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The Mr Rusty Series is aimed at children of 4 to 8 years. It's all about a car, Mr Rusty, here on Tenerife. He has lots of adventures! This Christmas Special finds him rescuing an injured puppy from the snowy mountains of Tenerife!
There are more Mr Rusty stories available on Kindle. All profits go to FACT.
The first story is Mr Rusty Goes Shopping - get it HERE
It was Christmas Eve, before the pandemic, and Mr Rusty was sitting in the warm afternoon sunshine outside the Dog and Cats home, waiting for Karen to finish the party they had put on for local children. The Home did the party each year and all the children looked forward to it. Not only did they get a nice party and lots of party food, they saw some of the dogs and cats in the home. Everybody loved it.
Bizzie the knitted bee swung around on her string tied to Mr Rusty's mirror and buzzed a happy tune.
“What do you think you’ll get for Christmas Rusty?” she asked between humming her tune.
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“I don’t know,” answered Mr Rusty, “I could do with an oil change, and my mirror is still broken, so a new mirror glass would be nice.”
“Don’t you want something more interesting than an oil change?”
“Well, it would be nice, but I really do need an oil change and a new oil filter, so that would be the most sensible thing for Father Christmas to bring me,” said Mr Rusty. “It will save Karen a lot of money as well.”
“That’s a very good thought Rusty. Dull, but very good!” Bizzie went back to swinging on her string and humming her tune.
Mr Rusty relaxed, letting the setting sun warm him through and through. The party seemed to be going very well with a lot of laughter from inside the Dogs and Cats Home. He knew it would be a while until all the children had gone home, Karen had helped with the clearing up, then they’d be off home and Karen would be going out with her friends for Christmas Eve.
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Some parts of Tenerife are very high. In FACT, the highest mountain in Spain is Mt Teide, the massive volcano in the middle of Tenerife. Around Mt Teide are a lot of other mountains that are well over 2,000 metres high. Because it is so high it can also be very cold; even when people are sitting on the beach in the sun, up in the mountains it is cold and can be snowing.
And so it had been on Christmas Eve. High above Vilaflor on the TF-21 road that went right up to the volcano, Maria and Jose were walking back from their friend’s house. The cloud was down and it was like walking in fog, with the snow starting to fall quite heavily.
“I think it was a good idea to leave now,” said Jose.
“You are right, this is going to get very thick, very quickly,” answered Maria, pulling her husband’s arm closer to her as they walked up the very steep hill.
“What’s that!” exclaimed Maria, pointing at something lying in the road in front of them. With the cloud and snow it was hard to see what it was. It was small and rusty-brown in colour. Jose walked closer.
“It’s a puppy. I think it’s been hit by a car.”
He bent down to see closer. As he did the puppy made a little whimpering sound.
“It’s alive, come and help me,” said Jose to Maria, and she walked to where Jose was standing in the middle of the road. Suddenly there were lights and a car was coming down the hill fast, too fast in the cloud.
“Get back,” shouted Jose and Maria ran to the side of the road. The car was a big 4x4 and just saw Jose, swerving to avoid him and in doing so just missed the puppy lying in the road!
Jose scooped up the puppy and took it to where Maria was standing. It yelped loudly as he touched its leg.
“Jose! We must get home quickly. It’s dangerous out here,” said Maria, and they hurried the 100 or so metres to their house. Once inside Jose put the puppy down in front of the log fire that was still burning. It was a young boxer pup, and it was barely able to keep its eyes open.
Now in the light he could see it had an injured leg. Worse it had also been hit on its left side and the skin was torn and bleeding.
“We need to get it some help,” said Maria.
“I know but who can help, it’s Christmas Eve, and with the weather no one will come up here. They’d be mad if they tried.”
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“We could call the police and see if they can help,” suggested Maria.
“Good idea,” replied Jose and started to dial the phone number. He was answered quickly but the policeman said they had a lot emergency calls due to the snow and it would be a long time before they could help.
“Oh dear, I really think it needs help now,” said Maria when Jose told her what the policeman had said.
“Let’s try the Dog and Cats Home, they may know someone who could help at least,” said Jose and looked for the number.
