Chapter 08

NEW SCHOOL?

A fishy-smelling hut. A birdcage stuffed with money. Tan Tan and the limping man. Mysterious lovely Lantau! How I love staying here.

Sukee now comes trotting over if I rattle pony nuts. Smudge is growing fast and needed lots of TLC. And Dad lets me explore the island on horseback by myself.

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Yesterday, we passed the local school: it was in a long one-floor building. No stairs! An idea came to me which grew and grew until I couldn’t stop thinking about anything else.

‘What’s up, Twinkle Toes?’ Dad asked. It was our turn to water the carrots and beans because Ronny was working on a building site.

‘I sooo want my foot to mend,’ I started. ‘But if it doesn’t, maybe I could come to school on Lantau.’

Dad laid down the hose and whistled.

I could tell by the crack in his voice that he liked my idea. ‘Don’t tell Ma yet,’ he said finally, which made me feel horrid.

The following Saturday morning, he arranged a meeting at the school. We tied Sukee to a basketball post in the playground and some children ran over to stroke her. Principal Pang had grey hair and kind eyes. He asked me 12 x 18 and I calculated the answer in my head. Then he asked me some easy peasy questions in English.

Dad winked. ‘I can confirm we have a vacancy,’ said Principal Pang.

By the time we picked up Sukee, there was quite a crowd of kids around her. She swished her tail and nodded happily.

‘Hi,’ said a voice. I turned, to see Tan Tan, smiling. His shoes were shiny and his shirt well-ironed. ‘When can I have another ride?’

That night I couldn’t sleep for excitement. Please please let Ma agree.

Toodle-pip!

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