Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Return Of Ivor The Alcúdia Engine

A long time ago in the top right-hand corner of Mallorca there lived a small green train called Ivor. His very best friend was known as Jones the Steam, though his name was really Miguel. Ivor had once been in service with The Merioneth and Llantisilly Railway Traction Company Limited. Like others from strange lands across seas, Ivor had made his way to Mallorca and it was here that he met Jones the Steam, as Miguel was to become known.

Every early morning in summer, Ivor would leave his shed and roll into the bright sunshine. He would blow his whistles, and so famous did the sound of Ivor's whistles become that they were added to - with organ pipes donated by Morgan the Magic Roundabout fairground owner. 

Though he was from a strange land across seas where they did things differently and usually with greater efficiency, Ivor had never been an engine cut out for the precision of train operations. In the top right-hand corner of Mallorca, he found what he had been looking for since his earliest days as a novice train: a place where timetables existed only in theory and where rules were drawn up in order that they could be ignored. Ivor would often simply take himself off and head to the seaside, and there was a great deal of seaside in this top right-hand corner of Mallorca. Here, Ivor would spend days with his friends and sing with the local choir.

Disobedient though Ivor was, exasperated though Jones the Steam could become, infuriated though Dai Mayor (whose name wasn't actually Dai) would be because of Ivor's wilful neglect of his duties, everyone loved Ivor. Especially the children. They would clamber aboard his rolling-stock and scream and wail: "choo-choo", "chuffer-chuffer", "woo-woo". Ivor would respond by playing tunes on his whistles and organ pipes and by making them all cups of tea.

But as things turned out, not everyone did love Ivor. Idris the Taxi didn't. "He's taking my business from me," he would moan. So one day, Idris went to see Dai Mayor and gave him an ultimatum. "Either it's Idris or it's Ivor." And Dai Mayor, to everyone's great sorrow, agreed with Idris the Taxi.

For days after, people were to be seen weeping openly in the streets. They would look longingly for the sight of Ivor rumbling past the Magic Roundabout. Morgan would wait for the organ pipes to be blown, small children would anticipate the tooting of the whistles. But there was no sight and no sound of Ivor. He was no more.

A broken engine, Ivor returned to the strange land across the seas. But though the years passed and summers came and went, the people of the top right-hand corner of Mallorca remembered Ivor. They remembered him with affection and love. They wanted him back and hoped for a day when he might return.

Then, not so long ago, Jones the Steam, who had left Mallorca with Ivor, received a letter. "It's from that place you come from, Jones," announced Pat the Post. "I've not heard from anyone there for years," replied Jones. He opened the letter and his eyes lit up. "Ivor, Ivor," he shouted. "They want us back. They want us back." Ivor, who had not blown a whistle or organ pipe for well over ten years, suddenly burst into tune. Jones cranked him up and soon the unmistakable sound of Ivor was making its way back across seas to the top right-hand corner of Mallorca. "Puffer-puffer, puffer-puffer, woo-woo."

And now, Ivor has returned to his beloved Alcúdia. They lined the streets and waved as he reappeared triumphantly. Idris the Taxi had retired, Dai Mayor had seen the error of his ways, and so all the small children were happy again, as was Morgan the Magic Roundabout. The whistles and the organ pipes can once more be heard and now there are new as well as old friends for Ivor to shout his hellos to as he wheels around Alcúdia. There's Jan the Jolly, Nobby the Noble, James the Fox, Ian the Carvery, Alwyn the Roast, Gavin the Port.

"Look you, Ivor," they all cry back, except the Welsh, who know better. And in the bright sunshine, Ivor rolls along the streets of Alcúdia, past the lake and around the roundabout, a happy smile on Jones the Steam's face. Ivor is back. A small green train in the right-hand corner of Mallorca. "Choo-choo, chuffer-chuffer, woo-woo."


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