It's Creatures Galore!

with Billie Piper!


Yes, that's right, it's me, Billie! Billie Piper, of course - stupid!

I know last time that some of you were worried there might not be any more creature adventures, what with all my monkeys coming to a sticky end - except for Mr Choo Choo the chimp, of course! Well, you'll be pleased to learn that I'm still having plenty of a to-do in the animal kingdom, but thanks for all your concerned letters and emails anyway! They always make me grin and laugh!!!

Anyway. This week, I have met a new type of creature all together! I bet you can't guess what he is! No skipping ahead!

It all started when I was taking Mr Choo Choo to the park. Since all his monkey brothers and sisters were gone, I was producing a surplus of honey from my breasts, and I'm afraid to say that Mr Choo Choo was rather gorging himself! Even so, there was just too much honey oozing out all the time, and I had to wear those special maternity pads that are really meant for milk. Mr Choo Choo had grown quite fat on all this extra honey and he looked just like a furry Space Hopper! He really couldn't walk very far, so I was taking him to the park by dragging him along on Richey's skateboard. I didn't think Richey would mind; after all, it's not as if he can ride it for more than five yards before he falls off into a bush!

So, I was walking along through the busy streets, Mr Choo Choo holding my hand with his sticky paw, trundling along beside me on his skateboard. We did get some funny looks from people, I can tell you! Mr Choo Choo was grizzling away in a temper.

"You can't be hungry already!!!" I said. "You've had plenty from the left and the right!" It was true! I was red raw from his little monkey teeth.

We carried on a way, and I could tell that Mr Choo Choo was in a huff, pouting his fat little lips. "Oh, do beh-" I began to say wearily, but then I was cut short by a magical sight!

An Um Bongo lorry was coming down the road!!! It was brightly coloured, and all of the animals were playing on the side in their jungle glade - the hippo, with his apricot, guava and a mango, the python and his passion fruit, the marmoset with his mandarin, the parrot with the paintbursh, and the rhino on naming duties, of course!

"Wow!!! Just imagine all the Um Bongo in there!!" I thought. Then I wondered whether it was full of loads of boxes of cartons, or whether the whole lorry was just full of loose Um Bongo, all swishing around!!! The latter, I hoped!!! I closed my eyes and imagined me standing on top of the lorry, sucking up all the Um Bongo through a big straw!!! Mmmmm...

Then a horrible sound broke my reverie... It was the corvid screech of the Um Bongo lorry's brakes!!! Mr Choo Choo wasn't holding my hand anymore - he had rolled into the road on the skateboard!!!

The lorry can't have hit Mr Choo Choo at a very high speed, but he was so gorged with surplus honey that he popped like a ripe balloon against the fender. I screamed silently as a wave of honey and monkey blood splattered over me. I gazed numbly at the empty skateboard on which Mr Choo Choo had just been standing. It rolled sadly into the road then stopped.

I couldn't believe he was gone.

The Um Bongo lorry driver was leaning out of his window shaking his fist, and shouting something that sounded like "cozy ducking cart" but I was too shocked to acknowledge him.

I carried on to the park in a daze.

All the colour seemed to have drained out of the trees and the squirrels. I found a bench and sat on it. In my mouth I could taste Mr Choo Choo's blood and honey. It tasted quite nice but it reminded me of his grumpy monkey face and that was it, I was sobbing.

"Oh, Mr Choo Choo!" I gasped. "I'm so sorry I was cross with you! I'd do anything to bring you back!" I cried and cried and cried as a procession of all the monkeys I had lost passed sadly before my mind's eye. Maybe if I had been a bit more careful and not had my head-in-the-clouds Mr Choo Choo and his friends might still be here! Ohhh, why had I been so careless?

I don't know how long I was crying for, but it must have been a long time because when I looked up, it was dark! "I'd better get home," I thought to myself. "Sitting here like a muppet isn't going to bring Mr Choo Choo back!" I sniffed away a big tear, and started off down the path.

I was thinking about what I was going to have for tea, when suddenly, I heard a rustling noise behind me. I stopped sharply, and the noise stopped too. I carried on for a few steps, and the rustling started again. I stopped - the noise stopped again. My heart started to beat faster in my chest. What could it be? Was something following me?

I walked on quickly, trying to keep my head up bravely, but the rustling noise was still there behind me! I wanted to run, but I also wanted to see what it was that was following me, so I steeled myself and looked back.

I gulped.

Standing stock-still under a tree was the biggest, most ferociousest brown bear I had ever seen!!! He must have been attracted to me by the smell of honey on my clothes and face!!!

My heart started to beat faster in my chest. What could it be? Was something following me?

I was just about to scream, when a deep, trans-Atlantic voice said "It's OK - don't be afraid!" I looked around, but there was no-one else to be seen. It must have been...

"A talking bear!!" I exclaimed, too astonished to be frightened.

"Yes. I'm a kodiak bear," said the bear.

"What, like a camera?" I said.

And the bear began to laugh! A deep, hearty chuckle. "Oh, my!" he chortled. "I've never heard that before!"

I laughed too. The bear didn't seem to be frightening anymore.

"Well, I've never met a talking bear before. Do you have a name?"

"Professor Martin Grant, at your service," said the bear, and he bowed.

"A Professor, too! Goodness! Well, my name is Billie - Billie Piper. I'm not a Professor or anything, but I do have a GCSE in Pop Singing."

"I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Billie." And he came out from under the tree with his paw outstretched for shaking.

It was then that I noticed that even though he was very tall and big, he was actually worryingly thin.

"You look very hungry," I said concernedly as I shook his paw. You could see his kodiak bear ribs! "What have you been eating?"

"I'm afraid I haven't been looking after myself very well," said the Professor bear. "I've only had old rope and mattresses to eat!"

