Sidmouth Clean Growth writing competition: winning entry by Nicki Parkin

Salcombe Hill, where Nicki Parkin's story is set. Ref shs 30 18TI 8666. Picture: Terry Ife

Salcombe Hill, where Nicki Parkin's story is set. Ref shs 30 18TI 8666. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In February a writing competition on the theme Clean Growth was held as an offshoot of the Sidmouth Science Festival. Here is one of the two winning entries by members of the public: Nicki Parkin’s short story, in which Winnie the Pooh takes a walk on Salcombe Hill...

In which Pooh learns to Think the Unthinkable

Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet were enjoying a stroll on Salcombe Hill, where they’d lived since the Hundred Acre Wood was sold to a housing developer. Pooh was wondering when they would hear from Christopher Robin, who was working for a conservation charity in a Distant Land.

Near the edge of the cliff they spotted Eeyore, gazing over a fence.

‘Good morning, Eeyore,’ said Pooh.

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‘Might be for some, I suppose,’ said Eeyore. ‘There used to be the most delicious thistles in the corner of that field, but it’s gone.’

‘Your thistles have gone?’ squeaked Piglet.

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‘It’s worse than that,’ said Eeyore. ‘The field has gone. It fell into the sea.’

There was a flap of wings, and Owl landed on a fence post nearby.

‘Owl!’ said Pooh. ‘I’m so pleased to see you. Have you brought news from Christopher Robin?’

Owl folded his wings. ‘Yes, but it would have been nice if someone had asked me how I am first,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a very long flight.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Pooh. ‘Of course I meant to ask how you are, only I miss Christopher Robin so much.’

‘I’m all right, thank you,’ said Owl, ‘just a little tired and hungry. But I do have an important message. Christopher Robin says please will you persuade the people of

Sidmouth to do something about their Carbon Footprint.’

‘Is that like a Heffalump footprint?’ asked Piglet, remembering the time he and Pooh had followed the tracks of a Dangerous Animal.

‘It’s much more dangerous than that,’ said Owl. ‘In fact, it’s the most dangerous footprint of all.’

Piglet moved a little closer to Pooh.

‘What’s it got to do with the people of Sidmouth?’ asked Pooh.

‘Every one of them has a carbon footprint, and they need to do something about it urgently or there will be Dire Consequences for the planet.’

‘I knew it,’ said Eeyore. ‘That’s why my field fell into the sea. It’s the End of the World as we Know It.’

‘Not necessarily. Christopher Robin says there’s still time, but people need to act now.’

‘What do they need to do?’ asked Pooh.

‘Stop burning oil, gas and coal,’ replied Owl. ‘At the moment they use them all the time, in everything they do.’


‘Yes. How they keep warm, get around...’

‘What they eat?’

‘Yes, and what they wear... everything they buy, and everything they do. They need to think about the carbon footprint of all those things, and shrink it as much as possible.’

‘They won’t do it,’ said Eeyore. ‘They’re too comfortable as they are. Making changes like that would be Unthinkable for them.’

Pooh, who found it difficult enough to think about the Thinkable, could see Eeyore’s point. ‘But if that’s what Christopher Robin wants, we have to try. After all, they’re nice

people. I’m sure they’ll want to do everything they can to help.’

‘Excellent,’ said Owl. ‘Christopher Robin is relying on you – and on the people of Sidmouth. We all are.’

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