THE WHEATEN WAGTIME BAND
By A P
Town Hall, Christchurch.
On arrival in Christchurch, there were mixed feelings among the members of the WWB.
The robbery was the topic of conversation on everyone's lips, and though the flight had been a comfortable one, deep inside their hearts they felt extremely disturbed. All of the girls had lost something that was precious to them, and Clancy was worried sick about the instruments that had been stolen. HOW would they perform without the lost instruments? There were only two days before the concert in which to either locate them, or purchase, or hire several Trombones, Trumpets and Saxophones!
He poured out his concerns to those magnificent ex-Sleuths, Woody and Guinny.
The two crime-solvers were already making plans, and had wired contacts that Guinny knew in Christchurch. They had arranged to meet as soon as the two ex-sleuths had settled in their hotel. There was an address they had been given, and they told Clancy that things were moving in the right direction.
This reassurance seemed to make the troubled Director more relaxed, but he still wore a troubled frown. What a disaster this had turned out to be!
Another boy was devastated by his loss. Poor Cooper was beside himself with worry about his beloved Porsche. He finally had found the courage to wire his Mom with the tragic news. He had expected her to have his guts for garters to have lost all that money, but she had been understanding. After all, it was not his fault. He had taken every care.
Maggie was at his side, and though she couldn't think of anything to say, she gave him a comforting smile.
At the hotel, Grainne and Bella shared a room and, to take everyone's minds off the dreadful tragedy that had befallen them, they invited several of their friends for a special 'party' - to enjoy at least SOME special purchases that the crooks had NOT stolen! (a small fact that proved to them, anyway, that the criminals were not DOGS!)
The photo that Henry took tells it all!
Meanwhile, it didn't take our two Super-Sleuths long to get cracking. Guinny had the latest address of three of his old associates who were still with the FBI. They were 'under cover' and investigating another crime, but they agreed to meet with Guinny and Woody and pass on information which might be of use to them.
When they arrived at the address, it was a very classy area, and Woody wondered if Guinny had got the address wrong - but no, this was definitely the place.
Guinny went boldly up to the front door and rang the bell. Woody stood behind him, admiring the lovely garden.
Soon, a 'peep hole' appeared in the door, with just one brown eye fixed on them both. A gruff voice growled "What's the password?" and Guinny replied confidently, "GUZZLEGUTS".
A latch was slammed back, and the door opened to reveal a ferocious looking Bull Terrier. (Woody gave an involuntary shiver.)
"Come in and sit down. I'll get them for you," were the grunted instructions from the ferocious butler, who regarded them both with beady eyes. It was impossible to tell if this was his normal expression, or if he was contemplating having one, or both of them for lunch! (and I don't mean as guests!)
Guinny and Woody exchanged glances and Guinny raised his eyebrows and muttered something about 'top security'. Woody didn't give a toss about 'top security', - except his own, that is!
They entered an attractive living room, and Guinny whispered to Woody that Agents Liam and Colleen, and their assistant Caelan, were very nice, and that there was nothing to fear.
In less than five minutes, they were joined by an impressive, handsome Wheaten, and two attractive females.
Guinny rushed forward and eagerly returned their 'high fives' - then he introduced them.
Noting their friendliness and genuine delight at seeing Guinny, and their warm welcome to him, Woody at last relaxed.
The 'ferocious butler' brought in coffee and biscuits, and they got down to business.
Liam then outlined the information they had received about the criminals they suspected as being the same ones that robbed the Band.
A well known group of criminals had attempted to sell a blue Porsche Speedster in Queenstown, but the dealer smelt a rat and would not purchase the car. He suspected it had been stolen, and reported it to the Police.
By the time the Police got onto the case, the criminals had gone into hiding. Unfortunately, there had been no news regarding the Band Instruments and the other items, but Liam was sure they had been responsible for the lot and would probably lie low now for a while before attempting to fence the items.
