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The People’s Friend - April 14, 2018

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Natural ways to help
you beat a headache
7 joyful short stories
Tasty recipes
for chicken
Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
April 14, 2018 No. 7722
Fabulous fiction
Kikkin? Chicken Burger
? Josephine Allen?s new serial set in Galloway
? A sunny Menorcan romance by Rebecca Holmes
Herby Lemon Chicken
Salad Wraps
Come To The
Visit the home of TV?s ?Father Brown?
The amazing
charity that
pairs up
with shoes
It?s easy to
grow your
own fruit
and veg
in pots
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
Knit this
bolero in an
UK Off-sale date - 18-Apr-18
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
l 100-page bumper issue
l 14 brand-new short stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 858, priced �49
Cover Artwork: Blockley, Cotswolds, by J. Campbell Kerr.
l A gripping murder mystery
by Charlotte McFall
4 Seasons Of Change
by Rebecca Holmes
15 Market Forces
by Keith Havers
23 That Special Someone
by Sylvie Hall
25 SERIES Busy Bees
by Della Galton
30 SERIAL All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
by Josephine Allen
41 Me And Mrs Jones
by Vanda Inman
47 A Temporary Problem
by Val Bonsall
53 Ships In The Night
by Wendy Clarke
56 SERIAL Alfred?s
by Louise J. Stevens
79 Scarlett?s Tree
by Ewan Smith
by Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
24 Reader Offer: Royal
Wedding Tea Towels
27 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: delicious
chicken recipes the
whole family will enjoy
51 Our Next Issue
61 From The Manse
71 Would You Believe It?
72 Reader Offer: Himalayan
Blue Poppies
73 Knitting: our lovely
textured bolero is
perfect for spring
83 Extra Puzzles
86 Between Friends
8 Pat Coulter visits the
21 Try our 7 easy ways to
improve a headache
29 Linda Grieve steps up to
the challe nge of raising
money for an
orphanage in China
44 Dawn Geddes meets
C.J. Bowry, founder of
charity Sal?s Shoes
63 Our book
recommendations for
this month, plus your
chance to win them
65 Wendy Glass celebrates
100 years of votes for
68 Alexandra Campbell
picks up some new
ideas from a community
77 Clear Your Clutter
founder Jasmine Birtles
shares some top tips
13 issues for *�when you subscribe
? Call 0800 318846**, quote PFCOV
and save
*Payment by Direct Debit only. Saving based on first quarterly payment
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I have some good
news to share with you
? as of this issue, our
popular ?Notes From My
Garden? feature will be
appearing weekly. I
know lots of you are
avid followers of
Alexandra Campbell?s
sensible, practical
advice, and I?m
delighted we?re going to
be hearing more from
her in future. Turn to
page 68 to read her
latest article.
Also new this week is
the first instalment of
Josephine Allen?s sixpart serial, ?All Change
At Dawson?s Dairies?,
which begins on page
30. Set against the
backdrop of the rolling
Galloway hills, it?s a
gripping read.
Beautiful countryside
also plays a starring role
in this week?s cover
feature as Pat Coulter
visits the Cotswolds
locations where the
much-loved TV detective
series ?Father Brown? is
filmed. You can read all
about it on page 8.
I must also mention
Dawn Geddes?s
interview with C.J.
Bowry, founder of the
charity Sal?s Shoes,
which is on page 44. It?s
such a simple idea,
passing on unwanted
shoes to children in
need, and yet it can
have life-changing
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
It was
springtime in
Menorca, and
Julia?s sister
was coming to
visit . . .
Of Change
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
ULIA?S favourite
part of the morning
was when she
opened the shutters
to the balcony of her
first-floor apartment
overlooking the square,
with its pine trees and
pavement caf閟.
At this hour, customers
enjoyed al fresco breakfasts
of freshly baked pastries
and good, strong coffee in
the cool air.
Spring might be the
kindest season in Menorca,
but already temperatures
rose quickly during the day.
Though tiny, the balcony
had space for a row of pots
brimming with flowers
behind dark-green wroughtiron bars that matched the
tall wooden shutters.
The warm ochre exterior
completed the faded
elegance of the grand old
building with its row of
shops underneath, typical
of the architecture in the
island?s former capital,
Sometimes in the
evenings after work, as
Julia sat with a book and a
glass of wine and listened
to the chatter from the
street below, she felt she
didn?t need anything more
in the world.
She?d never married, nor
had children. The right man
had never come along and
there was no way she was
prepared to settle for
second best.
Her life back in England
had run smoothly until last
year, when the insurance
company where she?d
worked for over 25 years
had restructured,
prompting her to pursue
her dream of moving to a
warmer climate.
It had been worth it, she
reflected now, looking
round the comfortable old
A modern apartment in
one of the resorts might
have been more
convenient, with water
pipes that didn?t rattle every
time a tap was turned on,
for instance, but it wouldn?t
have had the same
character ? or the same
sense of being part of a
vibrant, rooted community
that had helped her make
friends since moving here.
This morning, though, her
contentment and the
prospect of a lazy day had
been shaken by an e-mail
from her sister.
?She wants to come and
stay for a week, possibly
more,? she told the closest
of those new friends, Darios,
later the same day, over
tapas at one of the quayside
restaurants down by the
Yachts bobbed up and
down almost within touchin g
distance, while early season
tourists sauntered along the
walkway, revelling in the
feel of the sun on their
?She asked very politely,
so I don?t feel I can say no.
I?ve told her my apartment
only has one bedroom, but
she says she?ll sleep on the
sofa and occupy herself if
I?m at work.?
Darios smiled, his brown
eyes crinkling. Julia often
wondered how many hearts
had been melted by that
Like her, he was well into
middle age. Still attractive,
and casually dressed in pale
chinos and a short-sleeved
shirt, he must have been
devastating when younger.
?Why is there a problem?
Your sofa is comfortable
and there is much for your
sister to see in the city.?
When he frowned slightly,
even that charmed her.
?I only worry that she may
be disturbed when I
practise. I am never sure it
is not a nuisance to you.?
Julia laughed.
?It isn?t. The cello?s always
been one of my favourite
instruments and you bring
out its soul.
?I could hardly believe my
luck when I realised I had
such an accomplished
musician living directly
above me.
?If Rachel doesn?t like it,
more fool her, though I?m
pretty sure she won?t mind.?
She sighed. ?I know it
sounds petty, but one of the
reasons I took a onebedroom apartment was so
that I wouldn?t be inundated
with visitors.?
Darios looked puzzled.
?But family are not
visitors. Surely they are
?Of course they are, but
we?re a small family, and
we?ve always all gone our
own way. Rachel was
married until she and her
husband divorced recently.
?Since their two sons have
also left home, I get the
impression that she wants
to make a fresh start.?
?Yet I can tell you are
uncomfortable. Have you
had a . . .? He searched for
the right word. ?Falling
Julia smiled.
?Not as such. Actually we
did, but that was a long
time ago.? She picked at her
salad, watching a luxurious
cruiser starting on the short
journey towards the coast,
before continuing.
?I originally went out with
the man who is now Rachel?s
ex-husband, Craig. We split
up because I found him too
That produced a short,
delighted laugh from Darios.
?He and Rachel didn?t get
together till a few months
later, but it was still
?You were rivals in love??
She struggled to keep a
straight face at his
mischievous grin.
?We made up but, for
various reasons, we haven?t
seen much of each other
over the years, apart from
family occasions.
?Our lives have taken
different paths and we don?t
have much in common any
?Maybe her path has
turned back, so she needs
her sister again,? Darios
said gently. ?In my family it
is different. Myself, my
brother and two sisters all
live on the island.?
Julia had already met
Alvaros, Darios?s younger
brother and a talented chef,
when Darios had treated
her to a meal at his
restaurant on her birthday.
?I chose to be a teacher of
music rather than travelling
with an orchestra because I
wanted to stay here.
?I could not bear the
thought of leaving, or being
away from those whom I
love ? even if it means I
have to listen to my mother
asking me why I am not
married yet,? he added,
smiling ruefully.
?She has asked even more
since Alvaros and his
girlfriend split up. Like you,
I do not want second best.?
He clapped his hands.
?When your sister is here,
I will take both of you to my
brother?s restaurant. I will
teach you about family and
how important that is.?
?You can try, Darios,?
Julia told him, ?but you
might find it a little more
complicated than you think.?
* * * *
A couple of weeks later,
she drove across the island
to the airport.
Thanks to her job with a
local car hire company,
transport wasn?t a problem,
although her boss, Jose,
often joked that the island?s
roads belonged to the
eighteenth century rather
than the twenty-first.
Despite being stuck
behind traffic for long
stretches, Julia enjoyed the
journey. Early morning
patches of mist still nestled
in some of the valleys.
First-time visitors were
often surprised at how hilly
and lush the terrain was
inland, with fields between
wooded hills divided by the
stone walls typical of the
The landscape was no
surprise to Rachel, thanks
to family holidays during
their childhood. Julia?s
apartment, on the other
hand, seemed to be a
?You can almost sense the
history,? she said as Julia
showed her round the
living-room, bedroom,
kitchen and bathroom, all
with cool, tiled floors.
?It?s different from the
places we used to stay in
with Mum and Dad. They
were fine, but not what
you?d call homely.
?Not that we minded. We
were more interested in the
beaches.? She bent down to
sniff some geraniums on the
balcony, rubbing the leaves
between her fingers.
?We had some good
times, didn?t we? Craig and I
tried to recreate that sort of
thing with our sons. I hope
we succeeded.?
?I?m sure you did,? Julia
assured her, pouring bottled
water into two glasses.
?Why don?t we eat there
later?? Rachel suggested.
?My treat, as you?re putting
me up.?
?Only on the sofa,? Julia
pointed out. ?Still, I?m
hardly going to say no. We
should go back to the
apartment first, though, to
cool down and freshen up.?
Rachel yawned.
?I wouldn?t mind a nap
while we?re there. I had to
get up early for my flight.
You?d think I?d be used to
anti-social hours with my
nursing shifts, but I?m
practically nodding off.?
Julia soon got
?I will teach you about family and
how important that is?
?Do you regret never
having had holidays with a
family of your own??
The question took her
aback. Julia sipped some of
the water, letting the
coolness slide down her
throat before replying.
?I?ve enjoyed exploring
new places by myself. I?m
not sure whether that would
have been the same if I?d
had others? preferences to
Rachel nodded.
?I must admit, I?m looking
forward to that after so long
being a wife and mother. I
intend to make the most of
my new single status and
get out and about.?
After a light lunch at one
of the caf閟 in the square,
they had a quick look round
the rest of Ciutadella?s old
quarter. Rachel was soon
charmed by the architecture
and numerous narrow
streets, as well as the
cathedral and the main
Julia pointed out the tall
obelisk in the middle of the
square, commemorating
those who had tried to
defend their city when the
Turks invaded.
?Sadly, they were vastly
outnumbered so didn?t
stand a chance. The place
feels so relaxed now, it?s
difficult to imagine how
horrendous that must have
They crossed the road to
a wall with a bird?s-eye view
of the port where Julia had
lunched with Darios.
comfortable with a book by
the balcony, having loaned
Rachel her bed for extra
peace and quiet. Sadly, the
peace didn?t last. She had
forgotten about Darios?s
daily music practice.
Within minutes, strains of
cello music started drifting
down through the ceiling.
She was wondering whether
to go upstairs and knock on
his door, when her blearyeyed sister appeared from
the bedroom.
Luckily, Rachel didn?t
seem to mind the
interruption. If anything,
she was entranced by the
playing, as well as keen to
know more about her
neighbour, especially when
Julia mentioned the
promised evening out at his
brother?s restaurant.
?Is Darios single?? Rachel
asked with the slightest hint
of a smile, which Julia
recognised from the days
when they used to tease
each other about boys.
?He is,? Julia confirmed,
?but don?t get any ideas.
We?re friends, and that?s
how it?s going to stay.?
As Rachel had never
visited the west side of the
island before, Julia booked
a few days off work to show
her around.
The two of them soon
settled into a routine of
morning coffee at one of the
local caf閟, soaking up the
atmosphere before visiting
nearby beaches or driving
round the countryside
and stopping off at
All seemed to go
smoothly, yet Julia couldn?t
help sensing an invisible
barrier between them, as if
they were both being
careful not to tread on each
other?s toes.
The truth was, she had
only told Darios part of the
story about the aftermath
of Rachel?s starting to see
Craig. She still cringed as
she remembered how she?d
called her sister ?docile?.
Needless to say, that had
made matters worse.
?You?re just jealous,
because you couldn?t keep
hold of him yourself,? had
been Rachel?s tearful
response. ?You?ve always
been too hard to please.
You never take any risks, in
case things don?t turn out
Thanks to their mother?s
persistence and patience,
they?d patched things up
before the wedding, but
things had never been the
same. Now Julia wondered
if it was too late to retrieve
their old closeness.
Even if it was, at least
they both relaxed as the
island worked its irresistible
magic. That magic included
spectacular sunsets, with a
view across to Mallorca,
Menorca?s livelier sibling.
?Trust me, this isn?t out of
the ordinary,? Julia told
Rachel as they gathered
with others to watch the
display from a bar with a
particularly good view. ?I
never tire of them.?
The sisters sat in
companionable silence after
the sun had slipped over
the horizon, staying as the
colours gave way to a
perfect, velvety darkness.
Alvaros?s restaurant,
overlooking one of the many
tiny bays dotted along the
coast, also had a
grandstand sunset view,
which they enjoyed when
they went with Darios for
the promised meal.
Thankfully, Rachel and
Darios got on like a house
on fire, with her sincere
assurances that his music
practice was not a
She got on even better
with his brother. In fact,
their faces both lit up from
the very first second they
were introduced.
He came to their table to
chat after the other
customers had finished their
meals at the end of the
evening, by which time the
moon was high enough in
the sky to leave a silvery
path across the water in the
When the couple went for
a walk so that Alvaros could
show Rachel the moonlit
view from the nearby
headland, Darios winked
and raised his glass to
Julia was somewhat less
?Aren?t they both risking
more heartbreak, given
what they?ve been through
recently?? she asked him
once they were out of
To her slight
consternation, Darios
laughed softly. She knew he
took a laid-back view of life,
but surely this was more
?You see?? He touched
her hand. ?You love your
sister the same as I love my
brother. They are both
adults, enjoying a good
?It might be a holiday
romance, or it might be
more. Whatever happens,
they will each remember
this night with fondness.?
* * * *
?It was wonderful,? Rachel
told her the next day as
they sunbathed on the
beach. ?The view was
heavenly, and Alvaros was
such a gentleman.
?We had a good heart to
heart about our problems
over the past year. It helped
to share with someone who
really understands, for
Julia stiffened, the relaxed
atmosphere of the morning
gone in a flash.
?Oh, for goodness? sake!
That?s not a criticism of
you,? Rachel snapped,
before continuing in a softer
tone. ?It was just nice to talk
to someone who?s been
through the same mill.?
She hesitated, and took a
deep breath.
?Look, I know we both
said things a long time ago.
Regrettable things that we
can?t take back no matter
how much we?d like to.
?Deep down, I think I
knew what you were trying
to tell me about Craig, that
we weren?t right for each
other, but I was too
stubborn to take notice.?
It was Julia?s turn to take
a deep breath.
?I wasn?t exactly tactful.?
She reached out and
squeezed her hand.
When Rachel squeezed
back, the action said more
than a thousand words.
?That doesn?t mean I
regret our marriage,? she
continued. ?Alvaros doesn?t
regret his relationship,
either, despite the
heartbreak. If you don?t try,
you never know what you
might have missed.
?Craig did his best to be a
good husband, and he?s a
great father,? she added.
?There were many good
things about our time
together, but it had to come
to an end. I can see that
now, and I?m ready to move
They both lay silent for
the next few minutes, the
waves gently lapping in the
background, before Rachel
sat up.
?Can you manage without
me tomorrow evening? It?s
Alvaros?s evening off. We
thought we?d spend it
Julia sat up, too.
?Of course, so long as you
know what ??
?What I?m doing?? Rachel
raised her sunglasses and
looked directly at her.
?Remember what I just said
about never knowing
whether something will work
out if you don?t try?
?That applies to you and
Darios, too. Alvaros and I
didn?t only talk about
ourselves last night, you
She stood up and brushed
the sand from her legs.
?I?m going for a swim.
* * * *
?I hear your sister got her
flight on time,? Darios
commented when he called
round after his cello practice
a couple of days later.
Julia had found the music
soothing as she?d put her
feet up after driving back
from the airport. It was the
first time she?d listened to
him in over a week.
Almost as if he?d known,
he had played some of her
favourite pieces.
?Alvaros told me she
texted him.?
Julia nodded.
?She?ll be in mainland
Spain by now.?
?And you can relax??
Darios raised one eyebrow.
?It?s nice to have the place
to myself again,? she
admitted. ?I?ll miss her,
?I think she will be back
again soon.?
Julia chuckled.
?You know very well she
It seemed the romance
might indeed extend beyond
the holiday. How long it
might last was anybody?s
guess, but that was beside
the point. Both were
grabbing life with both
?You?re capable of doing
that, too,? Rachel had said
as they?d swum in the sea
together the other day. ?You
moved here and started a
new life. Maybe it?s time you
were bolder in other areas.?
Julia was so deep in her
thoughts, it took her a
moment to realise that
Darios was speaking.
?Maybe we can go to a
restaurant tonight and enjoy
a meal?? he asked.
She suddenly imagined
Rachel hundreds of miles
away, over the Pyrenees,
perhaps, and yet somehow
so close. She could almost
hear her voice, urging her
?I?ve got an even better
idea,? she told Darios. ?Why
don?t we drive along the
coast and find a nice quiet
spot to watch the sunset?
No bars, no music ? just the
two of us and the colours of
the sky??
When his smile widened,
she knew she?d said the
right thing. They?d find
somewhere to sit and talk.
Really talk. If that led to
something, maybe it was the
right time.
Outside, beyond the
balcony, a breeze picked up
and set the trees in the
square whispering among
themselves as if in approval.
Everything was stirring to
life in the Menorcan spring,
with the promise of the
summer to come . . . n
This week we?re
Clocked This?
Crafty Break
Creative types will be right at home
at the Craft4Crafters exhibition
from April 12-14 at Bath and West
Showground in Shepton Mallet,
Somerset. More details at
Keep It Tidy
Birthday Greetings
Many happy returns to Peter Capaldi,
who will be sixty on April 14. The
Glaswegian actor, who played the
Twelfth Doctor in ?Doctor Who? and
has also starred in ?Local Hero?, was
seen most recently as Mr Curry in
?Paddington 2?.
This quirky Handy Phone Tidy will keep
the cables tidy when you?re charging
your phone or other small gadgets. Just
place the shelf over your regular mains
charger, connect your charging cable to
your mobile device and just rest it on the
?hand?. It?s �99 online from
Cuckoos are traditionally first heard on
St Tiburtius?s Day, April 14, but in fact
they might arrive in the UK at any time
during April. It?s the male cuckoo that we
usually hear ? the female makes a noise
that sometimes sounds like a chuckle.
In The News
Details correct at time of going to press.
Linda Nolan?s memoir ?From My
Heart? tells the true story of her life
in entertainment with the Nolan
Sisters, one of the most successful
British girl bands of the 70s.
Published by Pan Macmillan, RRP
�.99, it?s a must for all fans.
All Made Up
Be ready for
anything with the
travel make-up
brush set. The
kit, in a handy
travel pouch,
includes brushes
for your powder,
and lipstick,
and space for
Find it at www.
com, priced �.
Loch Again
All Clear
April 13 is Clear Your Clutter Day.
Founded by money expert Jasmine
Birtles, it?s a chance to clear out,
sell, donate and dispose of all the
stuff you don?t need. See Jasmine?s
tips for dealing with trickier items
on page 77.
Singing Sisters
Did you know that most teabags contain
small amounts of plastic? Now the Co-op
have said the bags for their own-brand
99 tea will go synthetic-free this year
and PG Tips have pledged theirs will be
plastic-free by 2019. Good news, we
Paul Murton?s ?Grand Tours Of
Scotland?s Lochs? on BBC1 in
March was a
real treat. The
DVD is released
this week so you
can enjoy that
glorious scenery
at any time of
your choosing.
Get your copy
from Amazon
and usual outlets,
RRP �.99, and
lap up those
Come To The
Photographs by Pat Coulter.
Pat Coulter visits the home of popular
TV character ?Father Brown?.
AY in the
Cotswolds, 22
degrees and it?s
Local residents
have come to expect the
unexpected when the BBC
film crew and cast of the
ever-popular detective series
?Father Brown? turn up in
rural Blockley village, tucked
away in the Cotswolds.
The most memorable
transformation in the village
was the creation of artificial
snow as a winter
wonderland backdrop for a
festive special.
Yes, welcome to snow
business, folks!
I only recently discovered
the delights of ?Father
Brown?. Mark Williams
(fondly remembered as Ron
Weasley?s dad in the ?Harry
Potter? films) takes on the
starring role as Roman
Catholic priest Father
He plays the bespectacled
amateur sleuth (think Miss
Marple in a cassock). Just
like his crime-detecting
female counterpart, he
always seems to have the
uncanny habit of being on
the scene just when a foul
murder has been
Father Brown admits, ?I
don?t so much look for
mysteries, as they come
looking for me.?
Father Brown has a
penchant for spy novels and
crossword puzzles. Simply
armed with a trusty
umbrella, he tends to his
Blockley looking
lovely in springtime.
Mark Williams as Father Brown.
Reverend Canon Dana Delap,
part-time television extra.
St Mary?s church at Sudeley Castle.
n Each episode of
?Father Brown? costs
�0,000 to make.
n In his role as Father
Brown, actor Mark
Williams was kitted out
for his clericals at
J. Wippell & Company of
Westminster. The
wide-brimmed hat he
wears is called a galero.
flock patrolling the parish on
his beloved, faithful old
bicycle, christened
Bucephalus which, sadly, has
never been a match for any
hitman in a getaway car.
However, long before the
local constabulary has a clue
as to the perpetrator,
mild-mannered, intuitively
intelligent Father Brown is
there on the case, already
earnestly urging the sinner to
repent and give themselves
over to the law.
He?s assisted, amongst
other well-meaning chums,
by Mrs McCarthy. Sorcha
Cusack plays the
meddlesome but wellmeaning parish secretary,
renowned for her awardwinning strawberry scones,
much appreciated by
sweet-toothed Father Brown!
As the body count rises,
long-suffering Inspector
Mallory, played by Jack
Deam, ruefully remarks, ?I
should have found a quieter
patch, like the centre of
Move over Midsomer,
surely no longer the most
dangerous spot in fictional
rural England. My advice: say
your prayers and add a few
Hail Marys if you intend
visiting Father Brown country,
as your faith will be truly
Father Brown has made a
joyful leap from the pages of
G.K. Chesterton?s short
stories into a hugely
successful BBC TV drama
TV producers have
tweaked it rather, jumping a
few decades into post-war
1950s rural England, instead
of the pre-war decades as
originally penned by
Chesterton in over 50 short
Happily, I?ve been
devouring episode upon
episode in binge-like fashion.
After six enthralling series, I
still have an appetite for
I rather fancy sampling a
slice of the Father Brown
countryside by going on a
location hunt in search of the
charming real-life villages
featured in the hit series,
which makes it such
appealing on-screen
entertainment, enjoyed by
avid viewers the world over.
Father Brown?s fictional
Kembleford is largely set in
beautiful Blockley. In a
landscape enhanced by
gorgeous honey-coloured
Cotswold stone, Blockley
village, with its pretty
cottages and the landmark
parish church of St Peter and
St Paul, comes in an even
richer hue.
It oozes charm. Not so
much honey-coloured as rich
golden syrup. Spoon-lickingly
sweet and so utterly
addictive, I?m sure I?ll be back
Upper Slaughter is a ?Doubly
Thankful? village, losing no
men in either World War.
n The sidecar
manufacturer Watsonian
Squire provided the
sidecars for the filming of
?Harry Potter And The
Deathly Hallows? Part
n John and William Dent,
famed as Victorian
glove-makers, bought
Sudeley Castle in 1837.
Beautifully crafted Dent
gloves are still much
sought after and prized
by those in the know.
for more helpings.
Ambling down the path
leading into the churchyard, I
feel as though I?m stepping
on to the ?Father Brown? set,
the scene is so familiar to me.
Here I bump into one of
the extras, Blockley?s real-life
vicar, Reverend Canon Dana
Delap. She took on a cameo
role, dressed in full period
costume, for the Christmas
Special on that hot day in
May, and soon found herself
up to her ankles in fake snow
(I?ll let you into a secret, it?s
actually wood pulp).
Dana recalls being
absolutely sweltering. She
shared her moment of fame
rather appropriately in an
on-set nativity scene with a
donkey, sheep and even an
ox, surrounded by countless
children gleefully hurling
?snowballs?, all of which she
described as ?hilarious.?
Yes, Dana broke the acting
rule, making her debut
appearing with both animals
and children. Hardly starstruck, she readily admits the
experience was a little
tedious, as most of the time
is spent just standing around
doing nothing.
?I had no idea being an
actor was so boring!?
she exclaims.
Dana?s acting role
made her anonymous for
the day, as her familiar dog
collar was put to one side
with Mark Williams in the
guise of Father Brown taking
on the role as the village?s
spiritual leader. Even Dana?s
home at the vicarage is
converted into the
Dana found her experience
as an actor rather unsettling.
Despite being such a familiar
face throughout Blockley
parish, no-one recognised
her. She soon concluded,
?No-one notices just another
film extra.?
Happily, she?s back in her
rightful role as the parish?s
beloved vicar. Recent duties
involved giving thanks to
God for the joy that pets
bring to the local community.
Yes, back with animals again!
During the special service,
Dana commented that one
dog seemed able to bark at
just the right moment for the
responses, and it was all
surprisingly calm given there
were 22 dogs in the
congregation, as well as four
guinea pigs.
Blockley village itself has
played many parts over the
centuries. It was renowned
for its silk mills which
brought wealth and
prosperity to the village
during the 18th and 19th
These mills, together with
the hillside terrace house
and grand properties, give
much of Blockley a
distinctive character.
It was the powerful
Blockley Brook which
powered the mills and
enabled the village to
become one of the first to
The countryside near
Winchcombe is ideal for walks.
Getting there
By car:
Blockley is off
the A44. The
M5 and M40
20 miles
By train: the nearest
railway station is at
Moreton-in-Marsh, with
regular services to and
from London Paddington.
By bus: services run
from Stratford-upon-Avon
and Cheltenham.
Tithe Barn remains
at Sudeley Castle.
produce its own electricity.
The village?s steep, narrow
streets aren?t coach-friendly,
which explains why it is
bypassed by so many day
trippers in favour of nearby
Broadway, Moreton-inMarsh and Stow-on-theWold. No wonder it?s said
the only flat area in Blockley
is the bowling green!
