Popple the Pig’s Day In

Popple had work to do. He was building himself a new sty. He had such grand plans. He was going to put the bed in that corner and the fridge at the kitchen end. He couldn’t decide whether to have a breakfast bar beside the stove, or to have a kitchen table. He was happily puzzling over these things when his mum popped her head around the door.

“Hello Popple, I’d like you to look after your little sister today. I have to go shopping, and then I want to see the bank manager. Pippa won’t be any trouble. She has learnt to walk so you’ll have to keep your eye on her. She likes a nap for an hour or so in the afternoon. Just give her whatever you have for your lunch, but mash it up well. I’ll see you around six o’clock.”

Popple held out his trotters to his baby sister and said “Come on then, Pippa, let’s go and look round my new kitchen.” Popple felt pleased to think his mum would trust him with his little sister, but at the same time he had his own plans that he wanted to get on with. He hoped that Pippa would be happy enough to follow him around while he got on with his work.

Pippa thought Popple’s new sty was lovely. She picked up everything she could reach and licked it in case it tasted good. Popple was just in time to take the saw out of reach…and the electric drill. He moved all his tools up onto a shelf that she couldn’t reach and gave her a wooden spoon and a tin cup to play with. She was delighted. She banged away for five minutes while Popple wondered what else might keep her occupied. He looked over at his new fridge and began to imagine it here or perhaps over there. Pippa had sat down on the floor and was quietly tasting some old potato peelings which had spilled out of Popple’s rubbish box. He was just in time to pick her up and take them out of her trotter before she popped them into her mouth.

As he walked in circles around the kitchen carrying Pippa, he realised he wouldn’t be able to do anything at all unless she was happily occupied and unable to get at anything dangerous.

“A play-sty, that’s what she needs!” Popple was delighted with his new idea. But how could he make a play-sty while he had to look after Pippa at the same time? He got some biscuits and chopped them up into small pieces and sat Pippa at the table to pick them up one by one and pop them into her mouth. While she was busy he raced outside and grabbed a bale of straw. He ran back indoors. It was all right, Pippa was still snacking. He dashed out again and grabbed a second bale of straw. By the time he returned Pippa had finished the biscuits and was climbing down off the chair. Popple made the play-sty with two bales of straw blocking off the corner of the room. He popped Pippa into the sty with a nice rug underneath and some of her toys to keep her happy.

Whew, Popple needed a cup of tea after that. Pippa was quiet as he sipped his tea and tried to think of his work… The fridge or the cooker, what should he deal with first? Or maybe he should look at the bits of wood for the table, or should it be a breakfast bar? Popple was lost in thought for at least five minutes. He had just decided on moving the fridge, after all he needed to keep his food in easy reach, when “Waaah,” Pippa was crying. Her nappy was round her ankles. He changed her and put her back in the play-sty, but she didn’t want to go back. She had had enough of the play-sty. Pippa wanted to go for a walk.

Popple enjoyed the walk with Pippa. It was raining and they had to put on their macs and boots, but the fresh air was good and the neighbours were friendly. It was lunch time when they returned. Popple made a tasty meal for himself and Pippa. Unfortunately she didn’t like hers. He had to make her some porridge. It was two o’clock by the time he had washed up and changed her again. She was looking sleepy. Popple laid her down with her favourite blanket and she instantly fell asleep.

“Ah.” thought Popple to himself, now I can get on.” He sprang up off his chair and started to move the fridge. Pippa stirred. “Oops, better not do that, it might wake her up. I’ll do some sawing instead.” He looked around for his saw and couldn’t find it. “That’s funny, I’m sure it was here this morning.” Popple looked everywhere for his saw. He was starting to get cross. Then at last he remembered. He had put it upon the high shelf out of Pippa’s way. He reached up. Crash, a cardboard box tumbled down onto the floor. Pippa stirred again, whimpering a little. Popple felt exhausted. He lay down on his bed thinking that he just needed a little rest. His mind had been so taken up with Pippa that he couldn’t think straight.

Pippa was crying. Popple awoke with a start. It was half past four! Good heavens! He had been asleep all afternoon! Well, it had been rather a long walk they had taken and Pippa was a heavy piglet to push up the long hill home. There was an hour and a half left before his mum would be back to take Pippa off his hands. She was in a very lively mood now. She was bouncing around and definitely did not want to be put in the play sty. She shouted loudly and jiggled up and down to let him know that she wanted out. Popple decided to take her round the garden and show her some things. She loved the cat. She kept chasing it in her funny falling over way. He thought she was trying to say “Puss, Puss” so he spent some time trying to teach her the words. Mum would be pleased if Pippa could say a new word when she came back to take her home.

Popple and Pippa by Aoife Hillman, age 6

Popple and Pippa

At six o’clock Popple and Pippa’s mother returned. Pippa tottered over to her and hugged her knees.

“Hello, Pippa, you look very pleased with your self!”

“I think she has learnt a new word today,” said Popple, and he went on to tell his mother about all the things they has done.

“Oh, that’s lovely, Popple,” said his mum, “I’ll have to bring her again so you can have another nice day. I got so much done today myself. It was marvellous! After my trip to town I rushed home and spring cleaned the whole of downstairs. It really was marvellous! Can’t do that sort of thing with Pippa around. How did you get on with your kitchen by the way?”

“Well I sort of decided to do it tomorrow, Mum. Pippa kept trying to help and I couldn’t concentrate very well.”

“I know just what you mean, Dear,” said his mum, “You get the knack of fitting things in when there are babies around, but you can’t be too ambitious. It’s an important job you know. You have to think of it as a job, and fit the other things around it, or you’ll find yourself climbing up the wall. You didn’t climb up the wall today, did you Popple?”