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The People’s Friend - April 07, 2018

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Everything you need to
know about open banking
Tasty ways to
eat more veg
April 7, 2018 No. 7721
�30
The best fiction!
Ultimate Superfood Salad
? A comedy set in 1883 by Tony Redcliffe
? Alice Elliott?s cherry-blossom romance
The Delights Of
Dunfermline
Explore this historic Fife town
Simple
step by
step
project
WIN �0
worth of
great
garden
gadgets
Polly
Pullar
shares her
fascination
for frogs
Make a
beautiful
floral
wreath
for spring
ddddddddddddd
UK Off-sale date - 11-Apr-18
dd
�30
07-Apr- 2018
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
7
feel-good stories
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
The People?s Friend Special
No 155, priced �99
On sale
now!
l 100-page bumper issue
l 14 brand-new short stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 858, priced �49
Cover Artwork: Dunfermline, Fife, by J. Campbell Kerr.
l A gripping murder mystery
by Charlotte McFall
Fiction
Regulars
Features
4 Fire Flowers
by Alice Elliott
15 Play Time
by Eirin Thompson
21 The Way We We re
by Pauline Bradbury
23 SERIES Busy Bees
by Della Galton
28 SERIAL Alfred?s
Emporium
by Louise J. Stevens
41 Growing Closer
by Patsy Collins
47 A Change Of Diet
by Louise McIvor
53 Mr Johnson?s Resolution
by Tony Redcliffe
58 SERIAL The Secret Of
Trefusis Cove
by Pat Thornborough
79 A Letter From The War
by Barbara Dynes
85 WEEKLY SOAP
Riverside
by Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
22 Reader Offer: Spring
Jewels
25 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: healthy recipes
packed with nutritious
vegetables
51 Our Next Issue
63 From The Manse
Window
71 Would You Believe It?
72 Reader Offer: Half Price
Million Bells
73 Craft: how to create
your own lovely spring
flower arrangement
83 Extra Puzzles
86 Between Friends
8 Willie Shand explores
Dunfermline?s historic
heart
27 Pets & Vets ? when is it
time to say goodbye?
44 Sarah Pennells
discusses open banking
55 Win fabulous gardening
equipment worth �0
65 Simon Whaley visits
some favourite TV
puppets in
Wolverhampton
68 Alexandra Campbell
explains how to make
your garden easier to
access
76 Polly Pullar rekindles
her fondness for frogs
with a new project
P68
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Every spring, the trees
in my local park put on
a stunning display of
pink and white
blossoms. Whoever
originally planted them
took great care to
alternate the colours,
and the result is
spectacular ? but I
imagine it must pale
into insignificance
when compared to
Japan?s famous cherry
blossom displays. Our
opening story this
week, ?Fire Flowers? by
Alice Elliott, is set
against the backdrop of
this most lovely of
seasons in Tokyo, and I
thoroughly enjoyed
reading it. You?ll find it
on page 4.
Spring is also in the
air for Polly Pullar, who
shares the amazing
photographs she took
of her frogspawn
project on page 76. It
truly is nature in closeup, and Polly?s
enthusiasm for these
tiny amphibians is
infectious.
I?m sure I?m not the
only person suffering a
few aches and pains as
I try to get my garden in
shape after the winter!
If you?re finding your
plot harder to manage
than it used to be,
Alexandra Campbell has
good advice on page 68
on how to make
gardens more
accessible for all.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
twitter.com/@TheFriendMag
Hannah?s new
friends wanted to
share their culture
with her . . .
Illustration by Gerard Fay.
I
Fire Flowers
T was the first sunny
Saturday of the year and
Hannah lost no time in
rushing out to
Greenwich Park to enjoy
the pleasant weather.
It would seem that most
of East London had had the
same idea. There were
throngs of people
everywhere and it was
barely nine in the morning.
Still, Hannah was
determined to soak up the
loveliness of the spring
weekend, even if it meant
sharing the beauty of the
park with the crowds.
The trees were in full
blossom and their tiny
flowers in pastel colours
danced in the light breeze
against the backdrop of the
royal blue sky.
Hannah?s heart gave a
jolt as she turned a corner
and came across a stunning
avenue of cherry blossom.
She?d know the delicate
shape anywhere, and their
distinctive light pink colour.
As she gazed up, the
shouts and squeals of the
people around her seemed
to disappear, and Hannah
travelled twelve years back
in time to Shinjuku Gyoen,
arguably the most beautiful
park in the vast urban
metropolis of Tokyo.
Her thoughts turned to
the year she had spent in
Japan, all that time ago,
and she became lost in her
memories of culture,
experience and just the
smallest tinge of regret.
Hannah was only twentythree when she ventured to
the Far East looking for a
real adventure before
settling into the normalities
of adult life.
Having grown up in a tiny
village in Shropshire, it was
time to see the world.
When she read in the
newspaper one day that
English speakers were
needed to go out and teach
in Japanese schools, it was
too good an opportunity to
miss.
She was delighted, if a
little terrified, to be offered
the job and placed in a
school in the west of Tokyo.
She?d been struck by how
clean Tokyo felt for a
capital city, with its huge
screens and neon lights
everywhere. The sounds of
bright jingles filled the air
and the atmosphere
smelled of spicy food and
sweet treats.
A guidebook became her
best friend, and she grew
accustomed to picking food
from photos on menus and
waving ?hello? and ?thank
you? before picking up the
basics of Japanese
vocabulary.
Wherever she looked
there were people.
Hundreds crossed the road
at huge zebra crossings,
where people crossed
diagonally as well as
directly over the street. It
was a huge difference from
Shropshire.
Hannah didn?t have
much time to feel
intimidated by this new
world, though, as her
teaching role was
demanding and she was
determined to succeed.
She found she got on
well with the children in
her class, who stared at
her pale skin and light
hair.
She tried hard to make
the learning process fun
and they often drew
pictures and sang songs.
Everyone enjoyed ?Head,
Shoulders, Knees And
Toes?.
It was at school that
Hannah met Akihiro. He
was working as a teacher,
too, and specialised in art.
?Call me Aki. It?s easier
to pronounce.?
He?d grinned and she?d
instantly been drawn to his
SHORT STORY BY ALICE ELLIOTT 5
deep brown eyes and
infectious laugh. His glossy
hair was always impeccably
styled and he had a liking
for loud checked shirts.
?Hannah?s a Japanese
name, too,? he?d told her.
That explained the look
of surprise several of the
other teachers had given
her when she told them her
first name.
?We spell it slightly
differently but the
pronunciation is the same.
It means ?flower?.?
As the new girl, Hannah
made an effort to chat to
all the teachers. She?d ask
them about themselves
and, having taken lessons
at the local community
centre, asked if she could
practise her Japanese with
them, too.
It was hard at times,
though. Hannah had never
been a newcomer before.
She saw other western
faces around Tokyo, of
course, but she was the
only foreign person at the
school.
At happy moments it
made her feel like some
kind of celebrity, but during
lonelier times she felt like
an oddity, especially as she
was at least head and
shoulders taller than most
of the other staff.
Hannah missed her
family. She missed her
friends, too, and shopping
in town.
In Japan she struggled to
find anything to fit her. It
wasn?t that she?d put on
weight, but with her tall
frame and womanly curves,
Hannah had to seek out
larger dress sizes in shops,
which was something she?d
never had to do before.
She had always quite
liked her figure, but with
petite women all around
her, she felt like a giant in
comparison.
Hannah hadn?t been in
Japan very long when the
cherry blossom arrived.
She?d seen photos in her
guidebook, but witnessing
it in full bloom for the first
time surpassed all
expectations.
She wrote home to her
parents.
It?s like a magical
wonderland where the trees
have been dipped in pink
candy floss.
?We call the cherry
blossom sakura,? Aki had
told her. ?I?m going to
Shinjuku Gyoen with some
friends this Saturday. Why
don?t you join us?
?The sakura will be
beautiful there and we?l l be
having something called a
hanami. And before you
ask, it?s the best way to
enjoy the cherry blossom.?
It turned out that a
hanami was somewhere
between a picnic and a
festival specially for viewing
the blossoms.
Hannah arrived at
Shinjuku Gyoen to find Aki
and his friends holding
picnic blankets and baskets
filled to the brim with
delicious-looking food.
?I didn?t know!? she said,
panicking and wondering if
she had time to run to the
nearest convenience stores
to pick up something
quickly.
?Relax.? Aki smiled.
?You?re our guest and we
wanted it to be a surprise.?
Soon Hannah found
herself sitting right in the
midst of the powder-pink
blossom, eating homemade sushi rolls and
sipping a cool drink which
tasted like peaches.
It was as if she?d just
arrived at her very own
paradise.
?I like hanami.? She
smiled at Aki, who had got
his sketchbook out and was
busy outlining the shape of
the trees.
?Me, too. Remember how
I told you that your name
means ?flower? in
Japanese? Well mi means
?to see?, so hanami means
?see flowers?.?
?Oh, yes!? She laughed,
having only just realised.
?It?s certainly a stunning
sight. Thank you for
inviting me, Aki.?
Hannah thought she
heard him murmuring
something about it being
his pleasure, but he was
concentrating fully on his
new picture.
She let him continue with
his work and went back to
marvelling at the fragile
wonder of the sakura all
around her.
* * * *
The year moved on and
soon they were into the
rainy season which runs
throughout June with
regular showers every day.
The combination of warmth
and lots of moisture meant
the air felt very humid.
?It?s awful.? Emi was one
of the other teachers at
school. ?My hair goes all
fuzzy in the rain.?
Hannah smiled. Emi?s
hair, usually so immaculate,
was looking a little on the
frizzy side.
?Aki laughs at me every
year and hands me flyers
advertising hair products.
What a comedian!?
?He?s always joking
make his move.
She thought back to that
heady day under the
cherry blossom. Everything
seemed much simpler back
then.
* * * *
The temperature grew
hotter as June turned into
July, and humidity was still
very high.
?Stay indoors where
there?s air conditioning,?
the teachers advised. ?It?s
far too hot and steamy to
be outside.?
Hannah reluctantly
agreed. It had become too
Hannah was sure Aki would
have a girlfriend
around,? Hannah agreed.
Whenever she saw Aki he
was smiling and nearly
always surrounded by a
gaggle of female teachers.
Hannah was sure he?d have
a girlfriend as his fun-loving
nature was complemented
by good looks. Plus, he
matched Hannah?s height,
which singled him out in
her book.
It wasn?t long afterwards,
when she caught his eye in
the corridor one afternoon,
that Hannah realised, with
a slight flutter of her heart
and a blush creeping up
her throat, that she had
developed a crush on Aki.
?No,? Emi had replied,
when Hannah had tried to
ask as casually as possible
if he was attached. ?He has
loads of friends who are
girls, but no-one special.?
It became hard, seeing
Aki every day. Hannah
found herself stuttering
over conversations that
had previously been easy
and taking long walks at
lunchtimes to avoid him in
the staff room.
Although Aki was always
friendly and full of smiles
whenever he saw her,
Hannah never felt any
indication that he felt the
same way.
Surely, if he was anything
like guys back home, he?d
find some way of making
his feelings known, even if
it came down to asking one
of his friends to test the
water on his behalf, or
waiting till a staff party to
oppressive to take long
walks. She?d have to be
brave and face Aki again.
?It?s funny,? she
commented to Emi one
lunchtime towards the end
of July. ?At home we flock
outdoors when the sun
shines, while here
everyone tries to avoid it.
?But then,? she
reasoned, ?our summers
are usually so short we feel
a lot of pressure to enjoy
them while we can.?
?Whilst here the season
lasts a long four months.?
Aki had walked over and
joined the conversation.
?But, you know, we don?t
stay indoors for the whole
of summer.
?It?s August soon and
that means it?s time for
fireworks. In fact, keep
next Saturday free. I feel I
haven?t seen you in ages.?
The following week
Hannah met Aki and his
friends again, at a big field
close to the Tamagawa
River.
She?d taken the Tokyo
Metro over whilst
butterflies fluttered round
her stomach relentlessly
for the whole of the
journey.
Hannah was somewhat
surprised when Aki told
her to meet them at two in
the afternoon. Sunset was
hours away.
This time she came
prepared with a big bottle
of peach-flavoured iced tea
and a box of traditional
Japanese sweets
6
called wagashi, made
with soft dough, lots of
sugar and red bean paste.
As soon as Hannah
reached the field, she
understood why Aki had
suggested meeting early.
The whole place was
already packed with
people.
Stalls selling all manner
of food filled the hot
summer air with delicious
smells and the jingles
Hannah had become
familiar with now sang out
across the crowds.
Young women glided
around in elegant kimonos,
which, Aki explained, was
the traditional Japanese
outfit for the firework
season.
Hannah forgot her nerves
as they browsed the stalls,
stood in a few queues and
then chose a spot to sit
down on a picnic blanket
and enjoy some hot
okonomiyaki, a Japanese
savoury pancake served
with seafood and shredded
vegetables, all washed
down with plastic cups of
Hannah?s iced tea with the
wagashi for afters.
?It?s getting dark,? Aki
said. It was about half past
six. ?Almost time for the
hanabi to start.?
?There?s my name again.?
Hannah thought back to
the cherry blossoms. ?What
does it mean this time??
?It?s the way we refer to
fireworks. Bi is Japanese
for fire, so hanabi
translates as fire flowers.?
?That?s a beautiful
description,? Hannah
replied as she thought of
the sky lighting up with
whizzes, bangs and pops
every Bonfire Night at
home. ?It?s so different to
experience fireworks in the
summer.?
There was still a delicious
warmth in the air and she
barely needed the light
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
magazine
cardigan she?d brought with
her. The nerves were
returning but she was
determined to keep the
conversation going.
?In the UK we have our
fireworks on November the
fifth, so we wrap up in the
warmest clothes we can
find. Hats, gloves, scarves,
wellies, the lot!?
?Why have fireworks at
such a cold time of year??
Aki asked.
?We mark the anniversary
of something called the
Gunpowder Plot.? Hannah
told him the history of Guy
Fawkes.
?But I suppose,? she went
on, ?it?s convenient that it
falls at the start of the dark
nights when dusk arrives in
the afternoon. If we were to
have fireworks in our
summertime we wouldn?t
be able to set them off until
about ten in the evening!?
?Ah.? Aki grinned,
understanding.
The shorter summer days
in Japan had felt strange to
Hannah at first, and though
she was used to them now,
she still missed the long
evenings back home.
A hush had descended on
the crowd.
?They?re coming,? Aki
whispered.
He was right. The night
sky was suddenly filled with
silver stars and ruby red
swirls that whizzed and
spun through their fleeting
but spectacular lives.
She turned to him for a
moment as the light from
the fireworks brightened
his dark eyes and they
became locked in each
other?s gaze.
But then a whoop from
the crowd broke the spell
and they were looking
upwards again as this time
the fireworks became
swarms of dazzling blue
birds.
Eventually it was time for
the finale as the cracks and
pops went into overdrive
and what looked like a
whole field of wildflowers
came into bloom all over
the night?s sky, truly living
up to the name hanabi.
Hannah stole another
peep at Aki. Her heart was
pounding and she felt an
indescribable urge to lean
over and take his hand, but
Aki sat with his eyes fixed
on the sky and she didn?t
feel able to move any closer
towards him.
It was the perfect
atmosphere for romance to
bloom, but Hannah felt
glued to the spot with her
mouth taped shut, and any
love in the air faded away
as the last firework spun
through the balmy night
and showered the sky in a
final hurrah.
* * * *
The spring breeze tousled
Hannah?s hair and all at
once, she was back in
Greenwich Park. She felt
her eyes well up a little.
That lost moment at the
hanabi had been a source
of sadness for a long time
afterwards, as the right
time to tell Aki her feelings
never arose again whilst
she was in Tokyo.
?Mummy!?
All of a sudden a darkhaired and brown-eyed
little girl bounded over and
into Hannah?s arms. She
was chased by a man of the
same colouring.
?Got you!? He laughed,
kissing both the child and
Hannah in turn.
?Look up, Sakura,?
Hannah said to her
daughter as she continued
to cuddle her close. ?This is
your flower. We called you
after the cherry blossom we
love so much.?
?Let?s have a photo of my
two beautiful flowers,? Aki
said as he captured the
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image of his wife and
daughter standing beneath
the clouds of pink blossom.
Hannah had returned
home after her year in
Japan in a dense fog of
regret, but nevertheless,
remained in touch with Aki
through letters and e-mails.
She told him how she?d
been successful with a
teaching job in London and
was overjoyed when he
announced he was coming
over to the UK for a
sabbatical some five years
later.
This time they were older
and slightly more confident
and, like fallen blossom in
the spring breeze, that
shyness and fear which had
felt so restricting when she
was younger had all but
blown away.
?I didn?t think you were
interested,? Hannah had
said as they?d walked by
the Thames hand in hand
not long after Aki?s arrival
in London.
?Why?? Aki asked, giving
her hand a little squeeze.
?You never made a
move!?
?That?s your job!?
They were both giggling
now.
?Another cultural
difference.? Aki slung his
arm around Hannah. ?In
Japan, it?s always the man
who waits for the girl to
give the signal, and it would
be bad manners to speak
up about his feelings before
then.?
?Well,? Hannah had said,
snuggling into Aki?s
shoulder, ?we got there in
the end.?
Aki never returned home,
apart from holidays with his
new family, of course. It
had been easy to choose a
name for their baby
daughter.
Sakura, their own cherry
blossom, stayed with them
all year round. n
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loving
LEGO.
STV Productions.
This week we?re
Plant Plastics
The ever-innovative LEGO is finding
new ways to reduce its use of
oil-based plastic. In future, leaves,
bushes and trees will be made from
plant-based plastic sourced from
sugar cane, and will be appearing in
LEGO boxes this year.
Polar First
The first polar bear cub to be born in
the UK for 25 years has emerged at the
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland?s
Highland Wildlife Park. The cub made
its debut outside in March accompanied
by mum Victoria. It?s a welcome step
forward for polar bear conservation.
BITS & PIECES 7
Life 101
There are some great tips on how to
?Live Well To 101? from practising
GP and TV doctor Dawn Harper. It?s
all about small, easy steps to make
gentle improvements to your health.
Published by Headline Home, priced
�.99, you can buy it online and
from bookstores now.
Healthy Snack
The 2018 Chepstow Walking Festival
takes place from April 4-8. Choose from
a range of walks through the stunning
Wye Valley at levels from easy to
strenuous, taken by experienced leaders,
Find routes and booking details at
www.walksinchepstow.co.uk.
Crisps that count towards your five a
day? Is this too good to be true? It seems
not, as Nim?s
Fruit Crisps are
simply thinly
sliced fruit and
vegetable slices,
which are
air-dried ? not
fried ? and are
full of fibre.
They?re �a
pack from
selected Tesco
stores.
Alamy.
Walking The Wye
Birthday greetings to TV wildlife
presenter Michaela Strachan,
fifty-two on April 7. From her early
days on ?The Really Wild Show? to
?Springwatch? and ?Autumnwatch?,
she brings a big smile to our screens.
Back To Craiglang
Our favourite pensioners behaving
badly, Jack and Victor, are back,
bringing mischief to the residents
of Craiglang in the eighth series
of ?Still Game? on BBC1. If you?ve
missed them so far, catch up with
the fun online on the BBC iPlayer.
Details correct at time of going to press.
www.shutterfly.com/
ideas/close-to-home/
BBC Studios/Robert
Pereira Hind.
iStock.
A Wild Birthday Wish
My Word!
Photoprint company Shutterfly has found
10 emotions with no English equivalent.
We love ?talanoa?, Hindi/Fijian for ?the
sharing of stories and ideas in order to
foster understanding, build relationships
and resolve problems between people?!
Sew Good!
From April 1 online and April 5 in
store, Aldi?s Hobby and Craft range
offers this sewing machine for only
�.99. With 20 types of stitch,
including overedge and blind stitch,
it?s suitable for all from beginners to
experts. Hurry ? stocks are limited!
Willie Shand finds much to
see and do in the ancient
capital of Scotland.
The Delights Of
This
week?s
cover
feature
Dunfermline
Factfile
n Queen Margaret
successfully gave birth to
eight children and was
looked to by later
Queens for protection in
childbirth. It?s said that
an anxious Mary, Queen
of Scots, at the birth of
James VI, requested
Margaret?s head and hair
be brought to Edinburgh
Castle to make sure all
went well.
Photographs by Willie Shand.
n There?s an old saying
? don?t put all your eggs
in one basket. However,
Andrew Carnegie?s
advice, and who better
to give it, was to ?put all
your good eggs in one
basket and then watch
that basket.?
n Dunfermline?s Abbot?s
House is over 500 years
old and was built by the
Abbots of Dunfermline.
Locally it?s known as the
Pink Hoose, and seeing
it, you don?t need to ask
why. This bright colour
would originally have
been created using paint
containing bull?s blood.
A
S a quantity
surveyor, my career
was to both begin
and, almost 40
years later, end in
the ancient city and burgh
of Dunfermline.
For some strange reason,
in the early days, our lunch
break extended to an hour
and a quarter. That, of
course, suited me just fine.
Usually, by about 11 a.m.,
I had finished off my lunch
box, leaving me the whole
break to head out with the
camera.
Mind you, some places
like Pittencrieff Park, needed
a fair sprint to get there and
back before my colleagues
began to wonder ? where?s
Willie?
No longer facing these
time pressures, I thought I?d
return today for a more
leisurely stroll around the
town ? a town with more
than a few royal and indeed
saintly connections and a
town that played a major
part in shaping the Scotland
we know today.
Dunfermline has many
distinguished buildings but
few more so than the City
Chambers at the foot of the
high street.
It was intended to be the
grand County Buildings of
Fife and it no doubt would
have served its function
well. There was only one
wee problem. The powers
that be awarded the
distinction of County Town
to Cupar.
Oh, well, it may have
missed out on that honour
but at least it can still claim
to have been an ancient
Capital of Scotland.
The present building of
1879, with its 117-feet-tall
tower and French Gothic
Baronial turrets, is only the
latest in a line of town
houses.
Initially, the architect
hadn?t intended the tower
to be nearly so high, but
when the council asked him
to add a four-faced clock
that would be visible to all
parts of the town, he had to
extend it upwards by about
43 feet.
Notice the carved figure
beneath the north oriel
window. He certainly has a
heavy load to bear! Maybe
less noticed is the cannon
that lies on the pavement
beneath him.
When the Carron Iron
Works were seeking
permission from the council
in 1771 to establish an iron
foundry in Dunfermline,
they presented the town
with this cannon as a
sweetener.
In the end the council
refused them permission
Dunfermline
City Chambers.
THIS WEEK?S COVER FEATURE 9
Andrew Carnegie statue
in Pittencrieff Park.
but kept the cannon just the
same. For many years it
served well as a bollard to
protect the corner of the
building from being hit by
carts.
However, during the
wartime blackouts, as folk
kept walking into it, it was
relieved of its duty.
A short walk down the
cobbled Kirkgate leads to
the gates of Dunfermline
Abbey and to the Maygate.
You?ll pass a few old
watering holes along the
way including the Creepy
Old Pub, Tappie Toories and
the Old Inn ? Dunfermline?s
oldest public house.
The Kirkgate leads round
to Maygate and to the
striking pink-painted Abbot
House. This is one of the
best known of the town?s
old houses. And lucky we
are to see it, too, for it was
one of only a few buildings
to survive the Great Fire of
1624.
Just next door is the
Carnegie Library.
Dunfermline was the home
town of Andrew Carnegie
? the man who from
nothing rose to become the
richest man in the world.
His birthplace at the
corner of Priory Lane and
Moodie Street is now an
excellent museum relating
his life?s story.
At a young age Andrew
emigrated with his parents
to Pennsylvania. From a
bobbin boy then telegram
boy to the King of Steel,
Exotic plants in
the greenhouse.
Andrew climbed his way to
the top.
He never forgot his home
town, though, gifting it the
swimming baths and then
in 1881 its Free Library.
Having made his vast
fortune, Andrew had still
one job to do ? spend it.
Not on himself, but for the
good of others. He had a
simple philosophy: to die
rich was to die disgraced.
Throughout the world he
donated some 8,000 church
organs and around 2,800
libraries. This one at
Dunfermline was the first.
One of his greatest gifts to
Dunfermline can be
accessed from his old
doorstep ? Pittencrieff Park
and Glen. He gifted it to the
people of Dunfermline in
1903.
With formal gardens,
miles of paths to follow
through 66 acres of park
and woodland above the
Tower Burn, it?s a perfect
escape from the town
whatever the season.
In the landscaped
greenhouses with their
tropical plants and fish
pond, it?s easy to sit down
and lose track of time ? as, I
must admit, I did on one or
two lunchtime visits!
The kids will enjoy
watching the peacocks and
feeding the squirrels in the
Glen. The main entrance to
the Glen is through the
impressive wrought iron
Louise Carnegie gates at the
foot of Bridge Street.
From them a wide avenue
leads directly to a bronze
statue of Andrew Carnegie
himself. While most statues
of famous people are
erected after their death,
this one is unusual in that it
was erected during his
lifetime. So well loved was
Andrew that more than
20,000 people turned up for
the unveiling.
There are two or three
interesting old buildings in
the Park. Pittencrieff House,
beautifully restored by
architect Sir Robert Lorimer,
dates from 1610. Its brightly
coloured walls cheer up
even the dullest of days.
Along from it is the
Art-Deco Glen Pavilion and
between them, a rather rare
listed building that might
well go unnoticed. It?s a
quaint little telephone kiosk
that?s been standing here
since 1928.
None of these buildings,
however, can compete in
antiquity with Malcolm
Canmore?s Tower. Not a lot
remains of his old castle
which stands on a high
rocky promontory above the
Tower Burn.
It?s no shame to it,
though. It?s been there for
almost 1,000 years. It would
be this tower that?s referred
to in the ballad of Sir Patrick
Spens:
The King sits in
Dunfermline toun
Drinkin the blude-reid
wine . . .
This is the tower that
features in the town crest
and it?s from it, too ? the
Dun-Fiar-linne (the fortified
mound by the crooked
stream) ? that the town
takes its name.
Here in Dunfermline, in
1070, King Malcolm married
the Saxon Princess Margaret
? later to become Saint
Margaret.
It was only by chance that
Malcolm and Margaret?s
paths crossed. During the
Norman Conquest Margaret
had decided to flee England
and head for Hungary.
The weather, however,
drove her on to the shores
of Scotland where, at court,
she met the rough and wild
Malcolm. It was love at first
sight and the two were
soon wed.
In contrast to Malcolm,
Margaret was refined and
profoundly religious. A deep
tunnel accessed from
Chalmers Street leads to a
small cave that once stood
above the glen burn,
where the Queen
10
would regularly go to
find solitude and to pray.
Apparently Malcolm
followed her one day as he
was suspicious as to why
she kept coming here.