Blockley was so
prosperous at one time it?s
said there were over 60
shops, seven inns and four
banks, along with two piano
factories and the Vulcan iron
foundry and works.
Happily, today the village
still retains its communityrun village shop and caf�.
The caf� is a popular
watering hole with walkers
and I appreciate the
opportunity to sit awhile
with Poppy whilst enjoying a
pot of tea and an excellent
smoked salmon sandwich.
The fields above the
village are a joy to walk with
burgeoning hedgerows,
far-reaching vistas and
glimpses of the church
beyond. It seems untouched
by the relentless marching
of time. A place to find
serenity amongst nature.
It?s time for us to be off to
another popular filming
location, nearby
Winchcombe. The view from
the top of the escarpment
above the town is
magnificent, across to the
Malvern Hills and Welsh
neighbours beyond.
A group of cyclists are
whizzing by, hurtling
downhill in gung-ho fashion.
Let?s hope their brakes are
in good order!
Smoke billows through
the valley, accompanied by
a shrill whistle as a steam
train approaches
Winchcombe?s station,
another favoured filming
location which provides an
authentic backdrop for many
a ?Father Brown? episode.
The Gloucestershire
Warwickshire Railway is a
volunteer-operated heritage
railway where you can
happily chuff on a 26-mile
round trip to Cheltenham
Racecourse, admiring some
of the Cotswolds? most
fabulous scenery as you
travel in style.
Historic Sudeley Castle on
the outskirts of Winchcombe
is where we?re heading next.
It?s here, in this beautiful
setting, where I?ll be
treading not only in Father
Brown?s footsteps, but also
in regal ones.
The castle has been in
royal ownership throughout
much of its history.
It has associations with
Richard III, Henry VIII, Lady
Jane Grey, Elizabeth I and
Charles I.
Throughout the centuries
the castle?s rich tapestry of
history has been woven by
strong, resolute women who
have ensured that it has
endured through turbulent,
changing times.
The atmospheric castle is
now home to Lady
Ashcombe, who continues
that unerring tradition,
enabling the castle and
gardens to thrive well into
the 21st century, welcoming
visitors to ensure its
continuing success.
Poignantly, St Mary?s
church, set within the
sumptuous castle gardens, is
the final resting place of
Katherine Parr. Following the
death of her husband Henry
VIII, she married Thomas
Sadly, she died soon after
giving birth to her daughter
Mary. She was only thirty-six.
Katherine is the only Queen
of England to be laid to rest
at a private residence.
Sitting in quiet
contemplation by the great
Tithe Barn overlooking the
castle, I truly feel I?ve found a
little piece of paradise here
on earth.
Thank you, Father Brown,
for your spiritual intervention
guiding me here! n
Want to
know more?
Winchcombe Tourist
Information Centre,
High Street, Winchcombe,
Cheltenham GL54 5LT.
Tel: 01242 602925.
Sudeley Castle & Gardens,
Winchcombe GL54 5JD
Visit: www.sudeleycastle. or telephone
01242 602308.
?The face at the
window is much
more familiar?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
?M sitting at my desk up
in the spare bedroom,
gazing out across the
village square and
looking for inspiration.
This morning, I become
suddenly aware of a face
peering in at me through
the window. This is
unusual, because the spare
bedroom is on the first
The person to whom the
face belongs is either
walking on stilts, is up a
ladder or has extraordinary
long legs. Perhaps it is
Twizzle, a children?s puppet
from yesteryear who had
extendable limbs.
I can see that it?s not
Twizzle and it?s not the
window cleaner, either,
who descends on Lush
Places with his team once a
The face at the window is
much more familiar. It?s Mr
?What are you doing up
here?? I say as I open the
window, being careful not
to knock him off his perch.
?There?s a tuft of grass
poking out of the guttering.?
He points upwards. ?Next
door have mentioned it at
least twice so I thought I?d
just as well climb up and
get it out.?
?Hello there, chap,? a
posh voice bellows from
the ground. ?You wouldn?t
mind lending me your
ladder for a bit, would
I lean out and can see the
voice belongs to
Champagne Charlie. He
wants to wipe down his
window-sills, although I
would have thought he?d
have someone to do that
for him.
And he does. Mr Grigg.
?It?s all right, Charlie,? my
obliging husband says.
?When I?ve finished this,
just give me a bucket and
I?ll do it for you. You can?t
be going up ladders at your
He pulls the offending
grass out from the gutter
and then climbs down, but
not before stopping off at
my window for a quick
?You really need
someone at the bottom of
your ladder,? I say,
concerned for his safety.
I pop down and give him
a hand. The muse of
inspiration is not visiting me
this morning and I need a
break from my computer
He moves the ladder
across to next door and
Charlie hands him a bucket
of warm water and a
sponge. I stand at the
bottom and watch the
world go by.
?It?s been a good birthday
present, this ladder, hasn?t
it?? I shout up at him.
I am nothing if not
romantic. Well, it was what
he wanted. Honestly.
?I?m sorry, dear, but I
can?t hear you,? he shouts
from the top.
He comes down and we
move across the front of
Champagne Charlie?s house
with the ladder. A ?Coo-ee?
comes from across the
?I?m glad I caught you
with the ladder out,? Mrs
Bancroft says to me. ?I need
Mr Grigg to put up my new
hanging basket bracket.?
After washing down three
upstairs window-sills, Mr
Grigg is back down now
and is just about to do the
lower ones before I stop
?You should get
Champagne Charlie to do
those. What did his last slave
die of? They?re not exactly
out of reach. Besides, you?ve
got another job to do.?
He hands the bucket to
Charlie, then we take the
ladder across the road to
Mrs Bancroft?s.
Whilst he?s up there, Peter
Peter the Pumpkin Eater
from a few doors up the
road asks if he can borrow
the ladder so he can trim a
rather overgrown bush
outside his front door.
?You?re sure you don?t
want my husband to do it
for you?? I ask sarcastically.
But Peter Peter is the sort
who likes to get stuck into
his own hedge trimming.
We go into the house and
come out again an hour or
so later and the ladder has
disappeared. It?s now
surfaced on the other side
of the Square where the
house sold at auction is
being renovated.
I look down and realise
that, after all this, I?ve got a
ladder in my tights.
?I wondered where I left
it,? Mr Grigg says, quick as a
flash. n
Mr Grigg is always eager
to help the neighbours!
Market Forces
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
DON?T know exactly
how old Uncle John was,
but I?m sure he was a
few years older than my
brother, Chris.
I couldn?t understand why
Chris had to enlist in the
Army while John was
allowed to stay at home
and live normally. Normal
for wartime, that is.
?There?s things you don?t
understand, my girl,? Mum
said when I queried this.
?But I heard Mr Churchill
saying . . .?
?You listen to too much
radio for a twelve-yearold,? she interrupted. ?Why
don?t you stick to
?Children?s Hour? instead of
all that stuff about the
But I was a precocious
child, interested in what
was going on in the world.
?Your uncle John is, well,
he?s in a reserved
occupation. That?s all you
need to know. Now let that
be the end of it.?
I wasn?t satisfied. I?d
heard of these vital
industries where men were
Luxuries were
hard to come
by during the
war ? but not
for my uncle
exempted from
conscription. But that
included people like farm
labourers, engineers and
As far as I could tell,
Uncle John just wandered
the streets selling stuff
from a battered old
?He supplies essential
goods and services,? I was
informed when I dared
enquire again about John?s
contribution to the war
It was true that he
seemed able to lay his
hands on stuff that you
couldn?t get in the shops.
For instance, Mum was
dead pleased when he
managed to get her some
?I haven?t had a decent
pair for years,? she said.
?I?ve been having to draw
a seam up the back of my
leg with an eyebrow
When one of the
neighbours? daughters got
married he supplied her
with some parachute silk to
make her wedding dress.
?Beautiful,? Mum said,
watching the bride being
transported to church.
?They did a marvellous job
with that dress.?
I would have thought
that the Parachute
Regiment could ill afford to
lose its precious canopies
in order to tailor a bridal
gown, but I held my
tongue. By now I had
learned to think before I
?He did them proud, did
our John,? Mum boasted.
?Got them all the
ingredients to make a
decent cake and rounded
up a catering-sized tin of
fruit for dessert.?
I tried to make sense of
all this. Uncle John must
work for a government
department to have access
to all this merchandise.
Maybe the parachute
had had something wrong
with it and was dangerous
to use. Perhaps the
foodstuff he got was
inferior and not good
enough for our brave boys
who were fighting for King
and Country.
?Why can?t he get us
some tinned fruit, Mum? Or
enough eggs and flour to
make a cake??
?Because it all costs
money, young lady. And we
can?t afford to give you
peaches and cream every
Making me feel guilty and
ashamed was Mum?s way
of keeping me quiet. It
didn?t stop me wondering,
How come John never
asked for any ration
coupons when he brought
stuff round? And why was
he always so furtive when
he came and went?
?The time for luxuries will
be when your brother
comes home on leave.?
Huh! Luxuries? I could
remember a time when
having a bit of cake or fruit
wasn?t considered to be an
?If you?re a good girl I?ll
see if he can get us some
chocolate next week, but
you?ll have to share it with
your dad.?
* * * *
Uncle John did better
than just the chocolate. He
also managed to get us a
couple of oranges and a
small chicken.
But his activities
still bothered me.
I had heard the terms
?spiv? and ?black market?
bandied around the street
and the school playground,
but I couldn?t believe that a
member of our family would
be involved in dubious
Uncle John had just paid
one of his short visits while
Dad was at work.
He was just about to step
out into the street when he
paused and ducked back
?Better go out the back
door,? he said, clutching his
All the kids in our road were
taught right from wrong
Maybe we didn?t live in a
fashionable neighbourhood,
but we were a respectable
household and all the kids in
our road were taught right
from wrong.
I had to admit, though, it
did have its benefits.
?Here you are, princess,?
he would say as he slipped
through our back gate and
into the kitchen. ?Sweets for
you. But if anyone asks ?
you haven?t seen me.?
I?d be ushered outside
while the adults got their
heads together. Having a
bag of gobstoppers to share
made me the most popular
girl in the street for a while
and I was quite happy to
forget my doubts about
their origin.
?Here?s something I
picked up down at the
market,? was another of
John?s opening lines as he
glanced behind to see if
anyone was following him.
It might be a small
wooden toy, a comic book
or something for my hair. I
was never sure which
market he was referring to
where he?d ?picked up?
these treasures.
?Now, be a good girl and
keep a look out for any
shady types.?
I?d be pushed outside
once more, not knowing
what a shady type was
supposed to look like but
grateful nevertheless for my
gift. I decided his work for
the government must be
secret and he was frightened
of being followed by enemy
?Thanks, Uncle John,? I
would say before the door
was slammed shut.
I continued my
deliberations on the
suspicious behaviour of
mum?s younger brother
until, one day, another piece
of the puzzle fell into place.
suitcase. ?See you
tomorrow. Don?t forget
? you haven?t seen me.?
As he rushed out through
the kitchen and into the
back yard I pulled the door
ajar and stuck my head out.
Apart from the local
bobby and a bunch of kids
playing marbles I couldn?t
see anyone that John might
want to avoid.
Then the penny dropped.
My uncle John was avoiding
the law. Not only was he
dealing in black market
goods but he must also be
trying to avoid conscription.
We had a criminal in the
From then on, until the
end of the war, I believed
we could all be dragged
from our beds at any time
and be thrown in jail for
harbouring a fugitive.
As I grew older, of course,
I realised that I was being
overly dramatic. I still didn?t
like the idea of my uncle
avoiding his patriotic duty,
* * * *
Twenty years later I finally
learned the truth about
Uncle John. After he
collapsed at work I went
with Mum to visit him in
?How could he have a
heart attack, Mum?? I said.
?He?s not even in his fifties
I knew he never drank or
smoked and he always
looked in reasonable shape.
After hostilities ended and
the shop shelves started to
fill up a little bit more, he?d
continued to use his trading
skills and began to sell fruit
and veg from a stall at the
Corn Exchange.
?He?s always had a dodgy
ticker,? she replied.
?Arrhythmia or something,
they called it. Found out
when he was at school.
They told him he shouldn?t
exert himself but it didn?t
stop him playing football.?
?That?s terrible,? I said. ?I
never knew.?
?He didn?t want anyone
to know. Didn?t want
people feeling sorry for him.
Why do you think he never
got his call-up papers??
All those wartime
memories came tumbling
into my head. Yes, he had
been a bit of a wide boy,
but at least I knew now that
he hadn?t shirked his duty.
?You had us worried
there,? Mum said as we sat
either side of the bed. ?You
never did take any notice of
what the doctors said, did
?It would be a very dull
life if I?d listened to them.?
?Well, now is the time to
take heed and ease up a
?Never mind about that.
What about the stall??
?Don?t worry about that.
Your mates from the
Market Traders? Federation
are looking after it for you.?
?It?ll just be for a day or
?The kids are at school
now during the day. I can
spare a few hours till they
come home.?
With no wife or family of
his own, John had been
generous to my children on
birthdays and Christmases.
I?d not always been as
grateful as perhaps I should
have. Now it was time to
make amends.
* * * *
The first thing that struck
me on my first day at the
market was the camaraderie
amongst the stallholders.
Many came over to shake
John?s hand and offer their
?They?re a good bunch,?
he said to me. ?We all watch
out for each other.?
?That?s nice,? I replied.
?Talking of watching out,
let me know if you see the
market inspector coming
round. He?s the one carrying
a clipboard.?
?Why? You don?t owe him
money, do you??
?Nah. It?s just that he?s a
stickler for the rules. Won?t
give us any slack.?
All Uncle John had done was to
get by as best he could
two,? he said. ?I?ll be back
weighing apples and
oranges before you know
?No, John. This time
you?re going to do as you?re
told and take some time
off. We don?t want a repeat
of this morning?s episode,
do we??
Chastised, he nodded his
?You?re right. I must
admit, it gave me a bit of a
I was beginning to feel
guilty now, having
previously thought of him
as selfish and cowardly. All
Uncle John had done was to
get by as best he could in
life without any fuss.
Admittedly he had bent a
few rules along the way, but
so did a lot of people when
times were tough.
?I?ll come and give you a
hand when you get back on
your feet,? I promised.
?Are you sure, princess?
You have the family to look
I was beginning to
recognise the Uncle John of
old; no regard for authority
and any opportunity to cut
corners. I was twelve years
old again.
?You?re not in trouble, are
?Don?t be silly, princess.
It?s just trivial stuff, like
clearing up our rubbish and
keeping our stalls neat. He?s
a real pain.?
I suspected it was a bit
more than good
housekeeping that the
inspector was concerned
about, but I knew better
than to probe further.
It looked like old habits
were hard to shake off and
Uncle John remained wary of
anyone in a position of
?It just pays to be on your
guard, princess.?
He said it with a smile and
a wink and I realised he was
pulling my leg.
?And if he asks, princess,
remember ? you haven?t
seen me.? n
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I?m in my seventies. Am I still at risk of breast cancer?
Dr Rosemary
doctor and
GP, is here
to help.
Yes. Age is actually one of the
biggest risk factors for breast cancer,
something many women don?t
realise. One in three women
diagnosed with the disease is aged
seventy or over and it?s more
important than ever to remain breast
aware, which means that you get to
know how your breasts look and feel
normally so it?s easier to notice
In The News
Enjoy A Cuppa
Great news for tea lovers ? a new
study from China shows that regular
tea drinking can cut your risk of
osteoporosis by as much as 40%.
About 300,000 people every year
break a bone due to osteoporosis,
while a quarter of elderly people ?
mostly women ? are at risk of
But you might be better off
sticking to a traditional brew than
sipping a fashionable herbal infusion
as dentists are now warning some
fruit teas are high in acid which
erodes the teeth super-fast when
sipped in hot water, which increases
the rate of chemical interaction with
the teeth.
any unusual changes.
Make sure you know what to look
for. There are a number of different
symptoms of breast cancer, and while
many women have a lump in the
breast, one in six women with breast
cancer experience other symptoms
which can include changes to the size,
shape, feel or skin of the breast, nipple
changes including discharge and pain
in your breast.
If you notice any unusual or
persistent changes to your breasts you
should tell your doctor as soon as
possible, as early diagnosis of breast
cancer makes it much more treatable.
For more information about the
signs and symptoms of breast cancer,
Heartburn Alert
Don?t let heartburn halt your
good exercise intentions. Try this:
Health Bite
? leave two hours after
eating before exercising to
allow food to be properly
? don?t exercise lying on your
back (such as sit-ups and
? avoid sports drinks and
have water instead (the
acidity of some drinks can
trigger symptoms)
? skip common food triggers
like curry or acidic sauces,
particularly on an exercise
? don?t give up! Regular
exercise will aid weight loss
which takes pressure off
the valve that triggers your
? try Nexium Control tablets
(�99 from Boots) which
block acid production in the
Although cheese is often portrayed as a
high-fat dietary ?bad guy?, recent studies
from Denmark show that eating aged
cheeses such as Parmesan and Cheddar
could add years to your life.
A compound called spermidine has been
found to boost liver health, and the probiotic
bacteria in older cheeses has been shown to
help prevent age-related deterioration of the
immune system.
Older cheeses could also benefit your teeth
? studies show nibbling a little cheese after a
meal makes the mouth more alkaline, so
reducing harmful tooth-decaying acidity, and
creates a protective film around the teeth.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
Duvet Hygiene
A trip to the
can prove
Do You Need To See Your GP?
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
looks at ways
to make the
OST of us try hard to use the NHS
responsibly, especially these days
when it?s so obviously under
But it?s not always easy to know when
you really need to see your GP.
For those times when you want some
help but maybe not a visit to the GP
surgery, the Royal College of General
Practitioners (RCGP) has some new
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair
of the RCGP, told me more about their
campaign and the reasons behind it.
If you think that your local surgery is
getting a lot busier, your intuition is spot
on. She explained that over the past
seven years workload has increased by at
least 16%.
As surgeries are getting much busier,
their share of the NHS budget has fallen
and the number of GPs is falling slightly.
Overworked doctors are burning out and
sometimes they even give up the
All of this means it is getting harder and
harder to book an appointment. Yet one
in four GP consultations might be
Not being able to get an appointment is
frustrating for both patients and GPs, but
there are a variety of alternatives to
consider first.
The College?s advice is simple and easy
to remember. When your problem is
minor and you?re not sure whether you
need an appointment, try the simple
catchphrase, ?three before GP?.
It?s a way to pause and think whether
you really need to see a doctor, or if the
problem can be dealt with in a different
way that is still safe and effective.
Start by asking yourself these three
1. Can I take care of this myself?
2. Is the answer on the NHS Choices
website, or on another reputable
3. Can my pharmacist give me advice
and treatment?
Seeing your local pharmacist is often the
fastest way to get help. They are highly
trained healthcare professionals who can
do a lot more than fill your prescriptions.
They can give excellent advice on minor
conditions from coughs and colds to
earaches and rashes, many of which can
be easily treated with the right over-thecounter remedy.
Most importantly, though, if you?re
unsure if something is serious and where
to go for help, your pharmacist can advise
on whether you need to see your GP or
practice nurse, or go to A&E.
Here?s a reminder that in an emergency,
such as chest pain, don?t hesitate to seek
immediate medical attention. It?s what the
NHS is there for. It?s also wise to be on
the safe side when a child is unwell.
And your GP is there for you when it?s
something that could be serious, like
seeing blood in the loo or finding a hard
lump that you can?t explain.
For more everyday problems, you can
find a wealth of information on the NHS
Choices website at In many
parts of the UK, you can also dial 111 on
your phone any time of the day or night,
to get advice on the best NHS service for
your problem. n
Most people sweat as much
as 200ml in bed every night,
which means your duvet could
be providing the perfect warm
and moist environment for dust
mites and fungus to grow. This
could be enough to explain the
bunged-up nose and excessive
snoring that might be keeping
you (or your partner) awake.
Professor Lisa Ackerley of
Salford University recommends
pulling back the duvet every
morning for at least 15 minutes
and opening a window to
release moisture and humidity.
Synthetic duvets, she says,
should be washed every three
months at 60 degrees to kill off
dust mites, and feather duvets
dry cleaned twice a year.
Moisture Boost
Cold weather and central
heating can both suck the
moisture out of your skin,
leaving you prone to a condition
called ?asteatotic eczema? or
?winter itch.?
This common condition starts
as patches of dry, itchy skin that
begin to scale and flake and
may also crack. Using a
hypoallergenic body lotion such
as Cuderm, applied after your
shower or bath when the skin is
still moist, can help.
Cuderm cream is priced �99
for 100ml from pharmacies.
7 Easy Ways
To Improve
Drink Water
The glass of water you use to
wash down a painkiller could be
doing more good than the pill
itself as many headaches are
triggered by dehydration which, in
turn, can cause a thumping
headache and also affect memory.
If you can?t remember how much
water you?ve drunk today you?re
probably not drinking enough!
Soothing Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation has been
shown to help ease tension, and just
10 minutes can be enough to see off a
persistent headache. Just close your eyes
and take 10 really deep breaths, making
every inhale and exhale as long as possible.
Starting at the crown of your head, work
your way down the body mentally seeking
out any points of tension, and imagine that
tension breaking up like a crumbling pile of
Pencil This Down
A tension headache can appear without warning if
you?re stressed and have been clenching your jaw.
Ask your dentist to check whether you grind your
teeth in the night as a simple mouth guard can help
protect your teeth and ease the tension that triggers
headaches. You can also try placing a pencil between
your teeth and holding it there for several minutes
without biting down on it. This will help you learn to
relax your jaw muscles and is a great remedy for a
tension headache.
Put The Kettle On
There?s little more comforting
than a cup of tea, but experiments
with different herbal varieties
show green tea is a great remedy
for headaches (particularly
migraines), chamomile tea has
sedative properties, and
peppermint tea can help if your
headache is paired with nausea.
Go Hot And Cold
Hot and cold packs have
differing effects, but for the best
combination alternate between
the two extremes every 15
minutes until your headache
disappears. First apply a heat pad
to the tight muscles of your neck
and jaw to relax them, then switch
to a cold pack on the forehead.
Essential Oils
Mix a few drops of peppermint,
rosemary, eucalyptus and/or
lavender oil with a carrier oil like
almond or coconut oil and gently
massage into the temples or
forehead. Increase the impact by
diffusing the oils through a room
by adding a few drops into a bowl
of steaming water.
Thumbs Up
Most headaches are caused by
muscle tension which can be eased
through reflexology on specific
acupressure points. Try applying
firm pressure to the tip of your left
thumb with your right thumb and
index finger. Hold this pressure for
five seconds and repeat it 10
times. Repeat the process on your
right thumb using your left hand.
That Special Someone
Trisha knew exactly what kind of
man she was looking for . . .
Illustration by iStock.
RISHA is sixty-five
years old and is
looking for a man.
His identity is
unknown as yet,
but she?ll know him when
she meets him.
She does know that he
will not smoke, own a dog,
have a beard or have an
obsessive hobby.
He will be fastidious
about his personal hygiene,
keep himself fit and active
and be smart in
He?ll be financially sound,
kind and caring and he will
smell nice, too.
Trisha?s not holding out
for Martin Shaw or David
Essex. She?ll settle for an
ordinary bloke.
But a girl can dream,
can?t she?
Having sent her profile to
the Golden Oldies dating
website three months ago,
Trisha has been on six
dates, all spectacularly
It started well with Jeff, a
shorter version of Harrison
Ford. But the clues were
there: the waterproof
trousers, the windproof top
and the heavy-duty
His ?So, Trisha, you like
walking?? was followed by a
travelogue about his hikes
in the Pyranees, treks to
the top of Scafell Pike and
his walks in Madeira.
Excitedly, he outlined a
plan for a trip in Scotland
to ?bag some Munros?,
Scottish mountains over
3,000 feet high. He wanted
a companion; it wasn?t
going to be Trisha.
Leonard brought his
ninety-year-old mother to
their first date; there wasn?t
a second.
Trisha was put off by
Ron?s lack of attention to
body and dental hygiene.
Well-groomed Dennis,
with his attentive good
manners and selfconfidence, was promising.
However, when he said,
?You know, Trisha, the best
thing about dating in later
life is that you can cut to
the chase?, and suggested
a quite different afternoon
from the one she was
anticipating, she declined
his offer although, in spite
of herself, she felt
somewhat flattered.
Howard could bore for
England about his collection
of war memorabilia, and
Tom not only looked like
he?d just left his allotment,
he also bore a good portion
of it under his fingernails.
Was she being too
critical? Was this dating lark
really for her?
?One more go. I?ll give it
one more go.?
* * * *
Today, with butterflies in
her stomach, Trisha pays
special attention to her
appearance as she prepares
to meet another stranger.
Questions fill her mind.
?Why am I putting myself
through this? What would
Matthew make of it all??
She knows they would
have had a jolly good laugh
?But he?s not here, that?s
the whole point,? she says
out loud, allowing the
luxury of reminiscence to
flow over her.
Their courting years;
raising wonderful children;
their tender intimate times;
the highs and lows of a long
life lived together and the
pain of his loss, which still
leaps out at her and brings
tears to her eyes.
Their latter times together
when he was ill, and how,
with a favourite Barry
White album playing in the
background, they would lie,
just holding each other.
Trisha has steadfastly
built a new life for herself,
pushing herself to join the
WI, the University of the
Third Age and swimming
club. She walks every day.
She?s as busy as she has
ever been in her life, but
her life is almost entirely
populated with women.
It?s the being held she
misses the most.
* * * *
Greg, seventy-one, is a
newcomer to the Golden
Oldies website. This is his
first date and he feels
He is early and has
placed himself at a table
nestling between the open
fire and the window, from
where he can check every
opening of the door.
Eventually, a woman
enters and scans the
half-full lounge bar of the
Eagle and Child.
He nods, raises his hand
and smiles a welcome to
the slim, petite blonde with
boyishly short hair. He
takes in her stylish clothes
and expensive accessories.
She has a friendly smile
and looks younger than he
was expecting.
As he takes her coat and
pulls out a chair for her, he
thinks her small frame
could benefit from a bit
more flesh.
Trisha takes in his
old-world manners, his
Pringle jumper and a waist
thicker than she prefers.
Initial social niceties out
of the way, Greg orders
drinks and sandwiches at
the bar.
?Which part of the
north-east are you from,
?Wow! How did you
know? People pick up an
accent, but because it?s not
too strong, I get asked if
I?m Irish, Scottish, Welsh or
even East European.
?To answer your
question, I?m from
Northumberland, but I lived
in and around the southeast for forty years. I never
wanted to lose my accent.
It?s who I am.?
?Good for you. My
mother was from up there.
I?ve been going on holiday
in Northumberland for as
long as I can remember.
Where exactly are you
it?s near Ashington. My
dad came from a
mining family and my
inc P&P
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mam?s family were fisher
folk ? nothing grand.?
Greg nods, smiling, and
shares childhood memories
of beaches that seemed to
go on for ever and mystical
castles, and staying in his
grandparents? miners
cottage near Blyth.
