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The People’s Friend - April 21, 2018

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Money-off voucher for Annie
Murray?s brilliant new book
Make the most of
fresh asparagus
April 21, 2018 No. 7723
�30
The best fiction
Brunch Muffins with British
Asparagus, Egg and Bacon
? Susan Reynolds? story set in the South of France
? A sweet springtime romance by Patricia Clark
Boiled Potato, Griddled
Asparagus and Egg Salad
Enjoy beautiful views in Argyll and Bute
Poetic
tributes
to the
city of
London
Problem
plot? The
answer
may lie
beneath!
Free
Pattern
Inside
This pretty
crochet
bag is
easy to
make
ddddddddddddd
Loch Sween
Lovely
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
dd
�30
21-Apr- 2018
UK Off-sale date - 25-Apr-18
Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
7 short stories
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
The People?s Friend Special
No 156, priced �99
On sale
now!
l 8 pages of puzzles
l 14 brand-new short stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 859, priced �49
l An exciting modern story
by Cara Cooper
Cover Artwork: Loch Sween, Argyll and Bute, by J. Campbell Kerr.
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
Fiction
Regulars
Features
4 A Little Taste Of France
by Susan Reynolds
15 My Vintage Life
by Helen M. Walters
21 Whe re Are All The Hats?
by Susan Sarapuk
23 SERIES Busy Bees
by Della Galton
28 SERIAL All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
by Josephine Allen
43 Me And My Dad
by Leonora Francis
55 Springtime Romance
by Patricia Clark
61 In Mannerby Woods
by Katie Ashmore
68 SERIAL Alfred?s
Emporium
by Louise J. Stevens
87 The April Effect
by H. Johnson-Mack
93 WEEKLY SOAP
Riverside by Glenda
Young
7 This Week We?re Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
25 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: make the
most of seasonal
asparagus with our
tasty recipes
59 Our Next Issue
64 Notes From My Garden
by Alexandra Campbell
70 Reader Offer: Royal
Wedding Spoons
73 From The Manse
Window
79 Would You Believe It?
81 Craft: bags of fun with
this colourful crochet
creation
86 Reader Offer: Retro
Aprons
91 Extra Puzzles
94 Between Friends
8 Morag Fleming explores
the beauty of Loch
Sween
27 Author Mary Wood
interviews Annie Murray
about her new book
?Sisters Of Gold?
40 Jane McMorland Hunter,
Editor of ?Favourite
Poems Of London?, tells
us about the charms of
the city
53 Our Talking Point asks
?Should we make do
and mend??
67 Gillian Thornton
discovers a village which
has a special connection
to Anzac Day
74 Simon Whaley opens the
door on Men?s Sheds
85 Try our delectable ginger,
elderflower and rose
cheesecake
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I love asparagus, but I
only ever buy fresh
British asparagus when
it?s in season ? the
air-freighted stuff that?s
available in
supermarkets all year
round just doesn?t have
the same delicious
flavour. So this week,
I?ll definitely be taking
note of the asparagus
recipes on page 36,
though they?ll have to
go some to beat my
own favourite way of
serving this delectable
vegetable: oven roasted
with tiny new potatoes,
garlic and cubes of
halloumi. My mouth is
watering at the
thought!
Food also plays a role
in this week?s opening
story on page 4, ?A
Little Taste Of France?
by Susan Reynolds,
which beautifully
conjures up the sights,
sounds and smells of
the sunny south of
France. It?s perfectly
complemented by a
gorgeous illustration by
Sailesh Thakrar. And
there?s another lovely,
dreamy illustration with
Katie Ashmore?s story
?In Mannerby Woods?
on page 61. Artist Tracy
Fennell has captured
the magical
atmosphere of a
bluebell wood so
cleverly ? I just love the
illustration she?s
created.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
twitter.com/@TheFriendMag
A Little Taste
Of France
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
I
T had all started with
the dazzling young
American woman on the
market stall offering a
sample of her Merguez
sausage. Simple as that.
Maggie had taken her for
a French stallholder at first.
She wore a blue-striped
apron complete with
leather money pouch in
front, black capri pants,
black ballet pumps and a
slash-neck white T-shirt:
the epitome of French chic.
Maggie asked her, in her
best schoolgirl French, if
she was there every
morning, as she would
definitely return for some
more of this spicy French
delicacy and perhaps one
of the lady?s finest roast
chickens laced with
rosemary and garlic.
Ooh, and some of that
moreish ?raclette? potato
dish. Her mouth watered,
ignoring the million calories
it contained with all that
double cream and cheese!
The young woman replied
in French that yes, she was
there every single morning.
Then she surprised Maggie.
?Gee, are you from
Scotland, by any chance??
she asked with a peculiar
accent that sounded half
American, half French.
Maggie groaned.
?Is it so obvious? Is my
French that bad??
The lady apologised.
?No, not at all obvious,
actually. Just call it the
instinct of the market
trader and a wee bit of
Sherlock Holmes thrown in.
I know my usual clientele,
you see, and you are not
one of them.
?Also, you were clearly
fascinated by my Merguez,
like someone tasting it for
the very first time. From
that fascination, I figured
you were foreign.?
?Elementary, my dear
Watson.? Maggie laughed.
?But how did you manage
to detect my Scottishness?
Why not English instead??
?You clearly weren?t
English, German or
American. I?ve met so many
of them here on the Riviera
and can now pinpoint their
country when they speak
Maggie was
enjoying her
holiday so much
she was keen to
sample more of
what the
country had to
offer . . .
French. Your foreign
accent, however, is barely
detectable.
?You?re also extremely
good at rolling your ?Rs?,
therefore I had a hunch you
must be Scottish or Irish.?
Maggie giggled,
?Henry Higgins and
Colonel Pickering have
nothing on you!?
The stallholder laughed.
??Just you wait, ?Enry
?Iggins, just you wait?. Wow,
?My Fair Lady? is my
favourite movie!?
And so began a
fascinating conversation
with Claudia, the beautiful
girl behind the stall. She
SHORT STORY BY SUSAN REYNOLDS 5
hailed from LA. Her
sixteen-year-old son, Nico,
dreamed of becoming a
?soccer pro? and was
attending a prestigious
soccer academy in Paris.
She and her French
husband, Yves, thought he
would have a better chance
of breaking into the soccer
world if they headed for
mainland Europe and,
because of his roots,
France had been the
obvious choice.
Nico spoke excellent
French, for starters. He
researched clubs and
footballing schools and had
set his heart on the soccer
academy in Paris as a
springboard for his football
career.
He was delighted when
they accepted him and the
family?s move to France
followed suit.
Claudia only saw him
once every seven weeks
but was content in the
knowledge he was happy.
?It?s practically like
sending your child to
boarding school,? Claudia
admitted. ?But if Nico?s
happy then we?re happy.
?We?ve never looked back
since we moved here. Yves,
my husband, is thrilled to
be back home in the south
of France, near his parents,
brothers and sisters and
nieces and nephews.
?He found an excellent
job in Monaco with great
prospects. Everything?s
fallen into place for him. As
for me, well, I love it here.
?It?s so tranquil and laid
back compared to LA. I
couldn?t have taken much
more of that!?
Maggie listened as
Claudia explained how
stressed she had been in
LA, working in advertising,
with hard-nosed editors to
satisfy and difficult clients
to entertain, not to
mention strict deadlines to
meet.
?It was such a treadmill,
Maggie. I loathed every
second of it. So matters
resolved themselves, really,
in the end.
?Our number-one priority
is Nico and our family unit.
So I turned my back on my
LA life and haven?t looked
back.
?What do you think of it
here? Divine, isn?t it??
Maggie sighed.
?Breathtaking! I?m totally
spellbound: the
Mediterranean, the
mountains, the food, the
people, the climate. You?re
very blessed, Claudia.
?I don?t want to go back, I
really don?t. I?ve never felt
so strongly about a holiday
not ending. I love it here.?
Maggie found herself
telling all about Alan, her
husband of thirty years
who had suddenly left her
for his secretary only two
years before.
?A classic betrayal: his
secretary, for goodness?
sake! But I still can?t get
over it,? she finished. ?It
was all so sudden. Call me
stupid, but I never
suspected a thing. I loved
him and trusted him.
?Now I don?t quite know
where to put myself. I?m an
artist, Claudia, but I
haven?t so much as picked
up a paintbrush since Alan
walked out.?
Maggie stopped in her
tracks. She couldn?t believe
she was sharing her
innermost thoughts with a
complete stranger.
She had bottled
everything up so nicely and
kept a lid on it.
Claudia was no longer
smiling. She was looking at
her with the same look her
friends wore each time she
met up with them. They
didn?t know how to relate
to her now she was single.
It wasn?t easy for anyone.
Gosh, even she didn?t know
how to relate to herself.
Claudia leaned forward.
She was smiling again.
?Still, Maggie, you?re
here, aren?t you?? she said
encouragingly. ?Alone,
standing on your own two
feet, speaking French.
?It?s not the easiest of
places to get to, even
though it is one of the
prettiest, so you?ve already
proved you have initiative
and great discernment to
have picked this town, and
to have travelled here
against the odds!?
Maggie nodded.
?You?re right. I couldn?t
have chosen a better
place.?
?You ain?t seen nothing
yet!? Claudia continued. ?I
would recommend a visit to
the old town, especially the
Basilique de Saint Michel.
?It?s the highest point of
the town with lots of steps
to climb, but well worth the
effort! The panoramic view
of the town is spellbinding
and the basilica itself
awesome.
?Your troubles will just
melt away, Maggie, you?ll
see. Write them down in
the big prayer book, even if
you?re a non-believer. It will
still work wonders, believe
me.?
* * * *
So here she was, inside
the basilica, staring in
somehow learn to live her
new life on her own.
It was difficult being
single after so many years.
However, she vowed she
would learn who she was
and decide what she
wanted from life.
Maggie ambled around
the basilica, admiring the
various works of religious
art and soaking up the
peace and tranquillity of
this sacred place.
?There it is!? she
exclaimed. ?Claudia?s big
book.?
A plump lady dressed in
black was bent over a big
It was difficult to be single after
so many years
wonder at the golden
statue of the Archangel
Michael trampling a fallen
angel underfoot.
Beams of golden sunlight
streamed through the
window and sparkled like
diamonds on the marble
floor. What better place to
ponder her future?
Maggie felt the urge just
to sit there and let her
troubles just melt away, as
Claudia had advised. Her
mind drifted to Claudia?s
parents.
How must they have felt
when they heard their
hot-shot advertising
executive daughter was
taking herself off to the
French Riviera and leaving
her glittering career
behind?
What did they think of
her working on a market
stall? Were they
disappointed? Or was it
enough that Claudia was
fulfilled and happy?
Did it matter how a
person lived their life as
long as they lived it
honourably and were true
to themselves?
She thought of her own
family: her grown-up
children, Gregor and Katie.
They had both pleaded
with her to move in with
them for a while after Alan
left, but she had resisted.
Did she regret it? Part of
her did. Nevertheless, she
had decided not to take
either of them up on their
offer. They had their own
lives to lead. She would
prayer book.
Every two seconds she
would stop, as though
choosing her words
carefully, and start again.
A tear trickled down her
cheek and Maggie?s heart
ached for her, although she
didn?t know the woman at
all.
She dug deep in her bag
and handed over the lace
handkerchief she had just
bought at Claudia?s market.
The lady wiped her tears
away and repeated over
and over again,
?Je suis d閟ol閑,
madame ? I am sorry,? and
waved her hand to indicate
it was all too much for her.
Maggie went to the big
prayer book and read
many thanks for the
blessings the Lord had
bestowed on the families of
the town.
Many of the townsfolk
had prayed for strength to
get through difficult times.
The plump lady?s words
were there.
I pray for Antoine and
Maria, who are being
forced to go into an old
folks? home against their
will.
Maggie took the pen.
Dear God, I pray that
you will guide me. What
should I do with the rest of
my life?
She paused for a
moment. Claudia had been
right. It felt liberating. She
felt better than she had
done in a long time.
She wrote again.
6
Oh, and please bless
Antoine and Maria. I
pray that God may help
them, even though I don?t
know them.
* * * *
Outside, the local lady
waited under a lemon tree
in the square to return
Maggie?s hankie.
?Merci, madame,? she
said quietly, as she handed
over the sodden piece of
lace. ?Vous 阾es tr鑣
gentille.?
Suddenly, Maggie heard
herself offer this stranger a
coffee and the lady smiled.
Both strangers offered a
hand of friendship to each
other. Then Sylvie led
Maggie through the
twisting alleyways of the
old town into a stunning
villa, which enjoyed the
most spectacular sea view.
The Mediterranean
sparkled and danced with
little white yachts and
dinghies with orange sails
bobbing along: A wonder
to behold.
The old town itself rang
out with the sound of
market traders, fishermen
with their haul, cheery
housewives bartering with
the stallholders and
bustling tourists snapping
everything in sight.
Maggie smiled.
?If young Claudia could
see me now!?
The beauty of the little
terraced garden took her
breath away. Bougainvillea
tumbled down the
terracotta walls; lemon and
lime trees filled the air with
a fresh citrus scent and
oleander bushes, laden
with pink flowers, grew in
large blue enamelled
containers.
Rosemary, basil, sage,
parsley and thyme grew in
galvanised yellow buckets
near the kitchen door. A
keen gardener, Maggie
delighted in this
horticultural feast.
?I could stay here for
ever! I feel like I?m in
heaven.? She sighed.
Sylvie had returned with
a tray of freshly squeezed
lemonade. She hugged
Maggie tight, then spoke
solemnly in broken English.
?Heaven, you say? God
answers me already! You
want to stay here for ever?
You are une ange, Maggie.
An angel!?
Maggie was bewildered.
?I?m sorry, Sylvie, I don?t
understand!?
Sylvie explained, her lined
face now radiant with hope.
?It is simple, Maggie! You
live here for ever. You pay
Antoine and Maria rent,
they not leave. You are
happy, They are happy, too.
It is good, yes??
Maggie shook her head
and spoke softly.
?Sylvie, I do not know
Antoine and Maria. I am a
total stranger. I cannot help
you. I wish I could.
?I have my own life back
home; I have my children. I
do not know Antoine and
Maria. I cannot look after
them. I need time to look
after me first.
?I do not want to appear
selfish, Sylvie, but I cannot
be held responsible for
Antoine and Maria?s
future.?
Sylvie shook her head,
?Mais non! This is
business. Antoine and
Maria are independent:
they do not need you to
look after them. The only
help required from you is
perhaps four hundred euros
a month.
?Perhaps you could rent
the first floor of their villa.
It is much too big for an old
couple. They cannot afford
to stay here. What do you
say, Maggie??
Maggie saw a lace curtain
twitch behind the wooden
shutter. An elderly
gentleman stood there, his
arm protectively round his
wife?s shoulder.
?Perhaps it is time for me
to meet Antoine and
Maria,? Maggie suggested.
?I have many things to
consider, but meeting them
would be a good starting
point. It would help me
make a proper decision.
?I think it?s important to
sleep on it before making
difficult life decisions.?
?And to pray about it,
Maggie. You are the answer
to my prayer. I am entirely
sure of it.?
?Please, Sylvie, don?t put
pressure on me. I can?t just
leave my old life behind me
and move to France. Can I
please meet Antoine and
Maria first??
Sylvie scurried off
immediately to fetch the
elderly couple who were
clearly curious to know who
the mystery guest was.
* * * *
Maggie spent the
afternoon in their company
chatting about the glories
of the C魌e d?Azur and the
treasures of this garden.
Over dinner that same
evening, she found herself
telling them about Alan?s
infidelity, about her
children and her thoughts
about the future.
Antoine and Maria
shared their tale with
Maggie: their grown-up
children who rarely
returned to visit them, their
fears of losing their home
and their own options for
the future.
Finally, Maria looked
Maggie straight in the eyes.
?Our home is your home.
If you wish to stay in the
South of France, please
consider our villa first, that
is all we ask. It is a
beautiful house with a
beautiful garden and we
are sure you would love it
here.
?Please, Madame
Margu閞ite, do what your
heart tells you.?
Maggie hugged them
both and promised to
return the next day to give
them her decision.
As they watched Maggie
leave, Sylvie turned to
Maria.
?Maria,? she scolded,
?you could have been much
more dramatic. You could
have cried or something or
have begged her to stay.
You acted as though you
didn?t care!?
Maria took her
neighbour?s hand.
?My precious Sylvie, you
are such a dear friend. Do
not worry! Have you never
heard the old saying, ?If you
love someone, set them
free and when they come
back to you, they will love
you all the more for it??
?Madame Margu閞ite has
a lot on her mind, but she
needs this villa as much as
this villa needs her. She will
follow her heart. Don?t
forget that it was her heart
brought her here in the first
place.?
Next morning at the
basilica, Maggie paused to
write in Claudia?s big prayer
book.
Thank you, God, for
helping me find my way
through the fog. I know
exactly what to do now.
* * * *
A year later, Maggie held
her very first solo art
exhibition in the town hall
of the old town with her
close family around her as
well as dear friends from
back home, her many new
friends from her adopted
hometown.
?We are very, very proud
of you, Mum, aren?t we,
Katie?? Gregor said.
Katie nodded her head
and gave Maggie?s tanned
shoulder a squeeze.
?Yes, Mum, you?ve made
this place your own and
you?ve made so many
friends. Which is not
surprising. You?re one in a
million!?
Katie filled up and
couldn?t continue, she was
so overcome with emotion.
Gregor picked up where
Katie had left off.
?Here?s the thing, Mum,
you were meant to stay
here. You have made a new
life for yourself. Your work
is magic! This place must
inspire you.?
Maggie looked around
the room. This place truly
did inspire her, as did
everyone in this room.
Claudia, Yves and Nico,
were her special guests.
She had become very close
to Claudia since she moved
into Antoine and Maria?s.
She?d been invited to
Claudia?s home several
times and enjoyed many
meals with Claudia, Yves
and Nico. Countless times
she had blessed the day
when the spicy Merguez
sausage had tempted her
over to Claudia?s stall.
After a favourable tour of
Margu閞ite?s impressive
paintings, Claudia proposed
a toast to her great friend
Margu閞ite, and paid
tribute to her favourite
Merguez, which had
changed her life so
dramatically.
?Three cheers for
Merguez and Margu閞ite!?
Everyone clinked their
glasses.
?Merguez and
Margu閞ite!? n
loving
iStock.
This week we?re
BITS & PIECES 7
Bluebell Walk
The Bluebell Festival at Hole Park
Gardens in Rolvenden, Kent, takes
place from April 20 to May 3. The
gardens, woodlands and Coach
House tea room are open to visitors
daily in spring and summer until
June 9. More details at www.
holepark.com.
Clever Choices
A Little Bird . . .
If you prefer traditional communication
to Twitter, share your news on this
delightful new bird design stationery. The
I Like Birds range published by Quadrille
features simple, pretty notebooks, jotters
and cards. Priced from � you can find
the range online at Amazon.
We can learn to resist the constant
pressure to consume and instead to
value and enjoy the items we select
to meet our needs. In ?A Life Less
Throwaway?, Tara Button, Hardie
Grant �.99, shows how simpler,
wiser choices help to free up our
minds and our purses.
Rex Features.
RZSS/Sian Addison.
Drink To That
In The News
From chews to shoes, designer Anna
Bullus has come up with a brilliant way
to recycle chewing gum ? a synthetic
rubber ? into clean, usable products,
such as combs, travel mugs and
footwear. Gumdrops, recycling bins also
made from gum, collect the raw material
for processing.
Bouncing Baby
The first ever joey to be born at
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo arrived in
December. After a peek out at the
world in early spring, the new arrival
is expected to leave Mum?s pouch
soon. Keepers will then find out
whether it is a boy or a girl.
These BPA-free reusable silicone straws
from Seraphina?s Kitchen are suitable
for hot and cold drinks. They come
in different lengths and
widths, are dishwasher
safe, and they?re
RRP �.49
for a set
of six from
Amazon
and other
online
retailers.
By George!
April 23 is St George?s Day, the
anniversary of the day in AD303
when the saint was martyred. Born in
Cappadocia (now in Turkey), St George,
as well as being England?s patron saint,
is also patron of Ethiopia, Georgia and
Portugal, amongst others.
Details correct at time of going to press.
Alamy.
Was Hedy Lamarr, 1940s
Hollywood icon, really the inventor
who made
the internet
possible?
Find out this
and other
details of her
fascinating
life in
?Bombshell:
The Hedy
Lamarr Story?
on DVD now,
RRP 15.99.
iStock.
Heady Days
Dame Kelly Holmes
Happy birthday to Dame Kelly
Holmes, who will be forty-eight
on April 19. The 2004 Olympic
champion is now a TV presenter and
has founded a charity to support
young athletes.
Loch Sween
Lovely
Morag Fleming revels in the remoteness
of this Scottish peninsula.
This
week?s
cover
feature
Factfile
n Tayvallich comes from
the Gaelic Tigh
a?Bhealaich which
translates as ?the house
of the pass?. The
settlement here would
have been a resting
place on the track that
ran the length of the
peninsula to the Jura
ferry at Keillmore.
Photographs by Morag Fleming.
n ?Pristine? Loch Sween
is famous for its rich
underwater wildlife and
is a site favoured by
scientists for marine
research.
n Arichonan was the
scene of a riot during the
Clearances. The
inhabitants refused to
leave their homes and
police were sent in to
quell the rebellion. Many
Arichonan residents were
later imprisoned.
n During the summer
months a fast ferry (RIB)
operates from Tayvallich
to Craighouse, Isle of
Jura, six days a week.
L
OCH SWEEN is a
beautiful sea loch
which cuts deeply
into the west coast
of Scotland. It?s hard
to find ? think north of
Kintyre but south of Oban
and you are in the ball park.
Its beauty is its
remoteness but the
peninsulas on either side of
it help as well, being rich in
history ? from chapels and
castles to ghostly cleared
villages ? scenically
beautiful and abundant in
wildlife.
These include the very
rare and elusive beavers
that have been reintroduced
here on a successful pilot
scheme, the Scottish Beaver
Trial, to see how they got on
and their effect on the
surrounding area and
ecology.
A family of beavers was
put here in 2009, around
400 years after they were
hunted to extinction in
Scotland, and were then
monitored closely.
The good news is that in
2016 it was deemed a
success and these beavers
have been allowed to stay
and offered protected
status.
There are two lochs ?
Barnluasgan and CoilleBarre ? with a visitor centre
between the two which tells
me all about the beaver trial
and what to look out for in
terms of evidence.
It?s hard to spot the
beavers as they are elusive,
but their tell-tale signs are
everywhere in terms of
gnawed and even felled
trees, dams and the
resulting flooded areas.
I walk around the smaller
of the two lochs ? Loch
Barnluasgan ? at twilight
which is a good time to spot
them.
It is very calm, peaceful
and bonnie and I scan the
mirror-like loch for the
slightest ripple, but I see no
furry creatures or teeth.
I don?t mind, though. I
know how shy they are. I?m
just pleased they?re here
and doing so well.
Let?s explore! The
highlight of this visit for me
is Arichonan ? a cleared
village set on a hillside on
the north side of Loch
Sween. It?s only a mile or so
up the hill from the road
and the walk is through lush
woodland ? very bonnie.
THIS WEEK?S COVER FEATURE 9
Mediaeval
Castle Sween.
I am lucky as there is
no-one else around, so the
atmosphere is intact as I
reach my destination.
Arichonan was a thriving
village, believed to date
from at least the late 1500s.
In the census of 1841, 48
people lived in this village
but in 1848 they were
served with eviction notices
as part of what has come to
be known as the Highland
Clearances, when whole
villages and townships were
?cleared? to make way for
the more profitable sheep.
Today, the buildings are in
ruins, of course, but the
shape of the village is very
clear and it is easy to
imagine life here.
The buildings are set in a
sort of a square shape on a
slight slope on the hillside
with great views down the
loch way below ? albeit
they were built before views
were a selling point!
What was a selling point,
however, was running
water, and the burn up the
hill provided that.
Another must was fertile
land and the lush greenery
on all sides suggests that
was very much the case
here. The fresh air and open
aspect, plus the secluded
nature of the village, do
seem to make it the perfect
spot.
I make my way around
the buildings. There is
no-one else here. The ruins
seem intact from a distance
yet on closer inspection the
buildings are hollow and
overgrown by weeds and
moss.
It is eerie. I have never
been so overwhelmed by a
collection of shielings or a
cleared area before, and I
have seen many.
I stop from time to time to
view the village as a whole
and imagine the families
coming in and out of the
buildings: children running
View below
the castle.
between the houses;
animals grazing nearby and
the sounds of a vibrant
community which seem to
echo for real even after I
have snapped out of it.
Very powerful, very
moving.
I stay for ages but
eventually stroll back down
the hill through the woods,
back to the present, carrying
with me a profound sense
of loss.
Now I continue south and
after Tayvallich I turn left on
Yachts on
the water.
to a secondary peninsula
which, after a narrow neck,
runs alongside the main
peninsula here, with Linne
Mhuirich the body of water
in between.
This is the Taynish
National Nature Reserve.
There are three walking
trails to follow which
together show the diversity
on this reserve alone.
There is an ancient oak
wood, a hill with great
views, an old mill, meadows
and salt marsh, and the
coast, of course.
There is an abundance of
wildlife to be seen here as
well, including eagles and
otters.
Back on the main (single
track) drag, I continue to the
foot of this peninsula
enjoying the views across
Loch Sween, which is quite
narrow and seems even
more so with the tide out.
A yacht bobs offshore,
thoughtfully placed there by
a fellow photographer, I like
to fancy.
I go through a couple of
gates then park up at the
end of the road and wander
the rest.
The end of the peninsula
is interesting and once
round the corner the
views are quite
10
Tranquil Loch
Sween.
different ? across a
much wider body of
water towards Jura.
I climb up to Keills chapel
which occupies a bonnie
spot on the hillside and
dates from the 12th century.
It contains some burial slabs
from the same era. A wee
bit higher is Keills Cross
which dates from the eighth
century.
Such ancientness situated
on this lonely spot makes
Arichonan
ruined village.
for a special atmosphere.
Having thoroughly
explored this peninsula I
now retrace my steps and
travel down the other side
of Loch Sween towards
Castle Sween. It?s quite hard
to find as a static caravan
park has grown around it.
But I find a wee outcrop,
almost another mini
peninsula, on top of which
sits Castle Sween.
This castle is thought to
be one of the oldest in
Scotland, dating, like Keills
chapel, from the 12th
century. It is square and
boxy but has quite the best
view I have seen from a
castle in a while.
I can see right down Loch
Sween ? I?d have been
checking for invaders in the
past, of course, but now it?s
just a wonderful view and a
chance to spy for the odd
yacht.
A little further on and I am
almost rounding the end of
this peninsula away from
Loch Sween. My destination
is just short of this, though;
in the middle of a huddle of
farm buildings and crofts is
Kilmory Knap chapel.
This is a sort of sister
chapel to Keills and was
built in roughly the same
period as that and Castle
Sween ? the 12th century.
As with Keills, it?s the
grave slabs that are perhaps
most interesting here. These
beautifully carved
memorials date from 1300
to 1500 and are mainly for
MacMillans whose parish
Want to know more?
www.tayvallich.com www.scottishbeavers.org.uk
Castle Sween ? tel. 0131 668 8800 E-mail: customer@hes.scot
Achnamara, By Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8PT.
this was. Also similarly to
Keills, there is a decorated
cross here, too, erected in
the 1400s.
I like wandering around
these ruined chapels with
their carved stones all
around where time seems
to have stood still. This one
is particularly atmospheric
as the sun sets behind me
and behind Keills across the
water.
The sun has set on my
visit here as well, but what a
trip it has been. The main
road north skirts the top of
Loch Sween and its
bordering lands but I have
discovered what a beautiful
diversion it is to explore this
area. It is very remote, and
very quiet, but full of history,
wildlife, beauty and
atmosphere. n
Getting there
This area is
pretty remote
so driving is
really the only
option. Take
the B841
west from
Lochgilphead towards
Crinan then turn south
from here to explore
either side of Loch Sween.
MADDIE?S WORLD 13
?We now have two
of the laziest cats
in the world?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
R
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
EADERS of this
column could be
forgiven for thinking
that my dog, Arty, is
the love of my life.
Apart from Mr Grigg, that is.
This is because it?s mostly
true, even when she smells
of fox or badger poo, or
decides to jump up from her
bed on the floor and sprawl
out on the sofa when we?re
not looking.
This Chewbacca-style dog
has become very much a
fixture of our lives in the
three years we?ve owned
her. We wouldn?t change
her for the world.
But there are two other
creatures who play a
significant role in the Grigg
household.
Jimi and Lou-Lou, our two
cats, are brother and sister,
but you wouldn?t know that
by looking at them. Jimi is a
grey tabby boy and Lou-Lou
is fluffy and black, with
staring, green eyes.
I was told ten years ago,
when I got them as kittens,
that they were half British
Shorthair, which left me
wondering what the other
half might be.
?Farm cat,? the lady said.
?And we?ve only got two
kittens left.?
I?d only wanted one after
coming home from holiday
to find rats had nested in
our boiler. We needed a cat
to shift the vermin, and fast.
So I found an advert in the
paper, rang the lady and
then hot-footed it down to
her house when I realised
most of the litter had gone.
It was the tabby boy that
caught my eyes straight
away: bold, inquisitive and
fluffy. The black one,
however, was obviously the
runt of the litter.
Much smaller than the
other one and quite shy, this
was a kitten who really
wasn?t going places.
So how could I leave it all
on its own? So I decided
there and then I?d have the
two of them. At least they?d
keep each other company.
And the rats had better look
out as two moggies on the
prowl would be invincible.
After Mr Grigg overcame
the initial shock of having
two cats instead of one, we
called them Jimi and
Lou-Lou after two people
we?d met on holiday, and
not, as some of our
neighbours assumed, after
Jimi Hendrix and Lulu. What
a combination.
Fast forward a decade and
we now have two of the
laziest cats in the world ?
and neither of them likes
the other very much.
Jimi hisses at Lou-Lou
whenever he walks past her,
while she bolts behind the
sofa rather than look at him.
All day they lounge on our
furniture, and then go out
through the cat flap when
and if the mood takes them.
They tolerate Arty, but
aren?t keen on her, although
Jimi will sometimes brush
The Griggs? beautiful
cat, Lou-Lou.
against her legs just because
he can.
But if Arty dares to chase
them, which she does given
half the chance, Jimi stands
his ground and hits out at
her face, claws outstretched.
You don?t mess with Jimi.
Lou-Lou, on the other
hand, is very shy. But she
has blossomed into one of
the most beautiful cats I?ve
ever seen. I can forgive her
disgusting fur-ball vomit
habit because she?s so pretty.
She?s found a place in the
hearts of our neighbours,
Champagne Charlie and
Bubbles, who feed the cats
when we go away. It?s a
reciprocal arrangement, with
us looking after their hens
every time they shoot off on
holiday.
In fact, Lou-Lou has been
known to venture into their
house ? a five-star bed and
breakfast establishment,
don?t you know ? when the
door is open. Who knows
what the guests think if they
see her over their morning
papers and egg muffins!
But do you know the best
thing about Jim and LouLou? We haven?t seen a rat
in all the years we?ve had
them. n
SHORT STORY BY HELEN M. WALTERS 15
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
Y
My Vintage Life
OU can?t up-cycle
everything,
Rachel,? my sister
said as she sank
down into one of
my recently re-upholstered
armchairs.
I didn?t answer because I
had a paintbrush lodged in
my mouth while I used both
hands to lift the wooden
packing case that I was
repurposing into a
bookshelf.
?You can get lovely
bookshelves from that office
supply place on the
bypass,? Tessa continued,
brushing some imaginary
dust off her knee and
getting her phone out of her
pocket.
I itched to tell her that
squinting at her phone all
day was going to ruin her
eyes, but my mouth was
still full of paintbrush.
Probably just as well.
We?d been arguing a lot
lately and I didn?t want
another row.
?That,? she said, pointing
at my bookshelf, ?is going
to be full of splinters.?
I took the paintbrush out
of my mouth.
?No, it?s not,? I replied.
?I?m going to sand it and
varnish it. It?ll be lovely.?
My shop was my pride and
joy, but my sister thought I
was living in the past . . .
Determination not to fall
out with her made me
choose my words carefully.
Tessa and I had always
got on well in the past. It
was only in recent years,
since she?d taken over the
family business, that we?d
begun to fall out.
My mum and dad retired
a few months ago and had
gone to live in the country.
Tessa agreed to take over
running their boutique
guesthouse, the Laurel Tree,
when they left.
I didn?t want to because I
had my own business called
My Vintage Life, selling
restored furniture and
vintage clothes.
I agreed to be a ?notquite-sleeping? partner,
though; not fully involved in
the day-to-day running, but
consulted on big decisions.
That was when the
arguments started.
Tessa wanted to get rid of
all the beautiful antique and
statement furniture my
parents had built up over
the years and replace it
with a modern and
minimalist look.
I was convinced that the
place would end up looking
like one of those
anonymous chain hotels.
It broke my heart to think
of the character of the
place, so carefully built up
by my parents over the
years, being ripped out.
And we couldn?t afford a
complete refurb of the
Laurel Tree so soon after
my parents? retirement.
?How are things going at
work?? I asked as I put on
the kettle to make us both
a drink.
?You know,? she replied.
?Stressful. It?s demanding
working in the customer
service industry, especially
when your surroundings
aren?t exactly state of the
art.?
I sighed inwardly.
?I know you want to
update everything, but
we?ve been through this.
There isn?t enough money
to do it just now, and even
if there was, I think it would
be a shame to undo Mum
and Dad?s good work.?
?It?s all very well for you
to say that,? Tessa replied.
?You?re cocooned away
here with your making do
and mending as if the war?s
still on. I?m the one who has
to keep the guests happy.?
Stifling a smile, I handed
her a cup of coffee.
?Are you all set for the
weekend?? I asked,
deciding a change of
subject was called for.
My parents had asked us
down for what my mother
called a housewarming
weekend. They wanted us
to meet their new
neighbours and the friends
they?d made since they
moved into their new home.
?We want them to meet
our two wonderful
daughters,? Mum had said
on the phone to me the
night before.
If your two wonderful
daughters can make it
through the weekend
without arguing, I?d
added mentally.
16
When we set off for
Oxfordshire the next
morning, I had the best of
intentions. I wouldn?t argue
with Tessa.
We would put our
differences aside for the
weekend and not upset our
parents by arguing in front
of them.
That was easier said than
done, of course.
?I wish you?d let me
drive,? Tessa said.
?We agreed to come in
my car because there?s
more room for the
luggage,? I said through
gritted teeth.
