The top secret diary of davina dupree (page 3)

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‘Why are you art teachers if you think the art we do is codswallop?’ I sounded braver than I felt. Croaka opened her mouth to bawl something back at me, but Pike, who’d been signalling desperately to her co-teacher, cleared her throat.

‘Ahem. We love art actually, Miss Croaka was just joking with you.’ She trilled in her baby like voice. ‘In fact I can’t wait to hang your masterpieces in the National Gallery of Art and Design. It will be such a proud moment, the result of all our hard work as teachers this term.’

‘So you two put up all our work in the gallery, do you?’ Arabella asked, sounding very interested.

‘Yes, just the two of us.’ Pike said. ‘Such a thrilling moment. Mrs Fairchild told us that after the gallery staff leave on the evening of the 15thOctober, it’ll just be us two left there to concentrate on getting the display ready for the following day. I honestly can’t wait for that. What a position of responsibility, to be left on our own in the National Gallery.’ Her eyes had developed a crafty fox like shine to them.

‘Eureka.’ I whispered. Arabella turned and nodded at me. She had obviously had the same thought too.

Pike and Croaka wanted to be left alone in the National Gallery of Art and Design and that could only mean one thing. THEY WERE ART THIEVES.

So now I’m feeling prettydepressed.comabout the whole situation. How are two ten year olds supposed to single handedly stop a massive crime when not even their headmistress or the police believe it’s even happening? I’m starting to worry that we’renotgoing to be able to stop Pike and Croaka and that theywillrob the National Gallery of Art and Design while Katie and Harriet starve to DEATH in that awful bunker!

I have to go now, Diary, because I’m meeting Melody and Hannah in the swimming pool for a water sliding competition, but my goodness I have a lot to think about.

Friday, 20thSeptember

Sorry Diary,

Can’t write much today as I’m tidying and cleaning our room. Carrie arrives tomorrow morning and I want everything to look extra amazing for her.Feelingnervous.comas I’m hoping she’ll believe everything we tell her about Pike and Croaka…

Saturday, 21stSeptember

I’m so happy, Diary!

Carrie has just left. I literally threw myself on her as soon as she’d got out of her taxi and gave her the most ENORMOUS bear hug and she gave me one back. Arabella just stood there grinning. She got on really well with Carrie, who said she approves of my choice of friend.

Had a WONDERFUL time showing Carrie around the school. We giggled so much at all her, “Oh my’s” and “Well, really’s”, as we showed her the runway, the hanging garden, the stables and the swimming pool with waterslides. She tutted when she saw the giant flat screen TV on our bedroom wall, but her eyes were smiling at me.

We took her for tea and scones in our chandelier lit dining room, (which she declared to be “very posh”) and while we were eating the cherry scones with piles of whipped cream and strawberry jam, Arabella and I told Carrie all about Pike, Croaka, Katie and Harriet.

‘Now, you’re not pulling my leg are you, girls?’ Carrie asked sternly when we’d finished, looking me straight in the eye.

‘No Carrie,’ I said, deadly serious. ‘I promise, everything we’ve told you is the total truth.’

She stared at me for half a minute more, then said, ‘I believe you. You’re telling the truth, I can see it in your eyes. Anyway, you always were a lousy liar, young Davina, and that’s not a bad quality to have.’

Arabella and I grinned at each other. Phew! At last, a grown-up who was taking our emergency seriously.

‘Pike and Croaka,’ Carrie said as she piled jam on another scone. ‘Now why do those names sound familiar?’ She stared in to the distance, thinking while she was chewing. ‘No,’ she said after devouring the whole scone and licking her lips. ‘It’s no good, my memory’s not as quick as it used to be. It might come back to me later.’

‘What shall we do about poor Katie and Harriet, Carrie?’ I asked, sipping my Darjeeling tea. ‘We can’t just leave them stuck in that dirty old bunker – after all, Harriet is seriously ill - but the police don’t believe us.’

‘What’s wrong with Harriet?’ Carrie asked.

‘We’re not sure,’ Arabella said. ‘Pike and Croaka arrived before Katie could tell us.’

‘Hmm,’ Carrie said. ‘I don’t suppose there’s any point in me going straight to the police and telling them everything. They’ll probably just think I’m a batty old lady who’s off my rocker - if they didn’t believe you there’s no reason they’ll believe me.’ She thought for a moment, and then said, ‘Right. I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Do you remember my friend, Hugh Broderick, Davina?’

