Very few people have seen the peak of Spindle Mountain. It climbs so high that it pokes its head through the ever-present clouds that continually rain into the Huckaboo Lakes. The creatures who live on the lakes dress in large cones to keep dry and float on the giant leaves of the kidoo tree. They float gently and peacefully through life on a diet of hickory fish until, when they are as old as can be, they take off their cone and tumble gracefully over one of the many waterfalls. But their story is for another time.
Today we look high up, beyond the clouds to the highest place there is – the peak of Spindle Mountain. You will see there is a nest, as old as time itself, and on that nest there sits, in eager anticipation, the Waloo. The Waloo is a giant bird of great distinction with an even greater plume upon her head. Wondrous in colour she dreams of flying in the bluest of skies and though she has dreamed for many centuries she has never, ever, not one single time, taken to the sky.
The Waloo has read every book there is about flying and seen pictures of birds and flying machines and bees. She has even read the Book of the Air by Esua Wagglewings, probably one of the most boring books ever written – as dry as the desert and as long as school on a hot summer day. She has also memorised the Bumper Book of Stuff that Flies and can recognise anything that flies by their silhouette against a sunset. All except the Waloo, of course, because the Waloo never flew.
The Waloo had been to Flight School and studied intensely the theories of aerodynamics. She had achieved a first in her Degree and had gone on to gain a Masters in Flapology. There was nothing that the Waloo did not know about flying and every Thursday would teach a course at the local university on the subject of Flight. There was no-one who knew more, but apart from a hop, a skip and a jump her feet had never left the ground.
The Waloo did intensive exercise three times a day to strengthen her wings which she preened and cleaned to cut down on drag. She tested her reactions by juggling crabs that clacked and snipped and rattled and snapped. She looked after her eyes and trained herself in observation; many would say that she could see a gnat blink from three mountains away. She did all these things and more but she had never felt the wind lift her wings or rush past her face.
The Waloo had purchased, from Sebastian Silverstein (Suppliers to the Sky) the finest leather aviator’s hat that money could buy with an altimeter built in the side. It was beautiful, in purple and gold, with the emblem of an eagle with a crown on his head. It was made by master craftsmen for the elite aeronaut and the Waloo wore it every day but it was no more than ornament for it had never flown at all.
The Waloo was the Founder and President of the Society for all Things that Fly. Every month she would publish The Flyers Gazette and on alternate Thursdays she would show films of flying things, you know, birds and flying machines and bees. Once a month she would invite a speaker to talk about their experience of flight and once had even hosted the great air ace Fondly Trouserton-Hive. He was the only bee she knew with a walrus moustache. After the meetings were over she would retire to her nest and continue her dreams of soaring and gliding and swooping and diving – things that the Waloo, that lovely Waloo, would never ever do.