That was true enough.
But the real reason I hadn?t
wanted to travel in Tessa?s
car was that her driving
scares me half to death.
?My car?s more
comfortable,? she moaned.
And it was. She had the
latest model of about-town
hatchback with air
conditioning and built in
satnav.
I, on the other hand, had
windows that only opened
when they felt like it, a
dodgy fan, and a map in
the glove box.
?At least I?ll get us there
without killing us both,? I
muttered under my breath.
?What?? she said sharply.
?Nothing.?
By the time we arrived at
my parents? house we were
barely speaking.
Tessa stomped into the
house ahead of me. Mum
raised her eyebrows and I
gave her a wordless shrug.
?Come into the kitchen,?
Mum said in a voice that
wasn?t to be argued with.
?Now,? she began as we
sat with coffee in front of
us. ?What?s the atmosphere
between you two about??
I didn?t know what to say,
so I stayed silent. Tessa was
only too happy to fill the
gap.
?Rachel?s making things
difficult for me again,? she
complained. ?She won?t let
me do anything I want to
do with the business.?
I was furious with her for
bringing up the Laurel Tree.
Mum and Dad were
supposed to be enjoying a
well-earned retirement, I
didn?t want them to worry
about work matters again.
?I?m not going to referee
on that,? Mum said,
looking sternly at us both.
?Your father and I handed
the business over to you
two so that we could retire
in peace. We trust you to
do the right thing, but you
have to do it together.?
?We will,? I said. ?Tessa
knows we can?t afford the
things she wants at the
moment.?
?If it were up to you, we?d
never change anything.?
Tessa snorted. ?Look at you
with your prehistoric
workshop making oldfashioned furniture and
clothes that look like they
came out of the ark. Why
would anyone want to live
in the past like that??
?My business does very
well,? I replied, stung by
her words. ?It?s never going
to be a huge money-spinner,
but that?s not the point. I
do it because I love it.?
Mum had an increasing
look of horror on her face.
?Enough!? she exclaimed.
?As it happens, you?re both
wrong. Follow me.?
She led us out of the
kitchen, up the stairs and
into her bedroom.
?Sit on the bed. I?ve got
something to show you,?
she said.
I sneaked a glance at
Tessa. She was looking
chastened by our mother?s
words and gave me a shrug
in response.
As we watched, Mum got
a box down from the top of
the wardrobe, then sat
down between us with it on
her knee.
?Since we moved, I?ve
been going through old
photos,? she said. ?I always
said they needed put in
albums, but I?ve never had
the time until now.?
?Wow,? I said as she
opened the box to reveal
stacks of photos all thrown
together in a jumble.
?Most of the photos in
this box are of you two
when you were children,?
she told us.
For once Tessa was quiet,
and I felt lost for words,
too. It was like we were
going back in time into
another world. A world
where we sat together on a
swing in short skirts and
ankle socks, grinning at the
camera.
A world where we actually
worked together to build a
sandcastle on the beach. A
world where we were a
team.
How had we got so far
away from that, I wondered.
Was it just that we were so
different?
?This is what I wanted to
show you,? Mum went on,
picking out two photos from
the box.
I peered at the one on
top.
?Oh, that?s me,? I said.
?Dressed up as Elizabeth
the first. I was always
interested in history as a
child. I wanted to be a
Tudor princess more than
anything.?
?Look again,? Mum said.
So I looked again. There
was the long heavy dress,
the white ruff, the red wig
and a crown. Then I looked
at the face smiling out of
the picture at me, and I did
a double take.
?That isn?t me! It?s
Tessa.?
?Exactly. You?re
remembering it wrong.
Tessa was the one who
wanted to be a Tudor
princess. You helped her by
making the crown, because
you loved arty stuff even
then, but you weren?t
interested in dressing up
like that. This is you.?
She handed me another
photo.
This time the child smiling
back at me was definitely
me. I was dressed in a
futuristic costume that
looked like it had been
made out of tin foil and
those net bags that oranges
come in.
?You were the space
explorer,? Mum murmured.
?The one who couldn?t wait
for the future to hurry up
and get here.?
How could I have
forgotten about this?
?I was the one who
wanted to live in the past,?
Tessa said. ?I remember
now.?
I looked at my sister and
she looked at me. Then we
both looked sheepishly at
our mother.
?You two aren?t as
different as you think you
are,? she said. ?A bit of
difference never does any
harm. It?s when you let the
differences stop you
working together that the
problems start.
?You weren?t interested in
the past as a child, but
Tessa was. You worked
together and see what
happened?? She indicated
the photo of Tessa as
Elizabeth I with her finger.
She was right, of course.
Tessa had been the one
interested in history as a
child, always wanting to
watch historical
documentaries when I
wanted to watch sci-fi films.
Over the years she?d
become more interested in
the future and less
interested in the past, while
I?d moved in the opposite
direction.
If we carried on looking
through Mum?s box of
photos we could probably
trace our progress and
identify the point where
we?d met in the middle.
?Sorry, Mum,? Tessa said.
?We?ve both been a bit
silly, haven?t we??
Mum put the box down
and took my hand on one
side and Tessa?s on the
other.
?I think you?ve both been
so caught up in your own
interests that you?ve missed
what was under your nose.
?The fact that you do
really love each other and
that your different natures
can complement each other
rather than conflicting with
each other.?
As we all sat there talking
about how we could have a
more peaceful and cooperative future, I realised
something.
Over the last few years,
Tessa had spent so much
time trying to live in the
future, and I?d spent so
much time hankering to live
in the past, that we?d
forgotten how to live in the
present.
Living in the present
meant living in the real
world, and that meant
compromise. When the time
came to spend money on
the Laurel Tree, we?d have
to come up with a plan we
could both agree on.
It would be a balancing
act, but it was the only way
to make the business
flourish and save our
relationship.
Thank goodness our
mother had shown us where
we were going wrong before
it was too late. n
wellbeing
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I?ve recently moved house to live nearer my
daughter. It?s great being nearer family, but I
miss having my friends nearby.
Sheelagh Donovan,
Health Information
Specialist at Age
UK, is here to help.
Moving to a new area can be very
difficult and it?s not unusual to miss
some of the relationships you had. Some
people wonder why they feel lonely
when they?re surrounded by family. But
remember that feeling lonely doesn?t
necessarily mean having no-one nearby.
Try keeping in touch with your old
friends ? arrange regular phone calls, or
think about using the internet and
sending e-mails, using online forums or
even using Skype to make video phone
calls.
Join a social group. These can be a
good way to build new, positive
relationships with people who share the
same interest. Have a look in local
newspapers, your local library or
community noticeboards to find out
what?s happening in your new area.
Joining a group can give you something
to look forward to and gradually you
may find yourself making new friends.
For more information on staying in
touch and meeting new people, see Age
UK?s free information guide ?Your mind
matters?. Download a copy from www.
ageuk.org.uk or call 0800 169 65 65.
Waken Up To
Helpful Tips
In The News
iStock.
Are You In
Good Shape?
Instead of keeping an eye on our
weight, we should all be monitoring
our waistlines, according to a major
new investigation of half a million
people aged between forty and
seventy.
The study showed women whose
waist is bigger than their hips (the
classic ?apple? shape) to be at
greater risk of heart attack
regardless of their weight. Even slim
apple-shaped women have a
10-20% increase in risk.
But a new Israeli study has found
that avoiding carbohydrates at
lunchtime three times a week (and
sticking to a healthy Mediterranean
diet) could be enough to reduce fat
storage around the middle.
Nutritionist Dr Emma
Derbyshire provides her top tips
on how to avoid an afternoon
energy slump:
�
Eat mixed berries in the
morning. New research by the
University of Reading has found
berries for breakfast can help
improve cognitive function and
accuracy for up to six hours
�
Exercise. Even light exercise
causes a slight bump in cortisol
and body temperature making
you more awake
�
Eat low-fat protein for lunch.
Fat takes a lot of resource to
absorb but protein is easily
digested and will keep your body
supplied with energy for hours
�
�
Get out in the sun. Sunlight
can make you more alert
Avoid sugar and caffeine
which might provide a temporary
energy hike but can cause dips
later in the day
Health Bite
The rise in popularity of vegetarianism
has seen sales of Quorn soaring in recent
months, but this meat alternative, which is
grown from a mushroom-like fungus, is
actually a very useful source of healthy, low
fat protein for confirmed carnivores, too.
It is low in saturated fat (less than a gram
per 100g), high in protein (around 11g per
100g), low in carbohydrates (3g per 100g)
and contains more fibre than the same
weight of baked beans, brown bread or
brown rice.
Studies show Quorn can help lower the
bad kind of cholesterol and it could even
help you feel fuller for longer than meat
does.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
HEALTH 19
Water And Wine
Listen to Your Lungs
I
What is COPD
and how is
it treated?
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
Shannon,
reports.
F you often feel short of breath, it?s easy
to dismiss this as a normal part of
getting older, especially if the problem
has been developing gradually over the
years. But everyday breathlessness is
always a sign that you should see your
doctor. So is a cough that won?t go away.
Lung conditions are very common,
affecting one in five people, and it?s
important to get a diagnosis and
treatment. That?s why the British Lung
Foundation advises all of us to listen to
our lungs, and get checked out if these
symptoms occur.
One possibility is COPD, which is short
for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
It gets more common as we get older,
and affects about four in 100 people over
the age of forty.
To learn more about COPD, I asked
Professor Andrew Peacock, Research and
Medical Director at the British Lung
Foundation, to bring us up to date.
He explained that COPD is a general
term which describes a number of lung
conditions that affect your ability to
breathe. It happens because your airways
have narrowed, which makes it harder to
move air in and out of your lungs.
The most common COPD conditions
are emphysema, which affects the air sacs
in your lungs, and chronic bronchitis,
where the airways leading to the lungs
become inflamed. These airways may
also have a coating of excess phlegm.
Tune into
benefits of
joining a
choir
The cause is long-term exposure to
harmful substances. The most common
culprit is smoking, although one in five
people with COPD have never smoked.
People who work around dust, fumes or
chemicals are at higher risk. Air pollution
might play a role in the development of
COPD, and it can cause flare-ups once you
have the condition.
If your parents or grandparents had
COPD, you have a higher chance of
developing this problem.
Symptoms include a long-term cough,
getting short of breath during everyday
activities such as vacuuming or climbing
the stairs, wheezing in cold weather, and
producing lots of phlegm.
When someone has COPD, it gets worse
over time. Low appetite, weight loss and
swollen ankles can be signs that it is
progressing.
Please do see your GP when you have
these symptoms. Sadly, there isn?t a cure
yet for COPD but the good news is,
treatment can help manage the symptoms
and slow it down.
If you?re diagnosed with COPD, your GP
will agree a treatment plan with you. This
might include medication, oxygen, or a
gentle breathing machine.
A supervised exercise programme, called
pulmonary rehabilitation, can help you
cope with breathlessness. Singing in a
choir can also help, and that is a very
pleasant prescription indeed.
You can take the ?listen to your lungs?
test and find more information about
COPD on the British Lung Foundation
website at www.blf.org.uk or call 03000
030 555 to speak to the friendly team on
their helpline. They can help with
questions about any aspect of lung health,
provide a listening ear when you are
worried, and help you keep your lungs as
healthy as possible. n
If you notice your tolerance to
alcohol isn?t as robust as it used
to be, you can blame the everchanging hormone levels that
alter as we age.
According to Liz Earle, author
of a new book ?The Good
Menopause Guide?, the body?s
water content is reduced during
the perimenopause and beyond
(which also explains why our
skin dries out).
This means alcohol becomes
more concentrated in the blood
and every glass of wine therefore
potentially more potent.
She recommends matching
each glass of alcohol drunk with
a glass of water to dilute it and
ease the negative impact of a
hangover.
Minimise the
alcohol impact
? drink water.
St John?s Wort Oil
Numerous studies have shown
the herb hypericum or St John?s
Wort can be powerfully helpful
for people with depression,
seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
and anxiety, but when taken as a
tablet or tincture the herb can
interact with many other
medications, meaning lots of
people can?t take it.
However, the herbal company,
A.Vogel, has developed a
concentrated form of
St John?s Wort Oil
which can be used
topically (on the skin)
without risk of side
effects or
contraindications,
and it is particularly
useful for the
treatment of nerve
pain such as
neuralgia.
A.Vogel St John?s
Wort Oil, �85 from
health shops and
pharmacies.
Where
Are All
The Hats?
SHORT STORY BY SUSAN SARAPUK 21
This was nothing like the church
that Sandra remembered!
Illustration by iStock.
W
HERE are all
the hats??
Sandra asked
with a frown.
Patsy looked
at her, puzzled, so Sandra
went on.
?When I went to church
with my gran as a child,
everyone wore hats,?
Sandra explained.
She looked around at the
congregation. Not one hat,
unless you included a
baseball cap worn by a
teenager. A baseball cap in
church! Her gran would be
turning in her grave.
?You don?t need to wear
a hat to church these days.
In fact, you don?t need to
dress up to come to church
at all,? Patsy pointed out.
That much was obvious,
Sandra thought. Still,
people looked cheerful and
were chatty. In her gran?s
day, everyone in church
seemed to be serious and
would only talk in whispers.
This, in comparison, was
like a party.
?Hello, Patsy!? A middleaged woman gushed a
welcome as if to prove
Sandra?s observation.
?Who?s this??
?This is Sandra, a friend
from work,? Patsy replied.
?Hello, Sandra. We hope
you enjoy St Bart?s. I?m
Rosemary.?
St Bart?s! Sandra
wondered how St
Bartholomew would feel at
having his name shortened.
She could understand a
rebellious pack of teenagers
using the irreverent
abbreviation, but not this
respectable-looking older
woman. Times were
certainly changing.
And now, come to think
of it, where were the pews?
Sandra was faced with rows
of comfortable chairs.
She recalled the pews in
St Mary?s. If you were small
enough, when you knelt
down, you could disappear
behind them, thus
appearing holy when you
were really up to no good
with the rest of the children
in the row.
And she did want to hide
today, because she felt like
an outsider in this place.
These people were used to
the set-up and she wasn?t.
Looking at them reminded
her of a family gathering
together for Christmas,
everyone eager to catch up
with the news, even though
she was sure most of them
had seen each other just
the previous Sunday.
?Let?s sit here,? Patsy
said.
Sandra was glad that her
friend chose the end of a
row so she could sit in the
last chair and not feel
crowded.
That had been the first
thing Sandra had noticed
about her work colleague
? how considerate she was.
Other people at work could
be gossipy, or get irate over
other people?s
shortcomings, but Patsy
was always on an even keel.
That accepting calmness
had been just what she?d
needed when the break-up
had happened.
?What?s the matter??
Patsy had said that
morning, noticing something
was amiss when no-one else
had.
Sandra hadn?t intended
to say anything, but she
found herself blurting out
her troubles.
?Sam?s called off the
wedding.?
?Oh, Sandra, I?m sorry.?
?And he?s taken Max with
him. I know Max was his
dog, but . . .? She wasn?t
able to hold back the tears.
?I thought I?d found the
love of my life.?
?Let?s go somewhere
private,? Patsy said, taking
her into the ladies? loo.
?Maybe he just needs some
time. Maybe he?ll come
back.?
?No, I know Sam. When
he knows what he wants, he
commits totally. And he
obviously doesn?t want us
any more. He?s gone. He?s
taken all his stuff.?
Patsy wrapped her in her
arms and Sandra sobbed
out all her misery.
Patsy was the one she?d
turned to over the next few
weeks, although everyone
else commiserated when
they found out.
?Look at it this way,? Elsa
said. ?You?ve been saved
from a lifetime with a loser.
Better you find out now
than when it?s too late.?
She may have been right,
but it was the last thing
Sandra needed to hear.
Pretty soon the office
moved on to something
else and they expected that
she would, too. Only Patsy
had the patience to listen
and ask how things were
going every day.
?I cry myself to sleep,?
Sandra confessed a few
weeks after Sam had left.
?He won?t even have any
contact with me. He says
it?s better to have a clean
break. And worst of all, I
still miss Max.?
Sandra sighed.
?I don?t know who I am.
I?ve been bound up in Sam
for so long.?
?You?ll find yourself
again,? Patsy said
confidently. ?Give yourself
time. I?m here if you need
to talk.?
?You?re the kindest
person I?ve ever known,?
Sandra said. ?How do you
do that??
Patsy shrugged and
smiled.
?You?re happy. Life must
be pretty good for you,?
Sandra continued. ?Are you
married? I can?t believe I?ve
never thought to ask you,
I?ve been so caught up with
myself.?
?I did have someone,?
Patsy said. ?We were
engaged, but he died. He
had cancer . . .?
?Oh, Patsy!? Sandra
reached out to put a
SERIES BY DELLA GALTON: PART 3 OF 30
hand on her shoulder.
?It?s all right. It was
six years ago.? Patsy
blinked back a tear. ?Like
you, I had plans. I?ve not
met anyone since who could
match up to Lyndon, but
I?m open to it now.?
?But how could you get
over that? You seem so
cheerful and confident.?
?With help.? Patsy
smiled. ?You could, too.?
Sandra didn?t see how,
not at this moment in time.
?Do you ever go to
church?? Patsy asked her.
?No, but I was sent to
Sunday school as a child.?
She hadn?t darkened the
doorstep since she was
thirteen. All she could
remember of church was
pompous ladies in their
best hats, hard pews,
dirge-like organ music and
the boring chanting of
prayers from an archaic
prayer book.
?I find it helps me,? Patsy
said. ?That?s where I find
my family. Why don?t you
come with me one day??
Sandra pulled a face at
the suggestion.
But here she was. Patsy
hadn?t pressed her, but one
day she?d realised that she
would rather be around this
colleague than anyone else
in the office. So she?d said
she?d come along.
As Sandra looked towards
the chancel, she noticed the
musical instruments ?
keyboard, drums, guitars.
There was no robed choir,
just a group of young
people dressed casually.
Then she realised no-one
had a dusty prayer book in
their hands. Instead there
was a large screen at the
front with words projected
on to it.
When the vicar stood up
he was wearing a shirt and
trousers instead of robes.
The worshippers erupted
into joyful song. At first
Sandra felt like a stranger
before something long
forgotten began to rise to
the surface ? an old feeling
she recognised.
There were no hats, and a
lot of other things were
missing, too, but something
real was here.
Sandra began to cry, but
she wasn?t sad this time.
Now the healing could
begin. n
Busy
Bees
Will Suzy give Josh one
more chance?
S
UZY and her best
friend, Megan Price,
were in the Black
Swan sipping lattes,
having arranged to
meet for a catch-up.
?When are you seeing him
again?? Megan asked. ?Did
you snog him? Or is that
too nosy??
She leaned forward with a
gleam in her eyes.
?Very nosy, yes,? Suzy
said, ?but I?ll tell you.?
She paused for effect,
wondering if she should
make something up.
Something more exciting
than what had happened . . .
which was nothing.
She decided against it.
?He barely spoke to me,?
she confessed. ?I don?t
think he enjoyed the film.
When I asked him which bit
he liked best, he just
shrugged.?
?That?s not good,? Megan
said. ?You?re not seeing
him again, then??
?I am, actually. He texted
me and asked if I?d go to
see a band with him.
They?re playing on Saturday
in Salisbury. Not that we?ll
be able to do much talking
there either, will we??
?Maybe he?s the strong
silent type,? Megan said
thoughtfully. ?I went out
with a boy like that once.
His name was Ben.?
Suzy was intrigued.
Megan was the type of girl
boys asked out. Leggier
than a foal and with long
dark hair, she?d had her
pick of boys since Year Ten.
?What happened to Ben??
?His parents moved away
before we ever got off the
ground. He was a good
kisser, though.?
?I got the feeling Josh
didn?t want to kiss me.?
Megan tapped her nose.
?Trust me, all boys want
to kiss. What kind of band
are you going to see? Have
you told him you want to
be a singer??
?It?s an indie band ? his
mate?s the drummer.? Suzy
sighed. ?And no, I haven?t.?
Wanting to be a singer
was her secret, entrusted to
no-one outside her
innermost circle of friends.
?At least you can have a
drink at half time with a
band.?
Suzy nodded.
?I?m definitely giving him
one more chance,? she
decided.
* * * *
Rita Bannister was
beginning to doubt the
wisdom of giving her friend
one more chance. Elizabeth
had dragged her into some
mad schemes in her time,
but this took the biscuit.
They had arrived at the
home of a herpetologist
called Harry, who Elizabeth
had tracked down via a pet
shop.
He was tall and thin with
unblinking eyes, rather like
one of his lizards, Rita was
beginning to think.
He was frowning.
?You want to borrow my
sand lizards for a photo
shoot,? he repeated, his
eyebrows shooting up
23
towards his hairline.
?One would probably do.
We?d pay a modelling fee,?
Elizabeth said.
?I couldn?t let them out of
the vivarium with strangers.
Unsupervised? Quite out of
the question.?
?You?re very welcome to
supervise them,? Elizabeth
pleaded.
Rita tugged at her arm.
They were getting nowhere.
?He knew we were up to
something we shouldn?t be,?
she murmured when they
were outside again.
?We weren?t.? Elizabeth
pouted. ?We wanted to
photograph them in their
natural environment.?
?You wanted to
photograph them at the
allotments,? Rita corrected.
?Having released them.?
She wagged a finger.
?We might never have
caught them again.?
This clearly didn?t cut
much ice with her friend.
?They shouldn?t be locked
up in a vivarium. How is that
their natural environment??
?Has it crossed your mind
that there may already be
sand lizards at the
allotments? That it may not
be necessary to plant any??
?Heaven forbid I should
do such a thing!? Elizabeth
put on her most outraged
look.
?There has to be an easier
way to stop the council
g etting planning permission,?
Rita said. ?Can?t we just do
a petition??
Elizabeth gave a vehement
shake of her head.
?They don?t work. We?ve
got to think of something a
bit more radical.?
?How about a protest
march? There must be lots
of people who don?t want to
lose the allotments. I could
rope in Arthur and Onelegged Mick if you like.
They?ve both got an interest
in keeping the allotments.?
Elizabeth was nodding.
?OK. But I haven?t given
up on the sand lizards idea.
I?m going to do research.
You?re right, there might
well be some in situ already.
We possibly need a stakeout.? She smirked.
Rita gave a shudder. Why
did she have the feeling this
was not going to end well?
More next week.
Brainteasers
Word Ladder
Move from the word
at the top of the
ladder to the word
at the bottom using
the exact number of
rungs provided by
changing one letter
at a time (but not
the position of any
letter).
S T A R
D U S T
Pieceword
ACROSS
1 A Whiter Shade of Pale
group (6,5)
9 English actor in
Thor (3,10)
10 Breed of retriever (8)
12 Israeli city and port (4)
14 ___ Grey, Anne Bront�
novel (5)
15 Name shared by pop
star Katy and artist
Grayson (5)
19 First name of 2001:
A Space Odyssey actor
Mr Dullea (4)
20 Actress formerly in
Hollyoaks and Hotel
Babylon (5,3)
22 Butterfly specialist (13)
24 From Qaanaaq? (11)
DOWN
2 Sailor?s drink (3)
3 Lapsang souchong,
eg (5,3)
4 Shropshire market
town (6)
5 Actor brother of Stephen
Baldwin (4)
T
O O N S MB L L
E I D E
R T R
T
P
I P C S
T
A
A E R
OU S N
R T R A
4
T U R T S
J
D
P
I
S
U OOM G I V C OU
I C I U S P
I
S
R
7
E
R
C
P
KO L
E
I
S H O
V
E
O
H E X
W
N A L
I N A
N
C OM
T
I
G R
E
1
2
I N G
G
E
T
OR D O S S
E
T
3
4
5
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
19
18
20
21
22
23
24
6 Hives (9)
7 Milan?s country (5)
8 David Boreanaz
series (5)
11 Constellation also known
as the Great Bear (3,6)
13 Mystic River actor (4,4)
16 Kipling?s lone wolf (5)
2
3
6
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
3 4
1
8
9
5
8
10
11
12
17 Teachings of
Christ (6)
18 First name of film
star Garbo (5)
21 Surname of BBC
journalist Kate (4)
23 Eisenhower?s
nickname (3)
Sudoku
6
8
5
6
6
3
13
6 3
14
15
ACROSS
2 Presented with ? Criminal trial venue
4 Small alcoholic drinks ? Falling (down)
6 Ill?omened
8 Man with an unfaithful wife ?
Parachute opener
6
7
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
1
O
Answers
on p95
Try our general knowledge crossword
R E C
O
E
I R E D S
A C U C AGO
D
E N
MU T
R
N
N G I C E
D
PUZZLES 25
10 Thought over again
12 Daily traveller ? Causing
extreme sadness
14 Having six sides ? Vulgar,
coarse
2
7 4
4 2
3
6
8
9 7
6
1 7
5 4
9
6 8
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
BOOKS 27
The ?Friend?
recommends
Over the months ahead, we?ll
be looking at new releases by
some of our favourite authors.
This month, author Mary Wood
interviews Annie Murray about
her new book, ?Sisters Of Gold?.
Q
Q
catastrophes like bad health
or accidents.
Life is so much more
comfortable now. I hope
I would have got by
somehow as so many
people did!
Having said that, as I
write, it is snowing and our
boiler is broken. Our house
is modern enough to have
no fireplace, so I?m yearning
for one where you could just
burn one of the chairs!
Annie, I loved your
book, ?Sisters Of
Gold?! it held me
enthralled. The story of
Annie and Margaret set in
Birmingham in the late
nineteenth century ? the
shocking event that
changed their lives, and
the wonderful outcome,
was woven through with
the really interesting detail
of jewellery and pen
making at that time. Can
you tell us a little about
the research you did for
this, and what drew you to
this industry?
Your book portrays
the poverty of a lot
of the people of the era. If
you had lived in those
times, how would you
have coped?
In the Jewellery
Quarter you can still
see work just as it used to
be. Companies that closed
down like Smith & Pepper
Goldsmiths, or Evans
Silversmiths were left like
ghost ships, and are now
museums. There are also
the coffin works and the pen
factory museums. These were
a huge help, as were certain
books, maps, conversations
and reminiscences.
Margaret and Annie would be interesting and they try
to understand other people?s point of view. And lovely
Uncle Eb and Aunt Hatt. I might not want to shock them too
much with food ? maybe lasagne? I th ink our road traffic
would amaze them, and electric gadgetry. In their own city
neighbourhoods they would be astonished how quiet streets
are in the daytime with the demise of so much industry.
A
I?m in awe of those
people in cramped
houses with no piped
water. So much depends on
circumstances ? how many
young children or working
adults in the home. And on
A
Q
Which four of your characters would you ask to
dinner? What modern food would you serve? What
do you think would surprise them most about life now??
A
Q
If your book was to be made into a television drama,
who would you chose to play Margaret and Annie?
For Margaret, Vicky McClure looks very good in period
costume and would fit the part. And Annie ? I can
imagine Anna Friel.
A
We know you, our readers,
love a good story ? after
all, that?s why you read
the ?Friend?! So we have
teamed up with Pan
Recommends Macmillan publishers and
WHSmith to bring you news
of some of the best fiction
being released, along with a coupon to buy
the books at a special discounted rate.
With new work from bestselling authors like
Kristin Hannah, Joanna Courtney and Mary
Wood, amongst others, we?ve had some
great choices over the last few months.
All you have to do is cut out the coupon
opposite and take it along to your nearest
WHSmith high street store.
Q
What three things
might we not know
about you?
That, growing up as
an only child, I had
an imaginary young brother
called Nick who was useful as
someone to boss about.
Secondly, that I have been
a Quaker for more than
ten years. The first Quaker
meeting I ever went to was
when I was researching
my story ?Chocolate Girls?,
set round Cadburys. I
found Quakers quietly very
impressive.
Lastly, that I really regret
not learning languages more
when I was young ? at
the moment I am battling
th rough Spanish A-level!
A
Join us again in our May 19
issue when Kate Thompson
talks to Mary Wood about
her book ?The Street
Orphans?.
ONLY �99 with this voucher in
Only �99 when you buy Sisters of Gold with this voucher. RRP �99. Valid from 18 04 2018 to 17 05 2018.
This voucher entitles the holder to one copy of Sisters of Gold by Annie Murray ISBN 9781509841516 for �99 (RRP �99). Offer is subject to availability
and is redeemable at WHSmith High Street Stores only. Excludes Outlet Stores, WHSmith Online, ?Books by WHSmith? at Selfridges, Harrods, Arnotts and
Fenwicks stores, WHSmith ?Local? and all Travel Stores including those at airports, railways stations, motorway service stations, hospitals and workplaces.
Offer excludes Book Customer Orders, eBooks, Kobo eReaders, and book tokens. This voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other multi-buy,
promotional voucher or discount card. Only one coupon can be redeemed per transaction and it must be surrendered upon use. No cash alternative
available. Photocopies not accepted and coupon is not transferable. WHSmith reserves the right to reject any coupon it deems, at its sole discretion, to
have been forged, defaced or otherwise tampered with.
All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
The Story So Far
THE Borders cheese
factory Dawson?s
Dairies is run by PETER
DAWSON. One day his
second-in-command,
LILLIAS THOMPSON,
finds him slumped over
his desk, having a heart
attack. The swift action
of logistics manager
AKBAR PATEL saves
him, but it makes Peter
rethink his priorities.
After his wife, CLAIRE,
died he raised their
daughters: JOANNE,
KATRINA, JENNIFER
and ALLISON, all four as
different as the seasons.
Joanne lives in France
with her wine-maker
husband, JEAN-LUC.
Earth mother Katrina
is content to raise her
three children. Jennifer,
single-minded career
woman, is also the
single mother of Peter?s
grandson, ANGUS.
Allison, the youngest,
is a rebel who is still to
settle down.
Peter hasn?t told
them of his health scare
so when he calls them
to come for a family
meeting they wonder
why.
Allison arrives early
and is pleased to meet
her childhood friend
GARETH, whose cows
supply the factory?s
milk. She also sees
the factory foreman,
JACK ASHCROFT, who
lets slip about Peter?s
health.
But even Allison
is astounded when
Peter announces to his
daughters his intention
to sell Dawson?s
Dairies . . .
The news their father had given
them had stunned all four sisters . . .
I
STILL can?t take it in.?
Katrina set the pot of
tea down on the kitchen
table, and took mugs
from the cupboard. ?I
mean, it?s great Dad wants
to alter his ?work life
balance?.? She made
quotation marks with her
fingers. ?Cut back, maybe
even go part-time, but to
actually sell Dawson?s
Dairies! It?s been his life,
especially since . . . Does
everyone want tea?? she
finished briskly.
?Not for me.? Joanne,
despite her elegant silk
loungewear, looked a
million miles from her usual
immaculately-groomed self,
with bedhead hair and puffy
eyes. She began to open
and close cupboards.
?If you?re looking for
coffee,? Katrina said,
?you?re wasting your time,
unless you?ll drink instant.
Thought not,? she added,
as Joanne wrinkled her nose
in distaste.
?Come on, an oldfashioned cup of tea won?t
kill you. It goes better with
toast. Though I don?t
suppose you eat toast, do
you??
?I?m not hungry.? Joanne
sat beside Jennifer, the only
one already dressed.
?You?re very quiet. What
are you thinking??
?Katrina?s right, it?s been
Dad?s life. But we?ve never
shown any interest in the
business. He as much as
SERIAL BY JOSEPHINE ALLEN PART 2 OF 6 29
said so yesterday. That?s
why he was taken aback by
our reaction. He assumed
we wouldn?t care.? Her
voice wobbled. ?I was
surprised at how I felt
myself. The factory has
always been there, in the
background.?
Tears were welling in
Jennifer?s eyes, Katrina saw
in astonishment. But before
she could speak Joanne let
out a sob, and that was just
too much for Katrina.
?I know!? she wailed. ?I
know we should be happy
that he?s fine, and I am, it?s
what?s important. But . . .?
?The cheese factory, using
local milk, was Mum?s idea
originally,? Jennifer said.
?It?s not just Dad?s life?s
work. I feel . . .?
?Terrible.? Katrina sniffed.
?Guilty,? Joanne agreed,
blowing her nose.
?And angry. I can?t bear
the thought of someone
else running it. Would it
even be called Dawson?s
Dairies?? Katrina asked. ?I
spent most of the night
awake, telling myself I was
being selfish and irrational,
but I can?t help it. It?s not
just a cheese factory, it?s
our family heritage.?
?Exactly,? Joanne said.
?That?s how I feel. Though I
wouldn?t dream of saying so
to Dad, obviously.?
?Why not??
Everyone turned to look
at Allison, who stood in the
doorway, wearing red
flannelette pyjamas
adorned with teddy bears.
?We don?t want to upset
him any more than he is
already,? Joanne said
acerbically. ?You saw him.
He was in bits, telling us
that he was selling up.?
Allison sat down and
poured a cup of tea,
slopping in an equal
amount of milk. She stuck
out her tongue at Joanne,
who was frowning at the
concoction.
?I like baby tea.? Her chin
tilted defiantly.
?I know.? Joanne pushed
her plate of toast towards
her. ?What would be the
point in telling Dad how we
feel, Allie??
Allison shrugged.
?It doesn?t matter.?
Katrina frowned.
?Don?t do that,? she said.
?That thing you do,
pretending you don?t care
because you think we?ll
shoot down in flames
whatever you have to say.
?She does, doesn?t she??
She turned to her other two
sisters, who nodded.
?So please, Allie, tell us
what you?re thinking,?
Katrina urged.
?It?s obvious, isn?t it? Or
it is to me, anyway.?
She sighed when this
remark was met by silence.
?What you said about
Mum, and the factory being
part of her. Dad selling it
feels like auctioning off her
memory and his legacy. Do
we all feel that??
Joanne nodded. Jennifer
sniffed.
?Yes,? Katrina said, ?but
there?s nothing we can do.
We?re all agreed it?s a good
thing he?s selling up.?
?For him, definitely.?
Allison popped the last of
her toast into her mouth
and reached for Jennifer?s
crusts. ?But for us??
?What do you mean,
Allie?? Jennifer pushed her
plate over.
?You?ve all got jobs and a
life away from here, filled
with ? with stuff and people
and everything. I don?t.?
She pushed her hair back
from her face. She looked
so like Mum, Katrina
thought, feeling her heart
hurt. She reached over to
pat her sister?s hand.
?What mad scheme are
you concocting, Al??
?You?ll say it?s a daft
idea. Because I can?t do it
? not on my own.?
?What can?t you do on
your own?? Katrina asked.
Allison squared her
shoulders.
?Take over the running of
the factory. Dad doesn?t
need to sell up, he needs to
hand over the reins.?
