Authors: Janey Louise Jones
The Beach Babes all thought it was really good idea, and so original. Poppy and Honey just couldn't believe they were part of it. The dance part gave them much more to do than before. Poppy felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
AFTER THEIR REHEARSAL
Grandpa came to meet his two granddaughters, Poppy and Daisy, and the other girls. He was particularly keen to meet up with Daisy as he didn't see as much of her as he would have liked. She was always so busy with her part-time job, school, her friends, her pony and her other hobbies.
“I expect you're hungry after all that dancing,” smiled Grandpa as he walked into the dance studio. “How about I treat you all to lunch at Bumble Bee's Teashop? It may
not be quite as cool as the Lighthouse CafÃ©, but the food is second to none.”
“Yes please,” chorused Daisy, Poppy and Honey.
“Thanks, Mr Mellow,” said Rose politely.
“Lunch sounds great and so does Bumble Bee's. Daisy has told us all about it,” added Lily.
Honey felt very proud that her granny's teashop had such a good reputation with Daisy's cool friends.
All the way to the teashop the girls chatted about the contest.
“We've really got to practise playing the music now that the words are in place,” said Rose, who was very musical.
Everyone agreed that there was still masses of hard work ahead but they were all sure it would be worth it in the end, especially if they won their heats and went through to the finals in the City.
Poppy dropped back to talk to Grandpa. “I really, really hope we win. It would be so exciting. Daisy, Lily and Rose have written such a cool song.”
“Well, I'm looking forward to it too,” agreed Grandpa. “But rememberâ”
“It's the taking part that counts!” interrupted Poppy. “I
that, but I still want to win, Grandpa!”
Grandpa smiled. “There's nothing wrong with a competitive spirit, darling, as long as you can control it â and are
still pleased for your rivals if
Poppy gave Grandpa's hand a squeeze and skipped off to catch up with the others. They had reached Bumble Bee's Teashop and Poppy was dying to tell the older girls exactly what they should order.
“Hey, girls, I know the menu really, really well, so if you need any help choosing, just ask. My favourite is the baked potato with cream cheese and bacon filling. Oh, but I also love the cheddar cheese and tuna melt. But then again, the fish and chips are the best ever! And the home-made apple cream cakes are yummy . . . and as for the toffee doughnuts. Deeelicious! And you really must try the fresh fruit smoothies â they are so yummy!” she advised.
Daisy and her friends laughed.
“You haven't really helped us to decide, Poppy. It
sounds great,” said Lily. “I wish I could have a bit of everything.”
As they settled down at a table and decided what to eat, Granny Bumble greeted them warmly and began taking their huge lunch order. Grandpa sat at a nearby table and took out his newspaper, tuning out the noisy chatter from the girls' table. It was great having granddaughters, but sometimes it was nice to get away from it all!
“Joseph Mellow! How are you, old fellow?” said a voice from the other side of Grandpa's newspaper.
He put it down, recognizing the familiar tones. “Philip Forster! What a lovely surprise!” he said, greeting his oldest friend â and rival â Colonel Forster, with a warm handshake.
“Take a pew, old boy. I'm just treating this pop group over here to lunch â they're going to be in some contest over in Camomile Cove,” Grandpa explained, looking at the girls, who were practising the chorus of the
new song as they waited for their lunch to arrive.
“Ah! The talent contest. My granddaughter Lilac's in that too,” replied the Colonel. “Remember, my daughter Martha is married to Hugh Farrington, the headmaster of Smuggler's Cove High School? She's a lovely girl, their daughter, Lilac. What a talent,” he continued as he sat down. “She's just like my Martha. Y'know, Martha should've been on the stage. Very
nearly was a star, was our Martha!”
“Is that right, Philip?” asked Grandpa, rolling his eyes. Everything in the Colonel's world was always bigger, better and more successful than anyone else's.
“In fact,” continued Colonel Forster. “I've rented a cottage over in Camomile Cove to be near the family during the contest â and to take a trip down memory lane. Remember the year I discovered the wreck of an old pirate ship in the cave at Sandy Bottom? What a lot of work I did on that!”
found it, you say?
saw it first and showed it to you, Philip Forster!” replied Grandpa. “And I cut the timber to repair it, remember?”
The two elderly men bickered affectionately about who had been responsible for discovering the ship and restoring it. They were still as competitive as they had been when they were
schoolboys, and the Colonel's talk of taking a cottage in Camomile Cove had set Grandpa thinking . . .
After lunch, once all the girls were safely back home, Grandpa settled down in his sitting room to make some telephone calls.
“Silly old fool,” he chuckled to himself. “You've got to beat the Colonel to that old pirate ship, haven't you?”
The next day, which was Sunday, Grandpa, Granny Bumble and Honey came over for lunch at Poppy's house, just like they did every week. It was a Cotton family tradition and Poppy loved it. It was as if they were one big happy family, even though Granny Bumble and Honey were not actually related to her.
When Grandpa arrived for lunch, bringing his usual gift of some flowers from his garden and a box of chocolates, he looked very pleased with himself indeed.
“What's up with you, Dad?” asked Poppy's mum. “Why the big grin?”
“Well, I've got a surprise for everyone,” replied Grandpa. “Sit down and I'll tell you all about it.”
They looked at Grandpa as he began to speak â none of them had any idea what the surprise might be but they couldn't wait to find out!
“Now, you know the girls are competing in
You're a Star!
in a couple of weeks' time? Well, I thought it might be nice to stay in Camomile Cove since that's where the contest is, so I've rented a lovely new beach-front lodge there. It's called The Pebbles and it sleeps ten, so there's room
for all of us. I went to see it late yesterday afternoon and it's wonderful. We have it for a week starting from next Sunday. I know it's all a bit last minute, but I hope you think it'll be fun.”
“How exciting,” said Poppy's mum. “It sounds amazing. Thank you, Dad!”
“Oh, I am glad you like the idea,” smiled Grandpa. “Not only will the Beach Babes be able to rehearse as much as they like but we can all have a fine seaside holiday, which I think we're in need of.” (He left out the bit about the house being fancier than Colonel Forster's rented cottage, and even nearer to where he thought the old pirate ship was!)
Poppy's parents were thrilled with Grandpa's surprise about the beach house. They couldn't afford to pay for a holiday this year without Grandpa's help: the twins were taking up Mum's time and she'd hardly
made any new hats for ages, so their income was way down from normal.
Poppy's dad arranged to take a week off work, Granny Bumble employed Gertie Jenkins as a temporary manageress to take care of Bumble Bee's Teashop and the Blossom Bakery, and Mum started organizing everything they would need to take with them.
Everyone was really excited about the holiday, although it was the talent contest that was occupying Poppy and Honey's thoughts the most.
OVER THE NEXT
few days, Honey and Poppy arranged for their pets to be looked after while they were away and laid out the clothes they were planning to take with them. They practised the words to the new song as often as they possibly could, singing in the tree house, the playroom, Poppy's bedroom and
down at Riverside Stables too. They knew exactly where to come in with their backing vocals, adding some depth with their sweet, tuneful voices. They had a couple more dance sessions with Claudine and there were also two full band rehearsals in Daisy's summer house at Camomile Cove.