Home sweet home


Isabel  Fisher usually enjoyed her walks into work from Appleton. The road cut through The Great Woods which stretch between Appleton and Cherrybrook. Unfortunately, the early hours at the cake shop, Le Petit Gateaux, and an entire workday spend on her feet meant that Isabel’s paws grew more and more sore.  Now, at the junction of Appleton Road and Great Oak Lane, Isabel sat down on a log and massaged her paws. She was considering moving into Cherrybrook Village. 
Frasier Chocolat looked up when the bell above the door tinkled. Isabel smiled and hung her shawl up. M. Chocolat had noticed Isabel becoming more and more tired from her walk into work. 
“Isabel,  you looking more an’ more fatigué . Perhaps, you need to find a place near Cherrybrook to live?”
Isabel tied her apron around her waist and nodded. “Yes, Mr. Chocolat. I think you are right, but how do I find a place to live?”
“We could put up, ah, comment dit-on, posters, oui?” Mr. Chocolat offered. “ I will ‘ave  Mme. Chocolat  make some tonight!” His ears twitched happily. With that, they set up the china for the café and opened the doors.
The next morning, Isabel arrived at the pâtisserie to find a bright sign on its door. 
Isabel clapped her paws together in delight.  What a clever sign Mrs. Chocolat had created!
“Ah, Isabel!” Mrs. Chocolat motioned her over to the counter. “Do you like ze sign?” 

“Oh yes, Mme. Chocolat, “ Isabel smiled, “It is perfect.”
bon.” Mrs. Chocolat  passed Isabel her apron. “Zen we will see who come talks to me aujourd'hui. Isabel, please put out ze crêpes suzettes zees morning.” 
 As the morning passed many people came into the pâtisserie and remarked on the advertisement. Many sympathized with Isabel’s long journey by foot and wished her luck on finding local accommodation.  Finally, Mrs. Littlebear made an offer in the afternoon. 

“Miss Isabel, you 
must stay with us.” Mrs. Littlebear  shifted baby Miel to her other hip. “I will have Mr. Littlebear tidy up the attic and move in a cot and a wash basin. Stay with us for tonight and see how you like it. We’ll be expecting you at Babblebrook Grange this evening. Good day.”
Miss Isabel didn’t have a chance to say thank you before Mrs. Littlebear pushed the door open and walked out into the warm afternoon. 

 La voila!” Mrs. Chocolat exclaimed. “So you will stay avecLes Littlebears tonight and tomorrow, you let us know how eet goes, oui?”
That evening, Isabel walked from the pâtisserie to Babblebrook Grange, the home of the Littlebears. She could hear much noise and bustle before she was half way up the path to their home. She fiddled nervously with her shawl and wondered if this was such a good idea.
Her knock on the door was answered by Piers Littlebear, a primary school student at St. Francis. He greeted her cheerfully and let her in. His paws were dirty from playing outside and he left paw prints on the door then ran outside to play again.
Mrs. Littlebear was trying to comfort a crying Miel with toys but he continued to bawl. Andromeda Littlebear was practicing singing for the upcoming school concert. It was very noisy in the house.
Mr. Littlebear took Isabel up to the attic where he had laid out a cot with fresh bedding and a table and washbasin. There was also a little lamp for light. He left her there to get settled and went back down to the bustle downstairs to help prepare dinner.  Isabel sighed and sat on the creaky cot. She wasn’t sure if she’d be able to sleep with the clamour of the Littlebear family.
The next morning, Mr. & Mrs. Chocolat were shocked to see a very tired Isabel walk through the shop door.
Sacre bleu!” Exclaimed Mr. Chocolat. “Did you walk in again dees morning, Isabel?”
Isabel shook her head and described her night with the Littlebears. Little Piers was accident prone and spent much time either dirty, running about or bawling because he had just fallen over. Andromeda was much better behaved but was so excited about a guest staying that she spent most of her time trying to perform for Isabel. Poor baby Miel was teething at the moment so spent most of his time crying, even throughout the night. Mr. and Mrs. Littlebear were very kind and patient with all the cubs and bore the bustle with grace, but also recognized how poor Isabel did not get much sleep. So they gave her a warm breakfast of porridge and honey and hoped she find accommodation with less commotion. 