Trisha learns that he is ?a
local boy?, having not
ventured far from the
area, and that he plays golf
Their conversation
continues to flow easily
from talk about their
children and grandchildren,
to a shared love of
travelling and of businesses
built up and handed on to
the next generation.
He tells her of a recent
disastrous cruise for singles
in which he spent most of it
hiding from ?a very
determined lady?.
She relates some of her
dating disasters and they
There is a lot of laughter.
Over a second coffee refill
they learn that they both
nursed their spouses
through long illnesses.
He silently puts his hand
over hers and she covers it
with her other hand.
?It?s a struggle at times to
live life as one instead of
half of a twosome,? Greg
She nods her head. He
breaks the silence by
clearing his throat.
?Trisha, what are you
doing this Sunday coming??
?Oh, Sunday is the
emptiest day. I don?t know:
clean out the shed, go for a
long walk, fill in the time.
?Why don?t we fill in the
time together? A walk and a
late lunch, perhaps.?
She looks at his lived-in
face, his pugnacious nose,
the lines converging on his
blue eyes and his goatee
?Yes, that sounds like a
good idea. I?d like that.?
Greg ends a hesitant
moment of awkwardness in
the car park by stepping
forward with his arms open
and they hug, a friendly hug
in which he senses his own
loneliness and she feels
Oh, and he smells nice,
too. n
How can two plotting pensioners
save the allotments?
UZY had never felt
so nervous in her
life. She was going
on a date with Ed
OK, not the Ed Sheeran,
but Josh definitely would
get a job as a lookalike.
She glanced at her
mobile. He was picking her
up in about eight minutes.
?Stop pacing. You?ll wear
out the carpet,? Bethany
mocked from behind her
?I wasn?t pacing.?
?You were. And I?m trying
to concentrate.?
?You?re only on
?I?m not. I?m doing the
rotas for Mum.?
Her big sister swung the
laptop screen round.
Sure enough, it showed
the rotas for Busy Bees, the
family?s cleaning business.
?Are you sure I look OK,
Suzy twirled. She was
wearing skinny jeans and
short boots, a skimpy pink
T-shirt and a light jacket. It
was warm for spring, but
you couldn?t tell.
?You look great.? Beth?s
voice softened. ?He?ll be
blown away and if he isn?t,
he doesn?t deserve you.
Where are you going,
?We?re seeing a film. I
know it?s corny for a first
date, but . . .?
A car horn tooted outside.
?Gosh, I think he?s here.
His dad?s giving us a lift
into Salisbury.?
Beth blew her a kiss.
?Don?t do anything I
* * * *
Less than half a mile away
Suzy?s grandmother,
Elizabeth, and Josh?s
grandmother, Rita, were in
front of a laptop in
Elizabeth?s kitchen.
?All?s fair in love and
war,? Elizabeth said, as she
flicked through web pages.
?Especially where property
developers are concerned.
?Did you know Village
Lane Homes are going to
submit plans to build
twenty-five houses if they
can get the allotments??
?Surely there isn?t room!?
Rita raised elegant
eyebrows. ?It?s only a
narrow strip of land.?
?Ah, but they own the
field next door. They bought
it from the farmer a couple
of years ago. They haven?t
got planning permission,
but if they get those
allotments who knows
where it will end? We need
to stop them.?
?I?m not chaining myself
to any fence,? Rita warned.
?It?s too cold!?
Elizabeth giggled.
?You won?t have to. That
did work well for the post
office, though, didn?t it??
Privately she wasn?t
certain their railings protest
would have worked so well
had not it happened to tie
in with the anniversary of
Emmeline Pankhurst?s birth,
making a good story for the
?Gazette?. They?d even got
on to the regional news.
?What do you have in
mind?? Rita looked at the
laptop screen.
?Sand lizards. They?re a
protected species. Their
habitat can?t be disturbed.?
?Do they have sand lizards
on the allotments??
Elizabeth tapped her nose.
?There have been rumours
of sightings. And we?re
coming into mating season.?
Rita?s eyes brightened.
?Are we? And how do you
know so much about them??
?I don?t, but it?s bound to
be. Spring is mating season
for everything,? Elizabeth
said airily. ?I?m sure sand
lizards are no exception.?
* * * *
Suzy wondered if Josh was
enjoying the film. The choice
had been rom-com or action
thriller. He?d said he didn?t
mind the rom-com, but she
felt he was just being nice.
At least he hadn?t fallen
asleep. His gaze was fixed
on the big screen. He?d
hardly looked in her
direction since the film
* * * *
Josh was hoping Suzy
wouldn?t want to discuss the
film afterwards. He?d hardly
taken in a word. He couldn?t
concentrate. He was far too
aware of every tiny
movement she made. He
had never felt so anxious.
Mind you, he hadn?t been
on a date for ages. Gran was
right. For the last year he?d
been too immersed in
college work for a social life.
He?d chosen to be an
electrician because it was
hands-on. He hadn?t known
there was so much theory.
On the big screen the
dark-haired hero was
looking into the heroine?s
eyes. All heroes seemed to
be dark. None of them was
ever ginger.
He dipped his head to kiss
the heroine, who was blonde
like Suzy but not as pretty.
Josh swallowed hard. First
kisses. He hated them.
Hopefully Suzy wouldn?t
expect him to kiss her on a
first date. He sneaked a
glance at her. She smiled
and he felt his cheeks blaze.
Good job it was too dark in
here for her to notice.
More next week.
Missing Link
1 Senior
soldier (7)
5 American
___, reality
TV show (4)
9 Edit
down (7)
10 Talk big (5)
11 Tine of a
fork (5)
12 Finale (6)
14 Anxious (6)
16 Involving the
front of a
vehicle (4?2)
18 Of Swiss
mountains (6)
19 Serenity (5)
22 Reach
maturity (5)
23 Unventilated
and stuffy (7)
24 ___ over,
capsize (4)
25 Impassive
(humour) (7)
2 Renounce (5)
3 Temporary
upset (11)
4 Number in a
football team (6)
6 Emptied (7)
7 Elizabethan
instrument (4)
8 Sleep overnight in
a tent (4,3)
10 Grumpy (3?8)
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
13 Aromatic
smoke (7)
15 Regular
oval (7)
17 Act correctly (6)
20 Combat
area (5)
21 Star ___, classic
sci?fi series (4)
7 6 4 3 8
5 2
1 7
8 1 5
7 9 3
2 Dispense (tea) ? Putting an end
to (a practice)
4 Chickenpox?related illness ? Sibling
6 Fracture support ? Perfectly clean
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
on p87
Try our quick crossword
Fit ten words into the
grid so each one connects
up with the words on
either side eg - wishing well - done. Read down
the letters in the shaded
squares to spell out a
Mindless reiteration
Country?s history ? Small smooth stone
Mellifluous ? Predicted
Twistingly ? White cooking fat
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
Team work ? from left,
Linda Long, Kati Simpson
and Linda Grieve.
?We wanted to do
all we could to help?
Linda Grieve tells Yvonne McKenzie
about the challenge to raise funds
for an orphanage in China.
Photographs courtesy of Linda Grieve.
HEN Linda
approached her
to say she wanted to
volunteer at an orphanage,
she naturally assumed it was
somewhere close by. It came
as a shock when Linda?s
sixteen-year-old said it was
?My daughter had never
been abroad on her own!?
Linda said. ?However, she?d
heard about International
China Concern (ICC) through
a speaker at her school and
was determined to help out.
?She flew out on her own
and joined a team, then she
spent two weeks working in
the orphanage in the Hunan
Province of China and
absolutely loved it.
?So much so, she returned
the following year (2007) for
six months of her gap year.
?During this time she kept
e-mailing me saying I would
love it, too, and that I should
join her to look after the
children. I wasn?t
convinced, but agreed to
go ? and it changed my life
for ever.?
From those early
meetings, Linda vowed to
raise as much as possible
and is currently doing the
Great Wall Challenge.
She, along with two
friends ? Linda Long and
Kati Simpson ? aim to,
figuratively speaking, cover
the distance of the Ming
Dynasty section of the
Great Wall of China by
walking, running,
swimming or cycling, but in
this country.
The trio then plan to
finish the last leg in China
and involve some of the
children from the
?I met Linda and Kati in
2012, during our time
helping in the orphanage,?
Linda explains, ?and we?ve
been close friends ever
?My team members and I
witnessed at first hand the
needs of these abandoned
children and wanted to do
all we could to help.
?We were so impressed
with the work ICC do in
training up local Chinese
carers, providing therapy
and meeting the physical
and emotional needs of the
children, that we wanted to
support them.
?It is wonderful to be in
close touch with ICC
because we can see where
our money goes and the
difference it makes to the
lives of the children.
?All the volunteers who
Family and friends lend
their support to the ladies.
work there, short or long
term, have to fund
?So far I have run the
London Marathon, swum
the distance of the English
Channel in the local pool,
been tandem paragliding,
held quizzes and coffee
mornings, put on concerts,
organised car boot sales and
so on.
?My teammates have also
been heavily involved in
fund-raising. I think we?ve
raised around �,000 to
date. This time we decided
to combine our efforts with
this latest challenge.
?Our goal is to cover the
length of the Ming Dynasty
part of the Great Wall (5,500
miles) before we go back to
China this year.
?If we miss a day or two,
we then have lots of miles
to catch up on! It will all be
worth it when we save the
last half mile to do with the
?My husband and children
are very supportive. A lot of
my friends think, ?Here she
goes again! Doing some
madcap challenge!?
?What keeps my friends
and me going is the children
in China that we?ve met,
been inspired by and have
grown to love.? n
Find out more about
International China
Concern at www.
Visit the fund-raising
page for Linda and her
friends at https://www.
ts !
St day
Peter Dawson had made his mind up.
Things around here had to change . . .
All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
quaffed the dregs of
her coffee with a
contented sigh. It
was a lovely June
day. The gently rolling
Galloway hills which
surrounded her favourite
lunch spot were verdantly
green, the patchwork of
fields spread out before her
abundant with crops.
The low hum of a distant
combine harvesting grass
for silage was the only
sound to disturb the peace
and quiet ? except for the
lowing of the cows in the
pastures of Gareth Balliol?s
dairy farm.
It was a timely reminder
that she?d better get her
skates on. It was good to
escape the office at
lunchtimes, a ritual she
observed whenever the
changeable Scottish
weather allowed, but she
had better head back.
Reluctantly, Lillias packed
away her Thermos and the
remnants of her lunch
before checking her watch.
She?d promised she?d
have the sales figures
breakdown on Peter?s desk
by two.
Setting a brisk pace back
to Dawson?s Dairies, the
cheese-production factory
where she worked, left her
out of breath, and she told
herself for the thousandth
time that she really should
get more exercise.
After a perfunctory wave
at the receptionist manning
the front desk of the admin
block, Lillias dumped her
bag in her tiny office,
grabbing the spreadsheets
with minutes to spare.
?Sorry I?ve cut it so fine.
It was such a lovely day
that I lost track of the . . .?
On the threshold of Peter
Dawson?s office, Lillias
came to an abrupt halt. Her
boss of almost thirty years
was slumped over his desk.
Asleep? Not such an
outlandish notion, given the
countless hours that he put
in, but no, his body angle
was unnatural.
Heart thudding, mouth
dry, Lillias gently shook him
by the shoulder.
His face was ashen, his
eyes open and glazed. His
breathing was laboured.
?Peter?? she said again,
her voice panicky now. ?Are
you all right??
Ridiculous question. Of
course he wasn?t. She
picked up his hand. It was
freezing and clammy.
What signs should she be
looking for? She should
know ? she?d seen those
health information films.
But she didn?t, and she was
wasting precious time.
?Jack! Akbar! Anyone,
please come quickly!? Lillias
called frantically. ?It?s all
right,? she said to her
prostrate boss in a wavery
voice. ?We?ll get you help.
Just hang on, Peter. Please,
hang on.?
Akbar Patel, the logistics
manager, appeared at the
office door. After a quick
examination, he looked up
?I think he?s had a heart
Lillias snatched up the
telephone and dialled 999
with trembling fingers.
* * * *
One month later Peter
Dawson peered out at the
empty driveway from the
dining-room window. He
was feeling . . . odd. A
different kind of odd from
what he?d been feeling
these last four weeks since
it happened.
A heart attack. He still
couldn?t quite believe it.
Even now, recalling that
moment when he?d woken
up in the hospital bed, a
drip attached to his hand
and all manner of beeping
and flashing monitors
surrounding him, made him
It had felt as if he was
watching himself from a
distance. As if the Peter
Dawson lying in that
high-dependency unit was
an actor playing him in
some television medical
His memory of the actual
event was fuzzy. Lillias had
found him, apparently.
Between her and young
Akbar, they?d saved his life,
so the doctor said, though
Lillias said it was mostly
down to Akbar, a trained
first aider.
Reassuringly calm, he?d
taken over until the
ambulance crew arrived.
Lillias had panicked,
she?d confessed later. The
very notion of the woman
known affectionately on the
factory floor as the Ice
Maiden, panicking was
hard to believe.
Mind you, no harder to
believe than what had
happened to him, save that
it was all too real.
He glanced out of the
window again. Still no sign
of the expected arrivals.
Five years since he?d had
all four of his girls together
under one roof. Where did
the time go?
But he knew the answer.
Into the business. All the
more reason, at this critical
point in his life then, to do
some prioritising.
The doctors had told him
he?d have to reassess his
workload. What was that
trendy phrase they?d used?
Achieve a ?better work-life
balance?, that was it.
Was it really necessary?
He felt fully recovered now.
He wasn?t overweight, had
never smoked and was
otherwise healthy.
That was probably what
had saved him, the medical
gurus had said. That, and
Akbar?s prompt
A blocked artery had
been the cause, but Peter
had been lucky. Not too
much damage done, no
need for anything more
than one those plastic stent
things they?d inserted.
An early warning.
Peter shivered. He was
only sixty-three. He could
pretend to all and sundry
that it was nothing more
than a minor health scare,
but he couldn?t fool himself.
He had had a serious
fright, and it had given him
a lot of food for thought.
Staring out at the empty
driveway he finally
managed to put a name to
his odd mood. He was
anxious, he realised with
surprise, sinking down on to
the window seat.
?Plain daft,? he muttered
to himself, ?to be nervous
about seeing your own
He wasn?t nervous about
seeing them, but about
telling them that their
infallible, invincible dad was
mortal after all.
The girls had depended
on him for twenty-five
years, since he?d lost Claire
giving birth to Allison, their
youngest. Twenty-five
Back then, the huge front
garden out there had been
an adventure playground of
sandpits and swings,
Wendy houses, scooters
and bikes.
It was just a plain old
lawn now, neat enough,
thanks to the lad from
Hoeing And Mowing, but a
bit forlorn all the same.
Like the rest of the house,
Peter thought, casting a
fresh eye around the
dining-room. Dust-free, yes,
but it felt empty, soulless.
Too big for him, truth be
told. He felt much more at
home in his office at the
cheese factory. Spent a lot
more time there, too.
It was his life, even more
so now the girls were
scattered to the four winds.
Of course, it wasn?t that
his business meant more to
him than the girls; nothing
and no-one meant more.
His Four Seasons, as
Peter affectionately referred
to them. He?d always said
his daughters were as
different as the seasons
were, here in the rural
Scottish Borders.
Joanne, the oldest and
now thirty-six, a writer who
lived the glamorous life in
France with her wine-maker
husband, she was Spring:
vibrant, creative and
bursting with life.
she was his Woman Friday
and general factotum.
It was only when she
thought she might lose him
that she realised their
relationship ran deeper
than that.
They were friends who
knew each other inside out,
like a long-married couple.
He had had a serious fright, one
which made him rethink his life
Katrina, two years
younger, was Mother Earth.
Calm and serene, a
housewife and full-time
mother to his three lively
grandchildren, he?d dubbed
Then there was Jennifer.
Peter sighed. Jennifer took
after him: so single-minded,
focused on her career. She
could seem a bit of a cold
fish; frosty, even.
Which made her Winter.
What had transpired
between her and the father
of his youngest grandchild?
Whatever it was, it seemed
to be terminal.
Could there be more of a
contrast between Winter
and Summer? A role which
Allison, his youngest,
fulfilled to perfection.
She was so like Claire it
made his heart ache
sometimes to hear that
familiar infectious laugh.
A feisty rebel, was Allison,
and as unpredictable and
changeable as only a
Scottish summer could be.
Peter swallowed hard on
the lump which had risen in
his throat. The realisation of
how close he?d come to
leaving them behind . . .
No, he wasn?t going to
think that way. Onwards
and no looking back.
* * * *
In the large hallway of
Peter?s house, Lillias was
peering out through the
glass pane of the front
door. They?d be here any
moment now.
She wasn?t convinced she
should be at such an
auspicious family occasion.
As far as the girls were
concerned, she was part of
the office furniture.
Until Peter?s recent heart
attack Lillias would have
agreed. Peter was her boss,
Which, given the amount of
time they spent in each
other?s company at work,
was hardly surprising.
Though what did she
know about marriage?
Lillias peered in the
full-length mirror that
formed part of the coat
stand. Simple navy shift
dress. Plain navy pumps.
The little gold wrist watch
and the gold locket she?d
inherited from her mum
were her only jewellery.
Her hair was cut into a
sensible bob, her lipstick a
pale shade. She?d never
been one to make the best
of herself. Never had time
or inclination.
All the same, she didn?t
look too bad for fifty-six.
?What?s this, preening?
That?s not like you.?
?Peter! You made me
jump. I wasn?t admiring
myself ? more assessing the
She turned, smiling at
Peter who was framed by
the doorway. Physically,
the years had been kind to
him. These days, he was
more distinguished than
handsome, his once-black
hair completely silver.
There were new worry
lines around his piercing
eyes, but those eyes still
burned bright with fierce
intelligence and
He was tall and lean, as
she was herself, though
that had little to do with
exercise and more with the
fact that neither ate
That was one of the many
things which would have to
change. Peter?s ?scare?, as
he called it, was going to
affect more lives than his
?Still no sign of them
Lillias eyed him
?You don?t think it
would be better if you
handled this alone??
?You know what they?re
like almost as well as I do.
They?ll be furious that I
didn?t tell them I?d had a
heart attack.
?They?ll be annoyed that
they didn?t get to hover
over my sick bed, even
though there was no need.
?Then they?ll be wanting
to wrap me in cotton-wool
and hand me my pipe and
slippers while they take it in
turns to spoonfeed me!?
He smiled wryly.
?I need you to back me
up, Lillias. Reassure them
that I?m fine, but I?m not
going to be cavalier about
my health in the future. I
don?t want them worrying.
?I plan to be around for a
very long time, even if
things have to change. For
the past twenty-five years
I?ve been the only parent
my girls have. I don?t
intend to make orphans of
them any time soon.?
Lillias patted his arm.
?I?m delighted to hear it.
You?ve been a good father
to those girls, Peter.?
?I don?t know.? He stared
out of the window. ?If I?d
been that good, you?d think
I would arrange more family
gatherings. But we?ve all
been so busy, caught up in
our individual lives.
?Truth is, I don?t think I?d
even registered how long it
had been until you pointed
it out. I should have,
shouldn?t I??
The sight of a car turning
into the driveway prevented
Lillias from having to
answer this tricky question.
?Here they come,? she
said, ?your Four Seasons.
What?s the weather
forecast, do you think??
?I?m no Michael Fish,?
Peter replied, straightening
up as the car made its way
towards the front door,
?but I reckon it will be the
same as usual. Spring,
summer, autumn and
winter ? all in one day.?
* * * *
Jennifer Dawson brought
her car to a halt in front of
her childhood home, which
was located on the edge of
the village of Meldalloch,
and turned off the ignition.
?Here we are,? she said
somewhat unnecessarily to
her two sisters.
Neither replied, nor made
a move to exit the car.
Joanne, in the passenger
seat beside her, took a gold
compact out of her
handbag and checked her
already flawless make up.
Jennifer noted the little
tag on the handbag.
Chanel, dark-brown and
cream leather, and a
perfect match for Joanne?s
loafers ? no doubt because
they were Chanel, too.
Joanne had flown in from
Bordeaux this morning.
Jennifer had picked her up
at Manchester Airport, and
here she was, five hours
later, still looking perfectly
Though the plainest of the
sisters, Joanne made the
most of her looks, from her
sun-streaked, carefully
tousled coiffure to her
pearly-toed, pedicured feet.
?What?? she queried,
becoming aware of
Jennifer?s scrutiny. ?Have I
got lipstick on my teeth??
?How do you do it??
Jennifer asked. ?How do
you manage to look so . . .
so effortlessly glamorous??
?By dint of a great deal of
effort,? was the response
from Katrina in the back
seat. ?I could look like that,
if I had the time and the
?You don?t have to.?
Joanne snapped her
compact shut and stowed it
away, turning round to face
her sister. ?Let?s face it,
Kat, I have to work at it,
while you ? would you look
at her, Jen??
Katrina coloured, looking
deeply uncomfortable as
Jennifer obediently turned
?Years ago, maybe,?
Katrina said. ?Before I
turned into a tummy
mummy. Which,? she
added, patting her hardly
generous curves, ?is like a
yummy mummy only
without the gym
?Actually, I do have the
gym membership, only the
catch, I discovered, is that
you have to go along for it
to count. And I don?t mean
for coffee and cake.
?That doesn?t work, even
if you?re wearing Lycra!?
Jennifer chuckled. She?d
forgotten how much she
liked Katrina?s slightly
subversive take on the
world. But Joanne, ever the
literal sister, frowned.
?Why would wearing
Lycra make a difference??
Jennifer rolled her eyes at
Katrina, but her sister was
looking out of the window.
?Dad?s waiting at the
front door.?
The tension which had
kept them all on edge for
much of the journey
returned with a vengeance.
?Why do you think he
summoned us here??
Joanne posed the question
for the umpteenth time.
?I see he?s got Lillias with
him,? Katrina replied. ?I
think that proves it?s
something to do with the
?Do you think he might
be considering retirement,
or semi-retirement??
Joanne?s question
brought a peal of laughter
from Jennifer.
?Don?t be ridiculous. This
is Dad we?re talking about.?
?Well, he is sixty-three,?
Joanne said, sounding
offended. ?I don?t think it?s
ridiculous at all. He?s
worked tirelessly all his
days. I think he deserves a
?What would he do with
himself? The business is his
life. It?s all-consuming, you
know that. Plus, can you
see him taking up bowls or
joining a choir??
?Why don?t we just get
out of the car and into the
house and we?ll find out
soon enough,? Katrina the
peace-maker intervened
?Quite right.?
Jennifer unclipped her
seatbelt. They?d been back
less than five minutes, and
they hadn?t even stepped
over the threshold, yet here
they were falling into their
familiar allotted roles.
But Joanne placed a
restraining hand on her
?Allie?s not here yet. I bet
he won?t say anything until
she gets here.?
?If she gets here,? Katrina
said heavily. ?Does anyone
even know where she is? Is
she even still part of our
WhatsApp group? She
never posts.?
?Doesn?t mean she isn?t
reading what we post, I
suppose.? Allison was the
maverick, Jennifer thought.
?Last I heard, she?d
chucked that waitressing
job in Cornwall.?
?That was May. Nearly
two months ago. Has
anyone heard from her??
Katrina asked.
An embarrassed silence
ensued. No-one had heard
from her, and none of them
had picked up the phone,
either, Jennifer was willing
to bet.
She refused to feel guilty.
She had enough problems
of her own without worrying
about her baby sister who
was, in any case, like a cat,
always landing on her feet.
Opening the car door,
she summoned a smile.
?Come on, let?s get this
show on the road.
Whatever the show turns
out to be.?
* * * *
Allison Dawson?s car
pulled up in front of
Dawson?s Dairies. As usual,
the engine coughed,
spluttered and juddered
alarmingly before cutting
She really should get
someone to take a look at
it before it gave up the
ghost, but garages charged
� an hour just to ?look?
at cars.
So, as usual, she would
have to rely on the car fairy
to keep it going.
It was warm outside.
Above the thrum of the
cheese factory?s air
conditioning she could hear
the soft, comforting low of
the cows from the Balliols?
farm, tended by Gareth,
her best mate. She hadn?t
seen him in ages.
She recalled those idyllic
childhood days when she?d
spent all her spare time
there, helping with the
milking machines, mucking
out the barn, though more
often than not just sitting
on the bench by the hen
house, watching life drift
Something, according to
her sisters, at which she
was still most adept.
It was true. All those daily
updates they posted
online spoke of lives
packed full of activity, of
work and children and
friends, of lunches out and
dinners, and holidays and
book launches and board
It made her feel dizzy
sometimes, just reading
them. It made her feel small
and insignificant, like she
was a Lilliputian living in a
land of giants.
The last few days, though,
her sisters? chatter had
been all about Dad.
Speculation, from the
sublime to the ridiculous.
The other three would all
be at the house by now,
Allison thought, checking
her watch, waiting for
whatever the big
announcement might be.
Well, let them wait for
once. She had an
appointment of her own to
Striding into the main
entrance, she smiled
breezily at the receptionist,
a new girl she didn?t
recognise, and asked her to
let Jack know she had
?It?s Allison,? she said,
deciding not to advertise
her identity with her
surname. ?He?s expecting
And he clearly had been,
on tenterhooks after her
earlier call, for no sooner
had the girl put the phone
down than Jack Ashcroft,
her father?s factory
foreman, appeared and
enveloped her in a bear
?Allie, you?re a sight for
sore eyes.?
?You, too, Uncle Jack,?
Allison replied, using her
childhood term for him.
?It?s so good to see you.?
She swallowed a lump in
her throat. There were new
lines on Jack?s forehead,
and his mane of red hair
had retreated a few inches
since she last saw him.
His beard was flecked
with grey, and though he
looked as fit as ever, his
lean rangy frame that of a
man a good ten years
younger than his fifty-odd
years, there was no
ignoring the fact that the
years were passing.
?Come on,? Jack said, his
smile gentle as he put a
friendly arm around her
shoulders. ?I?ve asked Sally
to put a flask of coffee in
the meeting-room.
?I assume you?re here for
an honest opinion on your
old dad?s health scare
since, knowing him of old,
he?ll have played it down??
* * * *
?Hadn?t told them, not a
dickie bird! Can you believe
that?? Jack exclaimed an
hour later, shaking his head
in disbelief. ?You should
have seen young Allie?s
face. I could have kicked
myself for blurting it out
like that.?
He took a deep, reviving
draught from his mug.
?Great builder?s tea, Sal
? strong enough to stand
your spoon in. I needed
Sally Potter, the canteen
manager, poured two more
mugs of tea from the china
pot, adding milk to her
own, and three sugars to
the other, which she slid
across the table to Akbar
Patel, the company?s
logistics manager.
Akbar was the youngest
of what Peter Dawson
called his management
team, though the factory
floor referred to them,
along with Lillias, as the
Four Musketeers.
