William joined Mrs Bott and began to walk by her side. “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” he said pleasantly.
He had noticed that among grown-ups a discussion of the weather was a necessary preliminary to any conversation.
She made no response.
“Nicer than it was yesterday,” said William.
She plodded on in silence.
“I bet it’s goin’ to be nice tomorrow,” said William. “It was jolly nice all last week, wasn’t it? I forget what it was like the week before, but I bet it was all right then, too.”
Mrs Bott gave a snort that discouraged further pleasantries.
“I bet it’s goin’ to be all right next week, too,” said William, undaunted, then, considering that the weather had been adequately dealt with, turned on her the glassy smile that was wont to accompany his efforts at social intercourse with the adult world and plunged abruptly into the heart of the mystery. “Where are you going?”
- Number: 32.7
- Published: 1960
- Book: William the Explorer
- Synopsis: The Hall is being filmed by a dubious new piece of TV technology.
When Mrs Bott is sounding off to a random man in the street about her domestic woes (chiefly, the featuring of one of her local rivals on a TV programme about “gracious hostesses”, to the exclusion of herself), it turns out that he is “someone on television” and can get her featured in a future episode! The only condition is, she has to have the filming take place that very afternoon – and it will be conducted by one cameraman with no equipment at all, using a valuable and cutting-edge new television invention.
William is so excited to hear about this that he is only bribed to silence by the promise of appearing on a cowboy show at some point in the future; nevertheless, he does insert himself into the centre of the afternoon’s activity.
And it’s just as well he does so, because, of course, while Mrs Bott is being interviewed downstairs, the ‘cameraman’ (liberated from his camera by the eponymous invention) is upstairs collecting all her valuables, jewellery, fur coats etc into suitacases and loading them into his van.
And while, had they been a genuine TV crew, William would undoubtedly have ruined their activities, so too did he ruin these ones.
“What’s a stone’s throw?” said Ginger. “My aunt’s goin’ to live in a new house an’ the estate agent said it was a stone’s throw from the shops.”
William picked up a stone. “I’ll show you what a stone’s throw is,” he said. He meant to throw the stone along the road but Jumble, taking the action as an invitation to a game, leapt up exuberantly and flung him off his balance. The stone soared over the hedge into the garden they were passing.
There came the sinister sound of breaking glass.
“Gosh!” said William with horror. “Let’s get off quick.”
- Number: 32.4
- Published: 1960
- Book: William the Explorer
- Synopsis: William and Ginger accidentally imprison a man on his roof.
Helping dust books for a friendly old lady, William and Ginger become enchanted by the derring-do and kind hearts of the stars of Don Quixote, and promptly rename themselves Don William and Sancho Ginger (Jumble becomes Rosinante).
When they overhear the chairs of both local political parties mentioning that Mr Honiton, a newcomer to the neighbourhood, is “sitting on the fence”, they naturally misunderstand the word ‘fence’ and go to inspect his house. The inspection goes slightly wrong, and a near-naked Mr Honiton gets locked out on his balcony, and is not unreasonably furious with the Outlaws.
William examined the pallid liquid that half filled a saucepan on the gas cooker. “Shouldn’t be surprised if that’s not melted silver.”
“Smells like chicken soup to me,” said Ginger.
“Well, nat’rally he’d disguise the smell,” said William.
However, when he climbs down the drainpipe – at William’s slightly overenthusiastic encouragement – he is most interested to see the copy of Don Quixote which, having been ‘borrowed’ by the boys, fortuitously escaped from an unscrupulous book dealer…
“I think it’s time Jumble did something with his life,” said William.
“Gosh! You’d think he’d done enough,” said Ginger. “He ate that beef steak pie your mother made lastweek.”
“Well, he thought she meant him to eat it,” said William. “Gosh! He wouldn’t have minded givin’ her a few dog biscuits.”
After ruling out the careers of regimental mascot, greyhound (which I feel is more of a species than a job title), St Bernard (ditto) and more, the Outlaws decide to train Jumble as a police dog.
“Ginger an’ me’ll go an’ c’mit a crime,” said William, “an’ you an’ Henry give Jumble my cap to smell an’ he’ll track us down an’ he’ll have got started on his p’lice dog training.”
There’s another problem on the horizon, though, because Robert has been persuaded to be the magician at the birthday party of his beloved’s brother, and is guaranteed to make such a hash of it as to embarass the Outlaws for the rest of their days.
Both strands come together when William commits a sample crime, for Jumble’s training, and its victim turns out to be a Hungarian refugee circus performer…