When Malcolm found her at
prayer he, as an act of
penance for his doubt,
decorated and fitted out the
cave for her.
Her influence was to
gradually rub off on
Malcolm and on Scotland,
raising it to a much higher
level of civilisation. In 1069,
Queen Margaret founded a
priory. Her church now lies
beneath the nave of the
abbey founded by her son,
David I.
To help pilgrims cross the
wide Firth of Forth, she
founded the Queen?s Ferry.
The towns on either side of
the Forth are still known as
North and South
Queensferry.
Many Kings lie at rest in
Dunfermline as Malcolm
was to make this the new
royal burial place instead of
Iona. It became the
Westminster Abbey of
Scotland. Outside the east
end of the church you?ll find
St Margaret?s Shrine.
There?s a lot to see
around the abbey and
abbey church, the adjacent
refectory, pends and palace,
and every stone has its story
to tell.
A peacock at the palace.
Want to
know
more?
Melrose Abbey where
Bruce?s heart is buried.
The old abbey suffered
badly at the hands of
Edward I and during the
Reformation in 1560. It?s to
the latter we owe the need
for those heavy stone
buttresses strengthening the
nave.
Even in death, Margaret
and Malcolm were
inseparable. When the
Queen learned of her
husband and son?s death in
battle she, too, died, content
to accept it all as God?s will.
Both Margaret and
Malcolm were laid to rest in
the church they had
founded.
That rest, however, was to
be upset when, around a
century and a half later, the
Pope decided to make
Margaret a saint.
As befitting such honour,
it seemed only right that
she be given a grand new
tomb in the church choir.
So, up she was dug and
with great ceremony,
carried to her new spot.
But they didn?t get far.
The further down the aisle
they carried her, the heavier
she became until the
bearers had just to lay her
down.
Clearly Margaret wasn?t
for going anywhere without
Malcolm, so up he was dug,
too, and the proceedings
were able to continue.
High above her shrine,
and in bold lettering around
the church tower, are the
words King Robert the
Bruce. Bruce is buried
beneath the pulpit of the
abbey church.
It was only by chance his
grave of 1329 was
discovered in 1818. They
knew it was Bruce as he
was still wrapped in the
cloth of gold and his heart
had been removed.
His heart is buried some
distance away at Melrose
Abbey. How this came to
be is that Bruce, realising
he could never fulfil his
desire to go on a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land and fight
against the Turks, asked his
loyal companion, Sir James
Douglas, to go and to take
with him his heart.
After Bruce died, his heart
was removed and placed in
a silver casket. Sir James
duly set off to fulfil his
promise. However, when he
reached Spain he was
side-tracked into helping
their king to fight another
battle. He could have said
no but it appears Sir James
?just never could get enuch
o? fechtin??.
He?d have been better to
have said no to this one,
though. Cornered and
outnumbered, he threw the
casket, shouting, ?Pass first
in fight as thou wert wont to
do, and Douglas will follow
thee or die.? He did both!
The polished brass etching
that covers Bruce?s resting
place was gifted by the Earl
of Elgin, a direct descendant
of the Bruce.
A walk round these parts
of old Dunfermline may only
add up to a couple of miles,
but it spans many centuries.
At least today I?m in no
hurry to rush back to the
office! n
Getting there
By road:
the town lies
off the M90,
just north
of the
Queensferry
Crossing
Bridge.
By rail:
regular trains make the
journey in 35 minutes
from Edinburgh Waverley.
Dunfermline Abbey and Palace are in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Open all year.
Abbey Church is open to the public between March and October: dunfermlineabbey.com
Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum: www.carnegiebirthplace.com.
MADDIE?S WORLD 13
?We always look
forward to the Easter
break with glee?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg and iStock.
O
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
N the village
hot-cross-bun
morning, the hall
was a hive of
activity as
organisers put out the tables
and warmed up the buns
before everyone else arrived.
There was a debate ? as
there is every year ? about
how we usually serve up on
this annual Good Friday
event. Butter in a bowl on
the tables, or on the plates
with the buns?
And should we keep the
buns warm in the hostess
trolley (my preference), or
serve them straight from the
oven?
The vicar arrived after the
morning service, carrying a
large and rugged wooden
cross. She placed it in the
lobby cupboard, which was
already stuffed with coats,
bags, a fluorescent jacket
and a toddler?s scooter, and
made her entrance into the
busy hall.
Then came the church
choir, after their practice
following the sombre Good
Friday service.
The sun was shining and
we hoped it was to be a
sign of good weather for the
entire Easter weekend.
Villagers were cheery,
smiling, with that feeling of
happy expectation about the
four days ahead of us.
Mr Costner and his
volunteers at the community
shop would no doubt be
busy this morning, but not
half as unpleasantly jampacked-busy as the town?s
supermarkets. The nearby
seaside resorts, too, were
already filling up with
holidaymakers.
In Lush Places, we?re far
from the madding crowd,
thank goodness, and we
always look forward to the
Easter break with glee.
Here in the hall, our
hot-cross-bun morning was
being held to raise money
for the village fete in the
summer.
We?ll be having big
celebrations again and will
close off the village square
to traffic and fill it with
tables and chairs for
afternoon teas, with a large
lorry in front of our house,
set up for live music.
Whether or not Mr Grigg
and I will reprise our Punch
and Judy show is a moot
point.
The adults loved it, but
some of the children were
upset when the crocodile
ate the baby instead of the
sausages.
Back in the here and now,
people in their Good Friday
best (one man in a natty
striped blazer, women with
soft, pastel scarves and
painted nails) arrived from
the morning service to have
a bun, a tea or coffee and a
natter with fellow villagers
who had given church a
miss.
Churchgoers or otherwise,
we are all friends here. The
hall comprised a mixture of
farmers, retirees, company
directors, advertising
executives, librarians,
teachers, B&B proprietors,
engineers, receptionists,
churchgoers, estate agents,
publican, archaeologist and
furniture store owner.
The hot-cross buns cooled
down rather too quickly,
because they?d been served
straight from the oven on a
big plate while customers
came in just a few at a time.
However, everyone
seemed very happy and
didn?t seem to mind. Which
is just as well, really, as I
was secretly seething
because no-one ever listens
to me. I know ? youngest
child syndrome.
Then it was time for the
raffle.
The archaeologist won
liquid soap, which is
probably good for fingernails
that delve into soil for a
living, and his teacher wife
won a box of chocolates.
?We?ll be having an
indulgent evening in now,?
the archaeologist said.
Soap and chocolates.
What a winning
combination.
The photographer won
some exotic hand cream
and I didn?t win anything,
despite spending a fiver on
tickets. Still, it was all for a
good cause.
I enjoyed a rather nice
? but cold ? hot-cross bun,
safe in the knowledge that
we?d raised a substantial
amount of money towards
the entertainment for our
summer fete. n
Maddie enjoys a
cold hot-cross bun.
Play
Time
SHORT STORY BY EIRIN THOMPSON 15
Emily loved the park,
and I was with her
every step of the way!
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
I
MET the rudest man at
the children?s playpark
on Monday.
I?d gone there with my
little girl, Emily, and was
helping her up the steps of
the slide, as she?s still a bit
small to manage on her
own.
Coming behind her was a
tiny boy. He was grasping
the handrails with all his
might and trying to launch
himself up the steps, but he
couldn?t quite do it.
?Need a hand?? I asked
him and gripped the waist
of his coat to give him the
gentlest boost.
?Don?t do that, please!?
a man?s voice called loudly.
I looked up to see who
was being told off and was
surprised and horrified to
realise that it was me!
The man was
approaching in long strides,
with an impatient look on
his face.
?I?m sorry,? I said. ?Have
I put my foot in it? Had you
told him not to go on the
slide??
?Certainly not,? the man
replied. ?I told him to have
a go if he thought he could
manage it, but he?ll never
get the chance to learn for
himself if other people?s
parents keep lifting him and
catching him.?
Ouch. That was me told.
?Daddy, I?m stuck!? the
tiny boy shouted.
?So what do you think
you might do?? the cross
man called back.
?I?m stuck!? the boy
repeated.
?Yes,? the man said. ?But
you know the rule ? if you
get yourself into it, you get
yourself out of it.?
I looked at the boy.
Would he start to cry? I
knew Emily would if I spoke
to her like that when she
was in need.
But he didn?t. With an
angry face he slowly
managed to haul himself on
to the very top of the slide
and into a sitting position.
?So long, suckers!? the
tiny boy cried, then sailed
down the shiny metal slope
without a care in the world.
?His speech is very clear,?
I said to the man, with what
I hoped was a distinct edge
to my voice.
I would have been
mortified if Emily had come
out with something like
that.
But he didn?t react with
any embarrassment.
?Yes, that?s because I
don?t talk to him like he?s
an idiot. It?s just as easy to
learn to say ?train? as it is
to learn ?choo-choo?. We
don?t have any of that
?Moo-cow? nonsense in our
house.?
?Oh,? was all I managed
to say.
Emily went to play in the
sandpit and I sat down on a
nearby bench where I could
keep an eye on her. To my
surprise, the man followed
and sat beside me.
?What age is your
daughter?? he asked me
after a minute.
?Emily is two and a half,?
I said proudly.
I thought he would say
something complimentary,
because that?s what normal
people do. But not him.
?Have you had her eyes
tested?? he asked instead.
?No,? I answered in
surprise.
?You should,? he replied.
?I think she needs glasses.?
He thought she needed
glasses? He?d only spotted
her five minutes ago. I?d
lived with her for over two
years and the idea had
never entered my mind!
?Are you an optician?? I
asked, hoping vehemently
that he wasn?t and would
have to admit it.
?No. But I know
children,? he said.
?Oh, so you have lots of
them,? I replied.
?No. Just Leo,? the man
replied. ?The eye test is free
for children, so there?s no
reason not to. I?m Murray.
And you are??
?Frances,? I told him,
though I couldn?t imagine
why he wanted to know,
since he didn?t seem to
think very highly of me.
?Frances,? he repeated,
and gave me an appraising
look, as if to decide
whether I was, in fact,
correct about this at least.
?Leo, time to go home
and make dinner,? Murray
shouted across the
playpark.
I pictured the tiny boy
standing on a stool at a
sink full of potatoes.
?If you can eat them, you
can peel them,? I imagined
his father barking at him.
* * * *
I made Emily an
appointment with the
optician for Wednesday
morning.
She needed glasses.
I felt horrible. I was
supposed to be the doting
parent and I hadn?t even
noticed that my daughter
was struggling to do
something as basic as see
properly. It had taken a
stranger to point it out.
Seeing my little girl?s face
weighed down with a set of
frames ? it seemed like the
end of her carefree days
and the start of a more
serious era.
?Don?t think of it like
that,? the optician advised.
?Look at her trying them on
? she?s having a ball. Lots
of children like having
glasses. And there are so
many styles to choose
from.?
I let Emily pick whichever
ones she wanted and she
went for pink.
?I think they?re the ones
a princess would wear,
Mummy,? she told me.
At Emily?s suggestion, we
stopped off at the park on
the way home. I half-hoped
to run into Murray.
Although he wasn?t
very pleasant
16
company, I did want to
say thank you.
Murray was there,
drinking a cup of coffee
from the kiosk, leaning on
the park?s railings, looking
in.
?Hello,? I said,
approaching with Emily.
?Frances!? he exclaimed
in surprise. ?Hello.?
?I want to thank you,? I
said. ?I took Emily for that
eye test and you were
right.?
tired. We must have
ambled almost a mile
before she succumbed.
I strapped her into place,
wrapped her blanket
around her knees, and
within minutes she was
asleep.
Our route home took us
through the park, and I
decided to make the most
of Emily?s nap and flop
down with a coffee from
the kiosk.
It was a lovely day for
A now-familiar voice burst my little
bubble of contentment
?Well, I?m glad you got
that sorted,? he replied.
Suddenly he was off
again.
?Excuse me!? he shouted
and, dropping his cup in
the bin, he barrelled across
the park. ?I?d rather you
didn?t help him, thank you.
He needs to learn how to
challenge himself.?
As Emily began to play, I
found myself taking a leaf
out of Murray?s book and
backing off a little to see
how she?d get on on her
own.
It was interesting. The
less obviously I watched
her, the more self-sufficient
she became.
I?d often fretted that
Emily didn?t interact with
other children in the park,
even though she was a
perfectly good talker at
home.
But today, when I kept
my distance, she started to
chat and play with another
little child in a red anorak.
Their giggles attracted
Leo, and the three of them
ran up the ramp, across
the bridge, through the
hoops and down a slide,
over and over, laughing
and never seeming to tire.
I glanced around for
Murray and found him
back at the railings. He
shot me a look that
seemed to say, ?I told you
so.?
If he hadn?t been so
rude, I?d have smiled back.
* * * *
On Friday, Emily and I
went for a long walk, taking
the buggy in case she got
sitting out, the sky blue
and the sun shining
brightly. I was feeling quite
at one with nature, when a
now-familiar voice burst
my little bubble of
contentment.
?Mind if I sit down??
Murray asked.
I had to shield my eyes
with my hand to look up at
him.
?Of course not,? I fibbed.
I wasn?t in the mood for his
grumpily delivered wisdom.
?Where?s Leo today??
?Hospital,? he replied.
?Oh, no!? I exclaimed.
?Is he all right??
My mind was racing ?
had Murray let his little
boy take one risk too
many?
?Gastroenteritis,? Murray
explained. ?Half the kids at
his playgroup have it.
Couldn?t even keep down
water, so they?ve had to
stick him on a drip.?
Well, I pictured little Leo,
lying in a hospital bed with
a tube in his arm, and I
looked at Murray,
nonchalantly counting out
change for a coffee in the
palm of his hand. I?m
afraid I lost it.
?You parade around
here, thinking you?re a
super-parent because
you?re raising your child to
be so independent!? I
shouted at him. ?Well, if
ever there was a time to
give that little boy some
support, this is it.
?Even fully grown adults
are frightened of
hospitals,? I ranted. ?Just
imagine how scary it must
be for a two-year-old.?
Murray stared back at
me in amazement.
?Frances,? he began, ?I
didn?t leave Leo on his
own. I took him in
yesterday afternoon and
held his hand while they
took his blood and fitted
the cannula for the drip.
?I read him stories until
he fell asleep and then I
spent the night in the chair
beside his bed.
?I stayed for the ward
round this morning. When
my mum and dad popped
in at visiting time, I took
the opportunity to get a
breath of air and a clean
shirt. I spotted you sitting
here and figured I had just
about enough time for a
coffee.?
?Oh,? I said feebly.
?So can I do that??
Murray asked gruffly.
I nodded.
?Of course. Sorry.?
Over our drinks, we
suspended hostilities and
Murray told me how Leo
had been the product of a
whirlwind romance that
had blown itself out when
the baby arrived and Leo?s
mother discovered she
wasn?t the maternal type.
?She was a homesick
Aussie, and wanted to get
back to her old life in Alice
Springs,? Murray said. ?I
said we should all go
together, but she was
adamant. Motherhood just
wasn?t for her.
?I couldn?t understand
how she could leave him.
As soon as he arrived, I fell
in love with him ? how
could she not feel the
same??
?My relationship didn?t
even survive the news of
the pregnancy,? I confided.
?The minute I told Barry,
he was planning his escape
route. My parents are
great, but it?s not the same
as someone being there
with us every day.?
?I know what you mean,?
Murray said.
Just then, a woman
approached our bench
excitedly, holding out a
book and a pen.
?Murray Chambers? It is
Murray Chambers, isn?t it?
Would you be kind enough
to sign this for me? I?ve
just bought it. I?m a huge
fan.?
Murray didn?t look
thrilled, but took the book
anyway. I could see that it
was simply titled ?Play?
and had a colour
photograph of some older
children doing exactly that.
He zipped across an
inner page with his
autograph, then handed
book and pen back to the
woman.
?So you?re an expert on
children?s play?? I said
when she?d gone.
?Yep,? he replied. ?And
I?m passionate about it, as
you?ve seen. Parents seem
to forget what they enjoyed
in their own childhoods.
Real play is freely chosen,
self-directed and
intrinsically motivated, to
use the jargon.?
?In other words,? I said,
?it?s not organised by
adults.?
?Exactly,? Murray said.
?If grown-ups must hang
around, they should do
their best to be invisible.?
?Says the most highly
visible man in the park!? I
said, scoffing just a little.
?You know, people tend to
notice when you march
about telling us off!?
?It?s not my fault that I?m
constantly thwarted,? he
argued.
?Murray,? I said after
some thought, ?underneath
that gruff exterior, I
suspect there?s a decent
and interesting person. I
didn?t expect to say this to
the rude man from the
park, but would you and
Leo like to come to our
place for dinner some
time?
?I promise not to cut up
Leo?s food for him,? I
teased.
He laughed at that.
?At last,? he said, ?a
woman who understands
me. I?d love to come, and
Leo, too. I?d better get
going.?
Murray logged my phone
number, then looked at
me.
?Frances, may I kiss
you??
I thought I?d forgotten
how to kiss a man, it had
been so long. But it came
back quite easily with
Murray.
?Kissing,? he murmured.
?So uncomplicated.?
?Yes,? I said, smiling.
?It?s like child?s play.? n
wellbeing
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I know there are ?good? fats that we should include in our
diet. What are they, and what should I avoid?
Naturopathic
Nutritionist Amy
Morris, from
Water for Health,
is here to help.
It is important to know exactly which
fats to eat and which to steer clear of.
The ?bad? fats, such as artificial trans
fats and saturated fats, have been
blamed for weight gain and clogged
arteries. So avoid high-fat dairy foods or
fatty cuts of meat.
The ?good? fats, such as unsaturated
fats and omega-3s, have the opposite
effect. In fact, these play a huge role in
helping you to manage your moods,
improve your memory, fight fatigue and
even control your weight.
In The News
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Breakthrough
A new treatment for breast
cancer, which was only available
privately, has now been licensed
for NHS use at hospitals in the
UK.
The procedure, called
Intrabeam or IORT (intraoperative radio therapy) gives a
single targeted dose of
radiotherapy to the tumour site
immediately after a lumpectomy
while the patient is still under
anaesthetic. This single
30-minute session replaces the
need for four to six weeks of
daily radiotherapy treatment for
women with small, early stage
tumours.
It has also been shown to
reduce the risk of complications
caused by traditional
radiotherapy which can damage
nearby tissues and organs.
Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are
the type of fat that you need to be
including in your diet. They are
especially beneficial to your health,
with research showing that omega-3
has the ability to prevent and reduce
symptoms of depression, protect
against memory loss and dementia,
reduce the risk of heart disease, ease
arthritis and battle fatigue.
Your body cannot create omega-3 on
its own, and while you can obtain it
through foods such as oily fish, nuts,
and flax seeds, if you don?t think you?re
getting enough there are many
omega-3 supplements available. I
recommend UnoCardio 1000 from
Water for Health (www.waterforhealth.
co.uk rrp �.75), an omega-3 and
vitamin D blend of fish oil supplement.
Positively
Good For You
Health Bite
Taking on an optimistic
outlook can have great
effects on your health,
according to Dr Sally Norton
from vavistalife.com. So
stick a smile on your face
and tick off the following
benefits:
? improved heart health
(including better blood sugar
and cholesterol levels)
? successful dieting
(negative feelings can
trigger cravings for sugary
and fatty foods)
? fitness achievements
(having a positive attitude
helps keep you going,
enabling you to reach goals)
? stress management
(positive thinking is the
best way to handle stress,
and it increases your
chances of success in all
areas)
It is well known that brown rice is healthier
than bleached white rice because of the fibre and
plant nutrients found in each individual husk, but
studies show that red, purple or black rice not
only has five times more antioxidants than brown,
it can help protect you against allergic reactions
and could even have anti-cancer effects, too.
In many vegetables, the stronger the colour the
higher the density of disease-fighting antioxidants,
and rice is no different. But red rice has been
shown to be a particularly good source of fibre,
which helps control cholesterol and blood sugar
levels, while reducing the amount of arteryclogging plaque.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
HEALTH 19
A healthy
diet and
exercise
can help
Benefits Of
Beetroot
Understanding Panic Attacks
Our Health
Writer,
Colleen
Shannon,
looks at how
to cope.
A healthy gut should process
any meal within 24 hours, but
modern diets can leave us
constipated, with food clogging
the system for considerably
longer.
Transit time will always vary
from person to person, but it is
not uncommon for some heavy,
meat-laden meals to hang
around in your gut for more than
five days, and even if you believe
you are ?regular? you could be
flushing food today that you ate
last week.
You can speed things up by
increasing your consumption of
fruit and vegetables and adding
beetroot to your diet ? enjoy a
side order of roasted beetroot, a
glass of beetroot juice or a few
slices of beetroot with a salad. It
really can make all the difference.
VERYONE?S
A
Biodegradable
Dental Floss
A
n
If you are trying to cut back on
plastic waste in your home you
need to know that nylon dental
floss easily leaks into waterways,
where its strength and length
make it a risky device for
potentially strangling and
choking wildlife.
Most commercial brands of
dental floss also come packaged
in hard plastic
containers which are
difficult to recycle.
However, you can buy
natural silk floss
(which biodegrades
naturally) packaged in
metal or glass such as
Cardamon Silk Floss,
�90 from www.
georganics.co.uk or Silk
Dental Lace (�50 for
two spools) from www.
anythingbutplastic.
co.uk
SHORT STORY BY PAULINE BRADBURY 21
The Way We Were
Growing used to the
changes in her life was
getting Sylvie down . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
I
T was Saturday and it
was cold and wet.
The tumble dryer had
broken so there was a
pile of wet garments
waiting to take their turn on
the airer, while the
radiators were hung with
their share of the smaller
things.
The dishwasher ought to
be unloaded because there
were more dirty crocks to
go in, and Sylvie herself
needed to change out of
her joggers and Kev?s comfy
sweatshirt before he came
back, or her mother called.
?If only things could get
back to normal.? She
sighed, sinking instead into
the one chair that was free
from clutter. ?If only it was
a normal Saturday.?
At this time on a normal
Saturday, Kev would have
left to cheer on the local
football team. She would
be choosing something
glam to wear to meet her
friends for a gossip over a
cappuccino, before
returning home to the fish
and chip supper Kev would
have picked up on his way
home.
That had been the routine
ever since they got married,
until recently.
?Why didn?t I appreciate
it more?? she asked herself.
In four years of marriage
they had established a
pattern of living that Sylvie
had got used to, but had
taken for granted.
One evening a week they
ate out with friends. They
each cooked on two
evenings. Saturdays was
fish and chips, even when
the footie season was over,
and on Sundays they had a
standing invitation to both
sets of parents for the
traditional roast.
?I knew where I was,?
Sylvie whispered to herself,
tucking her hands inside the
baggy sweater sleeves. ?I
knew what to expect. But
now we?ve had weeks of
chaos, and I can?t cope.?
That was exactly what her
mother had said the other
day.
?Do you feel you can?t
cope, Sylvie?? she?d asked
straight out. ?Everybody
feels down from time to
time. The doctor could give
you something to help.?
Sylvie was affronted.
Sylvie Watson depressed?
Never!
When she thought of all
the ups and downs in her
working life that she had
sailed through, the difficult
characters she had
diplomatically managed in
order to keep the team
running smoothly, not to
mention the hard slog of
studying for years before
that, well . . .
?Of course I can cope,
Mum,? she snapped. ?I?m
just a bit under the
weather, that?s all.?
Her mother had only
been trying to help, so
Sylvie had mumbled an
apology for being sharp,
but although she accepted
it with a smile, her mother
had looked sceptical.
Her closest friend had
approached it differently.
?It?s normal to be
depressed,? Holly had said
over a cup of tea. ?I got a
book out of the library to
read up on it. I?ve brought
it for you to look at.?
?No!? Sylvie had almost
screamed. ?I know you
mean well, but I?m not
depressed. I just want
everything to get back to
normal.?
?I think that is a form of
depression,? Holly had
contradicted, with all the
confidence of an old friend.
?You?ve got to acknowledge
it.?
Of course, Kev, who was
all patience and kindness,
had tentatively tried to
discuss the situation several
times and she was just as
irritated with him.
?I just want things to get
back to normal,? she?d told
him. ?I hate it all being so
chaotic.?
Kev had dropped a quick
kiss on the top of her dark
hair.
?But Sylvie, this is normal
now. Why don?t you sit
there and rest, and I?ll toast
you a teacake with lots of
butter and jam??
?I?m not a child,? she?d
said disagreeably.
Sylvie wriggled
uncomfortably as she
remembered this little
incident, which was one of
many.
Kev was doing his best for
her, and making a brilliant
job of everything else, but
she didn?t feel grateful. In
fact, if she were honest, she
resented it.
?What is the matter with
me?? she suddenly
exclaimed loudly. ?Maybe
everybody?s right and I am
depressed.?
That was a depressing
thought in itself, but it
brought a wry smile to her
face, and prompted her to
go and change into
something less sloppy.
By the time she?d
changed into leggings and a
nice shirt, she heard the car
being reversed into their
driveway. She fixed what
she hoped was a bright
smile on her face and went
to open the front door.
Kev, too, was full of
smiles as he manoeuvred
the car seat carefully
through the hall and into
the lounge.
?You look great, Sylvie.?
He grinned appreciatively.
?Guess what news Poppy
and I have for you! Hang on
a minute while I get the
shopping in.?
Sylvie gazed down at her
eight-week-old daughter,
snuggled into the floral
snowsuit Kev?s mother had
chosen.
Her pink-cheeked face
peeped out of it and
her eyes were tightly
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SERIES BY DELLA GALTON: PART 1 OF 30
shut, showing off her
long dark lashes.
Kev?s eyelashes. The
realisation flashed through
her mind, making her heart
bounce unevenly. Poppy
had inherited Kev?s enviable
long lashes.
Gingerly, she pushed the
hood back from the baby?s
head, revealing wisps of
dark hair. Her own
colouring? Somehow she
had never really taken
those facts in.
She stroked the soft
cheek and immediately
Poppy opened her eyes. Up
until now, Sylvie?s reaction
would have been irritation
that the baby had been
woken unnecessarily, but
this time it was different.
She gazed at Poppy?s
eyes, which were already
darkening. Like her own,
she thought. Were they
going to be brown? Then
she realised that the baby
was staring back at her.
Focusing.
?Hello, little Poppy,? she
murmured. ?You?re a
proper little person, aren?t
you? But you?re also a wee
bit of your daddy and a
wee bit of me.?
A shiver of wonder
suddenly ran through her at
the thought that she and
Kev had produced this baby
together. How clever was
that?
She had been so
overwhelmed by all the
practicalities and physical
work which had followed
the birth that she?d had no
energy or inclination to
ponder the thought that
Poppy was their awesome
creation.
Suddenly she scooped
Poppy up, feeling desperate
to cuddle her, and as she
was smiling at her daughter,
a miracle happened.