?Poor Allie,? Sally said,
pushing the plate of
chocolate biscuits towards
Akbar, whose wiry frame
belied an extremely sweet
He polished his wirerimmed glasses, putting
them back on to allow a
careful inspection of the
biscuit plate before
selecting a Penguin.
?I?ve every sympathy for
Peter?s daughters ? they?re
in for a huge shock. But
they?re not the only people
affected by this.
?To be blunt, people, our
livelihoods, and those of all
fifty-two of the people
down there on the
production line, are at
Jack sighed heavily.
?You?re not wrong,
Akbar. I did ask, but Allie
seems to be as much in the
dark as we are about what
her dad?s planning.?
?Lillias is over at Peter?s
today. I asked her if she
knew what Peter was
planning, but as usual it
was like drawing teeth.?
Sally twirled her mug
around on the greenchecked Formica table.
There was bright red
lipstick mark on the white
china, her trademark
colour. No-one ever picked
up Sally?s mug by mistake.
?What?s your best guess?
You?ve worked for Peter
since the start.?
Jack shrugged.
?There?s no obvious
successor if Peter decides
to step down. It?s not as if
any of the girls have ever
shown any interest in the
family business.?
?Maybe he?ll find a
buyer,? Sally said hopefully.
?More difficult than it
sounds. We?re trading at a
loss. If Peter didn?t have so
much emotional investment
in this place and loyalty
towards his staff, he would
have let some people go
?Even if he found a
buyer, the new owner might
have a very different
agenda. Slash costs,
redundancies; you name
?It doesn?t have to be
negative. A new owner
might just see the potential
that Peter doesn?t,? Akbar
countered. ?All three of us
have had ideas, suggested
improvements, new
initiatives. We could put
together a business plan. A
new owner might have the
vision that Peter lacks.?
?Peter doesn?t lack
vision,? Sally said
indignantly. ?He had the
vision to set this place up in
the first place. Local cheese
made from local cows, in a
factory run by local people.
?I shudder to think what
state Meldalloch would be
in if it hadn?t been for
Peter?s vision.?
?That?s very true.? Jack
pressed her hand. ?But
Akbar?s right, and you
know it. Peter has very
fixed ideas about his
?A heart attack tends to
make one question things,?
Sally said, producing
lipstick and compact from
her capacious overall
pocket. ?My cousin Louise
says her Doug is a changed
?The fact is, we don?t
know what?s going to
happen,? Akbar said.
Down on the factory
floor, a hooter sounded.
?In which case we should
stop worrying and get on
with our jobs,? Jack said,
getting to his feet, ?until
Peter tells us otherwise.?
* * * *
Sitting in her car which
was parked behind
Jennifer?s, Allison checked
her face anxiously in the
rear view mirror. She was,
thankfully, one of those
people whose tears didn?t
result in puffy eyes or a red
She?d had to pull over in
the layby just before the
village when the tears came
so thick and fast she
couldn?t see to drive, but
she?d got it out of her
system, hopefully.
It was clear now why Dad
had called them together.
Whatever his reasons for
not telling them sooner
about his heart attack,
presumably a misguided
attempt to spare them
worry, she had to respect
his right to handle it as he
saw fit. She owed it to him
not to give the game way,
to let him tell her sisters in
his own words.
Taking a deep breath and
pulling back her shoulders,
she fixed a smile to her face
and entered the front door,
where she found Jennifer
waiting for her in the hall.
?Where have you been??
Jennifer?s dark brows
were drawn together in a
frown. Her light-brown hair
was freshly cut in a bob as
sharp, Allison thought, as
her tongue could be.
Jennifer was so like Dad,
driven and single-minded.
Being the opposite, Allison
found her both admirable
and slightly intimidating.
?We?ve been here for two
hours eating cake and
making polite conversation,
with Dad and Lillias clearly
fit to bursting with
something, but refusing to
say a word until you got
?Well, I?m here now, so I
suggest we go and listen to
what Dad has to tell us.?
* * * *
?You?re probably all
wondering why I?ve asked
you here.? Peter realised
that he sounded like a
detective in a whodunnit.
This was proving more
difficult than he had
His daughters stared at
him in silence. They were in
the living-room. The
remnants of tea and cake
were strewn over the big
coffee table.
Katrina was curled up in
the big armchair by the fire
where she used to spend
her nights reading. Joanne
was sitting, legs neatly
crossed, on one of the big
squashy couches with
Jennifer and Allison were
huddled together on the
other one.
Peter made another
attempt at a reassuring
?The thing is, about a
month ago I had a bit of a
health scare. Well, a heart
attack, to be more
accurate. It was an early
warning, the doctors told
me, but nothing more. I
promise,? he added
This was met by a
collective gasp followed by
a stunned silence.
?Why didn?t you tell us??
Jennifer finally demanded.
?I didn?t want to worry
any of you unnecessarily
until I knew the prognosis,
?What if it had been too
late?? Joanne asked, her
voice breaking. ?What if
you had ? what if something
worse had happened, and I
was in France, and it was
too late to get a flight, and
I wasn?t able . . .
?I couldn?t bear that,
Dad. I just couldn?t bear
Nor could he, suddenly.
?I was trying to protect
you,? Peter whispered, ?but
I see now it was selfish of
me. I?m sorry, girls. I really
Allison stood up.
?Dad?s health is his
business. It?s his decision
who he tells and when. I,
for one, am not interested
in recriminations. I just
thank the Lord he?s OK.?
?Well said, Allie,? Katrina
said, getting up and rushing
over to throw herself into
his arms.
The other three weren?t
far behind. Sobbing and
laughing, they hugged each
other, and the sheer relief
of it was enormous.
?I should have told you,?
Peter said some time later,
when they had all settled
back and Lillias, clever,
discreet Lillias, was pouring
fresh tea and handing
round fresh cake.
?I sometimes forget
you?re not my wee girls but
four strong, independent
women. It?s difficult to
break the habits of a
?Which brings me to my
next bombshell.? Peter
held up his hand. ?Don?t
worry, it?s nothing to do
with my health.?
?It is connected to it,
though,? Lillias interjected.
Peter smiled at her.
?I can always rely on you
to keep me right, Lillias.
Right, time for me to get to
the point.?
He got to his feet and
cleared his throat.
?The thing is, the doctors
have told me that I?ve got
to achieve a better worklife balance.?
He paused. Allison was
smiling encouragingly, in
exactly the way that Claire
used to.
This really was tough.
Saying it out loud made it
real, changed it from a
decision to a fact.
But was it the right
decision? Ought he to wait
? reconsider?
He knew the answer
perfectly well and it had to
be communicated. Right
now, before he lost his
He cleared his throat
?What I?m getting round
to saying is that it?s going
to involve a lot less work
and a lot more life.?
He caught Lillias?s eye
and took courage from her
smile and nod of
?In fact, no work at all
and a lot more life. I?m
done with Dawson?s
Dairies, girls. I?ve decided
to sell the family business.?
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website:
& His
John Taylor
says hats off to
OHN, take your bonnet off,?
Anne instructed, though it
was early February and a
light snow was falling.
?But it?s snowing!?
That cut no ice with Anne.
?Never mind, take it off.?
I did as ordered.
About 100 of us were outside
Anstruther cemetery for the
funeral of an East Neuk farmer,
awaiting the cort鑗e.
The majority wore bowler
hats, some of which were of
ancient vintage. The farmhands
were, like myself, in bonnets.
They?d come to pay their last
respects and, as far as I could
see, it didn?t matter what
headgear they wore.
Not so in Anne?s eyes. On the
way home, I was instructed to
get a bowler hat.
That was easier said than
done! I couldn?t get one to fit
me in Cupar, so it wasn?t until
we went to Edinburgh that we
solved Anne?s problem.
As we walked up Princes
Street, Anne saw Forsyth?s.
?John, they?ll have bowlers!?
As we approached their main
door a uniformed gentleman
opened it for us.
?Good morning, madam,
good morning, sir.?
Another gent standing nearby
ushered us to the gentlemen?s
hat department.
The assistant produced one.
?Just for size, sir.?
It fitted across but at the front
and back there were gaps.
?You have, if I may say so, a
distinctive-shaped head, sir.?
He was being polite.
?I?ll have to have one
steamed,? he informed us.
Out came a contraption like
an upturned typewriter which
he placed on my head then
adjusted the parts till it fitted.
Click, and an impression was
made of my ?distinctive-shaped
Anne and I laughed when we
saw it. The shape was just like a
plover?s egg, pointed at one end
and round at the other.
?If you will call back later,
madam . . .? he forgot the sir ? I
think he could see who was the
boss ?. . . I will have one
steamed to fit.?
He came with us to the door
which the doorman opened
and thanked us.
These courtesies have long
gone, and so has Forsyth?s from
Princes Street.
When we called back, the
bowler fitted like a glove. It was
put in a strong box, wrapped
with paper and tied with string.
Needless to say, Anne, being
a careful sort, didn?t cut the
string but unpicked it and folded
the brown paper, putting them
both under the settle seat for
use at Christmas.
That must have taken place
over forty years ago. I wore that
bowler to church but, for some
reason, my head must have
grown bigger and bigger until
even Anne said it had to go! n
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Teriyaki Chicken Salad
n 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) chicken
n � bottle Kikkoman Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade
n 2 carrots, spiralised or grated
n 100 g (3� oz) radishes, sliced
n � red onion, sliced thinly
n � cucumber, deseeded and sliced
n Large handful mint leaves
n Large handful coriander leaves
For the Dressing:
n 1 lime, juice only
n � tbs brown sugar
n 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
1 Heat the oven to 200 deg. C.,
400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Put the chicken in a small
roasting tin or ovenproof dish and
pour over the teriyaki sauce. Place
in the oven and roast for
1 hour 10 minutes, basting every
so often.
3 Once the chicken is cooked
through, remove from the oven
and leave to cool in the tin. Once
cool, shred the meat and set aside
Serves: 4
the juices from the roasting tin.
4 To make the dressing, in a small
bowl mix together 4 tablespoons of
the teriyaki juices from the cooked
chicken with the lime juice, brown
sugar and the chopped chilli.
5 Toss together the carrots,
radishes, onion, cucumber, mint
and coriander leaves with half the
dressing and arrange on a platter.
Top with the chicken and drizzle
over the rest of the dressing.
Kikkin? Chicken Burger
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
n 4 skinless chicken breasts
n 1 tbs olive oil
n 8 tbs Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
Serves: 4
with Roasted Garlic
n 4 slices Cheddar cheese
n 4 burger buns, halved and cut
side toasted
n Little Gem lettuce leaves
n 4 tbs mayonnaise
n 2 pickled jalape駉 chillies from
a jar, sliced
1 Place chicken breasts between
sheets of clingfilm and beat with a
rolling pin until 1.5 cm (� in) thick.
2 Heat the oil in a frying-pan and cook
the chicken breasts for 3 to 4 minutes
on each side.
3 Reduce the heat and add the
Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce with Roasted
Garlic and cook for further couple of
minutes. Add cheese to chicken and
4 Top the base of the burger bun with
the little gem leaves, add the chicken
breast, spoon over the mayonnaise and
some leftover sauce from the pan, add
a few slices of pickled jalape駉s and
top with the bun lid.
Honey-glazed Chicken Thighs
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
n 8 chicken thighs
n 1 bottle of Jack Daniel?s� Tennessee
Honey ?Barbecue Glaze
n 200 g (7 oz) quinoa
n 30 ml (1 fl oz) good quality olive oil
n 50 g (1� oz) mixed seeds
For the Salad:
n 100 g (3� oz) rocket
n 100 g (3� oz) sliced red onions
n 100 g (3� oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg. C., 350 deg.
F., Gas Mark 4.
2 Place the chicken thighs in a roasting tin
and coat them liberally in the Jack Daniel?s�
Tennessee Honey ?Barbecue Glaze. Bake
in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until
succulent, golden and cooked through, and
then remove from the oven, cover with foil and
3 Meanwhile, pre-heat the grill to medium.
Finish the thighs by placing them under the preheated grill until the glaze is sticky and golden.
4 To make the quinoa, add 350 ml (12 fl oz)
water to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the
quinoa and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to
low, cover and simmer until tender and most
of the liquid has been absorbed, which takes
about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
5 To make the salad, toss together the rocket,
red onions and tomatoes in a salad bowl and
dress with the olive oil.
6 To serve, spoon the cooked quinoa into a
bowl, scatter the salad on top and sprinkle with
the seeds. Serve warmed chicken immediately.
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.
Herby Lemon Chicken
Salad Wraps
Course: Lunch or main
Skill level: easy
n 40 g (1� oz) butter, soft
n 1 lemon, zested and cut
in half
n 1 clove garlic, crushed
n 4-5 sprigs thyme
n 2-3 sprigs sage, leaves
chopped finely
n 1 whole chicken approx
1.7 kg (3� lb)
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 2 tbs olive oil
n 1 tbs wholegrain mustard
n 2 tbs red wine vinegar
n 6 spring onions
n 2 bags herb salad
n 1 carrot, grated
n 6 wraps
1 Heat the oven to 190 deg. C.,
375 deg. F., Gas Mark 5.
2 Beat together the butter,
lemon zest, garlic, thyme leaves
and sage.
3 Use your hands to ease away
Serves: 6
the skin over the breast of the
chicken and spread the butter
mixture under the skin. Put half
the remaining lemon inside the
chicken (keep the other half
for the dressing) and season
the chicken skin with salt and
pepper. Roast the chicken in the
pre-heated oven for about 1�
hrs, or for the time given on the
packaging, until cooked all the
way through, basting regularly.
To check the chicken is cooked
through, insert a skewer into the
thickest part of the thigh and make
sure that the juices run clear.
4 Mix together the oil, mustard,
vinegar and the juice from the
reserved lemon half and season
to taste.
5 Slice the spring onions and mix
with the herb salad and grated
carrot in a bowl. Cut the chicken
into portions and lay on top of
the salad. Drizzle everything with
dressing. Divide the salad between
the 6 wraps and serve.
Clonakilty Blackpudding-stuffed Chicken Breast
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
n 200 g (7 oz) Clonakilty Slis韓�
n 4 chicken breasts
n 2 red apples
n Handful of sage
n 280 g (10 oz) Clonakilty
To Serve: baby leaf and apple
1 Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg. C., 350
deg. F. Gas Mark 4. and grease an oven tray.
2 Slice the rashers lengthways in half. Slice
Next week: tasty asparagus recipes.
the chicken lengthways. Don?t cut all the way
through; this will allow a pocket for stuffing.
3 Chop the apples into small cubes and
chop the sage roughly. Then, in a bowl,
combine the Clonakilty Blackpudding with
the apple cubes and sage.
4 Stuff this mixture into chicken breasts.
Don?t overfill as it will expand while cooking.
5 Once all the chicken is stuffed, wrap
the rashers around the chicken breast and
place on the greased oven tray. Roast in the
pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until
the chicken is cooked through. Remove and
allow to cool slightly before slicing into four
or five pieces.
6 Serve with a baby leaf and apple salad.
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
Me And Mrs Jones
My brother?s
cat hates me!
And now I have
to look after
her for the
holidays . . .
Illustration by Kirk Houston.
E and Mrs
Jones, we?ve
got a thing
going on.
She doesn?t
like me at all. I don?t know
what I?ve ever done to her,
but there you have it.
I only have to look at her
and see the contempt in
those big blue eyes, whereas
to everyone else she?s just a
great big pussycat.
She?s my brother Jamie?s
cat, really. She appeared
one afternoon, thin and
starving, and he took her in.
Jamie loves animals. Find
a bird with a broken wing
and he?ll mend it; he even
had a tame jackdaw when
he was a kid and I?ve lost
count of how many gerbils,
hamsters and rabbits he?s
?What a lovely cat,? I
said when I visited shortly
after Mrs Jones had moved
in. ?Come on, puss.?
I put out my hand to
stroke her soft creamy fur,
but she stalked away,
jumped on to Jamie?s lap
and glared at me.
?Mrs Jones is staying for
a while,? he explained as he
tickled her ears.
She wasn?t microchipped
and, although he?d asked
around, he couldn?t find her
owner. He called her Mrs
Jones because he loved the
song so much, and I often
wondered if he had a lost
love somewhere in the past I
didn?t know about, the lyrics
being romantic and about a
love which couldn?t be.
My daughter Millie and I
live in Crescent Close on the
other side of town and, as
Jamie is on his own and I am
a single mum, we see each
other quite often.
All was well until he
dropped his bombshell.
?Hi, sis,? he began, and I
knew at once something was
?What do you want?? I
asked cautiously.
He only called me that
when he wanted something.
?I?ve been offered a
wonderful opportunity,? he
began. ?I?ve been offered a
place as Volunteer Warden
at a wildlife sanctuary for a
month. Isn?t that great??
?Wonderful,? I replied.
There was a sort of
expectant pause on the
other end of the line and
somewhere in the distance a
penny dropped.
?Who?s looking after Mrs
Jones?? I asked tentatively.
?I was hoping ??
?She?ll never stay here
with me!?
?I thought you and Millie
could stay at mine and cat
sit. It?s in the summer
holidays so Millie won?t be
at school. It?ll make a
change for you both,? he
finished hopefully.
?Mrs Jones hates me!?
?No, she loved it the last
time you visited.?
This wasn?t true at all. I?d
tried to tickle her ears and
she?d just glared at me.
Truth be told, I?d have
loved it if Mrs Jones had
shown me half the affection
she had for Jamie.
?Millie can still have her
friends around, and I?ll be
home before the schools go
back. And seeing as you?re
between jobs . . .?
I sighed.
?You?ve got it all sorted,
haven?t you??
?Yes,? he replied.
I knew he?d won.
* * * *
So here we are, a half
hour drive from home, but
too far away to pop in
every day.
But I have more problems
than Mrs Jones to think
about at the moment, in
the form of Millie?s new
boyfriend, Curly.
All I know is he roars up
on a motorbike, she runs
out, puts a helmet on and
jumps on the back before
they disappear off down the
She?s been reluctant to
tell me anything about him,
which isn?t like her at all.
?You?d like him if you met
him,? she assured me.
?Why don?t you bring him
in, then?? I replied.
?It?s complicated.?
This conversation has
been going on for a while so
I can tell there?s something
about him she doesn?t want
me to know.
To top it all, Mrs Jones is
missing. Again.
When Jamie went off I?d
hoped that Mrs Jones might
find comfort with me, but
no. Every so often she
disappears and I?m always
relieved to find her hidden
in some strange place.
?If Jamie goes away again
I definitely won?t be
available,? I?ve told Millie
several times, but deep
down I?d love Mrs Jones to
curl up on my lap, purring.
?Mrs Jones,? I call around
the garden, down the street
and even in the park.
There?s no sign, and
despite Millie and I
searching all afternoon, no
Mrs Jones appears.
When Jamie left I bought
Mrs Jones a lovely fleecy cat
bed, thinking it might be
nice for her if she didn?t
want to sit on me or Millie,
but would she go in it?
No, she prefers to curl up
in some uncomfortablelooking, out-of-the-way
I?ve put her cat bed away,
feeling I?ve let Mrs Jones
and Jamie down.
* * * *
Next morning and Mrs
Jones still hasn?t appeared.
Curly roars up outside, but
Millie?s hovering by the
door, clutching her helmet.
?What about Mrs
Jones?? she begins.
?You go.? For once
I think she might as well
be out with Curly and
not fretting over Mrs
Jones. ?I?ll see you later.?
?Text me if anything
The day drags on. It feels
strange without Mrs Jones.
I?m even beginning to miss
her glaring at me as if I
haven?t quite come up to
I keep looking towards
the door, hoping she?ll
appear like nothing?s
happened and curl up in
Jamie?s chair just so I can?t
sit on it.
As I?m thinking I might go
out and do a bit more cat
calling, the doorbell rings.
There?s a guy standing
there, dressed in black
leathers with the most
wonderful curly hair.
?Hello,? he gushes as I
open the door. ?Millie?s just
coming. Have you found
Mrs Jones? I think you
should ring the police if you
think she?s at risk.?
He gives me a sudden,
unexpected hug.
?Don?t worry. Most
missing people turn up safe,
but you don?t have to wait
twenty-four hours before
ringing, especially if you
think they might be at risk.
?Millie insisted on coming
back because Mrs Jones is
missing and she?s worried
about her.?
This must be Curly, I
decide, and I see why, with
all that hair. He?s not at all
what I expected.
?You?d better come in,? I
begin, but as he follows me
into the lounge he stops
short. ?You?ve got a cat.?
?Yes,? I reply patiently.
?Mrs Jones is our cat. She?s
the one who?s missing.?
?Millie never said Mrs
Jones was a cat.? His eyes
begin to water and he
searches for a tissue.
?I don?t get on with cats,?
he continues. ?They make
me sneeze.?
?She isn?t here,? I begin,
but he shakes his head and
retreats into the hallway.
?What?s happening??
Millie asks, bursting into
the room. ?Have you found
Mrs Jones??
?I was just saying,? Curly
continues, ?cats and me
don?t ??
?But she isn?t here.?
Millie looks a trifle irritated.
?She?s missing.?
Curly sneezes. Three
?Are you sure??
Millie and I look at each
other, then I notice a
cupboard door slightly ajar.
We creep over, open it
slowly and there, right at
the back, I see a glimmer of
pale fur on the soft cat bed
she?d never go in.
?Mrs Jones,? I begin
sternly, although I?m
flooded with relief that
we?ve found her.
But Mrs Jones doesn?t
move. She doesn?t even
stalk out in disgust at being
She stays perfectly still,
then she turns slightly and
in the gloom of the
cupboard our eyes meet.
I know exactly what I?m
going to find, even before I
pull the cat bed gently
towards me and see the
tiny bundles beneath her.
?Mrs Jones, you clever
thing!? Millie exclaims.
?Have you found her??
Curly calls from the hallway.
Mrs Jones looks at me
and I understand the love
and fear in those big blue
eyes. Mother to mother.
My heart gives a lurch, I
touch Mrs Jones?s head
gently, give her ears a tickle
and I?m rewarded, for the
first time ever, with a purr.
?It?s all right, Mrs Jones,?
I tell her softly. ?You?re safe
with me.?
Curly pokes his head
tentatively around the door
to see what?s going on, just
as Mrs Jones comes out
and stretches.
?My goodness!? he
exclaims. ?That?s Willow. I?d
know those markings
anywhere. That bit of white
down her nose, as well as
those big blue eyes.?
?Who?s Willow?? Millie
?My neighbour?s cat,?
Curly replies with a sniff.
?Adam moved in next door
a while back and it wasn?t
long before she got out and
ran off before he could get
her chipped. I?m sure it?s
?I guess you?d better ask
him to call round,? I say
?That?s why I didn?t bring
Curly in to meet you,? Millie
explains. ?I knew it would
be difficult with him being
allergic to cats, and you?ve
been so stressed about
looking after Mrs Jones.?
?I was worried about you
on that big motorbike,? I
begin, changing the subject
as tears blur my eyes.
?It?s only a scooter. If
you?d come out to meet
Curly you?d have seen for
I realise I?d let my
imagination run wild,
perhaps because I wanted
to hold on to Millie just a
while longer.
We sit watching Mrs Jones
and the kittens. Little
bundles of heaven, they are.
Mrs Jones is purring
contentedly as she licks
them, then gets up for a
When she returns, just for
a moment, she jumps up on
to my lap, rubs her head on
my hand and gives herself a
quick clean before jumping
down. But it?s enough.
?I?m not letting her go,? I
tell Millie. ?I don?t care
what it takes. What would
Jamie say if we lost her?
No-one?s taking Mrs Jones
away from us now.?
* * * *
?Don?t worry,? Curly says
as soon as I open the door.
?Adam isn?t here to claim
Willow back. We can talk it
through and work it out.?
Adam holds out a hand
and gives me a smile. He
doesn?t look the kind of guy
who would get nasty over a
cat and my fears retreat a
?At least next time she
goes missing all you need to
do is bring Curly round to
find her,? Adam says later
in an attempt to lighten the
We?re sitting in the
cat-free kitchen with mugs
of tea and everything seems
to be going OK. ?Don?t
worry,? he continues. ?If
Willow is happy then so am
I. I wouldn?t mind a kitten,
?You?re obviously a cat
lover, then,? I venture.
Adam nods.
?The reason I moved here
was to have a fresh start
after breaking up with my
fianc閑. She accused me of
caring more about my cat
than her.? He grins ruefully.
?I guess I just need to
meet a woman who shares
my passion for cats. But
they seem to be few and far
?So where do you live
now?? I asked.
?St John?s Avenue.?
?That?s only a couple of
streets away from me. We?re
cat-sitting,? I explain.
I glance out of the window,
but Curly?s scooter isn?t
?I came with Adam,? he
said, and I notice the ?Cool
For Cats Driving School? car
parked outside. I laugh. The
name?s just perfect ? and I
have an idea.
* * * *
?I?ve been thinking,? I tell
Millie later. ?You?ll be
seventeen soon. How about
you have driving lessons
with Adam, then you and
Curly won?t have to go out
on the scooter so much??
?That?s what Curly?s going
to do as soon as he?s saved
up enough,? she says in
?Well,? I continue,
?perhaps you can start
having lessons together.?
I had a good look at Curly
while we were talking in the
kitchen, and I have to admit
there?s something endearing
about him: his willingness to
help, his good nature. Even I
can see his heart?s in the
right place.
I?ve also twigged he wants
to join the police force
Adam says he?ll call back
soon to sort out the driving
lessons and visit Mrs Jones
and her kittens, and Curly
and Millie are getting a lift
back with him.
Home soon, Jamie texts a
little later. Met up with
someone I knew years ago
and bringing her with me.
She?s called Sophie Jones.
I stare at the text as
another penny drops.
Hopefully it?s the right time
for them now.
Then I realise Mrs Jones
has shown me that life
moves on, and when I go
home it?s time for me to
look for another job and
begin a new episode in my
life, too.
But for the moment it?s
just me, Mrs Jones and the
kittens. And that?s OK
because me and Mrs Jones:
we?ve got a thing going
on. n
Photographs courtesy of Sal?s Shoes.
If you can?t
afford shoes,
you can?t go
to school
EARING shoes
is something
that many of
us take for
granted, but
for thousands of people
around the world footwear
is an absolute luxury. But,
thanks to the hard work of
one mum, many more
children are now able to put
their best foot forward and
walk without the risk of
infection and injury.
Thirty-eight-year-old C.J.
A few schools don?t
allow pupils to attend
without footwear.
Dawn Geddes
meets C.J.
Bowry, founder
of charity Sal?s
Bowry started the social
enterprise Sal?s Shoes four
years ago, when her own
son was still a toddler.
?Sal had just started
walking and already I?d
managed to accumulate a
bag full of his outgrown
shoes. I decided to donate
them, but when I contacted
some of the charities that
collected footwear, none of
them was able to tell me
exactly where the shoes
would end up.