The mug shots that the Wellington Police Department had given them were the identical ones that Liam had, and now it was only a matter of time before they caught up with them. Colleen and Caelan informed Guinny and Woody, that one of them, yet to be decided, was going to Queenstown in an attempt to infiltrate the gang, and send information back to the Federal Police, who would then set a trap for them.
So things were moving in the right direction.
Guinny and Woody were assured that they would be notified as soon as they were needed - and they surely would be, and hopefully, quite soon.
It was a much happier Woody and Guinny who made their way back to the hotel. All they could do now, was to enjoy the tour, and wait for further instructions. The difficult part would be in keeping all this top secret info to themselves! It would be very difficult to hold it back from Clancy, but they had their orders.
Back at the hotel, most of the band had gone either sight-seeing, or shopping! Christchurch was a beautiful city and there was much to see and do.
A big surprise was in store for little DoozieMae. As she gazed longingly into a shop window, thinking sadly of the precious things she'd bought in Wellington which were among the stolen goods, a big tear rolled down her cheek. She had paid so much for them and now she didn't have enough cash left over to replace them.
Just as she was wiping her big brown eyes, she felt a gentle touch on her arm, and a deep, soft voice said:
"Please don't cry, DoozieMae!"
She lifted her head and looked up into the gentlest eyes she'd ever seen. There, before her, was Phantom. He looked like a giant beside her small, dainty form!
When she'd composed herself and successfully hidden her surprise at the attention that this big, handsome fellow was paying her, she replied graciously, "Oh, really - I'm OK, Phantom. I was just thinking about the lovely things I bought in Wellington - " She paused for a moment then added, "They all got stolen, and - and - - "
She broke off, unable to speak, fearing she would make a fool of herself by crying.
She needn't have worried. Phantom slipped an arm around her tiny waist and said in a most protective manner, "Don't you worry your pretty head, my dear. Woody and Guinny will get them back. Just you wait and see..."
He seemed so confident of this, that DooziMae almost believed him!
They strolled off together - the short, and the tall; the large, and the small.
Could this be the beginning of a romance?
Grainne, Dylan, Bella and Brody, who were observing from a distance, smiled and remarked that the WWB now had its very own 'Odd Couple'. But they also said that they had never seen DooziMae looking so happy. Phantom was admired by all the girls. Not just because of his musical talents, but because of his gentle, caring nature. DooziMae had done well to have won his affections!
They looked at each other with deeper appreciation too. Bella smiled shyly at Brody's adoring expression, and Grainne moved closer to Dylan, who felt as if his dreams were becoming reality.
Down by the lovely Avon, some of the Band were enjoying observing the wild life - - - and others were enjoying chasing it!
Diarmuid, Chloe and Bugsey scrambed out of the water when they saw Sunny giving them a black look. Hunting was definitely forbidden, but try telling that to a group of excited Wheatens with the scent of wild fowl in their nostrils!
Bridey, however, seemed not to have heard, or noticed that she was the only one still chasing after ducks!
In another area, nearby, some couples were strolling through the beautiful gardens. It was certainly a romantic setting, and they were making the most of it - resting in the shade, looking at the roses, and getting to know each other better.
Finbar, who was the Equipment Officer, had been asked by Clancy to find replacements for the instruments they had lost in the robbery. They could not afford to buy new ones, but perhaps they could hire them?
Finbar was to ask around, to see where he might be able to borrow, or hire what they needed. He spoke to several music suppliers and they all told him the same sad story. They did not hire out instruments, but perhaps he could try asking the Salvation Army if they might consider renting instruments to them for the night of the Concert. It was worth a try.
So off he went to find the Major in charge of the City Temple Band.
After talking with this kind gentleman for over 20 minutes, and explaining their terrible predicament, the Major told Finbar to leave his cell phone number, and he would get back to him. He had an idea, but first, he had to check it out with the person concerned.
