вход по аккаунту


The People’s Friend - February 03, 2018

код для вставкиСкачать
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
On sale
The People?s Friend Special
No 152, priced �99
l 8 pages of puzzles
l 14 brand-new short stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 853, priced �49
l An exciting modern story set in
the Welsh hills
Cover Artwork: London by J. Campbell Kerr.
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
4 Dear Hector . . .
by Julia Douglas
15 The Sunny Side
by Annie Harris
23 The Crestfern Cat
by Jan Snook
25 SERIES Tales From
Prospect House
by Malcolm Welshman
30 SERIAL The Mermaid Of
Mortling Hall by
Lynn Love
41 Square Dance by
Sally Trueman Dicken
47 Growing Pains
by Louise McIvor
53 Keeping House
by Yvonne Frederick
56 SERIAL The Wooden
Heart by Mark Neilson
79 Back To The Sixties
by Val Bonsall
Riverside by
Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
24 Reader Offer: Jennie?s
Farm accessories
27 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: make a meal
of our mouthwatering
selection of savoury
51 Our Next Issue
61 From The Manse
71 Would You Believe It?
73 Knitting: our gorgeous
knitted dinosaur hoodie
is sure to be a roaring
success with little ones
78 Reader Offer: Beautiful
86 Between Friends
8 Neil McAllister explores
Borough Market and the
south bank of the River
21 6 good reasons to eat
29 John Stoa is back in the
garden with a list of
jobs to do this month
44 Stephanie Hawthorne
discusses working when
in receipt of a pension
55 Your chance to win an
Apple iPad, worth �9
64 Wendy Glass celebrates
the life and work of
author Muriel Spark
67 Pets & Vets explores
dogs and the law
76 Willie Shand enjoys a
day out in the Pentlands
83 Extra puzzle fun
13 issues for *�when you subscribe
? Call 0800 318846**, quote PFCOV
and save
*Payment by Direct Debit only. Saving based on first quarterly payment
of �and standard rate of � every 3 months thereafter. UK bank accounts
only. One year minimum term. For overseas enquiries, please call +44 1382 575580.
**(8 a.m.-6 p.m., Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.) Free from UK landlines and mobiles.
We have a great
new serial for you this
week. ?The Mermaid
Of Mortling Hall? by
Lynn Love is packed
with mystery and
intrigue, and not only
is it Lynn?s first for the
?Friend?, it was also
one of the runners-up
in the serial-writing
competition we ran a
couple of years ago.
The first instalment is
on page 30 ? I?m sure
you?re going to enjoy
From a debut author
to an assured mistress
of her craft ? 2018 is
the centenary of the
birth of acclaimed
Scottish author Muriel
Spark, creator of one
of the most
memorable characters
of all time in Miss
Jean Brodie. Wendy
Glass pays tribute to
the writer, her books
and her legacy on
page 64.
I?ve just time to
mention Willie
Shand?s article about
the Pentlands on page
76. This was an area I
visited often when I
was a child, and I
loved the feeling of
escaping out into the
wilds for a day, even
though we were just a
short drive from
Edinburgh. Happy
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
Dear Hector . . .
They had only ever written to
each other ? was it time to
meet up?
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
HE sound of a car
slowing on the lane
made Geraldine
glance out of her
living-room window.
The nose of a blue car
appeared at the end of her
long driveway, then pulled
away again as soon as the
driver saw that the little
covered cart by the
roadside was empty.
Geraldine sighed. She?d
never seen the driver,
because her raggedy
hawthorn hedge blocked
her view of the cart, but she
recognised the car as one
of her regulars. A regular
she had let down again.
?Are you still there?? a
voice said in her ear.
?Oh, sorry, Marion.?
Geraldine turned her
attention back to the
phone. ?I haven?t put the
eggs out again, and just
saw someone pull up
looking for them.?
?Hens not laying?? her
friend asked.
?No, the hens are fine.?
Geraldine sighed. ?It?s this
old bird who?s been out of
sorts. It must be the time
of year ? January blues or
whatever. I can?t seem to
put my mind to anything.?
?Do you want to visit for
a few days?? Marion asked.
?Clara?s home from uni at
the moment, but I can still
find room.?
?No, you?ve got enough
on your plate. If I can get
through Christmas without
Ray, I can get through
?I still can?t believe he left
you,? Marion said.
Before Geraldine could
answer, she heard Marion?s
doorbell in the background.
?I?m sorry, Geraldine,
that will be ??
?Don?t worry, I?ll call you
They said their rushed
goodbyes and Geraldine
turned back to the window,
with its grey and brown
vista of bare trees and
bleak farmland.
She couldn?t help feeling
just the teeniest bit envious
of her old school friend?s
busy life in the city.
* * * *
The next morning, as
Jagger the rooster called
across the bare fields with
a cheery cock-a-doodle-do,
Geraldine pulled on a
quilted body warmer, stuck
her feet into her wellies
and went out into the yard.
Growing up on a farm,
she?d always been an early
riser and knew the chill
breeze would blow some of
her cobwebs away.
Selling eggs on a cart by
her gate didn?t add much
to the income of Clover
Farm, which was why she?d
found it so easy to neglect
the task for the past week.
The coins her customers
dropped into the honesty
jar were chickenfeed,
literally ? they paid for the
brood Geraldine kept in her
kitchen garden.
A farm wasn?t a farm
without a few chickens
scratching about, in
Geraldine?s book. And if
they were laying, she might
as well sell the produce.
She couldn?t live on a diet
of omelettes, after all.
?Come on, Floss,? she
called to her collie as she
carried a basket full of egg
boxes down her drive.
In the distance, she heard
the grumble of a tractor
where her son Buster was
clearing a ditch to drain the
lower field.
She knew he would have
been up before dawn. He
was a true countryman ?
unlike his dad, as it had
turned out.
There was still some pink
in the cloudy sky.
?Shepherd?s warning?,
her dad used to say.
It had already been a
rainy enough winter for
Geraldine?s liking. She felt
like she?d been wading
through mud for months.
At least it was dry for the
moment, she consoled
Before she left the
kitchen, Geraldine had
jotted down a note that she
pinned up in the back of
the cart: Sorry no eggs
lately. I?ve been a bit under
the weather. I?ll try to keep
putting them out. Please
bear with me. Geraldine.
She wondered if the note
was over the top. Would
anyone care whether her
eggs were out or not?
Clover Farm was on a
quiet lane with little
passing traffic, and she
knew from experience that
people often drove a
considerable distance out
of their way to buy homegrown produce from the
stalls outside various
properties in the parish.
There was the stand
outside that white house in
the village where she
regularly picked up a jar of
fresh honey; a table
bearing jars of the most
delicious jam outside a
bungalow in Back Lane;
and the place down Farrow
Road where there was
always a wheelbarrow full
of seasonal veg parked by
the gate.
It was always
disappointing to drive out
for some honey and find
she?d left it too late in the
day and the stand was sold
Geraldine didn?t like the
thought of her regulars
making a special trip to her
egg cart and going home
She?d noticed the blue
car make two fruitless visits
in the past couple of days
and felt the need to leave
the note as an explanation.
It was funny, she
reflected as she headed
back up her drive with
Floss dancing around her.
When she was growing up,
everyone in the parish had
known each other, but so
many, like Marion, had
moved away.
With the small farms
swallowed by big farms and
one man in a harvester
able to do the work that
would have taken a whole
village in her grandparents?
day, few people were
connected by working on
the land any more.
Most locals now were
incomers: retirees or
commuters. Neither of her
nearest villages had a shop
or a post office any more,
so there was nowhere
people could meet.
Somehow the little
network of produce stalls
maintained a sense of
community that the
countryside was losing.
Geraldine had never met
the people she bought
honey and jam from, and
didn?t know the people who
bought her eggs, but she
felt a connection to them,
even though the only
contact was an anonymous
pound dropped in a jar.
* * * *
The following afternoon,
with a wintry dusk already
falling on the barren trees,
Geraldine walked down to
the egg cart to collect her
takings and any empty egg
boxes that her customers
had returned.
After a depressing
afternoon rounding up
invoices and receipts for
her tax return, she was
glad to get some cold
earthy air in her lungs.
People didn?t realise the
amount of paperwork
involved in running a farm.
The strain had seemed
less when Ray had shared
it, and she wondered
briefly if he ever gave it a
second thought now.
Buster was a good lad,
but he had a wife and two
toddlers to go home to in
the cottage at the end of
the lane.
When he left work each
evening and she cooked
dinner for just herself, the
farm felt very empty.
At the cart, she stopped,
puzzled. Propped behind
some empty egg boxes was
an envelope in a cheery
shade of cerise. Written in
friendly handwriting on the
front was Geraldine.
She opened it and took
out a card with flowers on
the front. Inside, she read:
Sorry to hear you?re poorly.
Get well soon. (Eggs always
delish!) Hector.
Geraldine blinked in
surprise. She didn?t know
anyone called Hector.
Realising he was one of
her anonymous customers,
she headed back up her
of the egg cart was another
envelope with her name on
The envelope fluttered in
the breeze as she pulled
out a card with a picture of
a poppy field on the front.
Dear Geraldine. I noticed
the eggs haven?t been out
for a few days. I hope you
are all right. If you need
anything picked up from
town, call me. Hector.
He had left his phone
number at the bottom.
Geraldine raised her
eyebrows. Did strangers
still offer help to each
Someone really did give tuppence
whether her eggs were out or not!
drive with a smile.
So someone really did
give tuppence whether her
eggs were out or not! For
the first time in ages, she
felt like her life had some
* * * *
The following week was
black as it hit Geraldine all
over again what Ray had
done. She?d married him at
twenty-seven and never
thought she?d find herself
alone at fifty-four.
She?d had plenty of
warning, of course. She
could even have averted it
if she wasn?t so stubborn.
He thought they were
wasting their lives on a
farm that barely turned a
profit, but Clover Farm had
been in her family for years
and there was no way she
was letting it go.
Pacing her living-room,
she picked up her phone to
have it out with him again.
Then she slammed the
phone back on the table.
They?d been through it all
before. There was no going
Hugging herself as she
held it all in, she noticed
the flowery card on the
shelf above the fire and
realised she hadn?t put the
eggs out again.
* * * *
The next morning, still
fuming, Geraldine gathered
a basket of eggs and
headed down the drive.
Propped up at the back
Reading the note again,
she was surprised how
much the offer touched her,
especially when she?d been
feeling so low.
She liked the way he?d
left the card in the egg
cart, rather than pushing it
through her letter-box or
knocking. It felt respectful
and unintrusive ? the way
country folk used to be.
As she carried the card
up the drive, she wondered
who the mysterious Hector
* * * *
That evening, as she ate
a plate of stew alone at her
living-room table, with the
television turned down and
unwatched in the corner,
Geraldine gazed at the two
cards on her mantel shelf.
She thought of the phone
number penned inside the
latest one.
There was no way she
was going to call him. In a
way, she found the offer a
bit embarrassing. It wasn?t
as if she were an invalid in
need of assistance.
The more the card drew
her eye, though, the more
she felt the need to
acknowledge the stranger?s
As soon as she?d finished
eating, she went to her
desk drawer and
rummaged for some writing
paper. The rose-coloured
pad she found was curled
at the end. Did anyone
write letters any more?
Dear Hector, she
began. Thank you for
your concern.
No, that was far too
formal! She tore off the
sheet and started again.
Dear Hector, Please don?t
worry about me. I have a
son who can go to the
shops if I can?t get out.
Geraldine stared at her
handwriting and sighed. Did
that sound cold? She didn?t
want to sound cold.
She felt like she?d been
cooped up on the farm with
her thoughts all winter. She
had a need to open up,
even if it was to a stranger.
I?m not ill, she found
herself writing. Just been a
bit down and overdoing
things. Your card cheered
me up. Thanks. Geraldine.
She wondered if she was
going overboard. He was a
stranger who bought eggs,
not a pen pal. She folded
the page, popped it in an
envelope and sealed the
flap before she could
change her mind.
The next morning, she
propped up the note at the
back of the egg cart with To
Hector written on the front.
She didn?t think anyone else
would take it.
From the way her
customers always left their
money in the jar, she
reckoned they were an
honest bunch.
That afternoon, Geraldine
took Floss for a walk along
the path that bounded her
top field.
January had passed, and
although she knew it was
too early to say winter was
over, it was one of those
fresh days with a clear blue
sky when she could almost
taste the approach of
Would this year be better
than last, she wondered.
The months before Ray
had left hadn?t been easy.
Looking back, she realised
she?d been ignoring the
cracks in their relationship
for a long time.
She?d always thought
their problems would pass.
It was hard to believe he?d
abandoned that hope.
Pausing under the ancient
oak at the top of the hill,
she looked down at her
property, laid out like a
child?s farm set, with its
patchwork of fields, barns
and pond.
Slap in the middle, her
little bungalow looked tiny.
For two people, it was an
idyllic location. For one, it
looked impossibly lonely
and remote.
A movement in the
distance caught her eye.
The nose of a blue car
pulled up at the gap in the
hedge at the end of her
drive. She wondered if it
was the mysterious Hector.
She?d checked the cart
before she came out and
his card was still there. She
didn?t know if he?d even
come by today.
The car paused long
enough for someone to pick
up some eggs, but the
raggedy hedge stopped her
seeing who it was.
As the sleek vehicle
cruised away, Geraldine
wondered where she
herself was heading. Or
had she ground to a halt?
* * * *
A week later, Geraldine
took Floss down to the cart
to empty the honesty jar.
Propped up at the back
was a pink envelope with
Dear Geraldine on the front
in Hector?s handwriting.
Her eyebrows shot
towards her fringe as she
took out a card with a big
heart and Happy
Valentine?s Day in glittery
lettering on the front.
It was so long since a
romantic thought had
crossed her mind that she
didn?t even know it was
Valentine?s Day.
Startled, she glanced up
and down the lane to see if
anyone was there, watching
her reaction to a prank, but
the road was deserted. She
nevertheless stepped a
little shyly into the privacy
of her drive before opening
the card to read.
Dear Geraldine, I hope
you are feeling better. I
wondered if you would like
to take a break from work
and come for a coffee with
me in that new shop at Mill
Pond Farm. Give me a call
if you?d like to. Hector.
* * * *
?A secret admirer, eh??
Marion teased when
Geraldine phoned her later.
?Lucky you. I didn?t even
get a card from Tom!?
?What makes him think
I?m available?? Geraldine
asked. ?How would he even
know what I look like??
?He?s probably seen you
around the farm when he
picked up his eggs,? Marion
guessed. ?Maybe he heard
the gossip about Ray. You
know what it?s like in the
?You don?t think he?s a
stalker, do you??
?Well, you won?t know
unless you give him a call.
He?s only suggesting coffee.
What do you have to lose??
?I don?t know anything
about him,? Geraldine told
her. ?I?m beginning to wish
I?d never answered his note
and egged him on.?
?Oh, listen to you!?
Marion laughed. ?It?s a
coffee. He sounds nice from
the cards he?s left.?
After she finished the call,
Geraldine gazed at the
card, and the flowery one
that preceded it.
She hadn?t told Marion,
but over Christmas, when
she was feeling Ray?s
absence, she?d gone on
some dating sites online.
There was a special one for
country folk ? Muddy
Marriages, or Muck and
Bullets or something.
Maybe she was picky, or
perhaps it was just too
soon, but none of the
profiles had tempted her. A
blind date was even worse.
Once again, though, she
didn?t feel she could leave
the invitation unanswered.
Taking a deep breath, she
found her curly writing
paper and began to write.
Dear Hector, Thanks for
the invite, but I don?t think I
could go out with someone
I?ve never met.
Did that sound harsh, she
wondered. Softening, she
added, I don?t even know
what you look like.
Impulsively, she added a
smiley face.
* * * *
Three days later, there
was another envelope in
the cart. A letter this time.
Geraldine?s pulse
quickened as she opened it.
She took out a photograph
and straightened her back,
Hector was a ruggedly
suave man in his mid-fifties.
His playful eyes were
turned sideways towards a
fluffy grey cat that was
climbing affectionately
around the back of his
?Well, he?s a cut above
the men on the dating site,?
Geraldine blurted out to
Unfolding the letter, she
began to read.
Dear Geraldine, I?m a
divorced non-smoker with a
GSOH. (I think that?s what
they say in dating ads.
Sorry ? I?m out of practice.)
Just moved to the village,
looking for a fresh start.
If you?d like coffee, how
about I pick you up when I
drop by for eggs at two
p.m. on Monday? If you?re
not by the gate, I won?t be
offended. Yours hopefully,
* * * *
?Do you think I should
go?? she asked Buster
when he popped into the
kitchen on his way home
that evening. ?I won?t if you
think it?s too soon.?
?It?s OK, Mum,? her son
replied. ?I?m not a kid, and
although I?m not happy
about Dad going, he?s gone
and it weren?t none of it
your fault. I think it?s time
you started going out and
enjoying yourself again.?
?Suppose he turns up and
doesn?t like the look of
me?? Geraldine laughed
?Of course he will!?
Buster said. ?He?s probably
already seen you going
about the farm, and that?s
why he asked you out.?
Geraldine wasn?t sure.
Ray?s departure had left a
big dent in her confidence.
At least she had the
weekend to get her courage
* * * *
On Sunday night she
could hardly sleep, but by
morning she?d made her
She took a deep breath
and wrote the last note
she?d leave for Hector in
the egg cart.
Dear Hector, I don?t think
it would be wise to accept a
lift from a stranger. But if
you come to the coffee
shop, you?ll find me waiting
for you. Geraldine. n
Dublin Zoo.
Getty Images.
This week we?re
For Mind And Body
The V&A London exhibition ?Ocean
Liners: Speed and Style?, sponsored
by Viking Cruises, explores the
golden age of ocean travel. It runs
from February 3 to June 17 (�).
There?s the sound of tiny hooves at
Dublin Zoo with the birth of a southern
white rhinoceros. He?s been named after
his proud father Chaka, and if anyone
can help the European Endangered
Species Programme, Chaka can!
Keep Cosy
Leading Lady
Celebrating the big four-o on
February 3 is barrister Amal Clooney,
who specialises in international law
and human rights. Amal happens to
be married to an actor by the name
of George Clooney, and they are
proud parents to twins.
Cosyfeet opaque
tights offer warmth
and elegance perfect
for the colder
months and are
available in five hip
sizes. They come
in both a standard
fitting or an extraroomy fitting for
larger or swollen
legs. Starting at
�.50 for a two-pair
pack, see cosyfeet.
com/hosiery or call
01458 447275 for
more information.
Effective Jab
Public Health England estimates that
cases of shingles have been cut by more
than a third since a vaccine was offered
to those in their seventies. The injection
is thought to have prevented 17,000
GP visits over three years. It?s available
elsewhere in the UK, so check eligiblity.
Details correct at time of going to press.
Food preparation can be time-consuming,
but with handy gadgets such as the
Lakeland Garlic Slice & Dice, life is a little
bit easier.
You can also
crush garlic in
one motion
and there?s
a removable
storage pot
with textured
base for
pureeing. It?s
�99 from
www.lakeland. or phone
015394 88100.
Julie?s Journey
It?s Good To Chat
The Chatty Caf� Scheme was the
brainchild of young mum Alexandra
Hoskyn, and offers people the
chance to join others over a cuppa,
rather than sitting alone. Look for
the sign in participating caf閟 or go
Fine Dicing
?Coastal Railways With Julie
Walters? tracks the star?s journey
along four of the most dramatic
stretches of coastal railway lines
in the UK, from
Scotland?s scenic
West Highland
Railway through
to Cornwall,
where she
learns about
smugglers. The
DVD is from
Amazon and
HMV stores,
around �.99.
Chaka Can
Ocean Travel
Some of us can get ourselves tied
in knots when it comes to tackling
the stresses of everyday life. Learn
to cope better with ?Thrive Through
Yoga? by Nicola Jane Hobbs, which
offers page-by-page instruction on
how to add this exercise into your
daily routine for a healthier, happier
life. Published by Bloomsbury �.99.
n Visitors to the Shard
can make substantial
savings by booking
advance tickets online.
Visit www.
n A full-size replica of
Francis Drake?s ship the
Golden Hind is moored
beside the River Thames,
a 10-minute walk from
the market.
Photographs by Neil McAllister.
n In 1676, ten years after
the Great Fire Of London,
much of Southwark was
consumed by another
huge fire.
n In 1406, the market
became an extension of
London, when Henry IV
granted the city?s
authorities ?assay and
assize of bread, wine, and
ale and other victuals and
of any other things
belonging to the clerk of
the market of the King?s
OR a thousand years
or so, traders have
used the spot south
of London Bridge to
earn a living. For
centuries the bridge was the
city?s main Thames crossing,
and today?s drivers cursing
the traffic can be grateful
they weren?t crossing in the
early 1600s, when it could
take a cart an hour to
negotiate the narrow lane
between houses.
To enjoy London?s most
spectacular view, we joined
the tourists on an early
morning journey to the top
of the Shard.
The last time we walked
this part of London, this
unusual building wasn?t part
of the skyline, but Renzo
Piano?s tapering tower has
become a must-do
Two lifts whizzed us up to
the sixty-ninth-floor
observation level, from
where we climbed stairs to
the seventy-second floor to
enjoy an unrivalled view
over the city.
This floor is partly open to
the elements, but even Mrs
Vertigo (Hazel) felt safe
enough to approach the
glass as a sailing boat
passed through Tower
Bridge, open for the passage
far below us.
The panorama is simply
breathtaking, especially as a
rain shower had cleared the
air, so even far-off Wembley
stadium?s arch could be
Hazel used a very clever
telescope to get a closer
view of Buckingham Palace
beyond the London Eye and
Houses of Parliament.
She discovered that the
view on screen could be
switched to enjoy the view
at different seasons, or times
of day.
Talking of which, visiting at
dusk is very popular, to
experience the Square Mile?s
skyscrapers lighting up as
the capital changes from day
to night.
The city?s traders in the
late 1200s were not happy
at the competition presented
by Southwark?s market,
forbidding its citizens from
visiting to buy, ?corn, cattle,
or other merchandise there?.
Borough High Street must
have been a lively place, as
Neil McAllister
explores the
south bank
of the River
farmers drove cattle in to sell
to the market?s butchers,
when bales of grain were
weighed on the public beam
to assure buyers of fair
It is still possible to get the
flavour of this time in the
area?s most remarkable inn.
The George, in an alley
opposite the market, is
London?s last remaining
Red Cross Garden.
Borough Market?s glazed hall.
Flip Dunning?s famous
mushroom pat�.
galleried pub. It has a long
history and little has
changed since Dickens
included the inn in ?Little
Today, Borough Market is
as lively at night with
revellers as it is with trade
during the day, which is
remarkable, considering
there was a time, not so
long ago, when the site
seemed ripe for demolition.
As supermarkets changed
people?s shopping habits,
the market?s traditional
wholesale trade declined to
a negligible level.
In the 1930s there were
over 200 stalls around the
market, with a similar
number inside where over
80 wholesalers kept local
shops supplied.
It was around this boom
time that the Art Deco
entrance on the high street
was built.
Wind the clock on to the
Southwark Cathedral.
1990s and a few
enterprising food businesses
spotted an opportunity to
locate in premises vacated
by departed wholesalers.
Businesses like Neal?s
Yard and Brindisa saw the
potential of a revitalised
Saturday market, and it
wasn?t long before others
hopped on to a rapidly
accelerating bandwagon.
Today, the market is open
six days a week and has
become an essential stop
on many London visitors?
The site is an assault on
the senses, with ears filled
with the babble of many
languages, eyes dazzled by
edible delights and, of
course, the nose filled with
aromas of the best food
from all around the world.
We experienced all this
just passing through the
market?s fringe on our way
to visit Southwark Cathedral,
whose churchyard borders
the hot food stalls. The
oldest parts of the cathedral
date back to the early 12th
century, but today it is living
history, filled with delight
and contrast.
At the rear is a display of
ancient carved ceiling
bosses, including one
showing the devil
swallowing Judas Iscariot,
dating from 1469 after the
old priory church roof
Another shows the pelican
in its piety, symbolising
Christ?s sacrifice, and nearby,
we found a memorial to
those who lost their lives in
1989, when a Thames
pleasure cruise on the
Marchioness turned to
There are too many
interesting memorials and
tombs to describe, but one
recalls Southwark?s most
famous resident.