?Poppy smiled!? Sylvie
exclaimed as Kev joined
her.
?That was going to be my
news!? Kev laughed. ?Isn?t
she our clever girl??
?Our clever girl,? Sylvie
repeated, happiness
flooding through her as the
foggy emotions of the last
few weeks began to
disappear.
Life was beginning again,
but with three of them now,
soon that would feel
normal. n
Busy
Bees
Josh thought he was dreaming
when the gorgeous girl walked in . . .
S
UZY ALLEN put her
cleaning box just
inside the kitchen
and looked around.
Not too bad at all.
She made a mental list:
1. Clean work surfaces
2. Empty dishwasher
3. Wash floors
4. Water houseplants.
Suzy wasn?t sure that
watering plants was in the
remit of a cleaner, but the
ones in this flat would have
been dead long ago if she
hadn?t kept an eye on them.
Beryl Bannister clearly
wasn?t the nurturing type.
Suzy set to work, singing
along to Ed Sheeran on her
iPod as she cleaned.
In another life she was the
famous Elannah, singer and
pianist who?d come from
nowhere to take the music
world by storm. She loved
the name Elannah.
And famous people often
went by their first names,
didn?t they? Adele, Beyonce,
Madonna. . .
She couldn?t actually play
the piano, but she was
having sing ing lessons.
Jackie West, her teacher,
said she had a sweet voice.
Suzy hoped she wasn?t
just being nice.
In another life Suzy had
confidence and a boyfriend.
There wasn?t much talent in
Ashmore. It was a tiny
place, more village than
town, and with more older
people than young.
Most of the young ones
escaped to uni or a job in
the nearby city of Salisbury
as soon as they could.
Suzy had opted to stay in
the family business. Busy
Bees boasted that they
employed a fleet of cleaners
(was four a fleet?) and she
liked the work. Singing
would be better, but like her
mum said, how many people
made a living from singing?
Suzy sang while she
cleaned. It was a great way
to practise because most of
her clients were out.
Especially the ones in this
sheltered housing block.
It was a myth about old
people spending their
twilight years curled up by
the fire, knitting. The ones
she knew were out hiking or
arranging protests.
No, it was just her gran
that arranged protests. She
was always signing a petition
about something or other.
Beryl, who owned this flat,
was out with Suzy?s gran
right now. They belonged to
the same rambling group.
Suzy flicked around the
lounge with a duster, lifting
photos and clearing away a
dead fly from the window-sill.
Just the bedrooms and
bathroom and she?d be
done.
* * * *
Josh Bannister awoke to
the sound of singing. He
yawned. What time was it?
9.30? He?d overslept. He?d
told his gran he?d be away
by 8.30. He had a vague
memory of her bringing in a
mug of tea at the crack of
dawn. He must have gone
back to sleep while it cooled
on the bedside table.
23
Who was singing? It
sounded loud. He hadn?t
thought the walls in this
block were so thin. He was
still contemplating this when
the door opened and light
flooded the room.
Josh wasn?t sure who was
the more shocked, himself or
the blonde who was now
staring at him wide-eyed.
?Um . . .? she said.
?Er . . .? Josh said, pulling
the duvet up to his neck.
Wow, Suzy thought, what?s
Ed Sheeran doing in Beryl?s
spare room?
Wow, Josh thought, who is
she?
Suzy recovered first.
?I didn?t know anyone was
in. Beryl didn?t say.?
?She probably forgot.?
Josh gave her a grin. ?I?m
her grandson. I was
supposed to be gone.?
?I?ll let you get dressed.?
She backed out of the room.
Josh felt strangely
disappointed. His heart was
thumping. Gran hadn?t
mentioned that a stunning
blonde did her cleaning.
On the other side of the
door, Suzy took a deep
steadying breath.
OK, he obviously wasn?t
Ed Sheeran. They just had
the same orange hair and
cute little beard. But he had
a gorgeous smile. Maybe the
talent in Ashmore was
looking up.
* * * *
Beryl Bannister and
Elizabeth had just climbed
over a stile and were walking
along a sunny footpath.
?I wonder if our
grandchildren have bumped
into each other yet,?
Elizabeth mused.
?That depends on whether
Josh got up when he said he
would,? Beryl said.
?What are the chances??
Beryl arched her eyebrows.
?Highly unlikely, I?d think.
He?ll probably only just have
finished breakfast.?
?You are wicked,?
Elizabeth murmured.
?We are both wicked,?
Beryl said, hitching her
rucksack into a comfortable
position on her shoulders
and smiling at her friend.
?We certainly do our
best,? Elizabeth
acknowledged with a wink.
More next week.
Brainteasers
Word Ladder
Move from the word
at the top of the
ladder to the word
at the bottom using
the exact number of
rungs provided by
changing one letter
at a time (but not
the position of any
letter).
W E A K
S P O T
Pieceword
A
O E D
OM
T E D D
M N
I
E
D E
ACROSS
1
2
3
1 He is in finest order (6)
4 An application not
available to contain
8
sickness (6)
8 Ointment takes up most
of the tray (5)
10
9 Gun lad waves
about one without
enthusiasm (7)
12
13
10 Show superiority in sport,
not in drama (7)
15
11 Awfully pure English
coin (5)
17
18
12 Stop Jolson entering
common (9)
17 Religious man?s tailless
21
pet (5)
19 Triad is new writer (7)
21 Dean has one drink (7)
22 Chuck needs support (5) 23
23 Onerous levy in
Gateshead (6)
6 Baffle cricket target (5)
24 Ye lied about facial
7 Warden falls over
feature (6)
boy (6)
DOWN
9 Placed ideally in
1 See his patch? (6)
tree (9)
2 It?ll hop round crest (7) 13 Note I?d prepared
3 Nick finds bargain (5)
about one issue (7)
5 Trainee flustered by
14 Trifling six in
hearing (7)
national course (7)
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
R E
D
T R A
R
E
T T R
C A N E
I
I M P
A
I T
4
G I C R U D
A T
U I
T E
R
R
K N T E R P R A U D E
7
U R N R E T L
K G
E
D
F
C
D
E A T E U E L
B
GH T NOU C
R
E
10
Y
E N T L I A
E
R W P
A
A
C
S K I E R A D
D
L I N C E R
S
S I
S
13
N C E
E
S
T I T
Answers
on p87
Try our cryptic crossword
R
D I C
A
D
I B U R
O
E S
PUZZLES 25
1
2
3
L
6
5
6
7
9
11
14
16
19
20
22
24
15 Go trim round Nick
Park?s animated dog (6)
16 Put on stone before
getting old (6)
18 Cleaning compound
for tin soldiers when
trapped (5)
20 Make a test when to
speak (5)
Sudoku
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
2
5
4
6 3
1 2
9 8
7 3
8
8
9
5
6
11
12
3
14
15
ACROSS
1 Foolhardy, unwise
3 Weave together ? Nutty chocolates
5 Destroyed completely ? Gas or coal, eg
7 Came back ? Very distressing
9
11
13
15
Zero ? Sherry container
Slip accidentally ? Ascribed
Dependence ? Minute particle
Sureness, confidence
2
5
9
4 9
2 6
9
7
4
4 3 5
4
2
5
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
YOUR PETS 27
Vet Linda
Simon has tips
on how to be
strong for
your pet
Pets & Vets
When is it time to say goodbye?
P
ETS are a joy and
add so much to our
lives. Ultimately,
though, one of the
most difficult
decisions we may ever have
to make for our pets is
knowing when the right
time is to have them put to
sleep. For many people, this
is a stressful experience that
can prey heavily on their
minds long after the event
has passed.
Won?t they pass by
themselves when it?s time?
While there are some pets
who pass naturally and
peacefully in their sleep in
their old age, this is not the
case for most. As animals
age, their health naturally
declines, and many have a
poor quality of life in their
last few weeks. Mobility
issues, weight loss and
gastrointestinal problems
are all common in the older
patient.
Isn?t there anything else
we can do for them?
Of course, there are a
number of treatable
conditions that elderly
animals will suffer from that
can be diagnosed and
treated by your vet. If,
however, your pet does not
have a treatable condition,
and is suffering, or is at the
stage where they do not
have an acceptable quality
of life, providing them with
a humane euthanasia can
truly be the best thing that
you can do for them.
How will I know?
Knowing when ?enough is
enough? is not a simple task
and is something that your
vet will help to guide you
through. Tools such as a
?Quality of Life? scale, a
iStock.
Flock Talk
If you?ve ever thought of
keeping a couple of hens in
your garden, then Melissa
Caughey?s ?How To Speak
Chicken? is a great read. Full of
delightful pictures and
fascinating facts ? did you
know that hens can run at
eight miles an hour? ? this
lively book tells you how to
look after, and communicate
with, your feathered friends. It?s published by Storey,
RRP �.99, and available from the usual outlets.
Your pet
questions
answered
by PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman
Q
Why does my
dog want to
eat grass?
A
Dogs can eat grass for
a variety of weird and
wonderful reasons.
Sometimes, it is thought
they do it because they
may be deficient in fibre.
Try adding veggies as a
treat, such as carrots or
apples. If other symptoms
develop, such as diarrhoea
or vomiting, speak with
your vet.
Q
My cat hunts
mice and birds.
Could he get
worms?
A
questionnaire that helps to
measure objectively things
like your pet?s discomfort or
happiness levels, can be
helpful.
It can also be useful to
compare your pet today to
how it was last month, or
even last year, and to think
about if they have more
good days or bad days.
Now what?
Once a decision has been
made, the procedure itself is
generally very peaceful. It is
a good idea to discuss the
procedure with your vet
beforehand, to make sure
you feel comfortable.
If you are finding it difficult
to cope after the loss of a
loved pet, whether they
were put to sleep or passed
away at home, there is now
lots of support out there.
Your vet will be able to
provide you with local pet
bereavement services. n
Yes, he could get
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Alfred?s
Emporium
Set
In
1882
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
The Story So Far
ROSE BRYSON is
companion to the
reclusive MRS JAMESON
at Cross Roads House
near Datcherford. Rose
has been forced to work
in order to pay off her
late father?s debts.
After his own father?s
passing, ALFRED
HAPSTALL now runs the
town?s grocery store with
the help of his mother
MARIAH and young TOM
LIVERSEDGE.
DELIA BASSETT is a
privileged young lady who
is considering Alfred as
husband material,
despite him being
?beneath her? in society.
Her mother vows not to
let the match happen, and
seeks advice from her
husband?s cousin, Mrs
Jameson.
Upon a visit to Cross
Roads House, Rose
confides in Alfred about
her father?s debts and
how she came to be there,
and in turn he shares his
dreams of expanding his
family?s business into a
grand department store.
On Alfred?s return to
Hapstall?s, a sudden idea
comes to him . . .
M
Alfred?s hopes of
owning a
department store
had hit a snag . . .
ARIAH was at
a loss to
understand
Alfred?s
excitement.
?Look, Mother!? he said
triumphantly as they stood
in the doorway of Hapstall?s
little shop.
She scanned the empty
street again and shrugged.
?I see only cobbles and
shops and cottages. And
the old assembly building.?
?Exactly,? Alfred said.
?No-one sees the assembly
building any more. It has
stood there for a hundred
years, but it?s the place I?ve
been looking for and it was
here all the time. It?s big, it
has upper floors and a
magnificent staircase. It
would make a perfect
department store.?
?Alfred,? she said sternly.
?The assembly building is
very old and the staircase
will have rusted and birds
are nesting in the roof.?
?But think, Mother,? he
persisted. ?Now it?s fallen
into disrepair, the owner
will probably sell it cheaply.
It?s the place I?ve always
wanted and it?s here
already!?
Bewildered, Mariah sat
down while Alfred paced
around outside the shop,
stopping every minute to
take another look at the
SERIAL BY LOUISE J. STEVENS: PART 4 OF 7 29
assembly building.
?There?s so much to do,?
he said excitedly. ?I must
find out the owner?s name,
then I must see about how
to pay for it and then ??
?Are you all right, Mr
Hapstall??
?Yes, Tom,? Alfred said.
He hadn?t noticed Tom
washing the shop window.
?Then,? Alfred continued,
?I must make plans. How to
stock it, how to find staff,
and fixtures. I?ll need more
people as it grows.?
Unable to keep still,
Alfred strode across to the
building. He looked up at
the once grand portico,
imagining the name of
Hapstall?s painted across it
in letters so tall that they
could be seen from the end
of the street.
He wished he could look
inside, but Mr Darrowby
had been very thorough in
fixing the shutters.
?No matter,? he called
cheerfully to his mother and
Tom, who were staring at
him from across the street.
?What?s Mr Alfred talking
about?? Tom whispered to
Mariah.
?He wants a bigger shop,?
a worried-looking Mariah
explained. ?But keep it a
secret. I?m not sure where
this is all going to lead.?
Tom was quiet for a
moment.
?If Mr Alfred had a bigger
shop, then he?d be busier
than ever, wouldn?t he,
Mrs Hapstall?? he asked.
?I expect so, Tom,? she
replied absently, wishing
that Alfred would come
inside before the neighbours
saw his odd antics.
?In that case,? Tom said,
beaming, ?he?s bound to
want me to drive the horse
and cart.?
Later, when Tom had left
for home, Alfred returned.
?I?ve walked all round it,
Mother,? he said. ?The
brickwork is in good repair
so the interior cannot be so
bad.?
?Come and eat your
supper,? she replied. ?It will
help you think clearly.?
?I?ll eat later,? he said,
putting his arm around her.
?I have never been clearer
about anything in my life.?
Late into the night, a light
flickered in a room above
Hapstall?s shop and the
only sound was the
scratching of pen on paper
as Alfred wrote away into
the early hours.
By morning he had the
outline for his enterprise.
With his mother left to
mind the shop, he marched
up the street, bristling with
excitement, stopping only
to gaze at the assembly
building.
The sight spurred him on,
and at eight o?clock he
arrived at the office of Mr
Lampton ? Datcherford?s
town clerk for as long as
anyone could remember.
It was closed.
* * * *
After an anxious five
minutes, Alfred saw Mr
Lampton approaching,
dressed in his black coat
and leaning on his walking
cane. He seemed surprised
to find Alfred waiting there.
?Good morning,? he said,
extending his hand. ?It?s Mr
Hapstall, isn?t it??
After so many years as
town clerk, there was little
Mr Lampton did not know
about Datcherford and its
people.
?Yes, sir,? Alfred replied.
?I?ve come to seek your
help.?
?My help?? Mr Lampton
repeated, looking
incredulous.
?About a property in the
town.? Alfred was eager to
get on. There was so much
to accomplish that day.
?Come in, Mr Hapstall,?
Mr Lampton said, taking
out his key fob.
?It is fortunate you came
today,? he remarked as he
pushed against the door
and led the way inside. ?For
some time, the town clerk?s
office has opened only on
Tuesdays. There is not the
demand, I?m afraid.
?To tell the truth, on most
Tuesdays no-one calls at
all,? he said, taking his
place at a dusty desk. ?How
can I be of service??
Alfred pulled up one of
the rickety chairs.
?I?m here about the
assembly building, sir,? he
began earnestly.
?The assembly building,?
Mr Lampton echoed with a
wistful smile. ?Oh, such
times we had there ? music,
plays, dancing. Mrs
Lampton and I were
introduced in that very
place, many years ago.?
?Actually,? Alfred said,
fidgeting on the edge of his
chair, ?it?s the building itself
I?m interested in.?
?Ah, yes, the building. A
handsome structure and the
pride of our little town in its
heyday. Somewhat worn
now, of course. I sense a
certain stagnation about
the town, do you not agree,
Mr Hapstall??
?That?s part of the reason
I?m here, Mr Lampton,?
Alfred continued. ?This town
needs rejuvenating and the
only way that can happen is
if trade increases and
employment can be found,
so that people have a
paper files ? there seemed
to be hundreds of them.
But Mr Lampton knew his
business. Without
hesitation, he pulled out a
package of papers, placed
it on his desk and carefully
untied the red string.
Alfred, with a mounting
sense of excitement, sat
forward in his chair.
?The original plans of the
assembly building,? Mr
Lampton said with due
solemnity, unfolding large
sheets of age-dried paper.
?As you can see, there is an
imposing entrance hall with
four sizeable rooms on the
ground floor, and then the
staircase ? a magnificent
structure, quite famous in
By morning, Alfred had the outline
for his enterprise
reason to come here.?
?An interesting notion.?
Mr Lampton nodded. ?But
what has that to do with
the assembly building??
?I want to buy it,? Alfred
stated. ?Open it up again.?
?As a place of
entertainment?? Mr
Lampton was astonished.
?I?m not sure if there would
be enough patronage ??
?No, sir. I want to use it
as a shop. A large shop.?
Mr Lampton stared.
?That?s my plan,? Alfred
affirmed.
?A large shop?? the polite
Mr Lampton repeated. ?It is
the strangest thing I have
ever heard. But I suppose
you know what you are
about, Mr Hapstall.?
His expression betrayed
him; he clearly thought the
opposite.
?In order to proceed, I
need information,? Alfred
continued, undaunted.
?So you are here to look
at the documents we hold
? plans and so forth??
?Exactly.?
Mr Lampton rose from his
desk and walked to a
cupboard against one wall
of the office.
From his efforts to wrench
it open, it was clear that the
cupboard had not been
searched for some time.
The doors finally gave way
with a loud creak and a
shower of dust, revealing
shelves full of yellowing
its day, leading to upper
floors, with further rooms of
extensive dimensions.
?There are also a number
of smaller offices and a
second staircase to the
rear,? he finished.
?It?s perfect,? Alfred said,
mesmerised by the
drawings before him.
In his imagination, the
pencilled lines became walls
covered in fine paper, the
shaded floors were softened
with rich carpeting and the
sketched staircase shone
with the reflected light of a
chandelier.
A slight cough from Mr
Lampton brought him back
to the present.
?I think you might find it
rather less than perfect, Mr
Hapstall,? he cautioned.
?The assembly building has
endured years of
abandonment.?
?Even better,? Alfred said
with enthusiasm. ?That
must increase my chances
of buying it. Which brings
me to my next question, Mr
Lampton. Who owns the
assembly building??
?The same gentleman
who owns many properties
hereabouts,? Mr Lampton
said. ?It belongs to Mr
Bassett, of Datcherford
Manor.?
* * * *
The day had begun like
any other at Cross
Roads House, the
31
servants going about
their business in quiet
order, mindful that their
mistress was a late riser.
At nine o?clock the hush
was broken by Molly, the
scullery maid, running into
the kitchen.
?There?s a big carriage
coming down the
driveway!? she cried.
Biggins, the groundsman,
sprang from the chair and
began fumbling into his
coat, at the same time
being shooed out of the
room by Mrs Dee, the cook.
?Be quick,? she urged. ?If
you?re not there to meet
the carriage, Mrs Jameson
will question why you
weren?t in the garden.
?Has anyone told her
there?s a visitor?? she
asked Molly as the panicstricken Biggins fled.
?The mistress is still in her
room,? Molly replied. ?Shall
I tell her??
?It?s not your place, you
foolish girl,? Mrs Dee
barked. ?Find Rose Bryson.?
Rose was already
watching the carriage from
an upstairs window.
?Whoever is calling at this
time?? Baines, the
housemaid, said, hearing
the commotion. ?We hardly
ever see visitors.
?Mrs Jameson doesn?t
like anyone disturbing her
routine. I tell you, Miss
Bryson, this is more than a
courtesy call.?
Rose had recognised the
carriage and she?d come to
the same conclusion.
She knocked on Mrs
Jameson?s door.
?What is it?? the answer
came.
?Excuse me, ma?am,? she
called. ?A carriage is just
arriving.?
Mrs Jameson appeared,
wearing her dressing robe
and clearly displeased at
the disturbance.
?I believe it is Mrs
Bassett,? Rose added.
?At this hour? How
thoughtless! Bryson, go
down and receive Mrs
Bassett. Baines will help me
finish dressing.?
With a fearful look, Baines
followed Mrs Jameson,
while Rose descended the
stairs and went outside.
Biggins, breathless from
running round to the front
of the house, was holding
the horse as Mrs Bassett
was assisted from the
carriage.
?Good morning, ma?am,?
Rose said pleasantly. ?Mrs
Jameson is slightly detained
and asks if you will wait in
the morning room.?
?Very well,? Mrs Bassett
muttered in an agitated
manner, too preoccupied to
recognise Rose.
She followed Rose inside,
declining the offer of
refreshments.
Rose stood waiting for
several awkward minutes
until the door opened and
Mrs Jameson swept in.
?Dear Olivia,? she said,
greeting Mrs Bassett with a
cold embrace. ?What a
pleasure! Do sit down.
Bryson, bring tea, will you.?
Mrs Bassett did not wait
for Rose to go before she
began talking.
?I am distraught,? she
confided to Mrs Jameson.
?Delia has written to me
from her aunt?s house. She
wants to come home
immediately. She insists she
is bored, but I fear it?s to
be with this young man she
has taken up with.?
Rose left the room to
fetch tea, but Mrs Dee was
approaching, bearing a tray.
?I thought she?d send for
this,? Mrs Dee hissed, her
face full of eager curiosity.
?What?s to do? Something?s
happened, hasn?t it??
?I couldn?t say, Mrs Dee,?
Rose answered, taking the
tray. ?I am not in Mrs
Jameson?s confidence.?
She knocked on the
morning room door and
went back inside. The two
ladies were in close
conference and neither
glanced at Rose.
?I hoped she would stay
with her aunt until the Paris
visit could be arranged,?
Mrs Bassett was saying as
Rose proceeded to serve
tea. ?I have tried to
persuade her to do so. But
how can I put an end to this
liaison if she comes home??
?Do you think his
attachment can be true??
Mrs Jameson asked. ?Isn?t
it more likely Hapstall is a
fortune hunter??
?We do not know him, of
course,? Mrs Bassett
continued. ?Though I use
his shop, as does everyone.?
?There is no other choice
in Datcherford,? Mrs
Jameson said with a sigh.
?That will be all, Bryson.?
Rose was glad to escape.
She hurried to her room to
be alone.
So it?s true, she thought.
Alfred Hapstall is courting
Miss Bassett.
Rose could not deny the
disappointment she felt.
It?s unreasonable, she
chided herself. I?ve no cause
to be sad if Alfred has
found happiness with Miss
Bassett, though I can?t say I
applaud his choice.
After a while, she went to
lay out Mrs Jameson?s
clothes for the afternoon
and heard voices below.
Mrs Jameson and her
visitor were coming out of
the morning room.
?Take a firm line, that is
my recommendation,? Rose
heard Mrs Jameson say.
?I cannot lock her away,?
Mrs Bassett replied. ?She is
a headstrong girl. I do not
know what her father will
say; I have not told him.?
?Then you must do so,?
Mrs Jameson advised. ?She
is young, and the young are
easily beguiled. Mr Bassett
will point out the evils of
such a match. Under his
guidance, she is bound to
see sense.?
A few minutes later the
sound of hooves and wheels
on gravel could be heard,
and the front door was
firmly closed once more.
?Bryson!? Mrs Jameson
called in her shrill voice.
?Where is my book??
* * * *
Alfred left the office of Mr
Lampton, the town clerk, in
a state of high excitement.
It was all before him now;
he knew the layout of the
assembly building and the
owner?s name. But his next
step was crucial: how to
buy the assembly building.
It?s an old, neglected
structure no-one else wants,
he pondered as he walked
away. Surely Mr Bassett
could not object if he
offered a reasonable sum.
But Mr Bassett was the
wealthiest man in
Datcherford, and he had
made his fortune from
modest beginnings.
If he were to make an
impression, he must be
clear about his prospects
and his first task was to
secure the funds.
Alfred had savings, but
nothing sufficient to buy the
building, whatever its
current state. Nevertheless,
he could see a way forward.
His next call was to the
banker, Mr Graine ? a man
not known for his generous
nature.
With some trepidation
Alfred walked into
Datcherford?s only bank.
?Good morning, Alfred,?
a friendly voice said, and a
young man stepped out
from behind his desk to
greet him.
?Richard!? Alfred said
with a smile. ?Is it possible
to speak to Mr Graine? I
have a business proposal.?
?Good for you,? Richard
Graine replied. ?I?m sure
Father will see you. How is
your mother??
Not for the first time,
Alfred marvelled at the way
Richard Graine had
adapted to life as a banker.
At school Richard had
been in constant trouble for
his lack of attention and
other tomfoolery. But here
he was, following his
father?s profession, just as
Alfred had followed his own
father into shopkeeping.
?Mother is very well,
thank you,? Alfred replied.
?And business is good?
My sisters tell me they
bought silk stockings at
your shop. What a change!
Are you hoping to expand,
Alfred??
Before Alfred could reply,
he was interrupted by the
opening of an inner door,
and another man, older
and taller, peered through
at them.
?I heard laughter,? Mr
Graine said solemnly.
?It was me, Father,?
Richard returned. ?I?m
sorry if you were disturbed.
You remember Alfred
Hapstall, don?t you? We
were at school together.?
?Indeed,? Mr Graine
droned. ?I hope you are
well, Mr Hapstall, and that
your mother is likewise??
?We are both in good
health, sir,? Alfred replied.
?Alfred is here on a
matter of business,?
Richard explained. ?Could
you see him now, sir??
Mr Graine peered over
the top of his spectacles
33
at Alfred then consulted
his pocket watch.
?It is unusual for me to
see anyone without an
appointment, but I have a
quarter-hour before my
next engagement. Please
enter my office, Mr
Hapstall.?
Buoyed up by an
encouraging glance from
Richard, Alfred followed Mr
Graine into his office.
He expected the room to
be stark and unwelcoming,
but it was apparent Mr
Graine liked his comforts. A
fire flickered in the hearth
and the chair that Mr
Graine indicated for Alfred
was richly covered.
Mr Graine sat opposite,
behind his imposing desk.
?Men of business come to
me for two reasons,? he
remarked. ?They have been
successful and want a place
to invest their profits, or
they are in difficulties and
need to borrow money. I
wonder into which category
you fall, Mr Hapstall.?
Alfred took his cue to
speak.
?Neither, Mr Graine,? he
began. ?That is, I need to
borrow money, but I?m not
in difficulties. In fact, my
shop is very profitable.?
?I am pleased to hear it,?
Mr Graine noted. ?Why,
then, do you need money??
?I want to move premises
in order to expand,? Alfred
said. ?My shop is too small
for the range of goods I wish
to sell. If I had more space,
I could increase custom and
the business would grow.?
?Hapstall?s has traded
from the main street for
generations,? Mr Graine
noted. ?Is it wise to move??
?I don?t intend to move
far. Just across the street.?
Mr Graine took a moment
to ponder.
?I do not recall any empty
shops,? he said. ?Only
cottages, the shoemaker,
and the old assembly
building, of course.?
?That?s the one,? Alfred
declared, sitting forward. ?I
want to buy the assembly
building and turn it into a
store. I mean to achieve
this over a period of time. I
have some figures ??
