Greywacke Jones

Greywacke Jones

This is the fluffiest of fluff posts. And unless you’re familiar with the children’s books by Lynley Dodd featuring the scruffy little dog Hairy Maclary, this post will mean nothing to you.


All my three children grew up on Hairy Maclary, particularly my youngest Noah. He even had a Hairy Maclary stuffed dog and a Slinky Malinki stuffed cat.

When he was in first grade I wrote Noah a book on one of the Hairy Maclary characters, Greywacke Jones, the grey cat. I tried to use the same lyrical style as with the other books and I also illustrated it and bound it for him. I was helping him do a clear out of his room this weekend and we came across it. I was quite touched when Noah took it from me and placed it in his drawer of his bedside table, more than 8 years after I wrote it, and for all he is now a taciturn 16-year old!

Anyway I thought I would reproduce it here, just for posterity!


Down the long street in the house of white stone

With Mick the old sailor lived Greywacke Jones.

His fur fluffy grey, his eyes of bright gold,

Greywacke Jones appeared never as bold.


cat header


With Mick and Greywacke in the oak tree out back

Lived Mick’s oldest friend, a parrot called Jack.

Feathers so bright and beak like an axe,

And a voice that warned loudly of feline attacks.



This threesome alone appeared peaceful and quiet.

No one could guess of a terrible riot

That happened each time that Greywacke Jones

Would lose his collar bell

In places unknown.


For Greywacke Jones though lazy and kind

Had one naughty fault that Mick had to mind:

Mick and Jack knew that if allowed

Greywacke Jones would go on the prowl.


Without his loud bell, Greywacke would seek

All manner of prey, upon them he’d sneak.

But his favourite bird that he’d plague and he’d tease

Was bright Jack the parrot in his leafy oak tree.


Parrot in tree


For sure, there’s no problem when a cat wears a bell:

All birds would flee skyward with a squawking farewell.

But Greywacke Jones had a knack that’s quite smooth:

When fancy took him, his bell he’d remove.



One hot summer day as the street lay in peace,

When bees hummed in flowers

And sunshine increased,

When Hairy Maclary dozed in the shade,

And Slinky Malinki in the tall reeds he stayed,

Greywacke Jones, his fancy obeyed.



With gold eyes like slits and a low rumbling MMM WOAR!

Greywacke’s calm was suddenly no more.

With a deft flick of paw that no one could see

His bell was sent tumbling, rolling and free!


On soft feet he crept towards the oak tree

Where Jack perched high up

All things did he see.


Greywacke Jones commenced his long climb…

While bright Jack the parrot bided his time.


Cat in tree


When Greywacke drew near to that clever old bird,

So near the cat’s rumbles bright Jack he heard,

So near that a clawed paw could touch a long plumage,

So near that a bad cat could cause quite some damage,

Bright Jack the parrot lifted his head,

Opened beak to the sky it must now be said.

With a heave of his chest and a lurch of his throat

Bright Jack the parrot let loose with a…..




So loud was the sound that Greywacke paused.

He cringed and he hissed and opened his jaws!

He too lifted his face to the heavens above

And YEEOOOWWWW-led at his very most highest octave!

loud noise


What a din!  What a racket, those two animals made!

They SQUAAARRWWWK-ed and they YEOOOWWW-led, no one could evade

That unmusical symphony; north, south, east and west,

All creatures living sprang from their rest.

Hearts thumping, eyes wide

For a second all feared

That the sky was a-falling

With that noise so severe!


Hairy Maclary was the first to remember

Such a riot could happen from New Year to December –

Whenever Greywacke removed his big bell

And went on the prowl, a tale all could tell!

For such a small dog, Hairy could make quite a sound –

Loudly he YAPP-ed from his place on the ground.


A twofold effect his yapping did have:

Most HMMPH-ed in annoyance, then quickly forgave.

All but Greywacke and the parrot called Jack –

Those two ceased their symphony, taken aback.


Shamefaced, Greywacke began his descent.

He slunk and he slithered, his fancy misspent.

And down at the foot of the tree where Jack dwelled

Waited old Mick the sailor with a shiny new bell.


Down the long street in the house of white stone

Were old Mick, Jack and Greywacke Jones.

A cat so serene, no one could reprove…

Until Greywacke Jones his bell he’d remove…


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