?To you?? Jennifer said
sceptically. ?You?re my
sister and I love you, Allie,
but with the best will in the
world, you struggle to hold
down any sort of job, far
less run a business.?
?You know, it?s mad, but
I think it?s genius,? Joanne
said, a smile dawning on
her face. ?You would need
lots of help. Don?t
underestimate the size of
the task you?d take on.?
?There?s Lillias and Jack,
and obviously I could pick
Dad?s brains, although the
whole point is to take the
burden off him.?
?Actually, there are other
resources staring us in the
face,? Katrina exclaimed.
?Who?? Jennifer asked.
?Us!? Katrina said,
jumping to her feet.
?Us,? Joanne said,
nodding vigorously.
?Really?? Allison laughed.
?You would think about it??
?Don?t need to.? Joanne
was laughing now, too. ?I
mean, of course I do need
to ? this will take some
serious thought. But I?m in,
in whatever capacity.?
?Me, too.? Katrina
beamed. ?I think this calls
for more tea.?
?And toast,? Allison said.
?Lots of toast.?
?We mustn?t let our
emotions get the better of
nodded approvingly.
?Especially for people your
age. Nothing too hard on
the joints.?
?Right. So, what goggles
do you recommend for calm
swimmers with dodgy
joints??
Peter?s irony was lost,
and soon so was he when
faced with a wall of ?active
swimming eyewear?.
Nothing so mundane as
goggles.
?I had no idea it would
be so complicated.?
?Nah.? The assistant
grinned. ?This is nearly all
specialist gear. You want
goggles, not a mask, see?
And you don?t need
anti-fog or UV protection,
but you might want to think
about ear plugs.?
?Right,? Peter said again,
now completely dazed.
All Peter wanted to buy was
swimming trunks!
us,? Jennifer said firmly.
?I?m a single working
mother who already
struggles for childcare. Jo,
you live in France, while
Kat, you?re a full-time taxi
service for your children
and have the social life of a
minor royal.
?Allie, you?ve never run
anything more taxing than
a bath. Are you really
saying we can find a way to
keep Dawson?s Dairies in
the family and protect all
the jobs and families that
rely on it??
?I?ve no idea how,?
Allison said, ?but what
would Dad say??
?A problem is just a
solution you haven?t
thought of yet!? the other
three shouted in unison.
* * * *
?Are you planning to do
any wild swimming, sir??
Peter stared, baffled, at
the earnest track-suited
youth in the sports shop.
?Wild? I was thinking up
and down, in lanes.?
?In the pool, then? Not
?wild? as in the sea, or a
loch? It?s becoming very
trendy, you know.?
Peter laughed.
?That explains why I?ve
never heard of it! I just
want to keep fit.?
?Good idea.? The lad
?Give me whatever you
think most appropriate.
While you?re at it, maybe
you could help me with ?
er, do they still call them
swimming trunks??
?I?ve never heard of
?advanced aqua-glide
technology?,? Lillias said
half an hour later when
Peter sat down beside her
in the caf�.
?It will improve my
doggy-paddle no end,
apparently.?
?He takes decaf these
days,? she told the waitress
as Peter ordered a coffee.
?Lillias, don?t fuss.?
?Sorry.? She sipped her
own coffee, screwing her
mouth up with distaste. ?I
couldn?t bring myself to
switch to decaf, but I?ve
stopped taking sugar.?
?You don?t need to diet.?
?No, but I need to start
thinking about my health.
I?m no spring chicken.?
?Nonsense.? He frowned.
?You can?t be fifty yet.?
?Fifty-six. But thanks.?
?No! Lillias, you?re not
thinking of retiring, are
you? I?m counting on you to
keep things going at the
factory while I put the sale
in motion.
?When there?s someone
new at the helm, whoever
they are will need you
to keep them right.?
30
It was what they had
agreed before Peter had
made his announcement
to his girls. The sensible
option, and Lillias had
always been sensible.
But something had
changed inside her. Without
Peter at the helm it
wouldn?t be Dawson?s
Dairies any more.
?How have they been,
your Four Seasons?? she
asked, sidestepping his
question. ?It?s been four
days since you told them,
and it was clearly a shock.
But they see it as a good
thing? They understand why
you?re doing it??
Peter took a sip of his
decaf, grimaced and added
a half-teaspoon of sugar.
?They?ve not said much
at all, and that?s not like
them. They?re not normally
slow to voice their opinion.?
?I wonder where they get
that from?? Lillias smiled.
?They?ve had a shock, and
need to make sure you?re
really as fine as you say
you are. That?s why none of
them have rushed back to
their busy lives.?
Peter nodded.
?That?s another strange
thing. I?m happy to have
them, but what are they
doing? They push me out of
the house at every
opportunity, like today.
?What about going out for a
walk, Dad?? ?When are you
going to sign up for those
swimming lessons, Dad??
?If I didn?t know better
I?d think they were plotting
something. But I can?t
imagine what.? He frowned.
?I?m worried they?ll want to
wrap me in cotton-wool,
with the best intentions. I?m
planning on retiring; I?m not
decrepit, for goodness
sake. Hence the Advanced
Aqua-Glide trunks!?
?All joking aside,? Lillias
said, ?your retiring gave me
pause for thought, too.?
?What do you mean??
?You?re not the only one
who has dedicated their life
to Dawson?s Dairies.?
He squeezed her hand.
?You know how much I
value your support and
loyalty. I don?t think I could
have done it without you.?
?You would have, though
I appreciate the
compliment. But it hasn?t
left much room for anything
else. I don?t regret it, that?s
not what I?m saying.?
?What are you saying??
?I?m beginning to feel life
has passed me by a little.?
?Ah. I would hate to think
that I was responsible for
you making sacrifices,
regretting missed
opportunities.?
?It was my choice, Peter.
But I?m thinking that it?s
time to exercise that choice
now, before it?s too late.?
?What does that mean??
?I have absolutely no
idea,? Lillias said, coming
suddenly to a decision. ?I?m
sorry, Peter, but I?m afraid I
might be going to let you
down, for the first time
ever.?
She got to her feet.
?I?ll look after things in
the short term, like I
promised, while you find a
buyer. But after that . . .
It?s time I woke up to the
fact that there?s a lot more
to life than work.?
* * * *
?Allie, is that you??
Gareth Balliol came across
the farmyard, a grin on his
handsome face as he swept
her into a bear hug. ?I
heard you were here visiting
your dad. How is he??
?Good. Better. Put me
down, Gareth, you?re
squeezing the breath out of
me. How are you? Still
playing rugby, clearly.?
And still looking
ridiculously good on it, she
thought, flustered to
discover that Gareth still
made her heart thump.
With dark-blond hair,
green eyes and muscles in
all the right places, Gareth
had always been the local
heart throb, and Allison had
prided herself on always
being the only girl immune
to his charms.
Or, at least, putting up a
good enough show of it.
?Still playing rugby,? he
agreed. ?Still working the
farm. Same old boring
Gareth, in other words.
Where have you been, Allie,
and why haven?t you visited
me the last few times
you?ve been here??
?How do you know when
I?ve been here??
Gareth rolled his eyes.
?Because when you?re
here, on one of your rare
flying visits, he talks
non-stop about you at the
factory. And in case it has
escaped your notice, my
farm supplies the bulk of
the milk for the cheese.
?Besides, Sally Potter, the
factory catering manager, is
my aunt, and she knows
I?ve always carried a bit of
a torch for you.?
?Rubbish. You can have
your pick of girlfriends in
Meldalloch,? Allison said,
trying not to blush.
Gareth grinned.
?Except you. Which may
be part of your allure.
Listen, Al, Aunt Sally says
there?s a lot of uncertainty
at the factory, all sorts of
rumours flying around.?
?Inevitable, I suppose, in
the circumstances,? Allison
said, relieved to change the
subject of Gareth?s feelings
for her.
Not that he?d meant it.
She mustn?t take him
seriously. He was an
incorrigible flirt.
?What are they saying??
?That your father might
sell up or, heaven forbid,
close the operation down.
Either way, people are
anxious. There aren?t many
jobs in these parts.?
?What about you??
Gareth ran his fingers
through his hair, frowning.
?I could sell our milk into
general production but,
well, I don?t know if I?d
have the heart, to be
honest. I always liked
knowing where it went, that
it didn?t go too far afield.
?I don?t like the idea that
all the effort my lovely
ladies put into making the
best milk in the Borders will
be lost in some big cooperative vat, instead of
being made into local
cheese. I know it?s daft . . .?
?It?s not daft at all. It?s
just one of the things that
makes our cheese unique,?
Allison said.
Gareth smiled.
??Our? cheese? Since
when did you take an
interest in the factory??
Allison grinned.
?It?s a very recent thing, I
admit, but ? Gareth, this is
business, not a social call.?
He sighed theatrically.
?Out with it. I can see
you?re bursting with news.?
Allison cast a look around
the farmyard. She could see
one of the hands in the
milking barn. He caught her
eye and waved at her.
Jimmy Stokes, whose wife
worked at the factory.
?Can we go inside??
?We can. I?ll make tea,
and you can even have a
slice of Mum?s ginger cake.
She left it when she popped
over this morning. But tell
me first, Allie. Do I have to
brace myself for bad news??
Allison grinned.
?Brace yourself, Farmer
Balliol. You?re about to hear
the most surprising news of
your life.?
* * * *
?Well, that takes the
biscuit!? Jack Ashcroft
laughed. ?Four Big Cheeses
instead of one. Are you
crackers? Get it? Cheese and
crackers!?
?This is no time for levity,
Jack,? Jennifer scolded.
Jack sighed. He should
have remembered Madam
Winter didn?t do humour.
Now he understood why
she had insisted on meeting
secretly, out here at the
garden centre caf� which
was miles from the village.
?This is what I?d call a turn
up for the books. Talking of
which, that?s really Akbar?s
area of expertise. You don?t
want me to . . .??
?No!? Jennifer said
sharply. ?You mustn?t talk
about this to anyone. If this
got back to Dad before we
approached him ? promise
me, Jack.?
?I?ll keep my promise,
love. I mean Jennifer,? he
said, hastily correcting
himself. ?Though you must
be aware that speculation
has been rife since your dad
had his heart attack. People
want to know what he?s
planning; when he?s coming
back; if he?s coming back.
?And they know, because
everyone knows everything
that happens in Meldalloch,
that his girls are here for an
extended stay. First time the
four of you have been
together here for a while.?
?We all have busy lives,?
Jennifer said pointedly.
Jack held up his hands. It
had always been like this,
on the rare occasions they
talked. Jennifer was always
so blooming defensive.
?Of course you do. That?s
one of the reasons I?m
so surprised. Your dad
33
would have been over
the moon if any one of
you had shown an interest
in getting involved.?
Jennifer?s eyebrows
arched.
?How do you know? He
never said anything to us.?
?Well, he wouldn?t, would
he? I mean, it?s a thing with
Peter not to push people
into doing anything they
don?t want. Look at me.
?Years ago, he talked to
me about taking on more of
a management role, with a
view to filling his shoes. But
that sort of stuff isn?t for
me. I?ve not got Peter?s
business acumen.?
He smiled.
?What I?m saying is, your
dad would never have
pushed one of his precious
Four Seasons into working
here; to have one of his
daughters as his right-hand
man, so to speak.?
?Because none of us have
shown a speck of interest in
becoming involved,?
Jennifer finished for him.
Was there a tear in those
frosty eyes?
?You?re showing one
now,? Jack said, daring to
pat her hand. ?He?ll be
over the moon, but I?ll be
straight with you, you?ll
have your work cut out.
We?re not even breaking
even at the moment.
?Your dad, well, he?s
reluctant to change the
business model he and your
mum dreamed up together.
But it?s twenty-five years
since Claire died.
?Times have changed and
sadly, Dawson?s Dairies
hasn?t moved with them.?
Jennifer patted the neatly
bound folder which lay on
her lap.
?It will, Jack, though it
won?t be easy and will take
time. We desperately need
you and the rest of the
workforce to rally behind
us, embrace our ideas.
?It?ll require a huge team
effort if we?re to succeed.
Do you think . . .??
Jack laughed.
?I don?t think, I know
they will be delighted to
finally have a say. Akbar,
who is a lot better educated
than me, describes your
dad as ?a benign dictator?.
?I assume you?ve
consulted Lillias, since she
knows the business almost
as well as your father??
?We thought about it, but
she?s so loyal to Dad we
couldn?t trust her not to tell
him before we had firmed
up our proposition. So I
came to pick your brains.?
?Fair enough. Get that
notebook out and let?s work
through these questions of
yours.?
* * * *
Katrina stabbed at the
red icon on her mobile,
cursing under her breath.
?What?s wrong?? Joanne
came into the kitchen and
set a large box down on the
counter. ?Coffee, walnut
and orange gateau,? she
said by way of explanation.
?I found this wonderful
little bakery in the next
village. The woman who
owns it spent a year in
Paris, working at Valerie et
Victoire, no less. You
probably won?t have heard
of them, but . . .?
She broke off as Katrina
gave an exasperated sigh.
?What is it? Was that
Colin you were talking to??
?My darling husband
wanted to know what I?d
done with Ruby?s mouth
guard, which has
disappeared from her
hockey kit. Five minutes
before he was due to drop
her off at practice, of
course.
?This was before he?d
even checked whether the
spare one was where it
should be ? in the kitchen
drawer where I keep spares
of the things that they are
for ever losing.? She shook
her head. ?When I
reminded him, he put on
this voice he has, like it was
a surprise to him that the
drawer even exists.
?And then he put Sam on
to ask if he could go to the
cinema with Kyle, and I said
what film, and it turns out
it?s rated 15, and Sam is
only eleven.
?When I asked Colin why
he hadn?t checked he said
he was too busy trying to
find Ruby?s mouth guard
and . . .?
Katrina broke off with a
strange mewling sound.
?Four days, I?ve been
away, Joanne. Only four
days! You should see the
lists I left, pages of
instructions. I even batch-
cooked meals and put them
in the freezer labelled for
each day.
?Colin can hold down a
high-flying job in the city
but he can?t look after his
children for a few days? It?s
pathetic.?
She smiled ruefully at her
sister.
?Goodness, I?m sorry, you
don?t want to hear all this. I
envy you sometimes, having
no children and all the
hassle that goes with them.
Don?t even get me started
on being a full-time family
taxi. Can I have a bit of that
cake? It looks yummy.?
?You?re lucky.?
?Why, was it the last one
in the shop?? Katrina,
untying the ribbon around
the cake box, didn?t notice
the tension in Joanne?s
voice.
She had no idea of the
pain that thoughtless
throw-away remark about
children had caused.
And why should she?
Joanne had never confided
anything of her problems
conceiving. Of hopes raised
then dashed, the growing
acceptance, with each cycle
of failure, that success was
increasingly unlikely.
?Don?t wish your kids
away, even jokingly, that?s
all,? she said, forcing a
practised smile. ?Don?t dare
touch that cake; it?s for the
big reveal tomorrow.?
Something in her voice
gave her away.
?What is it, Jo??
Katrina?s pretty face was
concerned and for a
moment, Joanne considered
telling her. Only for a
moment. It was her pain,
and her private shame.
Deep down, she knew she
wasn?t a failure. Jean-Luc
would be horrified if he
knew she still felt that way.
Her lovely husband had
always said that she was
more than enough for him,
and he meant it, she knew.
But she couldn?t help
feeling as if she?d let him
down, too. He?d have made
such an amazing father.
?Joanne??
No. She couldn?t share it.
They would both get upset,
and it wouldn?t change
anything.
?It?s nothing,? she said,
avoiding Katrina?s eyes. ?A
tension headache. Far too
much coffee, probably.
?Now, if I can trust you
not to devour that entire
cake, I have some work to
catch up with. I?ve a new
novel out in two months
and my publisher wants to
talk about book-signings.?
* * * *
?Oh, Dad, it?s you.?
Allison was waiting for him
in the hallway.
?Who were you
expecting, the Spanish
Inquisition??
Peter dropped the
rucksack containing his new
swimming gear and smiled
at her blank expression.
?Before your time. Aren?t
you going to ask me how
my first lesson went??
?Oh, I forgot. Yes, how
was it??
?Forgot? You practically
escorted me out the door
this morning.?
?Well, I?m asking now.?
?Fine, once I?d got over
my embarrassment at my
awful technique, which
Michelle, the swimming
coach, described as ?dive in
and start flailing?. But she
was very patient and
encouraging, although I
confess I?m not great at
taking instructions.?
?You astonish me, Dad.
Who?d have thought that??
Peter ignored this.
?Anyway, what were you
doing lurking in the hall,
and who were you
expecting? And now that
I?m on the subject, what
are you and your sisters up
to, and why are you all still
here? Haven?t you homes of
your own to go to??
?Actually I don?t, not at
the moment. But ? oh,
thank goodness.?
Peter turned to find his
factory foreman closing the
door behind him.
?Jack, what are you doing
here??
?I invited him,? Allison
said hurriedly. ?Well, it was
actually Jennifer, but the
point is we asked Jack to
join us, Dad.?
?Why??
?If you?ll just come into
the dining-room, all will be
revealed. There?s cake. Oh,
I don?t think you?re allowed
the cake. Sorry.?
?Let?s go in,? Jack
suggested gently.
?We?ve a lot to discuss.?
For many years, the stories of John and Anne
Taylor and their life on the area of Fife known
as the Riggin have been a mainstay of
?The People?s Friend? magazine.
FROM
ONLY
�99
Now, join John and Anne for the third
instalment of these much-loved tales
accompanied by the original watercolour
illustrations created by Dundee artist
Douglas Phillips.
The Proof Of
The Pudding
November,
It has been ready since
ed to sample
but I am finally allow
the great delicacy!
like??
a ton of hen feathers looks
ID you ever find out what she dished out her delicious
as
day evening
Anne came out with this
a reminder of one Wednes
Christmas pudding. It was
the ton of feathers
in November . . .
when Anne mentioned
It was about seven o?clock d the daft question was a pile of
for the first time. What prompte
on her scales.
you have
breadcrumbs rising high
there! Keep going, darling,
?John, there?s only six ounces
ten more to weigh.?
D
nights, when it
to be one of those daft
I knew then it was going
...
least before we got to bed
the spirit
would be one o?clock at
on with something when
Anne?s a great one for getting
making the Christmas pud.
moves her. And that includes Anne?s ideas are best executed in the
that
the menial tasks.
The spirit seems to insist
with
help
to
e
has someon
evening. It?s then that she out pans, wash up or put away. Not to
get
Read, fetch, carry, weigh,
the sink a good wash.?
the sink, but he
mention, ?Oh, darling, give
he could float away down
?Someone? often wishes
to his paper!
obeys before going back
the spirit first spoke.
Anne said out
We were having tea when
a Christmas pudding tonight,?
?John, help me to make
the tea.
I agreed. Our first
of the blue as she poured
to go anywhere else, so
had
I couldn?t find an excuse
er which recipe book she
rememb
couldn?t
Anne
Farmers.
problem was that
out the one from the Young
used last year. She got
for Christmas pudding!?
?John, there?s no recipe
and I checked.
fifty-eight.? I
She handed me the book
page
on
see,
?
plum pudding
?There is, but it?s called
isn?t a plum in it!?
a plum pudding? There
peered. ?Why is it called
the ingredients!? I was told. e to read out
?Just for that, you can read
why she wanted someon pudding.
as ?
As soon as I started, I realised
into a plum ? not Christm
went
that
pieces
and
the bits
all!
There were 21 things in
ng. I want to make two.?
?Right, you double everythi of breadcrumbs first.?
?OK. We?ll do sixteen ounces have done was to put a loaf on the
should
Looking back, what we
and then put it on her
we didn?t. Anne cut it up
scales and weigh it. But
isn?t big, so Anne was
accurate, scales. The dish
g four more,
old-fashioned, but very
it into a bowl, then weighin
weighing four ounces, puttingthe heat was growing that she came out
as
etc. It all took time. It was
be forgotten:
with the phrase, never to
like.?
looks
hen feathers
?I wonder what a ton of
of breadcrumbs.
d and weighed 16 ounces mixed . . .
Eventually, we crumble
and
and then we mixed . . .
We assembled the rest
at night!
By then it was eleven o?clock John. Will you come down at two to
stove,
?I?ll just put them on the
of water??
see they haven?t run out
n until the
I gave her a look.
boiling and simmering operatio
Anne agreed to leave the
crawled into bed.
midnight before I finally
next day, but it was still
What is my verdict?
I?ve sampled the result.
and
as,
Now it?s Christm
all the trouble! n
worth
well
and
?
s
Deliciou
40
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CONTINUATION
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1 AND 2
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?You?re right,? Allison
agreed.
Bewildered, Peter let
himself be ushered to the
dining-table. Jack sat down
beside Joanne and opposite
Jennifer and Lillias, who
looked just as bemused as
he did.
Allison, to his surprise,
took his usual place at the
head of the table.
She cleared her throat.
Her eyes were sparkling.
She looked like Claire when
she?d been bursting with
news.
Peter remembered his
conversation with Lillias in
the coffee shop yesterday.
But no, if they were going
to suggest he moved to
some sort of retirement
community, there would be
no need for Lillias and Jack
to be here . . .
?So, Dad,? Allison said.
?As you?ve probably
guessed by now, this is
about the future of
Dawson?s Dairies. Now, I?ll
just hand over to Jennifer
who will provide a bit of
background context.?
Jennifer stood up and
began to speak. She was
very good, Peter thought
proudly ? articulate;
concise; each point well
made.
?Thank you,? Allison said
as Jennifer finished. ?I think
we all agree that was a very
clear picture of how things
currently stand??
Depressingly so, in some
ways, Peter thought. He
hadn?t realised that they
were so exposed financially.
Or hadn?t wanted to know.
?I don?t think I?d be keen
to make that presentation
? excellent as it was ? to
any potential buyer.?
?You?re wrong, Dad.?
Joanne got to her feet.
?The right buyer will look
beyond the problems, the
need to modernise.
?Someone with vision will
see the opportunities that
Dawson?s Dairies and its
close ties with the
community present. We?ve
taken the vineyard next to
ours in Bordeaux as
inspiration. Take a look.?
This presentation was
colourful. It stretched
Peter?s imagination well
beyond what he thought
was credible. The vision of
Dawson?s Dairy Farm and
Visitor Centre looked to
Peter like something out of
one of Joanne?s books.
?It?s ? it?s fantastic!? was
all he could say when, at
the end, she asked him
what he thought. ?Really,
love, it?s great. But you
can?t be thinking that we
can emulate that here??
Katrina jumped up.
?That?s the vision, Dad.
We know we have to start
small. Here?s the strategy,
based on one I prepared
earlier ? actually about two
years ago, when I was chair
of the local charity and we
wanted to expand the kids?
play scheme.?
Another presentation.
This time a step-by-step
plan, and a very convincing
one. Claire would be so
proud of her girls.
Suddenly, Peter realised
the import of one little
word.
?We?? he exclaimed,
stopping his daughter in
mid-flow. ?You said we
have to start small??
?Yes. If we?re going to
diversify . . .?
?Let me get this clear.
This is not a blueprint for
me to sell to a buyer??
?No! Oh, my goodness,?
Allison exclaimed. ?In all
the times we?ve rehearsed
this, we never thought to
actually say . . . we just
thought you?d realise.?
She beamed.
?We?re going to be the
new owners. We can?t let it
go, Dad. Dawson?s Dairies
is our family business,
started by you and Mum
and to be continued by all
four of your daughters.
With help from our friends
round this table.?
Peter ran his hands
through his hair.
?It?s a wonderful offer,
girls, but is it really
practical? You can?t run a
business by committee.
Every ship needs a
captain.?
Allison stood up and
saluted proudly.
?Captain Dawson
reporting for duty, sir!?
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
The
Farmer
& His
Wife
Anne and John
fall out over a
snack.
I
WAS dozing by the fireside
when Anne spoke to me.
?John, are you sleeping??
?No, dear.? I denied it quickly.
?I?m just resting my eyes.?
?I?m feeling guilty,? Anne went
on. ?We were at the Martins? for
lunch months ago and we
haven?t had them back.?
?Darling, it?s so long ago
they?ll have forgotten.?
?They might have, but I
haven?t,? she retorted. ?I?ll ask
them for next Wednesday.?
?Well, as long as you make it
clear that it?s only for a light
lunch or a snack,? I said.
Anne tends to lay on an
elaborate spread that?s difficult
to equal.
?We don?t want them feeling
that it?s some sort of
competition,? I explained.
Anne agreed. I was in the
kitchen when she phon ed to
invite them ?for a snack? so I
was determined she would stick
to it.
On Saturday morning, I
broached the subject.
?Have you decided what
you?re having for your snack
lunch??
?I haven?t thought yet, dear.?
?Let?s think, then.?
?Get my soup book down,
please, John.?
I was glad she was thinking of
a soup. There?s nothing more
filling than a good vegetable
soup.
I might have guessed that
would be too ordinary for the
Martins. It didn?t show off
Anne?s culinary skills.
?John, here?s a simple one,?
she said.
It was carrot soup. I won?t
bore you with how it was made
but, by George, it was good and
everyone said how much they
enjoyed it.
It was over the next course
that we fell out . . .
?Shall I do a leg of lamb or a
roast beef?? Anne asked.
?Darling, you said a snack
lunch, not a full-blown dinner.?
Anne was not pleased. I think
she was regretting asking the
Martins, but I stuck to my point.
You know as well as I do that
roast beef plus all the trimmings
is a lot of work.
We split the difference. Anne
slowly pot-boiled a piece of
silverside. We let it cool
overnight and then we made
open sandwiches with the best
beef you could find in Scotland.
There was ice-cream and
biscuits to follow and our guests
went home about four o?clock.
Anne and I had to tidy up,
wash the dishes, and put them
away. Then the milking had to
be done and Anne had two
calves she was rearing so they
had to be fed.
After all that was done we
were exhausted, and I was back
in the position that I was in at
the start of this story ? dozing
by the fireside.
I hope it?s a while before
Anne invites anyone else round
for a snack! n
More
next
week
Enjoy
Asparagus
Make the most of the short asparagus
season with our delicious recipes.
Brunch Muffins with
British Asparagus,
Egg and Bacon
Course: Breakfast or lunch
Skill level: easy Serves: 4
n
n
n
n
n
n
2 tbs olive oil
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 English muffins, split
25 g (1 oz) butter, optional
4 large eggs
200 g (7 oz) British asparagus
tips
n Salt and freshly ground black
pepper, to taste
1 Pre-heat the oven to 140 deg. C.,
www.britishasparagus.com.
275 deg. F., Gas Mark 1.
2 Add half the olive oil to a frying-pan and
fry the bacon until crisp. Transfer to a plate
lined with kitchen paper and leave to drain.
3 Spilt the muffins open and toast on both
sides, spreading with a little butter, if you
like. Transfer the muffins and the bacon to
the low oven to keep warm.
4 Fill a deep frying-pan with boiling water
from the kettle and add a pinch of salt,
setting over a high heat to bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a minimum so you just
see a few gentle bubbles forming. Crack
an egg into a small bowl and slide gently
into the water, lowering the bowl as close
to the water surface as you can so the egg
doesn?t spread out. Repeat with the other
eggs and leave to poach until cooked to
your liking, about 5 to 7 minutes.
5 Bring a saucepan of water to the boil,
add the asparagus and cook for 2 to 3
minutes until just tender. Drain well, drizzle
over the rest of the olive oil and season
with a little salt and pepper. Keep warm
with the muffins and bacon if the eggs are
not quite ready.
6 Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs from
the water to a plate lined with kitchen
paper. Allow to drain for a few seconds.
7 To assemble the muffins, start by adding
3 rashers of bacon to each muffin. Divide
the seasoned asparagus between each
muffin and finish with a poached egg. Top
with other half of the muffin and tuck in
immediately.
COOKERY 37
British Asparagus and Cheese
Brunch Muffins
Course: Brunch or snack
Skill level: easy
Serves: 12 large muffins
n 12 spears British
asparagus
n 400 g (14 oz) self
raising flour
n 200 g (7 oz) Cheshire
cheese, cut into small
cubes
n 125 g (4� oz) butter
n 1 small bunch chives,
snipped into pieces
n 150 ml (� pt) milk
n 100 ml (3� fl oz) plain
yoghurt
n 1 tsp English mustard
n 2 eggs
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
To Serve: cold butter.
1 Pre-heat the oven to
www.britishasparagus.com.
200 deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas
Mark 6 and line a 12-hole
muffin tin with cases.
2 Cut the asparagus stems into
small pieces, about 1 cm (� in)
in length, leaving the tips a little
longer, and blanch in boiling water
for a couple of minutes. Drain and
refresh under cold running water,
separating the tips from the pieces
of stem.
3 In a large bowl, mix the flour
with the cubes of cheese.
4 Melt the butter and pour into a
jug. Stir through the chives, milk,
yoghurt, mustard and eggs. Mix
well until combined and season
generously.
5 Gently fold the wet ingredients
into the flour and cheese, and stir
through the asparagus stems. Be
careful not to over-mix and stop as
soon as the mixture is combined.
6 Spoon the mixture evenly
between the muffin cases an d
push an asparagus tip into the
middle of each. Bake in the preheated oven from 25 to
30 minutes until golden. Best
eaten hot out of the oven, spread
with a little cold butter.
Boiled Potato,
Griddled
Asparagus and
Egg Salad
Course: Lunch or light main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
n 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) firm
potatoes, such as
Charlotte or Maris Peer,
sliced
n 4 medium eggs
n 230 g (8 oz) asparagus
n 2 tbs olive oil
n � lemon, juiced
n 1 tsp white wine
vinegar
n 1 clove garlic, crushed
n 2 tbs fresh dill, chopped
finely
n 2 tbs capers
n 4 gherkins, chopped
finely
1 Place the potatoes in a
saucepan of boiling water and
boil for 10 minutes.
2 Meanwhile place the eggs in
a small saucepan of simmering
www.lovepotatoes.co.uk.
water and cook for 5 minutes.
3 Lightly grease a griddle pan
and place over a medium to
high heat. Add the asparagus
to the pan and cook for 2 to 3
minutes until charred.
4 Whisk the oil, lemon juice,
white wine vinegar, garlic and dill
together.
5 Drain the potatoes and divide
between four plates. Scatter
over the asparagus, capers and
gherkins. Slice the egg and
place on top. Drizzle with the
dill dressing to serve.
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.
One Pan Sausage-meatball
Roast with British Asparagus
and New Potatoes
Course: Main Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
n 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) small new
potatoes
n 4 tbs olive oil
n 1 tsp dried oregano
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 8 thick pork sausages
n 400 g (14 oz) cherry vine
tomatoes
n 2 cloves garlic, chopped
n 2 bunches British
asparagus, trimmed and
cut in half
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200
deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Using a sharp knife, make a
www.britishasparagus.com.
series of thin slices, about
2 mm (1/16 in) apart, all along
the new potatoes, cutting down
about three quarters of the way
through so the potatoes stay
intact at the base. Add to a large
roasting tin and drizzle over the
olive oil, sprinkle on the oregano
and season with salt and pepper.
Toss about to coat evenly. Roast
for in the pre-heated oven for
10 minutes.
3 Cut each sausage into 4,
peeling away and discarding the
skins as you go. Remove the
potatoes from the oven, scatter
the sausage pieces around the
tin and slide back into the oven
for another 15 minutes.
4 Remove the roasting tin from
the oven once more, scatter over
the tomatoes and the garlic and
toss to coat, turning the potatoes
so they are all cut side up. Slide
back into the oven and roast for
another 10 minutes. Finally, add
the asparagus to the tin, tossing
to coat and roast for 5 more
minutes.
5 Remove from the oven and
serve straight away.
Parmesan Polenta Bowl with
Buttered British Asparagus
Course: Main Skill level: easy
Serves: 2
n Small handful of
hazelnuts, chopped
roughly
n 600 ml (1 pt) vegetable or
chicken stock
n 150 g (5� oz) polenta
n 50 g (1� oz) freshly
grated Parmesan
n 30 g (1 oz) butter
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 200 g (7 oz) British
asparagus tips
n Handful of basil, chopped
roughly
1 Add the hazelnuts to a
large saucepan and set over a
medium-high heat. Toast for a
few minutes, stirring frequently,
until golden brown. Tip into a
smal l bowl and set aside.
2 Add the stock to the same
saucepan and set over a high
heat to bring up to the boil. Once
boiling, slowly pour in the polenta,
stirring constantly with a wooden
spoon so no lumps form. Reduce
the heat to medium low and
continue to cook, stirring all the
time, until it?s really thick ? about
5 minutes. Take a little care as
it does have a tendency to spit
molten bubbles.
3 Turn off the heat and add most
of the Parmesan and most of the
butter (reserving a little of both
for later), stirring until it?s melted
and smooth. Season generously
with salt and pepper and cover
with a lid to keep warm.
4 Bring a pan of lightly salted
water to the boil and drop in the
asparagus. Boil for 2 minutes until
just tender but with plenty of bite.
Drain well and tip back into the
pan. Add the rest of the butter
and the basil and season with a
little salt and pepper. Toss well
to mix.
5 To serve, divide the polenta
between warmed bowls and top
with the buttery asparagus. Scatter
over the hazelnuts and sprinkle
over the rest of the parmesan.
Tuck in straight away.
Next week: juicy fruit recipes.
Polenta is
ground corn meal
often used in Italian
cooking. Quick-cook
polenta is ready in a
few minutes while
traditional polenta
can take up to an
hour to cook.
www.britishasparagus.com.
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
London
iStock.
The Poetry Of
Jane
McMorland
Hunter, Editor
of ?Favourite
Poems Of
London?, tells
us about the
city and its
charms.
Glorious St
Paul?s Cathedral.
do you love
Q What
about London?
A
When I was growing up,
Mum was a London
guide, taking tours round
the city. Occasionally I
would go with her and her
enthusiasm was infectious,
making me realise, from an
early age, that I lived
somewhere special.
The main reason I love
London now is its amazing
diversity. It is a vast, bustling
city but there are villages
within it, as well as largely
deserted parks, canals and
gardens. Old and new,
beauty and ugliness, work
and leisure are all within
feet of each other.
I also love the fact that it
is easy to get round on a
bicycle. I go everywhere on
an elderly sit-up-and-beg
bike; you notice so much
more on a bike and if I see
something interesting I can
easily stop and go and
investigate.
There is always
something new to discover;
I keep a list of places within
the city that I want to visit
and, however much I go
adventuring, it never gets
any shorter!
are your
Q What
favourite parts of
the city?
A
Definitely the River
Thames. I live in
Fulham, which sits in a loop
in the river and, depending
which way I go, I can bike
to the City, the old docks
and beyond towards the
estuary or upriver along the
towpath through parks and
along the backs of gardens.