He paused as Mr Graine
held up his hand.
?Mr Hapstall, do I
understand you correctly?
You propose to open up the
assembly building and turn
it into a shop??
?Exactly.? Alfred smiled
nervously. ?I have no funds
to buy it outright, but if the
bank will advance me . . .?
?Mr Hapstall, you already
have a shop, patronised by
all of Datcherford. It must
make you a reasonable
living. Why would you risk
everything on some
outlandish scheme??
?It?s what I?ve always
wanted to achieve. Besides,
it?s what Datcherford
needs,? Alfred answered,
his enthusiasm starting to
bubble over. ?We need to
give people a reason to
come here and I know that I
can make this succeed.?
?Have you considered
your mother?? Mr Graine
argued. ?If you fail then her
livelihood is threatened.
Would you see her
homeless??
?It will not happen, sir,?
Alfred replied adamantly. ?I
will always put her interests
first. And when my business
succeeds, she will be the
first to benefit. All I need is
a loan.?
Mr Graine shook his head.
?I am sorry, Mr Hapstall,?
he said emphatically, ?but
the bank cannot lend out
money on precarious
schemes. We do not take
risks in Datcherford.?
* * * *
Dried leaves swirled
around Alfred?s feet as he
slumped on the bench in
Datcherford?s little park.
The excitement that had
swept him along since
yesterday had vanished.
His hopes and his plan
were still at the forefront of
his mind, but how was he to
proceed if the bank
wouldn?t grant him a loan?
He knew his idea must
sound preposterous. Even
his mother was dubious,
although she would have
supported him. The only
person who took him at his
word was Rose.
When he had told her of
his plans it was as if they
came to life; everything was
so clear in his head. She?d
listened and there was such
encouragement in her face.
It was after seeing Rose
that he?d realised buying
the assembly building was
the way forward.
?I?m so sorry, Alfred,? a
voice behind him said, and
Alfred turned to see
Richard. ?Father told me
about your plan. It sounds
ambitious. I only wish he?d
been able to help you, but
I?m afraid I don?t have
much influence with him.?
?It is ambitious, Richard. I
don?t blame your father for
refusing me. He has a
responsibility to the bank.?
?You won?t give up, will
you?? Richard urged. ?This
town needs men like you
who are ready to take a
risk. I rather envy you.
?I always knew my future
lay at the bank, and it
never occurred to me to do
anything else. But you have
another choice.?
?Only if I find someone
prepared to lend me a great
deal of money,? Alfred said
ruefully. ?I had the figures
in my head. The cost of the
building, fittings and so
forth.?
Richard was nodding
thoughtfully.
?Perhaps you could begin
in a smaller way,? he said.
?After all, to go from one
small shop to a place the
size of the assembly
building is quite a leap.?
?I know that now. I need
to think it all through from
the beginning.?
?I wish I could stay,?
Richard said. ?I wanted to
make sure you weren?t too
despondent. I know that
somehow you?ll achieve
what you set out to do, and
if I can help, call on me.?
They shook hands.
Richard hurried away and
Alfred began a slow walk
home, thinking over his
friend?s words.
He reached the main
street, stopping to look at
the assembly building.
It was a vast place, he
admitted. Perhaps he was
being rash. But he couldn?t
stop now ? he had to see
that sign above the door,
announcing Hapstall?s . . .
An idea began to form.
What was it Richard had
said about beginning in a
smaller way? Must he have
the whole of the building at
once? Could he persuade
Mr Bassett to sell him the
ground floor to start with?
Then, as his business
increased, he could buy
more of the building.
I?ll do it, he determined.
If the bank won?t help me,
I?ll go to Mr Bassett and
put my proposal to him.
By the time Alfred arrived
at his shop, so many figures
and ideas were running
through his head that he
scarcely noticed a cart and
horse tethered outside.
A man was struggling
through the door, his face
obscured by the boxes he
was carrying.
?It?s not my job to fetch
and carry,? the man was
muttering.
As he dumped the boxes
on to the cart there was a
sound of glass breaking.
?It?s Mr Biggins, isn?t it??
Alfred said, recognising the
man. ?How unusual to see
you here.?
?It?s not right,? Biggins
growled, pleased at having
someone to address his
complaint. ?Mrs Jameson
has gone too far; I?ll not
put up with it. Where is
that young woman? It?s
time we were leaving.?
He climbed aboard the
cart and sat down, his arms
folded and his eyes fixed on
the door of Hapstall?s shop.
Puzzled, Alfred went
inside. Mariah and a lady
customer were carefully
checking a list.
?Rose?? Alfred said,
recognising her. ?What a
surprise to see you here.?
?Hello, Alfred,? she
replied, her face alight with
pleasure. ?Mr Biggins has
driven me here to buy
supplies.?
?Why didn?t Mrs Jameson
have me deliver them??
?She did not tell me,? was
all Rose could say, though
she knew the reason.
Mrs Jameson refused to
have Alfred come to her
house in protest at his
attachment to Miss Bassett.
It was all the more foolish
because his was the only
shop in the district, thus
Rose and Biggins had been
despatched to fetch the
provisions.
?I?m pleased to see you
anyway,? Alfred told her.
?Do you have everything??
?Yes.? Rose nodded. ?I
must leave. The cart is so
unstable and Mr Biggins in
such a temper that I?m
afraid we?ll arrive back
with the jars upset and
not an egg intact. We
have a call to make to
the Bassett residence.?
?Really? I was thinking
about going to see Mr
Bassett myself. I have
something important to ask
him.?
Rose seemed distracted
for a moment, then
managed a brief smile. She
thanked Mariah and walked
with Alfred out of the shop.
?Whatever it is you?re
hoping for, Alfred,? she
called, ?I wish you success
and happiness.?
?She is a pleasant young
lady,? Mariah said, peering
over Alfred?s shoulder.
He was watching the cart
carrying Rose and Mr
Biggins as it bounced along
the cobbles.
?Yes, Mother. Rose
Bryson is a good person.?
?How do you know her??
?We met at Cross Roads
House. She?s companion to
Mrs Jameson.?
?I don?t envy her that.?
?She has no choice.?
Alfred turned away as the
cart disappeared from view.
?Well?? Mariah prompted.
?What happened??
?Mr Graine said no,?
Alfred replied. ?He said the
plan was a bad risk. Either
way, there will be no loan
from the bank.?
?I?m so sorry. I know how
important this was to you.
But,? she added, looking at
him closely, ?I must say you
are taking the news better
than I?d have expected.?
?I am,? Alfred stated. ?I?ll
tell you why. I think Mr
Graine has unwittingly done
me a favour. I got carried
away with my own
enthusiasm, and now I?ve
been forced to be realistic.
?The thing is, Mother, I?m
still sure of my plans, but
buying the assembly
building would overstretch
me, and I won?t risk our
home and our livelihood.
?Richard Graine warned
me against taking on too
much. He?s right ? I need to
begin in a smaller way.
?I shall see the owner and
try to persuade him to sell
me part of the building ?
perhaps one or two rooms
to start,? Alfred explained.
?I have savings enough to
afford it. Surely Mr Bassett
can?t have any objection.
As the business grows, I?ll
ask him to sell me the rest
over time.?
?I don?t doubt you, son,?
Mariah replied. ?But if
you?re going to deal with
William Bassett, do not
expect an easy time of it.?
?I didn?t know you were
acquainted with him.?
?In former times,? Mariah
admitted. ?He once courted
me.?
Alfred stared at his
mother in amazement.
?We met at school,? she
continued. ?William?s father
owned a few acres of land
when Datcherford was
prosperous.
?William asked me to
walk out with him. He was
ambitious even then. He
told me he?d be the richest
man in Datcherford on e
day, and I believed him.?
?But you didn?t want to
marry him??
?I only had eyes for your
father.?
Alfred looked at his
mother. The years had been
kind to Mariah; he could
imagine how pretty she
would have been at
eighteen.
?Mr Bassett must have
felt disappointed,? he said.
Mariah took a moment to
think.
?He soon recovered,? she
said, smiling. ?Not long
after I married your father,
William went to work for his
un cle in the city. When he
returned to Datcherford,
he?d done well enough to
buy a lot of property.
?He?d also acquired a
wife. Eventually he became
the richest man in town , as
he had promised.?
?Do you ever speak??
Alfred asked. ?You?ve never
mentioned him before.?
?I rarely see him,? she
replied.
She took Alfred?s hand in
hers.
?What I?m saying is this.
William Basset is honest,
Alfred, but he is a hard
man. I fear he will not make
this easy for you.?
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
The
Farmer
& His
Wife
John Taylor
encounters
a yearly
predicament.
I
HAD a problem. Anne?s
birthday was looming and I
had no idea what to give her.
Chocolates? No. A dozen red
roses?
I didn?t dismiss that out of
hand, but I went on thinking.
Before we were married I
once gave her a dressing-gown,
which took a big chunk out of
my meagre wage.
The nearer we got to being
spliced with a farm of our own
to run, it was usually a piece of
furniture: an oak stool, oak
refectory table, then some Old
Leeds Spray china, which Anne
built up into a full dinner and
tea service over time.
Some years back I thought
I?d solved this annual problem.
I was in Cupar Mart when the
pigs were going through the
ring. On the spur of the
moment I bought six piglets.
Just the answer for her
birthday. Anne?s a great one
with animals, a really good
stockwoman.
I asked one of Danskin?s lorry
drivers to deliver them.
As I had to see the bank
manager in Cupar and our
accountant in St Andrews, I was
late getting home and the six
pigs were home before me.
Anne told the driver that
there must have been a mix-up;
we weren?t wanting any pigs.
?Sorry, Mrs Taylor, John said
they were for you,? he insisted.
Between them, they installed
the piglets safely in a calf pen.
When I got home, Anne
accosted me.
?John, why did you buy pigs??
?They?re for your birthday,
dear,? I replied, feeling pleased
with myself.
I was in for a shock. Anne was
not happy. How could she tell
her bridge ?girls? in St Andrews
that I?d given her pigs for a
birthday present?
Pleased or not, Anne did
those pigs well and made a
good profit when she sold them.
I smiled when the cheque
came from the auction. She put
part in the bank and bought
herself six more pigs!
But to return to this year?s
birthday problem.
I was looking through a chest
of drawers when I came across
some old photographs, all
mounted but not framed.
One was of Anne?s mum
when she was about eighteen
years of age, and her dad and
sisters, standing in a meadow.
The girls were in long skirts
which touched the ground, and
one was holding their pet lamb
in the foreground.
I took this faded sepia photo
to a photographer in St Andrews
and asked if they could do
anything to restore it. They sent
it somewhere and it came back
good as new. I had it framed.
Anne was delighted with the
photo. And although she said
she was cross, I think she was
secretly pleased when I
appeared later that morning with
a dozen red roses. n
More
next
week
36
Healthy And
Hearty
Vegetarian
Ultimate Superfood Salad
n 100 g (3� oz) sweet
potato
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 75 ml (2� fl oz) olive oil,
plus extra for roasting
n 100 g (3� oz) quinoa
n 1 head broccoli, cut into
small florets
n 1 pomegranate
n Pinch chilli flakes
n 1 lime, juice only
n 25 g (1 oz) chopped
coriander
n 1 small punnet alfalfa
Course: Lunch or light main
sprouts or mixed sprouts
n 1 ripe avocado
n 85 g (3 oz) watercress
n 25 g (1 oz) mixed nuts,
toasted
1 Pre-heat oven to 200 deg. C.,
400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Chop the sweet potatoes into
2.5 cm (1 in) cubes with the
skin on. Place into a roasting tray,
season with salt and pepper, then
drizzle with olive oil and roast in
the pre-heated oven for 15 to
20 minutes.
Skill level: easy
3 Cook the quinoa in salted
boiling water according to the
packet instructions. Place the
broccoli into a metal colander
and set over the boiling quinoa.
Cover and steam the broccoli
for three minutes.
4 Once cooked, drain and
rinse the quinoa and broccoli
under cold running water.
Remove the sweet potato from
the oven.
5 Cut the pomegranate in half
and squeeze the juice from
one half into a large bowl.
Add the olive oil, chilli flakes
Serves 2
and lime juice, whisk together
and season to taste. Add in the
coriander, alfalfa, quinoa and
sweet potato and toss well.
6 Peel the avocado, remove
the stone and chop roughly.
Spread the quinoa and sweet
potato mixture on to a serving
plate and dot the avocado over
the top.
7 Finally, bash the second
half of the pomegranate with
a wooden spoon to knock the
seeds out and scatter these over
the plate along with the toasted
nuts.
By Keri Astill-Frew for www.watercress.co.uk. Photograph by Lara Jane Thorpe.
Our delicious vegetable-packed
recipes taste as
good as they
look!
COOKERY 37
Fennel Pork Medallions
with Apple Slaw
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
n 12 pork fillet medallions
n 1 tsp fennel seeds
n 1 clove garlic
n 1 tbs olive oil
n � lemon, grated zest
only, reserve juice for the
apple slaw
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
For the Apple Slaw:
n 1 red eating apple, cored
n 2 tsp cider vinegar or
white wine vinegar
n 4 tbs 0% fat Greek
natural yoghurt
1 Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. C.,
350 deg. F., Gas Mark 4.
2 Place the medallions on a
board between two sheets of
clingfilm. Using the base of a
small saucepan or rolling pin,
bash them all over until they?re
1 cm (� in) thick.
3 Lightly crush the fennel seeds
and garlic, place in a shallow dish
and mix with the oil and lemon
zest and a good grind of black
pepper. Add the pork medallions
If you
don?t have vinegar
squeeze the lemon
juice over the
apples to prevent
them turning
brown
n � lemon, juice only
n 2 tsp Dijon mustard
n � small red cabbage,
shredded thinly
n 2 carrots, peeled and
grated coarsely
To Serve: sweet potato
wedges or mixed green
salad
and turn to coat. Set aside for
10 minutes whilst you make the
slaw.
4 To make the slaw, chop the
apple into small pieces, place
in a large bowl and pour over
the vinegar, to prevent them
going brown. Add in the yoghurt,
lemon juice and mustard and
mix until combined. Then add
the cabbage and carrots. Mix
well, until all the ingredients are
coated, and season to taste.
www.lovepork.co.uk.
Course: Main
5 Heat a non-stick ovenproof
griddle or frying-pan for a couple
of minutes until hot. Add the
pork medallions to the pan and
cook for 3 minutes on one side.
Turn the medallions over and
Salmon and Egg Breakfast Wrap
Course: Breakfast
place the pan in the oven. Cook
for a further 6 to 8 minutes or
until the juices run clear.
6 Serve 3 pork medallions with
the slaw and a few sweet potato
wedges or crisp green salad.
Skill level: easy
Serves: 1
n 2 large British lion eggs, beaten
n 1 tbs chopped fresh dill or chives
n Salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
n A drizzle of olive oil
n 2 tbs fat free Greek yoghurt
n A little grated zest and a squeeze of
lemon juice
n 40 g (1� oz) smoked salmon, sliced
into strips
n A handful of watercress, spinach and
rocket leaf salad
1 In a jug, beat the eggs and herbs and season
with salt and pepper.
www.eggrecipes.co.uk.
2 Heat a non-stick frying-pan, then add the oil
Remember: recipes have been given in both metric and imperial. It is important
to use one method throughout as they are not exactly the same.
and then pour in the eggs and cook for one
minute or until the egg on the top has just set.
3 Flip over and cook for a further one minute
until the base is golden. Transfer to a board to
cool.
4 Mix the yoghurt with the lemon zest and
juice and plenty of ground black pepper.
Scatter the smoked salmon over the egg wrap,
top with the leaves and drizzle the yoghurt mix
over.
5 Roll up the egg wrap and wrap in paper to
serve.
Balsamic Beetroot and Carrot Fritters
with Garlic and Mint Yoghurt
Skill level: easy
Makes: 6
n 250 g (9 oz) balsamic infused cooked beetroot, grated
n 2 large carrots, grated
n 2 eggs
n 4 spring onions, sliced thinly
n 100 g (3� oz) feta cheese
n 4 tbs flour (buckwheat is good, but you can use any)
n Small handful mint, chopped
n Salt and freshly ground black pepper
n 1 tbs coconut oil
For the Garlic and Mint Yoghurt:
n 150 g (5� oz) natural yoghurt
n 4 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped finely
n 1 lemon, juice and zest
n 1 clove garlic, grated
1 Place the grated beetroot and carrots in a sieve over a bowl or
your sink and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the beetroot, carrot, eggs, spring
onions, feta, flour, mint, salt and pepper. Mould into fritters.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick frying-pan and fry the
fritters on a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until
golden and crispy.
4. To make the garlic and mint yoghurt, simply mix all the
ingredients together, season to taste, and serve.
Recipe created by Olivia Cooney for www.lovebeetroot.co.uk.
Course: Lunch or light main
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Halloumi
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
n 1 large red onion, peeled
and cut into wedges
n 1 yellow pepper, cut into
chunks
Serves: 2-3
n 1 red pepper, cut into
chunks
n 2 medium courgettes,
sliced
n 1-2 tsp olive oil
n 8-10 cherry tomatoes
n 1 clove garlic, crushed
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 1 tbs pine nuts
n 1 x pack halloumi
cheese, cut into about
9 slices
For the Dressing:
n 2 tbs passata
n 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
n 2-3 tsp red wine vinegar
n Small handful fresh mint
leaves
n A few fresh parsley or
oregano leaves
To Serve: crusty bread.
1 Pre-heat oven to 190 deg. C.,
www.bacofoil.co.uk.
375 deg. F., Gas Mark 5.
2 Loosely line a large shallow
Vegetarian
Next week: make more of chicken.
oven tray with a large piece
of Bacofoil Non-Stick Foil ?
remember to always place food
on the dull side ? and place
the pieces of onion, pepper
and courgette on to it. Drizzle
with the olive oil and gently toss
together, using clean hands.
Roast in the pre-heated oven for
20 minutes until the vegetables
are just starting to turn brown
round the edges.
3 Meanwhile make the dressing.
Mix the passata, extra virgin
olive oil and red wine vinegar in
a small bowl. Chop the herbs,
reserving a few whole mint
leaves for garnish, and stir into
the dressing
4 Remove the vegetables from
the oven and add the cherry
tomatoes and garlic. Season with
a little pepper and carefully mix
in. Scatter over the pine nuts.
5 Arrange the slices of halloumi
over the top and return to the
oven for a further 10 minutes.
Alternatively place under the grill
for a couple of minutes.
6 Drizzle with the dressing and
scatter over the remaining mint
leaves. Serve with some crusty
bread.
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
SHORT STORY BY PATSY COLLINS 41
Growing Closer
My gardening
friend, Phil,
seemed to take
me as I was.
Why couldn?t
the kids?
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
I
HAD started to become a
disappointment to my
kids. Although they loved
me, I was in need of some
improvement.
?How about a book club??
June, my oldest, asked.
I gestured at the stack of
holiday brochures April had
left, and my seed
catalogues.
?I have enough reading
matter. I?m not interested
in what people think about
girls who?ve gone, are on
trains or have tattoos.?
Glancing at the leaflet
she?d brought, I saw I?d
been half right. The book of
the month was ?The Girl
Who Lied?.
?I know you all mean well
suggesting these activities,
but they?re not me. I?m
digging a pond. After that, I
don?t feel like getting
dressed up in the evening.?
?How about a holiday
once it?s sorted out? The
brochures are for interesting
trips for singles.?
?I can?t go away in the
spring as I have seedlings to
tend, and in summer there?s
the watering. I might
consider it next winter.?
Actually, such trips
seemed even less my sort of
thing than the book group,
walking group and evening
classes my dear offspring
seemed convinced I needed.
?We worry about you
being on your own, Mum.?
?Why? I?m perfectly
happy, fit and healthy.?
?Wouldn?t you like to
meet someone else??
?I meet people all the
time. Staff in the garden
centre, the chap who
services the lawnmower,
passers-by who stop to say
how pretty the garden is . . .?
?You know what I mean.?
I did, and I wasn?t exactly
against a spot of romance.
?In theory, meeting the
right man might be nice.?
?You need to make some
effort, then.?
I couldn?t agree. To my
mind, the right person
wouldn?t need me to make
an effort, as we?d have
interests in common and
would accept each other as
we were.
If he thought I needed as
much improvement as the
kids clearly did, we
wouldn?t be suited.
June and her sisters
brought me leaflets for
dating sites, dances and
other things which sounded
awful. I ?forgot? to do
anything about them.
There was something more
important on my mind; the
lawnmower wasn?t cutting
evenly. I called the chap
who services it.
Actually, Phil?s a friend,
but if I?d explained that to
June, she would have ? to
be honest I?m not sure how
she?d have reacted. But it
wouldn?t have stopped her
trying to fix my life, when it
was just my old mower that
needed attention.
* * * *
Phil got the blade levelled
before I?d brewed tea and
sliced some cake. As we
enjoyed our elevenses he
told me about his rockery.
?The most interesting
plants are getting
smothered. I think I need to
dig it up and start again.?
?Maybe it?s not as bad as
you think,? I said. ?Shall I
take a look??
?Please.?
A few days later I went
round to Phil?s place. I was
surprised to see him
dressed in a suit, until I
remembered we hadn?t
actually set a time and date
for my visit.
Almost guiltily I realised
?six-thirty, Wednesday
evening? had stuck in my
memory because it was the
time for my children?s latest
attempt to sort me out.
?They booked me in for
speed dating, would you
believe?? I said to Phil,
aghast.
?Actually, I would. My
kids did the same to me. I?ll
cancel, too, and that?ll
leave the numbers even.?
It didn?t take Phil long to
change, nor for me to see
the rockery really did need
a complete overhaul.
We were soon potting up
plants he wanted to keep
and hauling out stones to
reach the roots of the plants
which had taken over.
?Thanks for pushing me
into this. I?d probably never
have got round to tackling
it otherwise,? he said.
?Don?t thank me yet; we
haven?t finished!?
It took a week of hard
graft, but eventually the
rockery was cleared of the
unsuitable plants and
reassembled with the
rescued treasures and new
introductions.
Phil praised my energy
and skill as he expressed
his gratitude.
Having someone
42
appreciate my good
points was a refreshing
change from the attitude
of my children. Sometimes
it was hard to remember I
hadn?t always been a
disappointment to them.
When they were little
they were pleased to have
two parents including a
stay-at-home mum.
Probably because it was
very different from their
friends? experiences.
My girls seemed to think
that by being happy in my
marriage and fortunate
enough to just about afford
not to have to work
full-time, I was somehow
pushing boundaries.
I made ends meet by
tending a huge allotment
which provided more than
enough vegetables for us
all, and working part-time
in the supermarket once
they started school.
My three said they were
proud of me during my late
husband?s illness and all
that came after. When I
gave up the allotment and
joined a flower-arranging
group they were pleased I
was being sensible. Moving
on, making friends.
The disappointment set in
gradually. I went from cool
earth mother to ordinary,
middle-aged woman with a
passion for gardening. To
me it was exciting to grow
plants for colour and scent
rather than to fill bellies.
Although delighted that I
saw my girls frequently, I
didn?t want them running
my life. They thought they
were being subtle about it,
but I realised the children?s
attempts to solve problems
I didn?t have were no longer
random. They had
something definite in mind.
My attempts to avoid
being set up with Mr
All-right-by-them were
successful until April invited
me round for dinner.
?I?d love to,? I surprised
her by saying.
I saw this as a chance to
crack on with gardening
tasks, as I wouldn?t need to
reserve time and energy to
feed myself.
My daughter saw it as a
matchmaking opportunity
and was very disappointed
when I arrived too tired for
witty conversation and
smelling of compost.
Just as well I hadn?t spent
ages getting ready, as the
man they?d hoped to set
me up with didn?t arrive.
Apparently he?d mixed up
the date.
I wondered what he?d
have made of my scruffy
top. Probably he?d have
given a sigh of
disappointment like my
girls, rather than remarking
it brought out the blue of
my eyes ? as Phil had.
Summer did her best to
get me to attend a
barbecue one Sunday. That
didn?t appeal. I?ve never
been a fan of food that?s
raw in the middle, burned
on the outside and smelling
of firelighters all over.
?How thoughtful,? I said,
not letting on I knew that, if
I turned up, I?d be
introduced to the man my
girls were conspiring for me
to meet. ?But on Sunday I?ll
be at Wisley gardens.?
I then rushed round to
see Phil.
?I?ll be your alibi,? he
agreed. ?On the condition
you let me buy you lunch.?
We had a lovely time
looking at the alpine house,
rose gardens and long
borders. Conversation was
easy, our caf� lunch
perfectly cooked and we
bought plants before we
left.
* * * *
Over the next couple of
months I pretended not to
notice what my offspring
were up to and, accidentally
on purpose, sabotaged all
their attempts.
Phil was a great help.
?I?ve told my daughters a
friend wanted to see me,?
I?d say when I arrived on his
doorstep rather than falling
in with their plans.
?So I do. Come in and I?ll
put the kettle on.?
I suspected my kids were
on to me fairly soon and
enjoyed the game
themselves. Why else would
they continue trying to fix
me up when it must have
been obvious I wasn?t
sitting at home, pining away
from loneliness?
June got crafty. One day
she rang to suggest a
get-together with myself,
her, April, Summer and all
their partners and children.
?Everyone is free next
Friday. How about you??
I saw them quite often,
but rarely all together. The
idea appealed so much I
overlooked the likely
ulterior motive and agreed.
?Excellent!? June said.
?There?s not really room in
any of our houses, so we?re
going to the charity fancydress party in the village
hall. I?ll pick you up so you
don?t forget to come.?
The Thursday before the
party I visited the beauty
salon on the high street.
April persuaded me to
accompany her.
?I want a restyle, Mum,
but I don?t want them to
talk me into anything too
wild.?
I fell for that, and for
having my nails done as
there was a buy-one-getone-free offer.
?They?ll make you look
glam for the party, Mum,?
my daughter said.
Clearly she and her sisters
were still up to their tricks.
Not long after I?d got
home, my neighbour came
round about his hedge,
which borders both our
gardens. It?s one of those
leylandii monstrosities.
I?d requested it be
trimmed, even offering to
do the work myself.
?I?ll think about it,? he?d
said.
That reminded me of all
the times I?d promised my
kids I?d think about sharing
my life with someone else.
He had obviously meant
it, as this afternoon he told
me if I really wanted to get
rid of the hedge, I could.
?It has to be the whole
lot, mind.?
?Oh! Right, I will.?
As soon as he?d gone, I
phoned Phil with the good
news.
?Let?s do it now, before
he changes his mind,? Phil
said.
Half an hour later he?d
brought round his tools and
we?d started work. It was
hard graft sawing, lugging
and shredding. We worked
until dark and started again
first thing the next morning.
We grabbed a sandwich at
lunchtime and carried on.