“There it is!” he said putting down the paper. He dialled the number.
The party was coming to end at the ‘Home’ and children were dancing and singing very loudly around the big Christmas tree in the reception area. Some of their parents had arrived to collect them, just joining in by eating a mince pie. It was very busy and there was a lot of coming and going in the reception area. The phone rang but it wasn’t heard.
“Try again,” suggested Maria when Jose told her there was no answer. Jose looked at the puppy and could see it was in real trouble. He dialled again and listened to the ringing.
Oscar, a Tenerifian who worked at the Home was just coming back in from the car park and heard the phone.
“Hello, Dog and Cats Home, Merry Christmas!” he said having picked up the phone.
“Oh, Merry Christmas,” replied Jose, “but I’m afraid it’s not that merry. We’ve found a boxer puppy, we think it was hit by a car. It’s bleeding and looks like it has a broken front leg. Is there anything you can do to help?”
“Where are you?” asked Oscar.
“We’re above Vilaflor, and I have to tell you it’s snowing up here.”
“That’s a long way up, but I think we can make it. We have a van, it should be OK.” Oscar took the details of where Jose and Maria lived and their phone number. Then he went into the main party room to talk to the Home Manager, Pauline.
“It sounds very bad, and I don’t think they are exaggerating. He also warned me it’s snowing up there.”
“I guess we should try, if you are willing to go but don’t take any risks. If the police have closed the road you’ll have to turn back. And keep calling me so I know where you are.”
“I’ll give it a shot. If it’s not too bad I should be there and back in an hour,” said Oscar. “Get in touch with the vet to be ready here if I can bring it back.”
“I will,” said Pauline. He took his big coat from the office, and some boots and went out to the van. It was parked next to Mr Rusty and Karen was putting some boxes into his hatchback.
There was a splashing sound and oil poured out from under the van.
Karen knocked on the side window, “I don’t think the van is going anywhere. Look at this!”
Oscar got out and looked at the puddle of black oil spreading out from under the van.
“Oh dear!” he said, “I’d better phone the people and say we can’t come.” He took his mobile phone out and called Jose and Maria.
“Sorry our van has broken down. We can’t get to you even if the weather would let us,” he told Jose.
“Oh no, the puppy is in real pain, it does need help. Can anyone else help tonight?”
Oscar looked at Karen, “Do you know anyone else who could try and get there?” he asked her.
At first she didn’t answer, but then started to say, “I guess we could try.”
“Rusty! Did you hear that!” said Bizzie, “I think when Karen said ‘we’ she meant us, well more you really!”
“What!” said Mr Rusty in a bit of panic, “I’m scheduled for a quiet night looking at the stars over the ocean.”
“Well, if we go now, and the roads are still open we could do it. If not, we’ll have to turn back and hope it survives until tomorrow,” said Karen.
Oscar ran inside to update Pauline, then came back. Karen had Mr Rusty started up and Oscar got in.
“Do want me to drive?” he asked Karen.
“It’s best if I do. Mr Rusty has some special ways! Besides I was born in Yorkshire so I’ve driven in snow before.”
“I’ve never done that,” admitted Oscar and they set off. It did seem strange talking about snow as they drove along close to the coast. There were people in T shirts and shorts going out for the evening, and they needed Mr Rusty’s windows down to be comfortable as they drove past Chayofa. At La Camella they took the Arona road and were climbing up the hillside. Mr Rusty’s thermometer told them the outside temperature was now less than 10C.
“I’m going to freeze to death,” said Bizzie, “does your heater work Rusty?”
“I don’t know, it’s never been turned on!” replied Mr Rusty already starting to pant a little due to the steep hills and high altitude.
They went through Arona and there was still no sign of snow, although the clouds seemed to be just above them. By now the countryside was pitch black and it was difficult to see the road in Mr Rusty’s headlights.
Soon it began to rain, then as they went higher and higher, the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Big, wet snow flakes came down and rushed at Mr Rusty’s windscreen. Karen had the wipers on full to sweep the snow away.
