Today we've been busy in the vegetable garden, preparing the soil for our next crop of plumatopeas. They're a delicious sort of fruit that Lex invented quite by accident several years ago when she planted a plum stone, some tomato seeds and the feather of a peacock, which had blown onto Squeeble Island on a gusty southeasterly wind. She'd buried them as the treasure in a hunt that she'd been organising for the rest of us, but our game was stopped by torrential rain and so Lex forgot all about the things she'd buried under ground and we spent the afternoon playing marbles instead.
But a few months later strange little tufts began to grow from the soil and each day they became taller. At first they were a sludgy brown colour, but by the end of the week they had brightened and grown up to look just like the peacock feather that had blown in months earlier. When the wind blew it made it look like a sea of emerald blue eyes were looking around them and smiling at us. And there were so many of them! We called them Eye Flowers and watered them each day, because we loved how different they were to the usual plants we had on Squeeble Island at that time.
And then one day, Bitsy decided that they might make good tickling sticks and tried to pull one from the ground. It didn't come up quite as easily as she'd expected though. She tugged so much that her antennae began to droop and her eyelashes wilted, making her eyes feel quite hairy. She was about to give up when she gave one last tug and suddenly shot backwards, morscking (that's a Squeeble sound of surprise) and the thing that had been beneath the ground shot straight into her open mouth. She lay, quite surprised, with the feather sticking straight up above her and something round wedged inside her mouth, filling it with the most incredible flavour and making her tongue tingle with happiness.
Luckily, I'd seen what had happened and shot over on a squeeberang to where Bitsy lay. I pulled the feather straight from her mouth, which made a loud popping noise as a large, succulent looking fruit appeared on the end of the feather. We stared in amazement. They weren't flowers at all! The peacock feather seemed to have taken the place of the stalk which you'd normally find on an apple or a cherry. And the fruit beneath it looked like a bright red tomato. We puzzled over what it could be. "It tasted like heaven", said Bitsy, looking longingly at the fruit, "like the best flavour you've ever tasted fizzing in your mouth". I placed it on the ground and carefully wiggled my foot over it to split the rest of the fruit open. Inside, arranged around a large fruit stone, were two moon-shaped clusters of seeds. A stone and seeds! Normally a fruit has one or the other.
We pulled another fruit from the ground, which came free more easily, and we raced over to the marsh to see Trig. We told him all about what had happened and he told us he'd put one into the Safesquee tester right away (a Safesquee tester is a special machine that Trig built to tell us whether something is safe for us to eat). The safe-o-meter on the Safesquee tester flickered up and down a little and then shot straight over to the SAFE setting!
Once we knew they were safe to eat, every single one of us gathered around the Eye Flowers and set to work pulling some up for a feast. As the sun was beginning to set we made our way over to Sparkle Falls, the waterfall that cascades down over the high rocks on the north side of Squeeble Island. We sat by the water's edge, sucking on our plumatopeas. The only sound was the roar of the waterfall, because we were all too happy and tired to speak. We sat in silence letting the magical flavour explode in our mouths.
The Plumatopeas have remained the most special treat you can have on Squeeble Island, because each year our crop depends on a fresh peacock feather blowing in on the wind. From October onwards we spend a little of each day trawling the low parts of the Island in Squeeble-carts, while others fly above on Squeeberangs, all desperately trying to spot the peacock feather we'll need to have Plumatopeas for the year ahead. And whoever finds it first gets to pull up the largest, shiniest, most beautiful peacock feather from the vegetable patch once our crop is ready to be eaten. For what lies beneath the most beautiful peacock feather is the juciest plumatopea of all.