Spring was in the air. The red
tulips were nodding in the gentle breeze. The daffodils were standing at
attention like tin soldiers with trumpets and the hyacinths danced like
merry ballerinas as the soft wind swirled around them.
Though spring can be a tricky time
weather-wise on Barra, today promised to be a lovely day. The butterflies
were busy fluttering from flower to flower, sipping the sweet nectar from
the delicate centers, nestled between the soft petals. Bees could be heard
buzzing past, rushing to gather mud to build their new nests.
"Lads, would you like to go for a
walk down on the beach?" Tom Maxwell called to his dogs, Cockles and
Cockles opened his eyes. "Did he
just say walk?" he muttered to Mussels, who was lying next to him.
Mussels yawned. "Walk?" He jumped up
and ran towards Tom.
"I suppose that means yes," Cockles
said, standing up. Being a dachshund, he couldnít run as fast as Mussels,
but soon caught up with the two of them.
"You want to go for a walk after
all," Tom laughed. "You two looked like you were enjoying your nap in the
sun. It must feel wonderful to lie on the grass." Mussels barked and
Cockles wagged his tail. "Letís be on our way then, lads," Tom said and
headed for the beach.
Cockles and Mussels ran ahead of
Tom. "Look at all the flotsam," Mussels said. "The beach is covered with
"And with seagulls," Cockles added.
"Feel like having some fun?"
Mussels grinned a devilish grin.
"Aye, Iím with you on this one," he said. The two dogs ran towards a pile
of seagulls that were gathered around a pile of washed up cork. "BARK!
The seagulls flew into the air,
squawking and landed further up the beach. Cockles and Mussels
investigated the cork. "Whereís this from?" Cockles asked, nudging the
bits of cork with his snout. "Looks like itís from Italy. How did it end
up here, on an island off the western coast of Scotland?"
"The tides are strange. Did you see
those seagulls fly away? Hee hee. We showed them whose boss, didnít we?"
"We did at that. I see another group
of them up there. I wonder what theyíve found. I suppose weíll have to go
and check it out," Cockles said. "Ready?"
"Ready," Mussels answered and the
two dogs ran towards the seagulls. "BARK! BARK! BARK!"
The seagulls flew into the air and
circled around the dogs, squawking angrily. Tom, who was sitting on a tuft
of sea grass called out, "Youíd better watch yourself, lads. There are
more of them than there are of you."
Mussels heard and ignored him.
Cockles said, "But weíre bigger, hee hee."
"What have we got here?" he
wondered, sniffing the pile of rubbish. Mussels grabbed a piece of rope
with his teeth and pulled it out of the way. "Aha, weíve got a float
here," Cockles said, tugging it out of the way. It was red and white and
made of plastic and very light.
"Thereís a can of some kind of food.
Iíll bet those seagulls would like to have a can opener," Mussels laughed.
"Itís salmon. I donít like salmon.
Do you?" Cockles asked.
"No. Let the birds have it," Mussels
said. He carried the can out of the way, dropping it near the rope. "What
else is there?"
"Not much. An empty beer bottle and
no, thereís no note inside, hee hee, and a piece of driftwood. I wonder if
Tom would like it for the house. Iíll run it up to him," Cockles said.
He grabbed the driftwood and ran
over to Tom. "I see you lads are having fun with the birds. Remember,
Cockles, seagulls are hungry creatures who wonít stand you being around
for too long." He petted Cockles behind the ear. "Go on then. Go and find
Mussels. Looks like heís having fun chasing the birds."
Cockles looked over to where Mussels
was. He was running around the beach, chasing the seagulls. Whenever one
landed, he ran towards it barking loudly. Cockles ran off to join him.
They had a great time chasing seagulls. "Och, whatís this?" Mussels said,
stopping at another pile. "It looks like a package of ginger biscuits.
Itís wrapped up in plastic and thereís no water in it. Letís have a go at
it, should we?"
Cockles tugged at the plastic while
Mussels held the box in his hand. Soon the plastic wrap was off and the
dogs were tearing into the cardboard box. "It is ginger biscuits. Yummy,"
Cockles said. He took a bite of one. "Delicious."
The seagulls, which had been
watching, smelled the biscuits. Suddenly they gathered together in a large
group, began to squawk loudly, and flew right for the two dogs. They began
to dive at them, trying to peck them with their beaks. "Och no, the
birds," Mussels said. There were too many of them. Cockles and Mussels had
no choice but to leave. Theyíd gone a few feet when Mussels said, "We
canít let them have our biscuits." He ran back towards them. "BARK! BARK!
Cockles followed. "BARK! BARK!
The seagulls flew into the air but
instead of flying away, came after the dogs mercilessly. They pecked them
and scratched them with their talons. "Ouch," cried Mussels. "Letís get
out of here. There are too many of them." The dogs began to run down the
beach, chased by the seagulls.
Tom was watching and laughing hard.
"Come on, lads. Come to Tom," he shouted. The dogs headed right for him
and jumped up on his lap for protection. "Safe at last. I warned you,
lads." He headed towards home with Cockles and Mussels right on his heels.
When they reached the house they ran
back to the patch of grass next to the flowers and lay down. "Iíd much
rather lie here than chase birds," sighed Mussels.
"Me too," yawned Cockles and soon
both dogs were asleep.