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Max goes to Soffpayland

posted 2 Feb 2017, 15:31 by Fran Brady
Max was sitting in his favourite place: on Aliida’s bed.  With lots of practice, lots of tumbles and a few bruises, he had slowly learned how to climb the ladder up to it. He hadn’t minded the tumbles or even the bruises; what really got to him was Katie Price watching him, waiting till he finally managed to heave himself on to the bed, then casually, with one giant bound, leaping up beside him. She would sit at the opposite end of Aliida’s bed, with her back turned towards him, a back that said ‘See how easy it is for me, you useless bear.’ Max would lie back against Aliida’s pillow, panting from his exertions on the ladder, and glare at that cat-back. ‘One of these days, I’ll show her,’ he thought.

Katie Price acted like she knew everything and Max knew nothing. She showed him round his new home when he first arrived on that cold December day. Aliida put him on a chair in her room and went off to have dinner. He was just thinking of having a little bear-nap when he felt a sharp scratch on one of his knees, then something tickled his face. He opened his eyes and stared into two shiny cat’s eyes. ‘Miaow! Come with me,’ said Katie Price. ‘I’ll show you My Town.’

My Town was almost as big as Bear Shop where Max had come from but, instead of one great, big room, it was split into five rooms. Katie Price stalked into each room: first the long, narrow one – she called this Hall; next the L-shaped one which had a huge bed in it and lots of shelves – she called this Archie (Max knew Archie was Aliida’s Daddy because she had introduced them as soon as they had arrived home from Bear Shop); next the smallest one – she called this Wet (human beings can’t lick themselves clean like animals, she explained, so they have all these shiny things that bring lots of water for them to wash in);  next the biggest one which had sofas, chairs and a table in one half and lots of cupboards and clutter in the other half – she called it TeeVeat (here Archie made food, then he and Aliida sat at the table to eat it, then they sat on the sofas and sometimes looked at a large black square which turned into moving pictures and loud voices –this was called ‘TeeVee’); and finally, saving the best for the last, she took him back to the room they had started from. It was smaller than Archie and TeeVeat but bigger than Hall and Wet. It had lots of toys and books in boxes and up on shelves. Best of all, it had a desk and chair with a ladder at the side up to a bed. Max liked the look of that ladder, he wanted to start climbing on it immediately. And he fell in love with ‘bed-above’. Such an exciting place to be, so high up, seeing the whole room all at once. He knew he would feel powerful up there.

It soon became his favourite place. He made his way up the ladder whenever Aliida wasn’t playing with him or sitting cuddling him while she watched TeeVee. The only thing that spoiled it was when Katie Price leapt up and joined him. Most of the time, she had ignored him after that first tour round My Town, but occasionally she liked to remind him that he was just a bear – and a newcomer-bear at that -  and she was The Cat who owned My TownMax tried to think of a way to show her that he was not just a bear but, whenever he tried to do something amazing, it always ended in disaster. Like the time . . . But that’s another story.

At last his chance came. GF was taking Aliida to a place called ‘Sofflay’. He almost got left behind because Aliida was so excited and, of course, Katie Price was winding herself around everyone’s legs and getting them flustered. At the last minute, GF said: ‘Aren’t you taking Max? He would love Soft Play.’

His eyes almost fell out of his head when he saw Sofflay.It was the most colourful place he had ever seen; the little streets, houses, bridges, tunnels and walls were all made out of big, brightly coloured shapes. And it was so soft and spongy that he didn’t mind a bit when he tumbled down. No bruises here – happy Max.

Aliida was happy too, shouting and squealing with laughter, jumping up and down, sometimes holding him tight, sometimes leaving him to watch while she performed a trick.

They discovered a big, round pool full of coloured balls. She leapt into it and called for him to come too, holding out her arms to catch him. He was a bit scared but he could never say ‘no’ to her. He screwed shut his eyes. ‘Here we go!’ he thought. ‘In for a penny, in for pound.’

He leapt into space and, for one terrible moment, thought he was never going to land. Then he was in Aliida’s arms and they were both covered in balls. She wriggled and all the balls wriggled too. She threw him up in the air and caught him. It was the best fun ever. 

GF came over and took a photo. 

‘Yes!’ he thought. “Beat that, Katie Price. One in the eye for that stuck-up, full-of-herself cat.’ 

Max was a very happy bear after his Adventure in Sofflay.