Please complete the times tables activity below:
Have a look at the sentence below:
CARING FOR EVACUEES IS A NATIONAL SERVICE
This is the title of the next chapter of the book.
What do you think the chapter will be about? Why?
Read the next part of the text (it is quite long)
It was dark when we finally arrived, which wasn’t a bad thing. I was tired of seeing cows. And fields. And trees. And little country stations hung with bunting and WRVS ladies rushing forwards to welcome the train, which had been exciting at first but after a while just made the journey seem longer. One by one, the carriages had emptied out and now, at last, it was our turn.
“Budmouth Point,” announced the guard. Train calling at Budmouth Point.”
Everyone was on their feet before the train had even stopped. In a scramble of suitcases, our entire carriage made for the doors. Mr Barrowman, shouting over our heads, told people to stop pushing.
“One at a time!” he hollered. “Remember your manners. This isn’t the Harrods sale!”
No one was listening. We were too eager to see what Budmouth Point was like, so in the end the guards simply opened the train doors and we tumbled out on to the platform.
There was no bunting, no WRVS women to greet us. It felt oddly quiet after the noise of the train, and for a moment, everyone seemed a bit stunned.
“You all right?” I asked Cliff, dumping his suitcase in front of him.
He nodded. “Smells different here, doesn’t it?”
He was right: the air smelt wet, salty. With a shiver of delight, I thought of the sea. Tomorrow we’d go to the beach, see the lighthouse, find seashells like the ones Dad used to bring us. In fact, I was beginning to feel quite hopeful, when two ladies in wellington boots appeared from the direction of the ticket office. They were having an argument.
“With all due respect, Mrs Henderson –“
“Are you telling me how to do my job, Miss Carter?”
“Of course not, but if she’s a Kindertransport child …”
As Mr Barrowman cleared his throat, they broke apart with a startled “Oh!”
“You must be our evacuees!” cried the shorter and rounder of the two women, as if we’d dropped from the sky. She looked like someone from a murder mystery story, the type who wore tweeds and drank sherry.
“Indeed, I suppose we must,” Mr Barrowman replied. He did sarcasm as well as any teacher.
“Then welcome to Budmouth Point!” She threw open her arms rather theatrically. A titter went through the group, which Mr Barrowman quickly shushed.
“I’m Mrs Henderson. I’ve lived here all my life. And this –“ she indicated the other woman sniffily – “is Miss Carter, who’s been her not quite a week.”
Miss Carter was a lot younger than Mrs Henderson. She had blonde hair cut to her jaw, and looked thoroughly fed up. “All I suggested was –“
Ignoring her, Mrs Henderson said, “Allow us to escort you to the village hall where you’ll be introduced to your host families.”
She made it sound just around the corner. In reality, it was a good half an hour’s walk down a dark country road with only her and Miss Carter’s torches to guide us. Away from the shelter of the station, I felt the full force of the wind, so strong you had to lean into it as you walked. One of the older boys started telling a ghost story called ‘The Hairy Hands’, and I could feel Cliff next to me, hanging on his every word. Worried he’d have bad dreams, I tried to walk faster so we’d be out of earshot. But up ahead was Esther Jenkins – a different type of nightmare – and I thought it best to keep out of her way.
By the time we reached the village, I’d blisters on my palms from my suitcase handle. Perhaps Mum had been right about those extra books, after all. I was ravenous too, and wondered what Queenie might’ve made for our supper. It was hard to see anything of Budmouth Point itself. The dark felt even thicker than the blackout in London, though I could just about make out the outline of houses on either side of the road.
“Crikey, it’s so quiet here,” one of the girls observed.
“Budmouth Point? Budmouth Dump, more like,” Esther Jenkins muttered.
A few of the boys pretended to laugh. Cliff squeezed my hand, and I squeezed back just to let him know I was there.
Then I saw light. Not from Mrs Henderson’s torch; this was something bigger, out beyond the houses. It wasn’t constant like the searchlights over London, but every few moments sent out a beam so strong that in it I glimpsed the grey water and white-topped waves of what had to be the sea. My heart gave a little skip.
“That’s the lighthouse,” said Miss Carter, who appeared beside me. “Beautiful isn’t it? A beacon to guide the lost to safety.”
It was beautiful. I’d never seen a real working lighthouse before. The way its light reached far out into the darkness was mesmerising to watch.
Miss Carter sighed. “There’s talk of turning it off now, though. It’s a threat to national security, apparently, because the enemy’s been using landmarks like this to navigate their planes.”
“When they come over to bomb us, you mean?” I’d heard something similar back in London, about German pilots following the Thames to find their targets.
This war, I thought bleakly. This horrid, horrid war. Even down here in the wilds of Devon we couldn’t escape it.
Based on the work that you did yesterday, can you write a letter to Mum from Olive explaining about your journey to Devon with Cliff.
Don’t forget to include the key features.