Early in the morning in
autumn you can stand on
Putney Bridge and watch
cormorants dive through
the mist that forms just
above the water. A few
miles downstream the view
from the footbridge at
Charing Cross could be of a
different river.
Boats bustle to and fro
and, looking towards the
City, the towers and domes
of St Bride?s, St Paul?s and
the Oxo Tower sit amidst
modern buildings of every
shape and size.
My favourite open space
is the Thames Barrier Park
where a wildflower
meadow overlooks the
massive hulk of the flood
barrier from the north
shore.
The old Victorian dock is
planted as a sunken garden
with ?waves? of undulating
hedges and there is a caf�
with a lovely sunny terrace
POETRY
41
The city in the calm
of a summer sunrise.
? what more could one
want?
Which of the
Q poems
spoke most
strongly to you?
A
Three stand out: John
Davidson?s ?London?
because it gives a sense of
the magic of the city as well
as its immense power.
Imogen Robertson
conjures up a wonderful
fantasy in ?The Statues Of
Buckingham Palace?. The
bronze lion and his
companion at the base of
the Victoria Memorial
become flesh and slowly
walk along the Mall, waking
generals, poets and
mermaids as they go.
William Wordsworth?s
?Composed Upon
Westminster Bridge? was the
first poem I thought of when
I began researching the
anthology.
It is probably the most
obvious piece in the
collection but, two hundred
years after it was written, it
is still a wondrous
description of the city, and
accurate if one gets up
sufficiently early.
Q
Was it a challenge
to narrow down the
selection?
A
Almost impossible! I
had a ?shortlist? of three
hundred poems which had
to be cut to about forty.
I have always worked in
bookshops and will take
massive detours wherever I
go if there is a chance of
visiting a second-hand shop;
I am a compulsive bookbuyer.
I have a huge collection of
poetry books and the
starting point for the
anthologies I compile is
always taking a handful of
books to a park or caf�
(depending on the weather)
and working my way
through them selecting
possible poems.
The fine-tuning is then
carried out at the Saison
Poetry Library. This sits
Just by Putney Bridge.
above the Royal Festival Hall
on the South Bank and is
definitely my favourite
library. It has an amazing
collection of books,
brilliantly helpful staff and, if
one gets the right seat,
views of the river.
you see the city
QCan
change through the
eras of the poems?
A
Poets? views
undoubtedly changed
with time and each poem
gives a unique and personal
description of the city.
I wanted to create a
picture of London, not just
tell the chronological story
and with this in mind I
divided the anthology by
theme rather than date: the
River, the parks, the
buildings and the
inhabitants (people, statues,
sparrows and cats).
Finally, as London often
looks its best at dawn and,
as we are a nation obsessed
by the weather (myself
included), I added a
selection of poems
describing London mornings
throughout the year. n
?Favourite Poems Of London?
edited by Jane McMorland
Hunter, published by Batsford,
is available from bookshops
and online, RRP �99.
Me And
My Dad
SHORT STORY BY LEONORA FRANCIS 43
It was just the two of us now
? could we make it work?
Illustration by Philip Crabb.
W
HEN I was
nine years
old I was
angry. I was
angry that
my mother had died,
leaving me lost and
unhappy. I was angry with
my dad for moving me from
my lovely home in Blaby
not long after Mum died.
I was angry with the
whole world.
?We have to move,
Janine,? I remember Dad
saying. ?I can?t manage this
house on my own.?
?I?m not leaving.?
?We have no choice,
Janine,? he replied.
I ran upstairs, past the
boxes in the hallway and
those on the landing, and
slammed the door to my
empty bedroom. I sat on
the floor with my legs
crossed, angry at the world.
Dad came to fetch me
once all our belongings had
been placed in the removal
van. I still refused to move.
He picked me up, threw
me over his shoulder like I
was a sack of potatoes, and
carried me, kicking and
screaming, down the stairs.
We were both angry at
the cruel hand fate had
dealt us, but when I was
nine I thought everything
was about me. I didn?t
understand that my dad
had feelings, too.
* * * *
The new house was a
two-up, two-down, flatfaced and ugly to my eyes.
?What do you think of
your new home, Janine??
Mr Jessup lived next door
to us at our old house and
he was the owner of the
removal van.
I was squashed between
Mr Jessup and Dad in the
front seat at the time. I
didn?t answer.
?You?ll get used to it,?
he said.
As far as I was concerned
I would never get used to
it. I stood outside, not
wanting to go in, and
watched as Dad and Mr
Jessup carried in the
boxes; the ironing board;
our kitchen table that had
once sat three and now sat
two.
They carried in paraffin
heaters, chests of drawers,
wardrobes and beds. Mr
Jessup developed dark
patches of sweat down the
back of his shirt and at his
armpits and smiled at me
kindly as he passed by.
?Your room is ready to
unpack now, Janine.?
I didn?t want to unpack.
This wasn?t my home.
?Go on,? Dad said. ?I?ll
come and help you once
I?ve ??
?Hello.?? A woman
appeared from nowhere.
She reminded me of
Diana Ross, with big hair
and huge smile. She wore a
multi-coloured mini dress
like my mum had, but I
pushed that image aside. I
didn?t want to think about
Mum.
Dad put down the box
he was carrying.
?Hello,? he said.
?I?m Mrs Joseph. I live
across the road and
wondered if you and your
friend would like a cup of
tea.? Her accent was
strange. ?Or a cold drink
since the sun?s so hot
today.?
Dad seemed taken aback
by her kindness.
?A cup of tea would be
nice. Thank you.?
She turned towards me.
?How about you,
sweetheart? Would you like
a drink??
?No, thank you.?
?You sure??
I scowled, but all it did
was make her smile wider.
When she returned with a
tray with two steaming cups
she stopped in front of me
and lowered the tray until it
was level with my nose.
?I know you said you
didn?t want a drink, so I
brought you a dolly bead
necklace instead. My girls
love them.?
I didn?t want to take it,
but it looked so lovely with
its pink, white and violet
sweets . . .
?Go on. Take it.?
Something about her eyes
and smile made me raise
my arm, reach out and
pluck that string of sweets
from the tray.
?Thank you,? I muttered.
?Bless your beautiful big
blue eyes.?
Everyone I came into
contact with: friends at
school, teachers,
grandparents, neighbours,
all looked at me with pity.
Mrs Joseph was the first
person who hadn?t ? and
didn?t even once she found
out that Mum had died ?
and I grew to love her
because of it.
* * * *
Mrs Joseph had two
daughters, Rochelle and
Suzette. Rochelle was my
age and Suzette a little
younger. They appeared at
our door the day after we
moved in.
Dad was in the livingroom stuck in front of the
telly. When I heard the
knock on the door, I was in
my bedroom being mardy.
I went to the top of the
stairs as, whilst I was being
unco-operative and sulky, I
was also nine years old and
full of inquisitiveness.
When Dad opened the
door, Suzette spoke
first.
44
?Can Janine come out
to play??
I took two steps down.
Dad looked up the stairs
and saw me.
?Do you want to play
out??
?We?re going to the
park,? Rochelle coaxed.
Her smile was like her
mum?s, soft, warm and
friendly. Whilst I was still
angry at the world, there
was something that made
me come downstairs.
?Yes,? I said shyly.
* * * *
I couldn?t be angry with
Rochelle and Suzette. They
began to call on me
whenever they went out to
play. We played on the
swings and the merry-goround at the park.
We went to the canal to
fish for tiddlers with little
green nets on bamboo
sticks that Mrs Joseph
bought us.
?Don?t fall in,? she said.
?And make sure you throw
those tiddlers back so they
can grow to adults. Lord
knows, fish is expensive.?
Mrs Joseph always
bought three of everything.
Three dolly beads, three Mr
Whippys and, on Fridays,
three Fry?s Chocolate
Creams.
Mr Joseph, who was big
and strong from working at
the tyre factory, would
smile at me.
?Janine, make sure those
girls don?t make mischief.
You?re the only one of the
three of you who has your
head screwed on straight.?
I spent most of my time
at Mrs Joseph?s house. My
relationship with my dad
was no relationship at all.
After tea, he would sit in
front of the telly and stare
at it, not laughing or crying.
Just nothing.
Before Mum died he used
to take me to the park. He
played games. He would
laugh and sometimes sing.
Now, he wasn?t my dad any
more. Not the dad I knew.
So I decided to call him
by his name.
?Simon, can I go out and
play??
He turned to face me.
?Simon?? he said.
He was horrified, I could
see that, but what did I
care?
?What?s the Simon
about?? he asked.
I shrugged my shoulders
and didn?t answer. He
stared at me. In defiance, I
kept my eyes fixed on his
and tried not to blink.
I thought he?d raise his
arm, point upstairs and
order me to my room, like
he did the time I got hold of
matches and nearly set the
sofa alight.
Or like the time when I
was six and painted all
Mum?s Beatles records red
because I wanted to make
them look pretty.
But he didn?t. Instead, he
turned back to the telly.
?Make sure you?re back
at six.?
I ran across the road, but
instead of knocking on Mrs
Joseph?s door I pushed
open the door to the
entryway that connected
the two houses, fell to the
ground and began to sob. I
sobbed and sobbed.
Soon I heard Mrs
Joseph?s voice in her back
yard, talking to her
husband.
?Honey, you better not
burn them sausages . . .
Who?s there??
?It?s me, Mrs Joseph,? I
called, still sobbing.
?Janine?? She entered the
dark alley. ?What you
doing here??
?Don?t know.? I wiped my
nose on my sleeve.
She was wearing her
multi-coloured mini dress
with big dangly earrings at
her ears.
Instead of telling me to
stand up and wipe my eyes,
she sat down next to me.
?Honey, what?s wrong?
Why all those tears??
I couldn?t speak even if I
wanted to. Then she did
something I?d been missing
since Mum died. She
hugged me.
Images of my mum
appeared. Smiling down at
me. Giving me the cake
spoon to lick. Arriving at
the school gate after school
in her mini dress like the
one Mrs Joseph was
wearing.
It hurt to think of her, to
realise she was gone for
ever, but at that moment I
decided not to shut her
from my mind. How else
was I going to remember
her?
?Mum was kind, like
you!? I sobbed.
?I?m sure she was very
kind, and lovely, just like
you,? Mrs Joseph said.
?She passed away, you
know.?
?Yes. Your dad told me.?
She squeezed me tighter
and I cuddled up next to
her.
?He never talks about
her. I don?t think he wants
me now she?s gone.?
?Oh, Janine, you
shouldn?t say such a thing.
Your dad loves you very
much. Everyone can see
that.?
I looked up into her
smiling eyes.
?Yes, he sure does love
you, he?s just full of
sadness. He?s a lovely man;
he?s just lost his way a
little. It will take him a while
to be himself again. You
need to give him time.?
I let that sink in. Though I
thought Dad didn?t love me
he still made me breakfast,
lunch and dinner; washed
my clothes, although he?d
turned my vests pink.
He still helped me with
my homework and on a
Friday ran my bath with
lots of bubbles and always
had a warm towel at the
ready, just like Mum used
to do.
?I called him Simon
instead of Dad,? I admitted.
Mrs Joseph laughed.
?Did you now? Well, I
certainly think you should
apologise to him for that! I
know he never brought you
up to be no heathen.?
I remembered how I
never said please or thank
you and felt guilty. So
guilty.
?Janine, we?re all horrible
sometimes. And sometimes,
when we?re sad, we do and
say things we don?t mean,
but everything will turn out
right in the end.?
All sorts of thoughts were
going through my head.
?Dry your eyes, Janine.
Before you go, would you
like a sausage??
I found it difficult to
resist, especially since I
knew Dad?s tea would
consist of mostly bread and
jam, or Spam, or corned
beef and a packet of crisps
if I was lucky.
Besides, I wasn?t ready to
return home yet because I
didn?t want Dad to know I?d
been crying.
?Yes, please. ?
* * * *
My belly was full of
sausages, dumplings and
baked beans. Rochelle
found a brush and plaited
my hair in a neat pigtail.
?It?s full of knots,? she
said, laughing.
I would have liked to stay
longer but it was close to
six o?clock and I knew that
at six on the dot Dad would
open the door and call out
my name.
?Remember what I told
you,? Mrs Joseph
whispered in my ear. ?You
must apologise. Will you do
that??
?I will,? I said, though I
wasn?t sure if I could do it.
?Promise??
?Promise.? Then I knew I
would.
The walk across the road
was like a marathon. Our
front door seemed so far
away. I crossed the road
and knocked on the door.
Dad opened it in seconds,
as if he had been standing
right behind it. He looked
down at me.
?Did you enjoy yourself,
Janine??
?Yes,? I said. Then the
words blurted out of my
mouth. ?I?m sorry I called
you Simon. I didn?t mean it,
Dad. Really, I didn?t.?
Dad looked down at me
with tears in his eyes.
?I know you didn?t mean
it.?
He bent down and put his
arms around me, the first
time he had done so since
Mum had died.
?I?m sorry, too, Janine. I
promise I?ll do better.?
?We?ll both do better.?
After making our promise
to each other I glanced
across the road.
Mrs Joseph was standing
at her front door. She had
leaned her shoulder against
the door jam and had her
arms leisurely crossed
against her chest.
I stopped Dad from
closing the door and waved
at her. Dad waved at her,
too. She gave us a warm
smile and turned.
And from that moment I
knew what Mrs Joseph had
said was true. Everything
was going to be all right. n
Half Price Patio & Basket Mixes
Buy
24
ONLY
Half Price
�.98
�.99
PER PERSON
(Code M221)
6 Calibrachoa 'Million Bells' Mixed �99 (M220)
24 Million Bells Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (M221)
These stunning Million Bells will produce a cascading wall of colour
from each plant. A colourful and vibrant mixture guaranteed to
brighten any basket or window display this summer. Trails up to
50-60cm. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.
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24
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�.98
�.99
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(Code M9035)
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24
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�.98
�.99
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(Code M065)
6 Double Trailing Geranium Mixed �99 (M064)
24 Double Geranium Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (M065)
Create an eye-catching display in summer baskets and containers
with this vibrant mixture of Geraniums producing showy, double
rose-like flowers. Plant in groups for an avalanche of colour. Trails
60-70cm. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.
Buy
24
ONLY
Half Price
�.98
�.99
PER PERSON
(Code
GA362)
6 Bacopa Scopia Mixed �99 (M9034)
24 Bacopa Scopia Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (M9035)
6 Fragrant Nemesia Sunpeddle Mixed �99 (GA361)
24 Fragrant Nemesia Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (GA362)
A vibrant mixture of trailing Bacopa Scopia that will cascade as
much as 60cm. This is a perfect addition to any hanging basket
display. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.
Nemesia Sunpeddle are compact hybrids of Nemesia that produce
an abundance of sweet scented flowers throughout summer.
Height 20-30cm. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.
CALL:
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J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
14 Hadfield Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG
Online at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
Non-Stop Begonias
A. 3 Orange (GA3 4)
Non-stop Begonias are prolific flowering
and will produce masses of gorgeous
blooms throughout the summer until the
first frosts of autumn. They are perfect for
patio pots and containers, window boxes or
planted straight in a border. The tubers can
be lifted in autumn and stored over winter,
offering may years of pleasure. Giant 5cm
tubers supplied.
Order 3 of one colour for onl �99
(see codes under images) or ou can
bu a collection of 18 (three of each
colour) for onl �.9 (GA3 6).
A-F
B. 3 ellow (GA3 5)
18
Non-Stop
ONLY
Begonia
Collection �.97
�.99
(GA376) - three
PER PERSON
each
of the six
varieties (A-F)
C. 3 Red (GA3 1)
D. 3 Salmon (GA3 0) E. 3 Pink (GA3 2)
F. 3
hite (GA3 3)
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Half Price Cascading Begonias
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20
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�.98
Buy
ONLY5
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�49
�.99
�.99
PER PERSON
(Code A9670)
5 Giant Cascading Begonia Mixed �99 (A052)
20 Giant Cascading Begonia Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (A96 0)
Create a rainbow of colour with these beautiful double flowering
cascading Begonias. ach double bloom can grow to an impressive
5cm 6in across. Giant exhibition si e 5cm tubers supplied.
CALL:
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Highly Fragrant
(Code A400)
5 Begonia Odorata Mixed �.99 HALF PRICE �49 (A400)
This mixture of highly fragrant dorata Begonias in red, pink, yellow
and white will produce masses of cascading double flowers. The
vibrant blooms make them ideal for hanging baskets and patio pots.
Premium 5cm tubers supplied.
By post (complete the order form on the final page and post to):
J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
14 Hadfield Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG
Online at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
Large Flowering Cactus Dahlias
These Cactus ahlias are ideal for
borders or patio pots and produce
masses of flowers throughout the
summer. Their unusual spiky flower
heads will create a stunning display
and are excellent as cut flowers for
the vase. Growing to a height of
- . m they are real showstoppers.
Top grade tubers supplied.
Order 3 of one ariet for �.99
(see codes under images) or bu
the collection of 6 (one of each
ariet ) for onl �.98 (GA369). A. 3 Preference (GA363)
B. 3 Ha le Jane (GA364)
C. 3 arma Bon Bini (GA365)
E. 3 Orfeo (GA36 )
F. 3
6
Cactus
ONLY
Dahlia
Collection
�.98
�.99
(Code GA369) - one
each
of the six
PER PERSON
varieties (A-F)
SAVE �
D. 3 TuTu (GA366)
orton Blue Streak (GA368)
Dark Leaf Bishop Dahlias
ur collection of premium ark eaf
ahlias really is something special. They
produce an abundance of stunning
flowers throughout the summer months
that contrast well with the dark leaf
foliage. Height 60- 0cm. Top grade
tubers supplied.
G. 3 Llandaff (A154)
H. 3 Do er (A156)
I. 3 Oxford (A158)
Order 3 of one ariet for �.99
(see codes under images) or bu the
collection of 6 (one of each ariet )
for onl �.98 (A166).
6
Bishop
ONLY
Dahlia Collection
�.98
�.99
(Code A166) - one
PER PERSON
each
of the six
varieties (G-L)
J. 3 ork (A160)
CALL:
. 3 Leicester (A162)
0161 848 1100 quoting PF0418
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L. 3 Canterbur (A164)
SAVE �
By post (complete the order form on the final page and post to):
J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
14 Hadfield Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG
Online at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies)
antedeschia, fondly known as Calla
ilies, are must-have summer flowering
plants, producing marvellous waxy
leaves and beautifully shaped colourful
flowers throughout the summer.
They can be grown in the garden in a
sunny location or as pot plants in the
greenhouse or conservatory. Height
50-60cm. xhibition uality 6cm
tubers supplied.
A. Naomi (A362)
B. Firelights (A364)
C. Black Magic (A360) D. Picasso (A9564)
Order one of an ariet for �99
(see codes under images) or bu
the collection of (one of each
ariet ) for onl �.4 (GA33 ).
7
Calla Lily
ONLY
Collection
�.47
�.99
(Code GA337) - one
each
the seven
PERofPERSON
varieties (A-G)
E. Cantor (A358)
F. Albomaculata (A366)
G. Lipstick (A368)
HALF PRICE!
Gladioli Mixed Canna Mixed
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100
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�.98
�.99
PER PERSON
(Code A273)
25 Butterfl Gladioli Mixed � .99 (A2 2)
100 Butterfl Gladioli Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (A2 3)
These ex uisite miniature flowering Gladioli produce delicate
florets like the wings of a butterfly. Perfect for borders or patio pots
and containers. Height 60- 0cm.
0cm corms supplied.
0161 848 1100 quoting PF0418
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�.98
�.99
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(Code A9672)
3 Canna Mixed �99 (A96 1)
12 Canna Mixed �.96 HALF PRICE �.98 (A96 2)
Cannas are excellent perennial plants that will add exotic colour to
your garden borders or patio pots. Their bright flowers bloom in late
summer against contrasting dark foliage. Top si e rhi omes supplied.
By post (complete the order form on the final page and post to):
J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
14 Hadfield Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG
Online at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
Half Price Trailing Surfinia
These cascading single Surfinia are a
must have for any summer display.
They are rampant trailing plants which
produce an avalanche of colourful
single flowers throughout summer,
well into autumn. ur selection will
look great planted alone or mixed and
will trail 0- 00cm. UK-grown 3cm
diameter plug plants supplied.
D. 6 Red (M118)
Order 6 of one ariet for �99
(see codes under images) or bu
the collection of 30 (fi e of each
colour) for onl �.4 (M125).
30
Single
ONLY
Surfinia
Collection �.47
�.99
E. 6 ellow (M122)
(Code M125) - five
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of the six
PER PERSON
colours (A-F)
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A. 6 Blue (M112)
B. 6
hite (M114)
C. 6 Purple (M116)
F. 6 Hot Pink (M120)
ur double-flowering Surfinia plants
produce the most ama ing double
blooms of any summer basket plant.
deal for summer displays, they are
vigorous trailing plants which produce
ruffled cascades of colour from une
to ctober. UK-grown 3cm diameter
plug plants supplied.
G. 6 Pink (code M092)
H. 6 Blue (M088)
I. 6 Purple (M098)
Order 6 of one ariet for �99
(see codes under images) or bu
the collection of 30 (fi e of each
colours) for onl �.4 (M101).
30
Double
ONLY
Surfinia
Collection �.47
�.99
(Code M101) - five
PER PERSON
each
of the six
colours (G-L)
J. 6 ellow (M094)
CALL:
. 6 Red (M090)
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L. 6
hite (M096)
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J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
14 Hadfield Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9FG
Online at www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
Giant Trailing Basket Fuchsia
Nothing matches the beauty of
uchsias pendant bell shaped flowers,
guaranteed to brighten up any summer
basket display. These giant flowering
varieties will create a stunning display
in any garden or patio, perfect for
hanging baskets. Height 5-25cm,
trailing 50-60cm. UK-grown 3cm
diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.
A. 6 Snowburner (M0 4)
B. 6 Bella Rosella (M0 8)
C. 6 Deep Purple (M0 6)
Order 6 of one ariet for �99
(see codes under images) or bu
the collection of 30 (fi e of each
ariet ) for onl �.4 (M08 ).
30
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Collection �.47
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D. 6 oodoo (M080)
E. 6 Holl 's Beaut (M082)
F. 6
hite ing (M084)
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Award Winning Hardy Fuchsia
These fantastic award winning hardy
uchsia will bring pleasure year after year.
ach variety holds the prestigious Award of
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UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug
plants supplied.
Order 6 of one ariet for � .99 (see
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G. 6 Snowcap (M522)
H. 6 Hawkshead (M520)
I. 6 Heidi Anne (M524)
30
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Collection �.97
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. 6 Dollar Princess (M528)
L. 6 Delta Sarah (M530)
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J Parker Dutch Bulbs Ltd, Offer Dept PF0418,
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Cottage Garden Perennial Sale
This selection of cottage garden perennial favourites
is ideal for filling your borders with colour during the
summer. The vibrant flowers will return year after
year. UK-grown 5cm diameter plug plants supplied.
Order 6 of one ariet for �99 (see codes
under images) or bu the collection of 30 (six
of each ariet ) for onl �.4 (P992).
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Garden
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C. 6 Penstemon Mixed (P232)
A. 6 Holl hocks Mixed (P262)
D. 6 Digitalis Mixed (P258)
Name ............................................................................................................................
B. 6 Delphiniums Mixed (P260)
E. 6 Dwarf Lupins Mixed (P256)
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point
CHAT 53
Talking
W
Should we return to ?make do and mend??
E were astonished
to see a recent study
by stain-removing
brand Vanish indicating that
�.5 billion-worth of
wearable clothes are thrown
away every year. That?s
?wearable? clothes, mind,
not worn out or damaged.
We?re currently looking
through almost 150 years of
?The People?s Friend?
archives for next year?s
anniversary bookazine.
In those pages, we see
again and again the care
and love readers put into
making and looking after
their clothes. Your letters
and comments tell us that
many of you still feel this
way.
So how is it that an
exciting new purchase can
suddenly be seen by some
folk as fit only for the bin
after just a few wears?
Some of the survey?s
respondents admitted they
simply wanted more space
in the wardrobe, while
others threw away stained
clothes: if an item was
cheap, it wasn?t worth
cleaning.
A quarter threw away
I always darn,
MC repair or sew
buttons back on.
Even when the
clothes are past
wearing I use any
good material left
on the garment for
my crafting.
items that needed small
repairs. More depressingly,
one in eight ditched
purchases once they ?felt
old? ? after an average of 50
days. In most cases, taking
unwanted clothes to a
charity shop was ?too much
hassle?.
What a shame, especially
as some charities, such as
the British Heart Foundation,
can even collect donations.
It?s sad to think of good
clothes going into landfill,
not least because others
could benefit from them.
Better, though, would be to
buy less and to respect our
belongings ? maintaining,
repairing and remaking the
things we do buy to get
maximum use out of them.
In fact, this is becoming
fashionable again for many,
especially younger women.
Tara Button, of the Buy Me
Once website, campaigns for
buying less, but buying to
last.
And it?s brilliant to see
how many women are
sharing their skills and ideas
online and in face-to-face
groups, such as the Stitched
Up co-op in Manchester
(https://stitchedup.coop),
Iona Barker?s Say It Ain?t
Sew workshops around
Scotland (www.sayitaintsew.
org) and similar initiatives
up and down the country.
Their sisters in spirit,
?Friend? readers from the
last century and a half,
would heartily approve! n
?Wear your own style with pride?
Tara Button of www.buymeonce.
com says, ?Making your clothes last
longer is the easiest thing you can
do for the environment. My top tip:
take a step back from trends. Get
scientific. Discover your own style
by spending a weekend trying
on every different colour and
garment shape available. Then
invest in the highest quality you
can. Wear your own style with
pride. Fabulous.?
?Donating clothes couldn?t be easier?
iStock
Here?s what
you said on
the ?Friend?
Facebook page
Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail
Operations Director at the British
Heart Foundation, says, ?We do all
we can to turn quality unwanted
items into funds for our heart
research, preventing wearable
clothing, shoes and accessories
from ending up in landfill.
?We are always in need of goodquality donations and donating
to us couldn?t be easier with our
free collections service. To book a
collection, call 0808 250 0030 or
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LS I?m forty-five; I turn
up hems, add zips,
repair clothes, make
fancy-dress costumes
and love using my
Grandma?s old
darning mushroom.
I take my clothes
GH that no longer fit
me to the opshop and those
that are damaged
are used for rags.
Took four bags
recently to charity
and it felt great.
We in Australia
throw out perfectly
good clothes. It?s a
world-wide issue!
REH In Australia
there are a few
organisations that
provide outfits,
including makeup, shoes and
handbags, for
women going to job
interviews. A lovely
thought, I say.
AG I pass good items
on to charity.
I?m not the best
needleworker in
the world, but do
what I can. If it?s
beyond my abilities
I send it to charity
marked ?rags?,
because I know
they still get money
for them.
SHORT STORY BY PATRICIA CLARK 55
Beatrice had
known Geoffrey
for a long time
? so why had
her feelings
suddenly
changed?
R
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
B
EATRICE, sitting at
her desk, pen in
hand, opened her
accounts ledger,
and wrote the date
? May 10, 1660.
But she went no further;
her mind was elsewhere.
Putting the pen back on
the ink stand, she leant
back in her chair, so
comfortable with its plump
leather cushion.
Gazing out of the window
at the well-tended garden
and the rolling
Herefordshire hills beyond,
she reflected on how she
hadn?t expected to fall in
love at nearly fifty years
old.
After all, it was twenty
years ago, the year her
parents died, that the
thought of love had last
entered her head.
She smiled at the
memory of those two
earnest suitors asking for
her hand. She had refused
them both and paid them a
shilling each for their kind
offers, recording in her
ledger that they ?cam to be
Set in
the
1660s
my valantine?.
For money matters had
become the centre of her
life, and the lending of it,
quite legal for an unmarried
woman, brought in a
substantial income.
?Beatrice,? she told
herself firmly, ?you are too
old for love.?
She was determined to
banish all such ridiculous
notions. She would get
started on what she did
best: check the state of her
finances, how much was
owed by her borrowers,
and how much she could
afford on her charitable
donations after her own
bills were paid.
But first she must make
sure her entries were up to
date by checking the scraps
of paper she made notes
on.
Now, where had she put
them? Her romantic
preoccupations had
affected her normally
orderly mind.
Still, looking through the
desk drawers, she finally
found them.
Ah, yes! The new dress
(she had only worn it once)
was quite an expense ?
twenty-three yards of black
silk costing twelve pounds,
and then there were the
extras such as lace, clasps,
taffeta lining, plus the fee
for the tailor which she had
forgotten to note down.
Perhaps she should wear
it for her ?love?. Or would
he think it too sober?
An idea came to her ? the
possibility of brightening up
the dress with the diamond
brooch inherited from her
mother ? before she
remembered her decision to
quash all thoughts of
possible romance.
* * * *
?Aunt Beatrice!? Her
niece, Anne, bounded into
the room, flushed with
excitement and effort at
helping one of the
shepherds drive some of
the flock to fresh pasture.
?Have you something on
your mind? You looked
miles away when I came
past the window.?
?Just doing my accounts,
that?s all. Sit down and tell
me all about your morning,
dear.?
Beatrice leaned over and
pulled up a chair, always
eager to listen to her young
charge.
She had looked after her
since she was a baby, her
father having been killed at
the Battle of Naseby in
1645 in the English Civil
War, and her mother
tragically dying in childbirth
soon after.
It was a terrible time for
all the Royalists, Beatrice
thought, culminating in the
wicked beheading of King
Charles, then the dreadfully
harsh government of Oliver
Cromwell and the
Protectorate ? a misnomer
if ever there was one!
One ray of sunshine,
though, for Beatrice, was
her niece, now fifteen years
old, and a lively and loving
companion as well as a
willing worker on the farm,
thank goodness.
This morning she looked
especially cheerful as she
described what she had
been up to.
?Well, Aunt . . .? She
grinned, flicking a stray curl
off her forehead. ?Two
lambs were born and
Matthew let me help with
wiping one clean and
shaking it till it bleated.?
Her big blue eyes
sparkled with delight.
?Some more will be born
tomorrow, he thinks,? she
continued excitedly. ?You
must come along and help
us. Don?t you just love
them??
Beatrice responded with
a smile.
Yes, like most country
people, she loved
lambing time. But
56
today she was reluctant
to make a commitment.
As Matthew had been in
charge today, the chances
were that it would be the
other shepherd Geoffrey?s
turn tomorrow.
She needed to keep her
distance from him if she
were to recover from her
silly fantasies.
To keep her distance from
the brilliant smile with teeth
so perfect for a middleaged man, and nut-brown
eyes clear and sparkling
with kindness.
Why was it she had only
recently been so affected?
?Has something or
someone upset you?? Anne,
a sensitive and perceptive
girl, took Beatrice?s hand.
?You don?t seem yourself.
?You can tell me, Aunt.
I?m nearly grown-up now
and I promise I won?t
repeat anything you say. I
can be quite sensible, you
know.? She took a quick
breath and went on.
?I?ve even nearly finished
the book you lent me on
Mary, Queen of Scots,
which was really, really
long!?
Beatrice thanked her with
a hug, but insisted there
was nothing troubling her.
After all, a girl of fifteen
surely would be shocked to
think that a woman of her
age was harbouring
romantic thoughts.
?I just don?t enjoy doing
accounts, but they have to
be done,? she explained,
thinking how much she
loved her niece and how
she couldn?t love her any
more if she were her own
daughter.
And, she realised, how
she didn?t like keeping
secrets from her.
?Now, have you any
other news apart from
lambing?? Beatrice asked,
intent on turning the focus
away from herself.
?Well, yes, I have.?
Anne?s eyes widened. ?I
suspect you haven?t heard
the important news, then.?
She paused, enjoying the
drama of the suspense
she?d created.
?What news?? Beatrice
pressed. ?And where did it
come from??
?From Geoffrey. In fact,
I?m surprised he hasn?t
mentioned it since you and
he are such good friends.?
Beatrice felt herself
blushing.
?I like to think I am good
friends with Geoffrey and
Matthew, but also with all
the other workers on the
farm, and the villagers.?
Having recovered her
normally calm demeanour,
she continued briskly.
?Now, come on, Anne.
Don?t keep me in suspense
any longer. Tell me this
news that is so important.?
?I will in a minute,? was
the teasing answer. ?Firstly,
it is only fair that you are
honest with me about
Geoffrey. You always say I
can talk to you about
anything, so why won?t you
discuss your friendship?
?If you did discuss a
possible romance, it might
prepare me to deal with a
possible suitor at the same
time as giving you a chance
to unburden yourself,?
Anne persisted, head tilted
to one side, her eyes as
wide as she could make
them.
Won over, Beatrice
smiled, adding a word of
warning.
?Anything I tell you about
myself and Geoffrey must
remain between us. No
gossiping to friends.?
?Of course not. Now, tell
me. Please, Aunt Beatrice.?
Beatrice fidgeted with the
pens on her desk and then
looked out the window to
make sure no-one was
coming to the door. She
thought back to her last
meeting with Geoffrey.
It was nearly a week ago
now that he had surprised
her by knocking on the
door quite early in the
morning; he usually didn?t
call until all of his work in
the fields and with the
sheep was done.
He?d looked different,
too, tidier with a red scarf
round his neck. Even his
boots had been polished.
Very presentable.
She had asked him in,
half expecting a polite
refusal ? he had work to
do, perhaps ? but he had
surprised her, accepting her
invitation.
Sitting in the parlour, the
two of them talked about
work matters. Would she
want him to arrange for the
thatcher to come?
Were there any other
maintenance jobs he
couldn?t do that would
require outside help?
The matters swiftly dealt
with, conversation had
stuttered to a halt.
?Well,? Beatrice said
briskly. ?If there?s nothing
else, I expect you want to
get on.?
At the door, Geoffrey
hesitated before shaking
her hand with a faint blush
on his cheek and his dark
brown eyes twinkling.
?You?re a fine lady, Miss
Beatrice,? he told her with
a coy smile. ?That you are.?
Closing the door behind
him, her mind was in a
whirl and her heart
fluttering. This wasn?t the
usual Geoffrey she knew.
And it surely wasn?t her
imagination that he had
held her hand far longer
than a normal handshake
warranted.
?So, Aunt Beatrice.?
Anne?s sharp voice brought
her back to the present.
?You were going to tell me
something about Geoffrey.?
Beatrice smiled.
?Only that he called in
when you were out, which
was slightly unusual at that
time of day.?
?And what did he want??
Anne took hold of her
hands. ?Please tell me
before I die of suspense.?
?Well . . .? Beatrice
racked her brains to come
up with something that
would satisfy her niece
without giving away her
feelings about the man.
