cathy said clearing her throat, “ No doubt you’ve all been wondering what I had in these two parcels, well you’re about to find out.” She handed one to the King to unwrap and unwrapped the other herself.
Inside the covers where two of the biggest hot dogs you have ever seen in your life, they were full of sausages and onions and smothered in tomato sauce.“ So that's where the last of the sauce went.” King Pepper said smiling.
“ As you know this is going to be the last race, and it’s going to be a relay race, these are the batons,” Cathy said holding the long rolls up in her chubby
They both have the exact amount of food in each and it is the job of the runners to eat at least a quarter of the hot dog as they run their lap.”
She handed the batons to Adrian and William. Adrian couldn’t believe it; he just stood there staring at the steaming baton. “ Why, oh why did I eat that las
t doughnut he thought to himself?
But he had no time to worry for Mr. Gromwell had called them to order and it was time for the race to begin. The whistle blew and Adrian and William began to run, neither of them went very fast. Poor Adrian had never felt so sick in his life, the tomato sauce was dripping down his chin and bits of onion had fallen onto his shirt.  He managed to stay in the lead and was about two feet up on William when he handed what was fast becoming a gooey mess over to Kayleigh.
The race is on....He was still trying to swallow down what was left in his mouth as he collapsed in a heap on the ground. 
Cornflower was not that bad a runner and it didn’t take her long to catch Kayleigh up, but if there was one thing Cornflower detested it was fried onions, and fried onions that were getting colder and soggier by the minute was not her cup of tea. Still she ran as fast as she could and by the time she
Frankie Waver handed over the half eaten baton to Josh there was hardly anything in it. Hector was already beginning to pull away from Josh when disaster struck. The ribbon that was holding the hot dog together had worked its self-loose and somehow it had wrapped itself round the pin that was holding his number on his vest, he couldn’t get the hot dog to his mouth to finish his quarter. He easily beat Josh to the line but he had to stay there and eat his portion before he could hand over to Poppy.  Josh couldn’t believe his luck and he was just handing his baton over to Victoria as Hector handed his to Poppy.The last lap and there was nothing in it, both girls were running like the wind. Queen Pepper had climbed upon her chair and was screaming. “ Come on Poppy, come on Poppy.” at the top of her voice. King Pepper although he wanted to shout for Victoria, thought at least one member of the royal family should behave properly and stood there quietly with his hands over his mouth, saying little prayers for Vicky. Only ten meters to go, Poppy was just in the lead, and then the tape brushed across her tomato sauce splashed T-shirt. Poppy and the Queen’s team had won. the winning relay teamQueen Pepper jumped down off the chair and ran over to congratulate her team. King Pepper straightened his crown and went to join her.     
Judge Orpine was standing on the podium two sheets of pink paper in his hands, he stood there waiting while everyone settled down to hear what the final result was
to be.
“ Your Royal Highnesses, Princess Cornflower and all the folk of Peppercorn
Judge Orpine leapt onto the bench
Green, I would like to thank you all very much for coming today and making it such a wonderful success, I think we can all say that it will be one we will all remember for a long, long time.” He smiled at the King and Queen. “ I would like to thank Your Majesties for the effort you have given and the fantastic support of the staff of the castle, especially Mr. Barnaby Nettle, who as usual did all the running around.”
A huge cheer went up from the arena, and Barnaby stood up and took a bow.    “ Think nothing of it.” he said smiling. Judge Orpine rustled the paper and everyone went silent again.
“ I suppose you would all like to know how the teams scored over the past few hours, I must tell you that it was a very close thing, but we do have a winner.”Judge Orpine looked round at all the tired faces in front of him. “ Before I tell you
which team won, I would like you all to give a huge cheer for yourselves, to say thank you to everybody for the wonderful effort you all put in.” A huge cheer went up again from the stadium.
“ I would also like you to give a special cheer to Mrs. Pauline Sorrel who did a marvelous job
looking after all the little ones, it did seem at one stage that young Hope and Honesty were never going to let anyone else use the first aid tent.” Pauline Sorrel, who looked very tired indeed stood up and accepted the applause. “ Never again.” she whispered to her husband, “ Next time you can look after the little darlings, I’d rather run the marathon.
Our thanks too, to Nancy, who
did a wonderful job tending the sprains and blisters.”
“ And now the result of the first Peppercorn Olympics is as follows, due to the wonderful last leg of the relay by Miss Poppy Bisort, I declare Queen
The Cup is won by Queen Pepper and her valient team. Pepper’s team the winner.”
 The cheering and shouting went on for a good ten minutes with everyone having a
look at the lovely trophy that Henry Carline had quickly made especially for the winners.King Pepper questioned everyone down and handed the stand back over to Cathy.“ Oh no,” said Adrian. “ Not more food.”
But it was, the two pots that Cathy had been guarding were full up to the top with her special beef and dumpling stew. 
“ So that was what the wooden spoons were for.” Queen Pepper said smiling. 
And to help wash it down Mrs. Hop, from the Golden Oak had brought five barrels of Peppercorn Cider for the adults, and crates of Peppercorn coke for the children.
“ Well wife I told you it would all go well didn’t I?” King Pepper said to the queen as they sat on the grass eating their stew, he reached over and kissed her purple curls as they fell on her shoulders.“
In fact I think this has been one of the best days ever.”
It's been a wondeerful day PepperQueen Pepper looked up smiling. “ Do get away with you Pepper,” she said placing the empty dishes on the table.
“ You say that every time we have a Peppercorn Holiday.”
They both lay back on the grass laughing, it seemed
everyone had, had a wonderful day.
That is except poor Adrian Speedwell, who swore he would never eat another hot dog or doughnut again in his life.

Dorothy Milnes Simm    copyright 1996

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