The Shard, London?s
tallest building.
The George Inn.
Created in 1912, William
Shakespeare reclines, a sprig
of rosemary in hand, below a
stained-glass window
depicting his characters.
We could have spent all day
in the cathedral, but the main
reason for our visit was
waiting for us in Three Crown
Square, having just made a
delivery of her famous
mushroom pat� to Selfridges.
We have known Felicity
Dunning, usually called Flip,
since she was eleven, as a
pupil, neighbour and friend.
She is living proof that to
succeed in business it is
quality rather than quantity
that counts, building up a
renowned empire on just one
The world knows Jake
Dunning as one of Britain?s
top infectious disease
doctors, but as an eight-yearold, encouraged by mother
Trish, he created the recipe
which has been the
foundation of Flip?s fortune.
When Felicity, then working
in advertising, made it for
friends, they recognised its
potential just at the time
Borough Market was
becoming known for
specialist foods. Her father
Bill suggested she make a
career change, so she applied
for a market stall.
On her first day in 2006 she
made what she thought was
a day?s stock, but once
visitors discovered how
delicious it was, she sold out
in two hours and had to
search London for more
organic mushrooms to make
the next day?s stock!
Today, whilst everything is
still made fresh for this and
the two other markets
where she has stalls,
Neal?s Yard and Dairy at Borough Market.
Peter Layton?s glassware
is a unique attraction.
Stoney Street
market entrance.
staff like Francesco, who
was holding the fort at
Borough Market, assists
production and sales.
?We use about half a ton
of mushrooms at Christmas,?
she said, with much of her
pat� selling to repeat
One regular customer
lives in Hong Kong and
times his return to the
airport so he can take a
supply of pat� back home in
tip-top condition.
In June 2017 the market
was closed for a fortnight
after a terrorist attack, but
Flip was supported by the
community of market trader
friends. Parents at her
daughter?s school set up a
stall to help tide her over
the closure.
?The market isn?t quite as
busy as it was before, but
we are getting there.? She
smiled, looking round at the
Artisan Italian bread stall.
Fitz Fine Foods stall.
bustling sight.
After buying a few pots of
pat� to bring home and for
presents, we visited some
nearby stalls to stock up on
a few recommendations,
including a jar of
wonderfully tasty sundried
tomatoes with chilli and a
piece of Comt� cheese.
Whilst there is an element
of ?hand-knitted muesli?
about some stalls, it is
undeniable that the range
and quality of produce here
is exceptional, and much,
like Felicity?s, is freshly made
for each market.
It can also be a touch
pricey, but cherries on sale
at �a pound could hardly
be considered expensive!
The producers and sellers
are a passionate bunch,
who have created a unique
experience for those who
buy and eat, or return home
to cook with a bag full of
unique ingredients.
A little further up the road
is the hidden haven of Red
Cross Garden, established
by National Trust founder
Octavia Hill as an ?open-air
sitting-room for the tired
inhabitants of Southwark?.
This is a perfect place to
sit and enjoy your market
purchases, perhaps
spreading Flip?s pat� on
fresh crusty bread beside
the pond, whilst the Shard?s
Getting there
Bridge is the
railway station
to Borough Market.
tapering tower scrapes the
sky in the distance.
Our final call was in
Bermondsey Street between
Eames Fine Art Gallery and
the Fashion and Textile
Museum, where craftsman
Peter Layton?s London
Glassblowing gallery and
workshop is a unique
I?m sure Peter and his
team would love you to buy
some of the exquisite and
unique pieces of art glass.
Visitors are also welcome
to pause and watch the
highly skilled craftspeople
turn molten glass into
amazing, beautiful pieces.
A full day around Borough
Market is hardly sufficient to
take in everything the area
has to offer.
Try to plan your visit for
Thursday, Friday or Saturday
to say hello to Felicity and
fill your shopping bag with
edible delights. n
Want to know more?
City of London Information Centre, St Paul?s Churchyard,
London EC4M 8BX. Telephone: 020 7332 3456. Visit for more information on
Borough Market.
?We?re very lucky to
have our little shop
in Lush Places?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg and iStock.
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
UR village shop
has just been
nominated for
what?s called a
Rural Oscar ? an
award given out by the
Countryside Alliance to
celebrate rural business,
produce and communities.
We don?t know who?s put
the shop up for this award,
although we have an idea.
To be honest, it could have
been anyone, such is the
great feedback the shop
receives day in, day out.
Shop manager Mr Costner
and his assistant are
supported by an army of
local volunteers, who don
their aprons for their
two-hour shifts and just get
stuck in.
My own input is restricted
to publicity, mainly because
I have a till phobia, but also
because I?m busy doing
other things. Still, I try to do
my bit as best I can.
This week, I?ve had to pop
round to the shop to take a
photo to go with an article
in the local paper about our
There were two volunteers
on the morning shift, along
with Mr Costner, who
sprang into position when I
went in with my camera.
I needed a customer in
the picture so I pounced on
an obliging dustbin man
who had called in to buy a
snack for elevenses.
It?s the friendliness and
can-do attitude that
customers like, along with
the wide range of produce
that fills the shelves and
fridges of this tiny shop.
A former telephone
exchange, the building is
about the same size as a
single garage, yet the
amount and diversity of
stock is astonishing.
This is the real-life version
of fitting a quart into a pint
pot. And it really does fit.
We?re very lucky to have
our little shop in Lush
Places, although Mr Grigg,
who?s done two early
morning sessions this week,
will tell you things are not
so great when the computer
says no and goes on a
go-slow ? or packs up
On such occasions, a
queue builds up at the
counter (which would send
me into a panic) yet the
volunteers remain calm.
Customers still emerge
from the shop with beaming
faces, although there are
some who nod sagely and
ask what did we ever do
before we had computers.
Every now and then,
volunteers go beyond the
call of duty, which can
severely test their ability to
Take last week, when one
of our neighbours, Mr
Blocker, was at the counter
serving a customer with the
weekly local paper and a
pack of biscuits.
He?d just taken the lady?s
money and then, hearing a
noise, looked out of the
window. Up the lane
opposite the shop, a small
herd of cattle was walking
towards him.
They were just about to
come down to the main
road so he quickly sprang
into action, with the help of
Mr Costner.
Escaped cattle!
The manager, who?d been
out in the back office, put
down what he was doing
and rushed out to head the
cattle off at the pass.
At this point, imagine the
theme to ?Bonanza? playing
in the background as our
two latter-day ranchers ? to
much cheering from the
customers ? re-enacted the
cattle-driving scenes from
that much-loved TV Western
from the 1960s.
Mr Blocker sped up the
lane, held up his hands and,
true to his name, blocked
the cattle?s path.
They turned round pretty
sharpish, only to be met by
Mr Coster at the other end
of the lane and then
escorted to the safety of an
enclosed field for the farmer
to deal with.
To loud applause, Mr
Blocker and Mr Costner
returned, having saved the
day. However, in his haste to
corral the critters, our shop
manager upped and slipped
in a deposit the cattle kindly
left behind.
So if the shop receives a
Rural Oscar it seems a pretty
fitting accolade, especially
after such a gung-ho
performance. Hoss and Little
Joe would have been very
impressed. n
Will the village shop
win a Rural Oscar?
The Sunny Side
She liked to think she had a
positive outlook, but there were
clouds on Belinda?s horizon . . .
Illustration by Martin Baines.
TEVE hadn?t arrived
for tea as he?d
promised, after his
football match, so
she?d already
posted that day?s Happy
Bunny blog online.
He?d texted that he had
something important to say
to her. That could only
mean one thing: after all,
they?d been together for
over two years.
Should she choose a
diamond? Or a sapphire, to
match her eyes? Diamond,
probably ? a girl?s best
friend and all that.
He came at last, hovering
on the doorstep of her flat
looking shifty.
?There?s no easy way to
say this, Lindy. I?ve met
someone else,? he blurted
He shrugged his shoulders
as if to say he really
couldn?t help it, then
turned to leave.
Belinda stood as though
turned to stone, watching
him retreat.
Numbly, she turned back
into her flat, then saw the
cushion that he had bought
her last Valentine?s Day.
She grabbed it and hurled
it after his retreating figure,
but it sailed over his head
and a passing cyclist had to
swerve violently to avoid it.
With a gasp Belinda
retreated, dropped on to
the sofa and buried her
face in her hands. She was
crying so hard that she
almost didn?t hear the
doorbell. Steve? Could it
She ran to the front door
and flung it open. It wasn?t
Steve. Her eyes were
blurred with tears but she
could make out a young
man with a black and white
cycling helmet, holding
something out to her.
?Yours, I think,? he said
?Oh, er, yes.?
?Not a very sensible thing
to do.?
?No,? Belinda mumbled.
She snatched at the pink
heart-shaped cushion,
mud-stained now so that
Love is what makes a
house a home was barely
visible, slammed the door
in his face and fled back
into the flat.
* * * *
Well, at least Positive
Thinking and Visualisation
(picture a parking space
and it will appear) had
worked today, even if she
was late.
There was just room for
one little Mini, squeezed
into the corner of the staff
car park of the large books
and stationery store where
she worked.
Belinda snatched up her
bag and ran in through the
rear entrance where Jeff,
the elderly warehouse stock
man, was loading
magazines on to a trolley.
?Morning, Belinda.? He
grinned at her. ?You?re
?I know. Still, with the
boss off ill until further
notice . . .?
?Sorry, love. We?ve had
someone parachuted in
from head office.?
?Oh, no! Of all days.?
She dumped her bag in
the locker, raced up the
stairs and into the back of
the store. A man in a pale
grey suit and silk tie was
deep in conversation with
Mike, the deputy manager,
alongside the foreign
language books and DVDs.
They both swung round
as she appeared.
?Ah, Ben, this is Ms
Parsons from the sales
department. I gave her
permission to come in a
little late,? Mike lied
smoothly. ?Family
problems, you know,? she
heard him add in an
undertone, and she slid him
a grateful glance.
?Belinda, meet Mr
Woodhouse from head
?Hello.? She went to
smile but then froze,
He didn?t seem to notice,
just held out his hand.
?Pleased to meet you,
So he hadn?t recognised
her, despite their paths
crossing twice already in
the past 24 hours ?
although a fleeting glimpse
through a Mini?s windscreen
could hardly count.
?If you?ll excuse me, I
must get on.?
She gave the silk tie a
tentative smile then
retreated to her station and
began tidying the box sets
of ?Game Of Thrones?.
?Pssst.? Julie, one of the
counter assistants,
beckoned her over. ?Have
you seen him? The new
?Yes.? Belinda rolled her
eyes. ?I saw him earlier,
actually. I
badmouthed him
when he cut me up on
his bike at the
roadworks in King Street.
Thinks he?s Bradley Wiggins
or something! Still, at least
he didn?t twig it was me.?
She couldn?t bring herself
to confess to the previous
encounter, though. It was
simply too embarrassing.
?Just as well,? Julie said.
?Could be quite a toughie,
that one. You know, you?re
not looking great, love. Not
going down with this flu
bug, are you??
?No. It?s Steve ? he
finished with me last night.?
?Oh, no!?
?He?s met someone else.?
?More fool him,? Julie
said heatedly, then picked
up a newspaper from the
counter. ?Have you seen
this feature in the ?Bugle??
?How to Beat the February
?I?d better get a copy,?
Belinda said wryly.
?You? You don?t need it
? you?re the Happy Bunny,
spent time moving around
the store, getting to know
the different departments
and staff, she managed to
keep out of his way all day.
* * * *
She was standing
alongside her Mini, hunting
for her keys, when she
spotted a familiar black
and white helmet, its
owner bent over a bike at
the far side of the car park.
She ducked to get into her
car and escape but he
straightened up and
spotted her.
?Hi, there, er, Belinda.
Can you possibly give me a
lift, please? I?ve got a
She groaned inwardly
but then, mindful of her
future career prospects,
She opened the boot and
he collapsed the bike then
got in beside her.
?Many thanks. I could fix
it, but I?m in a hurry to
pick up some papers from
?If you try you can find little things
to brighten your day?
?Yeah, right.?
?Come on, your blogs are
brill, honestly. I don?t know
how you think them all up. I
was feeling down yesterday
and I remembered your
blog, ?Give yourself a lift for
free if you?re down in the
?Anyway, although all I
wanted to do was lie under
the duvet all day, I made
myself do what you said ?
walked all the way into
town and went to the art
gallery. They don?t charge
on Sunday afternoons now,
and they?ve got an
exhibition by this painter.?
She grinned.
?Can?t remember his
name, of course, but he
does beautiful skies and
sunny days by the sea.
Then I had a cuppa and a
choc brownie in the caff
and walked home. And you
know what? I felt great ?
still do ? and it?s all down
to you.
?Uh-oh,? she added in an
undertone, ?watch out, he?s
on the prowl.?
But Belinda?s luck held.
Although the new man
home for a meeting with
one of our suppliers.
Serves me right, of
course.? He grinned at her.
?Must have cut up one too
many Minis this morning.?
So he had recognised
?And I certainly didn?t
hear what you shouted
after me,? he added,
causing Belinda to blush.
Well, at least he didn?t
know she was the demon
She found it difficult to
concentrate on her driving.
He was filling the little car
with his presence, his arm
brushing against hers as
she changed gear, the
crisp, citrusy scent of his
aftershave in her nostrils.
?Where would you like
me to drop you, Mr
?Ben, please. And I?m in
Chestnut Avenue, just
round the corner from
you,? he added casually.
The car jerked as she
jumped with shock.
?So you did recognise me
from yesterday!?
?Of course.? She could
hear the laughter in his
voice. ?I didn?t want to
embarrass you in front of
?Well, thank you.? She
hesitated, then went on
hurriedly. ?You must have
thought I was a total idiot.
Steve ? my boyfriend ? had
just announced that he?d
found someone else. I was
a bit upset,? she finished
?I gathered that ? and in
my humble opinion he?s
the idiot. My flat?s along
here on the right. It?s on a
short rent, but it?s a nice
area, so I might look for
something more long-term.
I think I?ll be staying quite
a while.?
As she drew up outside
the house, he got out and
retrieved the bike, then
leaned in through the car
?Thanks, Belinda.?
?That?s all right, er, Ben.
I can give you a lift in the
morning if you don?t have
time to fix the puncture.?
He gave her a warm
?That?d be great.? He
paused. ?And if this Steve
character really is history,
how about if I take you out
for a meal some time??
?Well . . .?
?Not making a move on
you,? he added hastily.
?Just a thank you for
rescuing me this evening.
Are you free this Friday??
?I?ve heard good reports
of that new French bistro
in the square, so if you like
I?ll book a table.?
?Thank you. That would
be lovely.?
She could buy that red
dress she?d seen in
Florrie?s shop window in
the mall. Steve had always
hated her in red. She?d
pop in during her lunch
?Well, see you tomorrow,
Belinda. And thanks
Later, she checked her
e-mails for the day. One
from Mum, one from Lucy,
her sister, one from an
unfamiliar sender.
Sunshine Press. A scam?
She frowned but then
cautiously opened it.
Hi, Happy Bunny.
This is Samantha from
Sunshine Press. You
probably haven?t heard of
us ? we?re a new, small
company and we publish
books dedicated to
cheering people up. Maybe
you?ve seen our latest ?
beautiful pix of clouds.
Anyway, we?ve seen your
?Have a Blue Sky Day
Every Day? blog and we
LOVE it. Expect you?ve got
all your back numbers, and
we?d like to publish them,
probably as a small
hold-in-the-hand, slip-inthe-handbag book with a
bright cover ? sunflowers?
Please be in touch,
Sam x
* * * *
Belinda sat up in bed
with a mug of cocoa,
thinking about her evening
blog. What a day it had
been ? starting so badly
when all she could think of
was the black hole in her
life left by Steve.
Now, he was yesterday
and her tomorrow was that
she had a date to look
forward to with a dishy
young man, and maybe a
publishing contract for the
Happy Bunny.
But not everyone was
going to be happy on this
dark February evening, so
she must try really hard
with her blog tonight.
She took a sip of cocoa,
staring at the bedroom
wall, then began writing.
It?s sometimes hard to
stay cheerful all the time
but perhaps this will help.
Buy yourself a pretty
notebook, keep it by your
bed, then last thing at
night, before you put the
light out, write down three
good things about your
You may think, huh,
nothing good about today
with all my problems, but if
you try you can find things,
however little, that have
brightened your day. That
patch of yellow crocuses on
the way to work; chatting
to a complete stranger at
the bus stop; helping that
young mum struggling with
her twin buggy.
And as you drift off to
sleep you feel yourself
enveloped in a soft, golden
cloud that?s carrying you
towards a good tomorrow.
Love from the Happy
Bunny xxx. n
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I?ve noticed I struggle to hear in restaurants
where there?s lots of background noise. Could I
have hearing loss?
Hidden Hearing
Farah Kiani is
here to help.
Hearing loss is more common than
you may think, affecting 11 million
people in the UK ? that?s one in six of
the population.
There are a few common signs of
early hearing loss. These can include
turning up the TV or radio, struggling on
the telephone, feeling that people
In The News
Bright Idea
Scientists have developed
clever shoes fitted with laser
beams which project a line on
the floor across the front of each
foot to help people with
Parkinson?s disease walk
The common degenerative
condition is very often
characterised by a quirk in the
brain which causes sufferers to
freeze in mid-step and
potentially fall. However,
specialists noticed that while
people with Parkinson?s might
freeze on unmarked flooring,
they often find walking on floor
tiles easier as they consciously
step over the lines between the
These specially adapted shoes
create a line of light to be
stepped over, which triggers a
different circuit in the brain,
allowing sufferers to walk
are mumbling more and having problems
with background noise, especially when
out at social gatherings or in a restaurant.
Struggling to hear in an environment
where there is background noise is,
without doubt, the biggest complaint I
come across as an audiologist and I would
advise you to have a full audiometric
hearing test so you have a better
understanding of how well you are
hearing. The test would also help detect
any early loss.
You can discuss your hearing loss
concern with your doctor or book a free
hearing test by visiting www. or call free on
0800 037 2060.
How Much Caffeine?
The caffeine hit you get from
coffee, tea and cola can be good for
your health ? improving
performance and alertness, reducing
your risk of some diseases, including
Alzheimer?s, and protecting the liver.
But too much can be bad for you
? disturbing your sleep, affecting
moods, impacting fertility and heart
health and increasing blood
pressure, according to Dr Sally
Norton from
That?s why it?s good to know how
much caffeine you?re consuming.
Up to 300 mg per day is considered
safe, but tolerance is an individual
? Espresso ? 40-75 mg in a fl oz
? Cafetiere/filter coffee ?
19 mg/fl oz
? Instant coffee ? 12 mg/fl oz
? Red Bull ? 9 mg/fl oz
? Tea ? 5 mg/fl oz
? Milk chocolate ? 4 mg/fl oz
? Diet cola ? 4 mg/fl oz
? Cola ? 3 mg/fl oz
Health Bite
Whether you love it or hate it, the savoury
spread Marmite is packed with B vitamins, and
recent research suggests it could even help
you battle stress and anxiety.
The key is believed to be vitamins B1, B2,
B3, B9 and B12 in the spread which have a
positive effect on neurotransmitters, the
chemical messengers released by the brain
cells. It seems the high concentration of
vitamin B12, in particular, increases levels of
chemicals in the brain which are thought to
protect against neurological disorders.
In fact, Marmite was considered so essential
for a healthy diet that it was included in
soldiers? ration packs during World War I.
It is gluten free, vegetarian and low in
calories. Try it on toast, or in soups and stews.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
Visit your
doctor if
you are
Beating Bronchitis
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
looks at the
HEN the chill winds blow at this
time of year, it?s especially
important to look after your
lungs. Staying warm and hydrated,
following a healthy diet and stopping
smoking will help to keep your lungs
Sometimes, despite our best efforts,
though, we can fall ill with a nasty cough.
One of the most common reasons for
this symptom is bronchitis.
To find out more about the causes of
bronchitis and how to manage it, I asked
Dr Richard Russell, Consultant Respiratory
Physician and Medical Advisor to the
British Lung Foundation.
He told me that when you have
bronchitis, it?s because the main airways
in your lungs have become inflamed.
Your lungs produce more mucus than
usual, and the coughing is your body?s
way of getting rid of the excess. Bronchitis
can also make it harder to breathe.
There are two types of bronchitis: acute
and chronic.
Acute bronchitis can last up to three
weeks, but it is temporary. It mainly
affects children but it can occur in adults,
too. Along with the cough, you might feel
tired and have shorter-lived symptoms
like a sore throat, headache and stuffy
nose. The cause is usually a cold or flu
virus or, less often, a bacterial infection.
Chronic bronchitis is a long-term
condition. The coughing happens every
day and it doesn?t go away for three
months or more. The most common
cause is smoking. Air pollution or smoke
from other sources may also play a role.
Acute bronchitis usually gets better on
its own. You can ease the symptoms by
resting, drinking plenty of fluids and
taking anti-inflammatory drugs that you
buy without a prescription (your
pharmacist can advise if these are
suitable for you).
But one in 20 cases of acute bronchitis
progresses to pneumonia, which can be
dangerous and requires antibiotics. So
please do see your GP if the symptoms
are severe or if they are not getting
better as you?d expect. People with a
heart or lung condition should also see a
GP when they get bronchitis symptoms.
There?s no cure for chronic bronchitis,
but your doctor or nurse can offer advice
and medicines that help you breathe
more easily and prevent flare-ups.
If you smoke, the most important thing
is to stop. Your GP practice or pharmacy
can help you with this, too. You?ll also
feel better if you can keep active, so be
sure to take some exercise.
Everyone can protect their lungs by
reducing their exposure to dust,
chemicals and fumes, and this is even
more worthwhile for people with chronic
It?s also necessary to avoid infections
where you can, and good handwashing
is a simple but effective way to get rid of
germs. Your doctor or nurse may also
advise you to have flu and pneumonia
The British Lung Foundation offers
information and support for people with
many lung conditions. Visit the website
at or call the BLF Helpline
on 03000 030 555 to speak to a
qualified respiratory nurse. n
Call Time On
Snooze Button
Sleep expert Professor Matthew
Walker, author of ?Why We Sleep?,
recommends stopping using the
snooze button on your alarm. He
says artificially wrenching yourself
from sleep by an alarm clock is
bad enough once a day because it
triggers a burst of activity from the
fight-or-flight branch of the
nervous system, causing a spike in
blood pressure and a shock
acceleration in heart rate.
He says using the snooze
feature repeatedly means
inflicting that cardiovascular
assault each time. Instead, he
advises cutting the snooze
function and getting in the habit
of waking up once to spare your
heart the repeated shock.
Natural Relief
The herb pelargonium has been
proven in numerous robust
studies to reduce the severity and
duration of cold and flu
symptoms, but new research
shows it is effective at easing
lingering throat and tonsil pain,
With the majority of tonsillitistype infections being
unresponsive to antibiotic
treatment, it is useful to know
there?s an effective natural
alternative in
the form of a
cough and
cold syrup
which has
and immunesystemboosting
Cough and
Cold Relief,
�99, is
available from
Boots and
Holland &
6 good reasons to eat
Brain Cells
Good For
Your Heart
One medium
unpeeled potato has:
110 calories
zero fat and salt
nearly half your daily vitamin C
more potassium than a banana
a great source of vitamin B6
3g fibre
magnesium, copper,
manganese, phosphorus
l phytonutrients and
The combination of fibre
(which helps lower
cholesterol in the blood),
potassium and vitamins C
and B6 makes potatoes a
great support to heart
health. Methylation is
important to cardiovascular
health because it changes a
potentially dangerous
molecule called
homocysteine (which can
damage blood vessel walls)
into other, safer
substances. Eating foods
rich in vitamin B6 will help
keep homocysteine levels
low. Better still, recent
research has identified
special blood-pressurelowering compounds
called kukoamines in
potatoes, too.
Although potatoes have
a bad reputation when
it comes to weight loss,
they actually contain fewer
calories than most other
carbohydrate ? 50% fewer
calories than pasta and 70%
fewer than white bread.
Trials also show they are
2.5 times better at keeping
you feeling fuller for longer
than those food products.
Admittedly, you?ll struggle
to lose weight on a diet of
chips and crisps, but fill your
plate with some waxy new
potatoes and plenty of veg
when you can. New potatoes
tend to have more of the
slowly digested carbohydrate
(called amylose) which
causes a lower spike in blood
sugar than floury baking
potatoes. Keep the skin on
so the indigestible fibre slows
absorption even more.