“Look!” said Oscar, pointing at Mr Rusty’s dashboard, “It’s minus one out there!”
Karen was too busy concentrating on the road to say anything. They were now climbing the mountainside and the road was a succession of hairpin bends. And Mr Rusty was struggling with the steepness. However, one good thing was his engine was getting very hot which kept Karen and Oscar warm inside him.
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The Mr Rusty story continues below.
Here are the links to other Mr Rusty Stories available on Kindle.
All profits go to FACT.
Mr Rusty Goes Shopping - get it HERE
Mr Rusty Goes to the Beach HERE
Mr Rusty Goes to Mt Teide HERE
They are also available of the Kindle espana site.
“Oh please keep going Rusty,” said Bizzie, “You’re doing a wonderful job!”
“Thanks Bizzie, It’s nice to know friends appreciate what you are doing!” panted Mr Rusty in return.
There was a straight and fairly level bit of road as they got close to Vilaflor, so Mr Rusty could get his breath back a little. But the snow was now very heavy. Just as they got to the outskirts of the town a police car blocked their way and they stopped.
“Hi Oscar,” said the policeman, shining a torch into the car.
“Miguel! Merry Christmas! How are you?”
“I could have done without this weather up here tonight. My wife’s parents are staying with us, we were supposed to have a real family Christmas, but now I’m on duty until midnight!”
“Oh, that’s bad!”
“What are you doing up here, we could close the roads at any minute?”
“A man called Jose called us, says he has an injured puppy. We’re hoping to get it before things get too bad.”
“Oh Jose, yes I know him – Maria is his wife. They live just the other side of the town. If you’re quick you should be OK. Miss, have you driven in snow before?” he asked looking at Karen.
“She’s from Yorkshire,” answered Oscar, “apparently it snows there all year!”
“Take care! I’ll come looking for you if I don’t see you in thirty minutes,” said Miguel and they set off into the black of the night.
Going through the town of Vilaflor wasn’t too bad, as the street lights helped Karen to see, but as they climbed out of the town the snow and the dark made driving very difficult.
“Are you OK?” asked Oscar, as Karen peered into the wall of oncoming snowflakes.
“I think so,” said Karen, “just look out for their driveway. It should be on the right.”
Suddenly the darkness was light by a torch waving in front of them. They stopped and Jose greeted them.
“I didn’t think you would make it!” he exclaimed. “When it’s this bad people usually just wait until tomorrow!”
“Karen’s from a place called Yorkshire – they drive in snow all the time,” said Oscar and Jose looked very impressed.
“Follow me, we’re almost there,” said Jose and waved the torch to guide them to his house.
Once inside both Karen and Oscar looked at the puppy. He did have a broken front leg, and the cut on his side was raw and bleeding.
“Oh dear, we need to get him to the Home quickly,” said Oscar. “Karen, are you ready to drive again?”
“Yes, just look at him, he knows he needs help!” answered Karen, and they took the puppy out to Mr Rusty. Oscar sat on the back seat and held the dog wrapped in a blanket.
“I wish you all the luck,” said Jose and Karen drove into the heavy snow.
“Go slowly,” said Oscar, “we all have to get there!”
“Don’t worry, Mr Rusty’s never crashed – yet!”
“Rusty, do everything! I’m terrified! Only you can save us!” Bizzie shrieked.
But Mr Rusty was concentrating too hard to answer. He could just about see even with his headlights on full beam. The snow kept rushing towards him and it was so dark he couldn’t even make out the edge of the road.
They kept going, only now it was all downhill and the speed built up very quickly. Time and again Karen had to brake to stop them going too fast. But the road was getting very slippery, and Mr Rusty felt he was about to crash.
Going round one very steep hairpin bend Mr Rusty was suddenly going sideways. Karen screamed as the car wouldn’t do anything she wanted it do. Now on the wet snow, Mr Rusty’s wheels didn’t have any contact with the road – they were just sliding along.
“Help,” screamed Karen, but there was nothing anyone could do. They were now flying down the road like a sledge! A bend came up and Mr Rusty thought that was it, but Bizzie shouted him, “Ride the waves, Rusty. You can do it!”