When June arrived, she
shrieked.
?Mum, there?s blood on
your face!?
?That?s probably from
rubbing my arm over it to
get cobwebs out my eyes,?
I reassured her.
There was no getting
away from the fact I did
have an impressive scratch
on my arm.
?You look like a zombie!?
I was puzzled. She was
used to seeing me with
chipped nails and foliagestained, ragged clothes.
Then I remembered she
was here to pick me up for
the party in the village hall.
?You did say it was fancy
dress,? I pointed out.
?I thought perhaps you?d
spent the day gardening
and were going to use that
as an excuse not to go.?
?Would I do that?? I
asked sweetly.
?Yes, but you?re not
getting away with it this
time.?
At the village hall, after
I?d greeted my family and
been bought a drink, my
daughters drifted towards a
group containing the only
other zombie there. Phil.
Naturally, after helping
with the hedge, he looked
as bad as I did. Before
either of us could say a
word, one of his sons
introduced us.
I gave Phil a wink and
said I was pleased to meet
him.
?Likewise,? he said,
holding my hand longer than
is usual in such situations.
Our various children
began a clearly rehearsed
conversation which revealed
how much Phil and I had in
common. Frankly it was a
relief when they melted
away and left us to talk.
?Did you have any idea it
was me they were trying to
set you up with?? he asked,
laughing.
?No,? I replied, feeling
like a dizzy teenager. ?If I
had, perhaps I?d have taken
better care of my nails.?
He squeezed my hand.
?Your nails, and
everything else about you,
seem perfect to me.?
As we danced we came
up with a plan of our own.
We?d keep up the pretence
a little bit longer.
After all, if we were going
to have a whirlwind
romance, it was only natural
to give his boys and my
girls all the credit for getting
the two of us together. n
money
44
Your
The Lemon House Photography.
Open Banking
IT may have escaped you,
but a quiet revolution in
banking happened at the
start of the year. If you?ve
missed it, don?t worry, you
are not alone!
But, although it is yet to
have much impact, ?open
banking? could make a big
difference to the way you
manage your money if you
bank online.
Some of the major banks
started phasing in open
banking from the middle of
January, although others
have delayed the launch for
up to a year.
In basic terms, open
banking means you will be
able to share your banking
data with other financial
companies. But why would
you?
iStock.
Open banking rollout
By letting your bank share
your data, you will be able
to do several things that you
cannot do at the moment.
For example, you will be
able to manage your bank,
savings and credit card
accounts in one place (even
if they are with different
banks) or find a new bank
account that?s the best one
for you, based on how you
actually use your existing
account.
Open banking should also
Money expert
Sarah Pennells
writes for us.
make it easier for you to
move your money between
your accounts. For example,
you could have an
automatic transfer between
your current account and
your savings account so that
money goes from one to the
other every time it dips
below a certain level.
You will also be able to
pay an online retailer
without giving them your
credit or debit card details. A
mortgage lender would be
able to check someone?s
bank account directly, which
would be much speedier
than waiting for them to
provide bank statements.
Data sharing ? the risks
The benefits of open
banking may be very useful
to you if you bank online,
but what about the ?data
sharing? bit? Would you
really feel comfortable
sharing your bank data with
other companies?
This is what you need to
know. For a start, any
company that your bank
shares your data with has to
be registered with the
Financial Conduct Authority
and it must use security that
complies with the
regulator?s rules.
Secondly, your bank will
only share your data if you
actively agree to it. This
should not be a tick box that
is hidden away in reams of
small print.
If you do let your bank
share your data, it should
also refund any money that
is stolen, if it is a result of a
security problem with its
own systems.
Before open banking, a
number of budgeting apps
asked for your online
banking log-in and password
when you registered (it?s one
reason why I didn?t use
them).
So these apps would use
your log-in details to get
?read only? access to your
bank statements. That means
they could not take money
out of your account, but they
could see exactly what you
have in it.
If they use open banking,
and you agree to share your
data with them, they will
have direct access to your
bank account without
pretending to be you.
However, I think there?s
little doubt that fraudsters
will capitalise on the
opportunity that open
banking provides.
They will waste no time in
tricking people into sharing
their data, thinking it?s a
genuine company that?s
signed up to open banking.
And, let?s not forget that a
number of FCA-regulated
firms (Tesco Bank and
Equifax, for example) have
been hacked.
We probably will not see
what difference open
banking wil l make until it has
been going for a few months,
possibly up to a year. So my
advice is to take your time.
Don?t feel you have to rush
to sign up to it and be extra
vigilant about any e-mails
supposedly from your
bank. n
Visit Sarah?s website at
www.savvywoman.co.uk
API stands for
Application
Programming
Interface. It?s a
way for two
different
computer
programs to
?speak? to each
other. The API is
the list of
commands that
the program
understands.
Please note that the information given on these pages does not constitute financial or legal advice and is for general guidance only. Please consult a
professional financial adviser for advice on your own circumstances.
Security Tips
FINANCE 45
Open banking uses secure technology, but there are some
simple steps you can take to stay safe online.
1
You can check that the app or website is from a UK
regulated third-party provider here: https://register.fca.
org.uk/.
2
Always read the terms and conditions before you
agree to share your data to ensure you know how
your data will be used.
3
Check your bank account regularly and if you see
something that doesn?t look right, contact your bank
immediately.
4
The FCA website also offers information on how to
protect yourself online: www.fca.org.uk/consumers/
account-information-and-payment-initiation-services.
Visit www.openbanking.org.uk for more help and information.
More choice for
consumers
The idea behind open banking is to make it
easier for consumers to save money by
finding the best deals for them across a
range of services, including banking itself.
A recent study found that half of UK
consumers will be happy to share their
spending information with third parties if
they are offered a more personalised
service.
It?s thought that banks and financial
services companies will have to improve
their customer focus and rewards for loyalty
to dissuade their customers from moving to
new competitors.
Pini Yakuel, CEO of relationship marketing
platform Optimove, said, ?Consumers are
likely to see an increasingly personalised
experience, as old and new financial
companies move to distinguish their brand
with promotions and rewards tailored to
each individual, like retailers.?
Hopefully, that will mean better financial
services for everyone.
Ask The Expert
Imran Gulamhuseinwala,
Trustee of the Open
Banking Implementation
Entity, is here to help.
Q
WILL customers have to check for themselves
that third parties are properly registered before
using open banking?
OPEN banking is a remarkable project; one with the
potential to change retail banking for ever. If we get it
right we will for the first time anywhere in the world,
put the customer in control of their data, their privacy and
their finances. It is difficult to overstate just how
revolutionary open banking could, and should, be.
Cus tomers can indeed verify that third parties are
authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Any
company offering services that use open banking will have
to be regulated by the FCA and enrolled on the open
banking database ? a system that verifies companies to
banks and building societies so that they can check that
requests are appropriate.
The system has extremely heavy security built in. If there
is any danger of fraud it may come from criminal elements
claiming to be offering open banking when in fact they are
simply ?phishing? for customer details: they could not
access an account fraudulently through open banking
because they could not be regulated.
A
Next month: what to do about PPI.
SHORT STORY BY LOUISE MCIVOR 47
A Change Of Diet
Cutting out
animal products
was easier said
than done!
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
I
T was my grandmother
who instilled in me a love
of animals. She had a
wiry mongrel terrier, and
I decided at fourteen
that as I loved animals, I
didn?t want to eat meat any
more.
It seemed entirely logical
to my teenage self. Of
course, it being the 1980s,
there was a whole song and
dance when I told my
mother.
Terrible things would
happen to me if I didn?t get
my iron. I?d fade away to
nothing. I?d become
anaemic and faint in the
street. I?d be too tired to
concentrate on school work.
It was my grandmother
who sat me down with a
cup of tea and spoke to me.
?Janey, if you?re going to
do this vegetarian thing,
we?d better be organised
about it. You?ll need to
master a few recipes.?
I stayed at my
grandmother?s every
Saturday while my mother
worked in a shop in town .
Gran would clip
vegetarian recipes from her
weekly magazine. Granted,
these were few and far
between, but they were
good basic recipes and I still
make the onion and potato
casserole, Gran?s
handwriting declaiming Very
good at the top.
Gran and I would make
these recipes and have
them for Saturday lunch. I?d
then practise them during
the week, which meant that
my mum wasn?t
complaining about having
to make two meals.
It was not all plain sailing.
After an hour boiling green
lentils one Saturday, we
realised that the veggie
lasagne wasn?t a practical
option for during the week.
Then Gran read in her
magazine that red lentils
cooked much quicker, so
we started to use those
instead.
However, things came to
a head when someone at
school said that if I really
cared about animals, I
shouldn?t take eggs or milk.
There was a week of
stony silences with my
mother when I had potato,
carrots and mushy peas
every night.
?Well, that?s cauliflower
cheese out then,? Gran said
with her normal calm
wisdom. ?To say nothing of
pancakes. And you?ll have
to take your tea black.?
I must confess that my
heart sank at the thought
of life without cauliflower
cheese, which I loved.
However, it was vitally
important to my
melodramatic teenage self
that I stick to my principles.
I was always determined
to find a way around
something.
?What about the
mushroom and lentil loaf??
I said.
?What will you use to
bind it without the eggs??
Gran asked.
We tried melted
margarine, which gave the
mushrooms and lentils a
funny, greasy texture, and
the loaf fell apart when
Gran cut into it.
I went to bed hungry that
night, determined not to
give in.
At least it was nearly the
school holidays, which
meant more staying with
Gran while my mother was
at work. It also meant that I
could cook what I liked for
lunch and just have a
Marmite sandwich for tea.
* * * *
My gran had been
brought up in the Irish
countryside with her seven
brothers and sisters, most
of whom had gone to
Australia or England. The
family farm had long ago
become a housing
development.
However, Granny had a
great friend called Lottie,
with whom she had gone to
the one-roomed country
school.
Lottie still lived in the
cottage she was born in,
and in the spring and
summer months my gran
would go out to visit her.
That Saturday, Granny
asked me to come, too.
Even with my head full of
make-up and pop stars, I
knew I was privileged to be
invited.
Lottie liked pretty things,
so I had spent my pocket
money on perfumed soap
and a magazine for her.
My mother dropped
me at Gran?s before
going into work, with
48
exhortations to put on a
warmer coat because it
was cold in the country,
and to take my wellies.
I compromised and wore
my wellies, but I insisted on
wearing my denim jacket.
The problem was, in a bit of
a flitter that rainy morning,
I had put on my wellies but
forgotten to lift my ordinary
shoes.
* * * *
So there I was, on the
country bus, which seemed
to stop at every hole in the
hedge, feeling foolish in my
wellies while a girl across
the aisle in her pale pink
stilettos looked at me with
what I thought was scorn.
The journey was
fascinating ? like entering
another world. At one
point, the driver stopped
and picked up two bundles
of newspapers.
?They?re for McCrory?s
shop,? Gran said.
She would nod at folk as
they got on. Of course, she
didn?t know folk on the bus
any more, but that didn?t
stop her from having long
and complicated
conversations about the car
showroom where her old
home used to be, and
wasn?t it great that the
draper?s shop was still
there.
Gradually, the new white
pebble-dashed houses gave
way to fields, some with
cows and, it seemed to me,
very little else. I was
fascinated by the forlorn
run-down cottages with
their tin roofs long rusted.
?Nobody lives in them
since they built the road,?
Gran said, and suddenly I
wondered how a family with
lots of children could have
lived in such a tiny place.
?Then why does Lottie
still live in hers?? I asked.
?She?s at the bottom of a
lane, as far away from the
road as you could get,? my
gran replied. ?Besides,
Lottie had to look after her
parents when they were
getting on.?
There wasn?t a bus stop
at the top of Lottie?s lane.
Gran just said, ?This one,
please?, and the bus driver
stopped. The tractor
coming in the other
direction had to pull into a
layby to let him pass.
It had finally stopped
raining, but I was glad of
the wellies.
The lane had grass
growing down the middle. It
had rained in the night so
there were puddles to
negotiate as well as stones,
and my gran, who
complained of the walk to
the corner shop, was
walking down the lane
quicker than I was.
* * * *
?Janey, give Miss
McLaughlin your gift,? my
gran prompted me because
I was too distracted by my
surroundings to do anything
but look around me.
I handed over the soap
and magazine.
Lottie, who looked like my
gran, smiled at me.
?Well, thank you very
much, Janey. Perhaps you
would like to wash up after
your journey??
I was lost, thinking that
Lottie perhaps wanted me
to do the dishes, but Gran
indicated a small corridor
off the main room, leading
to the bathroom.
The house was like no
house I had ever been in
before. I thought a cottage
would have a thatched roof,
but the roof was slate, the
stone window-sills must
have been nearly a foot
thick, and rooms had
obviously been added
through the years, including
the bathroom.
Later, I would do the
dishes in the little kitchen,
with its sloping aluminium
roof and big Belfast sink.
We sat for a few
moments, while Lottie and
Gran chatted. I was perched
on the sofa which was the
same as ours at home ? the
only anchor point that was
familiar.
There was also a colour
television, and a big
wooden table set with
plates of sandwiches, buns,
a bowl of salad and the
very best china.
It was as if Lottie was
expecting ten visitors, not
just two.
?There was no need to
put on such a fine spread
for us,? Gran said.
?Well, it?s not every day I
get such distinguished
visitors,? Lottie said, smiling
at me.
I had never been referred
to as a distinguished visitor
before.
The range fascinated me,
for I had never seen one.
The kettle sat on it and I
could smell the turf, and
feel its comforting warmth
on that damp, chilly
summer?s day.
A black cat wandered in
but was gently shooed away
by Lottie.
?He would be too
interested in the ham,?
Lottie said.
I panicked. Would I have
to tell Lottie that I couldn?t
eat ham because I didn?t
eat anything that had been
alive? I knew with a sinking
heart that whatever was on
those overflowing china
plates, I would have to eat
this country lady would
know about make-up and
skincare, but then I realised
that Lottie was wearing face
powder and even had a
touch of mascara.
?How do you know?? I
asked.
?Lottie used to work for a
chemist in the town,? Gran
explained.
By ?town? my gran meant
the village we had passed
through on our way, with
two churches, three pubs
and a few shops.
Lottie left us for a
moment and came back
with a jar of moisturiser.
?Now, you start using
that night and morning.?
?Thank you,? I said,
taking the little blue tub.
Lottie and Gran went
I wondered if Gran was giving
me a stern look
it for fear of letting my
grandmother down.
?Now, those sandwiches
are for you, dear,? Lottie
said, indicating the prettiest
flowery plate I had ever
seen.
Never had I tasted
anything nicer than those
tomato and cucumber
sandwiches. I drank strong
black tea from china cups
and answered questions on
what I liked at school.
The cat wandered in again
and as the ham was now
eaten, he was allowed to
jump on my knee. Lottie
made no comment on the
lack of milk in my tea.
For a while, Lottie and
Gran talked about folk who
seemed to have died a long
time ago. Doesn?t it always
seem that way when you?re
young?
My mind drifted off to
what it must have been like
for Lottie. She had more
siblings than Gran, all of
whom were born and reared
in this tiny cottage.
Where would everyone
have slept, I wondered.
?Now, you have beautiful
skin, Janey,? Lottie told me.
?You must look after it.?
I?d been trying one of
those facial scrubs, which
were all the rage then, but
it had left my skin dry and
itchy.
I couldn?t imagine that
back to talking about the
folk who had died.
Maybe some of the
children had slept in the
barn, like on one of those
films I had seen on telly? I
could bear it no longer.
?Excuse me, Lottie, but
where did you all sleep??
I wondered if Gran was
giving me a stern look as
Lottie replied.
?Well, Janey, that?s a
good question. Where the
bathroom is now, that used
to be a wee room where I
shared a bed with two of
my sisters.?
?You shared a bed?? I
asked, wondering how that
worked.
?Oh, yes, everyone did.
My older brothers were up
and away by the time I
came along, but there used
to be a bed in the rafters
where they slept, and there
was also a settle bed by the
fire, but that was before we
got the range.?
?Was it very crowded?? I
persisted. ?What if
somebody wanted a lie-in??
Lottie laughed.
?Oh, we didn?t have
lie-ins then, unless you
were sick. Now, why don?t
you take the basket by the
door and see if there are
any eggs??
I forgot all about
past sleeping
arrangements. What
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should I do? If I gave in
on this, it would be
reported back to my
mother that eggs were OK,
and I was still convinced
that they weren?t.
I was about to give Lottie
my carefully prepared
lecture on how I didn?t
believe it was right to eat
eggs, but now Gran did give
me one of her stern looks.
?Where from?? I said in a
small voice, wondering how
I was going to resolve this
moral dilemma.
?Oh, you?ll hear them
before you see them. Make
sure you bolt the door after
you.?
I didn?t go straight to the
little stone outbuilding at
the back where I could hear
the hens clucking and
squawking for all they were
worth. Instead, I tramped
over the field in my wellies.
What should I do? I didn?t
want to spoil the day, and I
knew if I came back with an
empty basket, Gran would
be mortified.
Yet I had made a pledge
to myself not to eat
anything from an animal
and I had stuck to it,
through weeks of hunger
and battles with my
mother, secretly longing for
cauliflower cheese.
I looked down at Lottie?s
cottage, at the slate roof,
then at the other field that
Granny said Lottie rented
out to a neighbouring
farmer for his cattle.
?Lottie couldn?t manage
their dairy herd any longer,
even with her nephew?s
help,? Granny had told me
on the bus.
I didn?t want to ruin my
jeans by sitting down on
the wet grass, but I just
needed a few minutes?
thinking time.
Instead of fretting over
my complicated moral
dilemma, my mind clicked
back to where Lottie and
her family would have slept,
huddled together in the
cold winter months, with
early starts to milk the cows
and to walk to school.
My head may have been
full of pale pink stilettos,
but even I knew that Lottie
would have grown up in the
days of no electricity and
water from the S-shaped
pump, which still stood
outside the cottage.
It was chilly enough on an
overcast summer?s day.
What must it have been like
in November? Yet Lottie
had stayed on, although
sometimes the thought of a
little house in town with
central heating and a shop
around the corner must
have been very tempting.
Lottie hadn?t made a fuss
about me being a
vegetarian. It would seem
rude, I realised, to give her
a lecture about how I didn?t
eat eggs, either.
After all, lunch was over.
Lottie wouldn?t be boiling
eggs for me now. Surely it
wouldn?t compromise my
principles just to gather the
eggs.
Still full of trepidation, I
wandered back to the
outbuilding where the
chickens lived. They were
roaming around in a small
patch of hard earth,
pecking and clucking.
The outbuilding had a
cement floor covered in
straw and a cracked
window. Some rather
determined-looking hens
were still nesting, so I left
them alone, but carefully
picked up the eggs from
various straw nests dotted
around the floor and on a
small shelf.
The outbuilding had a half
door ? you could bolt the
lower half and still let in
light and air. Lottie was
always careful, Gran said, of
the threat of foxes, so the
outbuilding was carefully
shut up each evening.
The hens were bigger and
much more boisterous than
I?d thought they?d be. They
were all different colours,
too.
presents
Some were ginger; there
was a white one and even a
black one. Their feathers
were lush and beautiful and
they pecked around my
feet, some squawking, as if
they didn?t want a stranger
in their midst. Others
flapped their wings and
clucked a bit.
They reminded me of the
ladies in Mum?s amateur
dramatic society.
I started picking up the
eggs, marvelling at how
some of them were warm.
Some had the odd feather
still stuck to them; some
were speckled, some
darker.
Even though the voice in
my head was telling me I
was compromising my
principles, I still felt a sense
of accomplishment as I
walked back to the
farmhouse with a few eggs
in the basket.
* * * *
A few hours later, the
eggs were carefully
balanced in two half-dozen
egg boxes in a shopping
bag on the seat beside me
on the way home.
The following week, when
we used Lottie?s eggs to
bind the mushroom and
lentil loaf, we were able to
slice it into perfect slices.
I started taking milk in my
tea again.
Of course, now I had
another dilemma. I stopped
wearing my dangly earrings
made from feathers.
* * * *
Both Lottie and my gran
were gone by the time I
started university. There, I
fitted in a bit more.
Vegetarians were viewed as
trendy, and I often cooked
my mushroom and lentil
loaf for my friends, thinking
of Gran as I did so.
I also started a petition
against using feathers in the
fashion industry. As for
Lottie?s face cream, I still
use it, and Lottie was right,
I?ve never had any
problems with my skin. And
it hasn?t been tested on
animals.
I often wondered if my
canny grandmother realised
that the visit to Lottie
would start me on a
journey.
My degree was in English,
but I did a subsidiary
course in anthropology,
where my tutor encouraged
me to write and record the
stories of women like my
grandmother and Lottie.
These were women who
grew up on small farms,
where they had few
opportunities. Lottie never
married because she looked
after her elderly parents.
My gran left school at
fifteen to help out with the
farm and look after younger
siblings.
Eventually I would take a
postgraduate degree in
women?s studies and I now
lecture to adults, church
groups and the like, as well
as doing my own writing.
Lottie?s cottage is long
gone, and in its place is a
housing development,
although the family still
owns part of the land.
I met Lottie?s greatnephew Robert recently, as
I was doing some research
into my gran?s family and
wanted some information
about the village school
which Lottie and Gran both
attended.
I thought Robert would be
some hot-shot property
developer, but I liked him
as soon as he put on the
kettle in the small estate
agency he runs, where the
draper?s shop used to be.
I was widowed young (no
children, though I share my
house with various fourlegged rescue friends, who
rule the roost), he was
divorced young (one
daughter, at uni in Leeds),
and when he asked me out
to lunch, I started to tell
him about Lottie and the
eggs. n
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SHORT STORY BY TONY REDCLIFFE 53
Mr Johnson?s
Resolution
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
A
NOTHER year
has slipped by
and I look
forward to a
happy and
uneventful 1883. I wish
only for a quiet life. Not so
much to ask, surely.
I do not usually hold with
New Year resolutions, easily
made and just as easily
broken. However, this year
I am resolved to avoid
widows.
Looking back over the
last two years, it was
evident that widows were
responsible for the most
traumatic experiences in
my life.
I foolishly married a
widow who had already
disposed of at least two
husbands and who almost
succeeded in disposing of
me.
Then there was that awful
pie woman, the widow
Butterfield, who dragged
me through the courts in a
breach of promise of
marriage suit.
Oh, no, I shall avoid
widows. I shall, of course,
Set
in
1883
be civil. I am a gentleman. I
shall tip my hat and smile,
but otherwise be like
Gibraltar ? a rock, a
fortress.
And that, I am confident,
will ensure a quiet and
contented year.
* * * *
January 31.
A most upsetting
experience. I have had to
take a nip of whisky to calm
my nerves.
It began late this
afternoon at the bank when
Mr Stonehouse asked me
to step into his office. Of
course, young Hoskins blew
out his cheeks and rolled
his eyes to heaven in an
attempt to unsettle me.
Mr Stonehouse explained
he had a document that
needed to be delivered but
the last post had gone.
Since the address was near
to where I lived, could I
deliver it on my way home?
?Of course,? I said.
The envelope was
addressed to Mrs Cecilia
Sissons of the Sissons Hotel
for Single Young Ladies, an
establishment I?d often
passed. A safe and innocent
haven, it appeared to me.
Then Fate played a part.
One minute either way and
I would not have bumped
into Sam Carter on my
mission.
Sam was an old friend.
He?d been the one who?d
revealed the previous
history of the dangerous
widow I?d married.
We shook hands and
exchanged greetings, and
since we were standing
outside the Dog and Duck
we decided to continue our
conversation inside the
public house.
We had enjoyed two pints
of Old Codger when I
suddenly remembered the
envelope in my coat
pocket. I bade Sam farewell
and hurried along to the
Sissons Hotel for Single
Young Ladies.
It was five minutes to
eight when I ran up the
three steps leading to the
door. I stepped into a small
This year I am
determined to
avoid all
widows, at no
matter what
cost . . .
foyer. On one wall was a
notice board displaying
Rules and Regulations.
Standing by another wall
was a porter?s box. A
porter in a brown, brassbuttoned coat sat behind
the counter.
I approached him and
produced the envelope.
?I wish to leave this for
Mrs Cecilia Sissons,? I said.
The fellow sucked his
breath.
?Can?t do that, pal.?
I decided to ignore his
impertinent mode of
address.
?Why not??
He sucked his teeth
again.
?I?ve locked my
cupboard, pal.? He nodded
to a small closet at his side.
?Almost past my time.
Can?t be done.?
I gave him a steely glare.
?This,? I said, waving the
envelope, ?is very
important.?
?Tell you what,? he said,
?take it down to the
superintendent?s office
yourself. Just down the
corridor. Name on the
door. If there?s no answer,
push it under the door. Job
done.?
He nodded towards a
corridor on the left.
I was annoyed, but had
promised I would carry out
the bank?s business.
I turned my back on the
porter and walked down a
long, carpeted corridor.
There were several doors,
but eventually I came to
one with a wooden plaque
with Superintendent Mrs
Cecilia Sissons inscribed in
gold paint.
I knocked. No response. I
knocked again, louder.
Nothing.
I bent and slid the
brown envelope under
the door. Job done,
54
as the impertinent porter
would have said.
I turned to go when I
noticed a large oil painting
on the wall. ?The Battle of
Waterloo?. A strange choice
for a ladies? hotel but I
recalled the building had
once been a gentlemen?s
club.
Being interested in
military history, I took some
time admiring the stirring
scene. Then I made my way
back to the foyer.
The porter?s box was
empty. A number of the
gas lights had been turned
off. I turned the handle of
the front door. It was
locked. I rattled it. It was
still locked.
There must be another
door, a way out. All was
quiet and I assumed that all
the young ladies were in
their rooms, so I set off
quickly down another
corridor.
There were three rooms
with numbers on them, a
door marked Bathroom,
then three more numbered
doors and another
bathroom. It was as I
approached this door that
it opened. Steam and a
waft of warm air billowed
out, followed by a young
lady wearing a dressing
gown.
She saw me and was
startled.
?A man!? she cried
loudly.
Other doors opened.
Heads and then bodies of
young ladies emerged. I
seemed surrounded by a
forest of paper curlers.
My mouth was dry.
?Don?t be alarmed,
ladies,? I managed to
croak. ?I am only here to
see Mrs Cecilia Sissons.?
?I am she!? a voice said
behind me.
I turned slowly.
Mrs Sissons was a large
woman, a formidable
woman of late middle age.
?No man, I repeat, no
male person, is allowed on
these premises after eight
o?clock in the evening.
What are you doing here??
I told her, and she
sniffed.
?Lies. I find you here,
terrorising my young ladies,
reeking of alcohol. I have a
good mind to call a
constable.?
The young lady who had
emerged from the bathroom
spoke.
?Perhaps I should show
him out immediately, Mrs
Sissons.?