Potatoes are a
great source of
vitamin B6 which
is important for a
healthy nervous
system and
the building of
brain cells and
systems in
the brain,
including feelgood serotonin
and melatonin
(needed for
sleep) and both
epinephrine and
which help us
deal with stress.
Vitamin B6 plays another
critically important role in
methylation, a chemical process
important in cancer prevention.
The fibre in potato skin helps
support the bowel and protect
against colon cancer, too. Cooking
whole potatoes in their skin is the
best way to retain these nutrients.
Immunity Boost
Potato skins are loaded with
disease-fighting nutrients including
carotenoids, flavonoids and caffeic
acid. The smaller the potato, the
more skin it has proportionately, so
pick little ones if you can, and cook
them whole so they lose less of their
phytonutrients into the
cooking water.
The Crestfern Cat
From the sound of it, the little
ornament was worth a great
deal. But you had to be quick!
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
HE car-boot sale
was crowded, and
Ella and Pete fought
their way towards
the stall they?d been
glancing furtively at for
some time.
They stopped close to it,
mingling with a queue of
people buying burgers from
a van. The smell of onions
wafted over them.
?Remember,? Pete said,
frowning at Ella, ?don?t look
too keen. You don?t want
the man to realise you know
what you?re buying.?
?Right,? Ella said, excited,
?but I swear that?s a
genuine Crestfern cat. I?ve a
customer who?d pay the
earth to add that to his
collection. It must be worth
a cool thirty thousand!?
?Keep your voice down,
for heaven?s sake,? Pete
said, glancing up at a man
in the queue who was avidly
listening to every word.
?Check the marks on the
base. Not too obviously,
mind. Look at some of his
other junk, too. Pretend to
be interested in that, OK??
Ella nodded and made her
way through folk who were
picking over unmatched
plates. The stallholder was
taking 50p for a chipped
sugar bowl and not looking
in her direction as Ella
picked up the china cat and
examined it.
She put it back down and
returned to Pete.
?It?s the real thing, all
right, and in really good
condition. Perhaps I?d
better just phone my
contact ? see if he wants it.?
The stranger who had
been listening so intently
left the burger queue and
walked swiftly to the stall
and picked up the cat.
?How much?? he asked
the stallholder.
?I?m not sure I want to
part with it,? the man said.
He leaned forward
?See that woman over
there?? He jerked his head
in Ella?s direction. ?She?s a
well-known dealer. Doesn?t
know I?ve clocked her, of
course. She was showing a
lot of interest in this cat a
minute ago, so it must be
worth something.? He
tapped his nose knowingly.
?I?ll give you fifty quid for
it,? the man clutching the
cat said, gulping slightly.
?Nah, she doesn?t deal in
those sorts of numbers.
Make it two hundred and
you?ve got yourself a deal.?
?Done,? the man said,
pulling out his wallet and
peeling off ten crisp twentypound notes.
?Pleasure doing business
with you,? the stallholder
said as the man and the cat
went off to the car park.
?Pleasure doing business
with you?? Ella echoed in a
whisper as she and Pete
reached the now-deserted
stall. ?I should think it was
a pleasure, Gordon! Two
hundred quid in the space
of five minutes! How many
dud bits of pottery have we
sold so far this morning??
?Five,? Pete said,
grinning. ?Can we fit in a
few more before the
punters disappear??
Gordon frowned.
?We?re running low on
stock, Pete. Why don?t you
look round some of the
other stalls, see if anyone?s
got anything we could resell
as ?genuine?. Ella, keep a
lookout for anyone taking
too much interest in what
he?s buying, OK??
At that moment someone
came up and started
haggling over a damaged
tea strainer, and Pete and
Ella wandered off.
?We?ve still got that pair
of dogs in the boot of my
car,? Ella said. ?They look
pretty authentic to me.
Why don?t I go and get
those while you look for
new stock?
Pete nodded and
sauntered away, idly
looking at the stalls he
passed and randomly
picking items up. Broken
clocks, incomplete tea sets,
cracked candlesticks, none
of them convincing.
His eye was drawn to a
stall presided over by a
man with a cap pulled low
over his eyes. The table in
front of him was covered in
china: ladies in crinolines,
delicate tureens, Toby jugs,
exquisite plates. These
would be perfect!
The stallholder was
watching a couple walking
in the opposite direction.
?Time I went home, I
reckon.? He frowned. ?Been
here all morning, and sold
next to nothing.?
?How much do you want
for it??
?For what?? the man
replied, already reaching
under his table for boxes to
start packing up.
?The lot,? Pete said.
?Save you the trouble of
taking it all home again.?
?Hundred quid??
* * * *
Pete and Ella both
arrived back at Gordon?s
stall at the same moment,
and watched as Gordon put
out the new stock.
?Right,? Pete said, ?here
come a couple of likely
punters now. Ella, pick up
that Dresden china lady.
Give them time to see what
we?re interested in, and
then we?ll wander off and
start on our routine, OK??
The approaching couple
seemed to have sped up,
and were eyeing Ella as she
turned the china lady
upside down to examine
the marks on the base.
?Just what we were
looking for,? the man said
The woman smiled up at
him, and spoke into her
?Stall next to the burger
van. Now!?
Ella, Pete and Gordon
looked up in alarm as two
uniformed policemen
strode towards them
from nowhere. The
Jennie?s Farm
Create the perfect setting with
these fabulous accessories.
This stylish and traditional range, designed by Ulster Weavers,
features quirky farm animal illustrations. Create a colourful
four-place setting with these charming placemats, which will
protect your table from heat or food spills while the
co-ordinating coasters featuring two of each design will
complete the look ? both can be simply wiped with a damp
cloth to keep clean.
inc P&P
The tea cosy features a co-ordinating trim and hanging loop and is the
perfect match for the bone china mug which is dishwasher and microwave
safe. Our 100% melamine trays are the ideal accessory for entertaining your
guests in style and are available in two sizes.
Matching kitchen textiles and shopping bags are also available at
Small Tray
Name .............................................................................................................................
Address ..........................................................................................................................
Telephone ......................................................................................................................
Email Address.................................................................................................................
Jennie?s Farm Large Tray
Jennie?s Farm Small Tray
Jennie?s Farm Tea Cosy
Jennie?s Farm Placemats (Pack of 4) PFFPE
Jennie?s Farm Coasters (Pack of 4)
Jennie?s Farm Mug
Total Cost Of Order
Tea Cosy
I enclose a cheque/postal order, made payable payble to ?DC Thomson & Co. Ltd.? for the total amount of �
.................... (Please write your name and address on the back of cheque.) If ordering by Credit Card please
complete the following: MasterCard / Visa (delete as necessary)
Start Date : ............ /.............. Expiry Date: ............ /...............
Card No ...................................................................................................................................................................................
Cardholder?s Signature ........................................................................................................................................................
Name on Card ........................................................................................................................................................................
Price will be refunded if the item is returned undamaged and unused within 14 days of receipt. Enquiries to 01296 641881. Your card will be debited by
DC Thomson & Co. Ltd. Offer open to UK readers only and subject to availability. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery. From time to time DC Thomson
& Co. Ltd., its group companies and its partner businesses would like to contact customers to manage their account, for market research purposes and
about new products, services and offers we think will be of interest. We?ll assume that we can contact you by e-mail, post or telephone unless you
tick the relevant box. No contact from DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., or its group companies unless it relates to an existing order ? Closing date 31/03/2018
0800 318 846 quoting the appropriate codes
Lines open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday free from UK landlines only.
Please have your credit/debit card details to hand.
BY POST: Send coupon with credit card details or a cheque/postal
order payable to DC Thomson & Co. Ltd and send to:
?The People?s Friend? Jennie?s Farm Offer,
DC Thomson Shop, P.O. Box 766,
Haywards Heath, RH16 9GF.
woman with the phone
whipped a badge out of
her pocket and flashed it in
front of them.
?Detective Sergeant
Platt,? she said, ?and this is
DC Cobb. You?re nicked.?
?What have we done??
Ella blustered. ?There?s no
law against buying stuff in a
boot sale, is there??
?Think we don?t know
about your little scam?
Getting people to think
they?re buying a valuable
Ella shrugged.
?We didn?t force anyone
to buy anything. They could
see what they were getting.
Their own fault if they paid
over the odds because
they?d been
?But you got it wrong this
time, didn?t you?? the
sergeant said sweetly.
?Perhaps you?d like to tell
me where you got all this
?Here and there,? Gordon
?Well, I?ll tell you where
you got it. Honstall Manor,
that?s where. Burgled last
Saturday. We knew the stuff
would start turning up soon,
and here you are. Take
them down to the station,?
she finished, jerking her
head at DC Cobb.
?Burglary? Honstall
Manor?? Pete cried, aghast.
?We just bought this stuff
off that stall over ??
He pointed to the gap
where the stall he?d bought
the china from had been,
but there was no sign that it
had ever been there.
?I paid seventy-five quid
for them,? he said
?Yeah, right,? Detective
Constable Cobb said as he
handcuffed them. ?Handling
stolen goods is a serious
Detective Sergeant Platt?s
eyes widened.
?I don?t think these idiots
knew what they?d got,? she
said wonderingly. ?Lord
Honstall is a world-famous
porcelain collector,? she
explained to a thunderstruck
Pete, Ella and Gordon.
?The stuff on this table?s
got to be worth a quarter of
a million at the very least.?
She laughed. ?And you were
going to sell it for how
much?? n
A trip to the
doctor is on the
cards . . .
CAN sympathise with
the apprehension
exhibited in dogs and
cats when dragged to
the vet.
Paws and claws skittering
and skating reluctantly
across the floor; bodies all
of a tremble.
The sudden loss of
bladder control resulting in
the nervous piddle.
I?m the same when I visit
my doctor?s. Not exhibiting
all of those symptoms, of
course, but still a bag of
nerves, made worse by the
waiting-room?s atmosphere.
The harsh strip lighting
manages to make everyone
look ill even if they aren?t,
and the d閏or is a ghastly
green that makes me feel
bilious merely looking at it.
If I?m not feeling ill when I
enter the waiting-room, I
certainly am by the time
I?m called in to see Graham
Merrifield. He?s my doctor
and also a client of the
One morning I was sitting
in that waiting-room, due
to see him with a problem I
needed advice on.
It had first started some
two months back. I?d
settled on the bed for a
Sunday afternoon nap when
I suddenly felt this burning
in my chest. It was like I
was on fire.
I sat up as stomach acid
reached my mouth. I
swallowed quickly and
raced down to get a glass
of water.
?Ouch. That was a bit
grim,? I muttered, taking a
deep breath.
?Don?t be such a nambypamby. It?s only a touch of
heartburn,? Lucy said.
?Nothing at all to worry
I decided to go on the
internet to find out more. In
doing so, I scared myself
silly with worry.
The symptoms listed
matched mine. Belching?
Yes. Burping? Yes. Burning
in the chest? A definite yes.
I was clearly suffering from
gastro-oesophageal reflux
disease. It sounded serious.
?Common enough,
though. Millions get it,?
Lucy said, looking over my
shoulder at the computer
?Acid leaking from the
stomach up into the
oesophagus due to the ring
of muscle at the base of the
oesophagus weakening.?
She patted my shoulder.
?You just need to change
your lifestyle. Give up
things that might stimulate
acid production. Coffee,
chocolate and booze.?
They were the things I
enjoyed most. I could
picture a miserable
existence lying ahead.
?I think I?ll make an
appointment to see
Graham. Get his advice.?
Graham Merrifield and his
wife and three children
lived in the centre of
Westcott with four cats, a
cavalier King Charles
spaniel and two pygmy
goats called Mac and Tosh.
Whenever there was a
problem with the goats, I?d
get called out, arriving to
find Graham with print-outs
from the internet of the
likely conditions causing the
problem and its diagnosis
and treatment. He was
often right. It was irritating.
But who was I to criticise?
I was doing exactly the
same. Arriving for my
appointment with print-outs
of GORD and its treatment.
I found myself sitting in
that bilious-green-painted
waiting-room, wondering
what was wrong with the
gentleman sporting a nasty
red rash on his face who
was sitting at the other end
of the room. To me it
looked catching.
This was obviously a view
held by the other patients,
too, judging from the fact
we were all huddled as far
away from him as possible.
?Come in,? Graham said
when I was eventually
He scarcely glanced up
from his computer screen.
?Good to see you. I?ve
been meaning to get in
touch about Mac and
Tosh.? He continued
studying the screen. ?So
what can I do for you??
I explained that I thought
I?d developed GORD and
wondered if I could have
some medication to reduce
acid production.
Graham seemed to
half-listen, tapping on his
keyboard, his attention still
mostly on the screen. He
eventually nodded.
?Hmm . . . I think it could
be a case of SARA.?
He looked up.
?Sub-acute ruminal
acidosis. A digestive
I shook my head,
confused. This sounded
Graham tapped the
computer screen.
?It says here it can affect
goats. Maybe that?s what
Mac and Tosh have got.
Meanwhile, I?ll give you
something today to reduce
your acid production. That
should help calm things
down a bit.
?I?ll make an appointment
for you to see . . .?
He paused a minute while
printing off my prescription
and handing it to me.
?. . . Mac and Tosh.?
I smiled, snatching the
prescription from him.
I don?t know about his
goats, but, oh my GORD,
he?d certainly got mine.
More next week.
Missing Link
1 Inspiring
wonder (7)
5 Chew away
at (4)
9 ___ oil,
lubricant used
on cricket
bats (7)
10 Fixed
opinion (5)
11 Agricultural
produce (5)
12 Dusk,
twilight (6)
14 Based on
practices (6)
16 Warmed
up (6)
18 Diction (6)
19 Melodic
sounds (5)
2 Cringe (5)
22 Animal
3 Device that photographs
famed for its
fast vehicles (5,6)
laugh (5)
4 Reserved,
23 Merciful (7)
self?effacing (6)
24 Toothpaste
6 Overlook (7)
flavour (4)
25 Rider?propelled 7 Raised mark on the
vehicle (7)
skin (4)
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
5 Grown?up ? Three?ball game 11 Infectious disease ? Popular
1 Wrist ornament ?
Indian restaurant dish
7 Laying down the law ?
13 Downstairs room ? Industrious
Pulped potatoes
3 Holiness, sacred quality 9 In a lazy way ? Extravagantly 15 Type of circular washing line ?
? Stopped, pulled up
Swollen with air
8 Decisive game (4?3)
10 Schoolchildren?s cash
for lunch (6,5)
13 Train (7)
15 Countless (7)
17 ___ con carne, spiced
dish (6)
20 Bout (5)
21 Pretence (4)
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
on p87
Try our quick crossword
Fit ten words into the
grid so each one connects
up with the words on
either side eg - wishing well - done. Read down
the letters in the shaded
squares to spell out a
7 6 3
8 5 3
1 3
4 1
7 5 3
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
This week?s
John Stoa checks
his list of jobs to be
done in the garden
in February.
Photographs by John Stoa and iStock.
Continue to harvest winter
vegetables such as swedes,
cabbages, sprouts, cauliflower, kale,
parsnips and leeks. As these are all
home grown they will be free from chemicals and
very fresh and full of goodness. The vegetable
rotation plan should be in place by now, so identify
those areas for brassicas and spread lime to raise
the pH ? these grow best in soil that is alkaline
rather than acidic as this discourages clubroot.
gooseberries and brambles
while they are still dormant.
With brambles and summer
raspberries, cut the old fruiting
canes down to ground level
and tie in the new canes, but
autumn fruiting varieties have
all the canes cut down to the
Redcurrants are spur pruned
by cutting back all young
shoots to a couple of buds on
the main stem. Try to create
about nine main stems and
replace some of these every
year to keep the bush young.
Remove any low-growing
gooseberry branches and thin
out the centre to aid picking.
The greenhouse in February is pretty quiet, with most
plants, including the grape vines, still dormant.
However, if you are overwintering geranium stock
plants or wellrooted cuttings,
keep them on the dry side of
moist. Fuchsias are kept dry for
a few more weeks.
Borders for tomatoes, peppers
and cucumbers can be forked
over, adding some compost.
Even if you use pots or
growbags, chances are roots will
grow through into the soil, so
it?s just as well to give them
good soil.
Take hardwood cuttings of
blackcurrants and gooseberries
about nine inches long and line
them out in good soil, spacing
them six inches apart and
burying them six inches deep.
Remove most of the lower buds
with gooseberries as these are
grown on a clean leg.
Sow sweet peas, tomatoes,
onions and broad beans in pots
or trays and keep them warm for
good germination. Pot up rooted
cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias
and shrubs taken in early
autumn, but they need some
warmth to grow on, such as a
window-sill in a cool room.
ts !
St day
in the
The Mermaid
Of Mortling Hall
As a child Louisa had loved
coming here, but things
were different now . . .
Illustration by Philip Crabb.
HE prospect of
seeing Surrey and
Mortling Hall for
the first time since
her childhood was
exciting to Louisa
Drummond, who had happy
memories of a summer
spent here with her cousins
and her brother Robert.
However, as the butler
ushered her into the
drawing-room, she felt as
cold and dismal as the grey
walls surrounding her.
Earlier, as the carriage
had crested Drummond
Mount, she?d glimpsed the
Jacobean bulk of the Hall in
the valley, its red-brick
wings and pale stone clock
tower blackened by soot.
At the drawing-room
window, her eyes flitted to
the skeleton of the burntout East Wing. When her
uncle, Sir William, had
written asking her to be a
companion to her sickly
cousin Hannah, Louisa was
glad of the opportunity to
escape her strict father and
his continual references to
her unmarried state.
But then came tragic
news. A terrible fire had
ravaged the Hall,
destroying the East Wing
and causing the death of
her dear aunt, Lady Sarah.
To read the news had
been dreadful, but now,
seeing the broken remains
with the stench of charred
wood creeping through the
casement, she shivered.
A voice echoed from the
hall. Keen to leave the
ghost of the East Wing
behind, Louisa hurried to
the door. In the hall was a
young man in buff breeches
and muddy boots.
Louisa thought he might
be her cousin Alexander
grown up, but this man
wore an alert expression,
where Alexander had
always been sleepy-eyed.
?I beg your pardon,? she
said, crossing to him. ?I
wonder if Sir William . . .?
The man glowered at her
before striding to the front
door, leaving her affronted
by his rudeness.
Sir William?s hair was
greyer, and he was like a
younger, equally stern
version of her father.
?Uncle William.? She
dipped a curtsey. ?Who
was that gentleman? He
was most disagreeable.?
?My estate manager,
Reuben Lisser. It need not
concern you.? He scowled.
?You are as inquisitive as
you were as a child.?
How alike the brothers
were. Her father?s parting
words had concerned the
virtues of obedience and
silence in young ladies.
?Your journey was
Louisa could have said
the coach seats were solid,
the journey long and hot,
but she merely nodded.
?Yes, Uncle.?
She peered through the
open door but he pulled
the door to on the
tantalising collection of
books in the library.
?Thompson will take you
to see Hannah.?
* * * *
Louisa remembered her
cousin as a plump, happy
child, so to see her body
barely distort the
bedcovers was pitiful.
?Cousin.? Hannah
reached out a pale hand.
?I?m so pleased you are
here. Lying here day after
day, I long for conversation.
Bridget is useful, but dull.?
Louisa noticed the figure
by the window, a pretty,
freckled girl of sixteen who
stood holding a cup.
?Bridget,? Hannah called,
?help me to sit up, girl.?
The girl placed the cup on
the nightstand, plumped
the bolster and lifted
Hannah up in the bed with
ease. Clearly, she was
strong. There was a
watchfulness about the girl
that told Louisa she was
anything but dull.
?I?m sure Bridget makes
very fine company.?
The girl?s cheeks coloured
at Louisa?s words.
Hannah?s eyes narrowed.
?You have changed very
little. You were always
strong-willed: wading
rivers, climbing trees from
dawn to twilight. You were
never a personable girl.?
She eyed Louisa critically.
?Sit. You must be tired. I
took to my bed for three
days when Mama and I
travelled to Oxford.?
Louisa had forgotten
Hannah?s sharp tongue.
?Thank you, I prefer to
stand after sitting in a
carriage for so long.?
Hannah frowned but
changed the subject.
?I was sorry about your
brother. Such a shock for
your father to lose his heir.
Influenza is nasty.?
Pain flashed through
Louisa?s chest. Her beloved
Robert had died three
months previously, and
each day without him was
like a fresh wound.
?We all have our
sorrows.? Hannah sighed
deeply. ?I was to marry a
marquess. When I became
ill, he broke our agreement
and is now engaged to an
heiress from Kent.?
Louisa was horrified.
?How cruel of him.?
Hannah looked surprised.
?Do you believe so? I
never admired him so much
as the day I received his
letter. He needs a wife to
bear his children and I
cannot.? She took a sip of
tea. ?We shall neither of us
marry, cousin. I am sickly,
and you are uncultured. We
make a fine pair.?
* * * *
Hannah did not join them
for dinner that evening.
?Sister enjoys playing the
fading angel,? Alexander
commented over the fish
course. ?In truth, I believe
she could jump a fence as
well as my stallion Caesar.?
Louisa?s strongest
memory of Alexander was
him skewering a stag beetle
to the ground with a twig
and plucking the legs from
its body. Robert had
stopped him with a cuff to
the ear. Who would defend
the helpless now?
?I?m certain your sister
does not wish to be ill.?
He emptied his wine glass
with one swallow.
?Hannah retired to bed
when the East Wing was
destroyed and there she
remains. She was away as
the place burned, but still
the fire stole her legs.? He
gave her a lopsided smile.
The rest of the meal was
spent in silence.
The dining-room was
cavernous and shadowy,
the gloom adding to
Louisa?s feeling of solitude.
Mortling Hall brimmed with
servants, more than at
home, but still it felt lonely,
lacking heart.
The Hall had been a
beacon of hope in her
darkest moments after
Robert?s death; an escape
from her father?s
disapproval. But such
despondency now hung
over the house, it merely
reinforced her own sadness.
Louisa decided to speak.
?I was sorry, Uncle, to
hear of Aunt Sarah?s
passing. And the fire.?
For the first time since
the meal began, Sir William
looked up from his plate.
Colour flooded his cheeks.
?We do not speak of it!?
he blustered. ?How dare
you ?? He dashed his glass
to the floor before storming
from the room.
?Bravo,? Alexander said.
?You have one
accomplishment at least.
Distressing old widowers.?
Louisa jumped from her
chair, the sound of his
laughter in her ears as she
fled to her room.
* * * *
?Bridget, what is your
opinion of my cousin??
Hannah was in her fresh
nightgown, sitting stiff as a
?Really, Bridget,? Hannah
snapped. ?Are you so
foolish? The girl?s prospects
have been ruined. She
cannot play pianoforte or
sing; there is nothing
elegant about her. Her
father has tried to marry
her to every eligible man in
Gloucestershire, to no
avail. Small wonder he
banished her here.?
Bridget thought of the
girl with the brown eyes.
Less polished than Miss
Hannah, but a true beauty.
?I think it would be a pity
if she were not to marry.?
?What does it matter
what you think, stupid girl?
Fetch my tonic, I have a
Bridget cursed her own
rashness in complimenting
Louisa. Hannah disliked
fine-looking women. But
sometimes Bridget enjoyed
telling the truth, no matter
Louisa was glad of the opportunity
to escape her strict father
board while a tired Bridget
combed her mousy hair. It
was late evening and
Bridget had been awake
since dawn.
?I hardly know the lady,
Hannah sighed.
?I know that. Merely tell
me how she strikes you.?
Bridget disliked these
conversations. They began
simply, but Hannah would
twist Bridget?s words,
making her feel foolish.
However, knowing there
would be no rest until she
gave an answer, she
thought carefully.
?I believe her very
handsome. Also ??
Hannah interrupted.
?Her skin is too dark to
be beautiful, surely? She
was quite the vagabond as
a child. Her brother?s
doing. Marching her
through the woods,
teaching her how to fish
and shoot.?
?He taught her how to
shoot a pistol??
Hannah nodded.
?And I saw her wear her
brother?s breeches on
several occasions, held up
with a piece of rope.?
Bridget laughed at the
how it upset her mistress.
She changed the subject.