Finbar left the Major, feeling much more hopeful of a happy solution. He hurried back into the city to give Clancy the promising news.
While all this had been happening, a group of happy tourists were having a ride in a Christchurch Tram!
Of course, those three Most Likely Lads were up to their old tricks, wouldn't you know it?!
After the tram ride, it was fun to explore the streets on foot, and some of the girls wanted to go shopping. In Cathedral Square, they came across what Henry said was the BIGGEST Chess Board he'd ever seen! People were actually playing, right there on the side-walk!
Finbar was discussing the possibility of hiring some instruments when his cell phone rang. Quickly he put it to his ear and gave Clancy an excited nod. YES! He was talking with the very person the Major had told him about!
Clancy watched anxiously. He was unable to hear what was being said, but he could tell from Finbar's smile that it was good news!
He heard Finbar say excitedly, "Thank you Miss Meghan. We'll be right over!" Then he turned the phone off and slapped Clancy on the back.
"IT'S ON!" he exclaimed, "We're SAVED!"
"MEGAN???" inquired Clancy in a surprised falsetto!
"Yes, Boss! She's a music teacher - and she instructs students in Brass Instruments - trumpet, trombone and saxophone in particular. She also plays the flute!"
He paused for breath, then continued, "And that's not all. She has lots of instruments that she allows her students to use. AND, when the Major from the Sallies spoke with her, she said she'd be DELIGHTED to help us out for as long as we are in New Zealand!"
Clancy was speechless! Finally he swallowed the lump in his throat and asked:
"So, when do we meet this amazing lady?"
"RIGHT NOW," was Finbar's explosive response! "She said to come right over. I have her address, and it isn't far from here."
With great anticipation they headed off at a brisk trot, and soon they were checking house numbers.
They stopped outside a very classy apartment block and went up in the lift to 'number 23'. Finbar rang the bell.
It was answered by a beautiful blonde with a captivating smile. She invited them in, and they sat in what must have been the music room, to talk.
Meghan said she was free for then next 6 weeks, as she was taking her vacation time. This being the case, she shyly asked if she might be able to join the Band on its tour? She played several instruments and could fit in anywhere.
The two boys exchanged approving glances. It would be good to have her with them, and after her generous offer to provide instruments for the remainder of the tour, how could they refuse!
"But of course, Miss Meghan," Clancy agreed. "We'd be honoured to have you. We could certainly use a Flute player!"
So it was settled. Meghan arranged for a van to deliver the instruments to the hotel, where they would now be kept under lock and key, and then she accompanied them back to where she would be formally introduced to the members of the WWB.
Back on the streets of Christchurch, our friends were walking their legs off seeing all the sights. They spotted a bright red telephone box which caught their interest. For some it was because of the bright colour, while for others it was a chance to 'call home' at cheaper rates than from their cell phones!
However, some of the boys 'dipped out' when they learned that the girls had a shopping trip next on their agenda!
So they went their separate ways. All, that is, except Grainne, Dylan, Bella and Brody. Brody and Dylan had decided to stick with the girls, just in case they came across any more shops selling HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM!
However, they did have second thoughts about this when they saw how ALL the girls were buying up!
Some of the other girls had gone to a different place. They loved the many lamps and jars, and the whole atmosphere in this little shop. Out came the credit cards and Kysha was glad that her Mom had sent her more cash. THIS was the place to spend it!
That evening, Clancy called together all the boys in the Band, and some of the girls were present too - mainly out of curiosity. It was their usual 'Band Practice' time, and the boys couldn't figure out how come there was to be 'Band Practice' with no instruments except their Bass, Guitar, Drums and one Clarinet! All the brass had been stolen!
As they sat around waiting for Clancy and Finbar to arrive, they wondered what was up!
Some speculated that perhaps Finbar, the Equipment Officer, had hired instruments for them to use. Others wondered if the stolen goods had been found.