?Please do so, Miss
Meadows.? She looked at
me and pointed an arm
down the corridor. ?Go!?
Miss Meadows conducted
me to a door secured by a
single bolt which she drew
back.
?There you are. If it?s any
consolation, I believe you.?
?Thank you. I?m sorry I
startled you.?
I noticed that she was
very pretty.
?Tell me. Is Mrs Cecilia
Sissons a widow??
?Yes, she is.?
* * * *
February 1.
I was five minutes late for
work today. I had had a
disturbed night ? a
nightmare where I was
pursued down a corridor by
Mrs Sissons.
I had hardly taken off my
coat when young Hoskins
sidled up to me.
?There?s a chap in with
Mr Stonehouse. A detective
asking about a peeping
tom.?
A few minutes later the
man left and Mr
Stonehouse beckoned me
into his office.
Of course he had been
able to confirm that I was a
bona fide visitor to the
Sissons Hotel. That would
be the end of the matter.
Just an unfortunate
incident, although, he
remarked, I did have a
knack for getting involved in
the most bizarre situations.
I assured Mr Stonehouse
stiffly that the bizarre
situations, as he called
them, were not of my
choosing.
When I got back to my
desk I could hear young
Hoskins talking to another
young fellow.
?You know, Fred, my little
niece recited her latest
nursery rhyme for me last
night. ?Goosey goosey
gander, where shall I
wander? Upstairs,
downstairs and in my lady?s
chamber.? Do you know it,
Fred??
My sister Ethel tells me
she and her husband have
bought a pianoforte with
the intention of their son,
Edward, aged nine, taking
lessons. Ethel was of the
opinion that someone who
could play a pianoforte
would always be popular at
musical evenings.
I didn?t say so, but I have
always been of the opinion
that at such social
gatherings everyone else
has a fine time laughing and
chatting, flirting and
spooning, whilst the poor
player is confined to the
piano stool and keys.
I do not know if my
nephew ? a nice, cheery lad
but large and clumsy, with
fingers like sausages ? will
take to the instrument.
* * * *
February 14.
Ethel prevailed on me to
take young Edward for his
piano lesson, she being
otherwise occupied in a
vital hairdressing
appointment. I agreed, and
we duly turned up at Blair?s
School of Music and were
directed to the practice
room.
We went in and I saw a
young woman sitting at a
pianoforte, her back to us.
She turned as we entered.
I knew her! The young
lady coming out of the
bathroom at Mrs Cecilia
Sissons? Hotel for Single
Young Ladies!
She recognised me,
smiled and held out her
hand.
?Mr Johnson,? she said.
She remembered my
name!
?Miss Meadows.?
I explained I was young
Edward?s uncle.
She began the lesson. She
was very sweet, very pretty,
very patient, even when
Edward banged the wrong
key.
At the end of the lesson
we chatted happily for
some minutes. Later, I told
Ethel I would gladly take
Edward to his piano lessons
and (perhaps wrongly)
promised the lad a shilling
for each lesson he took to
continue his musical
education.
Am I an old fool? She is a
good ten years younger
than me.
I noticed her music case
bore the initials D.M. I
wonder what the D is.
Daphne, Deirdre, Dorothy?
* * * *
February 21.
It?s Daisy! Miss Daisy
Meadows. Isn?t that a perfect
name?
I took young Edward along
for his lesson, with the
promise of another shilling.
She looked lovely. A blue
ribbon in her chestnut hair.
We chatted whilst Edward
practised his scales. She
knew, of course, that I work
in a bank. She is from a small
village in Kent where her
mother lives.
Conversation flowed easily
and the hour passed so
quickly.
I think constantly about
Miss Daisy Meadows. I feel
light-hearted and lightheaded. I overheard young
Hoskins whispering to his pal.
?I can?t smell no alcohol!?
The more I think of her, the
more I wonder if I have a
chance. Still, faint heart ne?er
won fair lady and I do admit
that I do on occasions feel
very lonely, especially in the
evenings.
Daisy and I have been
courting, keeping company,
walking out together;
whatever you might call it.
She knows all about my
ill-fated marriage and my
escape from the
machinations of the pie
woman. To her it matters not
a jot. She says I am very
trusting.
Well, if I never ask, I will
never know . . .
She accepted! My darling
Daisy said yes. She wants me
to meet her mother, a
widow.
* * * *
April 10.
This year I resolved to
avoid widows, the root of all
my problems, as confirmed
by the formidable Mrs Cecilia
Sissons. My resolution was
rock-like, but it has
crumbled.
I have considered. No Mrs
Sissons ? perhaps no Miss
Meadows.
So there we are. We are to
be married and I don?t care if
the other day young Hoskins
caught me singing.
?Daisy, Daisy, give me
your answer do. I?m half
crazy, all for the love of
you . . .? n
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The Secret Of
Trefusis Cove
Secrets uncovered and battles fought ? who
would guess this quiet spot could be so thrilling?
Illustration by David Young.
B
ETTY was angry.
?That was a stupid
joke and all at the
expense of that
poor creature. It
might not come back.?
?It wasn?t a seal.?
?What was it, then??
?I don?t know,? Alex
answered quietly.
?It wasn?t a mermaid,?
Val said sadly. ?There?s no
such thing ? is there?? She
gazed at him hopefully.
?Are you sure it had arms??
Betty?s heart softened.
?Of course it didn?t, Val.
It must have been a trick of
the light.?
?Thinking about it, I can?t
be certain. It?s dark and
dappled down there;
maybe I?m muddled.? Alex
shrugged.
?You are!?
?We?re all tired,? Aircut
said. ?How about we go
home? We can tell Sally all
about it. There?s always an
explanation for everything.?
He glanced at Alex.
?You?re invited, too, if
you?d like.? He said it
politely but as if he hoped
Alex would refuse.
Alex shook his head.
?Thanks, but I?ll get back
to Whealgrey. I have to
make plans to seal off the
old mine to make it safe.
?I?m sorry I?ve upset you
all. I really did see
something. I didn?t lie, not
even for a joke.?
He took hold of Polly?s
reins and mounted easily.
?Goodnight, Val.? He
raised a hand. ?I hope to
see you again, very soon.?
Urging Polly into a trot,
he disappeared.
?I believe him,? Val said.
?He saw something.?
?Maybe,? Betty replied.
?Let him get on with his
plans and the repairs to
Tangara; that?s more
important than filling your
head with mermaids.?
?He?s not a liar!? Val was
near to tears.
Betty realised it was a
mistake to criticise Alex. Val
was too vulnerable. There
was nothing she could do.
Sally appeared in her
bathrobe, drying her hair.
?Did the night go well??
?Very well,? Aircut
answered. ?There was a
good crowd and none of us
sang out of tune.?
?Alex gave me a ride back
on his horse,? Val said. ?He
thought he saw a seal on
the rock outside but it had
arms. I don?t think he saw it
clearly.?
Aircut related the rest of
the tale. Betty thought she
saw a look pass between
Sally and Aircut.
?I?ll put the kettle on,? he
said. ?We?ve all had a busy
night.?
The scene between Val
and Alex was not
mentioned. Sitting by
Aircut?s little stove, Betty
sipped her hot chocolate
and felt relaxed.
?It was a successful
Shanty Night. Everyone was
in fine voice and even Alex
has become a little more
popular since the accident.
He was persuaded to stand
up and sing a shanty. Val
sang a duet with him.?
Sally sighed.
?There were surveyors up
in the field behind Tangara
today. They were using a
theodolite, measuring. It
looks as if things will begin
to happen soon.?
Aircut put down his mug
and stretched his arms.
?It?s been a long day.?
Betty realised that, as he
SERIAL BY PAT THORNBOROUGH: PART 6 OF 6 59
was to sleep on the sofa in
the living-room, this was his
way of saying goodnight.
She glanced at her watch.
?Goodness, I didn?t realise
it was so late. I?ll wash up.?
By the time she went to
their bedroom Val was
already in her pyjamas.
?I need to talk, Betty. You
must have seen us, Alex
and me, in your headlights.?
?I did,? Betty replied
kindly. ?I couldn?t miss it,
and neither could Aircut.?
?He kissed me, Betty. It
wasn?t a peck and I kissed
him back. I wanted to.?
?You?ve been growing
fond of him for quite a
while, haven?t you??
?Yes.? Val sighed. ?Since
we went to Land?s End. I?m
not a child. I know feelings
can be overwhelming. I?ve
not forgotten.?
?I understand,? Betty
said. ?It hurts the heart to
think that the loves of our
lives are no longer here. It?s
been a long time now.?
?You always know how I
feel, Betty.?
Betty put an arm around
her shoulders.
?I just don?t want to think
that Alex is taking
advantage of you. That he
regards the whole episode
as a holiday romance. No
strings, no broken hearts,
even an advantage to have
your opinions on his side.
?We?re here for such a
little time, and when we get
back home all this will be
just a memory. Whatever
happens here will happen.
We?ll no longer be involved.
Alex could break your heart
and he would be half a
world away.?
Val began to sob.
?It was so lovely,? she
whispered. ?He meant it
and he wants to see me
again. He wants to talk.?
Betty sighed.
?Let?s get to bed.
Everything will seem better
in the morning.?
As she picked up her
washbag from the chest of
drawers Betty noticed that
Sally?s camera and the
photographs were missing.
The old cashbox remained.
* * * *
It was raining the next
morning. They decided not
to go to Tangara. Aircut, in
oilskins and sou?wester,
went out in his boat to
check his lobster pots.
?Rain don?t make no
difference to me.?
He returned after lunch.
?Not much to do today,
what with all this rain.?
?I hear you?re interested
in photography.? Sally
addressed Val.
?Yes. I saw your camera
in the bedroom. It looks
very professional.?
?It goes with my job. It?s
an underwater camera.?
?What is your job??
Sally hesitated.
?I?m a marine biologist.?
?Yes,? Aircut said
proudly. ?Sal?s the clever
one in the family. She went
to university.?
Sally laughed.
?Uncle Harry makes such
a fuss. It?s just a job.?
?Uncle Harry?? Betty
exclaimed. ?We?ve never
known your real name!?
?It?s Harry Wardle, but
I?m still Aircut to my
friends.? He grinned.
?Your job must be
important.? Betty was
curious.
?Are those photos that
were on the chest of
drawers underwater ones??
Val chipped in. ?I?d love to
see them.?
?They?re not very
interesting. Just repetitive
shots.?
Betty sensed that Sally
didn?t want to share her
work with them.
?Can I see some of
yours?? Sally asked Val.
?Of course.? Val dashed
off to the bedroom and
came back with her camera.
?I?m no professional, but I
try to do my best.?
Sally looked at the
photographs on the screen.
?The important thing is to
know when to press the
button. You?ve done
remarkably well.?
Val blushed.
?Underwater there must
be some wonderful things to
see. When do you take
them, in the daylight or in
the dark with a light??
Sally glanced at Aircut,
who nodded.
?Best tell them. It?ll clear
things up a bit.?
Betty and Val waited.
?We were going to tell
you both,? he said.
?Tell us what??
?Are you good at keeping
secrets?? he asked.
?Because this one must be
kept quiet until we?re sure
of what we suspect.?
?Oh, lor?!? Val whispered.
?That sounds ominous.?
?We can certainly keep a
secret if it?s of importance.
Fire away.?
?Well,? Sally began. ?As I
say, I?m a marine biologist.
I?m here studying the cove
periods of time. That?s how
I get the shots I need
without disturbing them.
?I train at night when the
tide is high, and get my
photos in the early morning
if the tide is right.?
Betty nodded.
?So you have one of
those grey diving suits. And
you tuck your hair away??
?Yes, and I wear a large
?When we get home all this will be
just a memory?
in the hope of finding
something that will make
Alexander Grey?s plans very
difficult, or impossible.?
Betty nodded.
?Something that will make
sure this place is not to be
disturbed??
?Exactly!? Aircut grinned.
?Sally has been doing a lot
of diving and underwater
photography. We think
that, soon, what we hope
for will be revealed so that
we can submit it as proof to
the powers that be?
Betty looked at Aircut.
?Seahorses.?
?Absolutely right.?
?Hippocampus,? Sally
added. ?Their habitat is in
eelgrass and there?s a huge
clump of it at the entrance
to the cove.?
Val turned to Aircut.
?You said you?d seen
them as a boy but we only
half believed you.?
Aircut laughed.
?I was doing my salty
seadog act. I added my
belief in mermaids to give
you an extra thrill.?
?I?m sure that in the next
couple of days I?ll get the
shots I want. It?ll involve a
lot of diving.? Sally smiled.
?That?s another thing we
ought to tell them, although
I think it will disappoint Val.
Remember the seal you saw
resting on the rock??
?Of course!?
?It wasn?t a seal,? Sally
replied. ?And the mermaid
with arms wasn?t a
mermaid, either.?
?Do you know what it
was? Have you seen it??
?I?m sorry, Val, but you
see ? it was me.?
?But it was grey and shiny
and it had no hair!?
?I?m a free diver. I can
hold my breath for long
flipper to propel me along
in the water. You nearly
caught me out a couple of
times, that?s why Uncle
Harry and I decided to let
you in on the secret.
?If the seahorses are
there the eelgrass must not
be disturbed, because if
mooring ropes are put out
? which is part of Mr Grey?s
plan for pleasure boats
? the movement of the
ropes with the tides would
act like a mower and
destroy the habitat. It
would be disastrous.?
Betty held out her hand.
?We wish you all the luck
in the world, Aircut.?
Aircut shook her hand.
?It?s good to have you
two on our side.?
Val was quiet.
?Alex won?t like this.?
?He can?t think we would
give up without a fight.
He?s a battler himself.?
?He?ll find a way to foil
your plans,? she answered.
?He?s clever and there?s
still Tangara and the land
behind it.?
?Ah,? Aircut said. ?But he
hasn?t got a marine
biologist on his side. Letting
holiday homes without
boats on the water won?t
be such a good deal.?
?Aren?t you on our side,
Val?? Betty asked.
?I don?t know whose side
to be on.?
?What about the
seahorses, the rabbits??
Sally asked. ?Small
creatures need someone to
fight their cause. And the
folk who live here ? what
about them??
Val covered her face.
?I don?t know what to
think. Alex is set on seeing
his project through.?
Betty felt nervous.
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61
What if Val told Alex?
Val must have seen her
expression.
?Of course I won?t tell. I
promise. But goodness
knows what Alex will do
when he finds out.?
* * * *
At breakfast the phone
rang. Aircut went to answer
it and came back beaming.
?That was Alexander
Grey. The work?s finished
on Tangara and you can go
back whenever you like.
He?s there now.?
?Oh, my!? Val exclaimed.
?We must pack.?
?Finish your breakfast,?
Aircut advised.
?We can?t thank you
enough for putting us up
for the past few days,?
Betty told him. ?It?s been
so kind of you.?
?It?s been a pleasure.?
?I hope the men made a
good job of the plastering.?
?Of course they did.
They?re all honest, hardworking Cornishmen . . .
except Alex.?
Betty and Val,
accompanied by Aircut and
Sally, made their way past
Kit?s shop to Tangara.
Alex smiled and waved as
they approached.
?Come in!? He beckoned
eagerly. ?I hope you?ll
approve. I think my team
have done a bonzer job.?
He ushered them inside.
The four gazed around.
?It looks so bright and
new, but different.?
?The plasterwork is
perfect!? Betty said. ?As if
nothing had happened.
Wait a moment ? the
kitchen looks smaller. And
where?s the tin bath??
?Outside with the
spiders.? Alex laughed.
?Wait, it?s dark in here.?
He flicked a switch on the
wall and the whole room
was illuminated.
Betty gasped.
?Electricity!?
Alex laughed again.
?I spoke to the power
people. Kit?s got it and I
have it up at Whealgrey, so
it was no problem. I got an
electrician to wire it up.
What do you think??
?Did you get permission
from Peter John??
?Of course. He was well
chuffed. Same as he was
with this.? He opened a
new door in a space beside
the kitchen.
?It?s a shower,? Val
whispered. ?A real shower!?
Alex grinned.
?The firm that supplied it
set it up and plumbed it in.
No tiling or anything; it?s a
complete unit. Are you
pleased??
Betty took a deep breath.
?It must have cost loads.
Why did you do it??
?I wanted to repair the
damage caused by my
pick-up and to make
amends.?
?Aren?t you going to
negotiate a sale with Peter
John for Tangara? You?ll be
pulling it down.?
?Not necessarily. It would
make a good summer let
now it has mod cons.
However, if it needs to be
done, so be it.?
?There you go again,? Val
said angrily. ?You do
wonderful things and then
spoil it all!?
?I haven?t changed
everything,? Alex protested.
?The dunny?s still outside.?
?Well, I hope your
summer visitors like spiders,
because that?s where they
live!?
Alex looked woebegone.
?Don?t let?s quarrel. I
wanted this to be a happy
surprise and a bit of home
comfort for you and Betty.?
Betty frowned. That was
Alex ? first nice, then tough
businessman, then nice
again. He was in the same
muddle as Val. Neither
knew what to do about
their situation.
?You?ve done a very kind
deed.? Betty addressed
Alex. ?And we appreciate it.
But maybe Peter won?t be
persuaded to sell it to you
now.?
Alex shrugged.
?The cost is not a worry. I
can easily make Peter an
offer he can?t refuse.?
?There?s some things
money can?t buy,? Aircut
said quietly.
They heard footsteps
outside.
?May I come in??
Betty turned to the door.
?It?s Peter John!?
?I came as soon as I
could. Thanks for your
phone calls, Alex, and for
the repairs.? He held out
his hand to Alex.
?It?s the least I could do,
considering I nearly
dropped my pick-up into
your kitchen sink!?
?Kit told me. I?ve been
staying at the shop and he
filled me in on the whole
story. You had a narrow
escape.?
?I was rescued by a
bunch of heroes. These
ladies have been staying
with Aircut while the repairs
were carried out.?
?Thank goodness no-one
was badly hurt.?
?Thanks for caring for
Betty and Val.? Peter shook
Aircut?s hand.
?I couldn?t leave two new
members of my Shanty
Group out in the cold.?
Peter smiled.
?You?ve settled into the
place very quickly.?
?Tangara seemed to
accept us straight away,?
Val said. ?We never
imagined this place would
be so beautiful.?
?I think so, too. So did
my dad and his father
before him; they were
artists, too.?
?Were your exhibitions in
London successful?? Betty
asked.
?Very! I sold almost all
the paintings, so I can easily
reimburse Alex for all the
extra work he?s done. The
shower will be a vast
improvement; the electric,
too. I never seemed to have
the funds or the time to get
around to it.?
?Forget it,? Alex said
firmly. ?It?s my gift to make
up for all the commotion
I?ve caused. But I?d like to
have a talk with you about
Tangara.?
?The answer will be no.
I?m not interested in
selling.?
?You?ve jumped the gun.?
Alex grinned. ?I?d make you
a good offer and I?ve had a
rethink about pulling it
down.?
?No sale,? Peter
repeated.
Betty felt that the
atmosphere was growing
tense.
?We?ve had a mystery to
solve but we decided to
wait until you were here.?
?What?s that??
?When the plaster fell off
over the sink it left a large
hole and inside was an old
tin cashbox. Do you have it,
Val??
Val rummaged in her
holdall.
?Yes, here. We couldn?t
get it open because there
was no key.? She handed
the box to Peter. ?We
decided to wait until you
were here because it really
belongs to you.?
Peter took the box.
?It?s very old. I wonder if
it belonged to my
grandfather. But why wall it
up over the sink? They
wouldn?t have had much
money. They used to sell a
few paintings in St Ives to
make ends meet.?
He shook it.
?There?s something
inside, all right.? He
attempted to open it.
?We?ll have to smash it
open.?
?Don?t do that!? Val
wailed. ?You might damage
whatever?s inside.?
Alex laughed.
?I suggested a bit of wire
or a hairpin when we first
found it. I could open it
easy.?
?Why didn?t you??
?Because the girls said it
wouldn?t be right, as it was
your property. Besides,
no-one had a hairpin.?
?I admire your honesty.
But you must have been
bursting to know what was
inside.?
?You bet we were!? Val
exclaimed.
?OK.? Alex grinned.
?Who has a hairpin??
?I do.? Sally reached up
to her long tied-up hair.
* * * *
The atmosphere was
tense as Alex placed the
box on the table. Betty was
engrossed. A few little
twists of the hairpin and
the lock clicked open.
Alex handed the box to
Peter.
?Now you can solve the
mystery for all of us.?
There was not a sound in
the room as Peter opened
the lid. They gathered
around.
?It?s an envelope.? Peter
took it from the box. ?It?s
sealed and it?s marked
Whealgrey. You should be
reading this.? He handed
the envelope to Alex.
?No, you go ahead.?
?There?s something else,?
Val said. ?Something
shiny.?
62
Peter reached inside
and took out a ring set
with a tiny sparkling stone.
?That?s a diamond!?
?Let?s see.? Alex
examined the ring. ?Yep,
it?s a diamond. That
envelope should tell more.?
?Open it,? Val begged.
Peter turned the envelope
over and ran his thumb
under the seal. He removed
a letter and began reading.
?This is older than any of
us.? He looked at Alex. ?I
think you?d better read it.
There?s something else in
the envelope, too.?
Puzzled, Alex took the
letter and opened it.
?Please!? Betty was
beside herself with
curiosity. ?Read it to us ? it
can?t be that private after
all these years.?
There was a chorus of
agreement from the others.
Alex cleared his throat and
began to read.
?Dear Simon, I?m asking
my mum to take this to you
after I?m gone. I know she
feels the shame of what I?m
doing and Dad is furious.
?The truth is that I can?t
marry you when I love your
brother John. I can?t live a
lie, and if I went ahead with
the wedding that?s what I?d
be doing. Forgive me for
not having the courage to
tell you to your face.
?Mum will return the ring
you gave me. John and I
are going away to the other
side of the world.
?I will always remember
beautiful, unchanging
Trefusis Cove where I was
born, and my life at
Tangara. It is part of my life
I will never forget, nor my
deep friendship with you
which I mistook for love.
?You will always be in my
prayers. Lyndsy Morgan.?
?There?s a photo.? Peter
handed Alex a small print.
Alex paled.
?It?s my mum. She never
spoke of this, nor did she
tell us anything about the
past before they came to
Oz. But I always thought
that there was something.
?Then she passed away
and it was all lost. Dad
never spoke of it.? He
sighed. ?So that letter was
never delivered. Her folks
walled it up and moved
on.?
?Everyone around here
knew about the jilting,?
Aircut said.
?No-one told me. I just
inherited an uncle out of
the blue. I never even knew
Dad had a brother.?
?Just imagine,? Val said.
?Your mother?s feet walked
on this floor.?
Alex stood up and put the
letter and photo in his
pocket. The ring he placed
on his little finger, where it
only reached halfway.
?I have to get my head
around all this. I?ll be in
touch.? He left the room.
?Lyndsy?s parents must
have left Tangara soon after
the scandal,? Peter said.
?That must have been when
my folks bought it.?
They stood around the
empty box.
?I?ll make some tea,?
Betty said.
* * * *
Sally, Aircut and Peter left
and Betty and Val lit the
stove and sat talking over
the day?s events. Although
they were grateful for
Aircut?s hospitality it was
nice to be back.
?Shall we go to the Crab
and Mermaid??
?I don?t feel like it,? Val
replied. ?Scrambled eggs
will do. But first I must do
something.? She stood up.
?Where are you going??
?Up to Whealgrey to see
if Alex is OK.?
?Do you think you
should??
?He?s had a shock and
he?s all alone. He may need
someone to talk to. I won?t
be long.? Pulling on her
cardigan, she went out of
the door before Betty could
reply.
Betty sat by the stove
listening to the crackling of
the logs until the sun set.
She must have dozed
because she didn?t hear Val
return.
?Wake up.? Val shook her
shoulder. ?I?m back.?
The stove had died down
and only a few sparks were
left burning. Val opened the
glass door in the front and
put on some kindling which
soon blazed into life.
?How was Alex??
?He seemed pleased I?d
come. He still had his
mum?s ring on his finger.?
?Well, that?s given him
something to think about.?
?Don?t be cruel, Betty. He
said he needs time to come
to terms with it all.? Val
warmed her hands at the
stove. ?He said something
else, too.?
?What?s that??
Val took her hand.
?He asked me to marry
him and go back to
Australia with him.?
?Lumme!? Betty gasped.
?What did you say??
?I nearly said what you?ve
just said.? Val smiled. ?I
was speechless for a while.?
?So, are you . . .?? Betty
stammered.
?I didn?t say no. I said
that I, too, needed time to
think. Maybe he was so
upset that his proposal was
on the spur of the moment.
But I don?t think so. I
believe it was genuine.?
?How do you feel?? Betty
squeezed her friend?s hand.
?I don?t know. I?m so very
fond of him. I think I?m in
love, but how can I be sure?
It isn?t the same as . . .?
She hesitated.
?You?ve only known him
for a short time.?
?How much time does
one need, to know??
?Not much. When I met
my Stan for the first time I
knew he was the one.?
?I must think clearly!? Val
cried. ?My family would be
hurt if I moved so far away.
My love for them is strong
and it has a future. My
feelings for Alex are based
on moments.?
?You can only give
yourself and Alex time,?
Betty said softly.
Val got to her feet.
?Have you eaten??
?Not yet.?
?Then I?ll do the eggs and
you set the table.?
* * * *
Val was still asleep and
Betty had just risen when
there was a knocking at the
door. Betty opened it and
Sally rushed into the room.
?I?ve got the photos!?
Betty was puzzled, then
realised what Sally was
telling her.
?The seahorses??
?Yes. I got some
wonderful shots and there
are some very rare sea
anemones, too. I?ve sent
the photos to my office.
?Hopefully the powers
that be will put a
preservation order on the
cove.?
?Goodness. That?ll set the
cat among the pigeons.?
?What?s the noise
about?? Val appeared and
Sally explained again.
?Does Alex know??
?Not yet. The people to
whom he?s made
applications will hear first.?
?Another shock for him,?
Val said quietly.
?Well,? Sally answered.
?He might have known we
hadn?t given up the battle
for Trefusis Cove.?
?It?ll put a stop to
everything.?
?He?s rich ? he doesn?t
need the money.?
?He won?t like to lose,?
Val warned.
?I must go,? Sally said.
?Uncle Harry?s out checking
his lobster pots. He doesn?t
know yet.? She left quickly.
Two officials came to
verify Sally?s claim. After
that, several days passed
without incident.
Betty and Val swam,
sketched and took
photographs. Even Peter
got out his paints and
easel, capturing the
changing light in the cove.
There was no sight or
sound of Alex.
* * * *
?He hasn?t even left a
note on the door.?
?He must have been
informed by now,? Betty
replied. ?He?ll have gone
somewhere to cool off.?
?He might have spoken to
me,? Val said. ?He must
have known I?d be worried.?
