Tourism was totally unheard of in Dingley Dell. It was totally unheard of in the whole of DINGLAND. This is not to say there was no travelling. Old Fletcher often went to OFFERSLAND on business. But that was about it. In the past there had been builders, construction engineers and specialists on contracts who came from OFFERSLAND. For example, they had to have a Clockmaker from OFFERSLAND to set up the Town Hall clock. However, nobody came for a holiday or just to have a look round. Even Sothwik’s new Museum was not going to inspire international tourism.
It was then a great surprise when Norbuttley and Paula saw Mr Badger disembarking from the ship that had just arrived from OFFERSLAND with a suitcase in hand. He saw them both and walked directly over to them.
Norbuttley greeted him, “Hello Mr Badger, I didn’t know you had been away”. Mr Badger looked confused and there was an awkward silence.
“I wondered if you could direct me to Dingley Dell?” Mr Badger asked.
There was another awkward silence.
“I’m sorry?”, replied Norbuttley sounding astonished, “you want me to direct you to Dingley Dell?”.
“Yes, please” said Mr Badger, “if its not too much trouble”.
Norbuttley pointed towards the path. “It’s that way. Up the hill”.
“Do you have such a thing as a map in your Emporium?”, asked Mr Badger.
“Sorry but we don’t” replied Norbuttley, “No one ever needed one. You just follow the path. Its a straight…em, sorry, I am confused. Why are you asking?”.
“I am visiting my brother in Dingley Dell”, said Mr Badger. “He lives there”.
“Ah!”, exclaimed Norbuttley “You are not Mr Badger”.
“I am Mr Badger” retorted Mr Badger, but then with a sudden expression of realisation he added “I think I see the source of our confusion. Let me start again. Hello, my name is Mr Ebenezer Badger. I am here to visit my brother, Mister Badger”.
“Oh, I see. I beg you pardon Mr Badger”. Norbuttley turned to Paula Rabbit, “Paula, please would you mind the store while I take Mr Badger to Dingley Dell?”.
“Sure, no problem” she answered.
Norbuttley led Mr Ebenezer Badger out of the Emporium to the path. Mr Badger was most interested in the Cable Bus. Norbuttley did consider running up the hill and demonstrating how it works but Mr Badger would have to walk up anyway as Mr Badger was heavier than Norbuttley. So they walked up together. They discussed the Cable Bus, the Port and the Emporium. When they arrived at the top of the hill and walked past the ‘The House Where We Live’, Norbuttley insisted in introducing Mr Badger to the Ostrich family. (Narrators note: Maybe just being polite and knowing that Mr and Mrs Ostrich would be pleased to meet the brother of their dear Mr Badger, but also any excuse to meet Fluffy again),
Fluffy insisted in joining them on their journey to Dingley Dell. (Narrators note: No surprise there either).
As often happened, they met Mrs Twinkle. They introduced her to Mr Badger. Of course, Mrs Twinkle knew who he was already although they had never met. Mrs Twinkle joined them as they went down the hill and into Dingley Dell.
Upon arrival they headed straight for Mr Badger’s house. As they approached they were first spotted at some distance by the Proper Door Bell (narrators note: I have to explain here. One of the problems with using magic, even accidentally, as Mr Badger had done when he wished he had a proper door bell, is that the object being brought into existence, in this case the door bell, is likely to become a magical entity itself. While it is unlikely to be able to use magic, It is likely to be sentient and self aware and capable of emotions not usually associated with such on object. For example, the Sugar Mill Trollies or, in this case, the Proper Door Bell. But I digress, back to the story).
“DING DING DINGALING DONG” cried the Proper Door Bell excitedly. It was very unusual for Mr Badger to have so many visitors all at once.
Mr Badger opened his door. On seeing who his caller was even though they had barely got to the house, he rushed out to greet them.
He threw his arms around his brother. “Oh Benny, Benny, Welcome, most Welcome”. They hugged.
“I am so pleased to see you again Mister”, exclaimed Ebenezer “Benny” Badger.
The small entourage who had accompanied “Benny” saw the unspoken need to leave these two brothers in some privacy to catch up with each other and so they made their excuses to depart. Apparently Sothwik had opened another room in his Museum and they all really must go and take a look. And with that they departed leaving Mr Badger to invite his brother in for long overdue chat.