When Clancy entered, all eyes switched to the young lady in his company. Finbar was looking especially pleased, and Clancy couldn't keep the grin off his face.
Who was this blonde beauty?
Clancy cleared his throat and made a little speech. You could have heard a pin drop in the room.
He told how Finbar had contacted the Salvation Army Band to see if they might hire some instruments, and went on to explain how Meghan came into the mystery.
Thirty sets of bright brown eyes shot from Clancy to Meghan, and back again as he told this amazing story. Then, the doors opened wide, and trolleys bearing Brass instruments were wheeled into the room.
There was a loud cheer and the room rocked with applause. Meghan was rushed by excited Band members, eager to show her their gratitude.
MEGHAN HAD SAVED THEM!
So the Band Practice went ahead, with Miss Meghan adding the lilting notes of her flute to the selections.
It was as if a dark cloud had lifted. The Concert would not have to be cancelled. The Show would go on, thanks to Meghan!
CLICK ON THE PAUSE BUTTON ABOVE, THEN CLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW
TO HEAR THE NEXT SELECTION
The party finally wound down in the early hours of the morning, and everyone trudged wearily, but happily, to their beds.
Meghan felt a great sense of satisfaction such as she'd not known before, even as a teacher. She had made so many new friends, and now she would tour with them and be a part of their Troupe. It was the answer to a childhood dream!
After another day, in which they rested, wrote home, wired home and emailed home, they were once again on their way.
Sunny's message to all the Moms and Dads was more hopeful.
TO THE FOLKS BACK HOME!
Dear Moms and Dads. Another chapter of our tour is finished, and though we feared there might not have been a concert in Christchurch, as you have seen, a New Zealand lady saved the day just in time!
We still don't know where Cooper's Coup is, or our Brass instruments, or all our lovely gowns and jewellery and souvenirs that we bought in Wellington, but Woody and Guinny are onto it, and apparently they have a strong lead, with help from the FBI. WOW!
We really loved Christchurch,but now we are about to leave in the coach for Mt Cook. Meghan, the new band member who saved us, told us that some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand is to be found on the West Coast of the South Island, and that's where we are heading next.
So, until next time,
Love to all from Sunny.
Over the next couple of days they practiced hard for their performance in the Christchurch Town Hall.
They rehearsed a special selection, with Meghan doing a flute solo. It was most impressive and they planned to make it their opening number.
Finally, the big night arrived, and they were ready and rearing to go!
This photo was taken for the press.
As usual, the three Most Likely Lads contributed something special and unique to the programme. This time, they were inspired by Zorba The Greek! These boys really were versatile!
This was followed by a delightful Eastern European Folk Dance - performed by Maggie and Riggie. These National Dances always proved to be popular with audiences. Maggie and Riggie received an encore!
However, the performance everyone was waiting for (news travels fast!) was the Irish Dance segment.
There was to be a variation this time. The WWB Chorus would be singing with the band, and it promised to be something very special indeed. The singers were Bella, DooziMae, Jackie, Katie, Kysha, Maisy, Sunny and Vijay.
Oh, what a thrilling combination it was! The audience went mad and cried out for more, MORE!
After four curtain calls they made their final bows to this wonderful, enthusiastic Christchurch audience.
Cameras were flashing and reporters were hurrying off to get their stories and pictures in for the morning editions.
It had been a great success - thanks to the generosity of one little lady by the name of 'Meghan'.
Back at the hotel after the performance, supper had been provided for them, and Meghan found herself very much the centre of attention.
It had been a wonderful evening and now, as she celebrated with the members of the WWB Company, she felt that she was truly a member. She eagerly anticipated the remainder of the Tour, when they would be visiting some of the South Island's greatest tourist attractions - some of which she, herself, had not yet visited.
ALLOW THE FLUTE TO FINISH PLAYING, AND THEN CLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW TO HEAR THE FINALE.
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 4
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All rights reserved to A P 2010 - 2011