To celebrate the hugely popular TV Show in the UK, Strictly Come Dancing, this autumn on the BBC, Caroline James joins with Apricot Plots authors, to share a ‘dance’ extract from her new novel, The Best Boomerville Hotel. Here we find Bob, having spent too long in the tepee with the mystical Shaman, dancing his socks off in the garden. Much to the dismay of the hotel manager, Hattie…
Hattie found Bob dancing around the meadow. Jo was going to have a fit and Hattie couldn’t let Bob go back to the hotel in this condition. Damn the Shaman and his herbs. She must do something.
‘Oi!’ Hattie called out. ‘Fred Astaire! Get your dancing feet over here.’
‘I’m singing in the rain.’ Bob sang as he twirled over to Hattie.
‘And I’ll be singing in the sin bin if you don’t get your act together.’ Hattie shoved one arm under Bob’s shoulder and tried to head him off and away from the caravan. But Bob was not to be stopped and, pushing Hattie to one side, broke into a repertoire of song and dance from all his favourite shows. Kicking his legs in the air and striding across the meadow, he belted out a medley.
‘And all that jazz!’ Bob sang.
‘You’re in bleedin’ Marland not Chicago.’ Hattie tried to grab Bob but he twirled away.
‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.’ Bob held up a finger and Hattie looked around. He clearly thought that he had an audience. ‘Bright copper kettles and warm coloured mittens …’
‘Look, Bob.’ Hattie grabbed his arms. ‘There are no brown paper packages tied up with string and these may all be a collection of your favourite things,’ she waved her arms vaguely, ‘but it’s time to get you safely back to your room.’
Bob shrugged Hattie away and ran to the gate.
Bursting through, he hooked his thumbs around a pair of imaginary braces and line-danced down the garden. ‘Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day.’ Bob arrived at the top of the steps and his chorus reached a climax. ‘I gotta beautiful feelin’ …’
A group of guests enjoying a game of croquet on the lawn, looked up as Bob achieved full throttle. They held mallets and one struck a ball in the direction of the hoop nearest the pond. But the player, distracted by Bob, miss-hit and sent the heavy ball speeding across the path where it hit a stone and bounced up. Hattie heard a whoosh as it sped in Bob’s direction.
In a split second, she pushed Bob out of the way.
Bob heard the players call out and as Hattie lunged, he turned and missed his footing and fell headlong into the pond. Hattie skidded to a halt and gravel flew in all directions, pebble-dashing the guests.
Time seemed to stand still as Bob started to sink into the water.
‘Help him!’ Hattie screamed and everyone dashed to the pond to pull Bob out. He lay motionless, with eyes closed, and Hattie fell to her knees. ‘He needs the kiss of life,’ she cried and began to rip his shirt open to begin chest compressions.
‘Everythin’s goin’ my way!’ Bob woke up and Hattie fell back.
He looked around and smiled at the crowd, then jumped up and began to wipe at his wet clothes. ‘Has it been raining?’
Hattie pulled herself to her feet and stared at Bob. ‘Are you all right?’ she asked. A lump had appeared on Bob’s temple. He must have hit his head when he landed in the pond.
‘Where am I, sweetie?’ Bob looked vague.
Thank God! Hattie took his arm. He had a concussion, which could be put down to the fall and would explain his bizarre behaviour. Hattie knew that Jo would murder her if she thought the Shaman had been overdosing the guests again.
‘He’s fine,’ Hattie told the anxious bystanders, ‘just a little incident which can easily be sorted out.’ She grabbed Bob’s arm and led him away. ‘Finish your game and we’ll all go and get ready for dinner. There’s hot toddy in the bar if anyone fancies a drink.’
The croquet players held up their mallets and formed a salute as Hattie and Bob staggered into the hotel.
Hattie looked back and sighed. Another bleedin’ day at Boomerville!
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Extract from: The Best Boomerville Hotel
Happy reading with love from
Caroline and Apricot Plots xx