?Reuben Lisser came to
see Sir William today,
?Why would I be
interested in that??
Bridget shrugged.
?I just heard, that?s all.?
?Did you see Reuben? Mr
Lisser, I mean?? Hannah
asked after a moment.
?Frederick, the footman,
did. Reuben and Sir William
were arguing in the library.
Reuben was in quite a
temper, Frederick said.?
Hannah bit her lip.
?He never was a
peaceable soul. Go now.?
?Yes, miss.?
Bridget closed the
bedroom door softly behind
her and headed for the
pantry and supper. She
passed Miss Drummond?s
door on the way and heard
the sound of muffled crying
coming from inside.
?Welcome to Mortling
Hall,? she muttered.
* * * *
Three weeks later, in
mid-September, Louisa?s
days had slipped into a
pattern. She woke early,
breakfasted in
Hannah?s room and
spent the day reading
and conversing with
Hannah, performing
whatever small tasks she
could to help with her care.
The first week, Bridget
had refused her help until
Louisa grew frustrated.
?If you will not allow me
to help, you may send for
Doctor Lucas and have me
taken to the nearest
asylum. Mortling Hall is so
dull it must surely provide a
ready supply of inmates.?
Bridget giggled at
Louisa?s outburst and they
laughed until Hannah
complained at the din.
Despite her youth, there
was a strength and
sweetness about Bridget.
Each day, as they folded
sheets or fetched the tea,
Bridget shared legends
about the Hall, of mad
lords and unquiet ghosts.
With every tale, Louisa
grew more fond of her.
Spending time in
Hannah?s company, Louisa
wondered if Alexander had
been right about her.
Hannah could walk across
the room and along the
landing; unsteadily, but no
more than any person who
spent their days in bed.
Surely fresh air and
exercise would help her?
Louisa determined to
persuade her cousin outside
before Christmas.
That morning, Hannah
had quizzed Louisa about
Bath in vain.
?I know nothing of it.?
?Your father never took
you into society??
Louisa shook her head.
?He disapproves of such
things. Bath serves
entertainment for fools and
scoundrels, he says.?
?How disagreeable your
father can be.? Hannah
slumped back on to her
pillows. ?You are such a
disappointment. I?m too ill
for society and hoped you
would tell me of the gowns
and the grand balls.?
?I?ve never attended a
ball.? Louisa was irritated.
?Never? What have you
been doing??
?Walking, reading . . .
growing,? Louisa replied.
?Clearly nothing of value.?
She saw Bridget smile.
When Hannah declared
she would rest for the
afternoon a relieved Louisa
went to her room, snatched
up her bonnet and jacket
and left the house.
She hoped to lure Bridget
along, but there was no
sign of her and, with the
late summer sun calling,
Louisa could wait no longer.
She slipped out at a side
door, hoping to avoid
notice or meeting
Alexander, who often
walked the gardens in the
* * * *
As she walked through
the gardens and the avenue
of chestnut trees her mood
began to lift.
She hitched her skirts
above her ankles and ran,
flying as fast as her
petticoats would allow, air
bumping from her lungs,
savouring the breathless,
giddy excitement.
She reached a lake
fringed by willows and
beech trees where she
dropped, panting, to the
damp grass.
Lying back, she closed
her eyes, but then she
heard a voice.
On the opposite side of
the lake was a mound of
grey rock the height of a
hay barn. Sections had
crumbled away, exposing
red brick.
Behind a covering of ivy
and vines two black holes
were just visible. Windows!
The voice came again, its
source unclear. Louisa was
on her feet. The strange
voice was unsettling,
making her yearn for the
safety of the Hall.
Robert would have teased
her for her weakheartedness. The thought of
his good-natured ribbing
stiffened her resolve. An
adventure, she thought.
Suddenly, the curtain of
ivy twitched and parted.
From the rock emerged a
figure in a billowing
nightgown. White hair fell
over the shoulders, the
body seeming to glide over
the ground with little effort.
Bridget had talked of
unquiet spirits, of phantoms
wandering the grounds.
Louisa had laughed but
now she wondered. Was
this a restless soul, craving
something from her?
Part of Louisa wanted to
run. Then a sneeze echoed
across the water and doubt
surfaced. Could ghosts
catch a chill?
Moving along the line of
trees encircling the lake, she
drew closer to the rock. A
hefty stick lay across her
path and she stooped to
pick it up, its weight giving
her confidence.
Drawing closer and closer,
the ghostly voice grew
louder until she could finally
distinguish words.
?Pretty one . . . sweet
Now Louisa could see
that two doorways were cut
into the fa鏰de. From the
discoloured stone it was
clear the lake had once
been higher, the water
reaching inside the doors. It
was a boathouse, though in
a sorry state.
Louisa saw the woman?s
nightgown was torn and wet
from the damp grass, her
bare feet muddied. This was
a lady as solid as herself.
Louisa laid her stick on
the grass, her movement
catching the lady?s eye.
?Pretty one, is it you??
?I am Louisa Drummond,
ma?am.? She spoke softly,
not wanting to alarm her.
?May I ask your name??
The woman took her
hand, pulling her close.
?You came back to me.
My mermaid.?
?I am no mermaid.?
Louisa slipped off her jacket
and draped it over the thin
shoulders. She must find
out where the lady lived.
A snap of twigs behind
her made Louisa turn, to
see Reuben Lisser, almost
the first face that had
greeted her to Mortling
Hall. He was as Louisa
remembered: the same
serious expression.
?Mother, I was searching
for you,? he said.
Mrs Lisser patted the
back of his hand.
?She?s returned, Reuben.
After all these years, risen
from the water.?
??Tis not her.?
?It is. Look at her face.?
For the first time, Reuben
fixed Louisa with an intent
stare before looking away.
??Tis a young lady from
the Hall.?
?But . . .?
?Stop with this
nonsense!? he barked,
taking her by the arm.
His rough manner
snapped Louisa to action.
?Be gentle, sir! It is clear
your mother suffers.?
Reuben scowled at her.
?Run along, miss. I shall
care for her.?
Anger boiled inside
Louisa. Run along! And to
treat his mother in such a
way. The man was a brute.
?I shall accompany you
and see the lady comes to
no harm,? she said.
He held her gaze for a
moment, clearly torn
between anger and the
need to remain respectful.
?As you wish. Our
cottage is in the village, half
a mile away.?
Louisa nodded.
The three walked for a
while, Reuben and Louisa in
silence, Mrs Lisser
whispering incessantly,
every so often giving Louisa
a broad smile.
Louisa wondered how the
poor lady managed with
such a bad-tempered son,
and whether he was
capable of the merest show
of kindness.
Soon they reached a
hamlet of twenty or so
cottages, all built in the
same squat style, with the
same whitewashed walls.
?Little Mortling. ?Tis part
of the estate,? Reuben said,
as if answering a question.
One of the cottages on
the left was more tumbledown than the rest,
dandelions and tall grasses
growing through the
On a stool sat a thinfaced man, his bald pate
circled by spiky, greying
hair. On his right foot was a
discoloured bandage.
?Afternoon, Mr Lisser,?
the man called, his
deferential words
mismatched with a mocking
expression. There was an
arrogance about him at
odds with his degraded
?Do the cottages house
the estate workers?? Louisa
asked as they walked on.
?In the main,? he said.
They reached the
smartest cottage so far,
with a bright white step and
pots of red and orange
dahlias along the front wall.
Reuben turned into the
gate, leading Mrs Lisser
along the path.
The house was neat
and homely, glass
shining in the windows.
Inside the cottage was as
inviting as it was out, with
jars of seed heads and
dahlias on every sill and on
the kitchen table.
Reuben led Mrs Lisser to
a chair next to a low fire.
?Come, Mother,? he said.
?Let?s clean you and put
you to bed.?
His voice was soft now,
his movements gentle. The
contrast with his previous
gruff manner was bemusing.
As he kneeled to wash
Mrs Lisser?s muddy feet,
the old lady began to sing
and stroke his hair. Louisa
felt like an intruder.
?Mother wasn?t always
so.? Reuben didn?t look up,
his voice so low and soft
Louisa strained to hear.
?Sadness has eaten her
up until she?s nothing but
hollow inside. Some days
she?s content to sit by the
fire, letting the village girls
care for her while I work.
?Other days, the hollow
opens wide and it seems
the rest of her will collapse
like a ruin if she cannot find
something to fill her. Those
are the days she goes
Speech stuck in Louisa?s
throat. How much she had
misjudged the man. He
wasn?t rough and rude,
merely worried by the
disappearance of his
mother, of a mother who
wandered often and for
who knew how long.
Louisa felt overwhelmed
by the thought of a
lifetime?s sadness on the
broad young shoulders.
?I should return to the
Hall now your mother is
Her voice sounded
sharper than she?d
intended, but she was an
outsider in the neat, sad
cottage, and the feeling of
grief that flowed from
Reuben Lisser only reignited
her own for Robert. Hot
tears welled in her eyes.
?If you will excuse me.?
Louisa gave a ragged
curtsey before heading
quickly for the door.
Outside the sun was
setting, the air cooling.
?Miss.? Reuben had
followed her from the
house. ?Your coat, miss.?
?Thank you.? She took it
from his outstretched hand
and saw how bronzed his
skin was compared to hers.
?I have forgotten my
manners,? he said, an
uncertain smile touching his
lips. ?My name is Reuben
Lisser, farm manager to Sir
Louisa smiled.
?I know who you are, Mr
Lisser. I?m Louisa. Louisa
She turned and ran up
the lane, across the fields
and towards the distant
Hall, all the while thinking
of Reuben Lisser?s faint
* * * *
?Really, miss, your mind
is wandering somewhere
wild today,? Bridget
Louisa was doing a poor
job of changing the
bedsheets, her side still
flapping loose.
?Please, tuck that in, or I
shall have to come and do
the job myself,? Bridget
?Oh, I am sorry. I cannot
think clearly today.?
Hurriedly, Louisa pushed
the corner under.
?Well, that looks like an
ox tongue half hanging off
the butcher?s slab.? The
young girl nudged her aside
and remade the corner in
two swift movements.
?There,? she said with
satisfaction. ?You could cut
butter with that fold.?
She turned to Louisa.
?Now, what is it that?s
stolen you away??
?Oh, Bridget.? Louisa
gave her a peck on the
cheek. ?There is something.
Tell me, what do you know
of Reuben Lisser??
Louisa went on to tell her
about her meeting with Mrs
Lisser at the boathouse.
When she?d finished,
Bridget smiled.
?That is odd. Poor lady?s
wits are scattered and she
mistook you for what? A
?Yes, but she also said
I?d returned from
somewhere. From where,
she did not say. The sea,
Bridget shook her head.
?Cook told me a long
while back that Mrs Lisser
lost a child. Boy or girl, I
can?t recall, and ?tis true
loss can steal sense along
with joy. But the mermaid
? surely that is just a
Louisa looked troubled.
?Perhaps. But I felt there
was a speck of truth in her
Just then, the door burst
open and a woman wearing
a grey apron and a sour
expression entered.
Martha Firebrace was the
laundress, and a more
surly, bullying character
Bridget had never met.
?Why are them sheets
still up here?? Martha said.
?I got the water boiling.
You standing around
lollygagging when you
should be working?? She
nodded to the pile of soiled
sheets on the floor.
Bridget pulled herself up
to her full height.
?We were just bringing
them down. And you?re not
to come in the bedrooms,
Martha. I heard Mrs
Gordon tell you so.?
Martha spun round, her
face inches from Bridget.
?You call me Mrs
Firebrace, Miss High and
Mighty. I go where I wish
and do as I wish, and no
orphan no-name like you
shall tell me otherwise.?
The heat rose from
Bridget?s neck to her face.
She hadn?t shared her time
at the orphanage with
Louisa yet, content for that
sad part of her life to be a
secret for a little longer.
But Martha had an evil
tongue and always enjoyed
reminding Bridget of her
humble beginnings.
Louisa took a step
?I shall tell Sir William,
my uncle, of your rude
manner and he shall have
you dismissed.?
Louisa moved closer still,
forcing Martha to take a
step back. The laundress,
usually so certain of herself,
was unused to being
challenged by anyone.
Seeing her shaken made
Bridget want to cheer.
?Take your sheets, Mrs
Firebrace,? Louisa ordered.
?And Sir William need hear
nothing more about it.?
Scowling, Martha
snatched up the bedding
and left the room, but not
before shooting Louisa one
last look that turned
Bridget cold.
As the door banged shut,
Louisa began to laugh.
Soon, Bridget was giggling,
too, though her insides still
?Who was that foul
?Martha Firebrace. Lives
in Little Mortling.?
Louisa squeezed Bridget?s
?I trust the old harridan
will trouble you no longer.?
With that Bridget knew
Louisa was her friend,
orphan girl or not. The
thought was almost enough
to dispel the image of
Martha?s scowl, though
Bridget doubted she was as
easy to quash as her friend
* * * *
For nights after meeting
Reuben Lisser and his
mother, Louisa slept badly.
All she could think of was
her brother and how his
kind face had grown wasted
and drawn as the sickness
had taken him.
She and the Lissers
shared a loss ? something
that could never be
One night, after lying
awake for three hourly
chimes of the landing clock,
Louisa jumped from bed
and reached for her
dressing-gown. If she had
to spend the night awake,
she would put the time to
good use.
Sir William had
discouraged her from using
the library, claiming there
was little there that would
interest her.
But he was asleep and
Louisa was weary of
reading Hannah?s dull
choice of literature.
In the library she could
choose books to suit her
own tastes, preferably
something Hannah would
deem inappropriate reading
for a young lady.
Louisa opened her door,
careful to be as quiet as
possible. Cool moonlight
shone through the glazed
dome in the roof, guiding
her way along the landing
and to the head of the
But moonlight would only
help so far ? she?d need a
flame by which to read the
spines. There was usually a
tinderbox and candle stub
on the little marble table in
the hall, so she decided to
go there first.
She ran her fingers along
the balustrade, letting it
guide her. At the bottom
step, she was plunged into
darkness as a cloud had
covered the moon. She
paused, straining to pick
details from the gloom.
?Tinderbox,? she
muttered to herself.
The marble table was
round to the left, between
two old high-backed chairs.
?Ow!? She found the
nearest chair with her toe.
?Slowly,? she whispered to
Reaching out, she
touched cool marble and
then the tinderbox, the lid
already ajar. Sliding her
hand inside the box, she
felt flint and steel, but no
What should she do?
Return to bed and try to
sleep? But she felt more
awake than ever. And the
thought of having the
library to herself was too
tempting an opportunity to
miss. But how would she
Then a thought struck
her. On the day of her
arrival, she had been
ushered into the drawingroom. There had been two
silver candlesticks on a
table by the window.
All she needed was to
take the tinderbox with her
to light one. Louisa picked
up the box and headed
onwards, letting instinct
guide her.
As she reached the
drawing-room door and
slipped inside, she could
see almost nothing. She
crossed to the window,
hoping the moon was out
and shining brightly, and
pulled back the curtain.
Outside in the deep
blackness a light flickered.
It took a moment to make
sense of what she saw. She
was looking towards the
burned-out East Wing.
Her pulse leaped in her
throat ? had a fresh fire
taken hold? But the flame
was small, drifting back and
forth at waist height in the
darkness. A lamp.
?What are you doing??
Louisa spun round.
Martha Firebrace stood in
the doorway, candle in her
hand ? the missing candle
from the tinderbox. Its
flickering light distorted her
features, turning her into a
fleshy gargoyle. Words
caught in Louisa?s throat.
?What the devil are you
doing?? Martha repeated.
Louisa tried to sound
?There is someone
outside, in the East Wing. I
mean an intruder. We must
call Sir William.?
Martha walked to the
window and peered out.
?I see nothing but
Was the woman blind? A
?Mrs Firebrace . . .?
Martha pulled the curtain
closed with a vicious tug.
?Nothing there, I say.?
She turned to face Louisa.
?What you up to??
Night-time made Martha
braver than she was in
daylight, that was clear, but
Louisa would not be cowed.
?And what are you doing
Martha shrugged, face
creasing into an unpleasant
?I do as I please.? She
leaned closer, her sour
breath bathing Louisa?s
face. ?I have Sir William?s
ear. He?ll do as I say. You
think on that, miss.?
Louisa felt vulnerable,
alone in the dark with the
sinister laundress.
?Goodnight, Martha.? No
matter how scared she felt,
Louisa would not give the
woman the satisfaction of
calling her Mrs Firebrace.
She pushed past her,
stumbling almost blind into
the darkness and up the
Lying shivering in bed,
pictures tumbled through
Louisa?s mind: the
destroyed East Wing; Mrs
Lisser and her mermaid;
flames in the darkness; the
laundress with the
confidence of a lord.
Mortling Hall was filled
with mystery.
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website:
& His
Anne?s doing
a bit of clockwatching.
HE other night I turned
to the dictionary, not for
the spelling of a word,
but for its definition. The
word was one we all know
and use far too much ?
Do you worry? Of course
you do, worrying is second
nature to us all. But does it
help? Not really.
One Monday morning
Anne was going round the
bend, and whatever I said
was of no avail.
?Darling, stop worrying.
He?ll be all right,? I ventured.
?How do you know, John??
Here?s a catalogue of the
following 13 hours.
7.30 a.m.
?I hope he hasn?t slept in.
Shall I ring him??
?No, dear, he?ll be up.?
8.00 a.m.
?I hope he?s left in time to
catch his train.?
9.00 a.m.
?He?ll be at his desk. I
hope he can do the work all
By this time, I had
disappeared to the byre to
explain the problem to the
I came back in at noon for
lunch. It immediately started
?John, do you think he?ll be
sitting down to lunch in the
?No, dear,? I said, ?in
London they have lunch at
one o?clock.?
?Why not twelve??
?They don?t start as early
as us.?
At 5.30 p.m. I must admit
it crossed my mind that he
would probably be packing
up after his first day.
Needless to say, I didn?t
mention it to Anne.
6.30 p.m.
?I?ll ring his digs to find out
how he got on.?
?I would leave it for a
while, dear. He?ll not be back
She rang anyway. He
wasn?t there.
I should explain that ?he?
was our grandson, and that
day had been his first in his
new job in an office in
Sutton, Surrey.
I had no idea how long it
would take the lad to get to
his digs from there. Six-thirty
didn?t seem all that late to
me. But Anne was worried.
8.30 p.m. Our grandson
Anne?s face was wreathed
in smiles at the sound of his
He went on to tell her that
he?d had a mixed day. I think
he had had a tummy full of
butterflies, but at least the
first day was over.
Granny could go to bed
and say thank you in her
Why do we worry? It
usually turns out all right. n
Our tasty, oven-cooked recipes
are perfect for winter days.
Marinated Chicken Thighs Baked With Cashews
And Peppers
Course: Main
? 8 chicken thighs
? 1 onion, cut into wedges
? 2 tbs oil
? 1 large orange pepper, deseeded and cut into
? 100 ml (3� fl oz) Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce with
Roasted Garlic
? 50 g (1� oz) roasted cashew nuts
To Serve: roasted sweet potatoes or rice.
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Arrange the chicken thighs and wedges of onion in a large
roasting tray. Drizzle with the oil and bake in the pre-heated oven
for 30 minutes.
3 After 30 minutes, add the pepper to the roasting tray and
drizzle everything with the teriyaki sauce. Return to the oven for
another 15 minutes, then scatter with the cashew nuts and return
to the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve with roasted sweet
potatoes or rice.
Gala Apple
and Sausage
Tray Bake
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Serves 2
? 1 x 400 g pack of pork
sausages, cut in half
? 2 red onions, cut into
? 2 Gala apples, cut into
? 1 bunch of sage
? 3 tbs olive oil
? 2 tbs honey
? 2 tbs wholegrain mustard
To Serve: creamy mashed
1 Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. C.,
350 deg. F., Gas Mark 4.
2 Add the sausage halves, onion
and apple wedges to a large
baking tray and scatter over the
sage leaves.
3 Whisk together the olive oil,
honey and mustard in a small
bowl and drizzle over the sausage,
onion and apple mixture.
4 Roast in the pre-heated oven for
35 to 40 minutes or until golden
brown and sticky. Serve with
creamy mashed potato.
Baked Chicken Teriyaki
Course: Main
Serves: 4
1 Heat the oven to 200 deg. C.,
400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Heat the oil in a frying-pan and
cook the onion over a medium
heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until
starting to soften. Stir in the
chicken and cook for another
8 to 10 minutes until the chicken
is browned. Stir in the garlic and
cook for another minute, then
add the Teriyaki BBQ-Sauce with
Honey, chilli sauce, beans and
rice. Cook for another few minutes
until everything is hot, then stir in
most of the coriander.
3 Divide the mix between the
4 tortillas, then roll up each tortilla
and fold down the ends to seal
the mixture inside. Place in a
baking dish and cover with the
grated cheese. Place in the oven
and bake for 15 to 20 minutes,
until the cheese is melted and
golden. Scatter with the remaining
coriander to serve.
? 1 tbs oil
? 1 onion, diced
? 600 g (1 lb 5 oz)
skinless and boneless
chicken thigh fillets,
cut into bite-sized
? 2 cloves garlic,
? 100 ml (3� fl oz)
Kikkoman Teriyaki
BBQ-Sauce with Honey
? 1 tsp chilli sauce
? 1 x 400 g can black or
kidney beans, drained
and rinsed
? 200 g (7 oz) cooked
? Small bunch coriander,
chopped roughly
? 4 large tortilla wraps
? 100 g (3� oz) Cheddar,
Skill level: easy
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.
Sausage and Super Green Veg Cassoulet
? 1 x packet MOR Pork,
Super Green Veg &
Lentil Sausages
? 2 sticks celery, diced
? 1 large onion, diced
? 2 carrots, diced finely
? 1 tbs rapeseed oil
? 2-3 garlic cloves,
? 1 x 400 g can chopped
? 100 ml (3� fl oz) hot
vegetable stock
? 300 ml (� pt) white
? 1 x 400 g can mixed
beans, rinsed and
? 1x 125 g can butter
beans, rinsed and
? 150 g cooked puy
? Salt and freshly
ground black pepper,
to taste
? 4 tbs chopped parsley
To Serve: crusty
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 3
1 Pre-heat the oven to
190 deg. C., 375 deg. F.,
Gas Mark 5.
2 Whilst the oven is
warming, cook the
sausages according to pack
instructions for 20 minutes,
until lightly browned.
3 In another pan, fry the
celery, onion and carrots for
15 minutes in the rapeseed
oil. Then add the garlic and
fry for a further minute.
4 Next, add in the tomatoes,
hot stock and white
wine and heat for 3 to 4
minutes, until it is all gently
5 Now stir in the beans and
lentils and transfer into a
casserole dish, along with
the sausages. Place the dish
in the pre-heated oven and
cook for 30 minutes to allow
all the delicious flavours to
6 Finally remove from the
oven, season to taste and
add the freshly chopped
parsley. Serve with warm,
crusty bread.
Roasted Butternut Squash, Chorizo and Chickpea
Course: Main
Serves: 4
1 Pre-heat oven to 190 deg. C., 375 deg. F.,
Gas Mark 5.
2 Parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until
almost cooked, but not quite, then drain and
cool slightly.
3 Halve the potatoes lengthways and toss in
a large bowl with the butternut squash and
unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with
2 teaspoons of olive oil and season.
4 Line a large baking tray with a piece of
Bacofoil Non-Stick Foil ? remember food
should always touch the dull side to take
advantage of the non-stick surface! Tip the
potato and squash mixture into the tray and
roast for 30 minutes, carefully stirring halfway
5 After 30 minutes, add the chorizo and
chickpeas, stir, then roast for another
10 minutes. Set aside to cool a little.
6 To make the dressing, whisk together
the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some
seasoning in a small bowl or jug.
7 Place the salad leaves in a large serving
bowl and top with the roasted vegetables
and chorizo. Scatter the parsley over the top.
Drizzle with the dressing just before serving.
Next week: perfect pancakes for
Shrove Tuesday.
? 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) small,
waxy salad potatoes,
washed, skins left on
? 1 x small butternut
squash, peeled and
? 3 x whole unpeeled
garlic cloves
? 2 tsp olive oil
? Salt and freshly
ground black pepper,
to taste
? 1 x 200 g chorizo ring
? 1 x 400 g tin chickpeas
in water, rinsed and
? 150-200 g (5�-7 oz)
baby spinach or mixed
salad leaves of your
choice, washed
? Handful flat leaf
parsley leaves
For the Dressing:
? 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
? 3 tbs extra virgin olive
Skill level: easy
dish tastes
great whether
served hot or
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
Square Dance
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
AM sitting in the car
admiring the stark
beauty of winter?s
skeletal trees silhouetted
against a cerulean sky,
when I am jolted out of my
daydream by Ron bellowing
in my ear.