Shoes help
vulnerable feet.
?They would just say that
they sent shoes to South
America, Africa and Asia
which is fantastic, but what I
wanted to know was, where
in the world will my son?s
shoes go?
?And they couldn?t tell me
? I assume because of
logistics. It just didn?t sit well
with me. I think charities
should be accountable,
especially with donated
For peace of mind, C.J.
decided to send the shoes
to a friend who was
volunteering on a children?s
ward in Zambia.
?My friend sent me some
photographs of the kids and
it just so happened that one
of the children was wearing
Sal?s very first pair of shoes.
It was amazing to see Sal?s
first shoes becoming
another child?s first pair.
?I put the photograph up
on my Facebook page and
the very next day I had fifty
messages from friends
asking if they could send
shoes, too. It all just
snowballed from there.?
Within days, C.J. had
hundreds of people offering
to send her their children?s
old shoes. She quickly set
up Sal?s Shoes as an official
charity and began collecting
donations to send to
children who needed them.
?I approached three
places to do a Sal?s Sho es
collection. Since that day,
I?ve never had to approach
anyone to do a collection
again ? the response has
just been phenomenal!
We?ve now gathered over
600,000 pairs of children?s
The shoes are distributed
in over 35 countries around
the world, including in
Africa, Asia, South America
and Europe.
?We?re built on the
premise that people who
donate to us will know
where their shoes are going.
That?s very important to me
as I spent most of my
childhood in Africa and for
whatever reason, I saw
items that I know were
meant for charity for sale on
Fact File
n It is estimated that
around 300 million
children around the
world don?t own a pair of
shoes, making them
vulnerable to infections
from parasites as well as
injuries to their feet and
n As well as receiving
shoe donations from the
public, Sal?s Shoes also
receives stock from
manufacturers who
provide the charity with
brand new shoes and
samples from their stock
n Due to the high quality
of shoes made in the UK,
C.J. says that shoes that
are donated often have
third and fourth owners,
as their wearers grow
out of them.
In their first year, Sal?s
Shoes collected just
under 5,000 pairs.
the black market.?
Donators are told which
area in the world their
donation is going to as well
as receiving an
acknowledgment when the
charity receives their shoes.
?It might be as exact as
telling people that their
donation will go to a
specific school someplace or
it might be that pairs of
shoes that are collected
within a certain timeframe
will go to Syria, for
Despite their wide reach,
Sal?s Shoes is still very much
a small charity, run entirely
by volunteers.
?It?s just a small army! I
literally run the charity from
my phone in between
everything else I do. We
have loads of volunteers
who do all the shoe
Some of the
shoes travel up
to 10,000 miles
to find feet.
sourcing and packing ? lots
of them are school mums
and friends of mine.?
As the charity continues to
grow, so does the need for
the shoes.
?Feet need shoes. They
protect them from injury
and infection. In areas of
poor sanitation shoes also
help limit the spread of
?We did a huge schools
initiative last year which
brought in over 175,000
pairs of school shoes from
the UK, in many countries
overseas, although the
education system is free to
access, school uniforms are
mandatory. If you can?t
afford a pair of school
shoes, you can?t go to
school ? which is
Although many of the
shoes are sent abroad, Sal?s
Shoes also distribute
donations within the UK.
?I?m very well aware that
charity begins at home.
We?re sending huge
numbers of shoes to Africa
and Asia, but there are also
kids ten minutes away from
n At the beginning of
2018, Sal?s Shoes
distributed over 11,000
pairs of school shoes to
Nicaragua, where many
of the children are living
in rubbish dumps.
Without appropriate
footwear, they are
unable to attend school.
where I live who go to
school hungry every
?Just yesterday I had an
e-mail from a teacher in the
UK desperate to give four of
the children in her class
new school shoes.?
Although, the charity is
always looking for shoes to
redistribute, C.J. says that
monetary donations are also
incredibly important.
?While we love receiving
shoes, we also need to
make sure that we?ve got
the funds to be able to
continue passing the shoes
on. So we?re always fundraising.
?We work on the basis
that every pound raised is a
pair of shoes for a child who
might not otherwise have a
pair. All of it is spent on
getting the shoes out to
new feet.? n
For further information on
Sal?s Shoes and how you
can help, visit
A Temporary
Set in
Illustration by Philip Crabb.
S February began
Chrissie sat
typing up Glyn?s
file note.
evening I received a phone
call from one Jennifer Jones
whose name, Chrissie,
you?ll recognise from the
employment agency that
sent you to me as a temp.
Since this led to your
joining me permanently,
you will particularly want to
see a successful conclusion
to this case as a gesture of
your gratitude . . .
?Hah!? Chrissie halted in
her typing up of Glyn?s file
note. For once this wasn?t
because of the aged manual
?Yeah,? she muttered.
?Thanks so much, Jen, for
introducing me to the worst
working conditions I?ve ever
had, the oddest hours and
collapse of my love life as
I?m always breaking dates!?
Shaking her head, but
smiling, too, she returned
to the note.
The problem is that
Jennifer is suddenly losing
a lot of business to her
main rival in the town.
There are two local
agencies, she tells me, hers
and this other, covering the
same ground.
She can?t really get her
ex-clients to say why
they?ve stopped using her,
but from something she
picked up last week she
suspects it is because
someone is saying bad
things about the way she
I went to her office.
Looking through her
records, I noted that on
more than one occasion
this has happened after a
particular temp, Lesley, has
worked for a firm.
I am wondering,
therefore, if Lesley may be
conspiring to ruin Jennifer?s
reputation. I stressed to
Jennifer this was far from
certain. Lesley apparently
prefers short jobs, so she
comes and goes more than
But it?s a starting point.
Just then Glyn came into
the office.
?Why,? she asked,
?would this Lesley person
do that? If she works for
Jen?s agency and Jen stops
getting jobs in, there?s
nothing for her, either.?
?I know.? He plonked
himself down on the edge
of her desk. ?My best guess
at present is that Lesley is
in cahoots with this other
agency, perhaps being paid
by them to help put
Jennifer out of business and
with the promise of better
work from them when she?s
?Mmm.? Chrissie still
wasn?t convinced.
?But all will be revealed,?
Glyn went on, waving his
hand, ?because next week
she?s got a request for two
temps at an accountancy
firm. I suggested she books
Lesley in, with you as the
?You?ve been a temp
before. You know how to fit
She had to admit it was
* * * *
It was a large firm of
accountants and the offices,
Chrissie was
enjoying the
change of
conditions ?
even for a short
while . . .
compared to Glyn?s, were
wonderful. Pictures on the
walls, pretty plants, and
she had an electric
Her desk was right next
to Lesley?s, perfect for
keeping an eye on her.
She seemed to Chrissie to
be nice enough, and there
was nothing on the Monday
that raised her suspicions.
Chrissie reported as much
back to Glyn when she
called in to see him on the
way home.
Next day, though, she
glimpsed Lesley
disappearing out through
the main entrance during
the mid-morning break,
although she?d announced
she was just going to the
Looking out, Chrissie saw
her in the public phone box
opposite the entrance.
Before she?d decided
what to do next Lesley had
come back inside and
returned to her desk.
?Clearly a private call she
wanted to make,? Glyn
mused when she told him
that evening. ?Have you
seen her particularly
hanging about the
personnel department,
trying to get talking with
?What?s the place like??
?Fine. Smart offices, good
conditions. Luncheon
vouchers, too ? a lot of
people give them these
?And the personnel
?Two of them. The boss is
a woman, maybe late
thirties, and she has a
younger guy assisting her.
We?ve had more to do
with him.
?His name?s Mark.
She?s Maureen.?
?Right, tomorrow you
try to get chatting with the
personnel lot. Meanwhile,
I?ll go and see this rival
agency who Jennifer says is
trying to nick her work.?
?What cover will you
?I?m looking for a job,
what else? I obviously won?t
say what I?m doing now,
but there?s plenty other
skills I can turn my hand to,
based on my past
He smiled enigmatically.
She waited, giving him
plenty of chance to
elaborate. As she?d
expected, he didn?t.
She smiled back at him
anyway. She was rather
looking forward to her next
step in the job. Mark, the
personnel assistant, was
rather dishy!
* * * *
Next morning she
watched out for Mark going
to make himself a drink and
followed him into the
kitchen on the pretext of
getting herself a glass of
water for a dry throat.
He took a tube of mints
from his pocket and offered
her one.
?I couldn?t stop coughing
at the cinema last night,?
he explained.
?What did you go to
??The Sting?. It was ace.?
?I?ve heard that. I fancy
going to see it.?
He?d sorted out his drink
by then but seemed in no
hurry to get back to his
desk. They stood chatting,
general stuff, until he
eventually returned to the
?Yes, it was so good I?m
thinking of going to see it
again. Perhaps on Friday
Was that a question in his
voice? Was he asking if
she?d like to come with
She turned away to
collect her thoughts, just in
time to see Lesley moving
past the door, looking a bit
?Er, I?d better get back to
work,? she said to Mark.
As she hurried off in
pursuit of Lesley, she
caught his expression.
Obviously he thought she
hadn?t wanted him to ask
her out. She sighed.
Again, Lesley went to the
outside phone box. Chrissie
got as close as she
reasonably could, but still
couldn?t hear anything of
what was being said.
Twice Lesley nodded her
head, but that gave no
Who was it she kept
phoning? The rival agency,
to report on her progress in
sabotaging the reputation
of Jennifer?s enterprise?
* * * *
When Chrissie emerged
for lunch, Glyn was waiting
for her in his new overcoat
and a bright red scarf.
?I thought I?d benefit
from taking a look at Lesley
myself,? he said. ?I assume
she has lunch same time as
?Yes, usually. But she
went early today.?
Chrissie frowned. She?d
asked Lesley if she was
doing something special,
but the girl?s reply had
been inaudible ? perhaps
intentionally so.
?How did you fare with
the rival agency?? she
asked Glyn.
?Just a minute.?
He took from his briefcase
four little paper bags and
gave two of them to her.
One had a hot pasty in it,
the other a doughnut.
The day was mild for the
time of the year and they
sat down to eat them on
one of a row of benches
along the quite pretty
?Since you were clearly
hinting I should give you
luncheon vouchers,? he
explained, smiling.
?I was not!?
?You were. Anyway, as to
the other agency, it?s a
similar set-up to Jennifer?s
? a one-woman show,
?Did she have lots of jobs
to offer you?? She couldn?t
resist it.
?Certainly. She was keen
to get me along for several
interviews. I obviously
didn?t commit to anything,
Another pause while each
tackled the doughnuts ?
jam doughnuts with the jam
oozing everywhere.
Chrissie told Glyn she
preferred the ring type.
Glyn told her she was
?It was clear to me she?s
not doing very well. The
phone didn?t ring once
while I was there and the
offices definitely had a
dilapidated look about
He was quiet a moment.
She wondered if he was
thinking about his own
offices, which were far from
?They might have been
quite good once, though,?
he added. ?They?re a fair
suggesting? That Tom?s
somehow involved in this?
That?s rubbish! I know him.
He?s a great guy.?
She broke off. Lesley was
just a few feet away from
them, buying a local paper
from the street vendor.
?That?s her there,? she
whispered to Glyn, nodding
in Lesley?s direction, ?and
she?s the one who?s doing
it, not Tom.
?I bet she?ll go into the
phone box ? I told you that
she?s always making calls.
Yes, look.?
They waited until she
How could Glyn suspect Tom, the
man who tended the plants?
size, big windows, so good
light. Which is as well,
because ??
They both turned as
someone called out
Chrissie?s name. A man in
his fifties, in a thick jumper,
leather waistcoat and
corduroy trousers, was
waving to her.
?Tom, hi!? She waved
back at him.
?Who?s that?? Glyn asked
as he disappeared into the
office building.
?Tom. He?s goes round
looking after different firms?
plant displays. Before I
came to work for you, I
used to see him all the
time. A lot of the places I
temped at used his
He had quite brightened
the day, she reflected,
always being ready with a
joke. Not that they needed
anyone to come in to tend
the plants in Glyn?s office,
which consisted of one
scrawny spider plant.
?That?s it!?
Glyn, suddenly leaped to
his feet, nearly tumbling her
off the bench.
?I told you the other
agency?s offices were
dreadful, didn?t I? Except in
one respect. They had
gorgeous plant displays.
?That?s what I was going
to say about it being good
they had big windows and
plenty of light. It was like a
jungle, honestly! And none
of them would come
?What are you
came back out of the phone
?Catch her up and walk
inside with her,? Glyn urged
her. ?See if you can learn
?Too late.? Chrissie
pointed to where Lesley
was now in the company of
another woman. ?She?s
caught up with Maureen
and they?re talking.?
She gave him a
meaningful look.
?Maureen, the personnel
manager. Forget whatever
mad ideas you had about
Tom. It?s obvious it?s her.?
* * * *
Chrissie was sure she was
right about Tom,
nonetheless she did keep
an eye on him during the
And it was possible, she
had to admit, that he did
spend longer in the
personnel department than
anywhere else, constantly
returning to talk to
Mind you, she reasoned,
probably he was just
getting instructions from
her, or signing paperwork.
So preoccupied was she
that she suddenly realised
she?d missed Lesley
disappearing from her desk.
The girl hadn?t left for the
day, though. Her bag was
still there, with the copy of
the local paper she?d seen
her buying earlier sticking
out of it.
It didn?t take Sherlock
Holmes to guess where
she?d be. Chrissie
went to the window and,
sure enough, there she
was, coming back from the
phone box towards the
Chrissie picked up right
away that she seemed
pleased about something.
There was a spring in her
step as she came back into
the department. A big smile
on her face like the cat who
got the cream, or . . .
?Of course,? she said to
herself, ?I bet that?s it!?
?I see you?ve got today?s
paper,? she said as Lesley
sat back down. ?Today?s
the big one for job adverts,
isn?t it? I like temping well
enough but I?d really like a
permanent job.?
?It is today for jobs, yes,?
Lesley said. ?Take the
paper, please do.? She
beamed. ?I don?t need it
now. I?ve found a super
new job! Just got
?Surely you must have
noticed me slipping out to
telephone? The person I
needed to speak to was
first off ill, then in a
meeting, then . . .?
She shrugged.
?The important thing is,
I?ve got it! It?s everything
I?ve been looking for.?
?Did you get the job
through Jen??
?No, I just saw an advert.
Shame, really, because Jen
has been great.?
?She is. I think we should
right next to it, Chrissie
went after her. Through the
half-open door, she heard
Lesley explaining the
position. And following her
suggestion about praising
Jen?s services.
?She?s been brilliant.?
?Ri-ight,? Maureen said,
sounding . . . confused,
Chrissie decided. Like she?d
just been told something
quite different.
Moving slightly, Chrissie
was able to see inside.
Maureen?s face echoed the
bafflement in her tone.
Tom, too, was in the
office again, Chrissie now
She caught his eye. Just
for an instant, but it was
* * * *
Glyn was waiting for her
again outside the office
when she finished for the
?I think you?re right about
Tom,? she told him.
She recounted the events
of the afternoon.
?Good work. But we need
Chrissie interrupted him
with a nudge.
?Ssh, here he is coming
out now!?
?Let?s see where he?s
They jumped in Glyn?s
Ford Capri and followed
Tom?s van. To the offices of
the rival agency.
There was a spring in Lesley?s step
as she returned to the department
tell the personnel people
here how well we all regard
her. I intend to. So, when
do you start??
?Next week. They want
me as soon as possible. I
tried to phone Jen, too, so
she could tell them here
that I won?t be free after
tomorrow, but she wasn?t
?Why don?t you tell
Maureen?? she said to
Lesley. ?So she knows the
?Good idea.?
Lesley went beetling off
towards the personnel
Under cover of going to
the stationery cupboard,
Tom went hurrying to the
?Is he? Yes, he?s using a
key to open it. He must
know the owner pretty
?The door is kept locked,?
Glyn confirmed. ?I noticed
that when I came the other
day. There?s a bell and they
come and let you in.?
?So how do we get in??
?Wait here for the
moment. I?ll go in just to
ask how they?re getting on
with my application.?
Before she could say
more he was off, only to
return about three minutes
?That didn?t take long!?
?All I said was had they
got me any interviews yet?
She said no and I said OK.?
?How?s does that help
He winked and indicated
for her to accompany him
back to the door into the
offices. It looked closed, but
a tiny push revealed it was
now open.
?How ???
?Just a little trick,? Glyn
said as they crept into the
entrance area.
Tom and the woman who
ran it were in an adjacent
room, deep in discussion.
* * * *
Next day, back at her
own office, with another
temp having replaced her
at the accountancy firm,
Chrissie typed up Glyn?s
final note on the case.
The woman ? Debbie ?
was the daughter of the
owner of the agency, trying
to keep it going while her
mother, recently widowed,
recovers from a severe
Except Debbie wasn?t
doing a very good job of
running it. It isn?t her field
and she?d just stepped in
because her mum had
asked her.
Tom is her uncle, her
mum?s brother.
Through his plant
business he obviously goes
to a lot of the firms in the
town, and he and Debbie
hit on the idea of him
saying he?d heard bad
things about Jennifer?s
agency and trying to guide
the work to his sister?s.
The phone rang. It was
?Glyn?s just been to see
me,? she said, ?but I
wanted to thank you, too,
for your help, Chrissie.?
?No problem. What are
you going to do about it
?While Glyn was here I
phoned Debbie. She was
very upset. She said she?d
been desperate. She and
her uncle knew worrying
about the business was
slowing her mother?s
recovery, and they felt they
had to get it back into
profit somehow.
?But the good news is her
mother is now much better
and looking forward to
taking over the reins again
in a couple of weeks.?
?And Debbie will return
to what she normally
?Yes.? A pause. ?I never
had any problems with
Debbie?s mother herself.
There?s enough work in
town for both of us ? that?s
how it always was. I think
I?m happy just to forget
this incident.?
?There?s something else I
want to speak to you
about, Chrissie. The firm
where you were standing in
are really keen on you and
asked me to see if you?d
like a permanent job with
?I?m sure Glyn would
hate to lose you, and I feel
kind of guilty about passing
their message on. But
equally it would be wrong
not to.?
?Absolutely. Er, can I
have an hour to think
about it??
?Of course.?
Call over, she got up and
looked out the window.
They were lovely offices
where she?d been. Up-todate equipment, not to
mention the electric
typewriter! And Mark, the
dishy personnel assistant,
who she still reckoned had
been on the point of
inviting her to the cinema
when, as usual, working for
Glyn had got in the way.
How often had that
?And luncheon
vouchers,? she muttered to
herself as the door opened
and Glyn appeared.
?Did I hear you saying
something about lunch??
he asked with a big smile.
?Your wish is my
Magician-style, he put on
her desk two of the four
paper bags he?d had
tucked under his overcoat.
This time it was a hot
cheese-and-onion pie ? and
a ring doughnut!
?I?ll make coffee,? she
She smiled as she
plugged in the kettle, that
special way you had to in
order to get the thing to
work at all.
Luncheon vouchers. Who
needed them?
She knew what her
answer to Jen would be! n
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With their
careers taking
priority, Leona
and Oliver
seemed to be
apart . . .
Illustration by Kirk Houston.
S Leona let
herself into the
dark house, her
mind was on the
raspberry sponge
cake gracing the cover of
the magazine she?d been
reading on the way home
on the train.
When was it she?d last
made a cake? Before or
after she?d married Oliver?
She dropped her bag on
to the floor and rubbed her
back. It had been a long
week and she was tired and
fed up.
In the kitchen, she pulled
open the fridge door.
Looking back at her was a
slice of leftover quiche from
the night before, a bag of
salad and a couple of
wrinkled tomatoes.
With a sigh, she pulled
out a half-full bottle of
pinot grigio and poured
herself a drink. As the cold
wine slipped down her
throat, exhaustion washed
over her.
For three weeks now
she?d had to work late, and
when she got home she was
to o tired to do anything.
A picture came into her
head of the raspberry
sponge cake, dripping with
cream. Now, if someone
were to make that for her,
she wouldn?t say no.
But there was no-one in
the house but her. These
days Oliver was never there
when she got home.
Like ships in the night,
she thought, using her
grandmother?s expression.
When was the last time
they?d cooked a meal
together or, come to think
of it, sat down to one?
Taking her glass to the
window, Leona looked out
at the garden.
When they?d bought their
terraced house two years
ago, they?d been so
enthusiastic. So full of
ideas. The decking they?d
make so they could sit out
on sunny evenings, and the
borders she?d fill with
flowers she wouldn?t know
the name of but whose
scent would float on the
evening air.
Such lovely dreams.
Now, instead of the
garden, all she could see
reflected in the glass was
her pale face and tired eyes.
She turned away and
pulled down the blind,
shutting out the darkness.
As Leona wandered
through the empty house,
the silence followed her.
This was not how she had
envisaged married life.
She?d pictured them
shopping together, cooking
together, laughing together.
But that had been before
she?d accepted the
promotion and Oliver had
started chasing contracts.
She missed the life they?d
had before ? she missed
On the mantelpiece was a
photo her gran had given
her. It had been taken on
her ruby wedding
Picking it up, Leona ran a
finger down her gran?s face.
She looked so happy, and
the way Grandad was
looking at her brought a
lump to her throat. How
long was it since Oliver had
looked at her that way?
When she?d asked how
they?d managed to stay
happy for so many years,
her gran had just smiled
and tapped her nose.
?It?s a special recipe
handed down from my
mother. One day I?ll let you
see it,? she had replied.
Leona put the photo back
with a shake of her head. If
the key to a successful
marriage was through a
man?s stomach, then it was
no wonder she and Oliver
were having problems.
Neither of them had the
time or inclination to cook.
At the sound of the key in
the front door, she sat
down and picked up a
Once she would have
rushed to greet her
husband as soon as he
walked through the door.
Now she barely looked up.
She could hear Oliver
shucking off his coat and
hanging it in the hall. Then
she heard the click of the
kettle and the sound of the
fridge door being opened.
?There?s no dinner,? she
called. ?I haven?t had time
to get anything.?
He appeared in the
doorway, holding a box of
eggs. There were dark
smudges under his eyes. He
looked awkward.
?I have to meet a client in
Leona tried to keep her
voice level.
?You never said.?
?I didn?t know until this
afternoon.? He looked at
the eggs in his hand. ?I
thought I could make us an
omelette first.?
?You don?t need to
bother. Anyway, we haven?t
any cheese.?
Oliver looked away.
?Then I?ll pick up
something in town. I?m
sorry I?ve got to go, but
this is important. I need
the contract. We need the
His tired gaze took in the
settee that had once been
her sister?s and the carpet
that they?d never got
around to replacing.
Leona pushed down the
resentment that threatened
to spill over.
?It?s fine. It?s just . . .?
?Yes?? The speed of his
reply surprised her.
?It doesn?t matter.?
Oliver hovered in the
?What will you do
She shrugged.
?I don?t know.?
Her husband hesitated,
his face bleak.
?I?ll try not to wake you
when I come in.?
Leona didn?t answer, just
picked up the remote and
turned on the television.
It was only as he closed
the front door after him
that she realised her cheeks
were wet with tears.
* * * *
The cake was large and
frosted, jam and cream
oozing out from between
the layers.
As the contestant looked
on nervously, the celebrity
judge took a knife and
sliced through it. Taking a
bite, she smiled and turned
to her co-host.
?Perfectly baked. A cake
to melt the hardest of
hearts. What do you think,
Taking a bite, he nodded
in agreement.
?A cake like this could
win me over any time.?
The sight of the cake,
fluffy and golden, made
Leona?s mouth water. It
brought back a memory.
She and Oliver were
standing in the kitchen of
their old flat, flour on their
cheeks, licking chocolate
icing from their fingers. She
remembered now that was
the last time she had
Tears stung her eyes.
What was Oliver doing?
What if he wasn?t meeting a
She closed her eyes, not
wanting to think of the
Reaching for the remote,
she switched off the
television. Without Oliver,
she felt lonely.
In the kitchen were flour,
butter and the eggs he had
been holding. Perhaps
making a cake would take
her mind off things.
From the anniversary
photograph on the
mantelpiece, her gran
smiled out at her as if trying
to tell her something.
Maybe she should try
making the recipe Grandad
loved so much. Make it for
Oliver. If ever she needed
help with her marriage, it
was now.
After checking the time to
make sure it wasn?t too
late, Leona picked up her
phone. Her gran answered
almost immediately.
?Darling, how lovely! How
are you both??
?We?re fine.? Leona
stopped, unable to say the
words. She cleared her
throat. ?I just wondered
whether I could have your
recipe, Nan. Your special
recipe ? the one you make
for Grandad.?
?I see.? There was a pause
and Leona could imagine
her turning to Grandad,
mouthing to him to let him
know who was on the
phone. ?It seems a strange
time to phone me about
baking, Leona. Are you sure
everything?s all right??
Without meaning them to,
the words came tumbling
?I don?t know. Things are
so difficult at the moment.
We both work so hard, we
don?t seem to have time for
each other any more.? Her
voice cracked. ?I?m scared I
might lose him, Nan.?
?I?m sorry you?ve hit a
sticky patch, Leona, but it?s
not unusual in the early
years of a marriage. I see
now why you thought my
recipe might help.? She
changed the subject. ?Did
Oliver tell you I met him in
town the other day??
?No, he didn?t.?
?He?d just come out of
the furniture shop. He?d
ordered a new settee.?
?He never said.?
Leona?s voice rose in
?Oh, I hope I haven?t
spoiled a surprise. Anyway,
about my special recipe. I
wrote it on the back of the
anniversary photograph just
in case.?
Leona picked up the
photo frame and turned it
over. Metal clasps held the
back in place.
?It was here all the time.?
?Enjoy the recipe, but
there?s one thing I?d ask
you to think about when
you make it.?
?What?s that, Nan??
?Don?t rush it. Start again
if it goes wrong. Maybe try
a new ingredient or a
different quantity.
Youngsters today expect
everything to work perfectly
from the start, but
everything needs practice.
Good luck and let me know
how it goes.?
?I will, Nan. Thanks.?
There was a smile in her
grandmother?s voice.
?You?re welcome, Leona.?
* * * *
When Oliver let himself
into the house, he was
surprised to see the light on
in the living-room.
Looking at his watch, he
saw it was midnight. He
hadn?t realised it was so
Massaging his temples, he
tried to erase the face of
the man he?d spent all
evening trying to impress. A
man who under different
circumstances he would
cross the road to avoid:
arrogant, overconfident,
smirking at the female bar
staff and making offensive
As he?d bought another
round of drinks, his mind
had wandered to his wife.
How he would have
preferred a night in with a
bottle of wine and a good
film as they had in the early
Now he sometimes
wondered whether she
cared if he was there or not.
He sniffed. Was that cake
he could smell?
Taking off his coat, he
hung it on the end of the
banister. When he turned,
Leona was standing in the
living-room doorway, a
dusting of flour down the
front of her jeans.
?I?m glad you?re home.?