"Don't you have anywhere to stay?" I asked. Professor Martin Grant slowly shook his big sad head. "Well, look, you can stay with me if you like. You can sleep in the spare room. Richey's mountain bike can go in the yard - I've been on at him for ages to move it, anyway."

"Really? Oh, thank you, Miss Billie! You are very kind."

I started to walk the Professor home. As we walked through the night, he told me how he had come to be in the sorry position of hanging around parks eating rubbish.

"I'm originally from America," he said.

"I can tell by your accent!"

"You are a perceptive young girl. Yes, when I was a cub in Alaska, I knew that there was more for me in life than fishing and chasing bees, so my father, God rest his soul, saved enough money to send me to college. I attended Harvard, and got on very well, eventually becoming a Professor of History at that prestigous establishment. Things went very smoothly for a number of years, as there was nothing I loved more than sharing my knowledge of Medieval Europe, which is my speciality."

"Goblins and things?"

"That's right." "But how did you come to be in London, living like a hobo?"

The Professor gave a deep sigh and a tear rolled down his ursine snout. "It seemed like any other day. I was lecturing on the Crusades - I'd just drawn a lovely shield on the blackboard, and I was about to ask the students if anybody knew what it was - when a young freshman piped up - 'Hey, wait a minute - this guy's a bear!' Well, that was it, the game was up. The locals ganged together in a mob and chased me to the docks."

"How awful!"

"Yes. I manged to disguise myself as a stevadore and gained passage on a steamer bound for Liverpool. And... well, I didn't dare try and enter the education system again after my experiences. So, I've been living on the streets like a filthy tramp." The Professor sniffed and wiped his muzzle.

"There, there," I soothed, patting his shoulder. "Look, we're here now!" We were back at the house. Hooray! I took the Professor straight into the kitchen.

"You need feeding up right away!" I said. "I hope you like honey."

"It's my favourite - I am a bear," he said, licking his lips with his great rough tongue.

"Well, it just so happens..." I said, undoing my shirt. It didn't seem quite right to feed my honey directly to a talking animal, so I decanted it into my New Kids On The Block mug. It's an especially big one for my Nesquik!

I could tell the Professor was really hungry, but he drank the honey like a gentleman, and didn't spill a drop. "Thank you, Miss Billie, that was delicious!" he said, smacking his lips.

"That's OK ... Ohhh..." Suddenly, I began to cry. Mr Choo Choo had been the last animal to drink my honey, and remembering made me sad!

"What is the matter, Miss Billie?" asked the Professor, placing a concerned paw on my shoulder.

"Oh, it's just ... it's just..." and through great racking sobs, I told him the story about how I'd got 79 monkeys from London Zoo, and how I thought that I could look after them, and all the adventures we'd had, in which they'd all sadly died one-by-one, or occasionally several at a time, and how my favourite, Mr Choo Choo the chimp, had died last of all, and only because I'd been a bit dizzy and hadn't watched out for him while I was daydreaming about a stupid fruit drink, and his blood was all on my clothes, and it'd never wash out, and..

"Now, now," said the Professor. "It's all right."

"But it's not all right!" I sobbed. "They're all dead and it's all my fault!"

"I'm sure it wasn't all your fault. But anyway, death's nothing final! Why don't I take you back in time, and we'll see if we can change the past just before your monkey friends were killed?"

I looked up, surprised. "I didn't know bears could time travel!" I exclaimed.

"Oh, we can Miss Billie, oh we can! After all, I'm a kodiak bear. How do you think I came to be so good at history?"

"Because you went back in ...?"

"That's right." And he winked.

"So we can go back and stop the Um Bongo lorry? And squash the crabs? And - and - smash the skellingtons, and -"

"Yes, yes, yes! Don't worry..."

"Can we go now? Can we?"

"Well, I don't see why not... Come and give me hug."

And he stretched out his massive bear arms.

"What?" I said sharply. I had been warned about bears like this at school.

"You need to be close to me so that you are picked up by my Time Field when we make the jump back," the Professor explained.

"Oh, right. OK." I hugged the Professor tight, and he wrapped his arms around me.

"Hold on, Miss Billie!!!"

And with that, he began to spin round, slowly at first, but then faster and faster and faster. My feet flew out from the centrifugal force, but the Professor's powerful arms held me safe and true. As we whirled round, I could see my kitchen spinning around us in a blur .. and then .. the pine units dissolved into stars and galaxies!!! We must have been in the space-time continuum!!!

As we spun, faster and faster, a worrying thought struck me.

"Professor Grant..." I said, and my voice was all gluey and distant in my head. "Shouldn't I have told you how far we need to go back in time..?"

"Er......" came the reply, all bassy through the temporal marmalade that the air seemed to have become. The helter-skeltering stars started to slow, and gradually, they coalesced into bright light and shade. We were still spinning, but we weren't back in the my kitchen...

Trees .... daylight ... birdsong ... letting go of the Professor, I fell over onto soft grass. I was so dizzy!

"Where ... where are we..?"

"Not where, Miss Billie, but when." said the Professor. He was up and looking around.

"Can we look for Mr Choo Choo?"


I managed to get to me feet.

"I'm afraid Mr Choo Choo probably hasn't been er, quite born yet..." said Professor Grant. And he pointed, through the trees.


I looked to where the Professor was pointing. It was a working medieval castle!!! There were soldiers in helmets posted on the battlements!!!

"This .. isn't a museum, is it?" I asked falteringly. But I knew the answer already - I'd been to museums before.

"I think we may have gone a little too far back in time..."

Aieeee!!! I was stuck in the past with a clever, if bungling, kodiak bear!!!! How was I going to get back to 1999, and rescue my monkeys as well????

You'll have to wait till next time to find out!!! Ha ha!

See ya!!!

Billie xxxx

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