?I?m sorry to disappoint
you,? she said finally, ?but
he did seem to have come
with some specific purpose
in mind, but what it was I
just don?t know.
?He did look smarter than
usual but, after passing a
few pleasantries, such as
calling me ?a fine lady?, he
left,? she finished. ?And
that?s it.?
?Ah! Now I see.? Anne
was all smiles. ?In fact, I am
pretty sure I can enlighten
you, darling Aunt. In fact,
I?m sure he was coming to
tell you the news I received
from Matthew this
morning.?
?Which is??
Surely Geoffrey wouldn?t
have confided in Matthew,
Beatrice reasoned. Nor
would Matthew have
confided in Anne.
?Apparently our true
King, Charles the second, is
crossing the channel right
now and on his way to
Dover, ready to reclaim the
throne for the Stuarts.?
?That?s wonderful news!?
Beatrice exclaimed. ?Now
the country can get back to
the old order after all this
fighting followed by misery
under the Protectorate. It
hasn?t seemed like England
these last years.?
So glad she was that she
momentarily forgot her
personal dilemma.
?There?s more news that
might interest you, Aunt,?
Anne continued with a grin.
?Go on.?
?Lady Harley of the
Manor has apparently
offered her coach and
horses to Geoffrey and told
him that he is to take
whoever he wishes to Dover
to see the King?s arrival.
?So, my guess is that he
was going to ask you to be
one of them, but was too
shy to ask.?
Left on her own, Beatrice
thought Anne was right. But
if so, why did she feel so
disappointed?
All right, it would have
been exciting to see the
King?s arrival, but even if
Geoffrey had asked her as
one of the guests, what did
it mean?
It would have been the
courteous thing to do as
she employed him, that was
all. And if he did eventually
ask her, who else would
come, too? Should she
accept?
She sank into her
favourite chair, holding her
head in her hands. Why did
life have to be so
complicated?
Still, Geoffrey hadn?t
asked her yet ? perhaps he
wouldn?t, although she was
pretty sure that was why he
had come ? and there were
jobs she had planned for
next week.
Most importantly, she
was going to London on the
stagecoach to check on her
investments, and also,
almost as important, to buy
whalebone for a new corset.
* * * *
After a restless night,
Beatrice rose early
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58
and, having breakfasted
with Anne, who she then
sent off on an errand in the
village, tidied and
re-plaited her hair.
She had decided to tell
Geoffrey what she knew
from Anne.
She would tell him that
she knew he had been
asked by Lady Harley to
organise a coach trip to
Dover, and that, should he
be thinking of asking her as
a courtesy, she really
didn?t want the long
journey.
Yes, she thought, that
would be best, and still
rehearsing over and over
again in her mind the
friendly but not too friendly
phrases she would use, she
knocked on the cottage
door.
?Good morning,
Beatrice.? Geoffrey beamed
with obvious delight. ?Are
you coming with me to see
to the lambing and perhaps
even lend a hand if need
be??
He ushered her inside
and insisted she sat down
while he cleared his
breakfast pots off the
table.
?Anne told me how much
she enjoyed helping
Matthew yesterday, and it
is such a special time of
year, so ??
?You decided to join me
today,? he finished. ?Like
you, I find spring lambing
the most wonderful thing,
and to share it with you will
make it even more special.?
Oh, dear. This wasn?t
going the way Beatrice had
planned.
She couldn?t bring herself
to tell him why she had
really called. It would seem
unkind; a rebuff to this
generous-hearted man.
He was looking at her
with such delight and also
tenderness ? though she
hastily dismissed that
feeling as her imagination
playing silly tricks again.
Perhaps later she might
be able to bring up the
subject of the coach trip.
Tactfully, of course. Even
better, he might mention it
himself, for she was sure
that was what he had
intended. But if so, what
had stopped him?
Mentally, she
reprimanded herself. Stop
going round and round in
circles, Beatrice. Go and
enjoy the lambs and
Geoffrey?s company. You
are his employer. It is in his
interest and yours to get
along pleasantly.
In the lambing shed it
was like another world. Two
country people in their
overalls doing a job,
helping the ewes with the
birth when necessary, then
cleaning the newborn lambs
with straw, swinging them
to get them breathing.
?Wonderful.? Beatrice,
tired but happy, sank
gratefully on to the bale of
straw Geoffrey dragged up
for her.
The two sat for a while in
silence like two parents
looking at their babies.
?It?s at times like this,?
Beatrice admitted
thoughtfully, ?that I can
come close to what I?ve
missed ? the experience of
childbirth.?
Geoffrey picked up a rag,
gently wiped her fingers,
and repeated what he had
said to her the day before.
?You?re a fine lady, Miss
Beatrice. That you are.?
Then he added, after a
pause, ?And certainly as
fine a mother as Anne could
wish for. She?s a real credit
to you.?
This time, she managed a
reply.
?Thank you, Geoffrey,
and you, if I may say so,
are a fine man.?
She steeled herself to tell
him that she had guessed
what he had been about to
ask her the other day and,
tactfully, of course, to offer
her refusal.
?I will be straight with
you,? she began. ?That?s
the least you deserve.?
She swallowed hard and
went on quickly.
?After talking to Anne, I
was sure what you were
about to ask me, and that
for some reason you felt
embarrassed, and . . .? She
faltered.
This was more difficult
than she had expected, and
to make matters worse,
Geoffrey was looking more
and more uncomfortable.
?I suppose I do
understand,? she stuttered,
?that my being your
employer makes it difficult.
But I feel I must refuse your
kind offer. Please forgive
me for making such a mess
of this.?
Geoffrey made a visible
effort at composing
himself.
?My dear friend ? I call
you that, because that?s
what you are and always
will be ? I respect your
decision.? And he shook her
hand as if sealing a deal.
?Ah! There you are.?
Anne appeared on the
scene. ?I did all your
errands, Aunt. I even put
the butter and cheese in
the larder.?
She looked fondly at
them both, adding, ?I can
see by the pleased
expression on your faces
that you have had a good
time lambing.?
Then she whispered in
Beatrice?s ear.
?Did you sort out the
other matter??
Beatrice blushed,
embarrassed not only for
herself, but also for
Geoffrey, for he must have
heard her niece?s whisper.
?I don?t know what other
matter you are talking
about,? she said sternly.
?And any business between
Geoffrey and myself is our
concern, Anne.?
Anne mumbled an
apology.
?I thought the proposal
was common knowledge in
the village,? she added
flippantly, which rendered
the apology quite useless.
?Anyway, I will go and finish
off my chores.?
And with a toss of her
head she was gone.
?I can only apologise for
her,? Beatrice began, but
Geoffrey stopped her there
and, taking her hand, led
her back to the lambing
shed.
?This will calm us down.
And, please, believe me
when I say that we will
always be friends even
though you have turned
down my proposal.?
?You are very kind, but
let me tell you why I
couldn?t possibly join you in
Lady Harley?s coach.
?The journey is just too
far. I?ve never liked
stagecoach travel. It makes
me ill.? She paused for
breath, then smiled as
Geoffrey laughed, which
echoed round the lambing
shed, setting off the lambs
bleating in a right
cacophony of noise.
?What?s so funny?? she
asked.
?You think I was about to
propose that you should be
part of the group in the
Dover-bound coach??
She nodded and Geoffrey
took her hands in his.
?Well, I wasn?t. In fact, I
was trying to propose that
you and I, two dear friends,
might become man
and . . .?
As he shifted nervously
from foot to foot, Beatrice
gently squeezed his hands.
?My dear Geoffrey, if you
are asking me to be your
wife, the answer is an
unequivocal yes.? n
What inspired me...
I have always loved
Patricia Clark.
history and especially that
of ordinary people. It was
on reading extracts from
?The Business And
Household Accounts Of
Joyce Jeffreys?, a 17thcentury spinster of Hereford,
that I was inspired to create
my heroine Beatrice.
How astonishing it
seemed that when Charles II returned in 1660 to
restore the monarchy, there were spinsters lending
money and doing well on the interest earned!
I see my heroine as amazingly similar to the
modern career woman: capable, efficient, enjoying
her work; yet also susceptible to love.
Inside next week?s issue
Our cover feature:
Simon Whaley is
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in charming Cromer
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SHORT STORY BY KATIE ASHMORE 61
The old oak was
supposed to
hold magical
powers. Could it
be true?
In Mannerby
Woods
Illustration by Tracy Fennell.
F
AYE sank down on
the stile and tried to
ignore her swollen
ankles and the ache
in her back. Above
her, a pale sun offered the
hope of warm days to
come.
Below, a purple carpet
stretched out beneath the
trees as far as the eye
could see.
Even after all this time,
the bluebells in Mannerby
Woods had the power to
take her breath away. There
was something magical
about this place. It had
remained unchanged for
centuries.
The stile adorned the
crest of a small hill at the
entrance to the woods. To
her right, the huge
Templeton Oak, the stuff of
village legend, stood stocky
and gnarled.
She peered along the
track to her left, straining
to hear her husband?s
voice. Surely Drew wouldn?t
be long now? She was tired
and wanted to go home.
Absently, she caressed
her swollen belly and
shifted to get more
comfortable. Perhaps, in
her condition, she should
have stayed in the car, but
she hadn?t been able to
resist the lure of the
bluebells.
She wondered where
Drew was. She really wasn?t
feeling too good. She
sighed. Perhaps she just
wasn?t up to it. At fortythree, was she too old to
have a baby?
When they?d met,
eighteen years ago, she
hadn?t envisaged this . . .
* * * *
?This is the kitchen,? Faye
said.
As she looked around the
tiny unit, she wondered
how she was supposed to
sell it to anyone.
The young man didn?t
look convinced.
?Well, it?s compact,? he
said wryly.
?It has great use of
space,? she persisted.
She slid out units to
reveal extra storage.
He shook his head.
This was the third
weekend Faye had shown
Drew around properties in
the area. He was a
handsome guy, and she
was enjoying her job rather
more than usual.
However, so far he hadn?t
been impressed with any of
the houses on offer.
?I?m sorry.? He smiled.
?This isn?t for me.?
She nodded.
?To be honest, I?m not
surprised.?
Faye wished she?d found
the perfect home for Drew.
He was polite and friendly
with a sense of humour. It
made her job easier.
?Sorry to be a fussy
customer.? He grinned. ?Is
there anywhere else worth
a look??
?There is,? she said
slowly, ?but it?s older and
more expensive. It needs
work.?
?Do you like it??
She blinked. Clients didn?t
usually ask for her personal
opinion.
?I do. It has lots of
potential.?
?Then I?d like to see it.?
The house was Victorian.
The rooms were light and
high-ceilinged, but it had
been left to go to rack and
ruin.
Faye could tell that Drew
had fallen in love with it
before they?d even finished
looking around downstairs.
She couldn?t blame him.
It was beautiful.
When he talked about
new flooring and where his
furniture could go, she
knew there was a sale in
the air.
Faye was thrilled for
Drew, but she realised she
was going to miss him. If
he?d found his new home,
she wouldn?t see him again.
?Will you put in an
offer?? she asked, trying to
be excited.
?I think so,? he replied.
?But only if I can take you
to dinner as a thank you.?
* * * *
Six months later, Faye
and Drew were in love.
They bought the house
together and, not long
after, he took her on her
first picnic to Mannerby
Woods.
?It?s beautiful!? She sat
beneath the Templeton
Oak, gazing at the sea of
purple bells stretched out
before her. ?I?ve never seen
so many.?
?I thought you?d like it,?
he replied, smiling down at
her. ?Gran used to bring
me here when I was little
and make up stories about
the woods. Sometimes, we
came here on field trips
with the kids.?
Faye laughed.
?You and those
children. I?ve never
known someone so
6
enthusiastic about their
work.?
It hadn?t taken long to
discover that Drew was a
geography teacher and
passionate about his work.
His parents were teachers,
too. He was the eldest of
four and he loved children.
Faye, an only child, had
been delighted when
Drew?s big noisy family ?
including his wonderful
gran, Iris ? had absorbed
her into their clan.
She leaned back against
him, feeling his arms
around her. The spring
sunshine was warm on her
face and she could smell
the damp undergrowth.
A woodpecker tapped
away in the distance, busy
about its work. Surely life
didn?t get much better than
this?
?Talking of children,?
Drew said, holding her
close and speaking softly
into her ear. ?One day, I?d
like a child of my own.?
Faye opened her eyes.
?Maybe two.?
She held her breath.
?And I?d like to have
them with you, Faye. Will
you marry me??
She squealed and turned
to face him.
?Of course I will, Drew.
Of course.?
Laughing, he kissed her,
then presented her with a
tiny box. She lifted the lid
to find an engagement ring
nestling inside.
?It was my greatgrandmother?s. I hope you
like it.?
Faye slipped it on to her
finger.
?It?s perfect,? she said.
* * * *
Not many months of
marriage had passed when
Faye and Drew decided to
start their family. They
planned and dreamed.
Faye gave up alcohol,
took folic acid, bought
books on conception.
Nothing happened. Months
passed and Faye began to
feel empty.
She seemed surrounded
by other people?s
pregnancies ? each new
announcement a fresh stab
to her heart. She dreaded
the aching disappointment
that each month brought.
Then, one glorious
Tuesday, she realised she
was a few days late. She
told herself not to get
excited.
?You have to wait at least
a week before you get your
hopes up.?
But she was already
convinced.
?What?s up with you?? a
colleague asked, later that
week. ?You look like you?ve
won the lottery.?
?Nothing.? Faye grinned.
?Just enjoying married life,
I guess.?
?Really, is that all?? The
girl raised her eyebrows.
Faye laughed.
?I?m going for my lunch
break now. I?ll be back in
an hour.
She drove up to
Mannerby Woods. She felt
the need for fresh air and a
walk would do her good. It
was hard to relax when you
could only think about one
thing.
She would bring the baby
here when it was old
enough, she thought. It
would love the woods as
much as they did.
On the way back to the
office, she bought a
pregnancy test.
Later, that night, Faye
was distracted.
?Is something the
matter?? Drew asked,
laughing. ?I don?t think
you?ve heard a word I?ve
said.?
?Sorry.?
Faye hugged him. She
desperately wanted to tell,
but it was too soon. So far,
nothing had registered on
the tests.
She couldn?t raise his
hopes. She would leave it a
little longer.
On Monday, as she sat
and sobbed, she was glad
that she had.
* * * *
?What?s the matter, pet??
Faye looked up, her eyes
swollen and red.
Iris, Drew?s gran, stood in
the doorway.
?Oh!? She grabbed a
tissue and dabbed at her
cheeks. ?I didn?t hear you
come in.?
Iris nodded.
?I?m not surprised,? she
said. ?Why don?t you clean
yourself up? I?ll put the
kettle on. Then, you can tell
me all about it.?
A few minutes later, Iris
was sitting on the sofa in
Faye and Drew?s lounge,
passing her a cup of tea.
?This will help, pet,? she
said. ?Want to talk now??
Faye did, but she wasn?t
sure how to begin.
?The thing is . . .?
Iris patted her hand.
?I know, love. Drew said
you want a family, but I
hear things aren?t going too
well.?
Faye?s eyes filled once
more.
?Now, don?t fret. It will
happen all in good time.?
She shook her head.
?It?s been three years!
We?ve tried everything. I?m
sure it?s never going to
happen and we desperately
want children.?
Iris sat in silence, her eyes
fixed on Faye?s face. She
seemed to be thinking.
Then she cleared her throat.
?I?m going to tell you
some local folklore,? she
said at last. ?In my
grandmother?s time, it was
said that if a couple went to
Mannerby Woods at
midnight, on the spring
equinox, and walked three
times around the Templeton
Oak, they?d be sure of long
life and a large family.?
Her eyes twinkled.
?Probably a lot of silly
nonsense, but it might be
fun to try. A glass of wine
might not hurt, either,? she
added. ?You need to
relax.?
Two weeks later, Faye
and Drew were up at
Mannerby Woods. They?d
brought torches with them,
but it was a bright moonlit
night. The oak tree stood
out clearly on the raised
ground by the stile.
?I can?t believe we?re
doing this.? Drew shook his
head.
?Me neither.? Faye
giggled.
?What if someone sees
us??
That made Faye laugh
even more.
?Hardly likely up here.?
Drew grinned into the
darkness.
?Come on, let?s get this
over with and go home and
open that bottle.?
?Not yet. It has to be
midnight.? Faye took out
her phone and waited.
?Now!?
She grabbed his hand.
Together they walked
around the tree ? one, two,
three times.
When they came to a halt
by the stile, Drew took her
in his arms.
?You know I love you,
don?t you? Whether we
have a family or not.?
Faye breathed in the
scent of his skin and
cologne.
?I know,? she whispered,
holding him tight in the
darkness.
* * * *
Now, years later, Faye
shifted uncomfortably on
the stile.
?Where are you, Drew??
she muttered.
She stood up, rubbing her
back, and wandered over
to the oak tree.
?This is all your fault,?
she said, placing a hand
against its rough bark.
?I don?t know where he is
and I feel sick.?
She was about to go back
to the car when she finally
heard voices. She stared
down the track into the
woods. She could see the
top of Drew?s head as he
strode up the path towards
her. He looked up and
waved.
His hair was flecked with
grey now, his face less
boyish, but otherwise he
had changed little since
that first picnic by the tree
and her spirits rose.
As he climbed the hill, his
shoulders came into view,
then his chest. Before long
another head appeared
behind him. She watched
and waited, counting them
all safely back.
Drew, Charlie, Ollie,
Jasper and Noah. Her
wonderful boys.
As she watched, the
aches seemed to fade, the
sickness recede. She smiled,
knowing she was blessed.
She thought back to
those days of desperation
and sadness. Yes, she
might have got more than
she bargained for, but she
wouldn?t be without a
single one of them.
As she turned towards
her family, she patted the
old tree?s trunk.
?Thank you,? she
whispered, and opened her
arms to greet her family. n
my garden
Notes from
Alexandra Campbell considers how
your garden might be affected by
what?s beneath it.
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
Horticultural
Fleece
I?ve had a high failure
rate when planting
seeds directly into the
ground, but am going to
try a new trick. I?m going
to lay horticultural fleece
directly on top of the
soil, anchored by bricks.
No-dig specialist Charles
Dowding does this. It
can either be flat on the
ground or on low
supporting hoops. It
keeps the soil warm and
prevents birds from
stealing new seeds.
I
?M currently working on
the guidebook for the
Faversham Open Gardens
& Garden Market Day on
June 24. There are 30
town gardens open, so I?m
hearing a lot about the
challenges of a town
garden.
Whether you have a long
thin garden behind a
Victorian terrace or a
wedge-shape in a modern
close, there is one common
problem most town
gardeners have to deal with.
It is ?What was there
before you moved in?? If
your town garden is 50-plus
years old, then successive
generations may have left
paths, terraces and more,
piling soil on top of it all.
Our garden dates back to
1781, and there was a spot
where nothing flourished.
When we dug up the last
failing shrub, we went down
deeper and discovered a
paving slab.
Looking at the lawn in dry
periods we can now clearly
see that there was a path
right down the middle of
the garden, probably dating
back to the early 20th
century, and it?s now about
three or four feet deep
under the soil.
It isn?t practical for us to
dig up the whole path, but
when we plant along that
line, we do make the extra
effort to dig up any paving
slabs underneath.
In a perfect world, these
pavers would be wonderful
antique stone, but ? alas
? they date back to the very
earliest days of cheap and
nasty concrete. They are
very ugly and fall apart.
But you may be luckier!
Several friends with
Georgian or Victorian
houses have had exactly the
same problem, so if you do
have a spot where nothing
lasts long, have a good dig
down and see what you can
find.
If you live in a house
that?s been built in the last
50 years, then builder?s
rubble may be stopping
your garden from reaching
its potential.
We have about half a
dozen ?new-builds? in
Faversham Open Gardens
this year, which is wonderful
because so many people
Genteel
Garden Theft
Pests and
Diseases
According to Wyevale
Garden Centres, 67% of us
consult the internet for
gardening advice. But
nothing beats a book ? no
need to worry about
batteries or broadband! DK
Books have just published
the new RHS ?Pests &
Diseases? (�.99), by
Pippa Greenwood and
Andrew Halstead, with
plant-by-plant advice. It?s a
clear, well-illustrated
reference book and I know
I?ll be consulting it often.
live in late 20th or 21st
century houses and want
ideas for their gardens.
Almost everyone tells me
that builders say that they
will clear the site and leave
the garden ready for
planting. But what they
actually do is roll it flat, add
some topsoil and then a
lawn.
It all looks fine, but it?s
extremely difficult to garden
successfully in it. There is no
substitute for picking out all
the detritus and adding
loads more topsoil.
Or you could try to get the
builders to fulfil their
commitments ? rather you
than me, but I hope
someone does!
Of course, you may not be
the first owner of a newbuild. If you?re lucky, your
predecessors will have
sorted the builder?s rubble.
But if they were too busy
or not interested in
gardening, they may not, so
look out for it. And if your
home has been built on
brownfield land, then there
I recently overheard
professional gardeners
discussing a genteel form
of garden theft ? people
surreptitiously snipping
cuttings to propagate in
their own gardens.
Unfortunately, if lots of
people do it, the plant will
get misshapen. And if a
garden sells plants
professionally, then it
affects their livelihood.
Most pro gardeners say,
?Don?t do it, except in
friends? gardens, but
always ask first.?
may be the remains of
walls, floors or parking areas
deeper down.
Sometimes there?s
nothing you can do about
removing the past, but if
you know what the problem
is you can work round it.
Friends of mine live in a
converted mill cottage and
their front garden was hard
standing for hundreds of
years. They can?t dig it, so
they have put in raised
beds.
If you?re having work done
in your garden and your
contractor suggests saving
money by putting soil on
top of a path or terrace,
then remember that it will
affect how plants and lawns
grow on top of it. Probably
best to have it out!
Faversham Open Gardens
& Garden Market Day is on
Sunday June 24, 10am5pm. Tickets �each, or
� for two, available from
early May from Fleur de Lis
Visitor centre, 15-17 Preston
Street, Faversham, Kent
ME13 8NS. n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
GARDENING 65
Abutilon Megapotamicum.
Unusual Plants
The plant fair season has just started, and it?s a
great way to find unusual plants for your garden
directly from their growers. I used to think that
?unusual? or ?rare? meant ?difficult to grow?,
but I?ve recently chatted to Australian rare plant
specialist Stephen Ryan.
Stephen explained that some plants are now
?rare? just because people aren?t buying them, so
wholesalers don?t grow them and garden centres
don?t stock them ? it?s a circular problem. A few may
be difficult to grow, but many are really good plants
and we?re in danger of losing them.
You generally get good advice when you buy a
plant directly from the grower. Stephen advises
you to talk about what you want from your garden,
tell them your level of expertise, your growing
conditions, etc. He even suggests showing them a
photo of your garden. Then ask for their advice on
which unusual plants to choose.
Firstly, think about rare variations of common
plants. Instead of buying an iris at a garden centre,
buy an unusual variety from an iris specialist. I
bought several at an open day a few years ago.
They are stunning, don?t require any different
treatment and earn me so many compliments.
Next, remember that lots of great plants look
terrible in the pot. This is where advice is so useful.
That straggly specimen could grow into a wonderful
abutilon or clematis.
Find unusual plant fairs at www.rareplantfair.
co.uk, www.hardyplant.org.uk or at local plant fairs
near you.
Pink iris.
HERITAGE 67
St Nicholas Church.
Gillian Thornton
discovers why
Anzac Day has a
special significance
in the village of
Brockenhurst.
Lest We
Forget
Photographs courtesy of Gillian Thornton.
D
EEP in the heart of
the New Forest, the
picturesque village
of Brockenhurst is
well-known for its
four-legged visitors. Drive
down the high street and
you could easily find yourself
following a free-range pony
or donkey.
But a century ago during
World War I, a very different
kind of visitor could be seen
on the quiet streets.
Enjoying a short break in a
local hotel, I headed out and
into the churchyard of pretty
St Nicholas Church.
At first sight, it looked like
any traditional English
churchyard, but then I
spotted the lines of War
Graves on the slope beneath
the trees.
Intrigued, I looked closer
The Commonwealth
War Graves Cemetery.
and found that the
churchyard contains 106
World War I war graves.
Most were from New
Zealand but three came
from India. So why here?
Brockenhurst already had
good rail connections to
nearby Southampton, so in
1914, the village was
designated a key hospital
centre by the War Office.
Many soldiers embarked
from Southampton to the
Front but the port also
received wounded soldiers
coming the other way.
A hospital was quickly set
up in Brockenhurst just
beyond the church, initially
to receive Indian troops and
named after the wife of the
Viceroy of India.
In the first two years
alone, the Lady Hardinge
Hospital received nearly
3,000 Indian soldiers but
when Indian forces were
redeployed to Egypt in 1916,
it was reincarnated as the
No 1 New Zealand General
Hospital.
Soldiers arrived directly
from the battlefields of the
Somme and Passchendaele,
nearly 24,000 over the four
years of the Great War.
Brockenhurst had a
population of just 2,000, but
local people rallied round,
working at the hospital and
often providing fresh
In The Hospital Room.
produce from their farms
and gardens.
But not everyone survived
and amongst the identical
headstones of the New
Zealand soldiers, erected
and cared for by the
Commonwealth War Graves
Commission, I spotted a
large headstone, erected by
the Parishioners of
Brockenhurst to mark the
last resting place of 30-yearold Sukha from India.
He left country, home, and
friends to serve our King
and Empire in the Great
European War, reads the
inscription that tugged at my
heartstrings. By creed he
was not Christian but his
earthly life was sacrificed in
the interests of others.
Brockenhurst?s World
War I effort didn?t only
involve the hospital.
Intrigued to know more, I
downloaded a map of the
World War I history trail and
slipped back a century on a
discovery walk that links 11
key sites.
In the village centre, I
learned that the strangely
named Meerut Road
commemorates a division of
the Indian Army who were
amongst the first casualties
to arrive in the village.
I also stopped off at two
hotels requisitioned to help
the war effort. The Forest
Park was used for officers
whilst nearby Balmer Lawn
became a field hospital for
neurological and eye cases.
Whatever the weather,
wounded soldiers were
wheeled here on luggage
trolleys from the station.
It?s all a long time ago but
14 members of the New
Zealand Expeditionary Force
married in Brockenhurst,
and 100 years on, the village
retains strong ties with its
friends in the Southern
Hemisphere.
Every year, an Anzac Day
service takes place at the
Commonwealth War Graves
on the nearest Sunday to
April 25 ? a lasting link
between communities
united by war. n
Want To Know More?
Download the history trail from www.visitbrockenhurst.co.uk.
For information on soldiers buried in Commonwealth War
Graves, visit www.cwgc.org. This year?s Anzac Day service
takes place in St Nicholas Church on April 22 at 3 p.m.
68
Set
In
1882
Alfred?s
Emporium
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
The Story So Far
ROSE BRYSON has
resigned her position of
companion to the
reclusive and unlikeable
MRS JAMESON at Cross
Roads House.
Rose took the position
so that she could pay off
her late father?s debts,
but she has recently
learned that her father?s
final commission was
never paid, and a
banker?s draft was sent
to her.
ALFRED HAPSTALL
runs the nearby town of
Datcherford?s store
with his mother
MARIAH and young
TOM LIVERSEDGE to
assist.
Alfred has his heart
set on purchasing
rooms in the town?s old
assembly building in
order to expand his
business, and Alfred
decides to approach
the owner, MR
BASSETT, to make his
offer.
DELIA BASSETT is Mr
Bassett?s daughter, and
despite Alfred being
?beneath? her, she has
set her sights on him as
a prospective husband.
When Alfred tells her
he wishes to speak to
her father, she
misunderstands and
invites him to tea to
meet both her parents,
who reluctantly agree
to the meeting . . .
A
T five minutes to
three on Friday
afternoon, and
for the first time
ever, Alfred rang
the bell to the imposing
front entrance of
Datcherford Manor.
After a few seconds, the
door was opened by
Bannerman, the butler. He
and Alfred had exchanged
pleasantries in the past
when Alfred was delivering
goods at the rear door.
?Good afternoon, Mr
Hapstall,? Bannerman said,
his face now a perfect
blank. ?The family is waiting
in the afternoon room.?
?The family?? Alfred
asked, surrendering his hat
but keeping a firm grip on
the sheaf of plans and
figures he?d brought to
discuss with Mr Bassett.
?Yes, sir,? Bannerman
The last thing
Rose had to
do before she
left was write
her letter to
Alfred . . .
replied, leading him along a
hallway wider than Alfred?s
own shop front and into the
largest and most lavishly
furnished room he had ever
entered.
A smiling Delia came
forward to greet him.
?Mama, Papa,? she
began, ?this is Mr Alfred
Hapstall.?
Alfred shook Mr Bassett?s
hand, but as Mrs Bassett
didn?t offer hers he nodded
politely and sat on the chair
she indicated.
Delia immediately took
the seat next to him while
her mother occupied the
one to his right.
?You will have tea, Mr
Hapstall?? Mrs Bassett
enquired stiffly, holding
aloft a teapot. ?Lemon??
?I prefer milk, thank you,
Mrs Bassett,? he answered,
and carefully balanced the
SERIAL BY LOUISE J. STEVENS: PART 6 OF 7 69
tiny, paper-light cup and
saucer on top of his plans.
Far from feeling overawed
by either his surroundings
or his hostess?s coolness,
Alfred was only impatient to
speak to Mr Bassett. So
much depended on this
meeting, but it seemed he
would have to wait until the
formalities were over.
William Bassett, sitting
opposite, fixed Alfred with
a hard stare.
?I understand your family
has lived in Datcherford for
generations,? Mrs Bassett
said with not a trace of
warmth in her voice.
?Yes, ma?am,? he replied.
?My great-grandfather
worked on the land as a
young man, but later began
to trade in small goods. My
grandfather opened the
shop we have today.?
?Indeed.?
?It?s a dear little place,?
Delia enthused, filling an
awkward silence. ?Alfred
has great plans for the
future.?
?I?m sure he has.? Mrs
Bassett handed a cup of
tea to her husband.
Alfred glanced hopefully
at Mr Bassett, wondering
when he might broach the
subject of the assembly
building, but his host?s
expression gave nothing
away.
Delia was still chattering
gaily, and with some
amusement, about the
extensive range of goods
Hapstall?s shop offered.
?One can find a parasol
next to the oatmeal, and
fine sewing thread stacked
beside the tea. There is
everything from cabbages
to silk stockings. I?m sure,
Alfred, you will miss the
confusion when you have
left it behind, will you not??
?Left it behind?? Alfred
replied, rather puzzled. ?I
would never turn my back
on my business.?
?But Mr Hapstall,? Mrs
Bassett said, ?my daughter
said you have ambitions,
and are no longer content
to be a small shopkeeper.?
?Not exactly, ma?am. My
ambitions are to expand
the business and ??
?But still to be a
shopkeeper?? Mrs Bassett
exclaimed with a glance at
her daughter. ?I understand
you live above the
establishment. Do you not
find that arrangement
rather cramped??
?Not at all. Mother and I
are quite accustomed to it.
It has many advantages.?
There followed another
quiet moment, but this time
Delia did not speak.
Mr Bassett stood up.
?Mr Hapstall,? he said,
?you and I should talk. I?m
anxious to hear about these
plans of yours. Excuse us.?
Mrs Bassett nodded her
assent and with relief Alfred
put down his cup and
followed his host into Mr
Bassett?s study.
Mr Bassett took his place
behind a massive oak desk,
ominously reminding Alfred
of his unsuccessful meeting
with the banker.
?Pleasantries are out of
the way, Mr Hapstall,? Mr
Bassett began, indicating to
Albert to be seated. ?Now
let us discuss the real
reason for your visit.?
?I will be glad to, sir,?
Alfred replied with relief,
placing the plans on the
table. ?I?ve come here with
a proposal in mind and I
want to convince you of the
soundness of my plans for
the future.
?Ever since I inherited
Hapstall?s shop I?ve been
expanding. I sell a wide
range of goods and I have
increased the business
three-fold. But I?m
restricted. I need larger
premises.
?It?s my ambition to open
a store with departments
offering everything the
townspeople might
conceivably require.?
?In Datcherford?? Mr
Bassett asked. ?This is a
quiet town. You do well to
make a living from the few
customers available to you.?
?True.? Alfred nodded.
?But at present Datcherford
people travel to the city to
buy things that I could
supply. I want a store that
keeps them shopping here
and attracts people from
outside the area.
?This town could be what
it once was,? he continued.
?And one successful
business would encourage
others to start up. But
Datcherford is asleep.?
?Asleep,? Mr Basset
repeated, nodding. ?Yes,
that?s the right word. But
you surprise me, Mr
Hapstall. I expected fanciful
sentiment, but it seems
you?re a practical man.
?If you want to convince
me of your worthiness, you
may try. You?ve brought
papers, I see.?
?Yes,? Alfred said
excitedly, spreading the
plans, figures and
projections across the desk.
?The shop I have can?t be
expanded, and I don?t have
enough money to build
anything of the size I need.
But there is somewhere I
believe could be converted
said. ?We may be here
some time and I can?t
discuss business on weak
tea and biscuits. Go on, Mr
Hapstall, I?m listening.?
* * * *
In the afternoon room,
Delia sat pensively pulling
at the lace on her gown.
?He is a smart man, I will
allow,? her mother said.
?Though I think he is not
used to much society.?
Delia did not reply. She?d
been in a state of high
excitement over Alfred?s
visit, but now something
Mrs Bassett saw an opportunity to
pour doubt into Delia?s mind
into the kind of store I want.
It?s the assembly building.?
Mr Bassett looked
astonished.
?Do I understand you
right?? he asked. ?You
want to convert that huge
old place into a shop??
Alfred could see him
wavering between curiosity
and incredulity, and knew
he had to seize his chance.
?Not right away,? he went
on quickly. ?I?m asking you
to sell me part of the
building, say one or two of
the ground floor rooms.
?I would start with one
department, and then, with
the profits I made, I could
buy more space until I had
the whole.?
Mr Bassett made no
answer, so Alfred continued.
?The building has been
empty for years and is
deteriorating fast. I could
take it off your hands. I
can?t afford a great deal,
but I would be responsible
for the repairs.
?I can make this plan
succeed, Mr Bassett; all I
need is your agreement.?
Alfred paused, anxiously
awaiting a response.
Mr Bassett rocked back
and forth on his chair for
some moments, before
stopping to ring a hand bell
at the side of his desk.
By the time Bannerman
appeared at the door a
minute later, Alfred was
convinced he was to be
shown out.
?Bring us something to
eat and drink, will you,
Bannerman?? Mr Bassett
was making her anxious.
This had not gone
unnoticed by Mrs Bassett.
