Elidor — alan garner
'Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower came' — KING LEAR, Act iii, SC.4
1. Thursday's Child
'All right' said Nicholas. 'You're fed up. So am I. But we're better off here than at home.'
'It wouldn't be as cold as this' said David. 'That's what you say. Remember how it was last time we moved? Newspapers on the floor, and everyone sitting on packing cases. No thanks!'
'We're spent up,' said David. 'There isn't even enough for a cup of tea. So what are we going to do?' 'I don't know. Think of something.' They sat on the bench behind the statue of Watt. The sculptor had given him a stern face, but the pigeons had made him look as though he' was just very sick of Manchester.
'We could go and ride on the lifts in Lewis's again,' said Helen.
'I've had enough of that' said Nicholas. 'And anyway, they were watching us: we'd be chucked oif.' 'What about the escalators?' 'They're no fun in this crowd'
'Then let's go home' said David. 'Hey, Roland, have you finished driving that map?'
Roland stood a few yards away, turning the handles of a street map. It was a tall machine of squares and wheels and lighted panels.
'It's smashing' he said. 'Come and look. See this roller? It's the street index: each one has its own letter and number. You can find any street in Manchester: it's easy. Watch.'
Roland spun a wheel at the side of the map, and the index whirled round, a blur under the glass.
'There must be some pretty smooth gears inside,' said Nicholas.
The blur began to flicker as the revolving drum lost speed. Roland pressed his finger on the glass.
'We'll find the one I'm pointing at when it stops,' he said'
The drum turned slowly, and the names ticked by: and the drum stopped.
' "Thursday Street",' said Helen. 'Mind your finger. "Ten, seven L".'
'Ten will be the postal district,' said Roland, 'You turn the map wheel until number seven is level with these squares painted red on the glass, and then Thursday Street is in square L. There.'
'I can't see it,' said Nicholas.
The map square was full of small roads, some too short to hold the name even when it was abbreviated. But at last the children found a 'Th. S.' jumbled among the letters.
'Titchy, isn't it?' said David.
'It's such a funny name,' said Roland: 'Thursday Street. Shall we go and see what it's like?'
'It's not far. We're in Piccadilly, here, and Thursday Street's off to the right up Oldham Road. It shouldn't be hard to find'
'I might have known you'd think of something daft,' said Nicholas.
'But let's do it,' said Helen. 'Please, Nick. You and David'll only start scrapping if we don't. And when we've found it we'll go home: then nobody's bossed about.'
'OK,' said David. 'That's all right by me.'
'It's still daft,' said Nicholas.
'Can you think of anything?'
'Oh, all right. This is your idea, Roland, so you take us. Can you find the way?'
'I think so. We'll go up Oldham Road for a bit, and then cut through the back streets'
They left Watt. David and Nicholas were better tempered now that there was something positive to be done.
'This is the turning we want' said Roland after a while. 'Down this next alley'
'Mm' said Nicholas. 'It looks a bit niffy to me'
The children had never been in the streets behind the shops. The change was abrupt,
'Phew!' said Helen. 'All those fancy windows and posh carpets at the front, and it's a rubbish dump at the back!'