Gone Adventuring

Grandad Bill was the best Grandad a boy could very have wished for

He had been a war hero, was an expert on paleontology, zoology, archeology, ancient history, rode an old army motorbike and owned a handgun that he would let me shoot in the woods when I stayed with him during the summer holiday. He taught me to fish, track animals, swim, hunt and how to make outdoor camps

Chapman PineBut what I loved most about him were his stories. He told me tales of his adventures where he would go off to a place with dinosaurs still roaming the land and where he would have to hunt the dangerous ones down. There were giant reptiles and fishes. He was friends with the people from Atlantis who were an amphibious race who lived in cities under the sea. He had regular battles with vampires, werewolves, demons and other creatures that he still had not managed to identify but was none too keen on

He would often disappear for weeks or months at a time, always leaving a note on his desk that simply read ‘Gone Adventuring’. My mum would say that Grandad had often done this throughout her childhood and she always suspected that he had a number of lady friends around the country that he was visiting. I always imagined him in the strange worlds he spoke about shooting rogue Tyrannosaurus Rex’s or firing silver bullets at a werewolf who was terrorising a village somewhere. Wherever he had been he would always return looking years younger, full of tales of his latest adventures

As I grew older he would tell me to always a have a rucksack packed and be ready to go off at a moment’s notice. Now that I was growing into a young man he told me he might have use of my services. He gave me a list of contents to include that any prepared adventurer should have with firm instructions to leave it in his study at all times. I asked him when he was going to let me go with him but he would always just answer

‘When you are ready lad’

But then he left a note and never came back. I was thirteen at the time and after months of appeals and no news my Mum told me that we had to accept that Grandad had gone and was not coming back. We eventually moved into his house and once he was officially declared dead a simple ceremony was held for him at the local church

As my own tribute to him I always kept the rucksack in his study packed as instructed. Over the years I updated it with the latest advances and gadgets, keeping a pair of walking boots propped up against it just in case my services would be needed

On my fiftieth birthday I sat at his old desk and raised a glass of the finest single malt to his memory. I must have fallen asleep as the door bursting open woke me with a start

‘Good lad I was hoping I would find you here’

My Grandad stood dressed in a khaki safari suit with a double barreled elephant gun slung across his shoulder. He looked as young as they day I had last saw him. Before I could speak he raised his hand

‘No time for chit chat lad, I’ll explain on the way. Now have you got your rucksack ready?’

I pointed to the corner of the room where it sat. He gave a thumbs up and smiled

‘Right get yourself ready as there is no time to lose. There are a pack of velociraptors giving the farmers hell and they are too much for me to handle on my own’

I pulled on my boots and rucksack and ran out of the study with him. I had left a note on the desk as instructed which simply read

‘Gone Adventuring’

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