Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Dave and the Padlock

 You might need something to cheer you up today, so here is a children's book I wrote a few years ago.


Dave and the Padlock


Sue Hepworth



Once upon a time there was a grandpa called Dave.

He had curly grey hair and round gold glasses, and he was very friendly. But he didn’t look friendly on photographs, because he found it really hard to smile when people asked him to, unless he had a friendly dog sitting next to him, like this...

Or this...



If Dave was stroking a dog he would always smile.

Several things made Dave happy.

He liked making things in his shed.

He liked playing table tennis.

He liked basking in the sun.


He liked riding his bike on sunny days.

He liked yoghurt. 

He liked yoghurt VERY MUCH.


He liked playing his guitar.


But the thing that Dave liked best was being on a narrowboat.

A narrowboat is a special kind of boat that sails on canals and rivers.  You can live on a narrowboat, or you can have a holiday on one, because a narrowboat  has a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room.

When Dave was on a narrowboat he was always happy.

Here he is, first thing in the morning, leaning out of the side hatch of the narrowboat, breathing in the cool quiet air, and watching the ducks on the water.

 Here he is, sitting on the back of a narrowboat, steering it along the canal.


Here he is, sailing the narrowboat with a friend.

Here he is, looking for the rope to tie up the narrowboat so he can go inside and have some yoghurt.

One day, when Dave and Sue were on holiday with some friends on a narrowboat, Sue found Dave lying on the back deck, poking around in the water with a long stick.

“What on earth are you doing?” she said.

“I’m looking for the padlock,” said Dave.

“The padlock?”

“When I got back to the boat and unlocked the door,” Dave said, “the padlock slipped out of my hand and fell in the canal. Now that you’re here, I’m going to put on my shorts and jump in the water and look on the bottom of the canal for it.”

“You’re crazy!” said Sue. “There’s no way you’ll find it in there! The water is muddy and dark and you can’t reach the bottom without going under the water.”

“I know,” Dave said. “I’m going to wear just one sandal and stand on one leg, and feel around for the padlock with my other foot – my bare foot.”

“But it’s dirty in there,” said Sue. “And it’s cold. I don’t want you going in the water. You might cut your foot on broken glass on the bottom of the canal. There are lots of germs in dirty water like that. You might catch an infection. It could make you ill!”

“Oh, rubbish,” said Dave. “Don’t be a spoilsport. I’m going in.”

“Please don’t go in the water, Dave. We can buy a new padlock.”

Unfortunately, once Dave got an idea that he thought was a good idea, no-one – not even Sue  -  could make him forget it. He was determined and he was stubborn. And there are two other things you should know. Dave hated spending money, so he didn’t want to buy a new padlock. And the other thing you should know is that he was embarrassed about dropping the padlock in the water. He felt foolish, and if he knew that if he found the padlock again, he would no longer feel foolish.

So he put on his shorts and T shirt and just one sandal, and he jumped in the water.

And he laughed. “Now I’m going to find it!”

First he searched with his bare foot. He moved his foot across the bottom of the canal very carefully, to see if he could FEEL the padlock with his toes.

That didn’t work. He couldn’t find the padlock.

So then he got a colander from the narrowboat kitchen and scooped up stuff from the bottom of the canal, hoping the padlock would be one of the things he scooped up.

That didn’t work either.

He couldn’t find the padlock.

Sue was worried that he would hurt himself and worried that he was getting too cold – because it was evening, and the sun was going down. She begged  him to come out of the water and to try again in the morning. He was getting tired, so he did.

 When Sue woke up in the morning, Dave had made a giant contraption to search for the padlock.


The contraption was made of a long pole with lots of bits and pieces attached to it, that you can’t see here, because it’s under the water.

Dave poked about with the contraption while everyone else on the narrowboat was still in bed, drinking tea.

He poked about while everyone else got out of bed and had their showers.

He poked about while everyone else got dressed.

He poked about while everyone else was trying to find the frying pan to cook their breakfast. 

Where on earth was the frying pan?

Sue went outside to ask Dave if HE had seen the frying pan, Dave said “Look! I’ve found the padlock!”


“Amazing!” said Sue. “Well done! Good for you! Now. Have you seen the frying pan?”


Christine O said...

This is brilliant! Xx

Anonymous said...

I love this - if Meryl Streep were to play you in the film who could be cast as Dave?


Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Christine.

As to casting....I fancy an aging Michael Fassbender. Who do you suggest, Jenetta?

Unknown said...

Oh I enjoyed that very much, thank you!