?Look, Polly, that?s
Marjorie over there, isn?t it?
That?s her staggering along
with those two enormous
Ron is exaggerating as
usual, but Marjorie does
look a little unsteady under
the weight of two unwieldy
wicker baskets, one on each
?What?s that poking out
of the left-hand one?? he
continues. ?Is it a kitten or
a guinea pig? I?m going to
stop to see what?s going
on. She?s going to trip over
any minute now. One of her
boots is trailing a lace.?
?It could be a kitten,
Ron,? I agree. ?We must
give her a hand before she
tumbles and breaks
Fortunately, there is a
small space outside the
village hall, and as Ron
deftly manoeuvres our car
into it, I wind down my
window and call out to
She beams when she
turns and catches sight of
?Hello, Polly. I was just
on my way to see you. I?ve
got something in my basket
that might interest you.?
?Not kittens.? Ron sighs.
?We don?t want kittens.
What about our plans to
travel? You promised,
I laugh.
?It?s all right, Ron. I know
what we agreed. Stop
panicking,? I say.
Our coffee table is
groaning under the weight
of dozens of glossy
brochures promising sunny
skies, emerald seas, silver
sand and exotic
For as long as I can
remember, I have envied
my friends, visiting the
Caribbean, barbecuing on
the beach, sailing down the
Nile in a felucca or walking
the length of the Great Wall
of China.
This is to be our year for
travelling. Kittens are
wonderful, but now the
children have left home
there is nobody to housesit
for a month or two.
Our last remaining pet,
Rosie, has been invited to
stay with my friend Lynne,
a dog-walking companion
of ours, and her spaniel
Harley, so there is nothing
to hold us back from the
holiday of a lifetime.
?Don?t worry, Ron. I?ll
sort this out,? I add.
I jump out and open the
car door at the back.
?Hop in, Marjorie. We?ll
give you a lift to our
We reach the front door
and Ron takes the basket
of kittens in. Five little
heads pop out from under
a knitted blanket.
They are so appealing,
with blue eyes and button
noses. I can feel my resolve
to remain aloof melting
away. Who wouldn?t fall
under the spell of those
little faces?
I take the other basket
from Marjorie. It contains
another blanket.
?Would you like a cup of
tea?? I ask. ?I must say that
we really can?t give a home
to any of the kittens. They
are adorable, but we have
plans to travel and it
wouldn?t be fair to take one
?Oh, no, that?s not why I
called in,? Marjorie replies.
?This is what I thought
might interest you. I?ve
been having a clear-out.?
With this, she upends her
I was unpicking
and reknitting as
fast as I could,
and time was
running out . . .
second basket over the
settee. Cascades of knitted
squares tumble out, a few
falling on the floor.
Rosie takes a tentative
sniff, then retreats to her
bed. It?s not a blanket after
all, but dozens of knitted
squares to make one.
?Goodness, you have
been busy.? Ron gasps,
taken aback at his favourite
spot on the sofa being
?What wonderful squares
? and so many of them,? I
I am still thinking up
excuses for not having one
of the kittens, as I am
convinced that this is
Marjorie?s true agenda.
Marjorie nestles back
against the cushions, takes
a digestive biscuit, then
starts to explain.
?About the squares . . . I
want you to sew them
together and take the
finished blanket to the cats?
home. My eyes don?t work
so well now. I can?t see to
thread the needle or put
the stitches in the right
I know her eyesight is
poor, but I hadn?t realised
how bad it had become
until I scrutinise the
squares. They look as if
they should be put in the
Riddled with moth holes,
there are coffee or tea
stains on some. Others are
not too bad, but they all
look in need of a good
wash. Knitted over many
years, they record the
progress of her
deteriorating eyesight.
?Leave the squares with
me, Marjorie, and I?ll see
what I can do.? I can?t tell
her how bad they are. ?But
we can?t take any of your
kittens. I know they
need good homes,
but Rosie likes her space.
She?s getting older and
kittens are rather
Actually, Rosie seems
rather interested in the
furry bundles, carrying one
off to her bed. By now all of
them have managed to
scramble out of the basket,
like a troop of acrobats.
?I don?t have any to
spare to give away,?
Marjorie assures us.
?They?re all spoken for
except for the littlest
tortoiseshell, which I shall
keep myself.
?I?m just off to deliver
them now. I thought I
would kill two birds with
one stone and show you
the squares on my way
She stands up, spraying
biscuit crumbs everywhere.
?Show me the blanket
before you send it off. I?d
like to see how it turns
the kitten wakes, I am
surrounded by wool, all
crinkly from being
I cut out all the motheaten pieces, then rewind
the wool into hanks,
although it is still very
I will have to wash some
hanks to get rid of the kinks
and the coffee stains. All of
it could do with some
freshening up.
Only half the squares are
left. It will be a small,
scruffy blanket, and what
am I going to do with all
that unravelled wool?
* * * *
In the middle of the night,
I awake with a start,
thinking what a dreadful
deed I have done, to unpick
all that hard work of
She has left me with a
difficult problem to solve. I
think she knew that most of
Marjorie has left me with a difficult
problem to solve
Between the three of us
we manage to scoop up the
?I think you?re mistaken
about Rosie,? Marjorie
says, pointing an arthritic
finger at Rosie?s bed.
Rosie and the smallest
tortoiseshell kitten are
curled up together fast
Once Marjorie leaves,
saying she?ll return for the
last kitten, I sit down to see
what I can salvage from the
squares, eventually coming
to the conclusion that I will
have to unpick some, then
reknit them.
There was a time when
Marjorie derived a lot of
comfort from her knitting.
She used to sit and knit by
her husband?s bedside
during his last illness.
Probably many of these
misshapen objects are the
product of those faithful
The trouble is that when
it comes to knitting, I am a
bit of a perfectionist, unlike
anything else in my erratic
Once I start to unpick, I
can?t stop and by the time
her knitting was no good,
but couldn?t bring herself to
throw it away.
I got carried away. I was
only going to unpick one or
two of the worst squares,
but not so many. I hadn?t
given any thought to
Marjorie?s feelings about
her handiwork.
I decide to get started
straight away, knitting up
filler pieces and extra
My needles flash like
silver swords, whilst all the
housework gets put to one
Luckily, Marjorie seems
to have forgotten to call
back for the tortoiseshell
kitten, which has adopted
Rosie as a surrogate
mother, so there are no
awkward questions to
reveal my guilty secret.
I knit every spare moment
I have, as well as moments
when I should have been
doing some baking or
As a bonus, I rediscover
the joys of listening to
Radio 4 with all those plays
and stories. I have always
enjoyed listening to the
spoken word but have
fallen out of the habit.
I take my knitting
everywhere like a Victorian
housewife with a dainty
patchwork knitting bag on
her arm.
I remember my
grandmother telling me
how she and her sister
would knit socks for
soldiers during the Great
War. So many inches to be
completed each evening
before they were allowed to
follow their own pursuits.
I will need more than a
couple of inches per
evening to complete my
Herculean task.
My arms ache, my fingers
feel sore and Ron
complains that all the
clicking of the needles
interferes with his
enjoyment of the telly, but I
have to get all that wool
knitted up before Marjorie
comes to view her blanket.
I realise that I need some
more wool to replace the
moth-eaten fragments. It
has to match the other
wool in age, not look new
and unused.
Luckily, we have quite a
few charity shops in our
town and I spend a few
happy hours visiting each
one in turn and sorting
through their wool baskets.
Oh, the pleasures of
hunting for a bargain!
The volunteers get to
know me quite well and are
very interested in the
blanket. They even
persuade me to sign up for
a couple of mornings a
week to help serve in the
?I think we?re nearly
there,? I finally say to Ron
one day. ?Time to sew
them up now.?
The muttering from Ron
grows when the floor in the
living-room becomes a sea
of colours as I arrange the
squares around the room
to achieve the best effect.
He has to tiptoe across to
his favourite spot in his
stockinged feet as I make
him leave his slippers in the
Marjorie often stops me
in the high street to enquire
about her kitten, which we
have named Missy
Mischief, but she never
asks about her blanket. I
expect that she thinks I
have abandoned the
project but doesn?t want to
So imagine her surprise
when I speak to her one
sunny day.
?Your blanket is ready
for inspection now,? I tell
her. ?Would you like to
pop in when you?ve
finished shopping? I?ve put
it through the washing
machine and it?s looking
good. Then we can decide
what to do with it.?
The blanket looks rather
splendid spread over the
settee. If Marjorie has any
suspicions that some of
these squares aren?t her
own, she is too well
mannered to say so.
She runs crooked fingers
over the wool, stopping
now and again to
remember what garment
the wool came from. She
lingers longer with some
and a silence fills the room.
When she turns to me,
there are tears in her eyes
but she is wearing the
biggest smile ever.
?My dear, it is simply
magnificent. I can?t thank
you enough. That beautiful
border you have put round
the edges makes it just
?Marjorie,? I begin
tentatively, ?I was
wondering if it might be a
little too large for the cats?
I pause.
?I was wondering if you
might consider taking it
home. Your cats would
love it. Just look at Missy
purring away there.
?I?ve got lots of wool to
knit some smaller blankets
for you to take in. Why
don?t you keep this one
yourself? It?s full of
?Yes, I would like that
very much. It?s a wonderful
suggestion. And you?ll
make those little blankets?
Thank you so very much.?
Ron takes Marjorie, her
shopping and the blanket
out to the car whilst I stand
waving at the window.
I am so happy that she
loves my blanket, because
I love it, too. But she still
hasn?t collected her kitten.
It looks like the holiday
of a lifetime will have to be
put on hold for some time
to come. n
Working when in
receipt of a pension
writes for us.
LONG gone are the days
when you reached
retirement age only to be
consigned to the scrap heap
by your employer.
You now have myriad
options from full-time or
part-time paid work,
self-employment, voluntary
work or even putting your
feet up.
You can work for as long
as you want to as the
?default retirement age? (a
forced retirement age of
sixty-five) no longer exists.
Work keeps us physically
and mentally fit. It also
provides us with friends and
intellectual stimulation.
Sometimes, you may even
be able to step down from a
full-time role to a part-time
role in the same firm.
You can simply ask your
employer if you can work
more flexibly or work
part-time, but they still have
the right to reject requests.
You may like a change of
career and lifestyle and the
law protects you against
discrimination, so if you
apply for a new job you
don?t have to give your date
of birth.
More people in age
bracket fifty to sixty-four are
working, with 69.6 per cent
in work, and the proportion
of people aged seventy to
seventy-four in employment
has almost doubled over the
past 10 years (from 5.5 to
9.9 per cent), with numbers
more than doubling from
124,000 to 258,000.
One concession from the
tax man is that workers
don?t pay national insurance
after state pension age.
There is even a trend of
?unretirement?. Around one
in four retirees in the UK
return to work or ?unretire?,
mostly within five years of
retiring, according to
research by the University of
Manchester and King?s
College London.
Most people in the UK pay
all their tax ?at source?, for
example, through Pay As
You Earn (PAYE) if they are
employed, and are not
required to file a tax return,
but if you start working for
yourself you may need to
complete a tax return.
You should also keep
records on paper or digitally,
as HMRC can charge you a
penalty if your records are
not complete and accurate.
You can claim your
pension while you?re
working, as long as you?ve
? state pension age, if
you?re claiming the state
? the age agreed with
your pension provider, if
it?s a personal or
workplace pension.
If you delay (defer) taking
your state pension, you?ll
get larger weekly payments
when you do start taking it.
You can usually also delay
taking a private pension
which will normally result in
higher investment returns
and a bigger annuity.
You can still contribute to
a private pension, but after
the age of seventy-five you
won?t be able to get any tax
relief on your contributions.
Additionally, if you have
taken any income from
your pension over and
above the 25% tax-free
lump sum, there are
restrictions on how much
you can save.
The maximum if you fall
in this category is now just
�000 a year, down from
�,000 a year for those
who have not drawn their
If in the unlikely event
that you have a big pension
pot of over �million or
want to contribute more
than �,000 in a year,
there are also restrictions on
what you can save, and you
should seek advice from an
The state pension is
taxable but is paid without
deduction of tax. If you work
while receiving your state
pension, income tax is
deducted from your pay, on
your salary, other income,
state pension and any other
pensions you receive. n
Helpful websites (tax charity) (tax charity)
(free advisory service)
(free guidance service)
Please note that the information given on these pages does not constitute financial or legal advice and is for general guidance only. Please consult a
professional financial adviser for advice on your own circumstances.
Pension Facts
There are 1,176,000
over-sixty-fives in work in
the UK (ONS statistics).
If you?re over the state
pension age, you
won?t be auto-enrolled
by your employer into a
workplace pension. You do
still have the right to opt in
up to age seventy-four.
The basic state
pension if you retired
before April 6, 2016, is
�2.30. The full new state
pension is �9.55 per
week. The actual amount
you get depends on your
National Insurance record.
A study on over-fifties
retirement plans has
found that half (49%)
want to continue working in
some form after retirement
age. Of these people, 43%
plan to switch to part-time
work, while 6% do not think
they will ever stop full-time
work (Retirement Advantage
A man in the UK aged
sixty-five has an
average further 18.5
years of life remaining and a
woman 20.9 years (ONS
More than one in 10
(11 per cent) of retired
people wish they had
been more active or found a
job in the early years of their
retirement (Prudential
Ask the Expert
Watch out for the
tax sting in the tail
Plans to work beyond retirement may
affect your pension savings. Research from
Retirement Advantage reveals that 37% of
working people using the freedoms to
access cash from their pensions have
continued to pay into a pension, while 19%
say their employer has. Worryingly, 67% of
these people are unaware of the Money
Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA).
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director
at Retirement Advantage, comments,
?People gradually easing into retirement by
working part-time may also have taken
some of their pension benefits and could
find themselves falling foul of the tax rules.
?Our research shows there is little
awareness of the MPAA which restricts the
amount you can continue to pay into a
pension once benefits have been taken.
Getting professional financial advice is a
crucial step to ensure your plans remain on
track, whatever the future may hold.?
Sir Steve Webb,
director of
policy, Royal
London, is here
to help.
CAN you still work and
draw a pension at the
same time?
THERE is nothing to stop you working and drawing a
state pension at the same time. The amount of state
pension you receive is not affected by any wages
you have coming in. However, because your state pension
is taxable it will eat up some of your tax-free personal
allowance, leaving less available for your wage. As a result,
you may find that your after-tax pay falls if you start
drawing a pension.
If you are a higher earner you might want to think about
delaying taking your state pension. If your wage and
pension together take you above the �,000 starting
point for higher rate tax you could lose 40% or more of
your pension in tax.
For private pensions there is generally no problem with
working and drawing a pension. However, you should
check first with the pension scheme if you plan to work for
the same firm that is paying you the pension.
Next month: ?shrinkflation? and you.
I was so wrapped up in my
own concerns I didn?t give a
thought to anyone else?s . . .
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
HERE was never
much money when I
was growing up.
Dad died when I
was five, leaving
just Mum and me.
She worked in Mrs
Henderson?s ?boutique?,
the sort of shop that
doesn?t really exist any
more, with a shop dummy
in the window. Ladies came
in to buy everything from
their girdles to a good suit
for a family wedding.
We lived in a council flat
and I was happy there.
Each flat had its own
private balcony and on
summer days, I would sit
and read ?Jackie? while my
mother read ?Honey?.
I was conscious from early
on that I must not ask my
mother for money. Not that
she ever made me feel that
way, but I could see how
she would crochet a
matching hem on a dress
that was too short for me,
and the magazines were
always passed on from Mrs
My clothes, too, often
came from older cousins or
the thrift shop. My mother
hated the thrift shop. It was
not like the smart charity
shops of today, with their
designer labels and bright
window displays.
The thrift shop near us
was a dark, damp wee
place and if Mum did buy
anything there, she would
always carefully handwash
it and dry it on the clotheshorse which sat on the
Despite this, she always
managed to look
glamorous. She would
embroider over a worn
patch on her jeans and she
always used Nivea on her
face at night. Even now, the
smell of Nivea brings back
a rush of memories.
?Your mother?s my best
sales assistant, Laura,? Mrs
Henderson would tell me.
?She used to work in the
bank before she married
your father. She?s great
with figures and she also
knows what suits ladies.?
If Mum was working on a
Saturday, I would sit in the
area at the back beside the
changing room cubicle.
There would be fish and
chips for tea, sitting in front
of the football results which
neither of us really
followed, but we always
had them on anyway.
I loved school and even
when I made it to grammar
school with its mountain of
homework (including Latin)
it didn?t take me long to
settle in.
However, this was when I
began to be conscious of
our lack of money.
It was easy at primary
school ? most of my pals
came from the housing
estate nearby and their
mothers were regulars at
the thrift shop, too.
Grammar school was a
different kettle of fish
altogether. That was when I
started to realise that my
life was different from other
The girls at grammar
school didn?t live in flats
with balconies, they lived in
houses. I was no slouch
when it came to extracurricular activities ? I loved
choir and swimming club ?
but some of the girls in my
form class had piano, ballet
and even horse-riding
?Do you want to do extra
lessons?? my mother asked
one night, when I was trying
to explain about this and
how it made me feel.
I paused before replying.
I knew that the wee tin
Mum kept money in for
?treats? was often empty
and that my school uniform
had caused her a lot of
In fact, Mrs Henderson
had got my blazer from a
girl a few years older who
had grown out of it.
?No,? I answered, not
entirely truthfully. ?Sure,
they?re letting me do a solo
in choir soon, and can?t I
swim in the pool for free??
My mother?s worried face
?Tell me about the book
you?re reading.?
It was my turn to make a
?It?s called ?Lord Of The
Flies?. I don?t like it much.?
My mother had often had
to skip school to look after
her own mother, who was
?bad with her nerves? as
they called such things in
those days.
?How are you getting on
with maths??
?I can?t work it out.? I
fished out the hated maths
homework book.
?Why don?t you rough it
out on scrap paper first and
then we can see where we
With Mum, even maths
homework was layered in
* * * *
Fourth form brought
other challenges, as well as
the relief of being able to
give up both chemistry and
physics in favour of
geography and home
One weekend, my
schoolfriend Penelope
invited me to the cinema.
This was Belfast in the
1980s, and socialising for
teenagers and young folk
was, well, different.
We went to discos
at school, heavily policed
by vigilant teachers, and
to friends? houses.
Sometimes one of the
cousins would take me out
to Crawfordsburn on a
sunny Sunday afternoon.
My mother must have
anticipated the perils of
going out.
?You can go, but only to
the matinee. I don?t want
you hanging around the
town at night.?
I readily agreed. I got the
bus into Belfast on my own
and felt very independent. I
think I met Penelope and
her other pals at the old
ABC cinema.
I do remember what film
we saw: ?Desperately
Seeking Susan? with
I had seen Madonna on
?Top Of The Pops? before,
but Thursday was a heavy
homework night and I
usually only got to see one
I came home from the
cinema with stars in my
?Madonna?s great, Mum!
She wears eyeliner and her
hair?s curly and blonde and
she wears long necklaces
and dangly earrings. And
the film was dead, dead
?I thought you weren?t
really into pop stars,? Mum
said, as she divided up the
fish supper between the
plates she had already
heated in the oven.
Mum was right. I liked
Cliff Richard because my
mother liked him but was
wise enough not to tell my
classmates this. I pretended
to like Duran Duran but in
all honesty, they were a bit
too fancy for me.
?I didn?t think I was,? I
said. ?She?s not really very
?Now, if you are going to
use eye make-up, you must
use the good stuff you get
in Boots and never borrow
eyeliner or mascara from
anyone,? my mother said,
unzipping her own pristine
make-up bag to show me.
?But it?s expensive,? I
said, and then felt mean
because I always tried not
to make an issue over our
lack of money.
?Haven?t you a birthday
coming up??
?Yes,? I said quietly.
Sometimes, I longed for
birthdays to be full of other
people besides just Mum
and me. Sometimes, I
longed for the days when I
didn?t have to worry about
blusher, eyeliner, pop stars
or the pluperfect in French.
Over the next few days, I
felt out of sorts. I could see
all my pals sneakily trying
on eyeliner and blusher in
the cloakrooms at
lunchtime. I felt our lack of
money even more keenly at
weekends, when I still wore
my school shoes, for I only
had those or gym shoes.
?I?m getting a proper
denim jacket for my
birthday,? Penelope
boasted in the cloakroom.
?And a pair of Kickers.?
Penelope already had a
cassette recorder, plus a
whole load of cassettes. I
had to make do with
listening to the Top 40 on
my mum?s old radio at
Sunday teatime.
I went back to finishing
my geography homework.
?How do you spell
* * * *
My birthday presents,
when they came, were
modest but given with a
great deal of care and love.
I unwrapped a stripy
make-up bag and inside
was a rose pink blusher, a
pale pink lipstick, a clear
nail varnish and some
Nivea moisturiser.
However, although I
exclaimed with delight and
gave Mum a hug, it was as
if something had opened up
between Mum and me and
I wasn?t quite sure what to
do about it, never mind put
it into words.
I thought of Penelope and
her denim jacket and Kicker
shoes and the thought
wouldn?t go away.
I could get a job! I was
talking to Penelope?s big
sister at the bus stop one
morning. She worked in a
hairdresser?s and always
looked dead glamorous
with her stilettos and
skin-tight jeans.
?You could work on a
Saturday, sweeping up and
shampooing,? Penelope?s
sister said. ?That?s how I
I had no desire to be a
hairdresser. I couldn?t even
put my own straight hair
into my mother?s Carmen
rollers without difficulty,
but I did want to earn my
own money.
However, when I
tentatively mentioned the
possibility of working in the
hairdresser?s, my mother
?You?ve enough to do
with your schoolwork
without swanning off to the
hairdresser on a Saturday.?
?Penelope?s sister does
it,? I persisted.
see to a customer.
However, this Saturday it
was quiet. I was telling Mrs
Henderson how much I
loved typing class at school.
We were allowed to do it
instead of a free period and
I found that the rhythm of
learning the ?home keys?
suited me.
Mrs Henderson, ever the
canny business woman,
?How far have you got??
?I did a business letter
the other day and I got it
It was as if something had opened
up between Mum and me
?Penelope?s sister doesn?t
have a ton of homework
every weekend. Besides,
you?re not allowed to work
until you get your National
Insurance number and you
have to wait for that until
you?re sixteen.?
?But plenty of other
girls . . .?
My mother showed a rare
moment of lost patience.
?Right, I?m having no
more of this. I don?t care
what other girls do, you
need to concentrate on
your school work. Now, I?ve
had a long day and I
suggest you get your
schoolbag ready for the
I was never a sulker but I
was a good flouncer. I
flounced down to wee Mrs
McCloud?s flat to watch her
colour TV (we still only had
a black and white portable)
and stroke her old cat.
Mum came down with a
peace offering of chocolate
digestive biscuits later on.
Over the next few weeks,
I racked my brains over
how I could earn my own
money. That great staple of
teenage income, babysitting, was out as I was the
youngest of all my cousins.
* * * *
It was Mrs Henderson
who came up with the idea.
Even though I was old
enough to be left on my
own in the flat, I still liked
coming into the ?boutique?
on a Saturday morning.
Sometimes, under my
mother?s or Mrs
Henderson?s supervision, I
would even be allowed to
all right apart from not
knowing how to spell
?Messrs?,? I said proudly.
Nothing more was said,
but the following week, my
mother came home with a
portable Silver Reed
?Mrs Henderson has had
an idea. The lady who used
to do all her typing is going
to live in England and she
wondered if you?d like to
do her typing for a little
?Oh, yes, please! I?d be
brilliant at it and I even
figured out the tab key the
other day,? I said.
?Before you get too
excited, it will only be until
she finds someone else.
There must be no mistakes
so you can?t do it with one
eye on the television, and
all your homework needs to
be done first.
?We can manage it on a
Sunday afternoon, maybe. I
will take the letters to Mrs
Henderson on Monday
morning and if she likes
your work, she will pay you
a fee. She?s loaned us her
I could suddenly see
myself with my very own
spending money and
started fantasising about
dangly earrings and denim
?I?ll start right now!?
