And so to Purrr Island. A wonderful little excursion withy my friend Bruce – a very fine Persian Blue. Such fun! Nancy, the landlord’s wife at the Artful Dodger Inn, packed our little rucksacks with potted shrimps and bottle of milk, and we donned our little peaked caps. “There we are boys. You look lovely!” she gushed. And we padded through the front door, making sure the road was clear before slipping into the hedge. We yomped along the hedgerows and hey-hoe-ed down windy lanes, strolled across meadows, slipped over the dry-stone wall on Folly Hill, before pausing by the stile just above Catbury-on-Sea.

Oh, my whiskers! What a sight to behold! The sparkling sea, sapphire blue, topped with curling whitecap waves, bearing a scattering of yachts and yawls, dinghies and kayaks, the laughter of children and happy families lifting as a joyful wave in the clear air! Boris, the blond tractor driver, let us perch on the throbbing engine, as the giant wheels rolled us -swaying – above the foaming ocean. The elegant Purr Island Hotel, recently liberated in a glorious revolution from stoats and weasels, dazzling white drifted majestically towards us. We waited for the other travellers – festooned with colourful bags, floppy sunhats, and rubber rings to clatter down the metal steps. Bruce and I stepped down more delicately, turning our heads as we did so, attracting much admiration and applause from the jolly multitude who had come to see us.

And then on, to The Sardine Inn. Bruce and I availed ourselves of a knickerbocker glory from the stripy ice-cream hut before making our way to the Smugglers Bar. But wait! Would we be allowed in. On a previous visit, I was asked if I was ‘Local and Regular’? What cheek! “I’m Local and Regular – as clockwork! And Royalty, my man. Just ask my friend, Bruce.”

This time, we weren’t asked at all. Which was nice. Mind you, we don’t want any riffraff, do we? Perhaps, next time, the island will send a taxi…..

"Brilliant descriptions of characters and places enrich a twisty plot that kept me guessing right to the end. John Simes is a master story teller."James Stevenson, Author