Her arms locked around his
neck and he felt his heart
?That?s a nice welcome.?
?Come with me. I?ve
something to show you.?
Oliver followed her into
the living-room. On the
table was the cake tin
they?d been given as a
wedding present.
?You?ve made a cake??
?I made it this evening
after I spoke to Nan.?
Oliver lifted the lid. Inside
was a rather wonky-looking
cake, raspberry jam leaking
from between the layers.
?It looks . . . interesting,?
he said, amused. ?It?s not
by any chance her special
Leona shook her head.
?Actually, it?s not. All this
time, Nan?s recipe has been
on the back of their
anniversary photograph.?
?But you didn?t make it??
She looked at him.
?When I read the list of
ingredients, I knew I?d have
to spend time looking for
Reaching for the frame,
she slipped off the back and
took the photograph out.
?This is the recipe.?
Oliver turned the photo
over and a smile crept over
his face as he read the
Recipe for a successful
1 cup of kindness
2 tablespoons of
2 cups of effort
A handful of teamwork
1 teaspoon of respect
A shake of faith
Leona took his hand.
?I?m sorry I?ve been so
grumpy recently. Nan told
me why you?ve been
working late.?
?I just wanted to make
our home better for you.
But I lost sight of what was
important. I?ve missed you.
Missed us.?
?Me, too. With Nan?s
help, maybe we can get our
marriage back on track.
Tomorrow I?m going to
make a start on the recipe.?
Oliver smiled.
?I?ve a better idea. Why
don?t we follow the recipe
together ? like we used to??
Leona cut a piece of cake
and offered it to him,
laughing as it fell to pieces
in his hand.
?It might take a lifetime
to perfect, but I?m certain
the results will be worth
it.? n
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Illustration by Ruth Blair.
The Story So Far
companion to the
reclusive MRS JAMESON
at Cross Roads House.
Rose took the position
in order to pay off her
late father?s debts,
after refusing the
proposal of one of her
father?s creditors, MR
runs the nearby town of
Datcherford?s grocery
store, with the help of
his mother MARIAH
and young TOM
eager to expand, and
has set his sights on
purchasing the town?s
old assembly building,
but is turned down for a
bank loan. The bank
manager?s son,
him not to give up, and
Alfred decides to
approach the owner of
the building directly to
offer to buy a smaller
section, which he can
later expand.
daughter of the
assembly building?s
owner. Despite having a
privileged upbringing,
she has set her sights
on Alfred as a
prospective husband.
Her mother vows not to
let her marry beneath
her, and sends her away
to visit an aunt.
Alfred?s mother warns
her son before he
approaches Mr Bassett,
informing him that he is
a hard man . . .
Delia had
returned home,
and she had come
to an important
decision . . .
OR once, Rose was
thankful to arrive
back at Cross Roads
House. She climbed
down from the cart.
?I hope you?re going to
help me carry this inside,?
the groundsman, Biggins,
said ungraciously.
?Of course.?
She sighed, pulling off a
heavy box. Its contents
rattled ominously.
?Something?s broken in
there,? Biggins said with a
malicious grin.
?We were going too fast,
Mr Biggins.?
?Why didn?t the mistress
send for young Hapstall to
deliver it as usual, eh??
?I couldn?t say, Mr
Mrs Dee, the cook, was
waiting in the kitchen.
Soon she was delving into
the boxes with a grim look
on her face.
?What have you been
doing?? she snapped.
?There is vinegar spilt over
the flour and nearly every
egg is broken!?
Rose turned to Biggins for
support, but he?d hastily
?I?m sorry, Mrs Dee,?
Rose said. ?But the cart
isn?t fit to transport fragile
?I?ll be speaking to Mrs
Jameson about this,? Mrs
Dee promised. ?It never
happened when Alfred
Hapstall delivered.?
Heavy at heart, Rose left
to go to her room. Every
day at Cross Roads House
brought another trial. But
there was more to her low
Alfred had said he was
going to speak to Mr
Bassett about something
important regarding his
future. That could only
mean one thing. Alfred was
about to ask for Delia
Bassett?s hand in marriage.
It is not my concern, she
told herself.
She reached the stairs
when young Molly caught
up with her.
?Miss,? she whispered.
?The post came when you
were out and it was taken
directly to the mistress.
There was a letter for you.?
?Really?? Rose answered.
?I can?t think who would be
writing to me.?
At that moment, Mrs
Jameson?s bell rang out and
Rose went to answer the
Mrs Jameson was in her
sitting-room, apparently
reading. An envelope lay on
the table in front of her.
?A letter has arrived
addressed to you, Bryson,?
she said.
It sounded like an
accusation. She then looked
up at Rose expectantly.
She can?t expect I will
open it in front of her, Rose
?Thank you, ma?am,? she
said firmly. ?I will take it to
my room.?
As she reached down for
the letter, Rose saw the
handwriting and caught her
breath. It was from Mr Fell.
?Are you unwell, Bryson??
?No, ma?am,? she said
stiffly. ?Will there be
anything else??
?The letter?? Mrs
Jameson said, watching her
through narrowed eyes.
The shock made Rose
abandon all caution.
?It is, as you said,
addressed to me,? she said,
snatching it from the table
as she swept out of the
What, she wondered,
could Mr Fell have sent to
her, besides another
unwanted advance?
She opened it with a
trembling hand.
Inside was a letter and a
second, smaller envelope.
Rose unfolded the letter.
Madam, it began. A most
unexpected development
has obliged me to break
my word and write to you
Two days ago I was
contacted by Mrs Ellington,
a resident of this district
and a lady of considerable
means. She has been
abroad for some time and
only on her return learned
of the passing of your
father. Mrs Ellington had
commissioned your father
to paint some aspects of
her estate during her
absence. The paintings
were left with the
housekeeper, awaiting Mrs
Ellington?s return.
As a woman of high
principles, Mrs Ellington
was anxious to pay for the
work, now due to you as
your father?s only heir. Her
search led to me as his
former landlord and I
undertook to forward the
banker?s draft to you.
In enclosing the draft I
have now fulfilled this duty.
With my respects, G. Fell.
She opened the other
envelope and gasped as she
read the banker?s draft.
?As much as that!? she
exclaimed aloud as the full
significance of this news
sank in.
All of her father?s
remaining debts could be
paid at once, she realised in
wonder, and there would be
some money to spare.
She could escape Cross
Roads House! She would be
free to choose where she
went and how she earned
her living. It was wonderful
She went over to the
window and stared for some
minutes over to the woods
and into the far distance
where the little town stood.
?Yet, if things were
different,? she said to
herself, ?I might choose not
to go away from
Datcherford at all.?
* * * *
Delia Bassett opened her
eyes as the carriage turned
on to the Datcherford road.
What a relief it is to be
coming home, she thought
with a smile.
She was quite fond of her
aunt, but there was only so
much one could take of
improving books and
bracing walks. She couldn?t
have tolerated another day
of it, much less a whole
month, with nothing to do
but sit and contemplate.
Yet she now knew how
valuable thinking could be.
It was quite remarkable
how, once you start to
think, all sorts of ideas
present themselves. Now at
last she knew what was in
her mind and what would
make her happy.
Mama will be surprised to
see me back so soon, she
thought. She?d have to be
careful in what she said to
As the carriage drove
down Datcherford?s main
street, she sat forward,
looking at the few
townspeople going about
their business. The face she
hoped to see was not
among them. Nor was
anyone about as they
passed by Hapstall?s shop.
I will see him tomorrow
for certain, she thought with
a thrill of anticipation.
followed by Mrs Bassett.
?My darling girl, whatever
has happened?? Mrs
Bassett called out as she
hurried down the stone
steps. ?Why are you back
so soon? Is your aunt
?No, Mama,? Delia
replied while being helped
out of the carriage. ?I left
her in the best of health.?
?Then why ??
?As I said in my letter, I
simply had to return,
Mama,? Delia answered,
composing her features into
a winsome smile. ?I was
?I see,? Mrs Bassett said.
?We missed you, too. But
you must have started out
Alfred was about to ask for Delia
Bassett?s hand in marriage
She knew she must be
cautious. But hadn?t the
signs been too marked to
be mistaken? Even on that
first occasion, in Mrs
Maloney?s establishment,
when she?d appeared in her
new gown, he had called
her elegant.
Then there were those
welcoming smiles each time
she entered his quaint little
shop. And when she had
told him she was going
away, he had seemed so
distracted. He spoke of
missing her and of the
pleasure of a reunion.
For a moment she had
thought he might declare
his feelings for her there
and then.
It can only be the
difference in our
backgrounds that is holding
him back, she decided.
Alfred Hapstall may be
only a shopkeeper at
present, but his sensitivity
and his reserve marked him
out as a gentleman.
She was worried her
mother might have concerns
at first, because of Alfred?s
situation, but as she herself
admitted, Papa wasn?t
wealthy when they?d met
and they received help from
their families.
She peered out of the
carriage window to see a
flurry of activity at the front
door of Datcherford Manor.
One of the housemaids
came scurrying out,
very early.?
Delia lowered her eyes,
suppressing the insistent
pang of guilt. This was not
a good beginning.
As the maids and the
driver made a fuss of
unloading her luggage, she
followed her mother into
one of the sitting-rooms.
?Now you mustn?t think
of having your clothes
unpacked yet,? Mrs Bassett
began as they waited for
refreshments to be brought.
?Let yourself be revived
with tea and a little rest.?
?Of course, Mama,? Delia
answered obligingly. ?But
then I have some visits to
?Visits?? Mrs Bassett
repeated, her eyes
?I must call on Augusta,
and Lydia,? Miss Bassett
explained. ?I have
neglected my friends
Mrs Bassett waited for
the maid to withdraw.
?Delia,? she asked. ?Are
you sure there is nothing
?No, Mama. There is
nothing wrong with me. On
the contrary, my little trip
has given me time to
?Yes. I feel that I have
been drifting without aim. I
have had no useful
occupation, no sense
of fulfilment. Being
away from home has
forced me to see that.
But now I have returned
with a renewed sense of
?My dear girl, if your visit
really has been so beneficial
then I am rejoiced to hear
?Before you went away,
Delia, you appeared quite
withdrawn. I even thought
you might have succumbed
to some fanciful idea.
?But this is wonderful
news!? her mother
continued. ?I see I have
been worrying over
nothing,? she said.
?Welcome home.?
* * * *
?So you see, Mr
Hapstall,? Tom Liversedge
said, concluding his long
petition, ?if I drove the
horse and cart, I could
make all the deliveries in
half the time I take on the
bicycle, because I wouldn?t
have to keep returning to
the shop to fill up the
?Yes, Tom,? Alfred
replied, though he?d
scarcely heard a word.
His mind was occupied on
how to persuade Mr
Bassett to sell part of the
assembly building. He?d
already decided to write a
letter to Mr Bassett, setting
out his plans in brief and
asking for a meeting to
discuss them.
?So do you think I might
try it, sir?? Tom asked.
?What? Oh, yes, Tom,
very well. I?ll see about it
the next time I have to
make a large delivery.?
Tom went out beaming,
leaving Alfred to wonder if
he?d been talked into an
unwise decision.
But if I?m successful in
persuading Mr Bassett, and
if I open the new store, he
reasoned, I?ll scarcely have
time to make deliveries
The raw disappointment
he?d felt when the bank
manager refused him a loan
had only made Alfred more
The shop was quiet.
Alfred fetched pen, ink and
paper, arranged them on
the counter and pulled up a
high stool, but before he
could begin the shop bell
Sighing at the
interruption, he put down
his pen and looked to the
?Miss Bassett!?
Never dismissive of a
customer, Alfred stood to
greet her with a polite
He couldn?t help
observing the silk of her
One day, he thought to
himself, my store will cater
for the tastes of people like
Miss Bassett.
?Yes, here I am, Alfred,?
she replied, noticing his
appreciative glance. ?I have
returned from my aunt?s
?Your aunt? Oh, yes, of
course,? he replied, only
just remembering Miss
Bassett?s last visit to the
shop. ?I trust your stay was
?I wish I could say it
was,? Delia replied with a
winsome smile. ?But my
heart was not in it.?
She lowered her eyes.
?I think my heart
remained in Datcherford.?
?I understand,? Alfred
replied conversationally.
?Home is always best,
where our loved ones are to
be found.?
He would have liked to
ask Miss Bassett where
she?d bought her hat, but it
seemed impertinent.
?Our loved ones,? Miss
Bassett echoed in a
whisper. ?Yes, indeed.?
?How may I help you
today, Miss Bassett?? he
asked, carefully keeping the
impatience out of his voice.
?Have you brought a list
from Mrs Bassett??
?Not this time,? she said
Alfred, his mind on the
letter, waited while she
looked about her at the
stacked shelves and tables.
?Is there anything you
want to say to me, Alfred??
she enquired. ?Have you
been content during my
?Content? Well, the truth
is,? he ventured, ?I did
experience some
disappointment, but now
I?m hopeful again.?
?Hopeful, Alfred??
?Yes,? Alfred replied,
unable to suppress his
enthusiasm. ?Something
very important to me might
be within my grasp soon.?
Miss Bassett face glowed
with pleasure.
?Oh, Alfred,? she
enthused. ?I?m so pleased
to hear you say that. Is
there anything I might do to
help you achieve what you
yearn for??
?You, Miss Bassett? I
don?t think . . .? Alfred
Miss Bassett was actually
offering to help him! Would
it be too forward, he
wondered, to ask her to
take the letter of
introduction to her father?
?I-I will be frank with you,
Miss Bassett,? he stuttered.
?When you came in I was
on the point of writing to
your father. His consent is
vital to my plans.?
?Writing to my father!?
She gasped with a look of
pure delight. ?Consent?
Alfred, there is no need to
write to my father. No, you
must meet him directly, and
Mama also.?
?I should meet Mrs
Bassett as well?? Alfred
asked, scarcely able to keep
pace with the turn of
?Of course,? she replied
gaily. ?If Mama likes you ?
and I know she will ? then
Papa is bound to be
amenable. Come to tea on
Friday. Oh, Alfred, what a
happy day it will be.?
?I hope so,? he said, a
little dazed.
?Until Friday, at three,?
she breathed, then swept
away, turning once at the
door to bestow a parting
Alfred stared after her.
Well, I never, he thought
to himself as the door
?Who was that, Alfred??
Mariah had appeared at
the top of the stairs.
?It was Miss Bassett,
Mother,? he replied.
?She brought a list from
her mother, I suppose??
?Do you know, she?s just
made me a very kind offer
of help.?
?Really? How?? Mariah
asked, quite intrigued.
?She?s invited me to
Datcherford Manor to meet
her father and Mrs Bassett.
I couldn?t have asked for a
better opportunity.?
?But why would she do
that, Alfred??
?I?m not sure, but if
William Bassett is as
difficult as you say, I?d be a
fool to turn down the offer.
If you and Tom will mind
the shop, I?ll go up and
look over the plans.?
?I still don?t understand
why Miss Bassett should
take such an interest,?
Mariah said, confused.
But Alfred was already on
his way up the stairs.
It was only later that
evening that he wondered,
fleetingly, why Miss Bassett
had called into the shop,
and by then he was too
preoccupied to dwell on it.
* * * *
?Leaving?? Mrs Jameson
snapped. ?To go where??
Rose met her employer?s
angry expression with calm.
After many sleepless hours,
and by keeping Alfred
Hapstall firmly out of her
thoughts, she?d concluded
there was no reason for her
to stay in Datcherford.
Before she could change
her mind, she?d gone to
give notice.
?I have unfinished
business to attend to,
ma?am,? she replied, ?and
then . . .?
Rose stopped, realising
that, once her father?s
debts had been paid, she
had no idea where she
would go. No person nor
place held her now. She
would be free. It was all she
had yearned for ? once.
But Mrs Jameson was not
?Unfinished business!
You are quite the
flibbertigibbet, Bryson.
You?ve hardly settled into
the post and now that I
have worn myself out
training you to be useful,
you are going away.?
?I regret causing you
inconvenience, ma?am,?
Rose answered. ?I will work
a month?s notice so that
you may find a
Immediately Rose knew
she?d been presumptuous.
Mrs Jameson had always to
be in control.
?I may not wish for such
an arrangement,? Mrs
Jameson declared. ?In fact,
you can leave as soon as
possible. I hope you are
not expecting a
character reference.?
With the small
inheritance from her
father, Rose had little to
fear now.
?No, thank you, ma?am,?
she replied softly. ?I did not
expect it and I do not
require it. I will leave as
soon as I can arrange
transport. I trust that will
be satisfactory.?
Rose left the room
without waiting for a reply.
She felt a lightening, a relief
from the tension that had
gripped her from her first
day in this miserable place.
She knew the other
servants would learn of her
departure soon enough, but
there was one person she
wanted to tell first.
?Are you busy, Molly??
she asked the little kitchen
maid later that afternoon.
?Mrs Jameson is taking her
afternoon rest and I
thought we might snatch a
few minutes in the garden.?
Molly opened the kitchen
door very slightly. The
sound of Mrs Dee snoring
echoed down the corridor.
?She?s taking her
afternoon rest as well. I
reckon I dare be away ten
minutes,? she whispered
with a grin.
?I have some news,? Rose
began as they sat down in
the garden. ?I?ve given my
?You?re going?? Molly
asked, her eyes welling with
tears. ?I?ll miss you ever so
?I?ll miss you as well,
Molly,? Rose replied,
surprised and touched.
?I?ve never had a proper
friend before,? Molly went
on. ?The orphans? home
placed me here and no-one
talks to me, except to tell
me what to do. Now it?ll be
even worse.?
Rose felt a pang of
sympathy for Molly.
?What did Mistress say
when you gave notice??
Molly asked, drying her
?She wasn?t pleased,?
Rose answered tactfully.
?Where will you go??
?I?m not sure. I have to
go back to where I lived
with my father until I?ve
settled some affairs. But
not to stay.?
?Don?t you have any
family, Rose? Nor friends??
Rose shook her
head. ?Not a soul in the
world,? she admitted.
?You ought to find a nice
young man to marry,?
Molly declared in her
uncomplicated way. ?I
wonder you haven?t
already, being so pretty
and with such nice
?Thank you, but I?m
afraid I?ve had other things
on my mind these last
months. Although there was
a gentlemen once.?
?You mean Mr Hapstall??
Molly asked.
?No,? Rose said in
surprise. ?It was before I
came here. His name was
Mr Fell. He made me an
offer and if I?d accepted him
I would have been
comfortable all my life.?
?Why didn?t you?? Molly
?Because I didn?t love
him. We were barely
acquainted, but I knew with
certainty that I would never
come to love him.?
?Really?? Molly said, a
puzzled look about her. ?I
wonder if it works the other
way as well. I mean, can
you meet someone and
know straight away that
you?ll come to love them??
?I should think it very
possible,? Rose answered
wistfully. ?Molly, what
made you think I meant
Alfred Hapstall??
?Oh, don?t mind me,
Rose. I always say the first
thing that comes into my
?I?ve seen you and Alfred
Hapstall talking and
laughing and you seemed
somehow to go together, if
you know what I mean.?
?Did we?? Rose
whispered, rather affected
by Molly?s simple portrayal.
?Yes,? Molly went on. ?I
thought you liked him, and
I could tell he likes you.?
?I think Alfred and I might
have been friends,? Rose
said carefully, ?if I had
planned to stay in
?Will you see him to say
goodbye?? Molly asked.
Rose hesitated.
?I don?t think I?ll get a
chance to see him,? she
began. ?I?m leaving very
?You could write him a
letter,? Molly suggested. ?I
could slip it in the post for
you. That way, Mistress and
the others won?t know
anything about it.?
?Thank you, Molly.? Rose
It?s the right thing to do,
she thought to herself.
Alfred offered her the
hand of friendship and out
of courtesy she ought not to
depart without telling him.
* * * *
William Bassett shuffled
about in his chair, glancing
impatiently at the antique
French carriage clock.
He was hungry. Dinner
should have been served at
seven o?clock ? twenty
minutes ago.
Though not born wealthy,
Mr Bassett had been clever
and purposeful throughout
his youth, and now, in his
middle years, he owned the
best house in the town.
His wife was a handsome
woman from a good family
and she had, he freely
admitted, polished off his
rough edges.
And there was his pretty
daughter, Delia, on whom it
pleased him to lavish all of
life?s good things. He had
every reason to be happy.
But he was not a happy
man this evening.
His wife and his daughter
had quarrelled. It seemed
Delia wanted to invite some
young man to tea and Mrs
Bassett was refusing.
Neither would give way and
it had fallen on him to settle
the argument.
Mrs Bassett and Delia
were now sitting, stonyfaced, on either side of the
table, awaiting his decision.
William Bassett had
learned long ago it was
impolitic to contradict his
beloved wife, since she
could, in so many subtle
ways, make his life very
uncomfortable if she were
But how, he wondered,
do I take her side and risk
upsetting little Delia?
The door opened and
their butler enquired
anxiously if he should serve
dinner yet.
?Presently,? Mrs Bassett
said, without taking her
eyes off her husband?s face.
The butler withdrew, but
it was enough for Mr
Bassett. He decided he
must give his judgement
and have done with it.
Conflict was one thing, but
cold soup and overcooked
beef he would not tolerate.
?So,? he began,
deliberately avoiding the
two pairs of penetrating
eyes. ?Delia, you have met
a young man called Alfred
Hapstall. You are quite
taken with him and you say
he has shown an interest in
you and you want to bring
him to tea.
?However, you, my dear
wife, object because we
know nothing of him.
Nothing, that is, except he
is a small shopkeeper. A
respectable situation, but
apparently socially inferior
to Delia?s.?
Both ladies made to
speak, but Mr Bassett put
up his hand.
?No,? he said firmly.
?Allow me to finish. I would
never want to refuse my
precious daughter anything,
but Alfred Hapstall is not
the kind of suitor I?d hoped
Mr Bassett risked a
pause. His careful mix of
concern and flattery
seemed to be having the
desired effect.
He pressed on.
?I can understand your
mother?s concern, Delia.
You are heiress to our
fortune and many a young
man has had his head
turned by such a prospect.
?However,? he added,
glancing at them both, ?I
will meet your Mr Alfred
Hapstall, but if I suspect
he?s a fortune hunter, he?ll
be sent packing. And now
I?d be obliged if you?ll ring
for dinner.?
As he turned to his wife
with this request, Mr
Bassett gave her the
briefest nod, a gesture so
discreet that no-one else in
the room would have
It was a nod that left her
in no doubt that he was in
agreement with her on this
* * * *
Rose answered the knock
on her bedroom door.
Miss Baines stood
outside, appearing rather
?Yes?? Rose said.
?I?ve come to tell you . . .?
Miss Baines began, her face
reddening. ?That is, the
mistress has told me to tell
you that you?re to be gone
on Saturday.?
?That?s tomorrow,? Rose
?She said you must leave
on the post coach at
?I see,? Rose replied.
?Did Mrs Jameson suggest
how I might be transported?
I have a heavy trunk and ??
?No,? Miss Baines
replied, unable to meet
Rose?s glance.
?Thank you, Miss Baines.
And please don?t distress
yourself. It is no more than I
Rose knew this was a
deliberate discourtesy from
Mrs Jameson, who was now
using Baines as a temporary
She closed the door and
looked about her room. Her
trunk was already packed
and her travelling clothes
prepared, but still she had
not written her letter of
goodbye to Alfred Hapstall.
Now it must be done, she
determined. Why do I
Was it because seeing the
parting words on paper
would make it so final? She
knew they would never
meet again, and there was
no foundation for the way
she felt; Alfred had said
nothing that betrayed more
than friendship.
But right from their first
meeting she?d had this
presentiment of what might
have been.
Her reverie was
interrupted by a soft tap on
the door.
?It?s me, Rose,? Molly
whispered from out in the
corridor. ?Can I come in??
?Of course,? Rose replied,
opening the door.
Molly slipped inside.
?I came because of what
Miss Baines was saying in
the kitchen,? she said
urgently. ?Is it true the
mistress has told you to
leave on Saturday??
?Yes, and quite honestly,
I won?t regret going away
from Cross Roads House.
But I don?t know how I?m
going to manage. I can walk
to the Datcherford road,
but I can?t carry my trunk. I
thought of asking Biggins,
but . . .?
Molly?s face was pinched
with concentration.
?Wait,? she said. ?I know.
Mr Sturgess will take you.?
?What? In his carriage??
?No, he has a small gig
for his own use and he
takes it out on Saturdays. If
you were to walk down to
his stables this afternoon,
you could ask him. I?m sure
it wouldn?t cost a lot of
money. He?s a fair man.?
?Molly, you?ve saved me
yet again!? Rose exclaimed.
?I don?t know what I would
have done without you.?
Molly?s face broke into a
bright smile. Clearly she
was not used to being
?I must get back,? Molly
said. ?Don?t forget the
letter to Alfred Hapstall, will
you, Rose??
Alone once more, Rose
sat down at the table and
opened her writing case.
I won?t give way to my
imaginings, she told herself.
I?ll write as a friend should.
She selected one of her
last sheets of paper and
prepared the pen and ink,
then she began.
Dear Alfred,
I am writing to tell you
that there has been a
change in my
circumstances and I am
now at liberty to resign my
post as Mrs Jameson?s
companion. Having no
connections to justify my
staying in Datcherford, I
have decided I will leave
I will not pretend any
sorrow in quitting Cross
Roads House, but I wanted
you to know how much I
have appreciated your
kindness at a time it was
most welcome. We cannot
know what our futures
hold, but I hope that yours
brings success in business
and joy in your life.
I send my best wishes for
your good health and
Sincerely, Rose Bryson.
She folded the letter, and
was writing out the address
when the bell for the
servants? meal sounded.
She hurriedly sealed the
envelope and tucked it into
the pocket of her dress.
It is done, she thought.
Tomorrow I will leave and I
will never see Alfred again.
To be continued.
From the manse
By Barbara Mosse
AVE you ever found
yourself lost for words at
the sight of a beautiful
sunset, or at the dazzle of stars
in a night sky untainted by the
glow of artificial light?
The beauties of nature have
the power to jolt us out of our
normal way of seeing things
and into another dimension.
It?s an experience which is
as old as the hills, and in the
Bible we find a wonderful
example in Psalm 104 which
is full of the poet?s wonder
and gratitude for the glories of
God?s creation.
Two years ago my husband
Martin and I treated ourselves
to a cruise up the Norwegian
coast in search of the Northern
This voyage was memorable
for many reasons, but the
excitement really intensified
when our captain announced
one evening ? in the middle
of dinner ? that ?a little light
aurora activity? had been
spotted off the port side.
Many of our fellow diners
immediately rose to their feet
and made for the doorways.
I moved quickly myself, my
feet soundless on the plush
carpeted stairs, back to our
cabin where I quickly donned
my Arctic clothing ? thick black
base stockings, tasteful pink
midi-fleece, enormous padded
red anorak, two pairs of gloves,
scarf and a furry hat complete
with ear-flaps.