?He?s bound to turn up
soon unless he?s gone back
to Australia and written off
his whole plan.?
?Not without telling me!?
Betty didn?t reply.
Sally and Aircut came to
show the prints of the
seahorses and anemones to
Betty and Val.
?Good work, Sally.
Everything will move fast
now.? Betty beamed.
?It already has,? Aircut
said. ?Applications for the
development of the land
and the laying of moorings
are going to be cancelled
and a preservation order
has been declared.?
?Does Alex know?? Val
asked.
?Yes, he does.? Alex
entered the room and held
out his hand to Sally. ?May
I see the pictures of the
little guys who got the
better of Alexander Grey?
And congratulations to the
mermaid with the camera.?
Sally handed him the
prints.
?We had to do it.?
?I know. I?ve fought many
a battle of wits myself.? He
held out his hand. ?Well
done, Sally, and I
congratulate all of you.?
They were stunned.
?You were so set on
changing everything!? Val
said.
?I know. When I came
and saw my inheritance I
saw only land and
opportunity. Since I?ve been
here I?ve become aware of
the needs of people, the
small unseen things and the
beauty of Trefusis.
?Val taught me a lot,
even when she got mad at
me. I admire folks who?ll
stand up to me.?
?What will you do now??
Betty asked.
?Already done! First I
took Polly back to the
stables where I hired her.
Then I did a lot of signing
and rubber stamping with
men in suits.?
?There?s more, isn?t
there?? Val put a hand on
his arm.
?I cancelled all my
applications. The land is to
go to the inhabitants of the
cove so no one person can
make decisions without the
approval of all. Whealgrey
I?ve given to Kit ? it?s little
enough for saving my life.?
?But that leaves you with
nothing!?
?It leaves me with
everything. The whole place
will be just as Mum wanted
to remember and I?ve
gained a sense of values
that were missing from my
life.?? His hand went to the
ring on a chain around his
neck.
?Will you go back home
now? Aircut asked.
?Soon. I?ve something to
settle first.? He took Val?s
hand. ?Come up to
Whealgrey, Val. We have
something to talk about.?
As Val and Alex left Aircut
beckoned to Betty.
?Bit of a romance, eh??
Betty nodded.
?I?ve got something to
confess,? he said. ?Can you
keep another secret??
?Of course.?
?Do you remember the
shell Val found ? the one
with the carvings on it??
?Yes, clearly,? she
whispered back.
?Well, it was me who put
it on the clump of seaweed
where she could find it.?
?Oh, Aircut! Val believes
it was from the mermaids.
Where did you get it? Did
you do the carving??
?No, no. I found it years
ago washed up on the
beach outside my cottage.
I?ve no idea where it came
from. Don?t tell Val. A
person needs a little magic,
don?t you think??
* * * *
?We?re still going to be
friends,? Val said as they
sat together in Betty?s little
car. ?We?ll write, of course,
and he wants me to send
him the painting I did of the
sunflower and the ladybird.
?But I couldn?t bring
myself to say yes to his
proposal. The romance of
this place and Alex swept
me off my feet. It couldn?t
have worked out.
?I?ll never forget him, but
I don?t think my love would
travel well, because my
family are my love. I know
he understands.?
It was early in the
morning and they?d said
their goodbyes the evening
before. Betty started the
motor and put the car into
gear.
?We?ll come again one
day, won?t we, Betty?? Val
was tearful.
?Of course,? Betty
replied. ?But now we must
go home.?
?We?ve still one mystery
that hasn?t been solved.?
Val placed the carved shell
on the dashboard. ?We?ll
never solve this one.? She
sighed.
Betty smiled.
?I don?t suppose we ever
will.?
The End.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
On
Reflection
From the manse
window
by Kathrine Davey.
T
HIS year sees the
hundredth anniversary
of women getting the
vote and there has been a
plethora of articles and radio
and television programmes
on the subject.
I discovered that this
demand for equal rights
happened more than fifty
years after women first
started campaigning for it, a
period when many women
felt that their views were not
being taken seriously
enough.
This caused me to ask
myself a question, and I am
sure I am not alone in
wondering this . . .
How often am I prepared
to wait for an outcome for
something I had hoped and
prayed for?
Is it that I simply expect it
to happen overnight, and if it
doesn?t then I give up hoping
and praying?
I was reminded here of
some words from the Bible
that we should not ?become
weary in doing good, for at
the proper time we will reap
a harvest if we do not give
up?.
Although much publicity
was given to the dramatic
and often violent means
employed by some women,
many of the campaigners,
known as suffragists, used
more peaceful means to get
their point across.
However, despite their
preference for lobbying those
in power, they knew that, in
order to see their demands
accepted, they would have to
get as much publicity as
possible.
Their leaders realised that
it was vital to remain visible.
This is, of course, an
important lesson for us all.
Unlike today, women were
not encouraged to court any
kind of publicity, but the
suffragettes became well
known for their processions,
and thousands of people lined
the streets to see these
displays of ?unladylike
behaviour?.
How times have changed!
I especially love the quote
from one of the suffragist
leaders that their movement
was ?like a glacier; slow moving
but unstoppable?.
Men and women did not
achieve equal voting rights until
1928, a fact that has often
been overlooked.
However, according to the
Bible, men and women have
had equal rights for thousands
of years ? in the Kingdom of
heaven, we are all equal.
As it was pointed out to the
early church, ?There is neither
Jew nor Gentile, neither slave
nor free, nor is there male and
female, for you are all one in
Christ Jesus.?
This is God?s equality charter,
even if is not apparent in many
organisations ? including the
church, where men and
women have not been treated
equally over the years, and still
are not in many cases.
Over the years, we have all
seen many changes.
In some countries, of course,
unequal gender treatment
continues, where people are
still allocated boy jobs and girl
jobs.
This national bias is
challenged by many of our
hymns ? I?m thinking especially
of the hymn ?In Christ there is
no east or west? and one verse
tells us:
?Join hands all the human
race, whate?er your nation be;
all children of the living God are
surely kin to me.?
If only people around the
world would stop and think
about these words. n
Next week: Rev. Barbara
Mosse recalls a
memorable cruise.
HERITAGE 65
The
Photographs by Simon Whaley.
Puppet Master
W
HEN I was
growing up,
many TV
puppets,
though not all,
had strings. And it doesn?t
matter where I look ?
suddenly, hundreds of
childhood memories are
flooding back to me.
There?s Lady Penelope
and her driver, Parker, who
Simon Whaley meets the man behind Wolverhampton?s
new exhibition representing 80 years of television.
look smaller than I
imagined. Zippy and George
are just as I remember
them. And there?s Basil
Brush, too! Boom, boom!
These puppets, and many
more, can be seen at the
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
until April 29, 2018. They?re
a celebration of 80 years of
television puppetry.
It?s a fascinating
Soko: the first puppet
made for television
In the early days of
television, theatre puppets
were used. Soko was the
first puppet made
specifically for television
broadcast. As a result, he
was made with an
unusual black and yellow
Soko enjoying
his retirement.
colouring, to help those
early, and poor quality,
television cameras pick
up enough detail. His first
television appearance
was in 1930, and he
starred in seven live
television performances.
exhibition, full of nostalgia,
and the perfect opportunity
to get up close to puppets
from our favourite television
shows, including ?Button
Moon?, ?Thunderbirds?,
?Five Children And It? and
even ?Spitting Image?.
But how do you go about
organising something like
this? Michael Dixon, the
archivist at the British
Puppet and Model Theatre
Guild, is the man who
managed to bring it all
together.
?I started by making a list
of the puppets I wanted,? he
explains. ?I am lucky
because, through my own
collection and being the
archivist of the British
Puppet and Model Theatre
Guild, I have a lot of
contacts.?
Thanks to Michael?s hard
work, this exhibition is a
fantastic opportunity to see
puppets that are not
normally on public display.
?Many of the puppets
reside in private collections
now or are still with their
creators,? he says. ?So I
made my list and began
contacting them.?
Unfortunately, Michael
wasn?t able to secure every
puppet on his dream list.
?Some puppets were in
America, such as those from
?Sesame Street?. I would
have loved to have had Bert
and Ernie in there, but sadly
the cost of preparing them
and getting them shipped
from New York was just too
prohibitive on our small
budget.?
Putting together an
exhibition like this is no
easy feat. In fact, it took
Michael two years!
One reason it was so
complicated was because it
took time to track down the
puppets and their current
owners.
?The people who owned
the puppets were spread all
over the country. Some,
understandably, were
cautious as these are
expensive and very rare,
irreplaceable items. Others
had never displayed their
puppets before.
?So whilst they didn?t take
any convincing really, it did
take a lot of correspondence
across a lot of different
people to make sure it all
came together for February,
when the exhibition
opened.?
And Michael explains why
this particular exhibition is
so special.
?Whilst there have been
exhibitions in the past that
66
Original artwork from the
fabulous ?Ivor The Engine?.
The set from
?Button Moon?.
look at children?s TV, or
Gerry Anderson?s
programmes, there has
never been an exhibition
that pulls together so many
general TV puppets. This
really is a first ? and
probably a last!?
Because of this, he was
determined to include
puppets from every decade
of broadcast television.
?We started with the first
puppet ever made for
television, Soko, then Muffin
the Mule, on to Lady
Penelope from
?Thunderbirds?, Fozzie Bear
from ?The Muppets?, Zippy
and George and more
recent puppets full of
animatronics and wizardry
and such like!
?Once we established
what we wanted and what
Scott Tracy was
the pilot of
Thunderbird 1.
we would be loaned, I then
had to work out the logistics
of picking everything up in
enough time to display it.
?Some items, such as the
eleven-foot moon from
?Button Moon?, took a van to
collect them, others less
space, but just as much
planning.?
It certainly kept Michael
busy!
?I collected most things
myself, which saw me one
weekend in Norwich,
another in North Yorkshire
then right down to Peckham
in London. I covered miles.
?Some puppets we had
with a week or so to display,
others arrived on the
afternoon before we
opened ? so it was right to
the eleventh hour!?
Michael?s own love of
puppets goes back to when
he was a child, and stems
from what became his own
favourite television puppet
show.
?My whole interest in
puppetry began when I was
young, watching ?The
Muppets?. I was very
fortunate to meet and
interview Jim Henson, and
Kermit, live on TV in 1986
when I was seven.
?My interest grew and I
kept in touch with Jim
Henson until his sudden
death, and the Henson
Company since. I began
getting more interested in
puppets and puppetry and
began collecting myself ?
not just TV puppets but any
Zippy and George from ?Rainbow?
?Rainbow? was devised in 1972 by Thames
Television as an English-version of the American
educational puppet show ?Sesame Street?. It aimed to
teach pre-school children about numbers and
language. Zippy represented self-centredness and
extroversion, while George was the opposite, shy and
introverted. There were 1,071 episodes of ?Rainbow?
across 23 series.
George.
Zippy.
Do You Have An Old Puppet?
The National Puppetry Archive is always interested
to hear from anyone with older puppets, or
connections to puppeteers, such as Punch and Judy or
ventriloquists. If you can help, then get in touch at
www.nationalpuppetryarchive.co.uk
puppets.?
?I have around three
thousand professional
puppets in my collection. I
joined the British Puppet
and Model Theatre Guild,
the oldest puppetry
organisation in the world,
and then around fifteen
years ago became the
archivist.
?The Guild?s collection and
Want To Know More?
my own collection form the
National Puppetry Archive
? giving us a vast array of
resources and possible
exhibitions.?
Michael?s magic touch has
clearly paid off. The TV
Puppet exhibition is a real
nostalgic trip down memory
lane. Best of all, it?s free
entry, so you could say there
are no strings attached! n
Wolverhampton Art Gallery has free entry, is open seven days a week (Mon to Sat, 10.30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sun,
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and is a five-minute walk from the railway station. The Wolverhampton Art Gallery is also
hosting the touring Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition from the V&A?s Museum of Childhood.
my garden
Notes from
Alexandra Campbell explains how to
make your gar den easier to access.
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
Too Late!
We?re now fully into
the birds? nesting
season, which means
you shouldn?t prune
trees where birds could
be nesting. It is, in fact,
illegal to do so. So if
you have a tree you
meant to prune, you?ll
have to wait until
August. The exception
is any tree in the
prunus (cherry) family,
which need pruning in
June. Well, that?s one
thing off the ?to do? list
for this month ? have a
cup of tea instead.
I
F you?re beginning to find
gardening difficult because
of a health issue, there are
ways to make it easier. I?ve
recently chatted to
Gardening for the Disabled,
a charity based in Kent who
offer funding, practical help
and advice for those with
physical or mental
problems.
And even if everyone in
your household is currently
fully fit, there are some
sensible steps you can take
to make gardening safer or
easier.
Raised beds are the
number one way to make
gardening easier for most
people.
?We get asked for raised
beds more than anything
else,? Rosie Kefford of
Gardening for the Disabled
says.
Raised beds really help if
you have problems with
bending, and they make
gardening possible for
wheelchair users.
They?re also very useful for
people who have problems
with balance, or who can
only stand for short periods,
as you can sit while you
garden.
Even raising a bed by a
foot or two can make it
easier to garden, but raised
beds at table height are
probably the best.
And if I can add a safety
note ? low raised beds can
be a trip hazard.
Gardening for the
Disabled?s clients often get
their raised beds from
Harrod Horticultural or
Woodblock.co.uk.
The next most important
thing to consider if you want
to make gardening easier
and safer are the levels in
your garden. Steps ?
especially badly made ones
? are impossible for
wheelchairs, and difficult for
people with balance or sight
issues.
One common problem
with garden steps is that
architects or builders make
them with the same
dimensions as stairs inside.
This is too steep for any
garden.
Steps indoors measure
17-18 cm up (the riser)
while the step itself needs
to be 22-24 cm deep. In a
garden, the steps should be
lower ? no more than
House Plant
Inspiration
Weeding Help
My list of jobs to do in
the garden boils down to
weeding, weeding and
weeding at this time of
year. My other half is
adamant that he doesn?t
understand plants so he
can?t help with the
weeding as he would pull
out plants I wanted to
keep.
It has only taken me 26
years together to come up
with the answer, which is
?Everything growing in the
path is a weed. You weed
the paths and I?ll weed the
beds.? This approach could
work with children and
grandchildren, too.
15 cm up.
And each step needs to be
at least 30 cm deep. Steps
should also be equal ? don?t
mix high or shallow steps
with low or deep ones.
Even if everyone in your
family is as nimble as a
mountain goat, safe garden
steps are really important.
A handrail can help, too, if
anyone is a little wobbly.
The charity has recently
helped an MS sufferer to
have her uneven steps
replaced with safer ones
and to have a handrail
added.
She says that ?being able
to go out in the garden
again made me feel that
there was a future.?
Gardening for the
Disabled has also given
grants for access ramps with
handrails.
?Councils will often adapt
a property for someone who
gets ill but they don?t extend
that help to the garden.?
Surfaces are another issue.
Gravel is impossible for any
kind of wheels ? I find it
The RHS and DK Books
have just published the
?Practical House Plant?
book, RRP �.99. It?s full
of ideas and tips on
displaying house plants.
There are wonderful
photos of house plant
filled interiors, plus all you
could want on the
practical side, including
how to propagate house
plants, house plant
diseases and which house
plant will grow well where.
Great for any garden lover
wanting to grow more
indoors.
difficult to get a
wheelbarrow across a gravel
surface, let alone a buggy or
a wheelchair. And
wheelchairs don?t cross
lawns easily, either.
However, you don?t
necessarily have to get rid of
all your lovely green grass.
Gardening for the Disabled
has also given grants for
lawn mesh (from Suregreen.co.uk).
Lawn mesh gives a flat,
stable surface that is
wheel-friendly but which
grass can grow through.
Finally, there are many
good lightweight tool ranges
today (try Fiskars and Kent &
Stowe).
Gardening for the
Disabled clients with more
severe difficulties, such as
stroke victims, have also
often benefited from using
Active Hands gripping aids
(Activehands.com).
Gardening for the
Disabled is 50 years old this
year, and needs more funds
to help more people. See
https://goo.gl/iouGXC.uk.
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
GARDENING 69
Growing Some
New Varieties
I?m sowing lots of seeds at the moment, especially for
the veg patch. We don?t have a greenhouse, so I start a
bit later than many gardeners as some seeds don?t get
enough light on window-sills to grow well. This year I
asked fellow gardeners on Twitter for the one vegetable
they wouldn?t be without. It needed to be tasty and
easy to grow.
I expected lots of tried-and-trusted favourites, but in
fact, I heard about unusual varieties of veg that have
done really well for my fellow gardeners. Perhaps the
most interesting was Salsola soda, otherwise known as
Friar?s Beard or saltwort. It?s like a mixture between
spinach and seaweed, and I can?t wait to see how it
turns out.
The beetroot lovers universally said that golden
beetroots have a better flavour than the traditional red
kinds. Try ?Burpees Golden? or ?Boldor?. I had thought
golden beetroot might be a bit of a fad, but I?m going to
try growing them this year.
Among the ?must-have? favourites were kale, Swiss
chard and climbing beans ? no surprises there. But I
must add kalettes or flower sprouts. These were created
by combining Brussels sprouts and kale, and even
Brussels sprout haters love them. They do take quite a
long time from seed to harvest ? I?ve just planted the
first seeds now and don?t expect to eat them till
November. But they are very useful in the dead of
winter when there?s not much else around.
Most of these seeds are available from Thompson &
Morgan, Mr Fothergill?s and Franchi Seeds of Italy.
Try something a little
different this year.
believe it?
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail
wouldyoubelieveit@dctmedia.co.uk or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
I?D LIKE TO KNOW
Q
April 3, 1933
? two pilots successfully
made the first flight over
the summit of Mount
Everest in a flimsy biplane
with an open cockpit!
A
There are around 200 different
species. The smallest elf owl
measures under 13 centimetres,
while the Blakiston?s fish owl is among
the largest, with a wing span of up to
two metres.
Alamy.
A
My friend insists that Roald Dahl wasn?t born
in Britain, but I disagree. Who is correct?
Mrs P.W., Bolton.
You are correct. Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff
in September 1916. The confusion may arise
from the fact that he was born to Norwegian
parents. This great author?s
stories continue to capture
the imagination of children
everywhere, and in the telling
of his tales he managed
to conjure up more than
250 new words, some of
which have even made
it into the Oxford
English Dictionary ?
now isn?t that
splendiferous!
Q
I?m intrigued to
know when the
first parking ticket
was issued in the UK.
Mrs M.C., Birmingham.
A
Traffic wardens
first hit the
streets of Britain
in September 1960.
Dr Thomas Creighton
was the unlucky chap
who received a �fine.
However, there was a
public outcry when it was
discovered he had been
attending a seriously ill
patient, and he didn?t have
to pay the fine in the end.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
Photographs iStock, unless otherwise stated.
�.48
is spent on make-up
every month by the
average British woman.
I watched a really interesting
nature programme on TV about
owls. How many different
species are there?
R.C., Glasgow.
Q
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 71
We Brits don?t need extravagance to
feel pampered. A survey commissioned
by Small Luxury Hotels of the World
found that freshly laundered bed linen,
reading a good book and tucking into
a take-away are the little luxuries that
really make a difference to our lives.
Other little luxuries scoring high in the
survey include having a long soak in the
bath, watching the sunset, buying freshly
baked bread ? and enjoying a cup of tea
made by someone else!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
93
messages and
notifications,
on average, are
received every day on
smartphones in the UK.
175 years ago,
William Wordsworth
was appointed Poet
Laureate.
2 hours
? the potential flight time
from Beijing to New York
in a new jet, currently at
the design stage, which
will fly at 3,700 mph!
1 in 1,000
is the odds of finding a
double yolk egg ? but
it?s only a one in 100
chance that there will be
a second double yolker
in the same egg box.
Half Price Million Bells
Create a cascading wall of colour
with these trailing Million Bells.
30 Half Price
Producing a host of brightly coloured
Million Bells
Collection �.47.
bell-shaped flowers, Million Bells
(5 each of the
will flower profusely throughout
6 colours
the summer months from June to
below).
October.
Perfect for hanging baskets but will also
look fantastic planted in containers and pots.
You can buy individual packs of six in your favourite
colour for �99, or why not take advantage of our
special offer and get 30 plants (five of each colour)
for half price. UK grown 3cm diameter module plants
supplied.
Delivery within 28 days.
Buy 30 for half price
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A 6 Million Bells Blue
B 6 Million Bells White
C 6 Million Bells Deep Pink
D 6 Million Bells Red
E 6 Million Bells Crackling Fire
F 6 Million Bells Yellow
30 Million Bells Collection - HALF PRICE
Total Cost Of Order
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�99
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�.47
�.47
Million Bells A-F
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C. Million Bells Deep Pink
D. Million Bells Red
E. Million Bells Crackling Fire
F. Million Bells Yellow
TOTAL
I enclose a cheque/postal order, made payable to ?J. Parker Dutch
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Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG.
CRAFT 73
A Colourful
easy
Welcome
Seasonal blooms create a
lovely floral arrangement for
your home.
You Will Need
Photography: Kristin Perers.
l Florist?s scissors
l 1 pre-made natural willow plaited vine
l Linen or rope to hang
l Nail or hook for hanging (if required)
Flowers And Foliage
l 7 stems of white achillea
l 10 stems of yellow achillea
l8
l3
l8
l2
stems of purple flowering basil
stems of purple clematis
stems of cotoneaster foliage
stems of white delphinium
l5
l5
wreath
stems of fennel
stems of lavender leaf
foliage
l 5 stems of flowering mint
l 7 stems of wax
l 10 wild grasses
74
Prepare your chosen
stems by cutting them
diagonally into a variety of
different lengths, approx.
30 cm (12 ins) for the longer,
wilder stems and 15 cm
(6 ins) for the stems that will
sit tighter to the wreath?s
base. Start at the top and
weave your foliage stems in a
clockwise direction through
1.
the plait of the vine. There is
no need to wire or tape the
foliage in place as the wreath
structure is tight enough to
hold the stems securely.
This type of wreath looks
best when the flowers and
foliage are placed following
the same direction. This helps
give the wreath a good shape
and flow.
To hang, thread a strip
of linen or rope through
the back of the structure and
hang on a nail or hook
screwed into the wall or
suspended from a handy
structure (we?ve used the bar
of a ceiling clothes dryer).
The beauty of this
wreath is that you
literally just place your
materials into the wreath base,
with no tying or taping in
position. This means that it is
quick to make and can be
easily changed if there is
anything else you are not
happy with.
3.
4.
Continue to cover the
base of your wreath
with foliage until you feel that
you have a good basic
coverage. Place stems in a
diagonal direction as opposed
to straight in, following the
direction of the base. Then
add your flowers, once again
in a clockwise direction, where
you feel they are needed and
where they look best, making
sure each area has some floral
embellishment. It is just as
effective to add your flowers in
groups, or create patterns with
them.
2.
Choose flowers with
woody stems, such as wax
flowers and hydrangeas,
which will last longer out of
water. Flowers with hollow
stems, such as daffodils or
poppies, can die quickly, so
be mindful of this when you
are choosing your flowers.
This is a good project to
make with flowers that will
dry out well, such as achillea
?Parker?s Variety?, wild
heather or woody-stemmed
hydrangeas.
Next week: knit this
lovely bolero.
This lovely arrangement was taken from the book
?WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Floral
Arrangements? by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler
(Quadrille, �.99) ISBN: 9781787131200, which is
published on April 5 and available from good book
shops or online stores including www.amazon.co.uk.
Frogs
A Fascination For
Polly Pullar rekindles her
fondness for frogs with a
new project.
Photographs by Polly Pullar.
H
AVING always
been mad on
frogs and toads,
and fascinated by
their extraordinary
life cycle, every spring I
spend time at the pond
close by my home, watching
the action.
It?s been a ritual since I
was a small child and,
because their seasonal
breeding extravaganza lasts
for such a short time, woe
betide anyone who deters
me from my fabulous frog
forays.
Last year my fascination
for frogs was further
First foray out
on to a rock.
heightened because I
acquired a small fish tank
and decided to relive my
childhood and watch the
entire miraculous process
up close.
When I mentioned this to
various friends it unleashed
a wealth of their own
childhood memories, and
most were as enthusiastic as
me.
I also learned that some
people find frogs and toads
repellent. I put this down to
misunderstanding, and
when I asked them why,
found they could not really
answer.
When a high-flying
businessman friend called in
for lunch I asked him to
come and see my frog
project, and took him to the
utility room where the tank
and its precious contents
were sitting. He looked at
me askance and simply said,
?Oh, dear, Polly, how sad
you are!? and was totally
unimpressed.
I am afraid I was totally
unimpressed by his reaction.
?Weren?t you fascinated by
the metamorphosis of
tadpoles to frogs?? I asked.
?No, that?s a girl thing,? he
replied.
I admit to being rather
baffled by his reaction, and
am sure you will agree that
he was totally wrong.
Iomhair was certainly
enthusiastic. I filled the tank
with fresh water that runs
into the pond from a little
burn, and then added an
assortment of water plants
to help oxygenate the tank
and make it more natural.
Lastly we collected a fairly
small dollop of spawn. It
seemed that within days the
spawns? black dots had
started to develop into
tadpoles and were growing
longer and more misshapen.
Unfortunately my first
attempt failed and within
days the tiny tadpoles
stopped wriggling, and the
remainder of the spawn
NATURE 77
Tail filaments are
clearly visible.
Frog in a sea
of spawn.
went white. I had to start
again.
I had topped up the tank
from our tap and was
concerned that as all our
water contains chlorine, this
might have been the
problem.
The new lump of spawn
had no such problems as
this time I only added
running water off the hill
that flows into the pond.
Photography was the next
The finished frog!
problem. Silt from the water
quickly made the glass
cloudy, and of course I
could not clean it with any
chemicals. Flash was
hopeless, probably because
I am useless at using it
skilfully, but I used various
lights and found that my
smallest point-and-shoot
camera with its close-up
setting achieved the best
results.
No matter, the goings-on
in the tank filled both
Iomhair and I with
excitement, for every day
there was something new to
discover.
To begin with we did not
need to put in any food as
the remaining yolk feeds the
emerging tadpoles
developing in the spawn
from their eggs.
The new tadpoles have
gills and swim like fish, but
all this is gradually going to
change as they go through a
true metamorphisis.
As more and more tiny
tadpoles began to fill the
tank we added a minute
piece of fresh steak tied on
to a piece of string, and
changed this every couple of
days.
There was soon an
impressive feeding frenzy
devouring this perhaps
surprising food. Some
people use fish food, and
though we added a few
flakes every day, too, the
steak worked very well and
was certainly favoured.
Some tadpoles were
dominant and grew far
quicker. Perhaps some of
these bruisers also devoured
a few of the smallest ones.
Becoming frogs, but
still with tails.
