Nora Batty was grumbling as she went out to bring the washing in on a very sunny day. When she finished, she turn around and stopped and screamed, dropping her basket.
"Eh, up!" cried Compo, her next door neighbour. "How's my sweet strawberry cake?"
"Annoyed!" snapped Nora. "For scaring me like that and make me do all this washing again! Especially on my birthday!
"Then why don't thee let me wash them for thee, as a birthday treat?" suggested Compo.
"You!" Nora had to laugh. "You can't wash yourself, let alone my clothes. Look at that face!"
Compo's face fell.
"But there is something I would like to do with you on my birthday," Nora said. "Come here."
Compo followed her to the door.
"Wait here and shut your eyes!" she ordered.
Compo did so. Then he felt as if two rubbish bags had pushed him down the stairs. He opened his eyes and saw that was just what happened.
"What's thee doing?" he demanded.
Nora came out with a dustpan and brush. "I'm taking out the trash! Put those bags in my bins before you leave."
Compo caught up with Clegg and Foggy on the streets.
"I don't get it," moaned Compo. "I just don't know what I keep doing wrong. No matter how hard I try, she's never impressed with me."
"Well, I'm sure you're not the only one," said Clegg.
"I think, to impress her, you need to do something heroic like save her life," suggested Foggy.
"You mean become a hero?" asked Compo.
"Yes," replied Foggy. "But I doubt that's going to happen. You never fought in a war like me. And Clegg here has sold many types of linoleum during his career. And what have you done?"
"I happened to look after many ferrets during my time," protested Compo. "And I made a few pounds on the horses I bet during my time. Besides, thee don't need to go to war just to be a hero."
"You could be a cop," said Clegg.
"What, him a cop?" scoffed Foggy. "He wouldn't be able to tell which one would be the accused or the victim."
"Or I could be a superhero," said Compo.
"A superhero?" Clegg and Foggy laughed.
"You don't have any super powers," Clegg chuckled.
"Where would you get your costume?" laughed Foggy. "What would it look like? And what would you call yourself?"
"You'll see when we get to Auntie Wainwright's," replied Compo, making his way.
"This I must see," said Foggy.
"This I don't," spluttered Clegg. "I'll stay here."
"If he does become a superhero," said Foggy, "maybe he can protect you. Come on, let's try him."
Clegg sighed and followed his friends.
They arrived at Auntie Wainwright's shop.
"I think this is as far as I go," said Clegg.
"Well, good luck facing those women!" smiled Foggy.
Clegg jumped and ran quickly into the shop.
"Eh, up, Smiler," Compo greeted as they entered the shop. "What's up?"
"I had to pay her fifty pounds," moaned Smiler. "Fifty pounds!"
"It was for that tea set that you broken!" Auntie Wainwright snapped at him.
"I was being careful as I could," he moaned. "Besides it was originally twenty pounds."
"Oh, be off with you!" Auntie Wainwright snapped. "What can I do for you three?"
"Well, I would like to talk to thee about that privately," said Compo.
"Come here, then," she said. Compo followed her around the corner.
A few minutes later, Foggy walked out of the shop, followed by Clegg holding a candlestick holder in his hand.
"I don't need a Gromit candle stick holder!" Clegg moaned. "I don't want a Gromit candlestick holder, Foggy."
"Well, you bought it, not me," said Foggy.
"Oh, why do we have to come here all the time?" Clegg moaned.
"And some hero he is if he said he was going to protect you from Auntie Wainwright," said Foggy. "And just look how he's dressed himself."
"And here comes…" The door opened and out stood a figure dressed in a black raincoat and black waterproof trousers with different black wellington boots and one on his head with a strap underneath his chin. "…Wellyman!"
No one applauded, but Foggy and Clegg just looked at each other.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" asked Foggy. "Go and show Nora how heroic you are."
"Wellyman shall," smiled Compo, as he walked down the stairs.
Nora was sweeping the steps. Then she slipped and began to fell over. Then she was stopped halfway and she was pushed back up. She felt grateful.
"Oh, thank you," she said. She turned around and screamed her head off in front of Wellyman. She pushed him away with her brush. "Shoo! Shoo!"
Compo backed away and joined his friends.
"Never try to save my life again!" she snapped. "And that goes for your companions, too!" She slammed her door behind her.
"Why would we?" Clegg said.
"Well, that's that!" snapped Compo. "I'm gonna return this to Auntie Wainwright's."
"She never accepts returns," Clegg said. "She'll only sell you more stuff."
"Let's go to Ivy's café and talk about this," said Foggy.
At Ivy's café, Ivy had her hands up. Two teen thugs at the counter each had a baseball bat.
"You know," she said. "Baseball bats are for home defence, not burglary weapons."
"Bat it, old lady!" snapped the first thug. "We're not after your money."
"We're gonna teach you how to serve customers better," snapped the second one.