?It might be a better idea
if we get this week over us
first and we?ll both look at
everything on Sunday.?
My mother, I realised
when I got to bed, too
excited to sleep, looked
tired, and she had
forgotten to put on
Subscribe Today
? Saving ovEr �
Money-off coupon inside for
Liz Trenow?s great new book
? FrEE English Tea Selection
Tea Caddy.
7 feel-good stories
Perfect pudding
recipes to try
Jan 20, 2018 No. 7710
Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
on the shop price!
Fabulous fiction!
Totally Tangerine Eton Mess
? Mark Neilson?s new serial set in the Scottish Borders
? An atmospheric Venetian romance by Lydia Jones
direct to their door.
? gUaranTEED
to receive their copy before
it?s in the shops.
English Tea Selection
Tea Caddy
? nEvEr MiSSing
Bramley Bap with Lemon,
Raspberry and Basil
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
UK Off-sale date - 24-Jan-18
20-Jan- 2018
an issue of their favourite
Explore picturesque Perthshire
with the
Pooh Bear
in lovely
This cosy
tunic is
so simple
to knit
Digital subscriptions available on
PC, tablet, and mobile
BY POST send coupon to:
The People?s Friend Subscriptions,
PO Box 766,Haywards Heath,RH16 9GF.
0800 318 846 quoting PFEFT
UK only.Lines open 8am to 6pm Mon ? Fri,9am to 5pm Sat.
Overseas +44 1382 575580
For one-off payment orders,enclose your details and a cheque
made payable to DCThomson & Co Ltd.
Complete coupon and send to: The People?s Friend Subscriptions,
PO Box 766,Haywards Heath,RH16 9GF.
Subscription Order Form
? Yes, I would like to subscribe to ?The People?s Friend? for:
DC Thomson & Co Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee, DD1 9QJ.
Originator?s Identification Number
3 8 8 5 5 2
BEST DEAL! Only � every 3 months (UK) by Direct Debit* + FREE GIFT
Name and full postal address of your Bank or Building Society
6 months (26 issues) at � (UK) or �.49 (Overseas) by cheque + FREE GIFT
To the Manager
1 year (51 issues) at � (UK) or �9 (Overseas) by cheque + FREE GIFT
Title ............. Name .............................................................................................................
Address .................................................................................................................................
Postcode ............................Telephone ..............................................................................
email ......................................................................................................................................
Bank/Building Society
Instruction to your Bank or Building Society
Please pay DC Thomson & Co Ltd Direct debit from the account detailed in this instruction subject
to the safeguards assured by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain
with DC Thomson & Co Ltd and if so, details will be passed electronically to my Bank/Building society.
Name(s) of A/c Holder(s)
Bank/Building Account No
Branch Sort Code
Delivery Details (If different from above)
Title ............. Name .............................................................................................................
Address .................................................................................................................................
Postcode ............................Telephone ..............................................................................
Email ......................................................................................................................................
This is not part of the instruction to your Bank or Building society.
DC Thomson & Co.Ltd and its group companies would like to contact you about new products, services and offers we think may be of interest to you.
If you?d like to hear from us by post, please tick here ? telephone, please tick here ? or email, please tick here ?.
From time to time, carefully chosen partner businesses would like to contact you with relevant offers. If you?d like to hear from partner businesses
for this purpose please tick here ?.
*DIRECT DEBIT: Twelve pounds every 3 months subscription offer is only available to recipients within the UK when paying by Direct Debit.
One year Direct Debit rate of � (UK) and � (Overseas). For UK bank accounts only. One year minimum term applies. FREE GIFT: Available
for all new and renewing subscribers. Renewal orders are for payment of Direct Debit only. Please allow up to 28 days delivery from receipt
of payment. Should the gift pictured be unavailable, a replacement gift will be sent. GENERAL: For overseas enquiries, please call: +44 1382
575580 or email Offer ends 28th February 2018.
Bank and Building Societies may not accept
Direct Debits for some types of account
I enclose my cheque (No cash please) for:
made payable to DC Thomson & Co Ltd
her eyeshadow that
morning, which wasn?t
like her.
* * * *
I sat on two cushions on
one of the dining chairs. We
read through each letter
carefully to decipher Mrs
Henderson?s rather rushed
The first letter, which I
laboured over for an hour,
had five mistakes which I
didn?t see until my mother
pointed them out.
?This is too hard,? I
letter that I realised that
Mum never took to her bed
of an afternoon.
I continued to type but
had lost concentration. I
abandoned the letter,
knowing something was
I ran down to Mrs
McCloud?s at nine p.m. that
night to phone for an
Mum was clutching her
side, in so much pain now
that she was unable to
speak. I knew from first aid
at school that I had to be
calm, so I grabbed her
I found out later that Mum had
been really ill
?So is everything worth
having,? my mother said
gently. ?We?re going to
have a tea break now, like
in a proper office, and then
you?re going to try again.
Mistakes go through to the
carbon copy, that?s why
you take things slowly.?
?How do you know that??
?I did typing in the bank
before I married your
father,? she said, boiling
the kettle.
I thought for a moment of
my mother?s life, but not for
too long. At fifteen I was
too focused on the next
thing, in this case a denim
jacket or a pair of Kickers.
I managed to type two
letters that Sunday
afternoon and they felt like
a huge achievement.
?Could you finish the
dishes? I?m just going to
have a lie down,? my
mother said after tea.
?OK,? I said, hoping I
could sneak a chocolate
digestive if she was asleep.
It was only when I was
halfway through the third
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
handbag and her coat and
pulled on my own anorak.
The ambulance men were
big burly Belfast men. I
can?t remember the exact
sequence of events. I
remember there must have
been trouble that night, for
there were police in
But I also remember a
staff nurse telling me that
my mum had a burst
appendix and would need
an operation.
When the nurse asked if
she could call my dad I
forgot all about keeping
calm and started to cry.
I blurted out Mrs
Henderson?s telephone
number through my tears.
My mother had made me
learn it off by heart as Mrs
Henderson had always said
we should call her if we
were in trouble.
It was not Mrs Henderson
who came but her son,
whom I had never met
before. He had recently
returned from living in
Canada: something about a
broken engagement.
Mrs Henderson?s son
wore a jacket and tie and
one of those jackets with
leather patches at the
elbow, like our geography
teacher at school. He
looked like Cliff Richard,
with the same sort of hair.
He pulled a bar of Dairy
Milk from his pocket and
gave it to me, and we sat
and waited. Eventually, he
started to explain the rules
of football to me in such a
way that I understood.
I still love Dairy Milk. For
me, it is the taste of comfort
and kindness.
Mum was in hospital for a
week. They would ring a bell
for visiting in the afternoons
and I would come from
school. I found out later
that she had been very ill
and they?d been afraid that
peritonitis would set in.
?It was good you phoned
the ambulance when you
did,? Mrs Henderson said.
I stayed that first night at
Mrs Henderson?s, in the
spare bedroom which was
huge and had its own sink.
All I really wanted was our
own little flat and home.
Mrs Henderson?s son gave
me a lift to my cousins? the
next day. I would have
preferred to stay at Mrs
Mum was not close to my
Dad?s family and although
my cousins were nice
enough, I liked Mrs
Henderson and her son,
who didn?t expect endless
polite conversation.
My mother was not
allowed back to work for
four weeks. However, one
day, I found her at home,
looking better than she had
done in a long time. She
had finished Mrs
Henderson?s typing, long
abandoned by me in all the
To guarantee you receive each issue
of ?The People?s Friend?, just ask
your newsagent to place a regular
order for you. Your copy of the
?Friend? will then be held for you
to collect, saving you having to
search the shelves.
Some newsagents may even offer a
home delivery service, so just ask
them about this service as well.
Simply complete this form and hand
it to your local newsagent.
Mrs Henderson?s son had
called to collect it. And
there he was, on our
battered old settee,
drinking a cup of coffee and
eating chocolate digestive
* * * *
When I eventually turned
sixteen I got a job on a
Saturday in a shop in town.
It wasn?t like Mrs
Henderson?s ? I wore
polyester overalls and had
to clock in.
All the things I had longed
for not so long ago had lost
their lustre. I was allergic to
eyeliner, blue or otherwise,
and my erstwhile cinema
pal, Penelope, had been
less than kind to me when
Mum was in hospital, so I
no longer wanted a denim
jacket or Kickers shoes like
I had discovered that all I
really wanted, after my
mother?s health scare, was
home, even if it meant the
other girls at school thought
I was untrendy because I
didn?t wear blue eyeliner or
blusher slashed on to my
I spent some of my wages
on a few ?treats? (I still
have the dangly earrings)
but Mum helped me open
up my very own building
society account and I
started to save, as she said
that when I went to
university I would need my
own money for books and
all the rest.
One of my cousins passed
on a cassette recorder as
they were getting a posher
hi-fi, and I taped the Top
40 off the radio.
As for Mrs Henderson?s
son, who looked a little like
Cliff Richard and liked Dairy
Milk, he eventually became
my stepdad, but that really
is a whole other story. n
Please reserve/deliver* a copy of ?The People?s Friend? on a
regular basis, commencing with Issue No........ *delete as appropriate
Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms ...................... First Name ........................................
Surname ....................................................................................................
Address ......................................................................................................
.......................................... Postcode ...............................
Telephone No .................................................................
Inside next week?s issue
Our cover feature:
Willie Shand heads
to glorious Glen
On sale
Lednock, one of his
favourite walks
l Pat Coulter
discovers the
story behind
family TV
l We take a
look at Pancake
Day customs
and have a
selection of
recipes to try
l Beat the
7 short stories
chills in our
cosy shawlneck jacket
in a cable
Never miss The People?s Friend again, with a subscription from our shop.
Visit or call 0800 318846.
A new
Special on
sale every
3 weeks! now
Available to buy from all good
newsagents and supermarkets
You can also take out
a subscription ? call
0800 318846 or visit
I?ve loved staying at home to
look after the children, but now
I need to go back to work . . .
Illustration by iStock.
LEX has gone to
work, but the air
still feels heavy
with last night?s
angry words.
Even the children are quiet.
I try to lighten the mood
by singing along to the
?Tickle the world, tickle
the world. La, la, la ??
?Stop.? Ollie, my sevengoing-on-seventeen-yearold, covers his ears and
pulls a face.
Josh, his older brother
(by 10 minutes), pauses in
his daily bid to beat the
world record for gobbling
up breakfast to sigh.
?It?s take on the world,
not tickle ? and you?re way
off key.? He?s obviously an
expert now he?s in the
school choir.
I can remember a time
when they both used to
giggle and cheerfully join in
with my musical renditions
without worrying about
such details as the right
words and tune.
It seems I?m hitting the
wrong note with everyone
at the moment.
Back from the school run
an hour later, dropping a
full carton of milk all over
the kitchen floor does
nothing to lift my mood.
Leaving my cursory
attempts to mop up, I grab
my phone and keys and
head off in search of a
decent coffee and some
sound advice.
Luckily for me, Kate?s on
a day off from her duties at
the health centre.
A blast of Radiohead
greets me as the door
swings open before I?ve
stopped knocking. Her
eager, welcoming smile
fades when she sees me,
which doesn?t bode well. I
wonder if Alex has already
spoken to her.
?Sorry,? I stammer. ?Is it
a bad time? Shall I go??
?No. Not at all.? She
shakes her head. ?Come in.
I?m waiting for a delivery
and I thought you were it.?
The music?s turned off as
I follow her down the hall,
relieved that Kate is
obviously unaware of last
night?s argument.
Sitting at the breakfast
bar in her sleek new
kitchen, I watch my motherin-law?s handling of the
espresso coffee machine in
I?ve always got on very
well with Kate, better than
with my own mum, but
she?s so up for taking on all
the latest gizmos that it
makes me feel a bit of a
I can sort out any
problem a computer throws
at me, but household
gadgets are a complete
?So what new gadget
have you ordered this
time?? I ask.
?A garden shredder. The
last one?s packed up. I was
hoping it would come in
time for me to get to my
yoga class.?
Kate?s face suddenly
lights up and she fixes me
with one of her dazzling
?I don?t suppose you?d
hang on here while I go,
would you??
I think about the pile of
dirty washing and the milky
kitchen floor waiting to be
sorted and shrug. There?s
no contest, really.
?No problem.?
?You?re an absolute
star,? Kate gushes,
disappearing upstairs to get
ready, leaving me to
grapple with the hissing
coffee machine.
Within minutes she?s
back looking like a large,
shiny aubergine and plonks
down on the stool beside
me. My mother-in-law?s not
really built for a leotard.
She takes a quick sip of
her coffee, staring at me
across the rim of her mug.
?So what?s on your
mind?? She knows me so
well it?s scary.
?Nothing important. I
don?t want to hold you up.?
Suddenly I don?t feel up to
the heart to heart I?d hoped
?Spill,? Kate orders in her
no-nonsense, practice
manager?s voice that
brooks no argument.
I tell her about last
night?s discussion that
ended up being a row.
?Well, you did agree to
go back to work once the
twins were established at
school, didn?t you?? she
I nod.
?Yes, I know, and I will,
but it?s not that easy after
so many years out of the
workplace. Things change.?
I?m spouting the same
stuff as last night and
sound just as feeble now as
I did then. I can even guess
Kate?s next remark.
?And before you say it, I
know I haven?t really done
anything about it yet. But
it?s complicated,? I add
?It shouldn?t be. You do
want a job, don?t you??
Trust Kate to go straight for
the throat.
Feeling like I?m on the
naughty step, I squirm
under her steady scrutiny,
not knowing how to
Just like last night, I?m
struggling to find the right
words because I?m still not
a hundred per cent sure
what it is I want.
Kate puts down her mug
and glances at the clock. I
take a deep breath and go
for it.
?I don?t want to go back
to my old job,? I declare.
?I?ve enjoyed being at
home with the boys and the
thought of having to sit
staring at a screen for eight
hours every day again
doesn?t appeal to me.?
Now I?ve started,
the words come easily
to me.
?I thought I?d retrain
for something less
mundane and more
rewarding. Something with
a bit of variety.?
?And what does Alex
think about that??
?I don?t know. I didn?t
really get a chance to go
into the details.?
I remember the tight lips
and angry flush on my
spouse?s face. The sharp,
clipped words accusing me
of being self-centred and
have you forgotten that??
Of course I hadn?t. I just
chose to bury my head in
the sand; it?s what I do.
Like Alex?s short fuse, it?s a
trait inherited from my
?Aren?t they advertising
for a TA at the boys?
school?? Kate sees the
baffled look on my face and
explains. ?If you want to
teach, which I think you?d
be great at, you can start
by getting paid work as a
classroom or teaching
assistant and study for your
Alex?s parting shot underlined our
precarious finances clearly
What hurt most is the
fact that it?s probably true.
I?ve loved the challenge of
full-time childcare so much
that I?ve been putting off
the inevitable return to
work. I suppose I?m guilty
as charged.
?You mean Alex had a
meltdown before you?d
finished explaining, right??
she asks, and I nod. ?That
short fuse comes from my
ex, I?m afraid.?
To be fair, I didn?t exactly
stay calm, either. I don?t
even remember how it all
started ? only how it ended,
which was miserably. I hate
arguing with Alex.
?What sort of job were
you thinking?? Kate asks.
?Well, working with
children would be ideal, but
I don?t have the right
qualifications, so I?d have
to get them,? I reply. ?The
trouble is, that will cost
money, which we don?t
Alex?s parting shot had
underlined our precarious
finances quite clearly.
?You know we can?t
afford to take the boys to
Disneyworld in the States
on just my wage, and we
did promise them we?d try
to get there next year. Or
qualifications part time.
?My neighbour?s
daughter did that and now
she?s a primary school
teacher.? Another glance at
the clock. ?I?m going to be
Snatching up her car
keys, Kate blows me a kiss
and heads for the front
As she hurries down the
hall, she shouts back to me.
?Get online now and do
some serious job searching.
Actions speak much louder
than words.?
As always, Kate?s right. I
should stop agonising
about it all and do
something constructive. At
the very least it?ll prove to
Alex that I?m not shirking
my responsibilities and that
I do want to work.
I soon find the job advert
on the boys? school?s
website. I e-mail them
straight away for an
application pack.
While I?m waiting for a
reply, Kate?s garden
shredder arrives. Having
checked it over and put it
in the garage, I check my
e-mails and there it is.
Leaving a note for Kate, I
hurry home to find my CV.
If I?m to meet the deadline I
need to complete the job
application and send it off
Ignoring the cat?s
demands for attention, I get
to work. It takes time, as it
involves a call to an
ex-colleague now working in
human resources for advice
on updating my CV.
Finally the job
application?s filled in and I
press Send with a
triumphant flourish and a
feeling of excited
anticipation. The future
suddenly looks brighter and
I can?t wait to tell Alex all
about it.
When the phone rings I
answer it straight away.
?You?re sounding a lot
more cheerful,? Kate says.
?Well, thanks to you I?ve
just taken the first step
towards my new career.?
?Fantastic. It sounds like
you?ve started celebrating
already. Isn?t it a bit soon?
You haven?t actually got a
job yet, have you?? I can
hear the smile in her voice.
?No, but you know me.
Once I put my mind to
something I usually get
what I want eventually.? I
laugh. ?And it?s funny you
should mention a
celebration ? I need a
Half an hour later it?s all
arranged and dinner for
two tonight at Alex?s
the washing?s in. Everything
is looking perfect for when
Alex gets home.
In the shower, desperate
to avoid a repeat of last
night?s argument, I work on
my strategy.
I decide to explain my
thinking in the same way I
did to Kate and trust that
Alex will understand and
support my change of
career, just as she did when
I made the decision to
become a house husband.
It was an unusual concept
seven years ago. My
parents were less than
enthusiastic, especially
Mum, who worried I?d
somehow become less of a
But it was a no-brainer
really. My highly qualified
wife?s earnings far exceeded
mine and I was content to
stay at home and look after
the twins, saving a fortune
on childcare.
It?s not always been plain
sailing for either of us, and I
can see that being the main
breadwinner is beginning to
take its toll on Alex.
It?s time I shared the
financial burden once more.
Not that it?s going to be
easy changing careers at my
age, but now I?ve made the
decision, I?m determined to
As a classroom assistant I
won?t be earning much to
Now I?ve made the decision, I?m
determined to succeed
favourite restaurant is
booked. Kate?s going to
pick Ollie and Josh up from
school and take them to
her house for a sleepover,
allowing Alex and me a well
overdue night out on our
own to talk with no
Full of nervous energy, I
sort out the cat and the
kitchen floor, and give the
whole house a clean while
start with, but I think we
could manage a few days in
Disneyland Paris next year,
providing I manage to find
a job soon.
I hope Josh and Ollie will
be happy with that. I?ll
threaten them with my
rendition of ?Tickle The
World? at the next school
disco if they complain.
That?s guaranteed to put a
stop to any argument! n
Discover a new way to enjoy our favourite short stories
with weekly audio readings which are easy to listen to.
Each one lasts 15 to 25 minutes ? just the right length
for listening to with a cup of tea!
A fabulous Apple
It?s So Easy To Enter
F you want easy-to-use
technology at your
fingertips, an Apple iPad
is the perfect choice
? and this is your
chance to win your own.
The gold-coloured
9.7-inch iPad has a
10-hour battery life and is
slimline and lightweight,
making it easy to use at
home or on the move.
You can do everyday
things like shopping online
? perfect for these cold
winter days, when we
would all rather stay in by
the fire!
The iPad offers you the
opportunity to make the
very most of everything the
internet has to offer,
whether you fancy
browsing the sales,
watching a film, planning
next year?s holiday or
In Greek mythology, who was
said to turn everything he
touched into gold?
a Icarus
catching up with family
and friends by e-mail or
FaceTime. It also comes
with a camera and video
All the apps which make
modern living so much
easier are right there at
your fingertips ? there are
more than a million apps
designed for the iPad.
The Apple iPad has 32GB
of storage and is priced
around �9. However,
you have the chance to
win our fabulous prize
simply by answering the
question opposite.
b Achilles
c Midas
09012 925 024
Text PF, your name,
address then
a, b or c to 64343 (�00)
Once you know the answer, just call 09012 925 024 (calls cost
�02. Calls from mobiles will cost more) or text PF, followed by a
space, then your answer (a, b or c) and your name and address,
to 64343 (texts charged at �plus your standard network rate).
Please note that you can only enter this competition by calling or
texting. Please visit our website for our full competition Ts&Cs: or send a large
stamped self-addressed envelope to The People?s Friend
Marketing, Copy of your Competition Terms, DC Thomson,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
Lines will open for UK-only entries at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 27 and
close at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018. The winner will be drawn at
random from the correct entries after the closing date. Employees of DC
Thomson & Co. Ltd., and their close relatives are not allowed to enter.
Competition contact details: Premium Rate Telephone Services
Department, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
Helpline: 01382 426103. Your personal data will not be used for any
other purpose than entry to this competition.
Since the
allowed no
music in her
life . . .
Wooden Heart
Illustration by Helen Welsh.
The Story So Far
out of textiles college. Her
father STEPHEN is a
widower who recently lost
his job as an engineer and
is currently restoring his
vintage Austin 7 car.
When Stephen married
his Indian wife, his father
disowned him, so it is a
surprise to find, upon his
father?s death, that he has
inherited his entire estate,
including his cottage and
woodcarving shed. He and
Ash sell their house and
move into the cottage.
While deciding how she
wants her career to
progress, CALUM, a
woodworker, offers Ash
space in an old dye works
in which to work.
once a professional
violinist, lives a reclusive
life since an accident left
her unable to play. After
bumping into one another,
she and Stephen have
become friends . . .
T was a typical showery
day among the Borders
hills, and Gabrielle had
been in such a hurry to
catch her bus that she
left her umbrella at work.
Getting off the bus
reluctantly at the Melrose
rugby ground, she lifted
her coat collar against the
heavy rain and made a
quick decision.
Her favourite tearoom
was across the street from
where she stood, while her
home was half a mile
Head down, she scurried
across the road to the
tearoom and pushed
through the door.
?Rats!? she muttered,
wiping rain from her face.
The tearoom was full to
overflowing with day
trippers, sheltering from
the rain outside. Every
table was crammed with
people, with others waiting
hopefully in the reception
space in front of her.
Pushing back outside,
she put her head down
against the slanting torrent
and ran across the road to
the baker?s, which had a
tearoom behind the main
Climbing the steps, she
opened the old-fashioned
door and stepped inside.
The shop was empty and
both assistants looked up
expectantly, but when she
moved through into the
tearoom, it was as busy as
the other had been.
She hesitated. If she
bought something from the
shop, maybe they would let
her shelter inside until the
shower was over.
Turning back towards the
shop, her eye caught a face
she knew. It was Stephen.
On impulse, she decided to
go over and say hello, and
was halfway across to the
table when she noticed that
he had company.
By now Stephen had seen
her and waved her across
to join them.
?Hello,? Gabrielle said
awkwardly. ?I came in to
escape the rain, but every
table?s taken.?
She was gabbling, she
thought. The presence of
the young girl had thrown
her on to the back foot.
Stephen settled the
matter by rising and pulling
out a side chair to the
?Then join us. Would you
like tea or coffee? You?re
welcome to the cakes here,
but I?m afraid we?ve eaten
all the best ones.?
As she murmured her
thanks and sat down, he
added, ?This is my daughter
Asha ? Ash, for short.?
Ash nodded across the
Gabrielle smiled hesitantly
?Gabrielle,? she said.
?But no shortened names
for me, please.?
Stephen waved to the
busy waitress.
Gabrielle glanced up at
the hovering girl.
?A pot of tea for one,?
she said. ?Unless . . .??
?No, we?re fine,? Stephen
assured her.
?Speak for yourself,? Ash
said. ?Make that two,
As the waitress withdrew,
Ash sighed.
?We?ve been sweeping
and scrubbing out the
house all day to get it ready
to go on the market. You?ve
no idea how much mess the
clearance men brought in
with them. I?m parched and
more than ready for
another cup of tea.?
A nice, pure Borders
voice, Gabrielle thought.
She had a lovely face and
dark eyes which held the
same sparkle as her
?Which cake can you
spare?? she asked.
?All of them, if you want,?
Stephen said.