The search continues...

Et alors,” Mrs. Chocolat shrugged. “We try again today.” Mr. & Mrs. Chocolat gave Isabel the day off to get some sleep at home.
The following day, Isabel was greeted by the Maces on the way to work.
“Why hello, Miss Isabel!” Mrs. Maces smiled. “We heard about your predicament, didn’t we Grandpa?” Mr. Maces nodded and adjusted his cap. “And we wanted to offer you a place in our spare room.”
“Yes, dear, just come and stay a night at Bramble Cottage and see how you get on.”
“Why thank you, Mr and Mrs Maces.” Isabel shook both their paws, “That would be lovely. I will see you tonight after work.”
“Lovely, we shall see you for supper.” And the Maces continued down to Primrose Park to sit and read the morning paper.
That evening, Isabel walked down Cottage Way to Bramble Cottage, home of the Maces. She knocked on the door and was greeted by the little old couple who ushered her into their warm home.

The next morning, Isabel arrived and work, tired again and clearly unhappy. 
“Morning, Miss Isabel.” Christopher Appleblossom was rolling out dough for some French sticks. “How did you sleep last night? Did you get along with the Maces?”
“Oh, Christopher. I feel I will never find a place to suit me. “ And she described her night with the Maces. 
After arriving, she was given a delicious supper of baked cheese tart with salad and cheesecake for dinner. They had talked of going-ons in the village and had a delightful time.  Isabel was very hopeful that she had found a place that would suit her well. 
But after the supper had been cleared, the Maces had begun their preparations for bed. This was surprising as it was barely twilight and the evening was still very young. But the Maces were older and needed more sleep. So they went off to bed, as did Isabel. But she certainly could not sleep and stayed up, bored but worried she might wake the tired Maces if she were to move about the house. She did finally sleep, later in the night, but she awoke to a very early dawn. The Maces may sleep very early, but they also awoke very early as well. Isabel had tried to drown out the noise of the little mice preparing breakfast, but could not and reluctantly shuffled out of bed to help with breakfast downstairs. 
Christopher chuckled. “Poor, Miss Isabel. Too much bustle with the Littlebears and too little with the Maces. What are you going to do?” Miss Isabel was beginning to resign herself to long walks from Appleton. 

In the nick of time...

A tinkle of the bell and in walked Miss Betty Tipsyberry. She was on her way to her Juice Bar and noticed the sign on the door of the pâtisserie. She decided to offer her own spare room to Isabel for the evening.
Miss Isabel nearly refused as so many sleepless night made her very weary indeed, but looking at Miss Betty, very cheery and bright, smiling warmly at her, she could not help but instantly like her. So Isabel agreed and they would meet for supper that evening at Rose Cottage, Miss Betty’s home on Cottage Way.

That evening, Isabel decided to bring some Saint Mare  gateaux for dessert. It was one of Mr. Chocolat’s specialities and recommended for any occasion. Miss Isabel knocked hesitantly on the door of Rose Cottage and waited. 

Miss Betty opening the door and was delighted at the gateaux for dessert. She remarked on how is was one of her absolute favourites at the pâtisserie. She welcomed Isabel in and showed her to the guest room. It was a lovely room with bright windows, flowers, a fluffy bed, desk and chair. It was picture perfect and Isabel fell in love with it immediately.
They went to the kitchen and began preparing a supper of vegetable pie, grilled mackerel (for Isabel) and sweet corn. They chatted happily about Isabel’s experiences trying to find a place to stay, about their favourite patisseries and Miss Betty’s shy greetings with Bob Blackberry. They chatted over supper and beside the fireplace long into the evening. It was quite late when they finally said goodnight and went to sleep.
The next morning, Isabel walked into the pâtisserie, tired again from the night previous.
Mon dieu, Isabel!” Mr. Chocolat exclaimed. “Not again! I thought dees time you would get a good night’s sleep, non?”
Isabel smiled wearily. "Oh but I did Monsieur Chocolat. I had the best nights sleep in weeks!" She explained how she and Miss Betty had become fast friends.
She had finally found her new home.