“Have fun and be careful” said Mrs Peters as she kissed the children goodbye.
“We will” laughed Gramps their great grandfather as he skipped down the garden path followed by his grandchildren and Holly the dog.
Marmalade, next door’s cat, always wanted to go on these journeys with Innis his owner and the family, but was never invited. Today he was determined that he would slide into the mini without anyone seeing him, so as the door opened he was the first one inside.
To his amazement the car which looked ordinary on the
road, once inside, seemed to have stretched, more than
treble in size. The Mini is a magic car, a time machine.
“What do you think you are doing here Marmalade?”
enquired Grandfather who had noticed him darting in.
“Oh let him stay and have fun” implored the boys who were fond of the cat.
“Sensible idea we may need his skills” said the old man.
“Where are we going today?” enquired Hector.
“If I tell you, you may not want to come.”
“Sounds scary” said Innis.
“Don’t worry we can always escape from a difficult situation.”
“But one day we may not be lucky, we might get stuck in a part of history that is not comfortable.” Commented Felix,
who is always sensibly cautious.
“Enough of this chat. Trust me.” replied their greatgrandfather”
“lets get going” he said pushing the dial on the sat histo
panel showing 1665
“Og og inim og” they all chanted.
Mists of time enveloped them the old familiar swishing
could be heard.
Silence and darkness.Then a far away sound of a distant rumbling of cart wheels striking cobble stones could be heard. “Bring out your dead, bring out your dead,” cried the mournful voice, of the driver, from the horse drawn swaying wagon.
“I don’t like this place,”said Innis I want to go home.”
She automatically opened the door of the car, Marmalade the cat flew out, followed by the boys and Gramps.
The light of the bright moon that night, showed a dismal
sight. They were in a rubbish strewn narrow cobbled deserted street, which stank of animal and human wast, which had been thrown into the street from doors and windows, to be eaten by flies and washed away by rain along open sewers.
Most of the doors of the wooden over hanging houses were daubed with red crosses; no sign of any form of any living thing.
The children held their noses, the disgusting smell was intense. Marmalade, pushed a door open with his paw, leaped up the creaking wooden steps, into a bedroom and onto a small cot, currling up next to a coughing child.
“Hello” whispered the girl “my mother told me cats bring the plague, my family have run away to the countryside, they left the city to escape the plague.”
“First of all.” said the old man as he entered the small stuffy dark room, “ you do not have the plague, you have a very bad cold, secondly it’s the flea infested rats, that carry the bacteria and spread the plague, not cats.
Cats are good, because they catch and kill rats.”
“Are you hungry?” asked Felix. “Very”replied the girl.
“I’m so glad you came, I have eaten nothing for ages.”
“Why are you here, you should have left with everyone else.” Felix exclaimed.
Hector had already jumped down the stairs returning with a thermos of hot chocolate and some biscuits, found in the mini.
The girl munched them hungrily.
“You look better already,” said Gramps. They introduced themselves, the girls name they learned was Grace. Grace had a brother and sister but they had died two days ago of the plague, her young brother was sick as was her father, the family thought there was more chance of surviving if they escaped London for the fresh air of the countryside.
“I know where your family are, and they are all ok we can give you a lift to join them.” “Can you really?” responded Grace, who had cheered up immediately on hearing this.
“Let’s put a blanket round you and we will be away.” replied Gramps.
Marmalade, nestled in the girls arms, having chased a few rats away, was pleased with himself.
They left the small wooden house in the quiet stinking street and slid into the mini.
The girl gasped at the Mini, she had never seen a car before and thought she must be very sick after all.
“It’s magic” explained Gramps.
“Go go Mini Go.” chanted the children.
There was a slight wizzing sound, for a moment. They looked out of the windows and found themselves on the edge of a village, the sun was just coming up and the girl could see her mother walking down a track coming towards them determined to return to London to take care of her sick daughter. Grace leaped from Mini.
On seeing each other, they fell into each other’s arms. “ I can’t believe you have found your way here, and you are better how could this be?” exclaimed the amazed happy woman.
“We have done what we came to do,” announced the old man, “ time to go.”
The children were pleased to go, as this time in history was very bleak.
However it took The Fire Of London a year later to irradiate the plague and build a new cleaner more hygienic London.
Numbers of people who died are uncertain as censors of the time were inaccurate, as there was no official censor.
It was estimated around 68 700 died but it was thought that the actual number was double that figure.
A mass grave has recently been found In Cross rail site Liverpool Street Station, in The City of London. The wooden coffins had rotted away, leaving a mass of bones around thirty people thought to have been buried at the same time, a grave stone marked 1665, was found.
Archaeologists are studying these remains.
Bacteria from China, carried by fleas, living in the fur of rats, was responsible for this outbreak of Bubonic Plague
and other earlier sporadic outbreaks.
The nursery rhyme Ring a Ring of Roses was said to have
been written at that time, now we find this to be false.