Gabrielle helped herself to
a fruit scone. It was
?So you really have
moved to the cottage?? she
?A couple of days ago,?
Ash replied. ?We?re still
sorting things out. I told
Dad we should have done
the decorating and
refurbishing before we
moved, but he was in such
a hurry. Are you the
violinist Dad drove to the
hospital a couple of weeks
?Ex-violinist.? Gabrielle
sighed. ?Not from the fall I
had, but the car accident
before that.?
She turned her left hand
over, cupped, as if playing
the violin.
?The accident damaged
both bones and tendons,
leaving my hand too tight
and stiff to play.?
She moved her fingers
slowly, clumsily. They
clenched into a frustrated
?That?s so sad,? Ash said.
?What do you do now??
?Ash!? Stephen exclaimed.
Gabrielle laughed.
?Not at all,? she said.
?I?m working in a charity
shop two or three days a
week in Galashiels.? Her
smile turned wry.
?There?s not much that a
professional musician can
do if something stops them
from making music. And
you, Ash ? are you the
bright future of design, like
your father told me??
Ash shook her head.
?No way!? She laughed.
?I?ve just graduated and
got myself a place for a
studio. I?ll be trying out
different things there to see
where my interests take
me.? She shrugged. ?I?m
still taking my first steps
away from the protection of
the college.?
Gabrielle inclined her
?I wish you luck,? she
said. ?Luck to go with the
talent your dad sees in you.
Just as all dads should.?
?Thank you.? Ash smiled.
?Have you tried a physio to
see if he can get your
fingers working properly
?Yes,? Gabrielle said. ?It
seemed to make things
worse. The car accident
destroyed both my
beautiful old violin and my
career. Out of the two, the
loss of the violin was more
This discussion was
moving too close to home.
Gabrielle glanced out
through the window.
?The sun has come out
again,? she said, reaching
for her bag. ?It always
does, even after the
heaviest rain. I must get
back to Franz. Let me pay
for this.?
She knew they must be
tight for money.
?Not at all,? Stephen
said. ?My turn.?
?You bought coffees at
the hospital,? she
?And you made me tea at
your house.? He smiled.
?So this is my round.?
They rose from the table.
?I?ll take it out of Ash?s
pocket money,? he added.
?You can try,? Ash said.
Gabrielle laughed.
?Thank you. It?s been
lovely to see you both, and
the next round is mine.?
She smiled at Stephen. ?I
have a witness.?
?Deal,? Stephen agreed.
?Goodbye, and thanks
again,? Gabrielle said as
she left.
As she reached the shop
doorway, she heard Ash?s
quiet voice behind her,
saying something that she
wasn?t meant to hear. It
made her blush.
?What a nice lady,? Ash
said. ?I like her.?
* * * *
After only a few weeks in
Denholm, Stephen found
the present blending
seamlessly into the past.
Not least when he walked
to the stream above the
village to discover that the
stretch where he had
guddled trout as a boy
almost 35 years ago was
virtually unchanged.
Smiling, he leaned on the
wooden gate, letting the
summer sun warm his
shoulders and the back of
his neck.
A movement caught his
eye. It was a farmer with his
Fred Wotherspoon.?
He held out a workroughened hand and
Stephen shook it.
?Stephen Melville.?
The farmer leaned his
shoulders against the gate
and together they admired
the tinkling stream. The
sheepdog gave Stephen a
baleful glance and lay down
at the farmer?s feet.
?The village lads tell me
you?re into classic cars and
engines,? Wotherspoon
finally said. ?You keep a
classic car in old Melville?s
?That?s right,? Stephen
replied. ?A 1934 Austin 7. I
found it in a barn and now
I?m rebuilding it.?
This discussion was moving too
close to home
sheepdog, walking down
through the field and
following the stream.
He watched them lazily,
then saw the farmer?s head
rise and a hand come up to
screen the sun from his
The man paused for an
instant, then came striding
up to meet him at the gate,
his sheepdog following, its
nose barely an inch behind
the farmer?s heels.
?Fine day,? the farmer
said, reaching the other
side of the gate.
?It is,? Stephen said. ?I?ve
come up for a breath of
fresh air to clear my head
from paint fumes. What
started as a patch-up job
has turned into a full-scale
face lift. My daughter?s in
Hawick, buying new curtains
and having a look at carpet
?Aye,? the farmer replied.
?But when women look,
they generally go back and
buy. Are you the new guy
come to the village? Down
in the old joiner?s cottage??
?More an old boy, coming
back,? Stephen said. ?I
grew up here. I was the
joiner?s son. And, provided
that it?s now too late for
you to sue me, I guddled
trout down there when I
was a lad. Right round that
bend in the river.?
A broad smile broke out
on the farmer?s face.
?So did I,? he said. ?Got
some good ?uns there. I?m
?Is that your business,
working on old stuff to
?No, it?s a hobby,?
Stephen said. ?I?m
rebuilding it to keep.?
The sun beat down on
both of them.
?Know anything about old
diesel engines??
Wotherspoon finally asked.
?Big ?uns, not the tiddly
little diesels that you get in
modern cars.?
?I?ve spent my life with
big diesel engines,?
Stephen told the farmer.
?Everything from a motor
launch or tug, to a supply
ship, or even the rigs
themselves. All sizes of
diesels, some nearly as big
as the cottage.?
Wotherspoon sniffed.
?I?ve an old beauty,? he
said. ?A Fordson. My dad?s
first diesel tractor. I learned
to drive in it.?
Stephen?s eyes narrowed.
?Fordson diesel? Which
year?? he asked.
?It?s from 1950.?
?Wow!? Stephen
exclaimed. ?Then it?s the
Fordson Diesel Maxi, the
diesel tractor which spelled
the end for petrol tractors
on farms throughout the
?It can out-pull any petrol
tractor,? Wotherspoon
He glanced round at
?It hasn?t been
running properly in
Departing 6 May 2018
Sailing from Dundee on board Magellan
This tremendous value, week-long voyage
from Dundee will showcase Western Norway?s
breathtaking fjordland in its early summer cloak.
Departing March - October 2018
Flying from 9 UK Airports
Low Deposits just �pp**
Discover a corner of the
world, where daily life
seems to move a little
slower, on an escorted
tour that includes three
unforgettable rail
journeys through the
timeless landscape of
the Isle of Man.
Price includes:
Journey on the narrow-gauge Isle of Man Steam Railway
The Manx Electric Railway is Britain?s longest
Explore historic Laxey and visit classic resort Port Erin
Take the Snaefell Mountain Railway
See ?Seven Kingdoms? from the summit station
An included ?Go Explore Heritage? card
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
Four nights? half-board hotel accommodation, return
flights and transfers
Departing April - October 2018
Flying from 12 UK Airports
Low Deposits just �pp**
Experience some of the world?s most spectacular
scenery as you enjoy journeys on three of Scotland?s ?
and indeed the world?s ? most scenic railways.
Departing 5 Jul, 9, 28 Sept & 5 Oct 2018
Flying from 9 UK Airports
Departing 3 June 2018
Sailing from Dundee on board Magellan
This summertime ?Round Britain? sailing sees
Magellan head north to Kirkwall before calling at
Mull?s pretty Tobermory.
Please send details and a brochure of:
PLF River Cruises PLF Ocean Cruises
Begin and end beneath
Rhineland capital
Cologne?s soaring
cathedral and take in
the very best of the
river?s sparkling jewels.
Price includes:
7 nights? full board accommodation on board Olympia
Spend a morning in Koblenz
Cruise along the classic UNESCO-listed Middle Rhine
Overnight in fun-loving R黡esheim and a call at Mainz
Excursion to Heidelberg from Mannheim
Call at Strasbourg, Speyer, Boppard and Cologne
On-board evening entertainment, English commentary
and a cruise manager
? Return flights and transfers
Coach & EurostarTM travel also available.
PLK UK Breaks by Air
Name ........................................................................................................
Address ....................................................................................................
0330 160 7908 & quote the OFFER CODE PLF
............................................. Postcode
Telephone ..............................................................................................
Email Address ........................................................................................
From time to time, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., it?s group companies and its partner
businesses would like to contact customers about new products and offers we think may
be of interest. We?ll assume that we can contact you by post or telephone unless you tick
the relevant box. No contact from DC Thomson & Co. Ltd, or its group companies unless
relating to an existing order No contact from our partner businesses unless it relates
to an existing offer
To receive a full detailed brochure, complete the
order form and send to: Freepost, Newmarket
Holidays, PLF Travel Offers (no stamp
Organised by Newmarket Holidays Ltd. ABTA V7812. ATOL protected 2325. Single person supplement applies. Standard call rates apply. DC Thomson and its group of companies would
like to contact you about new offers and services we think may be of interest to you. By providing your contact details and email address we assume that we can contact you by post and
email. *Book by 14 Feb 2018 quoting code JANRC. Price shown includes discount. Offer subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. **Book by 14 Feb 2018. Offer subject to
availability & may be withdrawn at any time. ?Book by 31 March 2018. Offer subject to availability & may be withdrawn at any time. Prices shown include discount.
years,? he said. ?Fancy
having a look at it??
A broad grin broke out
on his face.
?By way of repaying all
these trout you stole??
?Guilty as charged.?
Stephen laughed. ?Where is
this old Fordson of yours??
?Up at the farm.?
?Lead me to it.?
* * * *
?He will be in here,? Ash
said, reaching for the
kitchen door handle. ?Oh!?
The cottage door was
?I left him with a paint
brush in his hand,? she said
mournfully, fishing in her
bag for her house key. ?Big
?Maybe he?s tunnelled to
freedom?? Calum smiled.
?At least he?s locked the
door behind him.? Ash
sighed. ?Come in and I?ll
make us both a mug of tea.
He can?t be far away, and
we can ask him about the
wood when he comes back.
?It?s all out there in the
shed, and I?m sure he won?t
mind you having some.?
She unlocked the kitchen
door and headed over to
the kettle.
Calum hesitated in the
doorway, then his eye
caught the kitchen
cupboards on the walls
opposite, and drew him
into the house. He looked
up, frowning.
?Second from the left for
the teabags,? Ash said.
automatically, Calum
handed her two teabags,
then opened the cupboard
door a little wider to let the
light from the window shine
across it.
?Awesome,? he said
quietly. ?He?s used mortise
and tenon joints
throughout. I haven?t seen
these since my
apprenticeship.? Closing
the cupboard door, he
opened another, then a
third. ?These are a work of
art,? he muttered.
?Your tea, Calum,? Ash
said, holding out his mug.
He didn?t hear her as
already he was heading for
the front room. By the time
she had carried both mugs
into its doorway, he was on
his hands and knees, then
lying on his side beneath
the table.
?It?s his trademark,
locking everything together
like jigsaw pieces,? he
muttered. ?Who made this
stuff, Ash??
?The grandfather I never
met,? Ash told him. ?Your
tea, Calum.?
?Right,? he said absently,
rising and reaching for the
His eyes were shining and
his hair had fallen over his
Such a nice open face,
she thought, fighting the
urge to reach out and push
the hair back from his
Taking the mug of tea
from her, he stared at the
table and chairs.
?In the really old days,
you had to produce some
cabinet work which showed
all your skills to their best,?
he told her. ?An exhibition
piece ? a masterpiece,
really, before you were
judged fit to be a
cabinetmaker. This work is
that good.?
?Is it?? she asked, her
eyes still on the lock of hair.
Something in her flat tone
made him look up.
?Sorry,? he apologised. ?I
get carried away. I love
wood and how it has been
worked, and the
craftsmanship here is truly
excellent.? He paused, then
asked, ?You said that you
never met him??
?It?s a long story,? Ash
said. ?Family feud.?
There came the sound of
the kitchen door opening,
then her dad stood in the
doorway. He was filthy with
black oil, and held in his
hand a greasy metal fitting.
?Don?t put that down in
here!? she said urgently.
He blinked at her,
oblivious to place and
?This is real history,?
Stephen said. ?One of the
earliest Comet swirl
chambers ? the device
Harry Ricardo invented to
turn diesel oil into a fine
spray for combustion in
smaller units like tractors. A
major breakthrough in
diesel development.?
?Take it to the
woodshed,? Ash ordered,
pointing to the door.
?It?s been damaged,
somehow. It was in a classic
Fordson at Wotherspoon?s
farm,? he continued, still in
his own world. ?Fred wants
me to trace a replacement
unit on the internet, or
make another in a metalworking shop.
?Oh, sorry. We have
company,? he said, finally
noticing Calum.
?We have.? Ash laughed.
?Calum from the Hawick
dyeworks. And talk English,
please, because I?ve been
listening to another
obsessive ??
?On tractors?? Her
father?s face brightened.
?Woodwork.? She sighed.
?About the furniture in
here . . .?
?Oh,? Stephen said. ?I?d
offer to shake your hand,
but . . .? He held up a dirty
?It?s OK,? Calum replied
with a grin. ?Nice to meet
you, Mr Melville.?
?Stephen. Being called Mr
makes me feel old.?
?He?s come to see
Grandad?s workshed,? Ash
Stephen smiled.
?No problem,? he said. ?I
don?t know what half the
tools are for. I?m an
engineer, not a joiner.?
?Cabinetmaker,? Calum
?Yes, I suppose he was,?
Stephen admitted. ?Come
on. Bring your tea with you.
Are you coming, too, Ash??
?No,? his daughter said
quickly. ?I?ll make you a
mug of tea for when you
come back, so don?t keep
Calum out there for ever,
talking tools and engines.?
However, the mug of tea
was growing cold before
Ash was driven to go out to
the workshed and rescue
Calum. By then, they had
the bonnet panels folded
back, and their two heads
were deep inside the Austin
7?s engine.
Words like ?cylinder
heads? and ?piston rings?
were being bandied back
and forth.
Boys and toys, she
thought resignedly.
?Haven?t we to be in
Jedburgh by five to pick up
some second-hand tools??
she asked Calum?s back.
The two men looked
round guiltily.
?A few minutes late won?t
matter,? Calum said.
?In the real world it?s half
past five,? she accused.
?And we?re still twenty
minutes from Jedburgh.?
?Right,? he said.
In Calum?s small car,
heading fast to Jedburgh,
Ash turned round.
?What did he say about
giving you some wood??
she asked.
He shot her a shamefaced
?I forgot to ask,? he
* * * *
?Ash?? Calum asked.
?Can you spare a couple of
?Hmm,? Ash replied
absently, her pencil flying
across the sheet of paper
as she tried to sketch the
flowing pattern which was
evolving in her mind?s eye.
Calum waited patiently in
the gloom of the old
building, watching as the
large freehand drawing built
up in deft strokes to a
female figure, wrapped in a
soft material, where the
pattern complemented the
relaxed shape of the model.
Tilting his head, he
appreciated the artistry,
the natural feel of the
emergent garment. In a
textile town, you learn to
read drawings and their
implications as easily as a
?You?re wasted in here,?
he said quietly.
?What?? Ash laid down
her pencil, looking critically
at the result of her feverish
Picking up an eraser, she
rubbed out part of the
pattern, then set it down
again with new and bolder
pencil lines.
Somehow, the pattern
became alive.
Then she blinked, as if
registering Calum?s
?Hi,? she said. ?Sorry, I
didn?t see you creeping
?I didn?t creep,? he
protested. ?I strode up
manfully and full of
?Right,? she said, a smile
on her lips. ?My mistake. Is
shuffling guiltily better than
Calum grinned.
?Whatever,? he said.
?Ash, there?s something
I want to talk about.?
He stopped as the door
into the dyeworks room
flew open and two of the
other residents came in,
arguing about a design
?Drat,? he said. ?How
about I buy you a coffee??
?How much do I
contribute this time?? Ash
Calum was all heart and
no wallet.
Smiling, she watched him
running a quick mental
check on his finances.
?I can manage if we go to
Brenda?s caf� up the road,
and not a posh one,? he
told her sheepishly.
Ash stood.
?How could I refuse?? she
They walked over the
bridge and up into the
scruffier part of town. This
workmen?s caf� didn?t
feature in any local tourism
literature, but it served
decent coffee and was
usually quiet at this time of
Carrying their mugs to a
clean table, they sat down.
?Right,? Ash began.
?What is it??
Calum turned bright pink.
?There?s someone I want
you to meet,? he said.
Ash raised an enquiring
He fidgeted with his mug
of coffee, his eyes on the
table top.
?I spoke to a guy about
your work,? he finally said.
?He?s organising an
exhibition. One of the big
mills is sponsoring an open
workshop where young
designers can have some of
their fashion work on
display, but also a desk to
work on, so that visitors
can watch a design
?A guy I know has been
charged with setting it up,
and he wants to run it on a
theme of Living Design, so
that people can appreciate
the process of creation as
well as seeing the final
garments,? he finished.
Ash stared at him.
?Why me?? she asked.
?Why not?? he replied.
?You?re a natural. All you
need is a break, and these
exhibitions will have all
sorts of guys from the
fashion trade snooping
around, trying to suss out
new talent or steal designs.?
?I couldn?t.? Ash sighed.
?I?m not ready yet.?
?That?s just it. You?ll never
feel ready. But I have seen
dozens of wannabe
designers at work in here,
and your blend of Indian
and Borders traditions is
more creative than anything
they ever managed to
Ash blushed.
?Let me think about it,?
she said.
?It?s too late,? Calum said.
?I?ve already arranged to
bring you and your portfolio
over tonight.?
?But we were supposed to
be doing driving practice,?
she protested.
?OK, so you can drive
there, show him your
designs, then drive back.?
Ash stared at him.
?And if I say no?? she
He shrugged.
?Then you buy the next
round of coffee on your
?I?ve bought most of the
last rounds,? she argued.
?Temporary cashflow
problems. You?ll get your
Ash shook her head.
?You are going to have to
hurry up to be a millionaire
if it?s to happen in my
lifetime,? she told him.
?I?m working on it,? he
said, his eyes sparkling.
?Working, maybe, but will
you ever make your millions
out of recycling old wood
into bowls and forks and
spoons?? she asked.
Calum?s smile faded.
?It?s unlikely,? he said.
?They sell at craft shows,
and I make a living, but only
because I?m still staying at
?So you?re a fine one to
lecture me,? Ash pointed
out. ?You can do better,
He shrugged.
?Yeah, I could be a joiner,
working with some builders.
But I want to give the craft
side a proper chance. I was
trained as a cabinetmaker,
not just a joiner.
?In the building trade I
would be fitting pre-cut
joints together, then locking
them into place with a staple
gun. Where?s the creativity
in that??
Ash stared at him,
knowing that inside his
carefree, bumbling exterior,
there was a craftsman, pure
and simple.
?Let?s strike a deal,? she
finally said.
?How much is it going to
cost me?? he asked.
?Nothing. I will see this
guy of yours tonight,
provided you go back to my
dad and ask him to let you
use my grandfather?s tools
and some of the wood in
the shed.
?Make a couple of
cabinets like the ones in the
house, or a table and
chairs, then take these to a
craft fair and see how they
His eyes were suddenly
very serious.
?Do you think he?d let
me?? he asked.
?Do you think the guy
we?re seeing tonight will be
interested in my work??
?Given the gear, I could
make something really
decent,? Calum muttered.
Checking his hand for
sawdust, he held it out.
?OK, it?s a deal.?
The warmth of his hand
lingered on in her own, long
after he took it away.
* * * *
There was a brisk wind
coming from the northwest, and the coolness it
carried was refreshing after
the blistering warmth of the
last few days.
To be out walking the dog
was once again a pleasure
and Gabrielle sighed
contentedly, tucking the
hair back from her face.
In front of her, on the
path alongside the Tweed,
Franz was darting from
scent to scent.
As she watched, smiling,
he stopped, staring intently
?Oh, no.? She groaned as
he laid his ears back and
bolted up the path.
There were no rabbits in
sight, only the approaching
figure of Stephen. Her heart
She watched him bend
down to make a fuss of the
dog leaping around his legs.
?I thought you had left
Melrose,? she complained
when she reached him.
?Not returned to give this
little hooligan an excuse to
Stephen smiled.
?Just passing through,?
he said. ?I was over looking
around some of the car
dealers in Gala. The house
sale has been agreed so I?m
nearly solvent. The money I
have still to get is burning a
hole in my pocket.?
?Did you see anything??
she asked.
?A couple of possibilities,?
he said. ?There?s no real
hurry to make up my mind,
although Ash has started to
take driving lessons, and
already we fight about who
will take the car each day.?
He smiled.
?She?s getting plenty of
driving practice in with a
friend from the producers?
commune where she?s
working in Hawick.?
He paused, colouring.
?I stopped off on impulse.
I was heading home when I
thought you might be
walking Franz at the river. It
seems a bit silly now.?
Gabrielle fell in beside
him on the path.
?I?m glad you followed
your impulse,? she said.
?Would it stretch to letting
you have a cup of tea with
me? It would be nice to chat
to someone.?
He looked embarrassed.
?That would be lovely,?
he replied. ?But you gave
me back my scarf. This time
I have no excuse.?
?Who cares?? Gabrielle
As they walked, they
chatted about the work she
was doing in the charity
shop, and how the ongoing
redevelopment of the town
centre had temporarily
emptied it of life.
?Most of the other shops
are gone,? she said,
?leaving only charity shops
Reaching home, she
ushered him into the front
room while she made a pot
of tea for them both, and
put some biscuits on a
Bringing through the tea
tray, she set it down on the
low table between the
chairs. Stephen?s back was
to her, studying the array of
music along the wall.
He turned, frowning.
?I think you said it was
once an obsession,? he said
quietly. ?The music, I mean.
What did you mean??
She poured tea into the
cups as he came over and
sat down.
?Do you never listen to it
any more?? he asked, his
voice still quiet.
?No,? she replied.
There was a long pause,
broken by the noise of the
cup and saucer sliding
across the table to him.
Nodding his thanks, he
left them untouched, his
eyes still on hers.
?Why not?? he asked.
?Or is that too painful a
question? If so, forgive me.?
Gabrielle sipped her tea,
which scalded her throat. It
made her cough.
His eyes never left hers as
he waited quietly.
She sighed, and it seemed
to come from the depths of
her soul.
?If you are good at
something,? she said. ?I
mean, really good at it.
More than good enough to
take your place among the
first violins in any European
orchestra and be accepted
with respect by the
members of that
section . . .?
Her voice faltered and she
?Then something
happens, taking it all away
from you,? she continued,
?the world stops. The hurt
is more painful than having
an arm or leg torn off.
Music was my whole life. It
left no room for anything or
anyone else.
?If I wasn?t playing, I was
practising. If I wasn?t
practising ? six hours each
day, when we weren?t
performing or rehearsing
? then I was listening to my
music here.
?This house was full of
music from when I opened
my eyes each morning until
I closed them at night.
?That ended once I
realised I could no longer
play. There was nothing left
in life for me and, at first, I
didn?t even want to live.?
Blindly, she reached for
her cup, almost knocking it
Stephen reached across,
steadying it. He remained
silent, listening, and in his
silence, she felt there was a
huge affinity, because he,
too, had lost something ? or
in his case someone ? who
had been the centre and
sole purpose of his life.
?Even now I cannot bear
to hear music playing,? she
said, her voice shaking.
?Because my gift has gone,
and I can no longer join in.?
?Poor Gabrielle,? he said
She struggled to force a
?Of course, that doesn?t
mean that other people
can?t play or enjoy music.
Have you a favourite piece??
She watched him. Then he
?Something called ?The
Lark Ascending?,? he said.
?Shiri loved it.?
?Vaughan Williams,? she
said. ?A beautiful solo violin
line. Did you like it, too??
?It was lovely, but a bit
beyond me,? he said
uncomfortably. ?Shiri always
accused me of being an
engineer, with gear wheels
and cogs where I should
have had a soul.?
He smiled.
?That sounds pretty
critical, but when we visited
India on holiday, we went up
one of the Himalayan
mountain railways.
?It was a narrow gauge
line, with hundred-year-old
steam trains. The drivers
and the engineers devoted
their lives to keeping these
engines running, because
they believed with all their
hearts that these ancient
locomotives were alive, and
had a soul. So maybe
there?s still hope for me.?
Gabrielle swallowed.
?You have a soul,? she
said. ?An old, wise soul,
which has the habit of
opening the door into mine.
?You?re the only person in
the world that I can open up
to and talk about my lost
dreams like this, holding
nothing back. That?s pretty
scary for me to handle.?