Overall, most of the
tadpoles survived and grew
fairly evenly and it was soon
clear that they were
developing back legs, and
that the formation of their
jaws was altering fast.
Changing the water was
not the easiest task either,
and there were one or two
casualties that ended up
going down the plughole.
We were now extremely
careful to make sure the
new water was pure. I
changed the weeds
frequently and this always
caused great excitement as
the occupants swam round
the new plants, nibbling at
minute insects and
invertebrates that had just
been introduced into their
tank on the plants.
As soon as the first perfect
little froglets had properly
developed, a large rock had
to be added so that they
had something to climb out
on to.
Now they had fully
functioning lungs as well as
wider mouths and the
Very early stages of
the legs developing.
ability to eat different types
of food. Before long it was
time to release the first
batch of minuscule froggies
and return them to the
pond.
I placed them almost in
the water at the edge. Some
swam away but most
jumped off into the damp
grassland and quickly
vanished.
Although we released
dozens of these fragile little
amphibians, we knew that
many of them would end
up as a snack for herons
and other birds, as well as
otters and fish. That,
however, is part of the
natural cycle.
This year I would very
much like to repeat the
process but this time with
toad spawn, or perhaps
newts, simply so we can
relish this wonderful insight
into nature in close-up.
In a world where we are
increasingly bombarded
with doom and gloom,
spending time absorbed by
nature is the best antidote I
know. n
SHORT STORY BY BARBARA DYNES 79
It had been
written over
seventy years
ago, in the
midst of battle.
And I?d gone
and lost it!
A Letter From
The War
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
D
EFEATED, I
flopped into my
armchair,
surveying the
chaos. It looked
as though the flat had
been ransacked. Photos all
over the table, papers and
books scattered on the
floor, drawers tipped out.
I had had to make sure
the letter wasn?t here.
?Come on, Laura, you
know exactly where it is!? I
said aloud, startling
Marmaduke from his sleep.
The tabby glared at me
with his one visible eye.
What to do? I called my
best pal, Judy.
?I?ve lost it!? I wailed.
?My great-grandad?s 1944
letter to his wife. The one I
promised to lend for the
World War Two exhibition
next week!?
?Laura, calm down. How
could you have lost it??
?It was on the table with
a pile of photos I was
sorting. Stupidly, I grabbed
it and used it as a
bookmark.? My voice
floundered, as well it
might. Using such a
precious heirloom as a
bookmark was
unforgivable!
When I was a kid, my
mother always dubbed me
scatty. Now, in my
twenties, there wasn?t
much improvement.
Mum would go mad. Not
immediately, since she
lived in Spain. But
eventually she?d have to be
told.
?A bookmark?? Judy
queried. ?Then I don?t see
the problem. Just go
through all the books
you?ve read lately.?
I cleared my throat.
?Actually, I did some
decluttering.?
There was sarcastic
laughter from the other
end. Undeterred, I went
on.
?I took a load of books
and stuff to the charity
shop a few weeks ago. My
copy of ?Pride And
Prejudice? was among
them. I?d started rereading
it but got bored, shoved
the letter in as a bookmark
and forgot about it.?
?Bored with Jane
Austen?? Judy echoed,
exasperated. ?Well, never
mind about that now.
You?ll just need to go back
to that shop, won?t you??
For the hundredth time I
wished I had Judy?s placid
nature; then I could have
worked that out for myself,
calmly and rationally.
My letter was now sitting
snugly between the pages
on a dusty shelf of the
charity shop. It was
unlikely to be snoozing on
someone?s bedside table
yet, was it?
I still felt bad. How could
I have been so careless
with something so
precious? My greatgrandad, later killed in the
war, had sent this letter
from France during those
dark, terrible days.
My family cherished it,
leaving it in my ?safe?
hands because I?d always
been so interested in World
War II history.
And now I?d gone and
done this!
* * * *
The next day, Saturday, I
got into Bella, my ancient
but loyal little car, drove to
town and managed to park
near the charity shop.
I love charity shops, even
the stale smell ? a mixture
of fabric, books and
bodies. This one was
typical: two rails crammed
with clothes, ornaments
crowded on tables, jigsaws
piled high and shelves
groaning with books.
People poked amongst
what had once been
treasured possessions and I
resisted the urge to poke
along with them. Today,
there were more serious
matters on hand.
I sought out the lady on
whom I?d unloaded my
unwanted goods.
?Daphne, I wonder if you
could help me.?
I went on to explain, all
the time searching the
bookshelves for my
dark-blue copy of ?Pride
And Prejudice?.
She frowned.
?I remember you coming
in. To be honest, we were a
bit overstocked with books
so, as yours were in good
condition, I offered them to
Frank from the secondhand bookshop in Layton
Road. He bought the lot,
still in their box.?
I stared at her in
80
disbelief. That was it,
then! I was about to let
down the exhibition
people, my mother and the
rest of the family. I felt like
crying.
?You could always go
and see Frank??
True. I thanked Daphne,
and almost ran out of the
shop and round to Layton
Road. I?d known Frank for
years. When I arrived, I
was breathless.
?I?m looking for Jane
Austen. Well, not literally.?
I told my story again.
?The book is dark blue
and the letter?s tucked
inside,? I finished, leaning
on Frank?s desk, still
gasping.
He grinned.
?Yes, I remember it. A
decent copy. I don?t
remember seeing any letter
fall out, though.?
?Thank goodness!? I was
so relieved. ?Can I please
take a peek in the book?
It?s a family heirloom; the
letter, I mean.?
?No, you can?t. Sorry,
Laura; I?m afraid I rang one
of my regulars ? old Bill
from over Drayton way. He
collects Jane Austen. His
grandson came in and
picked it up, together with
a few others.?
Oh, no! My quest was
doomed.
?I could give you Bill?s
number, but he?s very deaf
and doesn?t always pick up
the phone.?
I blinked at Frank.
?Can you give me his
address?? I heard myself
ask.
Was I really thinking of
driving to Drayton? It was
30 miles away, for
goodness? sake! I must be
mad.
I could always e-mail
Penny, the nice lady
running the World War II
exhibition, and tell her I?d
misplaced the letter. She
had lots of people loaning
other things like gas masks,
ration books and Forties
clothes.
But that would not solve
the major problem, which
was losing such a precious
heirloom.
Ten minutes later, on my
way to Drayton, I decided I
was, indeed, mad. And
stupidly optimistic. But this
was my last chance. I owed
it to my great-grandfather.
Halfway there, out in the
kind of deserted area my
gran used to call ?the last
place God made?, I
became aware that Bella
was not quite right. She
seemed to be attempting
to jive, when her usual
pace was that of a sedate
waltz.
?Not now, Bella, please!?
I pleaded.
In answer, the engine
gradually faded as I edged
into the side of the road.
For a few minutes I just
sat staring out at the bleak
landscape. Bella ? and life
in general ? was trying to
tell me something. I wasn?t
meant to get that letter
back.
I should go home, if I
could get there. I turned
the key again. Nothing.
I needed to ring someone
knowledgeable.
But that was being
defeatist. Once upon a
time, when I first got a car,
I?d done an evening class
in mechanics.
?Open the bonnet, girl,?
I murmured. ?You might
recall something from that
course.?
I got out of the car, lifted
the bonnet and began
prodding around in what I
hoped was an intelligent
way. Then I stared.
A cable seemed to be
disconnected, hanging
loose. A spark plug lead, I
recalled. Was this to be my
lucky day? I reconnected it
and got back in the car.
Bella started first time!
Who?s scatty now, I
thought, beaming. Should I
turn around? No way!
Onwards and upwards,
Laura!
Bella didn?t let me down
and I drew up outside Bill?s
small bungalow with high
hopes.
?Bill??
I smiled at the tall man
with glasses and silvery
beard who opened the
door. He peered at me.
After I?d repeated my name
several times a light
appeared to dawn.
?My poor girl, you?ve
come all this way on a wild
goose chase!? he roared.
?Frank rang me and I told
him I chucked that letter in
the recycling. Didn?t even
read it. Come in, I?ll show
you the book.?
Out of politeness, I
followed the old man in,
dejected. What good was
seeing the book?
In the dark little lounge a
guy about my own age was
frowning over a laptop. He
looked up, his expression
forbidding.
?I?m Bill?s grandson.
Sorry about this, but he
thought the letter was
rubbish.?
?It can?t be helped,? I
said weakly, upset at
something so precious
being called rubbish.
Bill was busy pulling out
large tomes from a massive
bookcase.
?Please don?t! I don?t
want the book back.?
?Righty-ho. Carl, make
the young lady a cup of
tea.?
But Carl was back
frowning at his laptop. I
was obviously disturbing
him.
?No, really,? I said. ?I
have to go.?
* * * *
Well, I tried, I thought,
as I drove home in the
now-well-behaved Bella. I
began composing my
apology to the exhibition
people. Confrontations with
Mum and the family could
wait.
I went into the office on
Monday, telling myself the
letter was not that
important but not believing
a word of it.
That evening I was still
trying to pluck up courage
to ring Penny. Whichever
way I put it I would sound
like an irresponsible idiot.
When the doorbell rang I
cheered up. That would be
Judy; she could help me
concoct a decent apology.
?Hi! Laura, isn?t it??
Taken aback, I
recognised Carl, Bill?s
grandson.
?I got your address from
Frank. I wanted to
apologise for Saturday. My
grandfather and I weren?t
exactly friendly.?
?No, it was my fault.?
?Could I come in for a
moment??
I led the way through to
my lounge.
?I?m sorry about the
mess,? I said, flustered. I
hadn?t packed away the
photos yet.
?That?s OK. You should
see the state of my flat.?
He smiled as he sat
down, patting
Marmaduke?s head. Wow,
he could actually smile!
Quite a nice smile, too.
?It sounds as though I?m
making a fuss,? I
explained. ?But that letter
was a family heirloom.?
?Then you must have it
back.? He pulled something
from his pocket and put it
on the coffee table. I
blinked, grinning in delight
as I recognised the tatty,
yellowing envelope.
?We felt really guilty
after you left,? he went on.
?Frank had told Grandad
the story behind the letter.
I?ve always been interested
in World War Two stuff.
?It dawned on me that
the recycling people hadn?t
been round to empty the
bin yet, so we tipped the
thing up and went through
the bits and pieces.?
He leaned forward, his
smile wider.
?I think there might be
the remains of a teabag on
the envelope, but not
much damage otherwise.?
?Carl, thank you so
much!? I managed, wanting
to kiss him but deciding I?d
better not push my luck.
?I?ll be able to enter it into
the exhibition on
Saturday!?
?I?m not normally so
rude,? Carl added uneasily.
?It?s just that you caught
me at a bad time. My
girlfriend and I had had a
row and I was trying to
contact her.? He shrugged.
?It didn?t work.?
?I?m sorry.?
?Not to worry. We?d just
got together and didn?t
have a lot in common.? He
hesitated. ?Laura, I know
you don?t really know me,
but do you think I could
come along on Saturday?
This exhibition sounds
fascinating.?
?Great!? I said.
It would be lovely to go
with someone also
obsessed with World War II
history.
I grinned. How my
great-grandad ? and Jane
Austen herself ? would
have cherished such a
delightful outcome to my
wild book chase . . . n
On
Reflection
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included a religious message within its
pages for its readers. These much-loved
observations have now been brought
together in a collection of reflections
?From The Manse Window? to
bring you comfort
and inspiration.
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PUZZLES 83
Kriss Kross
How long will it take you to correctly fit the
words relating to blazers into the grid?
6 letters
PAIRED
PASTEL
PIPING
REEFER
STRIPE
3 letters
CUT
FIT
TIE
4 letters
GOLF
GREY
LONG
WOOL
YARN
Y A R N
7 letters
AIRLINE
BUTTONS
5 letters
CLOTH
EVENT
LAPEL
TWEED
Solutions
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Brick Trick
E RA
L E AR
L ARGE
G L AR E S
GARB L E S
GAMB L E R S
MARB L E S
B L AR E S
S AB L E
BA L E
L AB
4
GO L
O
Y ARN
I
G
R
P E L
I
P I NG
E
3
F
T
I
R E Y
E
E
F I T
E W
R
E
E
D
2
1 Historical period (3)
2 Tragic Shakespearean
king (4)
3 Substantial in size (5)
4 Scowls, frowns (6)
5 Confuses (7)
6 Betting people (8)
7 Children?s game played
with glass balls (7)
8 Sounds loudly (6)
9 Dark brown fur (5)
10 Bundle of hay (4)
11 Scientist?s workroom (3)
E
1
Kriss Kross
E N T
Enter the answers to the clues in the bricks in the wall.
Every word is an anagram of its neighbours, plus or
minus a letter.
W P
O A
O
S
C L O T H
U
E
T
L A
B
U
P I
T
A
S T R I P
O R
N
E V
S
D
Brick Trick
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG 85
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
The thought of
living closer to
Doreen is too
much for
George . . .
iStock.
G
EORGE, did your
sister say anything
to you about
looking at one of
the riverside
apartments this afternoon??
George laid his seed
catalogue in his lap and
looked at Mary.
?Sorry. It sounded like
you just said Doreen was
coming for a look around
the riverside apartments.?
Mary nodded.
?That?s what I said.?
They stared at each
other.
?She can?t!? George cried.
?What is she playing at??
?We can?t stop her from
moving there if that?s what
she wants,? Mary told him.
?I think we can,? George
replied. ?I?m not having my
battle-axe of a sister living
across the road from us,
Mary. She?ll want to take
over with Susan and the
baby; you know what she?s
like. What time is she
viewing the flat??
?Two o?clock, the estate
agent told Ruby. Doreen?s
put an offer in before she?s
even seen the place.?
George threw the seed
catalogue on to the sofa,
marched out of the livingroom and yanked his coat
Riverside
from the pegs in the hall.
Without a word to Mary, he
was gone.
As he neared the
apartment complex, he saw
the yellow of the estate
agent?s van parked next to
Jack?s car. As he walked
closer, he saw Jack sitting
in the car, reading his
newspaper.
George tapped on the car
window and Jack looked up
in surprise.
?Where is she?? George
asked.
?Doreen? She?s up there,?
Jack replied, nodding his
head to the apartments.
?She wants to move me and
the kids lock, stock and
barrel from our home . . .?
?That you?ve lived in all
your life,? George said.
?. . . that we?ve lived in all
our lives,? Jack continued,
?into a flat with no garden,
no sun room and no utility
room.?
?And you?re just going to
let her?? George asked,
growing impatient with his
placid brother-in-law.
?George, get in,? Jack
said, opening the
passenger door.
George did as he was told
and the two men sat facing
each other in the front of
the car.
?Doreen can be very
persuasive,? Jack began. ?If
she tells me she wants to
view a new house, then
that?s what she does. And if
she asks for a ride in the
car to see it, I?ll drive her.?
?You?re too good to that
woman,? George said.
?She?s your sister, George
? have a bit of respect. And
she?s my wife, don?t forget
that. I make sure I do all I
can to keep her happy.?
?But why? Why would you
put yourself through a
move you don?t want??
?Because I love her. I?ve
always loved her and I?d do
anything for her.?
George slumped in the
car seat with a heavy sigh.
?And,? Jack went on, ?I
have absolutely no
intention of moving.?
?You don?t?? George said.
Jack shook his head.
?She gets these notions,
does Doreen. Always thinks
the grass is greener
somewhere else. This flat
will be the third place she?s
looked at this year.?
?But she?s already put an
offer in,? George said.
?Then she?s going to have
to take it out again.? Jack
smiled.
Just then, the door to the
apartment complex swung
open and Doreen strode
out, shook hands with the
estate agent and walked
towards the car.
?What are you doing
here?? she asked George,
who was unfolding himself
from the front seat.
?I could ask the same
thing of you,? he replied.
?Any luck, love?? Jack
asked his wife. ?Did you like
it inside??
Doreen sniffed and shook
her head sharply.
?Far too high up for my
liking.?
Jack and George
exchanged a smile as
Doreen got into the car.
Before she closed the door
on her brother, she had
one last parting remark.
?You?re looking old,
George. And you could do
with losing some weight.?
?Nice to see you, too,
Doreen,? he replied.
* * * *
In the hair salon, Susan
was treating herself to a cut
and blow dry.
?Who?s looking after the
baby today?? Anna asked
as she teased curls into
Susan?s hair.
?Dave?s got her and I?ll
take over at teatime when
he goes to work.
Anna looked into the
mirror above Susan?s head.
?Does his dad still work
there, too?? she asked.
?Mike? He practically
lives there.?
?Is he still single??
Susan nodded.
?Can you keep your head
still?? Anna said. ?I nearly
caught you there.?
?Sorry,? Susan said. ?Yes,
Mike?s single. Why, are you
interested? I could put a
word in for you if you like.?
?Not me,? Anna replied. ?I
haven?t had much luck with
the fellas around here.?
She glanced across the
salon to her sister.
?I think I know someone
who?s in need of a night out
with a hunky man and Mike
might just fit the bill.?
?Sounds intriguing,?
Susan replied.
Anna brought the hand
mirror to the back of
Susan?s head so that she
could inspect the finished
do.
?That?s lovely, thanks,
Anna,? Susan said.
?Susan,? Anna began
nervously. ?I was wondering
? have you ever set up a
blind date??
More next week.
Frosty Snap
I like this photo I took recently in
my garden in Uddingston.
It was a bit chilly taking the image
for readers to see ? I guess you could
call it a frosty snap!
Ms L.C., Uddingston.
Cat Caf�
There?s always quite a
crowd waiting outside in my
garden at breakfast time, as all
the neighbouring cats come
for a treat.
It?s like a cat caf� some
mornings!
Ms F.R., Southbourne.
Between
Friends
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ, or e-mail us at
betweenfriends@dctmedia.co.uk.
Special Guest
I loved your recent Riding for
the Disabled features.
We recently held a volunteers?
afternoon tea for our Save the
Children helpers here in
Ashburton, New Zealand. Our
speaker was from Riding for the
Disabled. The group and I
thought you might be interested
to know that this has been
active in our small town for 43
years.
Seven horses are currently in
use and there are generally up
to 16 children attending. Social
skills are taught, together with
co-ordination and the ability to
follow instructions. It?s such a
great thing.
Ms R.C, New Zealand.
Star Letter
The two recent articles in
?The People?s Friend? ?
?Around Aberfeldy? and
particularly ?Stunning
Schiehallion? ? brought back
lovely memories for me.
When we got engaged in
September 1998, I knew my
husband-to-be would not
want a normal wedding day,
so we decided to make it a bit
different. On May 1, 1999, we climbed Schiehallion,
taking the vicar and some other guests with us.
We had a small ceremony on the top but then had
the official marriage ceremony in Fortingall Church
later in the afternoon, followed by a meal at Fortingall
Hotel. It was a wonderful day. I wonder if any other
readers have been married in unusual places?
Mrs E.N., Montrose.
Our Star Letter will receive a Dean?s
all-butter shortbread tin worth
�.69 RRP. Consume as part of a balanced diet.
All other printed UK letters will win one of our famous tea caddies
and a pack of loose tea. Our friends from overseas will receive an
alternative gift of a pen.
Howdy, Partner!
I love reading the Between
Friends pages in ?The People?s
Friend? and I thought I?d share
this lovely picture of our son
James dressed in a cowboy
outfit ready to go to a birthday
party.
He?s a great fan of Woody in
the film ?Toy Story?, so was
delighted to put on fancy dress
just like his favourite character.
Mrs C.M., Leicester.
YOUR LETTERS 87
A poem
just for
you!
House Mates
I have a little lodger, though she doesn?t pay me rent ?
She?s settled very well, though, and she seems to be content.
I find her on my pillow; on my worktop or my shelf
Or in the comfy chair where I would like to sit myself.
She comes and goes without a word, and though we get on well,
I must admit she treats the place just like a posh hotel!
She stalks around the kitchen, tail raised, cool and dignified,
She often turns her nose up at the food that I provide.
She scratches at my table ? toys and scratch posts are rejected,
Yet if I should remind her there are rules to be respected,
She slowly turns and makes me laugh with that distinctive stare
That tells me it is her house, and she deigns to let me share!
Emma Canning.
The Writing Bug
I was very heartened
recently to see that you had
once more held your annual
writing workshop in York.
I was privileged to attend
the session last year and
came away from it much
inspired to take up pen and
paper and laptop and start
producing.
I thought it would be
sensible to start my writing
quest with a letter to
?Between Friends?, just to say
what a wonderful experience
the workshop run by Shirley
was. I returned home resolved
to do something about this
writing bug. May your students
past and present succeed and
find their way into your pages.
Ms J.A., Staffordshire.
Puzzle
Solutions
from page 25
Word Ladder
One answer is:
Weak, Wear,
Bear, Beat, Seat,
Spat, Spot.
Weekly Treat
Fish And Chip Babies
Is it a boy or is it a girl? It?s hard to tell with these colours. Not
the pinks and blues I usually knit with, but then these are not
the usual baby clothes I knit either.
These are for newborn babies in Africa. I was challenged to
knit them after I learned some babies are born into such poverty
that they are sent home wrapped in newspaper, hence the
nickname ? fish and chip babies.
Mrs E.F., Belfast.
Crossword
B E H E S T
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When I was little, it was a
weekly ritual for my mum and
I to pop to the local corner
shop for our magazines ?
Mum would buy ?The
People?s Friend? for herself
and ?Bunty? comic for me.
Now aged forty, my weekly
feast is the ?Friend?. Like
?Bunty?, it?s packed full of
wonderful stories, and just like
back in the day, I can?t wait to
get home to enjoy it.
I always start by reading the
articles first. The next day I will
then read the serials and
letters pages. Then I read two
of the short stories each day
to last me until the next issue,
so I can maintain the feelgood factor!
Ms I.J., Ammanford.
Sudoku
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l alone. He may need
someone to talk to. I won?t
be long.? Pulling on her
cardigan, she went out of
the door before Betty could
reply.
Betty sat by the stove
listening to the crackling of
the logs until the sun set.
She must have dozed
because she didn?t hear Val
return.
?Wake up.? Val shook her
shoulder. ?I?m back.?
The stove had died down
and only a few sparks were
left burning. Val opened the
glass door in the front and
put on some kindling which
soon blazed into life.
?How was Alex??
?He seemed pleased I?d
come. He still had his
mum?s ring on his finger.?
?Well, that?s given him
something to think about.?
?Don?t be cruel, Betty. He
said he needs time to come
to terms with it all.? Val
warmed her hands at the
stove. ?He said something
else, too.?
?What?s that??
Val took her hand.
?He asked me to marry
him and go back to
Australia with him.?
?Lumme!? Betty gasped.
?What did you say??
?I nearly said what you?ve
just said.? Val smiled. ?I
was speechless for a while.?
?So, are you . . .?? Betty
stammered.
?I didn?t say no. I said
that I, too, needed time to
think. Maybe he was so
upset that his proposal was
on the spur of the moment.
But I don?t think so. I
believe it was genuine.?
?How do you feel?? Betty
squeezed her friend?s hand.
?I don?t know. I?m so very
fond of him. I think I?m in
love, but how can I be sure?
It isn?t the same as . . .?
She hesitated.
?You?ve only known him
for a short time.?
?How much time does
one need, to know??
?Not much. When I met
my Stan for the first time I
knew he was the one.?
?I must think clearly!? Val
cried. ?My family would be
hurt if I moved so far away.
My love for them is strong
and it has a future. My
feelings for Alex are based
on moments.?
?You can only give
yourself and Alex time,?
Betty said softly.
Val got to her feet.
?Have you eaten??
?Not yet.?
?Then I?ll do the eggs and
you set the table.?
* * * *
Val was still asleep and
Betty had just risen when
there was a knocking at the
door. Betty opened it and
Sally rushed into the room.
?I?ve got the photos!?
Betty was puzzled, then
realised what Sally was
telling her.
?The seahorses??
?Yes. I got some
wonderful shots and there
are some very rare sea
anemones, too. I?ve sent
the photos to my office.
?Hopefully the powers
that be will put a
preservation order on the
cove.?
?Goodness. That?ll set the
cat among the pigeons.?
?What?s the noise
about?? Val appeared and
Sally explained again.
?Does Alex know??
?Not yet. The people to
whom he?s made
applications will hear first.?
?Another shock for him,?
Val said quietly.
?Well,? Sally answered.
?He might have known we
hadn?t given up the battle
for Trefusis Cove.?
?It?ll put a stop to
everything.?
?He?s rich ? he doesn?t
need the money.?
?He won?t like to lose,?
Val warned.
?I must go,? Sally said.
?Uncle Harry?s out checking
his lobster pots. He doesn?t
know yet.? She left quickly.
Two officials came to
verify Sally?s claim. After
that, several days passed
without incident.
Betty and Val swam,
sketched and took
photographs. Even Peter
got out his paints and
easel, capturing the
changing light in the cove.
There was no sight or
sound of Alex.
* * * *
?He hasn?t even left a
note on the door.?
?He must have been
informed by now,? Betty
replied. ?He?ll have gone
somewhere to cool off.?
?He might have spoken to
me,? Val said. ?He must
have known I?d be worried.?
?He?s bound to turn up
soon unless he?s gone back
to Australia and written off
his whole plan.?
?Not without telling me!?
Betty didn?t reply.
Sally and Aircut came to
show the prints of the
seahorses and anemones to
Betty and Val.
?Good work, Sally.
Everything will move fast
now.? Betty beamed.
?It already has,? Aircut
said. ?Applications for the
development of the land
and the laying of moorings
are going to be cancelled
and a preservation order
has been declared.?
?Does Alex know?? Val
asked.
?Yes, he does.? Alex
entered the room and held
out his hand to Sally. ?May
I see the pictures of the
little guys who got the
better of Alexander Grey?
And congratulations to the
mermaid with the camera.?
Sally handed him the
prints.
?We had to do it.?
?I know. I?ve fought many
a battle of wits myself.? He
held out his hand. ?Well
done, Sally, and I
congratulate all of you.?
They were stunned.
?You were so set on
changing everything!? Val
said.
?I know. When I came
and saw my inheritance I
saw only land and
opportunity. Since I?ve been
here I?ve become aware of
the needs of people, the
small unseen things and the
beauty of Trefusis.
?Val taught me a lot,
even when she got mad at
me. I admire folks who?ll
stand up to me.?
?What will you do now??
Betty asked.
?Already done! First I
took Polly back to the
stables where I hired her.
Then I did a lot of signing
and rubber stamping with
men in suits.?
?There?s more, isn?t
there?? Val put a hand on
his arm.
?I cancelled all my
applications. The land is to
go to the inhabitants of the
cove so no one person can
make decisions without the
approval of all. Whealgrey
I?ve given to Kit ? it?s little
enough for saving my life.?
?But that leaves you with
nothing!?
?It leaves me with
everything. The whole place
will be just as Mum wanted
to remember and I?ve
gained a sense of values
that were missing from my
life.?
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