‘I think so,’ I replied, the memory of an old man with white tufty eyebrows and a kind smile coming in to my head.

‘It just so happens that he’s a retired policeman,’ Carrie went on. ‘He used to be quite high up in the force, as I remember, got to detective level I think, and he still helps train a lot of the younger policemen. He’s the man we need to speak to and he knows me well enough to believe everything I tell him.’

‘Brilliant!’ I said. ‘I knew you’d help us, Carrie.’

‘Hang on a minute,’ she said. ‘Hugh’s abroad at the moment. He and his wife have gone on holiday to Italy, although I’m not sure which part so I have no way of getting in touch with him. They are due back in a couple of weeks and as soon as I know they’re home I’ll go round and tell him everything. There’s no way I’m going to allow two pathetic art thieves to steal from our national collection if I can help it. No way, no how. But things have to be done properly or we’ll end up causing trouble rather than fixing it.’

‘TWO WEEKS?’ I shrieked, quite loudly in fact, making Moira and Lynne – who were entertaining their mum (who, like them, was wearing jodhpurs) with loud tales of the practical jokes they’d played on teachers – turn and stare. ‘Katie and Harriet can’t go on living in that prison for another two weeks!’

‘Calm down my dear.’ Carrie said, soothingly. ‘I’ll pop by the bunker every couple of days and slide some nourishing food under the door. You said there was a bit of a gap there. Little Pineham is only two bus rides away from my house.’

‘You’re an angel Carrie,’ I said, meaning it.

‘Oh give over,’ she said gruffly, but I could tell she was pleased.

It was horrible saying goodbye to her again, Diary, and I do have to admit to you that I had a bit of a cry. But Arabella cheered me up by doing impressions of how Cleo and Clarice look when they swish their hair and look in their mirrors. I’m glad I’ve made such a good friend here at Egmont.

Carrie’s going to visit me again in a couple of weeks and hopefully she’ll have spoken to that retired detective chap by then.

I have to go now, Diary, because Arabella and I are going to watch our favourite programme, “Spy of the Week”.

Monday, 23rdSeptember

Hello Diary,

I had a complete brainwave yesterday! I suddenly realised that just because Pike and Croaka arecriminals who arerubbish at teaching art, it doesn’t mean that the first year have to miss out on producing their best possible paintings for the Annual Egmont Art Show. So I went off to see old Mrs Fairchild again, taking Arabella with me for moral support, and asked if some of us in the first year could have extra time in the art room to prepare for the art show. Luckily she agreed.

‘Oh you two are funny,’ she said as she practiced yoga on a mat in the middle of her study floor. She can bend her legs quite high for someone her age. ‘One minute you’re trying to have the art teachers arrested and the next you want to spend extra time doing their subject! Well I think it’s a splendid idea. I’ll ask Bertie the caretaker to give you a spare key to the art room and you can pop in and doodle away to your heart’s content. After all, the paintings in the show are usually of an exceptionally high standard and some very important people come to view them.’ Mrs Fairchild’s twinkly eyes turned serious for a minute. ‘Royalty and state leaders from around the world will come and see the art show and so will various diplomats, politicians and celebrities. Some will come because their daughters already attend Egmont and they want to support the school. Others will bethinkingof sending their daughters here and will visit the art show to see proof that in all subjects we teach children to the highest possible standard. It would be an utter disaster for Egmont’s reputation if the school’s art show was not well thought of. But I’m sure it will be,’ she said, her smile and twinkly eyes returning. ‘Now run along and find Bertie and ask him to come and see me, there’s good people. I don’t think we need to bother Miss Pike and Miss Croaka with this arrangement, do you? I can tell I can trust you two to take good care of the art room by yourselves.’

‘She’s not as bonkers as she makes out, is she?’ Arabella muttered as we trotted off down the corridor.

‘Nope,’ I smiled. ‘I think underneath it all she might be rather clever.’

Mrs Fairchild kept her word and yesterday evening Bertie brought us our very own key to the art room. Can you imagine!

I have to go now, Diary, because Arabella and I have called a meeting about the Annual Egmont Art Show for all first years and it begins in the common room in ten minutes.

Tuesday, 24thSeptember

What a result, Diary!

Yesterday evening, twenty eight first years were waiting for us in the common room. I’d mentioned our idea to Moira and Lynne earlier in the day and they both said they hated art and wouldn’t be turning up, which didn’t surprise me. But still, the rest of the year had turned up to see what we had to say. Including – unfortunately - Cleo and Clarice.

