Me & Lou

Lou is very imaginative- and also kind, caring and helpful. And when she gets packed off to the countryside during the war, she finds that those qualities are important. But can she keep up the soft approach, even when panic, trouble and worry hits?

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4. Three Siblings

It turned out that Ida lived on a farm. Pigs, chickens and sheep roamed around. They glanced up at me in confusion. They weren't the only people who were confused. Victoria ran up to us as we stood outside. She was wearing some muddy old wellingtons and a yellow dress, splattered with mud. At least I THINK it was mud. Her hair was wild and she had sticky jam all around her mouth. A typical three-year-old. 

"Mummy!" she squealed. "Grandpa and Rosie and Jem and I did not at all eat your sponge cake as desert after our chicken dinner!" Ida looked as if she would get mad, but she just ruffled Victoria's hair. Victoria looked at me, her head on one side. "Who is this?" she asked. 

"I'll explain," Ida said. "Let's go inside!" I followed them nervously. We walked past the front room, where the fire was blazing cosily, and into the kitchen. Three people were sitting at the wooden table, sipping on drinks and finishing off their desert. One was an old man with a bushy white beard and beady blue eyes, reading his newspaper. A teenage boy with hair just like Ida sat, too, roughly about thirteen, and a girl, about twelve, was sitting actually ON the table, shoveling cake into her mouth. 

"EVERYONE!" Ida called. "This is Lou. She is going to be living with us for a while until the end of the war, when she can go back to..."

"London," I told her.

"London!" Ida echoed. "Be sweet to her, children!" She wandered over and cut me a slice of cake, and she put my suitcase below a coat and hat hanger. I made my way over to the empty seat beside Cake Girl.

"Dooo ya wan som?" She offered, through a mouthful of sponge cake. 

"No thankyou," I said politely, though the way she ate made me feel a bit sick. "I've got my own," Ida handed me a little, blue-and-white china plate with a rather big, chunky slice of cake. 

"Do you have a mummy?" Victoria asked. She suddenly crawled up onto my knee. "I have a mummy. She bakes cakes and sews things and dresses us, and then she makes yummy food and can I have your cake?"

I laughed. "Yes, I have a mummy, back in London, and yes, you can have my cake!"

"No, Victoria, you can't have it," The old man said. "Grandpa will cut you your own slice, though I can't see how you need it- you've had a full chicken dinner- Yorkshire puddings, cabbage, the lot,"

"It's fine," I smiled. "I'm not hungry, actually!" The old man grinned, and mouthed 'I like this one' to Ida, who smiled triumphantly. 

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"NO NO BED! NO NO BED!" Victoria was bouncing on her little bed in our room, as Ida tried desperately to wriggle her into her nightgown. Jem was sitting on his bed, reading as usual, and Rosie was yelling things at him, trying to get on his nerves. I knew their names by then- we shared a bedroom, after all, so I had to. They were very nice to me, especially Jem. 

"Come on, Victoria, dear," Ida said, sweating. "Do hop into your nightgown!" But Victoria protested. I couldn't help it- I'd been shy all evening- but I knew an old trick, that Father and Mother used to do with me. I ran over to Victoria and gently tickled her under the armpits. She shrieked with laughter, and while she was laughing, I pulled her into her nightdress. Ida grinned at me, panting. She pulled a little notebook from her pocket, along with a pencil, and jotted down what I did.

"That's a keeper," The Grandpa said, hovering in the doorway of the attic bedroom. "So easy, so quick. You could give that Mrs. Beaton a run for her housekeeping money, Lou!" I blushed.

"Thankyou, um..." I didn't know what to call him, really.

"Grandpa," he smiled. "Everyone calls me that. Well, apart from Ida, of course. But the children do. And for a while now, you're Ida's child. Sort of!" Ida beamed. Jem grinned. Rosie chuckled. Victoria squealed. I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd fit in with my three siblings. 

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