But this wasn?t a moment to
be fashion-conscious, as I
knew the temperature on deck
would be sub-zero.
Muffled in my multiple
layers, the heat was now
suffocating, so I hurried down
the corridor and up the last
flight of stairs to the open
Despite the Arctic clothing,
the cold almost took my
breath away. It was like
breathing vaporised ice. After
the bright lights below deck,
my eyes took a few minutes to
adjust to the almost total
darkness of the Norwegian
night, deep inside the Arctic
Beyond the little island of
our ship the only visible light
came from a single pearl-string
marking a small coastal
settlement; and, spanning the
heavens, a breathtaking sweep
of stars never visible in the
light-polluted skies of large
areas of southern Britain.
There was a sense of
communal excitement, and I
felt it bubbling up within me.
We were privileged audience
members in this vast open-air
theatre, and there was a
feeling of intense, subdued
anticipation as we waited for
the curtain to rise.
I doubted the evidence of
my eyes at first, so pale and
delicate was the vision.
Seemingly rising out of the
sea, there was a faint
lightening of the darkness, a
mere shifting of shadows.
A wavering column of pale
green slowly rose from the
waters, drifting its way
skywards like a plume of
smoke rising lazily from an
autumn bonfire.
The column continued to
rise and the colour
strengthened, until the light
embraced us all in a magical
rainbow-type arc right over our
heads. I found myself crying
and laughing at the same time,
speechless with joy.
So began the first of three
nights of magical Northern
Lights activity. The final night
gave us a cosmic firework
display with Roman Candles,
Catherine wheels, and
whiplash swathes of green and
yellow light flashing across the
full expanse of the heavens.
Exclamations of amazement
gave way to awestruck silence
as we simply gazed in
wonder. n
Next week: Actions speak
louder than words for
Rev. Susan Sarapuk.
?This thrilling
detective story takes
you back
to 1976?
by Carole Matthews
Finding herself on her
own after a divorce,
Ruby is ready for change.
New home, new job,
new life. A new man?
That proves more
complicated and Ruby
finds herself with two
quite different suitors!
ISBN: 9780751560329, �99
by Lynda La Plante
by Amanda Prowse
Set against a background of the
IRA bombing campaign, we meet
Detective Jane Tennison in her early
days as she battles the criminals, her
own prejudiced colleagues and the
threat of more terrorism. The third
in the Tennison series, it is gritty and
realistic, and a real page turner.
Million Love
Good Friday
ISBN: 9781785763304, �99
Will time run out?
Anna knew loss early in
her life but she knew
love, too, and it was
her mother?s love that
anchored her world. Her
life had become much
lonelier until the day she
got stuck in a lift with
Theo and everything
changed . . .
ISBN:9781788542067, �.99
On the
Win all four books
Lynda La Plante?s
Jane Tennison was
the central character
in which TV series?
a Bergerac
b Prime Suspect
c The Gentle Touch
09010 300081
Text FRIEND, your name,
address then a, b or c to
Send your answer, name,
address and contact telephone
number to Bookshelf, People?s
Friend, D. C. Thomson & Co.
Ltd., 2, Albert Square, Dundee
DD1 1DD.
Calls cost 26p from a landline, calls from
mobiles will cost more. Texts charged at
25p plus your standard network rate.
Lines open at 6 a.m., on Saturday, April 7, 2018 and the winner will be chosen at random from combined correct
entries after 9 a.m., on the closing date of Friday, April 27, 2018. This competition is open to UK residents only.
Competition contact details: Premium Rate Telephone Services Department, D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd., 2 Albert
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Date With
by Julia Chapman
Samson and Delilah are
back working together
as the Dales Detective
Agency receives
another puzzling case.
Delving into the past
they unearth a mystery
that exposes longheld secrets that may
have been best left
ISBN: 9780509823871, �00
Historic Royal Palaces.
A Century Of
Shout Out!
Historic Royal
Palaces such as the
Tower of London,
Hampton Court Palace
and Kensington Palace
are marking the 100th
anniversary of the
Representation of the
People Act with a
series of talks and
events ? Votes and
Voices: Acts of
Find out about
Leonora Cohen, the
Leeds suffragette who
threw an iron bar at
the Crown Jewels;
celebrate women?s
suffrage with a day of
workshops, activities
and crafts at the Tower
of London; and
discover the story of
the suffragette princess
who lived at Hampton
Court Palace ?
Wendy Glass
celebrates 100 years
of votes for women.
HE year 1918 was
significant in the
history of women?s
rights. It was the
year in which
some women finally won
the right to vote, be
elected as MPs and take a
seat in the House of Lords.
To celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the
suffragettes? long-awaited
success and remember
their courage, dedication
and commitment, special
events are taking place
across the UK throughout
The Representation of
the People Act which gave
women property owners
over the age of thirty the
right to cast their vote was
passed in 1918, so it?s only
fitting that the Houses of
Parliament?s Westminster
Hall will be housing a
major exhibition this
summer about British
women?s fight for equality
? Vote 100.
From June 27 until
October 6, Vote 100 will
reveal the story of women
in parliament while also
providing opportunities to
tour the Houses of
Parliament and watch
debates from the public
Vote 100 is free but, as
capacity is limited, tickets
must be booked in
Party PoliTea-cal!
To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the 1928
Representation of the People Act, which gave all
women over the age of twenty-one voting rights,
EqualiTeas tea parties
are taking place from
June 18 to July 2.
For information about
organising an EqualiTeas
tea party (and to request
an official ? and free ?
hosts? pack) or find your
nearest public event,
you can visit equaliteas.
Gunby Hall National Trust James Dobson.
National Trus
Vote For Emily
Pankhurst?s hunger strike
On June 10, processions
will be taking place in
Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh
and London ? and we?re all
invited! Women are being
asked to come along
dressed in green, white or
purple and turn the streets
of these four cities into a
river of suffragette colours.
For more information visit n
Emily LangtonMassingberd ? the owner of Gunby Hall in
Leicestershire ? was a passionate supporter of
women?s rights. As a landowner, the widowed
mother-of-four was allowed to stand for public office
and, in 1889, she was narrowly beaten in the local
council elections. However, Vote For Emily at Gunby
Hall on May 6 and 7 will be a chance to rectify this!
As well as celebrating Emily?s life and work, this
event will include suffragette re-enactments and
demonstrations of Suffrajitsu, the secret martial art
used in the fight for women?s rights ? www.
All Change
Find Out More
What better way to commemorate the work of the
suffragettes than by visiting the birthplace of the
Suffragette movement at 62 Nelson Street,
Once the home of leading suffragette Emmeline
Pankhurst and location of the first meeting of the
Women?s Social and Political Union, the Pankhurst
Centre has a small but fascinating museum about the
Suffragette movement which is open to the public
every Thursday and every second Sunday ?
The People?s History
Museum in Manchester is
recalling the city?s days as a
hotbed of the suffragette
movement with the
exhibition Represent! This
free exhibition starts on
June 2 and will include
many of the museum?s
suffragette items, some on
display for the first time in
100 years, including a rare
Manchester Suffragette
Banner. Find out more at
People?s History Museum.
Pankhurst Centre.
Throughout 2018, A
Woman?s Place at Abbey
House Museum in Leeds
takes a close look at how
women?s daily life has
changed almost beyond
recognition over the last
150 years. From the
backbreaking housework of
the 1860s and the nurses
working on the front line
during World War I, to
Olympic boxing gold
medallist Nicola Adams,
this exhibition packs a
punch ?
Leeds Museum and Galleries.
advance, either by
calling 020 7219 4114
or visiting www.
The Museum of London
(www.museumoflondon. has a special
Suffragette exhibition on
display this year ? Votes
for Women Centenary. This
exhibition runs until
January 6, 2019 and
includes iconic suffragette
objects such as Emmeline
my garden
Notes from
Alexandra Campbell picks up some
new ideas from a community garden.
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
House Plants
From now until the
end of summer, house
plants need more water.
The commonest cause
of house plant death is
over-watering, so be
careful, but the second
most common one is
not watering enough! I
give my house plants a
good drenching when
the soil feels dry, then I
let them drain next to
the sink for half an hour
or so. How often varies
from plant to plant, but
check them at least
twice a week from now
?VE recently picked up
some useful tips on
conscious and wildlifefriendly gardening from
the Abbey Physic Garden in
It?s a community garden,
which uses horticulture and
outside activities to help
people with physical or
mental issues.
It packs an extraordinary
amount into its half an acre,
with horticulture training,
community projects and a
?Grub Club? where people
learn to grow and cook
healthy food on a budget.
Everything is recycled or
composted where possible.
The Abbey Physic Garden
has lots of uses for tree and
shrub clippings. Longer,
straight ones are used to
create climbing supports or
They also scatter smaller
twigs across newly seeded
veg beds to discourage the
birds from eating the seeds
and seedlings. I don?t know
if it works, but I?ll certainly
give it a try.
Prunings and brambles
are also turned into a dead
hedge. A dead hedge is a
hedge made of layers of
twigs, branches and cut
greenery, simply piled up
into a sort of fence.
It offers shelter for small
mammals, birds and insects.
The lowest layer does rot
down very slowly, enriching
the soil, but new layers are
added on top.
Or you can dispose of
your garden detritus on the
Hugelkultur bed. This is a
raised bed created by piling
up twigs, branches, fallen
trees and other garden
material, and letting them
rot very slowly down into a
rich organic mass.
It?s another form of
composting, and helps
improve both soil fertility
and water retention. Here at
the Abbey Physic Garden the
gooseberries that grow on
top are apparently the
tastiest you?ll find.
And they also compost
small twigs traditionally in
compost bins, because they
have a shredder. When
everything is shredded up,
this creates a very hot
compost bin, which means
the Abbey Physic can even
compost most weeds, as the
Patch Up
The Lawn
A Shrub
Last winter?s wet cold
weather has not done the
lawn any good. We have
several large bare patches,
and I?m using Miracle-Gro
Patch Magic because it has
an easy-to-use dispenser.
If you have some
horticultural fleece, it
would be a good idea to
lay it over the newly
re-seeded patch for a few
days, pinned down with
some stones, to keep the
birds from stealing the
My poor shrubs have
been in their pots for too
long. You should repot a
shrub every two years. Lay
the pot on its side and ask
someone to pull the pot
away while you tease the
roots out. You can (indeed,
you should) prune the
roots. Cut away thicker
roots by about a third,
then replace in the pot
with fresh compost and
slow release fertiliser.
Try this
on your
of grass
heat will kill the seeds.
There are water butts all
around the garden, placed
in convenient places. Of
course, the water itself runs
off from the roofs of
buildings and sheds, so they
siphon the water from those
butts out to the butts in the
middle of the garden.
It?s a brilliant way of
dealing with my main
grouch over water butts
which is that they get too
full when it rains, but are
then empty after about 10
days of no rain.
And they have a
composting toilet. There was
a notice explaining what you
do and don?t do with wood
shavings, and other faintly
alarming instructions. But
this garden has regular
visitors, so it clearly works.
I also spotted a useful way
of keeping weeds down
around shrubs and small
trees. Flatten a cardboard
box and lay it down around
the shrub or tree to cover all
the soil around the base.
Anchor it with stones, and
disguise it with a layer of
bark chippings or mulch.
The cardboard will slowly rot
into the ground, improving
the soil, but while it?s there,
it deprives weeds of light so
they won?t grow. And that
box is another thing you
do n?t need to take to the tip.
The most fascinating new
project is the ?grass-free
lawn?. The Abbey Physic
Garden want to use plants
such as red-flowered daisies,
wild thyme, cowslips, birds
foot trefoil, chamomile, red
and white clover, self-heal,
bronze leafed bugle and
more instead of grass.
It?ll need less care than an
ordinary lawn and will be
loved by wildlife. They?re
asking locals to donate any
plants they have grown or
The town of Faversham is
historic, with Britain?s most
perfectly preserved
mediaeval street just behind
the Abbey Physic Garden, so
if you?re within reach of
Kent, this makes an
excellent day out.
And the Abbey Physic
Garden will be participating
in this year?s Faversham
Open Gardens & Garden
Market Day on June 24. You
can find out more on www. or search for
?Abbey Physic Garden?. n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
Veg Gardening
In Pots
As you plan your pots for 2018, what about growing
more food in them? I?ve always grown my most
successful salad leaves in a window box, because it
seems easier to keep the snails and slugs away.
If you grow cut-an d-come again leaves, then each
sowing can last up to six weeks, so you probably
only need two window boxes to have year-round
You get much more if you harvest only the
outside leaves ? don?t cut across the top. Many seed
companies now sell salad leaf mixes.
Lots of people grow tomatoes in pots even if
they?ve got the space to keep them in the ground.
Tomato blight is less likely to strike if you move
your pots around and disinfect them thoroughly at
the end of the season. Check the seed packet for
?suitable for containers.?
My mother always grew runner beans in a trough
against the wall of the house, and all herbs do well
in pots, of course, as do chillies.
You can get specialist potato pots and growsacks in an y garden cen tre, but you can also use an
ordinary garden pot.
Plant two tubers in any pot at least 30 cm wide
and high into about four
inches of soil. Cover with
the same amount of soil,
and add more earth as
the plants grow.
When the plants flower
an d begin to turn yellow,
leave them for a week.
Then turn out the pot
and harvest the tubers.
believe it?
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
I?m curious to know when
Buckingham Palace first opened
to the public and how many
rooms it has?
Mrs J.L., Huddersfield.
The Queen?s residence first
opened to the public 25 years
ago this month. Although there
are 775 rooms in the sprawling palace,
most are off limits to the public and
tours only take place when the Queen
isn?t in residence.
There are also 1,514 doors, 760 windows and 100 miles of electrical cabling (it?s
currently being rewired). If you can?t manage along to visit in person during the 10
weeks the palace is open each summer (and selected dates in spring and winter), you
can take a sneak peek on the website
I would like to know how many siblings are
in the McGann family and are they all actors?
I?m a great fan as they have such diversity.
B.M., Leamington Spa.
The McGann family consists of brothers
Joseph, Paul, Mark and Stephen, who are all
actors. Younger sister Clare didn?t follow in
their footsteps treading the boards. All four brothers
starred together in the TV serial ?The Hanging Gale?,
but each has had individual success over the decades
right through to current roles in hit TV shows such as
?Holby City? (Paul McGann as John Gaskell) and ?Call
The Midwife? (Stephen McGann as Dr Turner).
In food terms, what
does TVP stand for?
Mrs L.L., Glasgow.
This is textured
vegetable protein.
It?s a by-product of
soybean oil and is also
known as textured soy
protein. It has a spongelike texture and is often
used as a meat substitute
for the likes of vegetarian
Something we didn?t
know last week...
of adults
ask their
mum for advice
about housework and
cooking. Mum really
does know best!
For over 80 years, calling 999 has
been providing us with instant access
to the emergency services ? but not
all calls are bona fide emergencies.
In the early days of the service,
someone called 999 to complain
about noisy bagpipes, while more
recent calls featured a plea for help
to find an escaped rabbit, a stolen
snowman, a cold kebab and a call
from a husband whose wife was
refusing to make him a sandwich!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
? how many Facebook
friends the average
eighteen to twentyfive-year-old has.
70 years
ago, the mint with
a hole in it first
appeared in shops!
Happy birthday, Polo!
members of the public
have been invited
to enjoy Harry and
Meghan?s forthcoming
Royal Wedding
within the grounds of
Windsor Castle.
banknotes really do
exist ? and so do �
million banknotes!
Himalayan Blue
Double up
for �
Meconopsis ?Lingholm?, better known as the Himalayan
Poppy is a ?must have? in any garden. The stunning
cobalt blue colour of these Meconopsis blooms,
contrasting against golden yellow stamens, will bring
the wow factor to any garden.
Especially effective when planted in damp, shady
areas, this special perennial makes an unusual and
stunning feature throughout early summer and, planted
en masse, will astound you year after year. We just love
the clear blue colour of Meconopsis blooms and once
seen, never forgotten!
Supplied as jumbo plug plants.
Height: 30? (75cm), spread: 20? (50cm).
Buy 2 for �99 Was �.99
Buy 4 for �99 Was �.98
name ..................................................................................
Address ..............................................................................
Postcode ............................................................................
Telephone .........................................................................
Pocket Sized Garden Snips
email Address ..................................................................
Meconopsis ?Lingholm? x 2
TJ12573 Meconopsis ?Lingholm? x 4
TJ71422 Meconopsis ?Lingholm? x 8
Snips x 1 Pair
T56850P Large Patio Pot & Saucer x 1
T59095P Large Patio Pot & Saucer x 2
Incredibloom fertiliser x 100g Pack
Incredibloom fertiliser x 750g Pack
TKA2524 Maxicrop Plant Treatment*
Maxicrop Plant Treatment - Only �Give your plants the best possible start in life with
a Maxicrop Treatment by our trained staff prior to
despatch. For ONLY �we will treat your whole
order with MAXiCROP to give your plants:
? Strong, healthy root systems - More energy for growth
I enclose a cheque/postal order, made payable to Thompson & Morgan for
the total amount of � .......................... (Please write your name and address
on the back of your cheque.) If you are ordering by Credit Card please
complete the following:
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please tick here ? telephone, please tick here ? or email, please tick here ?. From time
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Offer subject to availability and to UK readers only. Offer closes 14th May 2018. Please note
that your contract of supply is with Thompson & Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich IP8 3BU,
company reg no. ? 358372. Terms & conditions are available on request. Plants despatched
from May. Please note that we cannot deliver this product to the following postcode areas:
GY, HS, IV41-IV56, Offer quote code: TE1428 KW15-KW17, PA34, PA41-48, PA60-PA78, PA80,
PH40-PH44, TR21-TR24, ZE1-ZE3.
? Greener, healthier leaves ? Great nutrient availability
? Reduced stress during transit
Large Patio Pot & Saucer
? Better establishment and improved root growth
*One application covers your whole order
0844 573 1686 quoting TM_TDC11
Lines open 9am-8pm (Weekdays) & 9am-6pm (Weekends). Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone
providers access charge.
complete the coupon and send with a cheque made payable
to Thompson & Morgan and post with your order information to:
?The People?s Friend? Gardening Offer, Dept
TM_TDC11, PO BOX 162, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3BX
Photographs by Ally Stuart,
Hair and make-up by Linda Wilson.
Photographed at Rufflets Hotel, St Andrews,
Shades Of
Our lovely textured
bolero is worked in an
aran-weight fashion yarn.
To fit sizes: 76/81 cm
(30/32 ins), 86/91 cm
(34/36), 97/102 (38/40),
107/112 (42/44), 117/122
(46/48), 127/132 (50/52).
Actual size: 89 (35�), 99
(39), 109 (43), 121 ( 47�),
130 (51�), 139 (55).
Length: 48 cm (19 ins), 49
(19�), 51 (20), 51 (20), 52
(20�), 53 (21).
4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5) 100-gram balls
of Stylecraft Jeanie Denim
Look (shade Bloom 103017).
One pair each 4 mm (No. 8)
and 5 mm (No. 6) knitting
needles. 1 button from Duttons
for Buttons, tel: 01423
502092, e-mail: michelle@
For yarn stockists telephone
01535 609798 or e-mail
21 sts and 24 rows to 10 cm
measured over the broken rib
pattern using 5 mm needles.
Alt ? alternate;
dec ? decrease; K ? knit;
m3 ? [K1, P1, K1] all into front
of next st, thus making 3 sts
out of 1; P ? purl;
st(s) ? stitch(es);
tbl ? through back of loops;
tog ? together; tw2 ? slip
next st, K1, pass slipped st
over st just knitted and knit
into back of it.
Important Note
Directions are given for six sizes.
Figures in brackets refer to the
five larger sizes. Figures in
square brackets [ ] refer to all
sizes and are worked the
number of times stated. When
writing to us with your queries,
you must enclose a stamped,
addressed envelope if you
would like a reply.
With 4 mm needles, cast on 93
(103, 113, 125, 135, 145) sts
Change to 5 mm needles
1st row (right-side) ? P4,
tw2, P20 (24, 28, 32, 32, 32),
tw2, P2, K1, [P1, K1] 16 (17,
18, 20, 25, 30) times, P2, tw2,
P20 (24, 28, 32, 32, 32), tw2,
2nd row ? [P2, K2] twice,
[P3tog, m3] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, K2, P2, K2, P33 (35,
37, 41, 51, 61), K2, P2, K2,
[P3tog, m3] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, [K2, P2] twice.
3rd row ? As 1st.
4th row ? [P2, K2] twice,
[m3, P3tog] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, K2, P2, K2, P33 (35,
37, 41, 51, 61), K2, P2, K2,
[m3, P3tog] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, [K2, P2] twice.
These 4 rows set the pattern.
Continue in pattern until work
measures 48 (49, 51, 51, 52,
53) cm from beginning,
ending after a wrong-side row.
NB: Length may be adjusted
Shape shoulders ? Change
to 4 mm needles and
garter-st: Purl every row.
Cast off 5 (6, 6, 7, 8, 9 ) sts
loosely at beginning of next
10 rows, then 6 (5, 9, 10, 9,
8) sts at beginning of next 2
rows. ? 31 (33, 35, 35, 37,
39) sts.
Cast off very loosely.
work measures 44 (48, 52,
52, 56, 58) rows less than
back up to start of shoulder
shaping, ending after a
wrong-side row.
Shape front slope ?
Dec row ? P2, K2, K2tog tbl,
work to end.
Repeat the decrease row on
every following alt row until 33
(37, 41, 48, 52, 55) sts
remain, then on every following
6th row until 31 (35, 39, 45,
49, 53) sts remain.
Work a few rows straight until
front measures same as back
to shoulder shaping, ending at
side edge.
Shape shoulder ? Change to
4 mm needles and garter-stitch
? Purl every row.
Cast off 5 (6, 6, 7, 8, 9) sts
loosely at beginning of next
row and the 4 foll alt rows ? 6
(5, 9, 10, 9, 8) sts.
Work 1 row straight.
Cast off.
Work as right front to ??.
1st row (right side) ? P4,
tw2, P20 (24, 28, 32, 32, 32),
tw2, P2, [K1, P1] 6 (7, 8, 8,
11, 14) times, K3, P2.
2nd row ? P17 (19, 21, 21,
27, 33), K2, P2, K2, [P3tog,
m3] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7, 7) times,
[K2, P2] twice.
3rd row ? As 1st.
4th row ? P17 (19, 21, 21,
27, 33), K2, P2, K2, [m3,
P3tog] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7, 7) times,
[K2, P2] twice.
These 4 rows set the pattern.
Complete as right front noting
that front slope decrease row
will be ? work until 6 sts
remain, K2 tog, K2, P2.
With 4 mm needles, cast on
47 (53, 59, 63, 69, 75) sts.
Change to 5 mm needles ??.
1st row (right side) ? P2,
K3, [P1, K1] 6 (7, 8, 8, 11,
14) times, P2, tw2, P20 (24,
28, 32, 32, 32), tw2, P4.
2nd row ? [P2, K2] twice,
[P3tog, m3] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, K2, P2, K2, P17 (19,
21, 21, 27, 33).
3rd row ? As 1st.
4th row ? [P2, K2] twice,
[m3, P3tog] 4 (5, 6, 7, 7,
7) times, K2, P2, K2, P17 (19,
21, 21, 27, 33).
These 4 rows set the pattern.
??? Continue in pattern until
Join shoulders.
Neck border ? With 4 mm
needles, cast on 10 sts neatly.
Work 6 rows in garter-stitch ?
every row Knit.
Next row (buttonhole)
? K3, cast off 4 sts evenly, knit
to end.
Next (right side) row ? Knit,
casting on 4 sts neatly over
those cast off.
Continue in garter-stitch until
border fits all round shaped
neck edge, beginning at start
of right front slope shaping
and ending at start of left front
slope shaping, allowing for the
inner edge of border to be
slightly stretched all round.
Cast off evenly knitways.
To Make Up ? Leaving
approx. 19 (20, 21, 22, 23,
24) cm free for armholes, join
remainder of side edges. Sew
on neck border and button.
Press seams following pressing
instructions on ball-band. n
Next week:
crochet this fun bag
Should It Stay Or
Should It Go?
OME lucky people are
born organised. For
the rest of us, stuff
has a way of piling
up and needs a good
sort-out from time to time.
But some types of clutter
can be harder to deal with
than others, especially when
there?s a sentimental
attachment . . .
Find lots more
decluttering tips and
ideas on the National
Clear Your Clutter
Campaign website,
clearyourclutterday., where you can
also download a free
decluttering eBook.
This year?s National
Clear Your Clutter Day is
on April 13. Join in the
Facebook Live with
founder Jasmine Birtles
and Hannah Wilson
from Gumtree on that
You can also ask
questions about
decluttering and how to
make money from your
junk on the Twitter Q&A
on the same day using
the hashtag
Courtesy of Jasmine Birtles.
Too much stuff?
Clear Your Clutter
founder Jasmine
Birtles helps you
set it free.
Gifts and legacies
from relatives
These can be the hardest
items to part with. But if
they don?t fit in your home,
or you just find them ugly,
there are some things you
can do:
Photograph them. This
is a great way to ?keep?
items that have a
sentimental value without
actually having to store
them. You could upload
the photos to your
computer ? or even print
them out and put them in
a special album.
Talk to the item before
giving it away. Yes,
seriously! Hold the item,
thank it for what it has
done for you and thank the
person it reminds you of
for what they meant to you
in your life. Knowing that
you have shown
appreciation helps to let go
of the item.
Give it a good home. It
can help you let go of an
item if you know that it is
going to a place where it
will be appreciated for
what it is.
If you have boxes of
photos stuffed in drawers,
thin them out and make
them work for you:
Go through photos and
discard any of people you
don?t recognise any more,
scenes that are of no
interest and any that make
you unhappy.
Put what?s left into
attractive albums.
Really happy photos
that mean a lot can be
displayed as a montage in
a clip frame in the kitchen
or hallway.
For even less clutter,
scan the photos and
upload them to your
computer. If you have the
negatives you could get a
photography shop to
transfer them even more
cleanly into digital copies
for you.
Children?s artwork
So full of memories and
emotion, these can often
be difficult to part with. Try
these tricks:
Photograph them and
upload them to a special
file in your computer with
notes on each one about
when they were done and
by which child.
Create a montage of
them in a large clip frame
if you have space on a wall
to display them.
Some paperwork should
be kept but probably a lot
less than you would think.
Ask yourself, ?what?s the
worst that could happen if I
didn?t have this piece of
paper?? Even apparently
important paperwork, like
bank statements, can safely
be ditched as most banks
have this information online
for you to access and print
off if you need it.
Hang on to documents
that are hard to replace like
birth and marriage
certificates, copies of wills,
Premium Bond certificates,
mortgage papers and
leases. It?s worth putting
these in one place.
Receipts and guarantees
for household goods are
useful to keep but you don?t
have to have the physical
paper. You can scan them
or photograph them on
your smartphone and file
them on your computer.