They sniggered their way through Arabella’s speech while she explained that we were sick of Pike and Croaka spoiling each art lesson and that we’d like a chance to create the best paintings we can for the art show. They rolled their eyes and snorted when she said we’d asked Mrs Fairchild if we could do extra art in the evenings and they called out ‘nerds’ when I stood up and asked if anyone fancied joining us sometimes to do a bit of extra painting.

‘As if anyone would want to hang out with you two swotty saddo’s!’ Clarice yelled.

‘Erm, actually, I would.’ Melody said. I could have hugged her. ‘I think it’s a great idea, Davina.’

‘Yeah, me too,’ said a girl called Rochelle from Emerald class.

‘And me,’ Linda from Rubies called. ‘Everyone in my class hates Miss Croaka and Miss Pike. It’s about time we painted something our parents would be proud of.’

‘I’ll come sometimes, when I don’t have hockey practice,’ Hannah said. ‘Good on you both for arranging this. I’ll definitely vote for you guys to be head of year prefects.’ There were even a few murmurs of agreement when she said that Diary, can you imagine!

This was all too much for Cleo and Clarice to take, and they stormed out, muttering something about not wanting to hang out with a bunch of losers.

I’m now off to my first extra painting session WITHOUT Croaka and Pike, so I’ll see you later Diary.

P.S. Carrie phoned Arabella to say that her first food delivery had been successfully pushed under the bunker door for Katie and Harriet. She managed to shove through a flat piece of cheese, a few slices of bread, some sliced fruit and a few small cupcakes, which havegotto be more tasty than old peelings.

Wednesday, 25thSeptember

Uh oh, Diary,

I think there’s trouble afoot. After hearing that we had so much unexpected support from the other first years and especially after hearing a few of them say they’d vote for us to be prefects, Clarice and Cleo have declared war against us. Melody told me that they’re spreading rumours, telling people that we talk and laugh about other first years behind their backs, (which issowrong because that’s actually exactly whattheydo!) and that although we seem nice we’re really two faced and mean. I mean, HOWUNFAIR.COM! Arabella says they’re pathetic and that no one will believe them. I just hope she’s right.

It’s really difficult waiting for Carrie’s detective friend, Hugh Broderick, to get back from his holidays before we can help Katie and Harriet. I hate to think of them stuck in that dark, cold bunker. But at least they have Carrie now and I feel better knowing she’s keeping an eye on them.

I’m very proud of the paintings we started yesterday evening by ourselves. Arabella and I had already looked around the art room before the other first years came to join us, so we felt read to help with a few ideas up our sleeves.

‘Look,’ I said to Rochelle, when she said she was stuck for ideas. ‘In this book, “Sparkle Flowers”, it shows you how to paint a beautiful, large flower with green leaves and how to decorate it with sequins and glitter. Why don’t you try that?’

‘Thanks,’ she said. ‘I will. I’ve never seen that book before. I don’t think Miss Croaka and Miss Pike ever showed it to us.’

‘I’m not surprised, Rochelle.’ I said, shaking my head. ‘Someone had stuffed all the art books in to an old box at the back of the cupboard. Arabella found them when we were looking around the art room for ideas earlier.’

Arabella showed Ashvini from Emerald class a book about painting ocean pictures. I saw them looking at prints of colourful fish, palm trees on sand islands and sunken treasure. Then Ashvini chose a bottle of aqua-marine paint and started to paint curly wave patterns on her canvas.

After thirty minutes, everyone was stuck in to their paintings. Hannah was doing a portrait of her mum, looking at a photograph to get a good likeness. Zoe was painting a pattern on her large canvas, zig zagging with red, swirling with green and painting stars in gold. Two girls from Rubies had decided to share a giant canvas and they were painting a picture of a secret garden on it, drawing it carefully on in pencil first, before they colouring it with paint. It was all!

The moment I’d been looking forward to most had arrived. It was time to start my own painting and I knew exactly what I was going to do. It was an idea I’d come up with a while ago, something that might cause problems for Croaka and Pike. I hadn’t told Arabella in case she told me it was a stupid idea – I already knew it might get me in to trouble. Best of all, I was going to paint it in the swirly, big brush-stroked style of my favourite, one-eared artist: Vincent Van Gogh, exactly like he did in “Starry Night”.

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