Having no qualms when it
came to preserving
whatever she believed to
be in her family?s interest,
she saw an opportunity to
pour doubt into Delia?s
mind.
?I wonder what he and
your father are discussing,?
she said airily. ?I seems to
me that Mr Hapstall isn?t in
a hurry to leave his shop.
?Still, it must be a cosy
place for two people, or
even three. I?m sure Mrs
Hapstall is a good woman
and would welcome help.?
?Help, Mama? What do
you mean?? Delia asked.
?Well, I don?t suppose
they have a servant in such
a tiny house. And there is
always sweeping and
dusting and so forth.
Whoever marries Alfred
Hapstall will need to be
adept at such things.?
Delia turned to her, eyes
widening.
?Mama, surely you don?t
imagine that I would ever
live in a small cottage
without servants??
Mrs Bassett shrugged her
shoulders.
?You must bear in mind,
Delia, if you step outside
your own circle, there may
be consequences you did
not expect.?
?Oh, but Papa would not
allow that to happen. He
would help for certain.?
?But if he did not agree
with your choice of
husband he might be
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71
less inclined to assist.?
?Nonsense, Mama,?
Delia replied emphatically.
?That would never happen.?
* * * *
In the office a few yards
away, Alfred had finished
speaking. He?d explained to
Mr Bassett how he would
convert the rooms at the
assembly building, and
shown the costs to stock,
advertise and staff the new
venture.
His calculations were
sound, he was in no doubt.
But what he hoped to
convey to Mr Bassett was
his drive and determination
to succeed.
Mr Bassett had not
spoken the whole time.
Now he sat back in his chair
and surveyed Alfred.
?This is quite the most
extraordinary plan I?ve
heard,? he said at last.
?But you haven?t
mentioned the thing that
concerns me most.
?Your plans are not
without risk and, even if
you succeed, it may take a
long time. What of my
daughter in the meantime??
?Your daughter?? Alfred
repeated.
?How will you support her
while you build up your
business?? Mr Bassett
asked.
?Support?? Alfred
murmured, bemused.
?I know how headstrong
my daughter is. She won?t
be content to remain
engaged for years.?
Alfred stared at Mr
Bassett for a moment,
trying to make sense of
what he was hearing.
He glanced in the
direction of the room where
Delia and her mother
waited and the awesome
truth struck him.
Those odd remarks she?d
made, the coy glances,
small and insignificant at
the time, now came to mind
with dreadful clarity. Miss
Bassett had been flirting
with him! And unknowingly,
he?d allowed it continue.
He gripped the edge of
the table to steady himself.
So this was the reason for
her invitation, he thought.
?Mr Bassett,? he began.
?There?s been a
misunderstanding. I do not
have any intentions
regarding Miss Bassett, and
if I?ve given the impression
that I did, I sincerely
apologise.?
?What?? Mr Bassett said
in a louder voice than he?d
so far used. ?You?re not
attached to my daughter?
Then how did she come to
think you were? Why did
she invite you here??
?I?m responsible for this
error,? Alfred said without
conviction. ?I mistook Miss
Bassett?s meaning. I thought
she was expressing an
interest in my plans for the
shop.
?When I mentioned I
wanted to speak to you and
she invited me here, I never
imagined there was any
other reason.?
There was nothing else he
could add in the silence
that followed.
?So this is a mistake,? Mr
Bassett said, looking just as
numbed as Alfred felt. ?I
only agreed to meet you
because I thought you
wanted to engage my
daughter.?
Alfred stood up. His
hopes were in tatters and
his great chance had been
nothing more than a stupid
error. He wouldn?t wait to
be asked to leave.
Mr Bassett looked at the
plans strewn over the desk,
then at Alfred.
?I?m sorry,? he said.
* * * *
Mariah was thankful
there were no customers in
the shop when Alfred came
home. Her heart felt heavy
when she saw the taut look
on his face.
Alfred gave her a wan
smile as he sat down; he
didn?t object when she
locked the shop door and
lowered the shutter. For
once, Hapstall?s would
close early.
?Well?? she asked,
unable to wait any longer.
?I scarcely know where to
begin, Mother,? he replied.
?I?ve been a fool and it has
led to such mischief.?
Mariah?s face fell.
?How so?? she asked.
?It concerns Miss Bassett,
Mother. You?ll never
believe it when I tell you.?
?You mean she has
designs on you? I suspected
as much. I thought there
was more to her invitation
than tea. I?m sorry to say,
but that lady is a flirt ?
there?s no other word for
it.?
?It has gone much further
than that,? Alfred said.
?She had an engagement
and marriage in mind.?
Mariah sat down as he
explained.
?I had no inkling of her
intent. Her father invited
me into his study and all
the time I was explaining
my plans for the assembly
building, Mr Bassett thought
it was to prove my
worthiness to be his son-in
law!?
?Oh, Alfred! What did
you do??
?I made it clear there had
been a misunderstanding. I
accepted my part of the
blame, then I gathered up
my papers, thinking it best
to leave.?
?How awful,? Mariah said
sadly. ?You had such hopes
for that meeting. Was Mr
Bassett very angry??
?I think he was more
shocked than angry. Then
he said he was sorry.?
?What had he to apologise
for?? Mariah asked.
?That?s the astonishing
thing about all this, Mother.
Mr Bassett went on to say
he was sorry I had no
intentions towards his
daughter. He said he?d only
agreed to see me at Miss
Bassett?s pleading.
?But having listened to
my plans for the future, I?d
impressed him and . . .?
Alfred?s face reddened. ?He
would have been pleased to
welcome me into his family.?
?What a tribute!? she
exclaimed. ?But there?s
nothing to be done. I can
see how bewildering this
has been for you.?
?But that?s not the end of
it, Mother,? Alfred went on.
?I can still scarcely believe
what came next.
??Mr Hapstall,? Mr
Bassett said to me. ?We
have started out at cross
purposes, but as a man of
business I know a good
proposition when I hear one.
??I want you to return on
Monday when you and I will
discuss your plans in more
detail.?
?I was so astounded I
hardly knew how to
answer!? Alfred admitted.
?I only managed to say
thank you.?
?So you are to have the
assembly building after
all?? Mariah cried, her face
filled with joy.
?Yes,? Alfred answered,
jumping from his seat and
drawing her to her feet. ?I
can hardly believe it, but
yes, Hapstall?s shop will
grow and you shall have
your house with a garden
as I promised.?
Mariah wiped away a
tear.
?As long as you?re happy,
Alfred. That?s all I want.?
?I think we?ll have a short
holiday,? he suggested.
?And celebrate our good
fortune with tea and
toasted bread.?
?I?ll prepare the feast,?
Mariah said with a smile.
?I?ll say this for you, Alfred,
you will always have your
feet firmly on the ground.?
Alfred set about making
the shop ready for the next
day, just as he did every
evening. He was smiling to
himself as he climbed the
stairs to their living-room.
?Do you know, Mother,?
he said as he sat down by
the fire, ?there?s someone
else I?ll like to share my
good news with.?
Mariah looked up from
the table.
?Would that be Rose
Bryson, by any chance??
?That?s right. Rose
showed a lot of interest in
my plans for the shop, I?m
sure she?d like to hear of
this. Why are you smiling??
?Alfred,? his mother said
with a sigh. ?You thought
Miss Bassett was only
interested in your plans for
the shop.?
?What are saying,
Mother??
?Are you making the
same assumption with Rose
Bryson??
?No, Mother, not at all.
Rose is . . . I mean, we
don?t know each other that
well.?
?Yet she?s the person you
want to share your news
with. Here?s your tea.?
Alfred sat sipping his tea
with a thoughtful expression
on his face as Mariah
continued to make their
meal, a smile on hers.
* * * *
As he prepared the
table for dinner,
72
Bannerman could not
shake off the feeling of
unease that had dogged
him for some days.
In all the years he?d been
butler at Datcherford
Manor, there had been
unvarying order and routine.
He hated change ? it
unsettled him. But lately,
unusual incidents had
disrupted the household:
raised voices had been
heard, there had been
unplanned arrivals and
departures.
Miss Delia had gone off
suddenly to visit her aunt,
only to return early. On one
occasion the discord
between the mistress and
Miss Delia had culminated
in dinner being delayed by
20 minutes! Bannerman
had been quite put out.
Most mysterious of all
was young Alfred Hapstall?s
arrival this afternoon.
Bannerman was used to
Alfred making deliveries,
but today Alfred had taken
tea with the family. Then
he?d spent over an hour
with the master in his office!
And now here was Miss
Delia come down to dinner
and looking so fretful,
Bannerman noted with
concern. He was as fond of
her, for all her faults, as he
was the rest of the family.
?Good evening, miss,? he
said. ?Will you be seated??
?No. I shall wait for my
papa, Mr Bannerman.
Although I don?t think I can
eat dinner.?
?I?m sorry to hear that,
miss. I trust you are not
unwell. The master and
mistress were speaking in
the drawing-room. Here
they come now.?
Bannerman held out Mrs
Bassett?s chair while Mr
Bassett took his usual place
at the head of the table.
?How fortunate you?re
here so promptly, Delia,?
Mrs Bassett said. ?Your
father and I wish to speak
to you.?
Bannerman walked to the
end of the long table to
serve Mrs Bassett.
?You don?t have to say it,
Mama,? Delia said. ?I know
you and Papa think I was
too hasty in my choice and
upon reflection I ??
?Not a bit of it!? Mr
Bassett said cheerfully.
?Despite my misgivings, I
was impressed with your Mr
Hapstall.?
Bannerman?s expression
was blank, but he almost
dropped the soup tureen.
?I believe that man will go
far,? Mr Bassett was saying.
?Of course, he has several
years of hard work ahead of
him. I don?t wonder you
were impressed, Delia.?
?I, too, found him quite
personable,? Mrs Bassett
said airily. ?I am sure that,
in time, he will be welcomed
in the best of Datcherford
society.?
?Mama, Papa, wait a
moment,? Delia returned.
?There is something I have
to say. I have been thinking
a great deal about it and I
believe I may have
misinterpreted my feelings
towards Mr Hapstall.?
Bannerman turned and
busied himself at the buffet
table. It was a mark of the
family?s trust in his
discretion that they felt free
to speak in front of him.
?What are you saying, my
dear girl?? Mr Bassett
asked. ?Only yesterday you
insisted there was an
attachment between you.?
?Yes, Papa, I did, but . . .?
Mrs Bassett smiled
reassuringly.
?Delia,? she said
earnestly. ?Your father and
I only want your happiness.
If you have found someone
you care about and are
prepared to make great
sacrifices for, we would not
wish to stand in your way.?
?Yes, Mama, but I would
not be the best companion
for Mr Hapstall. What do I
know about the business of
running a shop? I think I
may have to disappoint Mr
Hapstall.?
?Well, if you?re sure,? her
mother replied. ?But it
would be best for you to let
him down without delay.?
?Me? How shall I tell
him?? Delia cried, her fists
clenched in agitation.
Bannerman, standing
statue-like by the dresser,
witnessed the satisfied
glances between Mr and
Mrs Bassett.
?Think no more about it,?
Mr Bassett said. ?What is a
father for, if not to save his
daughter any distress? I will
inform Mr Hapstall when I
meet him that there has
been a misunderstanding.?
?Is he coming here again,
Papa??
?Yes. We also discussed
Mr Hapstall?s business
plans. He had some sound
proposals and I asked him
to return on Monday.?
?I will be sorry for his
sadness,? Delia said,
looking grave.
?Of course you will. But
console yourself. If I am able
to assist him in his aims, it
will be compensation to him
for the disappointment.?
?Then everything will be
all right again, Papa!? Delia
cried. ?How wonderful.?
Bannerman was busy at
the buffet and so the family
didn?t see that he, too, was
smiling.
Yes, he thought to
himself. Everything would
be all right again.
* * * *
?Careful. We mustn?t
wake her,? Rose whispered
as she, Molly and Miss
Baines manhandled Rose?s
trunk down the stair.
It was shortly before the
servant?s breakfast time on
Saturday morning and Rose
knew that it would be futile
to ask help of Biggins.
After much pushing and
straining, the heavy trunk
was brought down to the
hall and they were dragging
it towards the kitchen when
a bell sounded.
?That?s Mrs Jameson,?
Miss Baines said, red-faced
with exertion. ?She must
have heard us.
?I?ll have to go,? she
added. ?I wish you well,
Miss Bryson.?
?Thank you.? Rose smiled.
Miss Baines?s attitude
had changed since she?d
been obliged to take Rose?s
place as companion to Mrs
Jameson. She?d discovered
the post was not, after all,
the great privilege she?d
imagined it to be.
The bell rang again and
Miss Baines scurried up the
stairs.
Rose and Molly hauled
the trunk along the hall,
reaching the kitchen just as
Biggins arrived. He strode
in by the garden door,
wearing his mud-caked
boots, and sat down.
?You?re ready to go,
then,? Mrs Dee said as she
piled food on to Biggins?s
plate.
?Yes,? Rose replied. ?Mr
Sturgess will collect me at
ten.?
After the silent meal,
Rose helped Molly to clear
away. Biggins reluctantly
got up and left for his
morning duties, and Mrs
Dee carried her tea to her
own sitting-room.
?Rose, did you finish it??
Molly asked.
?You mean the letter?
Yes, I have it here.?
She handed the envelope
to Molly.
?I?ll see that it goes in the
post,? Molly promised. ?But
I still think it?s a shame you
won?t see him again.?
Rose smiled wanly.
?Molly, I know you have
some romantic notion
about Mr Hapstall and me,
but Alfred Hapstall is in
love with another lady.?
Molly?s eyes widened.
?How do you know?? she
asked.
?That doesn?t matter, but
it means we could never be
more than friends.?
?But you?d like to be,
wouldn?t you, Rose??
Rose smiled. Molly?s
honest but blunt ways had
caught her unawares
before, and besides, it
could well have been true.
At that moment there
were voices in the hall and
the sound of hurrying feet.
Mrs Dee came bustling
back into the kitchen.
?Look sharp, girl,? she
snapped at Molly. ?Mrs
Bassett is just arriving and
the mistress will be calling
for tea to be served.?
Miss Baines came
hurrying in.
?I know what you?re going
to say,? Mrs Dee forestalled
her. ?The mistress will be
sending for tea. As if I?m
not rushed off my feet
already.?
?That?s not all,? Miss
Baines said. ?Mr Sturgess is
here to collect Rose.?
Rose sprang from her
chair and began to gather
her belongings.
?He?s so early,? she said,
and almost immediately Mr
Sturgess appeared at the
kitchen door.
?Ready, miss?? he asked.
In the fluster of activity
that followed, Rose made
certain to say a proper
goodbye to Molly.
She kissed her cheek,
73
promising to write, then
hurried after Mr Sturgess as
he carried her trunk and
stowed it safely on his cart.
Despite the urgency, they
could not leave immediately
as a carriage was taking up
the centre of the driveway.
Mrs Bassett was emerging,
smiling and waving gaily to
Mrs Jameson who?d come
out to greet her.
They have not noticed my
leaving, Rose thought. Soon
no-one else will remember I
was ever in Datcherford.
* * * *
Alfred had woken that
morning from such a deep
sleep that it was several
seconds before he realised
why he felt so happy.
When the realisation came
flooding back he leapt from
his bed and was down in
the shop before daylight.
?Morning,? he said to
Tom. ?What a fine day it
is!?
Tom looked up at the
grey early morning sky.
?Yes, Mr Hapstall,? he
replied, yawning.
?Look lively, Tom,? Alfred
said. ?I have a special task
for you today.?
Alfred was aware that
changes had to be made.
He would be too occupied
to make the deliveries from
now on. He had it in mind to
grant Tom?s dearest wish,
because that morning he
wanted all those around him
to be as happy as himself.
?Come with me,? he said,
and Tom followed him out
of the rear door.
By the time they reached
the shed where Lissip was
kept, Tom was wide awake.
?You?re going to let me
drive by myself?? he asked
incredulously.
?Only about town,? Alfred
cautioned. ?You?ve taken
the reins before, but you
must have your wits about
you when you?re alone.
?Lissip may be old but
she has spirit. Help me put
her to, then you can drive
once or twice up the street
before anyone is about.?
Despite his excitement,
Tom was meticulous in
preparing the horse and
cart; he wanted Mr Hapstall
to know he could be trusted.
When Alfred was satisfied,
Tom climbed aboard and
called out to Lissip. She
twitched her ears and shook
her mane and for a moment
Tom held his breath, but
then she walked on.
Bursting with excitement
and pride, Tom drove slowly
along the street with Alfred
watching every moment.
They turned, walked back
and Alfred signalled to
repeat the manoeuvre.
Mariah had been
watching approvingly.
?Can you look after the
shop, Mother?? Alfred
asked. ?I want to call on Mr
Darrowby and his son. I?ll
be needing their services
before long.?
?You won?t wait until you
have agreed terms for the
assembly building??
?I?m sure of the outcome.
I don?t want to delay.?
When the cart was
loaded, Mariah and Alfred
watched Tom depart.
?Are you sure you can
manage?? Alfred asked his
mother.
?I?ve been serving in this
shop since before you were
born. Go on, now. Tom will
be back in an hour or two.?
He hesitated.
?I?ve been thinking about
what we said last night. I
told you that Miss Bassett
is not the kind of girl I could
love. She could never come
to mean anything to me.
?The thing is, I think you
can meet someone and,
even though you don?t
know them well, something
tells you that they could
come to mean everything.
Is that possible??
?Entirely possible.?
?But there?s no telling if
she feels the same. What
would I do if she didn?t??
?Then there?s nothing to
be done,? Mariah said.
?But unless you ask Rose,
you?ll never know.?
Alfred grinned at his
mother?s perception.
?I will,? he said. ?My life
is going to change. It will be
hard work, but I believe I
can achieve great things.
?There is no-one I want to
be part of it more than
Rose. Tomorrow is Sunday
and the staff at Cross Roads
House are allowed two
hours free in the afternoon.
I?ll ride over there and talk
to her. Tomorrow will be the
perfect time.?
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the manse
window
By Rev. Susan Sarapuk
A
S I?m writing this there
is a lot in the media
about people in
positions of power and
responsibility saying, ?No, I
didn?t say that.? Or ?I?m not
really like that, I?m like this.?
There are people who try to
justify their position by what
they say, but the evidence is
in what they do.
I think we are suffering from
a surfeit of words these days
? maybe Twitter and other
social media platforms have
something to do with it ? and
because people seem to think
that words mean more than
actions.
Sometimes it seems that
not even the Church can be
trusted.
How many have spoken out
about the bad experiences
they?ve suffered at the hands
of those who should have
been trustworthy?
Quite often we, too, can
hurt others because our
actions don?t match what we
say, and people can see the
difference.
Maybe you?ve been hurt
and you don?t know how to
tell the person or what to do
about it. It?s very easy to get
discouraged.
In our bible study group
we?ve been studying Paul?s
second letter to Timothy.
He had reason to feel let
down.
?You know that everyone in
the province of Asia has
deserted me.?
I suppose when you?re
constantly in precarious
situations for the sake of the
gospel, you need your friends
around you, and desertion
and betrayal can be
heartbreaking.
Even Jesus was betrayed
and deserted. But Paul didn?t
let that become the focus of
his life.
Everything around you can
be falling apart; people can be
unreliable and let you down;
yet the One we trust in is
faithful, not just through his
words but in his actions.
Everything Jesus said was
backed up by action and he
promised that he would
always be with us.
I love the story of the
healing of the paralysed man
let down through the roof.
The first thing Jesus tells him
is that his sins are forgiven.
The watching Pharisees are
appalled that he would say
such a thing, because only
God can forgive sins. Jesus
points out that anyone can
say the words.
?Which is easier to say:
?your sins are forgiven?, or to
say ?Get up and walk?? But
that you may know that the
Son of Man has authority on
earth to forgive sins,? he said
to the paralysed man, ?I tell
you, get up, take up your mat
and go home.?
And immediately the man
stood up in front of them,
took what he had been lying
on and went home.
To command someone to
be healed and then see it
happen is powerful. And this
proves that actions speak
louder than words.
People will always let us
down, and we will ourselves
let people down.
We should expect more of
those who are in Christ, of
course, because they are
meant to be obedient to their
Lord, and equally we become
trustworthy and good the
closer we walk with him.
Are we people whose
actions speak louder than our
words ? and in a good way?
In this world where anyone
can say anything, the best
way to judge what ourselves
and others are really like is by
what we do. n
Next week: Janice Ross
is in a sticky situation!
Shedloads
of Fun!
Photographs by Simon Whaley.
W
E?VE got very
happy wives!?
Willie Gormley
says as he
leans against
the workbench.
Laughter quickly fills the
workshop.
?Yes, it gets us out from
under their feet,? John
agrees, standing nearby.
There?s more laughter,
and already I can see the
benefit of Men?s Sheds. I?ve
only been here ten minutes
and already I?m hooked.
Men?s Sheds is an
Australian concept, designed
to help combat social
isolation and depression
amongst men by bringing
them together in a familiar
environment.
The first shed was
established in the Australian
town of Tongala, Victoria, in
July 1998, and now, 20
years later, there are over
439 Men?s Sheds in the UK
alone, with a total of 10,536
members, or ?shedders? as
they?re affectionately known.
Shropshire?s Newport
Simon Whaley
meets the
jovial members
of the Newport
Men?s Shed.
Men?s Shed has been
meeting for about four years
now, and they?re lucky
enough to have two
different ?sheds?.
The Shedders
start glueing.
Shedder Sam explains
how this came about.
?It started in 2014 when
we tried to get a shed set
up in Newport, but that fell
through. Then we were
visiting the Ironbridge
Coracle Regatta, and we
heard about this place, the
Green Wood Centre, run by
the Small Woods
Association. They offered us
they meet on Tuesdays.
the use of this amazing
?Hall Barn has a kitchen
workshop.?
and toilet,? Sam continues,
Looking around, I?m in
?and we?ve divided it in two.
awe of the variety of
We?ve set up a small
equipment the shedders
workshop area in one half,
can use here. There are
and got settees and chairs
workbenches, bandsaws,
in the other half.
belt sanders, drills and
?We also have a garden,
much more.
which is about 100 feet by
In addition to meeting on
30 feet, which we?re hoping
Wednesdays here at
to refurbish.?
Ironbridge?s Green Wood
The benefit of this twoCentre, the local Wrekin
venue shed is that they can
Housing Trust offered them
offer more activities. Here at
the use of Hall Barn in
the Green Wood Centre,
Madeley, Telford, where
Gerwyn Lewis often teaches
Willie Gormley
Willie Gormley is a
founder member of the
Newport Men?s Shed,
who first heard about
the idea on a TV
programme.
?When I retired, I?d
had forty years of work,
and then I thought, well
now what am I going to
do? This idea turned up
at the right time for me.
I enjoy the comradeship,
friendship and I get
satisfaction that people
find it fun and
humorous, while helping
others.?
Gerwyn sands
the wood.
Gerwyn begins
drilling holes.
them woodworking skills
and techniques, which they
can then practise
themselves. This morning,
he?s showing them how to
make an oval-shaped
wooden bandbox.
At Hall Barn they do other
activities, such as painting,
model-making, drawing, or
simply having a chat over a
cup of tea and a biscuit.
?There?s always biscuits
available.? Sam grins. ?It?s a
great deal. We pay five
pounds a week and that
gives us both this place and
Hall Barn and as much tea,
coffee and biscuits as you
can eat!?
Some men find retirement
a challenge, as they struggle
to adapt to their new way of
life. Without a job, life can
feel without purpose. Men?s
Sheds aims to change all
that.
Not only can they learn
new skills and share
knowledge, but they can
also work on their own
projects, too. John is
currently restoring a rocking
chair.
?What I?ve got here is
something I brought back
from Peru in the 1970s,? he
says. ?It?s been stuck up in
REAL LIFE 75
John Jenkins
The Shedders listen
carefully to Gerwyn?s
instructions.
the loft for a few years, so
my wife suggested I might
like to restore it.
?The leather seat and back
have a Peruvian Inca design.
I?m just doing some basic
repairs, and adding a bit of
wood-stain. I tested a bit
yesterday and it seems to
be coming up OK.?
The Men?s Shedders are
public-spirited, too.
?We?ve done several
projects for the community,?
Willie explains. ?For
example, for the Severn
Gorge Trust we made some
wheelchair-friendly picnic
benches, which are in the
picnic area by the Iron
Bridge. And we built a
couple of noticeboards for
the cemetery in Much
Wenlock.?
They?re also making the
most of the facilities here at
Green Wood to help
improve their Hall Barn
venue, too.
?We?re making a planter
for the walled garden,?
Willie says, ?but one of the
chaps who comes to Hall
Barn has a lung problem,
which means he can?t come
here because of all the
sawdust.
?So I?m cutting up the
wood here, and I?ll take it to
Hall Barn so he can put it
together and make the
planter there.?
Want To Know More?
To find your nearest Men?s Shed visit menssheds.org.
uk/find-a-shed/
More information about Newport Men?s Shed can be
found at: www.newportmensshed.co.uk
And that sums up the
ethos behind Men?s Shed ?
community spirit. They?re a
band of brothers getting
together regularly to share
skills, knowledge, help out
the wider community, and
themselves.
As a result, they reduce
isolation and loneliness,
which can have just as
devastating an effect on
men?s health as conditions
like diabetes and
depression.
The future?s bright, too.
?We?ve got about twentytwo on our books at the
moment,? Willie says, ?but
we hope to expand and
perhaps open up for more
than two days a week.?
Another bout of laughter
explodes across the room,
as someone shares another
joke. There?s clearly a
shedload of fun to be had
here. But just don?t tell their
wives! n
John retired a couple
of years ago, aged
seventy, but knew he
needed to find
something to fill his
time.
?Twelve months
before I retired I started
looking round to see
what was available. It?s
very easy, once you get
out of the work ethic, to
stay at home, put your
feet up and lose your
confidence.?
So he was pleased
when he heard about
the Newport Men?s
Shed.
?We have a good
laugh. It?s a good
community and it?s
social.?
believe it?
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail
wouldyoubelieveit@dctmedia.co.uk or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
I?D LIKE TO KNOW
Q
A
A
The Nobel Prize, founded by the Swedish
inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, first
came into being in 1901 and is awarded
in recognition of outstanding work done in the
fields of everything from physics and chemistry
through to physiology and work in peace. This was
one prize to elude the brilliant Stephen Hawking,
though he did receive many other accolades in his
lifetime.
Forty-eight women have been awarded a Nobel
Prize since its inception. Marie Curie was the first
to be awarded it (shared with her husband Pierre
and Henri Becquerel). She received the Nobel Prize
twice in her career, the only woman to do so, and
her daughter Ir鑞e Joliot-Curie was also a recipient.
Q
Can you tell me anything
about the actor Richard
Armitage who appeared
in ?The Hobbit? film?
B.G., Nottingham.
A
Born in 1971 in Leicester,
Richard Crispin Armitage
attended the London
Academy of Music and Dramatic
Art. He appeared in episodes of
?Cold Feet? and other smaller TV
roles before securing the lead
role in the hit BBC drama ?North
And South? and playing Lucas
North in ?Spooks?. He has also
appeared in theatre productions
such as ?Cats? and ?Death Of
A Salesman?, and has had film
success, now known worldwide
for playing Thorin Oakenshield in
the trilogy of ?The Hobbit?.
iStock.
S
From revealing your ancestral roots
to tracking down living relatives and
highlighting possible health risks, DNA
testing is becoming increasingly common
? it?s even being used to provide weight
loss advice! And, according to Spare
Room, one of the UK?s leading flat and
house share websites, DNA can also be
used to find the perfect flatmate! Spare
Room is currently carrying out a trial
which matches co-habitees by studying
genetic make-up!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
of eight and nine year
olds spend four hours
a day on social media
? despite having to be
thirteen to be allowed
a social media
account.
$2,460,000
386,050
Not only is the cheetah the fastest cat, it
is also the fastest land animal, achieving
a speed of around 70 mph. That may
seem pretty speedy until you compare it to the
peregrine falcon, which can reach a speed in
excess of 220 mph when diving!
Q
13%
is how much a Texan
entrepreneur paid for
London Bridge on April
18, 1968.
Can you settle an argument and tell me
which of the large cats is the fastest?
Miss P.R., Plymouth.
When was the Nobel Prize first introduced
and was the late, great Professor Stephen
Hawking ever awarded it? Can you also
tell me how many women have received this
accolade?
Mrs L.N., Cambridge.
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 79
people applied for a place
at the 2018 Virgin Money
London Marathon, the
world?s biggest one-day
fund-raising event.
4 hours,
7 minutes
the Guinness World
Record set at the 2017
London Marathon for
?Fastest Marathon
dressed as a
telephone box?!
220 mph
is the wind speed
on Jupiter.
132
minutes a day ? how
much time women spend
doing housework, almost
twice as much as men,
who only manage
75 minutes.
Go
Vintage!
CROCHET 81
Bright, fun and
very practical,
our pretty bag is
simple to make.
Easy
MATERIALS
1 100-gram ball each
of Sirdar Hayfield
Bonus DK in Bright
Pink (887) A, White
(961) B, Pink (992) C,
Azure (824) D, Bright
Lemon (819) E, Bright
Green (886) F; 3.5 mm
(No. 9) and 4 mm
(No. 8) crochet hooks;
2 ?D? shaped bamboo
bag handles, tapestry
needle.
For yarn stockists
telephone
01924 371501 or visit
www.sirdar.co.uk.
TENSION
Tension is not essential
for this project, but
each square is
approximately 15 cm x
15 cm using a 4 mm
hook.
ABBREVIATIONS
ch ? chain; dc ?
double crochet; rep
? repeat; sp(s)
? space(s); ss ? slip
stitch; st(s)?stitches:
tr ? treble.
Important Note
Figures in square
brackets [ ] 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.
Size: 42 cm
wide
and 54 cm long
including handles.
82
BASIC SQUARE
With a 4 mm hook and A, make 4 ch, ss in
first ch to form a loop.
Note: Attach new yarn to any 3 ch sp.
1st round ? 3 ch, 2 tr into loop, 3 ch, ?3 tr, 3 ch,
rep from ? twice more, ss into 3 ch (4 tr clusters).
Faten off.
2nd round ? Change to B, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, ?[3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp,
rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (8 tr clusters).
Fasten off.
3rd round ? Change to C, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
ch sp, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (12 tr
clusters).
4th round ? Change to D, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 2 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
2 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (16 tr
clusters).
5th round ? Change to E, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
3 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (20 tr
clusters).
6th round ? Change to F, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 4 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
4 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (24 tr
clusters). Fasten off and weave in ends.
Complete 13 squares using a combination of
different colours.
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp. Fasten off (6 tr clusters).
4th round ? Change to D, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in same ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
2 ch sps, [3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 2 ch sps,
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp.
Fasten off (8 tr clusters). Complete one more half square.
TO COMPLETE
Weave in ends and block the squares and half squares. Using the diagram as
a guide, join the squares together using yarn A and working ss in the back
loops of sts.
Top side edging ?
1st round ? With 3.5 mm hook and A, attach yarn to the corner of a square
at the edge of the bag with a ss, 1 ch, 1 dc into each st and each ch of
1 ch sp . Work down one side of the top edge of the bag and then up the
other side. Repeat for the second side.
Handles (make 2) ?
1st round ? With 3.5 mm hook, A and right side facing, attach yarn with a ss
to the corner of a square at the right on one side of the bag, work 3 ch, 2 tr
in 3 ch sp, 1 tr in the top of next 3 tr, 1 tr in ch sp, 1 tr in next 2 tr sts, 1 tr in
the top of seam, working across the top of the half square, 2 tr in each of the
ch sp (with 1 tr in sp ace at base of central tr cluster), 1 tr in the top of seam,
1 tr in next 2 tr sts, 1 tr in ch sp, 1 tr in next 3 tr sts and 3 tr into 3 ch sp,
turn. (37 sts)
2nd round ? 3 ch, 1 tr into each st along edge, turn. (37 sts)
Repeat last round twice more.
Wrap these extensions over the bag handles and sew securely on the inside
of the bag. n
HALF SQUARE
With 4 mm hook and A, make 4 ch and ss in first
ch to form a loop.
Note: Attach new yarn to any 4 ch sp.
1st round ? 4 ch, 3 tr in loop, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr.
Fasten off (2 tr clusters).
2nd round ? Change to B, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in
same ch sp, [3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sp,
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp. Fasten off (4 tr
clusters).
3rd round ? Change to C, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in
same ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp, [3 tr, 3 ch,
3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp,
READER OFFER
This fun bag is taken from
the book ?Granny Squares
Weekend? published by
GMC ISBN 9781784943844.
The book usually costs
�.99, but is available to
?Friend? readers for the
special price of �.24 plus
p & p?. To order please call
01273 488005 or go to
www.thegmcgroup.com and
quote code R5321. The
closing date for this offer is
July 21, 2018.
?UK p&p is �95 for the
first item and �95 for
each additional item. For
overseas charges please
contact the GMC Group
direct.
Next week: knit a classic
4-ply cardigan
If You Only
Bake One Thing...
COOKERY 85
Make it this delectable Ginger, Elderflower & Rose Cheesecake
Serves: 8 Prep time: 40 mins
u 250 g (9 oz) ginger biscuits
u 100 g (3� oz) butter
u 280 g (10 oz) cream cheese (at
room temperature)
u 2 tbs Belvoir Elderflower & Rose
Cordial
u 100 g (3� oz) icing sugar
u 150 ml (� pt) double cream
To Serve: edible rose petals.
1 First, weigh out all the ingredients, then
place the biscuits into a sturdy plastic bag
and bash them into crumbs with a rolling
pin.
2 Melt the butter in a saucepan over
a low heat and stir through the biscuit
crumbs. Press into a loose-bottomed
tart tin (we used a 20 cm fluted tin) and
place in the fridge to set.
3 In a mixing bowl, stir together the
cream cheese, Elderflower & Rose cordial
and the icing sugar until smooth.
4 In a separate bowl, whip the cream
until firm. Gently fold the cream through
the cream cheese mixture until just
combined.
5 Finally, pile the soft cheesecake mixture
on to the biscuit base. Chill in the fridge
for at least four hours or overnight before
serving decorated with the rose petals.
Floral Flavours
People have been using edible flowers as we have on this cheesecake
to add colour and flavour to food and drink for centuries. Roses have
long been a favourite in the Middle East where the Persians first
mastered the distilling of rosewater for culinary purposes.
It is an important ingredient in confectionery, including the sweet we
call Turkish Delight (whose name was originally from the Arabic, rahat-ul
hulkum, meaning ?to soothe or heal the throat?). Dried rose petals are
also used as a spice and for decoration.
