The boys waited in turn to give Martha a hug they were so pleased to see her, they couldn’t wait to tell her, ‘They had found a great pond to swim in. All talking and none listening and they are going to help Maurice to swim. We had a great time I wish you could have seen us there.
Harry said ‘The cooking smells good can we have a little taste please and have you got any of your delicious cake bread just another taste or two and I will be very happy.’
‘You are such a flatterer, has Ned been giving you lessons?’ They all burst into laughter. Ned collected the five large plates and a small frying pan. You five have the plates and I’ll use this. Peter put water on to boil then left to collect more nettles for the tea. Then realised he had not asked Martha if she could drink nettle tea.
It only took a few minutes to collect the nettles when he returned the meal was set out on the table ready to eat, the aroma from the table was so mouth-watering. It took all their control to stop them tucking in while Ned thanked their host for the provision of the excellent food asking permission to eat as the custom demanded.
Martha responded with an Indian sign then took the first mouthful to prove there is no poison in the food. Everyone was soon fed to bursting point. When Peter poured the nettle tea into five mugs and a sixth serving in a bowl he sipped from the bowl then beckoned the rest to enjoy their drink.
Ned looked at his watch, ‘We just have time to jog along the river bank to climb Nellie’s Staircase. Then we will break camp and be back to meet the two cars to take you home. Which one do you want to do first?’ after a short discussion between the boys while Martha whispered to Ned ‘Two German paratroopers landed last night with radio equipment. Maurice’s dad is following one and Hawk the other, they are heading to you know where! They want you to make contact as soon as possible.’
‘Can you contact them and say I’ll be there four. thirty’… Yes Rupert what decision have you arrived at?’ ‘We will break camp first and then if there is time we will go for the climb’ ‘A very wise choice.’ Martha said.
‘I will leave you to carry on with your fun and go and make Hawk’s vitals for him coming home.’ Then she seemed to vanish into the forest then a whistle in a flash the wolves had also disappeared.
Peter had been drawing the campsite then asked ‘Do the tents have different names? ‘Yes the two you shared are wall tents to give you more height the one I slept in is a bivouac this has no walls and is a one man tent.’
‘First take all the dirty food dishes into the stream,’ Ned said.
On their return, ‘Pull out your ground sheets with your sleeping bags on, and then remove your own personal bags; and pull out the wall pegs from the bottom and put all the pegs together for each tent, now all the side pegs and ropes finally the guy ropes, and dismantle the poles. Fold the tent over in three and start rolling the tent poles in then all the tent pegs squeezing all the air out as you roll, now pull the bag holder over the rolled up tent, and don’t forget the mallet’. While they were dismantling their tents Ned did his own. ‘Roll up your sleeping bags and tie the holding cord.’ Putting all the ground sheets together leaving the almost empty food