Mrs Twinkle headed off to the Sorting Office. She didn’t want to play gooseberry.
This left Fluffy and Norbuttley to visit the Museum together once again. (Narrators note: You might think this would cause folk to start to talk. This is not the case. They were already talking. News travels very fast in a small community like Dingley Dell).
The Museum was open every day now. Sothwik was a full time, weekly clock winder, who still lived with him mum so it wasn’t like he had better things to be doing. Besides there was more to be done at the Town Hall now, such as cleaning smutty paw prints off the display cases.
He showed Fluffy and Norbuttley to the new exhibit room but decided to leave them to it this time. He had a feeling that one display in particular might be interesting to them.
Fluffy and Norbuttley went in. The main exhibit was huge loom. There were spinning wheels and “carding” devices (with a long explanation of what “carding” was for those who cared, but in short, it was for getting the sheep shaped wool into a suitable state for spinning).
On the walls there were various drapes of woollen material showing the result of all this processing.
Then there was a painting of Mr and Mrs Cutter. Fluffy stared at them for a long time. Sothwik’s feeling had been proved correct. Norbuttley joined her. They both stared at the painting of this couple in silence but thinking the same thought.
Mr and Mrs Cutter had been the owners and founders of the Dingley Dell Woollen Mill. The Mill was long gone now but had once been the centre of the woollen textile industry. It was not Mr and Mrs Cutter’s business acumen that fascinated Fluffy. Mr Cutter was a fine looking Sheep. Mrs Cutter was an Owl.
They heard the voice of Mr Badger in the Town hall entrance. He was explaining to Benny how the town’s folk had all contributed to it being built and how much everyone admired and relied on its very accurate clock.
Moments later the Badger brothers entered the Woollen exhibit room. Benny was very interested in everything on display.
“We really don’t have anything like this in OFFERSLAND. Old things just get replaced and forgotten about”, he said.
“It was the same here until Sothwik opened this Museum”, replied Mr Badger.
They browsed through all the woollen exhibits and then went over to the Cribbins room. Fluffy and Norbuttley joined them. It was quite interesting to see what their visitor would make of it all. One thing Benny mentioned certainly caught Sothwik’s attention, He had seen a painting of Captain Cribbins at the Metrotown dock’s cargo office.
After they had been around all the exhibits in the Museum and after Sothwik had also taken Benny up to see the clock mechanism and bell, they crossed the market square to visit the Grand Sugar Mill. Old Fletcher was happy for them to have a look round. It turned out that they had once met in Metrotown some years ago when Fletcher was acquiring his Trollies.
Their next visit was to the Tea Rooms for tea and cake. Benny invited Fluffy and Norbuttley to join them and it would all be his treat. The Tea and Cakes were served by the latest generation of the Rabbits who had taken up the tea-strainer after Rebecca Rabbit had passed on. This was Samantha Rabbit, Rebecca’s daughter.
After Tea, Norbuttley walked Fluffy home and then he returned to the Emporium and his very patient assistant, cousin Paula. It helped that he had saved her a slice of Carrot Cake from the Tea Rooms.
The Badger brothers continued their tour of Dingley Dell. There was a sad but necessary visit to the Town cemetery where the Brothers parents were laid to rest. The cemetery was very well kept. It was tended to by Mackelroy, the odd-job goat. (Narrators Note: it was always very good to know an odd-job goat. There are always odd jobs that need doing that don’t really fit into any particular trade or occupation. I mean, how do you dispose of an old mattress? or obtain a significant quantity of manure?”. Mackelroy is just who you needed for both of these odd jobs, possibly performed simultaneously). The brothers has stood by the graves just as they had done so many years before. Both of them had wished and wished for more time with their parents but magic doesn’t work like that. On their way back to Mr Badgers house, they called in on Mackelroy, where they thanked him for his fine work and both gave him a “Practical Wish Card”.
Benny stayed for three days with Mr Badger. They had been for long walks by the river and all around the farm fields where they used to play when they were young.
But then it was time for Benny to return to OFFERSLAND and return to being “Mr Ebenezer Badger” (Narrators Note: No one in OFFERSLAND ever called him “Benny”. Only his twin brother ever called him that).