In Britain, native plants, such as elderflower, were favoured.
Elderflower (botanical name Sambucus) is found as the flavouring in
Sambocade, a sweet curd tart a little like cheesecake, in one of the oldest
known English collections of recipes, ?Forme Of Cury? produced by the
Master Cooks of King Richard II around 1390.
By acclaimed blogger Englishmum.com for www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk.
Chef?s Top Tips
Make sure the cream cheese is
at room temperature before you
start ? this gives the cheesecake
a lovely, smooth texture. As this
cheesecake doesn?t use gelatine,
to make it as light and fluffy as
possible, it does definitely
need the chilling time!
Kitchen
Style
Bring some 50s glamour back into the
kitchen with these fabulous aprons.
With retro-styling and
co-ordinating neck and waist ties
to ensure a perfect fit, the aprons
are made from 100%
cotton and are machine
washable.
Fifi Cotton Apron
We have four
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to choose from,
each guaranteeing
to keep you looking
great when your
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SHORT STORY BY H. JOHNSON-MACK 87
The
April
Effect
She brightened
my day, but
then she
disappeared
again . . .
Illustration by Mandy Murray.
W
HEN she first
walked into
my shop, she
brought the
sun in with
her. She also took my
breath away.
I smiled dumbly at her
and managed to utter a
greeting.
?Ah, er, morning.
Welcome to the Cavern.?
She smiled, eyes of
mermaid blue-green gazing
around the cosy if cluttered
converted cottage full of
curios and antiques. I saw
uncertainty dart across her
face.
?Is there anything I can
help you with??
?I hope so.?
She brought a wrapped
package she?d had tucked
under one arm to the
counter I stood behind and
carefully set it down.
?I have this old vase from
. . . well, a friend of mine.?
A shaft of unreasonable
jealousy shot through me
until she added, ?She needs
to sell it on for the best
price I can get her.
?She?s downsizing, and
there?s not an attic in the
new place, and . . . I?m
rambling, aren?t I? I always
do that when I?m nervous.?
Those eyes gazed directly
into mine, and I took a
steadying breath before
answering her uneasy look
with a reassuring smile. I
was in more familiar
territory now; I?d had to
deal with situations like this
before.
?There?s no need to be.
Let?s take a look.?
I focused my attention
away from her face and on
to the object on my
counter.
?Well, this is a nice piece
you?ve got here,? I
pronounced after
unwrapping the vase and
examining it from a few
angles. ?It?s only in the
style of cloisonn� ceramics
rather than the genuine
article.
?Nevertheless, this sort of
thing is pretty popular at
the moment, so I shouldn?t
have any trouble finding a
buyer for it.? I named a
price that made her smile.
?Will that do for your
friend??
?Definitely.? Her sigh was
one of relief. ?She?ll
probably want me to come
again, bring some more
items, if they all sell that
well!?
Then, after what felt like
the quickest transaction I?d
ever completed, she was
gone, and the overcast
skies of a chilly early April
had descended once again
around the Cavern.
I took a moment to tuck
away a mental image of
something special, then,
with a shrug, went back to
work, not expecting ever to
see her again.
* * * *
But true to her word, she
was back a few days later
with another, much smaller,
parcel. This time, I was
serving another customer,
so she merely waved and
began to browse round.
When the customer left,
having purchased one of
my Crown Derby teasets, I
walked over to where she
was leaning over my main
jewellery cabinet, peering
intently through the glass.
?Do you like that?? I
asked, nodding to the
Sixties-style choker she had
been studying.
?Mmm, I do,? she said,
?though I?m not sure about
the asking price.?
I laughed at the
suggestive note in her
voice.
?Let me guess; you?re a
fan of antiques
programmes.?
She nodded, an impish
gleam in her eyes.
?Guilty as charged.?
I stepped back and
spread my arms invitingly.
?Go on, then. Haggle with
me.?
For a delicious moment,
she looked tempted. Then
she shook her head.
?Maybe later. I?ve
another commission to
discuss with you first.?
?For your friend??
?That?s right.? She
handed over her little
parcel. ?It?s a ladies? watch;
it?s been in the family for a
few generations.?
Back at the counter, I
clicked open a sturdy box,
slightly worn round the
edges, to reveal an elegant
marcasite cocktail watch in
perfect condition.
?It?s a beauty,? I
breathed, running fingers
reverently over its delicate
linked stone surface and on
to the smooth watch face at
the bracelet?s centre.
?Early Twenties, I would
guess, and in lovely
condition. Are you sure you
? I mean, your friend ?
wants to sell it??
She sighed, her
expressive eyes darkening
as they followed the path
my fingers were tracing.
?It?s either sell this or go
without certain basics for a
while. There are a few
money problems, you see.?
She looked up then, and
our eyes caught and held
for a moment longer than
normal. I could feel my
heart beat quicken as
she flushed and
lowered her lashes.
88
?I have no idea why
I?m telling you all this.?
?Oh, I just have one of
those faces,? I joked, my
tone a little unsteady. ?The
good news is that you can
command a fair price for a
lovely piece like this, in
such fine condition.?
Her smile was tinged with
sadness as she gazed at the
timepiece still hanging from
my fingers.
?That?s something, I
suppose. Make sure it goes
to a good home.?
?I will,? I promised, laying
it gently back into its
cushioned bed.
I lingered over payment
and receipt, searching my
mind for something to keep
her with me a little longer.
Finally, I gestured toward
the jewellery cabinet.
?What about that choker
you like? Want to try
haggling with me now??
She looked regretful but
resolute.
?Another time, perhaps.
I?ll be back, no doubt.?
* * * *
She didn?t come back.
Day followed day and both
business and weather
warmed up as the calendar
crept inexorably toward
Easter. Still there was no
sign of her.
After speculating
endlessly on who she was,
where she lived and what
she did for a living I began
to think of her as just a
memory, maybe even
nothing more than a
delicious dream.
Yet I had the tangible
proof of her existence
streaming, soaking, down
her back.
She waved when she
caught sight of me; I was
already at the doorway,
ushering her in.
?Come inside, quick.
You?re wet through!?
?Thank you!? She
shrugged the coat into my
outstretched arms, sending
a spray of shining droplets
into the air. ?I had no idea
the weather was going to
be so lousy today.?
?That?s April for you,? I
said. ?Blooming cold
showers that come out of
nowhere just when you
thought it was spring. Come
into the back and get dry. I
was just about the put the
kettle on for elevenses.?
She had worn a little
twisted smile which now
widened.
?That sounds like
heaven.?
She followed me through
to the back room, where
the old pantry had been
converted into kitchen and
office, and looked about
her with interest whilst I
switched on the kettle and
fetched a towel from a tall
cupboard set into the
original wall.
?I like what you?ve done
with the place.?
I smiled.
?It?s quirky but with all
the mod-cons; pretty
perfect, really.?
She fished around in her
bag, bringing out a brush
and attacking her chestnut
hair with hard, rhythmic
strokes.
?It suits you,? she
announced decisively, which
I kept the pieces she had brought
in case she came back one day
stored carefully away at the
back of my shop.
Oh, well, I thought as I
watched rivulets of sudden,
cold raindrops stream down
the Cavern?s mullioned
windowpanes, I?ll keep my
promise where those pieces
are concerned, even if I
never see their lovely
former owner again.
Then, as though an
invisible conjurer had
waved a wand, there she
was right outside, hatless
and with her hair
I decided to take as a
compliment.
Then she paused, brush
in mid-air, and motioned to
the side of the old hearth,
where her vase and watch
box sat in her original
wrappings.
?What are they doing in
here??
?Ah.? It was time to
confess. ?I was holding
them back for you, just in
case you should ever
change your mind about
selling them.
?There are certain things
in life, you see,? I
attempted to explain as she
continued staring at me,
?that are more to you than
just an object.
?They warm to your
touch, connect with your
imagination, bring about an
emotional response that
could be as simple as
making you smile.
?It?s important to have
things like that in your life,
and sad if you have to let
them go.?
the sale receipts with. She
frowned, but I added
gently, ?It?s OK. You?d
probably be surprised how
many people come here
selling something for ?a
friend?. Everyone has their
reasons. There?s no shame
in it.?
She blinked at me.
?But it is true,? she
protested. ?There is a Ms
Peters, Elise Peters. She?s
my honorary aunt; she was
my next-door neighbour
when I was growing up, and
Some things in life are much more
than simple objects
My voice trailed off into
silence as I saw her
studying me. Then, she
smiled and gestured to the
empty mugs in my hands.
?Did you say something
about elevenses??
She led us in relaxed
conversation whilst I
prepared coffee and
produced a packet of
biscuits, debating the pros
and cons of April showers
and whether anyone
actually did put things by
for a rainy day.
She revealed that she
owned a flat in a village a
few miles outside town, and
contrary to the romantic
vision I?d imagined, was not
an artist but ran a small
catering company with a
friend for a living.
I found myself warming to
her more and more, easy
yet invigorated by her
charm and something else
in her, that wrapped
around me like a warm
blanket.
One ear cocked for the
sound of the front-door
bell, I made more coffee,
which she accepted with a
softened expression, head
tipped a little to one side.
?Were you really going to
do that for me?? she asked
after a while. ?Hold on to
those pieces indefinitely,
even if it meant you?d do
so at a loss??
I nodded.
?That?s so sweet,? she
murmured. ?And generous,
too. I mean, you don?t even
know my name.?
?That?s not true, Ms
Peters,? I replied, quoting
the surname she?d signed
we?ve been close to each
other for practically all of
my life!?
She sighed.
?The way I acted when I
brought those things here,
it?s no wonder you
suspected a pseudonym!?
?I?m sorry for presuming.
And I?m Luke, by the way.?
?Well, Luke, Elise?s
birthday is coming up and
I?m wondering if you?d let
me buy the watch back as a
gift for her. It?s such a nice
one.? Her eyes lit
speculatively. ?Maybe I can
practise my haggling skills
on you now, and get it at a
good price!?
I pretended to consider.
?Normally, I?d be fine
with that. The thing is, I?d
planned, if you ever came
back to the shop, to pluck
up the courage to ask you
out sometime. If I did so
now, it might seem like I?m
transacting some kind of
trade-off.?
She laughed and handed
me back her empty mug.
?Oh, I think we can risk
it.?
The bell above the shop
door chimed.
Sighing, I stifled a curse.
?Sorry. Duty calls.?
?Go ahead,? she invited.
?I?ll wait for you.?
I did as she bid me,
practically walking on air.
In the doorway, I paused
and twisted back to her.
?Wait a minute. If you?re
not Ms Peters, then I still
don?t know your name!?
Her smile, with a hint of
sheepishness, lit up those
expressive eyes.
?I?m April,? she said. n
PUZZLES 91
Wordsearch
G B E C U I
Find all the salt-related words in the
W G N B H R
grid. Words can run horizontally,
vertically, forwards, backwards or
E N I R O L
diagonally.
S I M A E D
N L G
I
N E E
H C A T S D R
L H O E E A E
N O D C O O K P R K E V C
L R U T
L A S V O T
L N
I
A A T R B E E M L O G U N
R M S
I
C S S M S R L
U R O T S E O S
T N D S K O
I
I
O A R T
D T C E
A P A A P D P W I
N N L P U E
I
T H
I
A
K H E B
E E U A N C
S H A K E R L G D T M T R
Can you fit the listed numbers into the grid?
I
L
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P
V
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M
S
D
W
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G
N
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A
O
R
O
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Number Fit
7 3 9 1 0
7
5
7 0 2 0
6
8 4 8 2 4
3
6
3
0
9 4 6 5 8
2
7
5
3
5
8 4 3 5 5
3
1
7
2 6
3 5 6 6 2
8
4
2
0
2 8 6 5 3
7
2
5
2 7 1 8 4 7
4
4
6 3 2 5
8
4
8 8 8 8 1
6 1
1
4
9 3 8
5 2 3
1
6
4
1 4
8
1 6
8
4 8
0
7 4
1
0 8
8
8 digits
27184716
44248131
83392583
95268606
S
N
H
L
K
S
E
S
O
I
P
I
L
7 digits
2865314
8435561
8888174
Wordsearch
I
R
L
D
O
A
E
S
E
O
D
E
R
5 digits
26523
35662
6 digits
582821
632548
848247
875576
Solutions
U
H
O
E
O
L
B
C
S
K
P
U
E
4 digits
6405
7020
7108
8142
73910
93808
94658
C
B
R
A
C
T
R
I
T
S
A
P
K
3 digits
184
331
357
486
641
688
724
777
804
E
N
I
M
D
U
T
S
O
D
A
L
A
7 0 2 0
N E W A R
B
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A
M
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N
P
N
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Number Fit
NUTRIENT
PAN
POT
RAW
RESERVES
ROAD
ROCK
SALT
SHAKER
SMOKED
SODA
SODIUM
SOURCE
I
G
W
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S
N
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A
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U
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A
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BATH
CHLORINE
COOK
CUISINE
DEPOSIT
DIG
DISSOLVE
EAT
EPSOM
LAKE
LOT
MINE
NATURAL
S
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG 93
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
Susan needs
some motherly
advice . . .
iStock.
H
ELLO, love. We
weren?t expecting
to see you this
morning.? George
peered down into
the pram at Susan?s side.
?Not that I?m complaining.
It?s always a joy to see little
Sarah.?
?Can you give me a hand
getting the pram inside,
Dad?? Susan asked.
Once the pram was safely
in the hallway, Susan lifted
her daughter and carried
her into the kitchen.
Mary?s face lit up as soon
as she saw her and the
baby. Susan sat in one of
the chairs at the table and
Mary and George gathered
around their little
granddaughter.
?She?s definitely got your
eyes, George,? Mary said.
?And my nose,? George
said, gently stroking the
baby???s face. ?You?ve got
Grandad?s nose, haven?t
you, little one??
Mary and Susan
exchanged a smile.
?Fancy a coffee, love? I
was just about to put the
kettle on,? Mary said.
Susan nodded.
?Everything all right??
George asked when he
finally lifted his eyes from
the baby. ?You seem a bit
tired this morning.?
?I am tired,? Susan said
dully. ?Dave and I had an
argument last night. I
Riverside
didn?t get much sleep.?
George looked at Mary
and she gave a subtle nod
of her head.
?Well,? George told his
daughter, ?whatever it is,
you can work it out. I?m off
out now, to do my
volunteering down at the
riverside heritage centre.?
He bent to give her a kiss
on the cheek, then he
kissed the end of his thumb
and planted it softly on the
baby?s nose.
In return, Sarah wrinkled
her face.
?She?s smiling at me,? he
said.
?It?s just wind, Dad,?
Susan replied.
Once George had left the
house and the coffee was
made, Mary sat down at
the table next to Susan.
She took the baby from her
arms.
?Tell me all about it,? she
prompted.
Susan told her mum all
that had happened to
upset her. She revealed
that Dave had appointed a
godmother to Sarah
without consulting her,
forgetting that they?d
already asked Ruby.
?So he?s going to have to
call his cousin and tell her
she can?t be godmother,
but he?s refusing. I don?t
know what to do. We can?t
have two godmothers at
the christening.?
?You can,? Mary said.
?We can what?? Susan
asked.
?You can have two
godmothers. You mean you
haven?t Googled it??
Susan shook her head.
?I was too upset. It?s the
first time we?ve fallen out in
all the time we?ve known
each other.?
Mary looked at her
daughter and smiled.
?And it?s your first
wedding anniversary this
weekend, isn?t it??
Susan nodded.
?Married life isn?t all
hearts and flowers ? you
should know that by now.
Arguments are all part of
getting to know each other
better.
?And having two
godmothers isn?t something
to be arguing about. I know
the vicar at St George?s
encourages three
godparents at christenings.?
Susan shook her head.
?I feel such a fool, Mum. I
should have checked.?
?You and Dave should
have talked about it first,
then you wouldn?t have had
your daft argument in the
first place,? Mary said.
Just then there was a
knock at the front door.
?I?ll get it,? Susan said,
rising from the table.
When she opened the
door she found Dave on
the doorstep holding a
bunch of white tulips.
?I?m sorry, Susan,? he
said, holding out the
bouquet. ?I shouldn?t have
asked Debbie without
talking to you first and ??
?? and I shouldn?t have
lost my temper with you,?
she finished, taking the
flowers.
She held the door open.
?Come on in. The kettle?s
just boiled.?
Dave followed her into
the kitchen, gave Mary a
peck on the cheek and sank
into a chair at the table.
?I?ve had a look online
and we can have two
godmothers,? Dave said.
Susan smiled.
?That?s what Mum said.
But what about Sarah?s
godfather??
?How would you feel
about asking the guy who
was my best man??
?I liked him,? Mary said.
?Nice lad. Stuart wasn?t it??
?Stephen,? Susan said.
?The one who lives in Spain.
Sounds good to me, Dave.?
?I?ll Skype him later
today,? Dave said, smiling.
?Oh, and I?ve got some
news for you both.?
Mary and Susan looked
at him as he continued.
?You know Jenny and
Eric?s flat that?s up for
sale??
Mary nodded.
?Well, there?s something
going on over there. When
I left our flat earlier, a huge
car rolled up ? one of those
old cars with a figurehead
on the bonnet. And there
was a fella sitting in the
front seat wearing a
peaked cap.?
?Like a chauffeur?? Susan
asked, puzzled.
?Exactly,? Dave replied.
?And then this woman
wearing black sunglasses
and a red headscarf got out
of the back of the car, met
the estate agent in the car
park and disappeared into
our building.?
Mary and Susan
exchanged a look.
?I wonder who she is??
Mary said.
?Well, Ryemouth?s hardly
a celebrity hot spot,? Susan
said. ?It?s not likely to be
anyone famous, is it??
More next week.
4
Frosty Snap
The snow has been a
real problem for many,
but luckily my cheery
four-month-old
grandson Nathan knew
nothing about that and
was very excited for his
first sight and touch of
the snow.
He looks so jolly in
this snap, wrapped up
in his hat and coat
against the elements,
that my wife Melody
and I just had to share it
with readers.
Mr B.H., Essex.
Between
Friends
Snow Dog
This is Lottie, my daughter?s
goldendoodle, having her first
taste of the snow ? literally ?
as you can see by her face!
She loved every minute of
frolicking about in it.
Ms M.C., Oswestry.
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD, or e-mail us at
betweenfriends@dctmedia.co.uk.
Star Letter
Plan International.
I recently visited my
daughter Stella who lives in
Vietnam and was privileged
to accompany her on trips
she made to two children
she sponsors there through
children?s charity Plan
International UK.
They were humbling but
rewarding experiences to
witness first hand the
difference the charity
makes to the lives of these
children and their families,
despite their poverty-stricken
surroundings.
I?ve attached a photograph of our visit to see Sinh in Quang Tri province.
Ms L.Q., Bournemouth.
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.
Something To
Write About
Two or three years ago,
when I was in my early
nineties, I was on a weekend
writing course.
One of the other
participants ? a yoga teacher
? offered to take an
impromptu class.
I had nothing suitable to
wear but didn?t want to miss
out, so I was fortunate to
borrow a purple pair of
leggings. Here I am doing my
first ? and last ? attempt at
yoga. I must say I found the
writing much easier!
Ms S.R., Manchester.
YOUR LETTERS 95
Childhood Memories
Long-lasting
Product
I loved the recent article about children?s TV favourite
?Bagpuss?.
I can remember when my two children were young and I
would sit with them watching it ? they were enthralled by the
most magical saggy old cloth cat.
When I showed the article to my daughter she, like me, was
whisked back in time to happy days. So thanks for the
memories.
Mr J.M., Falkirk.
My husband?s aunt was
recently admitted to hospital,
so I went round to her home
to tidy up a bit for her return.
Amid the laundry I found a
?Friend? tea towel dating back
to 1989! I wonder how many
other readers have gifts dating
this far back that are still in
use?
Mrs J.S., Airth.
The Magic Of Knitting
Mrs A.E.?s recent letter reminded me of when my sister, who
was eight years older, taught me to knit. I was only three at the
time and I used to get upset when I completed a row as I
thought there were no more stitches to do.
I thought Val was like a magician and so clever when she
turned the needles around and I found another row of stitches!
I, too, knit for charity and have never lost my enthusiasm for
knitting.
Ms R.H., Australia.
A poem
just for
you!
Change Of Scene
Tree Escapade
The sun is polished, burnished bright,
And not a trace of rust in sight,
So softly comes the change of scene,
As grey gnarled branches turn light green.
Cuckoos in the woodlands call,
Where bluebells misty swathes enthral,
Swallows dip and dive and dart,
Ever eager to take part.
Fresh sparkle glints in waterfalls,
As lichen grows on dry ston e walls,
Blackbirds in the treetops preening ?
Mother Nature is spring cleaning!
Brian H. Gent.
Puzzle
Solutions
from page 25
Word Ladder
ne answer is
Star, Sear, Seat,
Beat, Best, Bust,
Dust
Crossword
P ROCO L H
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AGN E S
P
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N
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A
ND E R
Your article ?On The Road? brought back great memories for
me.
Back in the 1960s I had a four-door A30 little grey car which
was my world. I paid � for it and sold it nine months later for
� and so wish I still had it.
I recall around that time that my friend and I were into ?saving
trees? and down her road the diggers were coming in to flatten
the ground, so we rushed off, spades at the ready, and were
lucky enough to pull up about 10 small fruit trees before they
were flattened.
We had to wind down the windows and push the trees into
the back, with branches sticking out of the windows. Luckily, we
were only going a few hundred yards and the operation was a
success.
Ms A.G., Somerset.
Pieceword
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71
less inclined to assist.?
?Nonsense, Mama,?
Delia replied emphatically.
?That would never happen.?
* * * *
In the office a few yards
away, Alfred had finished
speaking. He?d explained to
Mr Bassett how he would
convert the rooms at the
assembly building, and
shown the costs to stock,
advertise and staff the new
venture.
His calculations were
sound, he was in no doubt.
But what he hoped to
convey to Mr Bassett was
his drive and determination
to succeed.
Mr Bassett had not
spoken the whole time.
Now he sat back in his chair
and surveyed Alfred.
?This is quite the most
extraordinary plan I?ve
heard,? he said at last.
?But you haven?t
mentioned the thing that
concerns me most.
?Your plans are not
without risk and, even if
you succeed, it may take a
long time. What of my
daughter in the meantime??
?Your daughter?? Alfred
repeated.
?How will you support her
while you build up your
business?? Mr Bassett
asked.
?Support?? Alfred
murmured, bemused.
?I know how headstrong
my daughter is. She won?t
be content to remain
engaged for years.?
Alfred stared at Mr
Bassett for a moment,
trying to make sense of
what he was hearing.
He glanced in the
direction of the room where
Delia and her mother
waited and the awesome
truth struck him.
Those odd remarks she?d
made, the coy glances,
small and insignificant at
the time, now came to mind
with dreadful clarity. Miss
Bassett had been flirting
with him! And unknowingly,
he?d allowed it continue.
He gripped the edge of
the table to steady himself.
So this was the reason for
her invitation, he thought.
?Mr Bassett,? he began.
?There?s been a
misunderstanding. I do not
have any intentions
regarding Miss Bassett, and
if I?ve given the impression
that I did, I sincerely
apologise.?
?What?? Mr Bassett said
in a louder voice than he?d
so far used. ?You?re not
attached to my daughter?
Then how did she come to
think you were? Why did
she invite you here??
?I?m responsible for this
error,? Alfred said without
conviction. ?I mistook Miss
Bassett?s meaning. I thought
she was expressing an
interest in my plans for the
shop.
?When I mentioned I
wanted to speak to you and
she invited me here, I never
imagined there was any
other reason.?
There was nothing else he
could add in the silence
that followed.
?So this is a mistake,? Mr
Bassett said, looking just as
numbed as Alfred felt. ?I
only agreed to meet you
because I thought you
wanted to engage my
daughter.?
Alfred stood up. His
hopes were in tatters and
his great chance had been
nothing more than a stupid
error. He wouldn?t wait to
be asked to leave.
Mr Bassett looked at the
plans strewn over the desk,
then at Alfred.
?I?m sorry,? he said.
* * * *
Mariah was thankful
there were no customers in
the shop when Alfred came
home. Her heart felt heavy
when she saw the taut look
on his face.
Alfred gave her a wan
smile as he sat down; he
didn?t object when she
locked the shop door and
lowered the shutter. For
once, Hapstall?s would
close early.
?Well?? she asked,
unable to wait any longer.
?I scarcely know where to
begin, Mother,? he replied.
?I?ve been a fool and it has
led to such mischief.?
Mariah?s face fell.
?How so?? she asked.
?It concerns Miss Bassett,
Mother. You?ll never
believe it when I tell you.?
?You mean she has
designs on you? I suspected
as much. I thought there
was more to her invitation
than tea. I?m sorry to say,
but that lady is a flirt ?
there?s no other word for
it.?
?It has gone much further
than that,? Alfred said.
?She had an engagement
and marriage in mind.?
Mariah sat down as he
explained.
?I had no inkling of her
intent. Her father invited
me into his study and all
the time I was explaining
my plans for the assembly
building, Mr Bassett thought
it was to prove my
worthiness to be his son-in
law!?
?Oh, Alfred! What did
you do??
?I made it clear there had
been a misunderstanding. I
accepted my part of the
blame, then I gathered up
my papers, thinking it best
to leave.?
?How awful,? Mariah said
sadly. ?You had such hopes
for that meeting. Was Mr
Bassett very angry??
?I think he was more
shocked than angry. Then
he said he was sorry.?
?What had he to apologise
for?? Mariah asked.
?That?s the astonishing
thing about all this, Mother.
Mr Bassett went on to say
he was sorry I had no
intentions towards his
daughter. He said he?d only
agreed to see me at Miss
Bassett?s pleading.
?But having listened to
my plans for the future, I?d
impressed him and . . .?
Alfred?s face reddened. ?He
would have been pleased to
welcome me into his family.?
?What a tribute!? she
exclaimed. ?But there?s
nothing to be done. I can
see how bewildering this
has been for you.?
?But that?s not the end of
it, Mother,? Alfred went on.
?I can still scarcely believe
what came next.
??Mr Hapstall,? Mr
Bassett said to me. ?We
have started out at cross
purposes, but as a man of
business I know a good
proposition when I hear one.
??I want you to return on
Monday when you and I will
discuss your plans in more
detail.?
?I was so astounded I
hardly knew how to
answer!? Alfred admitted.
?I only managed to say
thank you.?
?So you are to have the
assembly building after
all?? Mariah cried, her face
filled with joy.
?Yes,? Alfred answered,
jumping from his seat and
drawing her to her feet. ?I
can hardly believe it, but
yes, Hapstall?s shop will
grow and you shall have
your house with a garden
as I promised.?
Mariah wiped away a
tear.
?As long as you?re happy,
Alfred. That?s all I want.?
?I think we?ll have a short
holiday,? he suggested.
?And celebrate our good
fortune with tea and
toasted bread.?
?I?ll prepare the feast,?
Mariah said with a smile.
?I?ll say this for you, Alfred,
you will always have your
feet firmly on the ground.?
Alfred set about making
the shop ready for the next
day, just as he did every
evening. He was smiling to
himself as he climbed the
stairs to their living-room.
?Do you know, Mother,?
he said as he sat down by
the fire, ?there?s someone
else I?ll like to share my
good news with.?
Mariah looked up from
the table.
?Would that be Rose
Bryson, by any chance??
?That?s right. Rose
showed a lot of interest in
my plans for the shop, I?m
sure she?d like to hear of
this. Why are you smiling??
?Alfred,? his mother said
with a sigh. ?You thought
Miss Bassett was only
interested in your plans for
the shop.?
?What are saying,
Mother??
?Are you making the
same assumption with Rose
Bryson??
?No, Mother, not at all.
Rose is . . . I mean, we
don?t know each other that
well.?
?Yet she?s the person you
want to share your news
with. Here?s your tea.?
Alfred sat sipping his tea
with a thoughtful expression
on his face as Mariah
continued to make their
meal, a smile on hers.
* * * *
As he prepared the
table for dinner,
72
Bannerman could not
shake off the feeling of
unease that had dogged
him for some days.
In all the years he?d been
butler at Datcherford
Manor, there had been
unvarying order and routine.
He hated change ? it
unsettled him. But lately,
unusual incidents had
disrupted the household:
raised voices had been
heard, there had been
unplanned arrivals and
departures.
Miss Delia had gone off
suddenly to visit her aunt,
only to return early. On one
occasion the discord
between the mistress and
Miss Delia had culminated
in dinner being delayed by
20 minutes! Bannerman
had been quite put out.
Most mysterious of all
was young Alfred Hapstall?s
arrival this afternoon.
Bannerman was used to
Alfred making deliveries,
but today Alfred had taken
tea with the family. Then
he?d spent over an hour
with the master in his office!
And now here was Miss
Delia come down to dinner
and looking so fretful,
Bannerman noted with
concern. He was as fond of
her, for all her faults, as he
was the rest of the family.
?Good evening, miss,? he
said. ?Will you be seated??
?No. I shall wait for my
papa, Mr Bannerman.
Although I don?t think I can
eat dinner.?
?I?m sorry to hear that,
miss. I trust you are not
unwell. The master and
mistress were speaking in
the drawing-room. Here
they come now.?
Bannerman held out Mrs
Bassett?s chair while Mr
Bassett took his usual place
at the head of the table.
?How fortunate you?re
here so promptly, Delia,?
Mrs Bassett said. ?Your
father and I wish to speak
to you.?
Bannerman walked to the
end of the long table to
serve Mrs Bassett.
?You don?t have to say it,
Mama,? Delia said. ?I know
you and Papa think I was
too hasty in my choice and
upon reflection I ??
?Not a bit of it!? Mr
Bassett said cheerfully.
?Despite my misgivings, I
was impressed with your Mr
Hapstall.?
Bannerman?s expression
was blank, but he almost
dropped the soup tureen.
?I believe that man will go
far,? Mr Bassett was saying.
?Of course, he has several
years of hard work ahead of
him. I don?t wonder you
were impressed, Delia.?
?I, too, found him quite
personable,? Mrs Bassett
said airily. ?I am sure that,
in time, he will be welcomed
in the best of Datcherford
society.?
?Mama, Papa, wait a
moment,? Delia returned.
?There is something I have
to say. I have been thinking
a great deal about it and I
believe I may have
misinterpreted my feelings
towards Mr Hapstall.?
Bannerman turned and
busied himself at the buffet
table. It was a mark of the
family?s trust in his
discretion that they felt free
to speak in front of him.
?What are you saying, my
dear girl?? Mr Bassett
asked. ?Only yesterday you
insisted there was an
attachment between you.?
?Yes, Papa, I did, but . . .?
Mrs Bassett smiled
reassuringly.
?Delia,? she said
earnestly. ?Your father and
I only want your happiness.
If you have found someone
you care about and are
prepared to make great
sacrifices for, we would not
wish to stand in your way.?
?Yes, Mama, but I would
not be the best companion
for Mr Hapstall. What do I
know about the business of
running a shop? I think I
may have to disappoint Mr
Hapstall.?
?Well, if you?re sure,? her
mother replied. ?But it
would be best for you to let
him down without delay.?
?Me? How shall I tell
him?? Delia cried, her fists
clenched in agitation.
Bannerman, standing
statue-like by the dresser,
witnessed the satisfied
glances between Mr and
Mrs Bassett.
?Think no more about it,?
Mr Bassett said. ?What is a
father for, if not to save his
daughter any distress? I will
inform Mr Hapstall when I
meet him that there has
been a misunderstanding.?
?Is he coming here again,
Papa??
?Yes. We also discussed
Mr Hapstall?s business
plans. He had some sound
proposals and I asked him
to return on Monday.?
?I will be sorry for his
sadness,? Delia said,
looking grave.
?Of course you will. But
console yourself. If I am able
to assist him in his aims, it
will be compensation to him
for the disappointment.?
?Then everything will be
all right again, Papa!? Delia
cried. ?How wonderful.?
Bannerman was busy at
the buffet and so the family
didn?t see that he, too, was
smiling.
Yes, he thought to
himself. Everything would
be all right again.
* * * *
?Careful. We mustn?t
wake her,? Rose whispered
as she, Molly and Miss
Baines manhandled Rose?s
trunk down the stair.
It was shortly before the
servant?s breakfast time on
Saturday morning and Rose
knew that it would be futile
to ask help of Biggins.
After much pushing and
straining, the heavy trunk
was brought down to the
hall and they were dragging
it towards the kitchen when
a bell sounded.
?That?s Mrs Jameson,?
Miss Baines said, red-faced
with exertion. ?She must
have heard us.
?I?ll have to go,? she
added. ?I wish you well,
Miss Bryson.?
?Thank you.? Rose smiled.
Miss Baines?s attitude
had changed since she?d
been obliged to take Rose?s
place as companion to Mrs
Jameson. She?d discovered
the post was not, after all,
the great privilege she?d
imagined it to be.
The bell rang again and
Miss Baines scurried up the
stairs.
Rose and Molly hauled
the trunk along the hall,
reaching the kitchen just as
Biggins arrived. He strode
in by the garden door,
wearing his mud-caked
boots, and sat down.
?You?re ready to go,
then,? Mrs Dee said as she
piled food on to Biggins?s
plate.
?Yes,? Rose replied. ?Mr
Sturgess will collect me at
ten.?
After the silent meal,
Rose helped Molly to clear
away. Biggins reluctantly
got up and left for his
morning duties, and Mrs
Dee carried her tea to her
own sitting-room.
?Rose, did you finish it??
Molly asked.
?You mean the letter?
Yes, I have it here.?
She handed the envelope
to Molly.
?I?ll see that it goes in the
post,? Molly promised. ?But
I still think it?s a shame you
won?t see him again.?
Rose smiled wanly.
?Molly, I know you have
some romantic notion
about Mr Hapstall and me,
but Alfred Hapstall is in
love with another lady.?
Molly?s eyes widened.
?How do you know?? she
asked.
?That doesn?t matter, but
it means we could never be
more than friends.?
?But you?d like to be,
wouldn?t you, Rose??
Rose smiled. Molly?s
honest but blunt ways had
caught her unawares
before, and besides, it
could well have been true.
At that moment there
were voices in the hall and
the sound of hurrying feet.
Mrs Dee came bustling
back into the kitchen.
?Look sharp, girl,? she
snapped at Molly. ?Mrs
Bassett is just arriving and
the mistress will be calling
for tea to be served.?
Miss Baines came
hurrying in.
?I know what you?re going
to say,? Mrs Dee forestalled
her. ?The mistress will be
sending for tea. As if I?m
not rushed off my feet
already.?
?That?s not all,? Miss
Baines said. ?Mr Sturgess is
here to collect Rose.?