And he did! By leaning a little he could make himself turn into the bends. They slipped on and on. Karen and Oscar were totally silent, they were just waiting for the crash, but bend after bend Mr Rusty leaned and they skated through it.
But then came a really big hairpin bend.
“I don’t think this going to work!” screamed Mr Rusty.
“It has too!” replied Bizzie.
Mr Rusty slipped straight off the road and up the bank covered in snow, and as he did it guided him round the bend and onto the next straight.
“Weee!!!!” screamed Bizzie, “that was great Rusty!”
“I just wish I knew how I did it!” shouted Mr Rusty. The road went straight for a long way and as it did the snow eased off. Karen grabbed the steering wheel and applied the brakes very slowly. Mr Rusty felt back in control.
“What happened there?” asked Oscar.
“I’m not sure,” answered Karen, “I told you Mr Rusty does things his own way! But we seem OK now.”
They drove on down the mountainside and with each kilometre the weather improved, until they were driving through Chayofa again and people just had shirt sleeves and shorts on.
“I don’t believe we were in snow just thirty minutes ago!” said Oscar.
“Me neither,” said Karen, still concentrating on the road. “Call the Home and tell them we need a vet.”
Oscar did and told Karen the vet was already there. When they arrived it was a different world. It was calm, warm, and the insects chirped from the trees.
Oscar took the puppy inside and then came back out to Karen.
“Mr Rusty smells very hot!” she said as Oscar joined her.
“Well you were doing 120 kilometers an hour over the last few roads.”
“Oh dear, sorry Mr Rusty! I was just so concerned about the puppy.”
“Phew, I think I’ll need a lifetime off,” panted Mr Rusty.
“You’re a brilliant skier, Rusty! Maybe we should move to Switzerland?” said Bizzie, sounding really impressed.
“I don’t think the temperature is for me!” replied Mr Rusty.
Oscar and Karen went into the home leaving Mr Rusty to cool off in the car park. It did take a long time. It was just before eleven o’ clock when Karen and Oscar came back out, by which time Mr Rusty was dozing off.
“It’s great that he will be OK. The vet has splinted his leg and the other cuts will heal,” said Oscar.
“I’m amazed. He looked very bad when we got to him,” said Karen.
“But the ambulance sledge got us here in time!” said Oscar and patted Mr Rusty on the roof.
“I have to say at the critical moment it was all up to him! Well done Mr Rusty!” and Karen patted him as well.
“Well, I think there was a lot of other bravery tonight,” said Oscar shaking Karen’s hand. “I must go to Yorkshire to see how people learn to drive like that!”
“Thank you, Oscar,” she said.
“Karen,” said Oscar.
“Yes,” said Karen.
“Did you know they wanted to call the puppy Oscar, after me?”
“er yes,” replied Karen.
“I thought that they’d recognise how you had helped him as well. But he has to have a boy’s name, really.”
“Of course he does!”
“Well instead they’ve called him ‘Rusty’!”
“Oh that’s great! Mr Rusty you have a dog named after you, isn’t that nice?” Karen patted his roof again.
“Well Rusty is already a bit of an old dog!” giggled Bizzie. “Sorry Rusty, couldn’t resist! Especially sorry as you’ve been really brave tonight.”
“I must go, we have a traditional family meal every year on Christmas Eve. All the family are there from granny to the youngest children. Luckily, it only really gets going at midnight. What about you?”
“Maybe you should invite Karen,” thought Mr Rusty, very strongly. “Bizzie, get the thought waves going!”
“I was going out with friends tonight,” said Karen, “but by now they will have given up on me. I could phone them to find where they’ve gone, but I must say I’m tired so I think I’ll just go home.”
“You’re going to be alone on Christmas Eve? Karen, if you would like to join my family for Christmas Eve dinner please say so?”
“Only if I can bring Mr Rusty!” said Karen jokingly.
“You and Mr Rusty will be the guests of honour!” said Oscar.
“What about me?” asked Bizzie not swinging on her string.
“Where I go, you go!” said Mr Rusty and Bizzie began to swing on her string again.
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