The Sugar Quill
Author: Sabre  Story: Muggle Thoughts  Chapter: Default
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"An’ then, once I’ve got that Irish group to pitch 14 I’ll check that the bottom field have plenty of water still an’ then, oh wait -" John Roberts stopped. "Can you see t’the lower field Sheila?" he asked his wife. "There’s another party booking due to arrive in ten minutes. I can’t believe how busy it is!"

"Or how strange some of them are," muttered his wife. "Did you see that old codger walking around in a nightdress? A nightdress! In the middle of the day and he is most definitely a man! Only a man would walk around scratching his – "

"Now, Sheila," her husband interrupted peaceably, "it’s a free country, and if the paying campers want to wear, umm, ladies underclothes, then that’s their business. I’m not going to complain when the fields’re full t’ bursting with tents, even if they are a bit unusual."

"Unusual!" Sheila was incredulous. "A bit of an understatement, surely, to say that an emerald green tent completely covered with shamrock – living shamrock, mind you – with a chimney, is ‘a bit unusual’! And that’s not even mentioning that strange family down by the stream, nor the group of very suspicious looking Bulgarians over by the fence. I mean Bulgarians? What on earth are they doing here in Yorkshire? I know they’re Bulgarian, I asked them when they checked in, I also asked what they were doing here and do you know what they said?" She didn’t leave time for her husband to guess what they had said, even if he had wanted to. "They said they were here to watch the cricket! Hmmph! When did you ever hear of Bulgarians playing cricket? It just seems odd," she concluded.

"Yes, love," John said calmly. He had had many years experience with his wife’s excited tirades. He let them wash over him, rather like the clear stream that appeared to have sprung up next to a particularly sturdy looking tent that for all the world looked like a log cabin, complete with veranda and horse. Although when he’d looked again the horse seemed to have vanished. Wings and all.

He shook his head to clear it. They had been so busy for the last week or so that the Roberts’ had had little chance to sleep, and John was sure that was why he kept imagining these odd peculiarities. That had to be the reason; there was no other explanation after all. People only appeared out of thin air, or flew on broomsticks in fairy tales, not in real life. He looked out the window at the wood at the top of the campsite. Yet more people were wandering out of it, gazing around them and shouting at the campers in the surrounding fields. They all seemed to know each other, hundreds and hundreds of them, and though he wouldn’t admit it to his wife he had to agree with her, some of the holiday makers were definitely a bit….odd. He just couldn’t put his finger on what was wrong…..every time he seemed close to understanding something about these people something happened and he lost his train of thought.

"Anyway, I’ve got to get that booking sorted. I can see them coming down the hill now." With that John Roberts moved to stand in the doorway of the cottage and wait for the next group of campers. This lot at least looked fairly normal. Admittedly you didn’t often see such red hair, or so much of it at one time, but that was nothing compared to some of the folk he’d seen this week. Those two up on the hill for instance - what was that man wearing thigh boots for? And the man in the kilt was wearing some sort of cape thing. Mexicans wore them he thought. His friends, the Payne’s, had sent a postcard showing a man wearing such a garment when they’d been on holiday last year. The man in the picture hadn’t finished the outfit off with a kilt though.

"Morning!" John’s thoughts were interrupted by a tall, skinny man who must be the father of several of the children surrounding him, if his thinning but flaming red hair was anything to go by.

"Morning," Mr. Roberts replied carefully. He didn’t know why, but each time he talked with a group of campers he seemed to leave the conversation feeling slightly dazed. He was going to pay careful attention this time to see if he could get to the bottom of the strangeness that seemed to be enveloping his campsite.

"Would you be Mr. Roberts?" The man smiled happily at him. Behind him four equally red headed and two darker haired children all smiled enthusiastically. This lot seemed all right he thought to himself, although he wouldn’t trust those two identical boys to stay out of trouble for long. There was something about the way they were grinning at one another that left him just a little uneasy.

"Aye, I would," John agreed cautiously; he wasn’t going to let anything get past him this time. "And who’re you?"

"Weasley – two tents, booked a couple of days ago?" The camper looked round at the children as if to make sure they were all still behaving. It seemed he shared John’s misgivings about the twin boys. Still that wasn’t a crime. The Roberts’ own children had been known to get into their own fair share of trouble; mischievous kids were common enough. Everything seemed okay so far, but still there was something he couldn’t quite put his finger on…

John turned and looked at his list of bookings. "Aye," He found the name among the pages and pages of names. Some of the names were a bit odd too, now he came to think about it. The names Cornelius and Malfada just weren’t that common these days. And he was sure he’d heard a haughty blonde woman snap at a pale faced boy called Drake earlier – who’d call their son after a male duck? He recollected himself. "You’ve got a space up by the wood there. Just the one night?"

"That’s it," the man called Mr. Weasley replied looking at him interestedly. As if he was the strange one.

He must pull himself together, he’d be acting as loony as the rest of them if he wasn’t careful.

"You’ll be paying now, then?"

"Ah – right – certainly –" The Weasley man suddenly seemed flustered. He turned round to the small dark haired boy. Mr. Roberts listened carefully. "Help me, Harry," he could just make out. "This ……. a ten? …. yes, ……. little number…….now…so ………. a five?" The boy was saying something now, "… twenty." Mr. Roberts didn’t understand. The man had sounded as if he came from the south of England, Cornwall perhaps, or Dorset, and yet he didn’t know the currency of the country.

What was going on?

"Ah yes, so it is…I don’t know, these little bits of paper…" How could this man not know a ten pound note from a twenty? Perhaps he was so rich it didn’t matter to him, and yet by the state of his baggy jeans and slightly moth eaten golfing jumper that didn’t seem right. Maybe he came from a country with a similar accent?

Ah, that must be it John decided. "You foreign?"

"Foreign?" No, it seemed that wasn’t the answer.

"You’re not the first one who’s had trouble with money," John thought he’d just be open about his suspicions, lay his cards on the table, so to speak. "I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago." Perhaps if he confronted some of these people with their oddities they’d let him know what was going on.

"Did you really?" The children drew closer to Mr. Weasley, seemingly interested in how he would handle these comments.

"Never been this crowded," John pressed on. "Hundreds of pre-bookings. People usually just turn up…"

He was interrupted by Mr. Weasley. "Is that right?"

"Aye," once started there was no stopping John. "People from all over. Loads of foreigners. And not just foreigners. Weirdos, you know? There’s a bloke walking round in a kilt and a poncho."

"Shouldn’t he?" Well of course he shouldn’t. Mr. Roberts decided he was definitely on to something here. This one might crack if he kept on at him for long enough. "It’s like some sort of … I dunno … like some sort of rally," the Weasley man had his mouth open. Yes! He was finally going to learn what exactly was going on!

"They all seem to know each other. Like a big party." Mr. Weasley was looking decidedly nervous now, and looking round rather desperately, as if for divine intervention. Suddenly, with a sharp crack, an intervention did occur, dressed in plus fours.


What a strange thing to say thought Mr. Roberts dreamily, obliviate what? What had he been thinking about – it had seemed very important to him. Strange he should have forgotten. Anyway he must get back to work, he and Mrs. Roberts were so busy at the campsite, they really couldn’t understand it. Some of the tents were very strange. And the people were so odd……..

"A map of the campsite for you," he said. "And your change."


The End

A/N So, did anybody like this? Please let me know, yay or nay. I was going to continue to the end of the world cup, but found I didn't want to put poor Mr. Roberts through the trauma of being tortured in front of the entire campsite. I may in the future though. Also, thanks to Moey for her excellent beta reading – it’s been far too long since I was taught grammar in any shape or form!

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