Remember that with
personal paperwork, you
should shred it! Anything
with your personal details
on should be destroyed,
ideally using a ?cross
shredder? that cuts up the
paper well. You can get a
basic one for � from
Wilko. n
�9 PP
Experience some of the world?s most spectacular
scenery as you enjoy journeys on three of
Scotland?s ? and indeed the world?s ? most scenic
〩ighrove/Andrew Butler
MAY - OCT 2018
AUG 2018
�9 PP
Enjoy ?Life in the Slow Lane? as you step back in
time and discover the ?Jewel of the Irish Sea?.
? Journey on the narrow-gauge Isle of Man Steam
? The Manx Electric Railway is Britain?s longest
? Explore Laxey and visit classic resort Port Erin
? Take the Snaefell Mountain Railway
? See ?Seven Kingdoms? from the summit station
? An included ?Go Explore Heritage? card
? Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced
tour manager
? Four nights? half-board hotel accommodation,
return ?ights and transfers
UNTIL 30 APRIL 2018*
? Rail travel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh?
? Journey on the steam-hauled Strathspey Railway
? Cross the Glen?nnan Viaduct on the 42-mile
journey from Fort William to Mallaig
? Visit the Highland resort of Aviemore
? Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced
tour manager
? Four nights? dinner, bed and Scottish breakfast
accommodation return ?ights and transfers
AUG 2018
�9 PP
�9 PP
UNTIL 30 APRIL 2018*
Enjoy a guided tour of HRH The Prince of
Wales? cherished gardens, together with a visit
to Worcester.
The best of Scotland in four days! Visit
the beautiful Loch Lomond and see the
spectacular Edinburgh Military Tattoo
? Entrance to Highgrove Gardens
? A two-hour walking tour with one of HRH The
Prince of Wales? expert garden guides
? A visit to Worcester
? A scenic drive through the Cotswolds
? One night?s dinner, bed and English breakfast
accommodation at a three-star standard hotel in
the West Midlands/Bromsgrove area
? Coach travel from the local area
? Escorted by a friendly tour manager
Please send details and a brochure of: PLF - Air Holidays PLF Coach Breaks
Name ................................................................................................................................
Address .............................................................................................................................
Telephone ..........................................................................................................................
Email Address ....................................................................................................................
From time to time, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., it?s group companies and its partner businesses would like to contact customers
about new products and offers we think may be of interest. We?ll assume that we can contact you by post or telephone
unless you tick the relevant box. No contact from DC Thomson & Co. Ltd, or its group companies unless relating to an
existing order No contact from our partner businesses unless it relates to an existing offer
See the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Enjoy a boat trip on Loch Lomond
Explore Glasgow and Trossachs National Park
A short sightseeing tour of Edinburgh
Experience the remarkable Falkirk Wheel
(entrance payable locally)
? Fully escorted by a friendly, tour manager
? Three nights? bed and scottish breakfast,
accommodation, two evening meals, return
?ights and transfers
0330 160 7908 & quote THE PLF OFFER CODE
To receive a full detailed brochure, complete the
order form and send to:
Freepost, Newmarket Holidays, PLF Travel
Offers (no stamp required)
Organised by Newmarket Holidays Ltd. ABTA V7812. ATOL protected 2325. Subject to availability. Single supplements apply. Aberdeen Journals and the DC Thomson group of companies would like to contact you about new offers and services we think may be of
interest to you. By providing your contact details and email address we assume that we can contact you by post and email. *Book by 30 April 2018. �pp Low Deposits. Offer subject to availability & may be withdrawn at any time.
At first she hadn?t wanted anyone
else to climb it. It was funny how
things worked out in the end . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
CARLETT peered
suspiciously through
the leaves of the
oak tree.
She was sitting on a
forked branch about 12
feet off the ground.
The position gave her a
good view of the garden
next door and she had just
spotted a visitor there. She
didn?t like the look of him
at all.
For a start, he was a boy
? probably about seven, her
own age ? but also he had
freckles, sticking-out ears
and a very strange bald
patch in the middle of his
She broke off a piece of
dried branch and threw it at
him. To her great
satisfaction, it hit him on
the shoulder.
?Who did that??
He ran over and peered
under the branches
spreading over the fence.
His anger evaporated at
once when he spotted
?What a brilliant hiding
place. Can I come up??
?Of course not,? Scarlett
retorted. ?This is my tree.?
?We just moved in. My
name is Theophilus Pontifex
Stormborn Brown.?
Scarlett?s eyes widened.
?Well, my parents only
called me Theo Brown, but I
gave myself two other
Jealousy burned through
Scarlett. Why hadn?t she
thought of that? It was a
brilliant idea.
?Why do you have a bald
?It was something I read in
a book about the ancient
Greeks. When they wanted
to send a secret message,
they would shave a slave?s
head, write the message on
it and then let the hair grow
back again before sending
him on his way.
?I was trying to do the
same, but Mum caught me
in the middle of cutting my
hair off.? His mouth twisted
in disgust. ?She stopped
Despite herself, Scarlett
felt her admiration for him
?OK, you can come up,?
she said reluctantly. ?You?ll
have to climb the branches
on your side of the fence.?
He started scrambling his
way up the tree. He made a
great deal of noise and his
progress seemed ridiculously
slow to Scarlett. But
eventually he found himself
near to her.
He pointed at a branch
which was above him but
below her.
?Do you think that will
hold me??
The branch was quite thin
and Scarlett had never
trusted her own weight to it.
?Of course,? she said
Grabbing the branch with
both hands, he wrapped his
legs round it and began
wriggling towards her.
There was an ominous
* * * *
?I can?t believe that you
were so irresponsible,? her
mother hissed as she strode
along the hospital corridor
with Scarlett in tow.
?Encouraging poor Theo to
climb that tree when he had
only just become our
Scarlett didn?t recall
Theophilus needing much
encouragement. However,
she knew that it was best
not to respond when her
mum was going off on one.
They swept into the ward
and found Theophilus lying
on a bed with a tunnel
shape round his left arm
and his parents by his side.
Scarlett?s mother turned
to her sternly.
?What do you have to
Scarlett did her best to
look sweet, though she had
never been very successful
at that.
?I?m sorry. What
happened to Theophilus
was my fault.?
His parents smiled down
at her.
?That?s all right. He?s
going to be fine and I?m
sure you didn?t mean any
harm. Oh, and we call him
That baffled Scarlett. If
your son had a fantastic
name like Theophilus, why
would you shorten it to
something boring? It would
be like shortening her name
to Scar.
Her eyes narrowed
thoughtfully. Scar might
actually be quite a cool
name to have.
She heard a hissing
sound. It was Theophilus.
She went over to the bed
while their parents started
talking about house prices.
?It?s brilliant here,? he
said eagerly. ?I?ve got pins
in my arm like Iron Man
and I have to wee in a
Scarlett grimaced with
jealousy and frustration.
?I?ve spent my whole life
in this town without ever
staying in the hospital, and
you get to sleep here on
your very first night.?
Theophilus grinned.
?Anyway, I brought
something for you,? she
said and glanced round.
Their parents were now
engrossed in a discussion
about recycling schedules.
As she took it carefully
from her pocket,
Theophilus?s eyes grew so
wide that Scarlett thought
they might pop out.
?A toad!? he whispered in
disbelief. ?That?s amazing!?
Quietly, he opened the
drawer of his bedside table
and Scarlett slipped it
inside. Theo gazed at
her in awe.
?We?re going to be
such good friends.?
Scarlett looked at him
thoughtfully. Even though
he was a boy, it seemed
possible that he might be
* * * *
?Why were you playing
rugby in the first place??
Theophilus asked in
puzzlement. ?Girls don?t
play rugby at our school.?
?Well, they should,?
Scarlett retorted. ?It?s a
silly rule. So when I saw it
was a supply teacher, I
borrowed someone?s rugby
stuff and joined in the
game. The teacher never
Theophilus nodded
?So you want me to kiss
you?? Theophilus asked
uncertainly. ?Wouldn?t that
be weird??
?Yes,? Scarlett retorted.
?But I have to kiss
someone. It?s a matter of
They looked at each other
in silence, thinking about it.
Then Theophilus shrugged.
He wiped his mouth
carefully with the back of
his sleeve and positioned
himself by the bed. He
closed his eyes, pursed his
lips and moved his head
Scarlett had to redirect
him slightly, but then they
pressed their lips gently
It was a bit odd having
?I can?t get to the age of sixteen
without kissing a boy?
?You do look quite like a
Scarlett?s eyes blazed.
?That?s horrible. Anyway,
I was playing brilliantly until
I tackled Chucksy Fleming
and he barged me and
broke my collar bone.?
Theophilus glanced round
the hospital ward.
?Do you remember the
last time we were here??
Scarlett grinned.
?The nurse?s yell when
she saw the toad ? that was
so funny.? She winced
painfully. ?I shouldn?t
Scarlett?s mother came
?I?m going with Theo?s
mum for a coffee. Can we
get you two anything??
They shook their heads.
?I?m glad they?re gone,?
Scarlett muttered. ?Pull the
curtain round the bed.?
Theophilus did so eagerly,
sensing an adventure.
She looked at him
?We?re friends, aren?t
He nodded.
?Best friends.?
?Well, I need your help.
It?s my birthday tomorrow
and I can?t get to the age of
sixteen without kissing a
Theophilus?s eyes
widened and a silence fell
between them.
his blurred face so close to
hers, and she was starting
to wonder how long the kiss
was supposed to last when
Theophilus?s eyes flickered
They moved apart and
looked at each other for a
few moments.
?I don?t really see what
the fuss is all about,?
Scarlett muttered.
?Madam, you must allow
me to tell you how ardently
I admire and love you,?
Theophilus responded.
He grinned.
?I read it in one of the
books we were studying for
English and I decided that I
should say it the first time I
kissed someone.?
Her eyes narrowed.
?So it?s the first time for
you, too?? He nodded and
she looked at him
thoughtfully. ?Well,
?No problem.? He smiled.
?Any time you need
someone to kiss in the
future, just ask.?
* * * *
?Oh, Theophilus, give me
a kiss.?
He pushed himself up
carefully in the bed and
Scarlett stretched down and
pressed her lips against his.
A tiny squeak of pleasure
emerged from her throat.
He was such a lovely kisser.
She broke away with a
groan of frustration.
?I can?t believe that it?s
our wedding night and here
you are in a hospital bed
with a broken leg!?
He grinned.
?It was a great wedding,
though, wasn?t it??
The corners of her lips
?Not bad.?
They had decided to get
married in in the French
Alps. However, the weather
that day had been a bit
mad. It was a constantly
changing mixture of
gorgeous sun, cascading
rain and wild swirling winds.
At one point, Scarlett was
sure that she heard thunder
in the distance. Both sets of
parents had wanted to
move the ceremony
indoors, but the bride and
groom were having none of
It was too exciting saying
their vows outside, with the
mountains in the
background and the wind
whirling the guests? clothing
every which way.
The trouble occurred
when Scarlett threw her
bouquet. She gave it a huge
heave, the wind caught it
and it ended up high in the
branches of a nearby tree.
When Theophilus
immediately started running
towards the tree, Scarlett
couldn?t resist the
To cheers from their
friends and disbelieving
shouts from their parents,
they raced each other to
reach the bouquet.
Scarlett reckoned that it
was only because of her
dress that Theophilus got
there first. Blowing her a
kiss, he swung his arm back
and threw the bouquet to
the crowd below,
unfortunately throwing
himself out of the tree in
the process.
Scarlett took his left hand
in hers and pressed her lips
against it.
?Did I ever tell you how
much I love you, Theophilus
Brown?? she murmured.
A twinkle flickered across
his eyes.
?You may have
mentioned it once or twice.?
She gave a low growl.
?I need to get you out of
here; this is no place to
spend a honeymoon. It?s
the last time I want either
of us to end up in hospital.?
* * * *
Theophilus gazed at
Scarlett lying quietly in the
hospital bed. She had
drifted off to sleep again,
her face drawn and weary,
a curl of hair stuck to her
Around him, he could
hear the quiet sounds of the
ward at night: the two
nurses murmuring at their
station, a faint snoring from
across the room, someone
turning over in bed. It all
seemed a bit distant.
Close by, he was
surrounded by a bubble
containing only himself and
Scarlett and the tiny
miraculous Irma, a bubble
filled with their love.
He felt a faint touch on
his hand.
?Hi, Theophilus.?
He turned to her and
tears welled up in his eyes
as he thought of the long,
difficult labour she had
battled through.
?Scarlett,? he whispered,
hardly daring to squeeze
her hand, she seemed so
frail. ?How are you??
She smiled at him weakly.
?I?m fine.? She turned
slowly to look at Irma.
?We?re fine.?
They gazed at the
impossibly small baby,
losing themselves in the
magic of it.
?She?s blowing bubbles,?
he murmured in awe. ?Can
you believe it? She?s so
Scarlett turned back and
fixed her eyes on his, their
fingers intertwined.
?What is it?? he asked
after a while.
?I?ve been thinking about
the first thing we should do
when we get home.?
?We should plant an
acorn.? A smile drifted
across her face. ?I want an
oak tree in our garden when
Irma grows up.?
Theophilus thought back
to their first meeting and
the years they had
journeyed together to reach
this moment.
He nodded.
?And a pond to keep
toads in, too.? n
old relics
Enter the answers in the direction indicated by the arrows.
Bring (eggs)
to hatching
Roll of hair
no stamp
Immersed to
halfway up
the leg (4-4)
charged for
a service
__ Karenina,
__ out,
__ Deayton,
TV host
__ Mack,
Soaks in
Beginning with the highlighted letter, follow a continuous path
to find all the words relating to Mickey Mouse. The trail passes
through each and every letter once, and may twist up, down or
sideways, but never diagonally.
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd
Mike is nervous
about his blind
date . . .
OU want to set
Mike and Carol up
on a blind date??
Susan smiled and
Anna nodded.
?What do you think??
?I don?t see why not!?
Susan exclaimed. ?I?ll make
sure Mike?s waiting in the
Old Engine Room at seven
tomorrow night, done up in
his best bib and tucker.?
?I?ll make sure Carol?s
there, too, glammed up.?
?It?s a date,? Susan said
and she and Anna
exchanged a smile.
The following evening at
the Old Engine Room, the
caf� was unusually busy.
With Susan on maternity
leave, the reservations
weren?t as organised as
they used to be with her at
the helm.
The diary had gone
missing and tables had
been overbooked. A queue
of people was waiting by
the bar for tables to
become ready.
In the queue were Ruby
and Jim, who had been
waiting for ten minutes.
?Excuse me, Ruby,? Jim
said. ?I?m just going to nip
outside to make a call to
the pub. I forgot to tell
Sam that the optic on the
gin isn?t working properly.?
Off he went, leaving Ruby
alone. Just then, Mike
appeared, glancing at his
watch and looking
nervously around the caf�,
wondering who Susan had
set him up with.
Ruby caught his eye.
?Hello, Mike. You?re
looking smart,? she said.
She saw the faintest
blush on his face.
?Oh, this old suit?? he
said, brushing a hand down
the jacket he?d bought that
day. ?I?ve had it for years.?
?And your tie. Is that real
silk?? Ruby asked.
Mike put his hand to his
tie, tugging at it slightly.
?I have to say, Ruby,? he
began hesitantly, ?I can?t
tell you how pleased I am
that it?s you. I mean, that
you?re here tonight.?
Ruby laughed.
?Well, I didn?t know I was
coming until yesterday. It
was all very last minute.?
?Same here,? he replied.
?Susan?s got a lot to answer
?Susan?? Ruby asked.
?Yes, you know. You and
?You and me?? Ruby
echoed.?You and me
?Blind date?? Mike said.
Ruby shook her head,
puzzled, but before she
could find out what he was
going on about, Jim
appeared at her shoulder.
?Look who I?ve just found
outside,? he announced.
All eyes turned to Carol
who was wearing the most
sensational gold dress. Her
hair was piled high on her
head in a style Ruby was
sure she?d seen on ?Strictly
Come Dancing? last year.
?Ruby!? Carol said,
alarmed. ?I didn?t expect
you to be here, too.?
?Jim and I thought we?d
treat ourselves to dinner,?
Ruby said.
Carol looked from Jim to
Ruby and back again.
?You?re still together?
But I was supposed to
meet . . . I mean . . .?
?Blind date?? Mike
chipped in.
Carol flashed her brown
eyes in Mike?s direction.
?Oh, thank goodness. I
think I was just about to
make a fool of myself.?
?It looks like you and I
are the blind dates,? Mike
said. ?We?ve been well and
truly set up by your sister
and my daughter-in-law.?
Carol smiled.
?When you?re dressed up
in a lovely suit like that,
Mike, how can a girl
refuse? Is that tie silk??
* * * *
At the Ship, Sam was
struggling with the gin
optic, determined to get it
to work. In a corner of the
pub, under his favourite
seat, lay Buster, the pub
dog, keeping a watchful eye
on events.
Ruby?s aunts Beryl and
Pearl sat with a glass of
sherry each in the back
room. Spread out on a
table were the estate
agent?s details of the flat in
the riverside complex.
?We can afford it, Beryl,?
Pearl told her sister.
?It?s not the price that?s
the issue.? Beryl sighed. ?I
wouldn?t want Ruby to feel
we?re crowding her if we
moved here.?
Beryl picked up one of
the sheets.
?Oh, but it does have a
lovely view of the river.?
?And we?ve got a lovely
view of the park at home,?
Pearl replied. ?And we?d
not be able to jump on the
Eurostar to pop over to
Paris for our weekends
Beryl nodded.
?Very true. And I do like
our weekends away.?
?There?s all of our friends
to say goodbye to,? Pearl
continued. ?Can you really
see us living in a flat in the
sky like two caged birds??
?Oh, you?re right,? Beryl
said. ?I?m not ready to have
my wings clipped just yet.?
Pearl raised her glass of
sherry to her sister.
?Here?s to two old birds
who refuse to be caged!?
Beryl smiled and raised
her glass.
?To us!?
* * * *
?Busy night at the caf�?
Susan asked when Dave
finally came up to their flat.
Dave sank on to the sofa.
?It was frantic,? he said.
?Did the baby go off to
sleep all right??
?Like a dream,? Susan
said. ?I?ve been thinking
about her christening. We
should get it arranged. We
need to choose her
godfather. Ruby?s already
agreed to be godmother.?
?Ruby? When??
?When we first found out
I was pregnant. You were
there when I asked her,?
Susan said.
Dave slapped his
?Oh, love, I forgot! I?ve
asked my cousin Debbie ?
and she?s said yes, too!?
More next week.
Time For
A Catnap
This is my cat,
Dinky, relaxing on
the sofa after having
eaten her lunch.
She likes nothing
better than a catnap
when she has a full
Mrs J.C.,
Titled Lady
Being a mum is a wonderful thing
With all the excitement that motherhood brings.
Then many years on, I?m a grandma at last,
What wonders that brings, twice the fun of the past!
My life was complete, at last, so I thought,
Then a phone call to me, what news that call brought.
Me, a great-grandma, I?m bursting with pride,
I?m acting quite silly, my joy I can?t hide.
Now isn?t that something, Mum, Grandma, Great-gran,
I love all my titles, but really I am
Just an ordinary lady, my future looks bright,
When I look at my family, yes, I did something right!
Mrs J.N., Liverpool.
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD, or e-mail us at
Star Letter
I read your lovely article about Sandra Smith
and the good work she does in fostering babies.
I was interested in this as my daughter,
Vanessa, was one of those babies who benefited
from her loving attention.
My husband and I had our first ? and only
? child in May 1972, when we lived in Broughty
Ferry. However, when Vanessa was four months
old I developed severe postnatal depression and
was in Maryfield Hospital for nine weeks.
My husband was working full-time and, in
those days, fathers weren?t expected to take time
off to look after children, so the hospital
arranged for Sandra to care for our daughter.
Our baby went from being underweight to a
?chubby? little soul under Sandra?s care and I will
never forget her help at such a traumatic time,
especially as our extended family lived too far
away to help out.
I?d like to say a big thank you to Sandra and let
her know that Vanessa is happy, healthy and now
has a family of her own.
Mrs A.R., Dumfries
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.
As I live in Australia I?ve
obviously to wait longer to
read your fabulous magazine,
so I?ve just read the Annie
Harris story about Tenbury
Wells and the mistletoe. I was
born in that area at Brook
Farm, Berrington, eighty-three
years ago and remember well
the mistletoe being sold.
Having married an
Australian, I have lived in
Sydney for 57 years, yet still
have fond memories of
Tenbury Wells which the story
brought back to life for me.
Thanks for the memories.
Mrs E.C. Australia.
Postcards From
The Past
I enjoyed reading Willie
Shand?s article which featured
the Moffat ram statue and
thought you might like to see
this postcard. The little girl in
the picture is my mother
Peggie Proudfoot when she
was a young girl aged around
eight. That?s some time ago,
as I?ve recently celebrated my
ninetieth birthday!
Mrs M.H., Carlisle.
Lifelong Passion
Mrs Latimer from Enniskillen
was the lucky winner of our
recent Apple iPad competition.
This is a picture of my
dinosaur-mad grandson
William wearing the hoodie
knitted from a recent pattern
in the ?Friend?.
William has just turned
three and already knows the
names of most dinosaurs.
He calls this his Stegosaurus
Mrs J.P., Bognor Regis.
Wonderful Couple
Here?s a lovely picture of my in-laws, Joan and Fred, who have
just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
They make such a wonderful couple and are loved by all the
family ? they have four children, 11 grandchildren, 17 greatgrandchildren, and more on the way!
Mrs J.D., Burnley.
My mum is an avid reader
of ?The People?s Friend? and
loves the knitting patterns.
She took us in when I was
eight ? Mum had her hands
full with four kids and a
husband needing round-theclock care, so we had little, yet
she found time to knit
jumpers, hats, gloves and
scarfs to save money, while
teaching me to read and write.
Mum?s knitting has been a
lifelong passion, from the age
of four, and now aged eighty,
she has never tired of it and
has raised lots of money for
charity, knitting everything
from clowns to teddy bears.
This is one of her more
recent creations, inspired by
the Loch Ness Monster and
my stories to her and Dad
about my adventures around
Scotland (sadly I?ve yet to spot
Mr S.M-S., Argyll & Bute.
On The Right Track
I enjoyed reading the ?Hidden Histories? feature in a recent
issue, where you mentioned the ways we can see history in
everyday landmarks around the country.
It made me think ? it has always helped me that some house
and street names, such as ?Church Street? and ?Station Lane?
and so on, come from the history and landmarks of a place; it is
easy to find a train station if you can find Station Lane. Yet, when
I mentioned this fact to my sister when we were lost recently,
she didn?t believe me ? she thought that the names had no
relation to the setting. Needless to say, I was right and we did
find the station!
Ms R.S., York.
Puzzle Solutions from page 27
Missing Link
The words in order
are Swan, Wind,
Exit, Cake, Chip,
Rush, Leap, Zero,
Rule, Calm.
The phrase is
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write to the Readers Editor at The People?s Friend, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
t forget the
letter to Alfred Hapstall, will
you, Rose??
Alone once more, Rose
sat down at the table and
opened her writing case.
I won?t give way to my
imaginings, she told herself.
I?ll write as a friend should.
She selected one of her
last sheets of paper and
prepared the pen and ink,
then she began.
Dear Alfred,
I am writing to tell you
that there has been a
change in my
circumstances and I am
now at liberty to resign my
post as Mrs Jameson?s
companion. Having no
connections to justify my
staying in Datcherford, I
have decided I will leave
I will not pretend any
sorrow in quitting Cross
Roads House, but I wanted
you to know how much I
have appreciated your
kindness at a time it was
most welcome. We cannot
know what our futures
hold, but I hope that yours
brings success in business
and joy in your life.
I send my best wishes for
your good health and
Sincerely, Rose Bryson.
She folded the letter, and
was writing out the address
when the bell for the
servants? meal sounded.
She hurriedly sealed the
envelope and tucked it into
the pocket of her dress.
It is done, she thought.
Tomorrow I will leave and I
will never see Alfred again.
To be continued.
From the manse
By Barbara Mosse
AVE you ever found
yourself lost for words at
the sight of a beautiful
sunset, or at the dazzle of stars
in a night sky untainted by the
glow of artificial light?
The beauties of nature have
the power to jolt us out of our
normal way of seeing things
and into another dimension.
It?s an experience which is
as old as the hills, and in the
Bible we find a wonderful
example in Psalm 104 which
is full of the poet?s wonder
and gratitude for the glories of
God?s creation.
Two years ago my husband
Martin and I treated ourselves
to a cruise up the Norwegian
coast in search of the Northern
This voyage was memorable
for many reasons, but the
excitement really intensified
when our captain announced
one evening ? in the middle
of dinner ? that ?a little light
aurora activity? had been
spotted off the port side.
Many of our fellow diners
immediately rose to their feet
and made for the doorways.
I moved quickly myself, my
feet soundless on the plush
carpeted stairs, back to our
cabin where I quickly donned
my Arctic clothing ? thick black
base stockings, tasteful pink
midi-fleece, enormous padded
red anorak, two pairs of gloves,
scarf and a furry hat complete
with ear-flaps.
But this wasn?t a moment to
be fashion-conscious, as I
knew the temperature on deck
would be sub-zero.
Muffled in my multiple
layers, the heat was now
suffocating, so I hurried down
the corridor and up the last
flight of stairs to the open
Despite the Arctic clothing,
the cold almost took my
breath away. It was like
breathing vaporised ice. After
the bright lights below deck,
my eyes took a few minutes to
adjust to the almost total
darkness of the Norwegian
night, deep inside the Arctic
Beyond the little island of
our ship the only visible light
came from a single pearl-string
marking a small coastal
settlement; and, spanning the
heavens, a breathtaking sweep
of stars never visible in the
light-polluted skies of large
areas of southern Britain.
There was a sense of
communal excitement, and I
felt it bubbling up within me.
We were privileged audience
members in this vast open-air
theatre, and there was a
feeling of intense, subdued
anticipation as we waited for
the curtain to rise.
I doubted the evidence of
my eyes at first, so pale and
delicate was the vision.
Seemingly rising out of the
sea, there was a faint
lightening of the darkness, a
mere shifting of shadows.
A wavering column of pale
green slowly rose from the
waters, drifting its way
skywards like a plume of
smoke rising lazily from an
autumn bonfire.
The column continued to
rise and the colour
strengthened, until the light
embraced us all in a magical
rainbow-type arc right over our
heads. I found myself crying
and laughing at the same time,
speechless with joy.
So began the first of three
nights of magical Northern
Lights activity. The final night
gave us a cosmic firework
display with Roman Candles,
Catherine wheels, and
whiplash swathes of green and
yellow light flashing across the
full expanse of the heavens.
Exclamations of amazement
gave way to awestruck silence
as we simply gazed in
wonder. n
Next week: Actions speak
louder than words f
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