The door opened. Compo entered, followed by his friends. "Eh, up!" he cried. "What's going – "
Then Compo slipped on the wet floor. He skidded to the counter and fell down, knocking the first thug on the head with the welly on his head in the progress. As the first thug fell down, he hit the second thug with his bat. And that caused the second thug to fall down.
"Freeze!" cried two policemen, as they ran past Clegg and Foggy.
"What's going on, ma'am?" asked the first policeman.
"I don't know," said Ivy. "I was just serving these two young boys some lemonade and then they turned on me – "
"And then Wellyman here has just saved your life!" Compo finished for her.
"Wellyman?" cried the second policeman.
"Yep, Yorkshire's new superhero!" smiled Compo.
The next day, Foggy came to Clegg's house. He had a newspaper in his hand.
"Look at this," he snapped, as he sat down.
Clegg sat down and put his reading glasses on. On the front page, it said, 'YORKSHIRE'S NEW SUPERHERO!' He chuckled. "Never thought he actually made it this far with this superhero thing."
"Just because he's all dressed up in black doesn't make him a superhero," snapped Foggy. "I can't believe the mayor has given him the key to the town, Auntie Wainwright is giving him free stuff and Ivy is giving him free cups of teas and scones and we have to pay for our own. I'd say he's gone right up his – "
"Ahh!" Then soot came shooting out of Clegg's fireplace. He and Foggy jumped up.
"Oh, my bottom!" groaned the figure, who came out of the fireplace.
"You're either too early or too late to play Father Christmas, Howard," said Clegg, "as it's six months to Christmas."
Howard, Clegg's neighbour, coughed as he stood up.
"What were you doing up on Clegg's roof, Howard?" Foggy demanded.
"Pearl sent me up there to clear the moss of my roof," said Howard. "And I thought I might as well do my best friend's chimney as well."
"It's about Marina again, isn't it?" said Clegg.
"No," said Howard. But Clegg and Foggy, who were never fooled by Howard's lies, just looked at him.
"Well, she's more interested in this Wellyman, Cleggy," said Howard, "and I know he's Compo under the welly. I can tell it's his face on the newspaper."
"Well, what are we suppose to do about it?" asked Foggy.
"No, don't ask him that!" cried Clegg, who never wanted to get into these schemes in the first place.
"He's in the public eye and he thinks he's the hero of Yorkshire," said Foggy.
"Well, I need to become a hero," said Howard.
"And just how do you think you can do that?" asked Foggy.
"Just tell me where he got the stuff from," Howard said.
Clegg and Foggy took Howard to Auntie Wainwright's. They waited outside.
Soon Auntie Wainwright came outside. "Introducing Yorkshire's next hero… whatever Howard's coming himself."
She walked down the steps and out came a figure dressed in a rainbow dressing gown with brown sandals and a bronze knight helmet. He had a gun holster around his waist, but, instead of guns, he had toy medieval swords in it.
Clegg and Foggy snickered. It was worst than Compo's suit.
"I'm only going to wear this until I rescue Marina," said Howard.
"Sure, um… whatever you're calling yourself, Howard," said Clegg.
"Let's go," said Foggy.
Nora, Ivy and Pearl Sibshaw were all sat down at Edith Pegden's house with her daughter, Glenda.
"Heroes these days," moaned Nora. "They think you can dress up, walk around the town, do a good deed and you're a hero."
"Well, this one did save my life," said Ivy.
"He's got my Howard thinking about doing something like this now," moaned Pearl.
"Well, it's better than what Foggy Dewhurst says about war heroes," said Edie. "What's heroic about killing people, blowing up stuff and wooing girls?"
"My Barry's a hero," said Glenda.
"Is that so?" asked Nora. "How?"
"On our honeymoon, I was swimming in the warm seas and I was drowning. Then he came in saved me from drowning. He looked so heroic, especially in his red swim shorts like the ones in Baywatch."
Edie spit her tea out. "You were not brought to mention tell those stories or watch those silly TV programmes. Drink your coffee!"
"Oh, mother!" Glenda moaned.
Then all the ladies drank their cups of coffee at the same time.
"Well, Howard has never taken me up here before," said Marina, as she held the arm of Wellyman. They were sitting on the biggest barn in the Yorkshire Dales.
"Well, welcome to my secret base," said Wellyman.
"This is your secret base?"
"Well, it's secret from everyone, luv," Wellyman said. "Not even the farmer knows I come up here and see if there's… um…anything a superhero should do." Underneath the Wellyman suit, Compo was doing his best to keep his superhero knowledge and attitude, which was very low indeed, up.
"Seems like you're dedicated to your work," said Marina. "I like that."
She put her head on Wellyman's chest. Underneath, Compo still wished it was Nora.
Foggy, Clegg and Howard walked to Wesley's garage. Foggy knocked on the door. The door opened, letting out a lot of smoke.
"Making progress, Wesley?" asked Foggy.
Wesley walked out and coughed. "It was running for five seconds and then it went ka-boom! Anyway, what can I do for you?"
"Howard, here – Yes, he's trying to be a superhero – would like to know if you have any transport that he could borrow?"