Rose sprang from her
chair and began to gather
her belongings.
?He?s so early,? she said,
and almost immediately Mr
Sturgess appeared at the
kitchen door.
?Ready, miss?? he asked.
In the fluster of activity
that followed, Rose made
certain to say a proper
goodbye to Molly.
She kissed her cheek,
73
promising to write, then
hurried after Mr Sturgess as
he carried her trunk and
stowed it safely on his cart.
Despite the urgency, they
could not leave immediately
as a carriage was taking up
the centre of the driveway.
Mrs Bassett was emerging,
smiling and waving gaily to
Mrs Jameson who?d come
out to greet her.
They have not noticed my
leaving, Rose thought. Soon
no-one else will remember I
was ever in Datcherford.
* * * *
Alfred had woken that
morning from such a deep
sleep that it was several
seconds before he realised
why he felt so happy.
When the realisation came
flooding back he leapt from
his bed and was down in
the shop before daylight.
?Morning,? he said to
Tom. ?What a fine day it
is!?
Tom looked up at the
grey early morning sky.
?Yes, Mr Hapstall,? he
replied, yawning.
?Look lively, Tom,? Alfred
said. ?I have a special task
for you today.?
Alfred was aware that
changes had to be made.
He would be too occupied
to make the deliveries from
now on. He had it in mind to
grant Tom?s dearest wish,
because that morning he
wanted all those around him
to be as happy as himself.
?Come with me,? he said,
and Tom followed him out
of the rear door.
By the time they reached
the shed where Lissip was
kept, Tom was wide awake.
?You?re going to let me
drive by myself?? he asked
incredulously.
?Only about town,? Alfred
cautioned. ?You?ve taken
the reins before, but you
must have your wits about
you when you?re alone.
?Lissip may be old but
she has spirit. Help me put
her to, then you can drive
once or twice up the street
before anyone is about.?
Despite his excitement,
Tom was meticulous in
preparing the horse and
cart; he wanted Mr Hapstall
to know he could be trusted.
When Alfred was satisfied,
Tom climbed aboard and
called out to Lissip. She
twitched her ears and shook
her mane and for a moment
Tom held his breath, but
then she walked on.
Bursting with excitement
and pride, Tom drove slowly
along the street with Alfred
watching every moment.
They turned, walked back
and Alfred signalled to
repeat the manoeuvre.
Mariah had been
watching approvingly.
?Can you look after the
shop, Mother?? Alfred
asked. ?I want to call on Mr
Darrowby and his son. I?ll
be needing their services
before long.?
?You won?t wait until you
have agreed terms for the
assembly building??
?I?m sure of the outcome.
I don?t want to delay.?
When the cart was
loaded, Mariah and Alfred
watched Tom depart.
?Are you sure you can
manage?? Alfred asked his
mother.
?I?ve been serving in this
shop since before you were
born. Go on, now. Tom will
be back in an hour or two.?
He hesitated.
?I?ve been thinking about
what we said last night. I
told you that Miss Bassett
is not the kind of girl I could
love. She could never come
to mean anything to me.
?The thing is, I think you
can meet someone and,
even though you don?t
know them well, something
tells you that they could
come to mean everything.
Is that possible??
?Entirely possible.?
?But there?s no telling if
she feels the same. What
would I do if she didn?t??
?Then there?s nothing to
be done,? Mariah said.
?But unless you ask Rose,
you?ll never know.?
Alfred grinned at his
mother?s perception.
?I will,? he said. ?My life
is going to change. It will be
hard work, but I believe I
can achieve great things.
?There is no-one I want to
be part of it more than
Rose. Tomorrow is Sunday
and the staff at Cross Roads
House are allowed two
hours free in the afternoon.
I?ll ride over there and talk
to her. Tomorrow will be the
perfect time.?
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the manse
window
By Rev. Susan Sarapuk
A
S I?m writing this there
is a lot in the media
about people in
positions of power and
responsibility saying, ?No, I
didn?t say that.? Or ?I?m not
really like that, I?m like this.?
There are people who try to
justify their position by what
they say, but the evidence is
in what they do.
I think we are suffering from
a surfeit of words these days
? maybe Twitter and other
social media platforms have
something to do with it ? and
because people seem to think
that words mean more than
actions.
Sometimes it seems that
not even the Church can be
trusted.
How many have spoken out
about the bad experiences
they?ve suffered at the hands
of those who should have
been trustworthy?
Quite often we, too, can
hurt others because our
actions don?t match what we
say, and people can see the
difference.
Maybe you?ve been hurt
and you don?t know how to
tell the person or what to do
about it. It?s very easy to get
discouraged.
In our bible study group
we?ve been studying Paul?s
second letter to Timothy.
He had reason to feel let
down.
?You know that everyone in
the province of Asia has
deserted me.?
I suppose when you?re
constantly in precarious
situations for the sake of the
gospel, you need your friends
around you, and desertion
and betrayal can be
heartbreaking.
Even Jesus was betrayed
and deserted. But Paul didn?t
let that become the focus of
his life.
Everything around you can
be falling apart; people can be
unreliable and let you down;
yet the One we trust in is
faithful, not just through his
words but in his actions.
Everything Jesus said was
backed up by action and he
promised that he would
always be with us.
I love the story of the
healing of the paralysed man
let down through the roof.
The first thing Jesus tells him
is that his sins are forgiven.
The watching Pharisees are
appalled that he would say
such a thing, because only
God can forgive sins. Jesus
points out that anyone can
say the words.
?Which is easier to say:
?your sins are forgiven?, or to
say ?Get up and walk?? But
that you may know that the
Son of Man has authority on
earth to forgive sins,? he said
to the paralysed man, ?I tell
you, get up, take up your mat
and go home.?
And immediately the man
stood up in front of them,
took what he had been lying
on and went home.
To command someone to
be healed and then see it
happen is powerful. And this
proves that actions speak
louder than words.
People will always let us
down, and we will ourselves
let people down.
We should expect more of
those who are in Christ, of
course, because they are
meant to be obedient to their
Lord, and equally we become
trustworthy and good the
closer we walk with him.
Are we people whose
actions speak louder than our
words ? and in a good way?
In this world where anyone
can say anything, the best
way to judge what ourselves
and others are really like is by
what we do. n
Next week: Janice Ross
is in a sticky situation!
Shedloads
of Fun!
Photographs by Simon Whaley.
W
E?VE got very
happy wives!?
Willie Gormley
says as he
leans against
the workbench.
Laughter quickly fills the
workshop.
?Yes, it gets us out from
under their feet,? John
agrees, standing nearby.
There?s more laughter,
and already I can see the
benefit of Men?s Sheds. I?ve
only been here ten minutes
and already I?m hooked.
Men?s Sheds is an
Australian concept, designed
to help combat social
isolation and depression
amongst men by bringing
them together in a familiar
environment.
The first shed was
established in the Australian
town of Tongala, Victoria, in
July 1998, and now, 20
years later, there are over
439 Men?s Sheds in the UK
alone, with a total of 10,536
members, or ?shedders? as
they?re affectionately known.
Shropshire?s Newport
Simon Whaley
meets the
jovial members
of the Newport
Men?s Shed.
Men?s Shed has been
meeting for about four years
now, and they?re lucky
enough to have two
different ?sheds?.
The Shedders
start glueing.
Shedder Sam explains
how this came about.
?It started in 2014 when
we tried to get a shed set
up in Newport, but that fell
through. Then we were
visiting the Ironbridge
Coracle Regatta, and we
heard about this place, the
Green Wood Centre, run by
the Small Woods
Association. They offered us
they meet on Tuesdays.
the use of this amazing
?Hall Barn has a kitchen
workshop.?
and toilet,? Sam continues,
Looking around, I?m in
?and we?ve divided it in two.
awe of the variety of
We?ve set up a small
equipment the shedders
workshop area in one half,
can use here. There are
and got settees and chairs
workbenches, bandsaws,
in the other half.
belt sanders, drills and
?We also have a garden,
much more.
which is about 100 feet by
In addition to meeting on
30 feet, which we?re hoping
Wednesdays here at
to refurbish.?
Ironbridge?s Green Wood
The benefit of this twoCentre, the local Wrekin
venue shed is that they can
Housing Trust offered them
offer more activities. Here at
the use of Hall Barn in
the Green Wood Centre,
Madeley, Telford, where
Gerwyn Lewis often teaches
Willie Gormley
Willie Gormley is a
founder member of the
Newport Men?s Shed,
who first heard about
the idea on a TV
programme.
?When I retired, I?d
had forty years of work,
and then I thought, well
now what am I going to
do? This idea turned up
at the right time for me.
I enjoy the comradeship,
friendship and I get
satisfaction that people
find it fun and
humorous, while helping
others.?
Gerwyn sands
the wood.
Gerwyn begins
drilling holes.
them woodworking skills
and techniques, which they
can then practise
themselves. This morning,
he?s showing them how to
make an oval-shaped
wooden bandbox.
At Hall Barn they do other
activities, such as painting,
model-making, drawing, or
simply having a chat over a
cup of tea and a biscuit.
?There?s always biscuits
available.? Sam grins. ?It?s a
great deal. We pay five
pounds a week and that
gives us both this place and
Hall Barn and as much tea,
coffee and biscuits as you
can eat!?
Some men find retirement
a challenge, as they struggle
to adapt to their new way of
life. Without a job, life can
feel without purpose. Men?s
Sheds aims to change all
that.
Not only can they learn
new skills and share
knowledge, but they can
also work on their own
projects, too. John is
currently restoring a rocking
chair.
?What I?ve got here is
something I brought back
from Peru in the 1970s,? he
says. ?It?s been stuck up in
REAL LIFE 75
John Jenkins
The Shedders listen
carefully to Gerwyn?s
instructions.
the loft for a few years, so
my wife suggested I might
like to restore it.
?The leather seat and back
have a Peruvian Inca design.
I?m just doing some basic
repairs, and adding a bit of
wood-stain. I tested a bit
yesterday and it seems to
be coming up OK.?
The Men?s Shedders are
public-spirited, too.
?We?ve done several
projects for the community,?
Willie explains. ?For
example, for the Severn
Gorge Trust we made some
wheelchair-friendly picnic
benches, which are in the
picnic area by the Iron
Bridge. And we built a
couple of noticeboards for
the cemetery in Much
Wenlock.?
They?re also making the
most of the facilities here at
Green Wood to help
improve their Hall Barn
venue, too.
?We?re making a planter
for the walled garden,?
Willie says, ?but one of the
chaps who comes to Hall
Barn has a lung problem,
which means he can?t come
here because of all the
sawdust.
?So I?m cutting up the
wood here, and I?ll take it to
Hall Barn so he can put it
together and make the
planter there.?
Want To Know More?
To find your nearest Men?s Shed visit menssheds.org.
uk/find-a-shed/
More information about Newport Men?s Shed can be
found at: www.newportmensshed.co.uk
And that sums up the
ethos behind Men?s Shed ?
community spirit. They?re a
band of brothers getting
together regularly to share
skills, knowledge, help out
the wider community, and
themselves.
As a result, they reduce
isolation and loneliness,
which can have just as
devastating an effect on
men?s health as conditions
like diabetes and
depression.
The future?s bright, too.
?We?ve got about twentytwo on our books at the
moment,? Willie says, ?but
we hope to expand and
perhaps open up for more
than two days a week.?
Another bout of laughter
explodes across the room,
as someone shares another
joke. There?s clearly a
shedload of fun to be had
here. But just don?t tell their
wives! n
John retired a couple
of years ago, aged
seventy, but knew he
needed to find
something to fill his
time.
?Twelve months
before I retired I started
looking round to see
what was available. It?s
very easy, once you get
out of the work ethic, to
stay at home, put your
feet up and lose your
confidence.?
So he was pleased
when he heard about
the Newport Men?s
Shed.
?We have a good
laugh. It?s a good
community and it?s
social.?
believe it?
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail
wouldyoubelieveit@dctmedia.co.uk or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
I?D LIKE TO KNOW
Q
A
A
The Nobel Prize, founded by the Swedish
inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, first
came into being in 1901 and is awarded
in recognition of outstanding work done in the
fields of everything from physics and chemistry
through to physiology and work in peace. This was
one prize to elude the brilliant Stephen Hawking,
though he did receive many other accolades in his
lifetime.
Forty-eight women have been awarded a Nobel
Prize since its inception. Marie Curie was the first
to be awarded it (shared with her husband Pierre
and Henri Becquerel). She received the Nobel Prize
twice in her career, the only woman to do so, and
her daughter Ir鑞e Joliot-Curie was also a recipient.
Q
Can you tell me anything
about the actor Richard
Armitage who appeared
in ?The Hobbit? film?
B.G., Nottingham.
A
Born in 1971 in Leicester,
Richard Crispin Armitage
attended the London
Academy of Music and Dramatic
Art. He appeared in episodes of
?Cold Feet? and other smaller TV
roles before securing the lead
role in the hit BBC drama ?North
And South? and playing Lucas
North in ?Spooks?. He has also
appeared in theatre productions
such as ?Cats? and ?Death Of
A Salesman?, and has had film
success, now known worldwide
for playing Thorin Oakenshield in
the trilogy of ?The Hobbit?.
iStock.
S
From revealing your ancestral roots
to tracking down living relatives and
highlighting possible health risks, DNA
testing is becoming increasingly common
? it?s even being used to provide weight
loss advice! And, according to Spare
Room, one of the UK?s leading flat and
house share websites, DNA can also be
used to find the perfect flatmate! Spare
Room is currently carrying out a trial
which matches co-habitees by studying
genetic make-up!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
of eight and nine year
olds spend four hours
a day on social media
? despite having to be
thirteen to be allowed
a social media
account.
$2,460,000
386,050
Not only is the cheetah the fastest cat, it
is also the fastest land animal, achieving
a speed of around 70 mph. That may
seem pretty speedy until you compare it to the
peregrine falcon, which can reach a speed in
excess of 220 mph when diving!
Q
13%
is how much a Texan
entrepreneur paid for
London Bridge on April
18, 1968.
Can you settle an argument and tell me
which of the large cats is the fastest?
Miss P.R., Plymouth.
When was the Nobel Prize first introduced
and was the late, great Professor Stephen
Hawking ever awarded it? Can you also
tell me how many women have received this
accolade?
Mrs L.N., Cambridge.
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 79
people applied for a place
at the 2018 Virgin Money
London Marathon, the
world?s biggest one-day
fund-raising event.
4 hours,
7 minutes
the Guinness World
Record set at the 2017
London Marathon for
?Fastest Marathon
dressed as a
telephone box?!
220 mph
is the wind speed
on Jupiter.
132
minutes a day ? how
much time women spend
doing housework, almost
twice as much as men,
who only manage
75 minutes.
Go
Vintage!
CROCHET 81
Bright, fun and
very practical,
our pretty bag is
simple to make.
Easy
MATERIALS
1 100-gram ball each
of Sirdar Hayfield
Bonus DK in Bright
Pink (887) A, White
(961) B, Pink (992) C,
Azure (824) D, Bright
Lemon (819) E, Bright
Green (886) F; 3.5 mm
(No. 9) and 4 mm
(No. 8) crochet hooks;
2 ?D? shaped bamboo
bag handles, tapestry
needle.
For yarn stockists
telephone
01924 371501 or visit
www.sirdar.co.uk.
TENSION
Tension is not essential
for this project, but
each square is
approximately 15 cm x
15 cm using a 4 mm
hook.
ABBREVIATIONS
ch ? chain; dc ?
double crochet; rep
? repeat; sp(s)
? space(s); ss ? slip
stitch; st(s)?stitches:
tr ? treble.
Important Note
Figures in square
brackets [ ] 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.
Size: 42 cm
wide
and 54 cm long
including handles.
82
BASIC SQUARE
With a 4 mm hook and A, make 4 ch, ss in
first ch to form a loop.
Note: Attach new yarn to any 3 ch sp.
1st round ? 3 ch, 2 tr into loop, 3 ch, ?3 tr, 3 ch,
rep from ? twice more, ss into 3 ch (4 tr clusters).
Faten off.
2nd round ? Change to B, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, ?[3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp,
rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (8 tr clusters).
Fasten off.
3rd round ? Change to C, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
ch sp, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (12 tr
clusters).
4th round ? Change to D, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 2 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
2 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (16 tr
clusters).
5th round ? Change to E, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
3 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (20 tr
clusters).
6th round ? Change to F, [3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr,
1 ch] in ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 4 ch sps, ?[3 tr,
3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
4 ch sps, rep from ? twice more, ss in 3 ch (24 tr
clusters). Fasten off and weave in ends.
Complete 13 squares using a combination of
different colours.
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp. Fasten off (6 tr clusters).
4th round ? Change to D, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in same ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next
2 ch sps, [3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sps, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next 2 ch sps,
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp.
Fasten off (8 tr clusters). Complete one more half square.
TO COMPLETE
Weave in ends and block the squares and half squares. Using the diagram as
a guide, join the squares together using yarn A and working ss in the back
loops of sts.
Top side edging ?
1st round ? With 3.5 mm hook and A, attach yarn to the corner of a square
at the edge of the bag with a ss, 1 ch, 1 dc into each st and each ch of
1 ch sp . Work down one side of the top edge of the bag and then up the
other side. Repeat for the second side.
Handles (make 2) ?
1st round ? With 3.5 mm hook, A and right side facing, attach yarn with a ss
to the corner of a square at the right on one side of the bag, work 3 ch, 2 tr
in 3 ch sp, 1 tr in the top of next 3 tr, 1 tr in ch sp, 1 tr in next 2 tr sts, 1 tr in
the top of seam, working across the top of the half square, 2 tr in each of the
ch sp (with 1 tr in sp ace at base of central tr cluster), 1 tr in the top of seam,
1 tr in next 2 tr sts, 1 tr in ch sp, 1 tr in next 3 tr sts and 3 tr into 3 ch sp,
turn. (37 sts)
2nd round ? 3 ch, 1 tr into each st along edge, turn. (37 sts)
Repeat last round twice more.
Wrap these extensions over the bag handles and sew securely on the inside
of the bag. n
HALF SQUARE
With 4 mm hook and A, make 4 ch and ss in first
ch to form a loop.
Note: Attach new yarn to any 4 ch sp.
1st round ? 4 ch, 3 tr in loop, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr.
Fasten off (2 tr clusters).
2nd round ? Change to B, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in
same ch sp, [3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sp,
[3 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr] in last ch sp. Fasten off (4 tr
clusters).
3rd round ? Change to C, [4 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch] in
same ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp, [3 tr, 3 ch,
3 tr, 1 ch] in next 3 ch sp, [3 tr, 1 ch] in next ch sp,
READER OFFER
This fun bag is taken from
the book ?Granny Squares
Weekend? published by
GMC ISBN 9781784943844.
The book usually costs
�.99, but is available to
?Friend? readers for the
special price of �.24 plus
p & p?. To order please call
01273 488005 or go to
www.thegmcgroup.com and
quote code R5321. The
closing date for this offer is
July 21, 2018.
?UK p&p is �95 for the
first item and �95 for
each additional item. For
overseas charges please
contact the GMC Group
direct.
Next week: knit a classic
4-ply cardigan
If You Only
Bake One Thing...
COOKERY 85
Make it this delectable Ginger, Elderflower & Rose Cheesecake
Serves: 8 Prep time: 40 mins
u 250 g (9 oz) ginger biscuits
u 100 g (3� oz) butter
u 280 g (10 oz) cream cheese (at
room temperature)
u 2 tbs Belvoir Elderflower & Rose
Cordial
u 100 g (3� oz) icing sugar
u 150 ml (� pt) double cream
To Serve: edible rose petals.
1 First, weigh out all the ingredients, then
place the biscuits into a sturdy plastic bag
and bash them into crumbs with a rolling
pin.
2 Melt the butter in a saucepan over
a low heat and stir through the biscuit
crumbs. Press into a loose-bottomed
tart tin (we used a 20 cm fluted tin) and
place in the fridge to set.
3 In a mixing bowl, stir together the
cream cheese, Elderflower & Rose cordial
and the icing sugar until smooth.
4 In a separate bowl, whip the cream
until firm. Gently fold the cream through
the cream cheese mixture until just
combined.
5 Finally, pile the soft cheesecake mixture
on to the biscuit base. Chill in the fridge
for at least four hours or overnight before
serving decorated with the rose petals.
Floral Flavours
People have been using edible flowers as we have on this cheesecake
to add colour and flavour to food and drink for centuries. Roses have
long been a favourite in the Middle East where the Persians first
mastered the distilling of rosewater for culinary purposes.
It is an important ingredient in confectionery, including the sweet we
call Turkish Delight (whose name was originally from the Arabic, rahat-ul
hulkum, meaning ?to soothe or heal the throat?). Dried rose petals are
also used as a spice and for decoration.
In Britain, native plants, such as elderflower, were favoured.
Elderflower (botanical name Sambucus) is found as the flavouring in
Sambocade, a sweet curd tart a little like cheesecake, in one of the oldest
known English collections of recipes, ?Forme Of Cury? produced by the
Master Cooks of King Richard II around 1390.
By acclaimed blogger Englishmum.com for www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk.
Chef?s Top Tips
Make sure the cream cheese is
at room temperature before you
start ? this gives the cheesecake
a lovely, smooth texture. As this
cheesecake doesn?t use gelatine,
to make it as light and fluffy as
possible, it does definitely
need the chilling time!
Kitchen
Style
Bring some 50s glamour back into the
kitchen with these fabulous aprons.
With retro-styling and
co-ordinating neck and waist ties
to ensure a perfect fit, the aprons
are made from 100%
cotton and are machine
washable.
Fifi Cotton Apron
We have four
stunning designs
to choose from,
each guaranteeing
to keep you looking
great when your
guests arrive.
ONLY
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OnLine: www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
SHORT STORY BY H. JOHNSON-MACK 87
The
April
Effect
She brightened
my day, but
then she
disappeared
again . . .
Illustration by Mandy Murray.
W
HEN she first
walked into
my shop, she
brought the
sun in with
her. She also took my
breath away.
I smiled dumbly at her
and managed to utter a
greeting.
?Ah, er, morning.
Welcome to the Cavern.?
She smiled, eyes of
mermaid blue-green gazing
around the cosy if cluttered
converted cottage full of
curios and antiques. I saw
uncertainty dart across her
face.
?Is there anything I can
help you with??
?I hope so.?
She brought a wrapped
package she?d had tucked
under one arm to the
counter I stood behind and
carefully set it down.
?I have this old vase from
. . . well, a friend of mine.?
A shaft of unreasonable
jealousy shot through me
until she added, ?She needs
to sell it on for the best
price I can get her.
?She?s downsizing, and
there?s not an attic in the
new place, and . . . I?m
rambling, aren?t I? I always
do that when I?m nervous.?
Those eyes gazed directly
into mine, and I took a
steadying breath before
answering her uneasy look
with a reassuring smile. I
was in more familiar
territory now; I?d had to
deal with situations like this
before.
?There?s no need to be.
Let?s take a look.?
I focused my attention
away from her face and on
to the object on my
counter.
?Well, this is a nice piece
you?ve got here,? I
pronounced after
unwrapping the vase and
examining it from a few
angles. ?It?s only in the
style of cloisonn� ceramics
rather than the genuine
article.
?Nevertheless, this sort of
thing is pretty popular at
the moment, so I shouldn?t
have any trouble finding a
buyer for it.? I named a
price that made her smile.
?Will that do for your
friend??
?Definitely.? Her sigh was
one of relief. ?She?ll
probably want me to come
again, bring some more
items, if they all sell that
well!?
Then, after what felt like
the quickest transaction I?d
ever completed, she was
gone, and the overcast
skies of a chilly early April
had descended once again
around the Cavern.
I took a moment to tuck
away a mental image of
something special, then,
with a shrug, went back to
work, not expecting ever to
see her again.
* * * *
But true to her word, she
was back a few days later
with another, much smaller,
parcel. This time, I was
serving another customer,
so she merely waved and
began to browse round.
When the customer left,
having purchased one of
my Crown Derby teasets, I
walked over to where she
was leaning over my main
jewellery cabinet, peering
intently through the glass.
?Do you like that?? I
asked, nodding to the
Sixties-style choker she had
been studying.
?Mmm, I do,? she said,
?though I?m not sure about
the asking price.?
I laughed at the
suggestive note in her
voice.
?Let me guess; you?re a
fan of antiques
programmes.?
She nodded, an impish
gleam in her eyes.
?Guilty as charged.?
I stepped back and
spread my arms invitingly.
?Go on, then. Haggle with
me.?
For a delicious moment,
she looked tempted. Then
she shook her head.
?Maybe later. I?ve
another commission to
discuss with you first.?
?For your friend??
?That?s right.? She
handed over her little
parcel. ?It?s a ladies? watch;
it?s been in the family for a
few generations.?
Back at the counter, I
clicked open a sturdy box,
slightly worn round the
edges, to reveal an elegant
marcasite cocktail watch in
perfect condition.
?It?s a beauty,? I
breathed, running fingers
reverently over its delicate
linked stone surface and on
to the smooth watch face at
the bracelet?s centre.
?Early Twenties, I would
guess, and in lovely
condition. Are you sure you
? I mean, your friend ?
wants to sell it??
She sighed, her
expressive eyes darkening
as they followed the path
my fingers were tracing.
?It?s either sell this or go
without certain basics for a
while. There are a few
money problems, you see.?
She looked up then, and
our eyes caught and held
for a moment longer than
normal. I could feel my
heart beat quicken as
she flushed and
lowered her lashes.
88
?I have no idea why
I?m telling you all this.?
?Oh, I just have one of
those faces,? I joked, my
tone a little unsteady. ?The
good news is that you can
command a fair price for a
lovely piece like this, in
such fine condition.?
Her smile was tinged with
sadness as she gazed at the
timepiece still hanging from
my fingers.
?That?s something, I
suppose. Make sure it goes
to a good home.?
?I will,? I promised, laying
it gently back into its
cushioned bed.
I lingered over payment
and receipt, searching my
mind for something to keep
her with me a little longer.
Finally, I gestured toward
the jewellery cabinet.
?What about that choker
you like? Want to try
haggling with me now??
She looked regretful but
resolute.
?Another time, perhaps.
I?ll be back, no doubt.?
* * * *
She didn?t come back.
Day followed day and both
business and weather
warmed up as the calendar
crept inexorably toward
Easter. Still there was no
sign of her.
After speculating
endlessly on who she was,
where she lived and what
she did for a living I began
to think of her as just a
memory, maybe even
nothing more than a
delicious dream.
Yet I had the tangible
proof of her existence
streaming, soaking, down
her back.
She waved when she
caught sight of me; I was
already at the doorway,
ushering her in.
?Come inside, quick.
You?re wet through!?
?Thank you!? She
shrugged the coat into my
outstretched arms, sending
a spray of shining droplets
into the air. ?I had no idea
the weather was going to
be so lousy today.?
?That?s April for you,? I
said. ?Blooming cold
showers that come out of
nowhere just when you
thought it was spring. Come
into the back and get dry. I
was just about the put the
kettle on for elevenses.?
She had worn a little
twisted smile which now
widened.
?That sounds like
heaven.?
She followed me through
to the back room, where
the old pantry had been
converted into kitchen and
office, and looked about
her with interest whilst I
switched on the kettle and
fetched a towel from a tall
cupboard set into the
original wall.
?I like what you?ve done
with the place.?
I smiled.
?It?s quirky but with all
the mod-cons; pretty
perfect, really.?
She fished around in her
bag, bringing out a brush
and attacking her chestnut
hair with hard, rhythmic
strokes.
?It suits you,? she
announced decisively, which
I kept the pieces she had brought
in case she came back one day
stored carefully away at the
back of my shop.
Oh, well, I thought as I
watched rivulets of sudden,
cold raindrops stream down
the Cavern?s mullioned
windowpanes, I?ll keep my
promise where those pieces
are concerned, even if I
never see their lovely
former owner again.
Then, as though an
invisible conjurer had
waved a wand, there she
was right outside, hatless
and with her hair
I decided to take as a
compliment.
Then she paused, brush
in mid-air, and motioned to
the side of the old hearth,
where her vase and watch
box sat in her original
wrappings.
?What are they doing in
here??
?Ah.? It was time to
confess. ?I was holding
them back for you, just in
case you should ever
change your mind about
selling them.
?There are certain things
in life, you see,? I
attempted to explain as she
continued staring at me,
?that are more to you than
just an object.
?They warm to your
touch, connect with your
imagination, bring about an
emotional response that
could be as simple as
making you smile.
?It?s important to have
things like that in your life,
and sad if you have to let
them go.?
the sale receipts with. She
frowned, but I added
gently, ?It?s OK. You?d
probably be surprised how
many people come here
selling something for ?a
friend?. Everyone has their
reasons. There?s no shame
in it.?
She blinked at me.
?But it is true,? she
protested. ?There is a Ms
Peters, Elise Peters. She?s
my honorary aunt; she was
my next-door neighbour
when I was growing up, and
Some things in life are much more
than simple objects
My voice trailed off into
silence as I saw her
studying me. Then, she
smiled and gestured to the
empty mugs in my hands.
?Did you say something
about elevenses??
She led us in relaxed
conversation whilst I
prepared coffee and
produced a packet of
biscuits, debating the pros
and cons of April showers
and whether anyone
actually did put things by
for a rainy day.
She revealed that she
owned a flat in a village a
few miles outside town, and
contrary to the romantic
vision I?d imagined, was not
an artist but ran a small
catering company with a
friend for a living.
I found myself warming to
her more and more, easy
yet invigorated by her
charm and something else
in her, that wrapped
around me like a warm
blanket.
One ear cocked for the
sound of the front-door
bell, I made more coffee,
which she accepted with a
softened expression, head
tipped a little to one side.
?Were you really going to
do that for me?? she asked
after a while. ?Hold on to
those pieces indefinitely,
even if it meant you?d do
so at a loss??
I nodded.
?That?s so sweet,? she
murmured. ?And generous,
too. I mean, you don?t even
know my name.?
?That?s not true, Ms
Peters,? I replied, quoting
the surname she?d signed
we?ve been close to each
other for practically all of
my life!?
She sighed.
?The way I acted when I
brought those things here,
it?s no wonder you
suspected a pseudonym!?
?I?m sorry for presuming.
And I?m Luke, by the way.?
?Well, Luke, Elise?s
birthday is coming up and
I?m wondering if you?d let
me buy the watch back as a
gift for her. It?s such a nice
one.? Her eyes lit
speculatively. ?Maybe I can
practise my haggling skills
on you now, and get it at a
good price!?
I pretended to consider.
?Normally, I?d be fine
with that. The thing is, I?d
planned, if you ever came
back to the shop, to pluck
up the courage to ask you
out sometime. If I did so
now, it might seem like I?m
transacting some kind of
trade-off.?
She laughed and handed
me back her empty mug.
?Oh, I think we can risk
it.?
The bell above the shop
door chimed.
Sighing, I stifled a curse.
?Sorry. Duty calls.?
?Go ahead,? she invited.
?I?ll wait for you.?
I did as she bid me,
practically walking on air.
In the doorway, I paused
and twisted back to her.
?Wait a minute. If you?re
not Ms Peters, then I still
don?t know your name!?
Her smile, with a hint of
sheepishness, lit up those
expressive eyes.
?I?m April,? she said. n
PUZZLES 91
Wordsearch
G B E C U I
Find all the salt-related words in the
W G N B H R
grid. Words can run horizontally,
vertically, forwards, backwards or
E N I R O L
diagonally.
S I M A E D
N L G
I
N E E
H C A T S D R
L H O E E A E
N O D C O O K P R K E V C
L R U T
L A S V O T
L N
I
A A T R B E E M L O G U N
R M S
I
C S S M S R L
U R O T S E O S
T N D S K O
I
I
O A R T
D T C E
A P A A P D P W I
N N L P U E
I
T H
I
A
K H E B
E E U A N C
S H A K E R L G D T M T R
Can you fit the listed numbers into the grid?
I
L
C
H
P
V
M
M
S
D
W
E
G
N
G
A
O
R
O
L
S
I
T
I
E
D
E
I
T
E
K
T
O
R
O
C
K
U
T
W
N
S
E
E
L
G
L
A
E
H
A
M
A
E
D
A
V
N
U
T
R
I
E
N
T
R
E
R
E
C
I
N
H
T
A
B
C
R
Number Fit
7 3 9 1 0
7
5
7 0 2 0
6
8 4 8 2 4
3
6
3
0
9 4 6 5 8
2
7
5
3
5
8 4 3 5 5
3
1
7
2 6
3 5 6 6 2
8
4
2
0
2 8 6 5 3
7
2
5
2 7 1 8 4 7
4
4
6 3 2 5
8
4
8 8 8 8 1
6 1
1
4
9 3 8
5 2 3
1
6
4
1 4
8
1 6
8
4 8
0
7 4
1
0 8
8
8 digits
27184716
44248131
83392583
95268606
S
N
H
L
K
S
E
S
O
I
P
I
L
7 digits
2865314
8435561
8888174
Wordsearch
I
R
L
D
O
A
E
S
E
O
D
E
R
5 digits
26523
35662
6 digits
582821
632548
848247
875576
Solutions
U
H
O
E
O
L
B
C
S
K
P
U
E
4 digits
6405
7020
7108
8142
73910
93808
94658
C
B
R
A
C
T
R
I
T
S
A
P
K
3 digits
184
331
357
486
641
688
724
777
804
E
N
I
M
D
U
T
S
O
D
A
L
A
7 0 2 0
N E W A R
B
G
N
I
O
R
A
M
R
N
P
N
H
Number Fit
NUTRIENT
PAN
POT
RAW
RESERVES
ROAD
ROCK
SALT
SHAKER
SMOKED
SODA
SODIUM
SOURCE
I
G
W
E
S
N
L
A
R
U
T
A
N
S
BATH
CHLORINE
COOK
CUISINE
DEPOSIT
DIG
DISSOLVE
EAT
EPSOM
LAKE
LOT
MINE
NATURAL
S
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG 93
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
Susan needs
some motherly
advice . . .
iStock.
H
ELLO, love. We
weren?t expecting
to see you this
morning.? George
peered down into
the pram at Susan?s side.
?Not that I?m complaining.
It?s always a joy to see little
Sarah.?
?Can you give me a hand
getting the pram inside,
Dad?? Susan asked.
Once the pram was safely
in the hallway, Susan lifted
her daughter and carried
her into the kitchen.
Mary?s face lit up as soon
as she saw her and the
baby. Susan sat in one of
the chairs at the table and
Mary and George gathered
around their little
granddaughter.
?She?s definitely got your
eyes, George,? Mary said.
?And my nose,? George
said, gently stroking the
baby?
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