Chapter One




by Jamila Gavin

Planet: Earth
Date: 1870

Daisy wandered across the kitchen garden. She hadn't stopped working since she got up just before dawn. Work, work, work. That's all she did. Today she had done double work. There was to be a huge birthday party tonight at Calthorpe Grange.

She rubbed her aching elbows and looked up wistfully at the pink evening sky. There seemed to be a pink glow over everything. Even the evening star looked extra bright and extra pink. How she wished she could be up on that beautiful pink star.

Little did she know that the star was really a spaceship, and that it was pink because everything from the Planet of Pinkerello was pink. Little did she know that long-limbed, flamingo-like, prawn-eating Pinkerellians had been studying her for days. They were focused on her at that very moment.

"Remarkable," they exclaimed, in Pinko of course.

"This is just the invention we've been looking for. This could be our winner!"

These were the Pinkerellian Intergalactic Travelling Salesmen who roamed the universe, on the lookout for new inventions to trade between one planet and another.

Ever since they arrived in the Earth's atmosphere, they had been observing Daisy at work. They saw her cleaning, dusting, scrubbing - doing a whole multitude of tasks.

"One machine which does it all. Amazing!"

They looked at their own invention, a pathetic little version of a vacuum cleaner they had picked up in Galaxy Bylomdega, which only sucked up dust and was always breaking down.

"Useless thing!" snorted one, and they chucked it down the disposal and re-cycling shaft in disgust.

"Daisy! What's keeping you, girl? Get back here double quick."

Cook had sent Daisy out to collect some herbs for her special lamb hotpot. Their out-board cameras saw her grab a handful of rosemary, lemon mint and bay leaves. Then hoisting up her skirts, she ran back to the house as fast as she could.

The Pinkerellians made rapid notes.

Name of device: Daisy

Additional facilities: responds to oral commands, has visual faculties and variable motor speed

They looked at each other with triumph. This device had star quality. If they could get their hands on it, they could submit it for the Pinkerellian Rose Cup for the best invention in the universe. Winners gained automatic entry into the Highest Order of the Arch Inventors of Pinkerellia.

"What device shall we sell to these beings?" asked Proddle. "What haven't they got which would be useful? Even the Mark 2 Vacuum Cleaner is not a patch on the Daisy."

"What about paper clips?"

"What about the typewriter?"

"What about a horseless carriage?"

"I've got it!" cried Pazaz. "A Wakerupper. It's one thing the Daisy was not so good at. The Wakerupper in exchange for the Daisy."

"Agreed," declared Captain Pinash. "Prepare to land."

Everyone tucked their heads under their armpits and stood on one leg as the spaceship slowly descended.

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Title Page

About the schools involved

Interview with Jamila Gavin

© Jamila Gavin 1998
last amended 7th October 1999