Chapter Fourteen: Jam Tomorrow

Fluffy woke up early on Wednesday morning and walked down to the Port as arranged.

She had arranged to meet Norbuttley on the north beach as he wanted to talk to her about a big change he was planning,

There was a path that ran along the coast. At the Port if you go south it takes you to the Fisherman’s cottage. If you go north it opens up into a wide beach of soft sand. On the inland side there is a row of beach huts, each painted a different colour. The beach huts were built by the Dingley Dell Farm Co-operative for the use of everybody. In the summer they were frequently used by the families of the town. Today, and this early, the beach was empty.

As Fluffy arrived at the Port she saw Norbuttley was waiting for her. They walk north up the coastal path to the beach. The tide had been going out and so the beach looked even wider. 

As they walked across the sand they could see they were not the first to come this way this morning, There were two sets of footprints on the sand ahead of them but no one was to be seen. (Narrators note: to be precise the ‘two sets of footprints’ were actually one set of footprints and one set of hoofprints).

“So, what’s the big change you are planning?”, asked Fluffy, “not emigrating to OFFERSLAND I hope?”.

“Oh no, not that far” replied Norbuttley, “but I am leaving the Emporium. I am moving into the town. My plan is to start a new business making jam”.

“Is there enough demand for jam in Dingley Dell?”, asked Fluffy.

The pair of earlier footprints had turned towards the beach huts. Fluffy and Norbuttley continued on making fresh footprints. 

“My plan is not to just make Jam. I am thinking of making cakes as well and Jam Donuts and chocolate coated jam pastries”. 

“Wow, that sounds lovely!”, Fluffy exclaimed. “But you would need quite a substantial premises to make these in. At least as big as my mother’s kitchen. You are not thinking of using my mother’s kitchen are you?”, she added smiling.

“No, I will need to show you.”, he said. “Lets go into town”. 

They turned back towards the Port. As they passed a pink beach hut they heard a giggle and what sounded like a whinny. 

Fluffy and Norbuttley arrived at the Port and turned up the path to town and over the hill. Norbuttley was asking about the older Oliver’s. He knew they were both involved in importing and that they had been able to get flour.

“Yes, my mother has been getting flour for a while now. She uses it to make carrot cake for the Unicorns. She also makes a few cakes for the Tea Rooms”, said Fluffy. 

“Do you think she’ll mind if I make cakes?”, asked Norbuttley. 

“Let’s ask her”, said Fluffy as they were passing ‘The House Where We Live’.

“OK”, said Norbuttley, “I wouldn’t want to set up in competition with her. For a start I would lose. I was thinking I would need to ask her for advice anyway. I haven’t baked with flour before”.

They went in. Mother Ostrich was in the kitchen as usual. 

They explained the whole plan to Mother Ostrich and she was most interested. She even offered her kitchen, at least until he got set up. Better still she would supply the cakes to start with as well as she remembered how hard it was to start up her confectionary business.

Mother Ostrich had asked the same question of where he was going to set up his kitchen. He explained that they were on their way to town and he was going to show Fluffy what he had planned.

At this point they heard the clutter of hooves galloping down the path towards town. Fluffy was sure she also heard a “Yee-Haa” too.

“Thats early for the Post”, said Mother Ostrich, “Ah, but they are not stopping”. 

“Well it sounds like you have a plan”, said Mother, “I’m sure I will hear all about it later”. (Mother Ostrich’s note: Probably endlessly).

Ostrich and Rabbit, Arm in Wing, continued on the path down to Dingley Dell. 

When they got to the Sugar Mill, Norbuttley lead Fluffy down the path alongside the Mill and down to the river where they headed up the riverside path a short distance. Here Norbuttley stopped. He pointed to some large stones on the bank. 

“This is the remains of a foot bridge that used to cross the river here”, he said. He pointed over the other side where there were similar stones. 

“You see the other side?”, he asked.

“Yes”, said Fluffy.

“See that densely overgrown clump of trees and bushes?”.

“Yes”, repeated Fluffy, wondering where this was going.

“Well, look very closely. Do you see the brickwork amongst it?”.

Fluffy looked hard. “Yes, I see them”.

“Well”, said Norbuttley, That is the ruins of the old Woollen Mill and Mr and Mrs Cutters cottage. My plan is to clear the vegetation and rebuild the cottage. That’s where I will live eventually. Then I will do the same to rebuild the Mill next to it. That will be the kitchen and Jam factory”. 

Fluffy was amazed. “I didn’t even know it was here”. How did you find it?”.

“I saw it on an old map in the museum”. Norbuttley said.

“Its going to take a lot of work”, Fluffy said warily. “Are you sure you can do it?”.

“Only one way to find out”, Norbuttley replied. “Besides I have a lot of friends who I am sure will help”.

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