"Well, the Batmobile ain't in there, that's for sure," said Wesley. "And the thing I'm working on isn't ready yet."
"Hold on," said Foggy. "I think I've found just the thing."
"How are you doing, Howard?" cried Foggy.
Howard was going as fast as he could… on an old, squeaky, rusty bike. Foggy and Clegg could walk by him very easily.
"Marina's gonna be right pleased that a superhero has come to rescue her on a bike," said Clegg.
"Shh! Shh!" whispered Foggy. "He's doing his best… for once."
Compo and Marina were still on the roof of the barn. Then he saw Clegg, Foggy and Howard coming towards the field the barn was in.
"Eh, up!" he cried, standing up. "Come on, luv. I've just seen someone who needs my help. Let's go." Marina picked herself up.
Then Compo turned back to his friends. "Over – "
Then the roof underneath him collapsed and Compo and Marina were hanging on the gutters.
When they came, Compo had forgotten to shut the gate behind him so it was easy for Howard to enter the field. He saw Compo and Marina hanging.
"I'm coming, Marina!" Howard yelled, as he peddled as fast as he could. By the time he reached the barn, Compo fell behind him and Marina fell in front of him. The bike didn't fall over, but it did keep on going without Howard pedalling! He tried to steer it, but he couldn't see past Marina. He had managed to steer out of the field and went down the hill, heading back for town.
Foggy and Clegg did their best to keep up with them, but Compo, Howard and Marina had already cycled down the hill and had entered Holmfirth.
Smiler was taking a large wooden table out of Auntie Wainwright's shop.
"Be careful with that!" warned Auntie Wainwright. "One little scratch and it's coming out of your allowance."
Smiler did his best. As he was about to take the last step, he heard screaming. He looked up to see Howard, Compo and Marina cycling quickly towards him. Smiler screamed and jumped out of the way, dropping the table onto the pavement.
The bike bumped into the table and Compo, Howard and Marina flew into the shop, breaking a lot of valuables as they crashed.
Foggy and Clegg were just in time to see the whole thing, as did a lot of people who pushed behind them.
"All right! All right! Back off!" ordered the policemen who witnessed the whole thing. More policemen arrived and two were asking Auntie Wainwright what had happened.
"Well, I was dusting the vases, when these people shot in," she told them.
"What did they look like?" one of the policemen asked.
"It was a blonde woman, a man dressed in colour and a man dressed in black welly boots," Auntie Wainwright answered.
"That's Wellyman!" cried one boy.
"He's betrayed us!" cried a man.
"Let's find him and teach him a few lessons!" cried another man.
The angry crowd went for the shop, but the policemen stopped.
"You won't find him in there," said Auntie Wainwright. "He walked out."
"Then where did he go?" everyone asked.
"There he is!" a girl pointed out.
Everyone turned around to see Wellyman walking on the pavement opposite to where they were. They ran to him and gather around him, shouting jeers at him.
"Don't crowd me!" said Wellyman, who had a strange different voice. "There's enough bread crumbs for you lovely pigeons."
"You think you can hide yourself just by putting on glasses?" yelled one man.
"Glasses? I wear glasses?"
Around the corner of the nearest building, Compo, out of his Wellyman suit, Clegg, Foggy, Howard, also out of his costume, and Marina were watching.
"Nice of Eli to do me a favour," said Compo.
"What did you do for him?" asked Foggy.
"I don't know," said Compo.
Meanwhile, Howard and Marina were looking at each other.
"I must say, Howard," said Marina, "that outfit suits you and what you did…"
Howard went for her.
"…was stupid," Marina said.
"I like it," she said. "Oh, Howard."
"Oh, Marina," said Howard. They went to embrace.
"Oh, Howard!" cried a third voice.
They stopped. Howard knew that voice. He turned to Compo, Clegg and Foggy. "Tell me that was one of you."
The trio shook their heads.
Howard faced the street… and Pearl.
"Oh, Pearl," said Howard. "It's not what you think it is. I was just…"
"Isn't it?" said Pearl, marching to him. "I think it's the same thought I have had everyday since you met her."
"What are you talking about?" scoffed Howard. "I haven't even seen this woman in my life."
Pearl turned to Clegg. "Is this true, Clegg?"
Clegg didn't know what to say or want to say anything.
Pearl then back to face Howard; only he wasn't with Marina! She turned around and saw Howard running across the street. Pearl chased after him.
"Well, I'm a lonely woman and you're a lonely man, aren't you, Norman Clegg?" said Marina, stroking his face.
"I think you're better off being alone," spluttered Clegg nervously. "I know I do!" And he ran off, chased by Marina.
"Everything back to normal, eh?" said Compo to Foggy.
"Quite," agreed Foggy.
They began to walk out when Compo saw Nora Batty walking by. When she past, he followed her. Then a big scream came. A laughing Compo was running the other way, being chased by Nora Batty.
"Now it is back to normal," chuckled Foggy, as he walked back home.