The unscramblable scribble is a new invention and I'm sure
to those of you who have been born more recently the idea
of a straightened scribble is ludicrous. Well let me tell
you that it never used to be this way. There was a time
when scribbles could be untangled, but only with patience
and a long knitting needle. Nonetheless, it was possible.
Old ladies spent days on end at children's parties blowing
bubbles and untangling scribbles as their main source of
Well the day that this story begins on, and not the day
after or before, there was an almighty hullabaloo in the
Magee household. Old Mrs Magee had got her knickers in a
twist, as was prone to happen from time to time what with
all the time she spent inside the washing machine. She was
an incessant explorer and in her early days had travelled
far and wide amongst the people of the globe. Now she was
content to investigate The Small Places that most people
took little interest in. You could find her from time to
time hunting for maps and treasure in the tumble drier,
trying to post herself through pillar boxes, diving in the
deepest depths of the sofa for gold and clinging to the
underside of cars as they sped along, picking up clues along
the way, for she was a fearless old woman and liked the
feel of fluff and tar in her hair. To say that she was occasionally
found soaking wet with a few slowly dissolving washing tablets
on her head would be quite true and a matter not open to
debate in the slightest.
As a result of all this activity she was prone to attracting
dust, which was offset somewhat by all the time she spent
inside washing machines. The dust would collect in her wrinkles
and up her nose, in her cardigans and in her socks, but
it did not bother her in the slightest. In fact she positively
encouraged it by wearing clothes made solely out of velcro.
Not the nice furry side of the velcro you understand, but
the jaggedy arse side. This was because the dust she encountered
in these places was always and without question, of an amazing
The places that she explored were different to the places
you and I might explore if we were looking for treasure
in our houses, for she kept a team of little fusslebumpfs
who continually attended to the dust, spraying it with violet
and crimson and gold and all the colours of the rainbow.
These fusslebumpfs were very happy with their jobs, as the
old woman had purchased brand new rainbow spraying kits
for them all. All they had to do was think of a colour and
it would come out of their spray gun. For example, fusslebumpf
number 2 might think of peacock blue with pink and purple
spots and this is exactly what would appear at the end of
his gun. The only colours the magic guns could not mix were
boring colours. Beige, cream, grey and mustard were out.
Old Mrs Magee was never fond of boring colours and liked
to kick her hologramatic heels up from time to time to prove
Anyway, on this particular day Old Mrs Magee had been out
foraging for scribbles. These little creatures were a particular
love of hers and she had vowed to protect any one of them
from the more unsavoury knitting needle wielding members
of her generation. She would collect scribbles of different
dispositions and deposit them upon her person, in the same
way that you or I might collect stickers, sweets or toadstools.
Now I don't know about you, but if your granny is anything
like mine, she may be inclined to keep tissues up her sleeve
(just in case). Well this is where Old Mrs Magee kept her
scribbles. They were always perfectly safe on her clothes
as they were as soft as the hair of a Wufflegorf (whose
coats feel like dreams and melted clouds). The only time
her clothes could be considered a hazard to her tangled
friends was when she had just been freshly washed in the
washing machine and smelt like a new pin.
On this particular day, she was depositing a few scribbles
in the enormous hat that she kept especially for this purpose.
The hat was a fabulous work of art, made from circles of
fluff that she had found in the tumble drier. These flat
fluff pancakes are the very same ones that your mother probably
throws away, for they must be removed so that the machine
will work the way it's supposed to. Well of course Old Mrs
Magee's pancakes were not grey and boring; they were the
most dazzling pieces of fluff you have ever seen! She placed
each pancake on top of the other until she possessed a towering
hat of emerald, turquoise, fuchsia and silver. The scribbles
were very useful at keeping all the fluffcakes together
and Old Mrs Magee was glad of their company, as they were
as inquisitive and curious about things as she was herself.
Melba was her favourite - a medium-sized pink scribble
with long flowing swirls. She sparkled uncontrollably and
had been the result of an accident with a glitter pen one
Christmas in the Waldorf household. These organised and
outrageously orderly people considered her a mistake, much
to her indignation, and threw her out with the trash. She
sat for days, arranged neatly on top of Agatha Waldorf's
rubbish pile, lamenting her fate, along with the broken
Christmas decorations and pulled crackers when Old Mrs Magee
happened along. Because she was an old woman who like to
explore tiny places, she quickly eyed up the stash of multicoloured
refuse, checked that the coast was clear, then dived headlong
into the creases of neatly folded wrapping paper, where
the two friends met for the first time.
Melba lived in the best room in the hat - it was at the
very top and had the most fabulous views. It looked like
someone had sprinkled it with sparkling diamonds and it
smelt of vanilla and mangos. It was overflowing with dazzling
little pieces of mirror, silver coins, crinkled maps, collections
of magnifying glasses piled up in the corners and various
odds and ends, for Old Mrs Magee was prone to collecting
anything that might "come in useful". Few people
could deny the practicality of tinsel-filled jam jars or
screwdrivers with ruby handles.
Melba loved her room very much and the two of them would
spend hours discussing the next tiny place to explore. However,
today Melba noticed that Old Mrs Magee was nervous, hopping
from foot to foot in the kind of agitated manner that implied
she had not been on a proper adventure in a long while.
Being a highly intuitive young scribble, Melba enquired
as to whether or not this was the case and commented that
she had noticed her anxiety (to be fair it would have been
impossible not to notice as her room and its contents bounced
violently from side to side every time her friend's feet
got itchy.) Old Mrs Magee confided that although she was
becoming very friendly with the nooks and crannies (some
of whom she would consider lifelong friends), she was getting
a tad restless and she longed to feel the wind in her hat
and the smell of fresh treasure maps in her socks.
Footnote on the subject of the Waldorfs (it is
a little known fact, but scribble discrimination is currently
rife amongst law abiding citizens. Many are treated extremely
badly by orderly people who cannot see their multi-faceted
uses and talents. The diagnosis for these people is frightening.
The prospect of catching the dreaded "imagination gobbling"
disease, is one we all shudder at. The scary thing is that
it creeps up on you like a stalking calendar, and you are
not aware of it until your mind has gone grey and fallen
out in front of you. This has a general tendency to hit
people as they get older).