?Truth for a truth,? he said
quietly. ?Since Shiri died, I
have never looked at, or
talked to, another woman.
Until now.?
Their eyes were calm,
unafraid, dealing directly
with the mutual attraction
they both felt.
?So where do we go from
here?? he asked gently.
To be continued.
From the manse
by Janice Ross.
ANY people in our
world today are
waiting to be rescued.
This is the time of year
when Mountain Rescue
services are busy, called out
to walkers and climbers who
have become lost or stranded
by sudden snowstorms;
homeless people, sleeping on
the street, are particularly
vulnerable and in need of
shelter and a hot meal;
refugees in Yemen and Syria
need emergency relief, food
and medical aid; families
across Africa face drought and
malnutrition resulting in
shocking infant mortality rates.
The list is endless. All these
millions of people are waiting
to be rescued. Then there are
the ordinary folks like you and
me, those with homes and
shelter and food and comfort
who often need rescued from
ourselves and our weaknesses.
In the Bible there is a story
about two old people who
were waiting for a rescuer.
They weren?t in any particular
difficulty, apart from the
creaking bones and decrease
of energy which comes with
old age.
Simeon and Anna were
devout Jews living in
Jerusalem. Anna?s husband
had died when she was a
young woman and since then
she had spent her life looking
after God?s temple in
Simeon also spent his days
there, praying and listening to
So why did they need a
rescuer? Well, both of them
were very concerned about
their country and their people.
The country of Israel had been
taken over by a foreign power.
What was worse was that
many of the people who had
once loved God seemed to
have forgotten all about him.
Their world was really in quite
a mess, not unlike ours today.
Both Simeon and Anna
were getting old but they
were both waiting for a
special event. God had
promised that he would send
a rescuer for his people,
someone who would help
them to love God again.
Anna was sure she would
meet this rescuer one day,
and so was Simeon.
One day, the big temple
doors swung open, and in
walked a couple carrying a
little baby. This happened
quite often as the custom was
for parents to bring their little
babies to the temple to say a
special thank you to God.
Anna always loved to stop
what she was doing and to
welcome these young
families. On this particular
day, Mary and Joseph had
brought Jesus to the temple.
He was only six weeks old.
At that moment something
amazing happened. Her old
friend Simeon arrived. That
morning, when he had been
praying, he had an urge to go
immediately to the temple.
Old Simeon now
approached the young
couple, looked closely at the
tiny child and then took him
in his arms. A big smile came
over the old man?s face.
?Oh, God,? he said, ?you
promised you would send
somebody to rescue your
people and now I have seen
him. This baby! He is a light to
the world.?
Anna gasped. Here was the
rescuer for whom she had
waited such a long time. But
? a baby! She hadn?t
expected that!
Perhaps we, too, look in the
wrong place for our rescuer.
Let?s reflect again this
Candlemas on the wonderful
Christmas message of the
coming of our rescuer, Jesus,
the Messiah. n
Next week: Kathrine
Davey considers the
value of encouragement.
The Vital
To mark the
of her birth,
Wendy Glass
pays tribute
to acclaimed
Scottish author
Muriel Spark.
N February 1,
1918, the author
Muriel Spark was
born Muriel
Camberg in
Edinburgh to an engineer
and a music teacher.
The Cambergs lived in a
very genteel part of the city
but money was tight and
they scrimped and saved so
their daughter could be
educated at James
Gillespie?s High School for
Girls, the educational
establishment that Muriel
would reinvent as the
Marcia Blaine School,
Jean Brodie, a ?woman
in her prime?, was
always stylish.
domain of the unforgettable
Miss Jean Brodie.
In fact, it was one of
Muriel?s teachers at James
Gillespie, Miss Christina Kay,
who inspired the character
of Miss Jean Brodie ? and
who first uttered Miss
Brodie?s renowned phrase,
?The cr鑝e de la cr鑝e.?
By the time she left
school, Muriel was an
award-winning poet, but
she shunned university.
?Many older girls who
The Prime Of
Miss Jean Brodie
Photographs by Alamy.
Geraldine McEwan
in her TV role.
Muriel Spark?s famous novel tells the
story of six impressionable schoolgirls
at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls in
Edinburgh?s Morningside.
The girls are taught by Miss Jean
Brodie, a headstrong, passionate young
woman who is caught between two men
? the married art master,
Mr Lloyd, and the music
master, Mr Lowther, a
bachelor whose adoration
is largely one-sided.
As the love triangle
heads towards its
heartbreaking conclusion,
the story follows the six
girls in the ?Brodie Set?
as they go through
school, with their
were studying at Edinburgh
University were rather dull
and earnest,? Muriel wrote.
Instead, she undertook a
typing and shorthand course
before becoming a clerk in a
department store on
Edinburgh?s Princes Street
where, she later revealed,
?I never tired of soaking up
the atmosphere of luxury,
real elegance and silliness.?
One year later, Muriel met
Sydney Oswald Spark, a
thirty-two-year-old teacher
beloved Miss Brodie determined they?ll
fulfil their potential as ?The cr鑝e de la
The book was an instant success when
it was published and in 1966, it was
adapted into a play, with Vanessa
Redgrave the first actress to undertake
the title role. An Oscar-winning film
with Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie,
Gordon Jackson as Mr Lowther and
Robert Stephens as Mr Lloyd followed.
Maggie Smith?s performance as Muriel
Spark?s free-spirited believer in
?goodness, truth and beauty? won her
an Academy Award for Best Actress ?
and the film?s box office success
provided Muriel with financial security.
In 1978, it was adapted into a
television series. Geraldine McEwan
took on the lead role, gaining the
approval of Muriel Spark, who always
said that Geraldine was her favourite
Miss Brodie.
who was about to take up a
post in Rhodesia.
Won over by the flowers
he brought her, the
opportunity to see the world
and his promise that she
wouldn?t have to do
housework, nineteen-yearold Muriel accepted
Sydney?s proposal.
The marriage was a
disaster. At first, Sydney ? or
SOS as Muriel very
appropriately called him
? managed to hide his
mental health issues, but
once the couple were living
in Rhodesia, he grew
increasingly unstable and
even violent.
?I don?t know why I
married him,? Muriel
admitted. ?From then on,
my motto was ?Beware of
men bearing flowers?.?
By the time Muriel
realised her mistake, she
was expecting her son,
Robin, who was born in
1938. By 1939, the marriage
had disintegrated, but with
war underway, fleeing home
proved almost impossible.
Finally, in 1944, Muriel
secured a place on a British
troop ship and, as she
boarded, the only remnant
of her marriage she took
To mark the
100th anniversary
of Muriel Spark?s
birth, a programme
of special events is
taking place
throughout 2018.
These include:
? An exhibition at the
National Library of
Scotland in Edinburgh
revealing Muriel
Spark?s extraordinary
life and work (until
May 13, 2018).
? The publication of
new editions of all 22
Muriel Spark novels.
? Edinburgh Spy Week
2018 highlighting the
role of secrecy in
Muriel Spark?s world
(April 16-27, 2018).
with her was Sydney?s
surname ? considering
Spark had ?some ingredient
of life and fun.?
The journey was too
dangerous for a child so she
was forced to leave Robin in
a convent, where he was
looked after by the nuns.
Once safely back in Britain
and living in London,
Muriel?s writing talents were
spotted by the Foreign
Office and she was given a
job writing propaganda in
MI6, where spies, secrecy
and subterfuge were part of
daily life!
?As a fly on the wall, I
took in a whole world of
intrigue,? Muriel revealed.
She would later write
several novels featuring
At the end of the war,
Muriel was able to send for
her son, who was then
cared for by her parents in
Edinburgh as she made a
living in London as a writer,
poet and editor.
However, this wasn?t the
most profitable of careers
and as she sent every spare
penny to her parents to
contribute to her son?s
upbringing, Muriel lived in
near poverty.
? An exhibition of
Muriel Spark?s books
at Glasgow Women?s
Library, including
vintage cover art
(summer 2018).
? Walking tours
through the city of
Edinburgh to the
places which played a
part in Muriel Spark?s
early years and
inspired her writing
(from spring 2018).
Maggie Smith?s Oscarwinning portrayal.
Then, in 1961, ?The Prime
Of Miss Jean Brodie? hit the
bookshops and Muriel Spark
became a best-selling
author. Her bohemian life
was transformed and, to
celebrate, she treated
herself to a cameo brooch.
When the novel became a
Broadway play, she bought
a diamond bracelet, and
when ?The Prime Of Miss
Jean Brodie? hit cinema
screens, she bought a
turquoise and diamond
necklace, ring and brooch.
No longer was Muriel
Spark an impoverished
author trying to survive in
post-war London ? she was
a feted novelist with a flat in
New York, a wardrobe of
chic designer outfits and a
collection of celebrity friends.
However, no amount of
money or fame would heal
the rift that had developed
between Muriel and her
Robin never forgave his
mother for abandoning him
at the convent or for
arranging for him to live
with his grandparents, even
though it was her only
option at the time.
?I don?t think I was an
ideal mother,? she admitted.
?But I did the best I could.?
In 1967, Muriel moved to
Rome, embracing Italy?s
dolce vita and living in a
chic apartment across from
the Vatican, where she
entertained nobility, film
stars and fellow writers,
while continuing to write
best-selling novels and
award-winning short stories.
In the 1970s, Muriel
moved to Tuscany, where
she shared the home of her
good friend, Penelope
Jardine, a sculptor who
shared Muriel?s love of
entertaining and travel. And
no matter where in the
world she was, Muriel
continued to write.
Muriel Spark died in 2006
after a life which certainly
appears to have been lived
to the full ? Miss Brodie
would certainly have
approved. n
For more information,
and the full programme of
Muriel Spark 100 events,
Keep your
pooch on the
straight and
Pets & Vets
Dogs And The Law
EING a responsible
pet owner involves
much more than
providing a fourlegged friend with
food and shelter. There are
also certain laws you must
know and adhere to.
All dogs in the UK must
now be microchipped, so
that owners and lost or
stolen dogs can be reunited.
The process involves
implanting a small
microchip with a unique
15-digit code under the skin
of your pet, which is then
registered on an approved
database, such as Petlog.
Failure to do this, and
keep your contact details
updated, can incur a �0
fine. When in a public place,
Cat Laws
Cats are less likely to
cause injury to people or
damage to property, but
owners still have a
general duty to ensure
this doesn?t happen, and
that their fouling or noisy
antics don?t become a
problem for others.
While not law for cats,
microchipping is still a
good idea, especially if
your purring pet has a
tendency to stray off.
dogs must also wear a collar
with a tag bearing your
address and telephone
Keeping your dog under
control at all times is
important, too. The law
permits farmers to shoot
dogs that are worrying, or
appear to be about to worry,
sheep, cattle, poultry or any
other farm animal.
You can also be fined, or
worse, if a person is injured
or fears a dog will attack
them. It?s also your
responsibility to ensure your
dog doesn?t destroy people?s
property, and it?s not a
nuisance to neighbours.
Certain public places, such
as parks and beaches, are
covered by Public Spaces
Protection Orders (PSPO),
so dog walkers may be
banned from certain areas,
or your dog may need to be
Smart in collar
and tags.
kept on a lead. Ignore a
PSPO and you could be
fined �0 on the spot, or
up to �000 if you end up
in court.
Local councils have a duty
to put up clear signage, but
if you are in any doubt,
check the council?s website.
Wherever you walk,
always clean up after your
dog, and dispose of its
waste properly. Ignoring dog
poo can result in an on-thespot fine. Amounts vary
from council to council, but
can be as much as �.
Refusing to pay a fine could
result in a �000 bill. n
National Nest Box Week
February 14-21 is National
Nest Box Week. Run by the
British Trust for Ornithology
and birdcare specialist Jacobi
Jayne, the week aims to
encourage everyone to put up
nest boxes in their local area
to help breeding birds.
Natural nest sites, such as
holes in trees or old buildings,
are disappearing as gardens are more manicured and
houses repaired. Putting a nest box (or an extra nest box)
in your garden will give you the chance to contribute to
the conservation effort in the UK as well as giving you the
pleasure of watching any visiting birds and their offspring.
You can find out more and register for your free NNBW
information pack at
Your pet
by PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman
My cat doesn?t
meow ? is she
All cats are different,
just like people, so
some cats are much less
vocal than others. Certain
breeds are notorious for
making lots of noise whilst
others are not, so it is likely
nothing to worry about if
she has always been this
way. If you have noticed
changes in her behaviour,
then do pop her along to
your vet for a check-up.
Does my dog
need less
exercise now he
has arthritis?
Your dog will certainly
need a different level
of exercise if arthritis has
been diagnosed. More
frequent, short walks are
good to keep joints moving
but speak to your vet for
an exercise regime tailored
to your dog?s condition. In
general, low-impact
exercise is best, and
hydrotherapy is wonderful
for arthritic joints.
PDSA is the UK?s leading
veterinary charity. For further
information visit www.pdsa. or call 0800 731 2502.
believe it?
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
I?ve just finished reading ?The
Casual Vacancy? by J.K. Rowling,
but can you tell me the author?s
full name and why she only uses her
Mrs R.S., Peterborough.
The novelist?s first name is Joanne.
However, much in the way that
male writers often use a female
pseudonym for penning romance
novels, her publishers suggested she
use initials before her surname for her fantasy novel Harry Potter
books, which are the hallmark of her success.
The ?J? is obviously for her first name and the ?K? chosen after the author?s
grandmother, Kathleen. Of course, the Harry Potter series became so successful that
J.K. Rowling was soon known to millions around the world, and her rags-to-riches
story is worthy of a novel in its own right.
I?ve recently returned from a trip to London. Can
you tell me if Cleopatra?s Needle actually came
from Egypt?
Mr N.P., Glasgow.
The famous obelisk, which stands just short of 70 feet,
did come from Egypt. In fact, there are three obelisks
that share the name Cleopatra?s Needle ? the other
two being in Paris and New York. The obelisk in London is
made of granite and was originally made for the Pharaoh
Thutmose III, but it was given by Egypt to commemorate
British victories at the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of
Alexandria. It was brought from Alexandria to the UK and
winched into position on the Embankment in 1878.
I know that a
glass of water
helps you
determine if an egg
is fresh or not, but
I?ve forgotten the
rule! Can you help?
Miss E.P.,
A fresh egg
will sink, a
rotten one
will float.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
The British ability to keep calm
in a crisis is one of the traits most
admired by our European neighbours.
In addition, the research, which was
carried out by,
found that people in the Netherlands
and the Czech Republic also admire
our habit of cheering on the underdog,
while those in Portugal and Cyprus
applaud our ability to sunbathe in the
slightest hint of sunshine!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
of people
who have
candles in
their home have no
intention of lighting
them. They?re for
display purposes only.
movies have been
filmed in London.
is the world?s most
popular online
February 1,
was the last time the
Thames froze to such
an extent a fair could
be held on the ice.
75g ?
the amount of sugar,
on average, consumed
by British adults every
Boys and girls will love this
dinosaur hoodie which is
simple to knit and comes
in five sizes.
Age (approx.): 0-9 months,
9-18 months, 18-24 months,
3-4 years, 5-7 years.
Actual chest size: 52 cm (20� ins),
57 (22�), 63 (24�), 68 (26�),
74 (29�).
Length: 28cm (11 ins), 32 (12�),
38 (15), 42 (16�), 48 (19).
Sleeve seam: 17 cm (6� ins), 20 (8),
24 (9�), 29 (11�), 33 (13).
2 (2, 3, 3, 4) 50-gram balls of Rico
Baby Classic Print DK in each of
Blue/Grey (004) M and Light Grey
(031) C. One pair each 3.25 mm
(No. 10) and 4 mm (No. 8) knitting
needles. 5 (5, 6, 6, 6) buttons.
If you have difficulty finding the yarn
used, you can order directly from Black
Sheep Wools, website,,
telephone, 01925 764231.
22 sts and 28 rows to 10 cm measured
over pattern using 4 mm needles.
Alt ? alternate; beg ? beginning;
dec ? decrease; K ? knit; P ? purl;
rep ? repeat; st(s) ? stitch(es);
st-st ? stocking-stitch (knit 1 row,
purl 1 row); tog ? together.
Important Note
Directions are given for five sizes.
Figures in brackets refer to the four
larger sizes. When writing to us with
your queries, you must enclose a
stamped, addressed envelope if
you would like a reply.
With 3.25 mm needles,
thumb method and C, cast on
58 (62 70, 74, 82) sts.
1st row ? K2, ?P2, K2, rep
from ? to end.
2nd row ? P2, ?K2, P2, rep
from ? to end.
Repeat the last 2 rib rows 3
(3, 4, 4, 4) times more, dec
(inc, dec, inc, dec) 1 st at end
of last row ? 57 (63, 69, 75,
81) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles and
M. Beginning with a knit row,
work in st-st until work
measures 15 (18, 23, 26,
31) cm, ending after a purl
Shape raglans ? Cast off
3 sts at beg of next 2 rows
? 51 (57, 63, 69, 75) sts.
Dec 1 st at each end of next
1 (1, 3, 3, 5) rows then on
foll 4th (4th, 0, 0, 0) row.
Finally dec 1 st at each end of
every foll alt row until there
are 19 (21, 21, 25, 25) sts.
Work 1 row thus ending after
a wrong-side row. Cast off.
With 3.25 mm needles,
thumb method and C, cast on
27 (31 35, 35, 39) sts.
1st row ? K2, ?P2, K2, rep
from ? to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K1, P2, ?K2, P2,
rep from ? to end.
Repeat the last 2 rib rows 3
(3, 4, 4, 4) times more, dec 0
(1, 2, 0, 0) sts and inc 1 st on
4th size only across last row
? 27 (30, 33, 36, 39) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles and
M. Beginning with a knit row,
work in st-st until work
measures 15 (18, 23, 26,
31) cm, ending after a purl
Shape raglan ? Cast off
3 sts at beg of next row ? 24
(27, 30, 33, 36) sts.
Work one row.
Dec 1 st at raglan armhole
edge on next 1 (1, 3, 3,
5) rows then on foll 4th (4th,
0, 0, 0) row. Dec 1 st on
every foll alt row until there
are 14 (15, 16, 18, 18) sts,
ending after a right-side row.
Shape front neck ? Cast off
5 (6, 5, 7, 7) sts at beg of
next row ? 9 (9, 11, 11,
11) sts.
Dec 1 st at raglan armhole
edge on next and foll 2 (2, 3,
3, 3) alt rows and AT SAME
TIME dec 1 st at neck edge
on next 3 rows, then on foll 1
(1, 2, 2, 2) alt rows ? 2 sts.
Work 1 row.
Next row ? K2tog then
fasten off.
With 3.25 mm needles,
thumb method and C, cast on
27 (31, 35, 35, 39) sts.
1st row ? K3, ?P2, K2, rep
from ? to end.
2nd row ? P2, ?K2, P2, rep
from ? to end.
Repeat the last 2 rib rows 3
(3, 4, 4, 4) times more, dec 0
(1, 2, 0, 0) sts and inc 1 st on
4th size only across last row
? 27 (30, 33, 36, 39) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles and
M. Beginning with a knit row,
work in st-st until work
measures 15 (18, 23, 26,
31) cm, ending after a knit
Shape raglan ? Cast off
3 sts at beg of next row ? 24
(27, 30, 33, 36) sts.
Work one row.
Dec 1 st at raglan armhole
edge of next 1 (1, 3, 3,
5) rows then on foll 4th (4th,
0, 0, 0) row. Finally dec 1 st
on every foll alt row until there
are 14 (15, 16, 18, 18) sts,
finishing after a right-side row.
Shape front neck ? Patt 9
(9, 11, 11, 11) sts, cast off
rem 5 (6, 5, 7, 7) sts.
Dec 1 st at neck edge on next
3 rows, then on foll 1 (1, 2, 2,
2) alt rows and AT SAME
TIME dec 1 st at raglan
armhole edge on next and foll
2 (2, 3, 3, 3) alt rows ? 2 sts.
Work 1 row.
Next row ? K2tog then
fasten off.
With 3.25 mm needles,
thumb method and C, cast on
34 (38 38, 42, 46) sts and
work 10 rows in rib as given
for back, inc (dec, inc, inc,
inc) 1 st at end of last row ?
35 (37, 39, 43, 47) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles and
beginning with a knit row,
work in st-st, inc 1 st at each
end of 5th (5th, 5th, 7th,
9th) row and every foll 6th
(6th, 6th, 8th, 10th) row until
there are 43 (45, 43, 49,
57) sts, then inc 1 st at each
end of every foll 8th (8th, 8th,
10th, 12th) row until there
are 45 (49, 53, 57, 61) sts.
Continue straight until work
measures 17 (20, 24, 29,
33) cm, ending after a
wrong-side row.
Shape raglan ? Cast off
3 sts at beg of next 2 rows
? 39 (43, 47, 51, 55) sts.
Dec 1 st at each end of next
and 3 (4, 3, 2, 2) foll 4th rows
then on every foll alt row until
there are 17 (19, 19, 19,
19) sts.
Work 1 row.
Left sleeve only ? Dec 1 st
at each end of next row, then
cast off 3 sts at beg of foll row
? 12 (14, 14, 14, 14) sts.
Dec 1 st at beg of next row,
then cast off 3 (4, 4, 4, 4) sts
at beg of foll row ? 8 (9, 9, 9,
9) sts.
Right sleeve only ? Cast off
4 sts at beg and dec 1 st at
end of next row ? 12 (14, 14,
14, 14) sts.
Work 1 row.
Cast off 3 (4, 4, 4, 4) sts at
beg and dec 1 st at end of
next row ? 8 (9, 9, 9, 9) sts.
Both sleeves ? Rep last two
rows once more ? 4 sts.
Cast off.
Buttonband ? With 3.25 mm
needles, right side facing and
C, pick up and knit 64 (76,
88, 100, 116) sts evenly
along left front (girl) or right
front (boy) between cast-on
edge and neck shaping.
1st row ? K1, P2, ?K2, P2,
rep from ? to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K3, ?P2, K2, rep
from ? to last st, K1.
Rep the last two rows twice
more then 1st row once more.
Cast off in rib.
Buttonhole band ? With
3.25 mm needles, right side
facing and C, pick up and knit
64 (76, 88, 100, 116) sts
evenly along opposite front
opening between cast-on
edge and neck shaping. Beg
with a 1st row, work 3 rows as
given for button band.
Next row ? Rib 3 (3, 4, 4, 4),
?cast off 2 sts, rib until there
are 12 (15, 14, 17, 20) sts on
right needle after cast-off, rep
from ? 3 (3, 4, 4, 4) times
more, cast off 2 sts, rib to end.
Work 3 rows more in rib,
casting on 2 sts over cast-off
sts in next row. Cast off in rib.
Hood ? With 4 mm needles,
thumb method and M, cast on
66 (70, 75, 79, 81) sts and
beg with a knit row, work in
st-st until hood measures 18
(19, 20, 21, 22) cm, ending
after a purl row.
Next row ? Cast off 22 (23,
25, 26, 27) sts, K21 (23, 24,
26, 26), cast off rem 22 (23,
25, 26, 27) sts ? 22 (24, 25,
27, 27) sts.
With wrong side facing, rejoin
yarn and continue until hood
measures 10 (10.5, 11.5, 12,
12.5) cm, from cast-off sts,
ending after a wrong-side row.
Cast off.
Hood border ? Sew hood
seam. With 3.25 mm needles,
right side facing and C, starting
and ending at cast-on edge of
hood, pick up and knit 104
(112, 116, 120, 128) sts
evenly along entire row-end
and cast-off front opening
edge of hood.
Beg with a 1st row, work
7 rows in rib as given for
button band. Cast off in rib.
Dinosaur spikes ? With
3.25 mm needles, right side
facing and C, cast on 6 sts.
1st row ? Knit.
2nd row ? K3, m1, knit to
3rd row ? Knit.
Rep 2nd and 3rd rows 5 times
more, then 2nd row once
more ? 13 sts.
15th row ? Cast off 7 sts,
knit to end ? 6 sts.
2nd spike ? Rep 2nd and
3rd rows 8 times more, then
2nd row once more ? 15 sts.
33rd row ? Cast off 9 sts, knit
to end ? 6 sts.
3rd spike ? Rep 2nd and
3rd rows 10 times more, then
2nd row once more ? 17 sts.
55th row ? Cast off 11 sts,
knit to end ? 6 sts.
Work 3rd spike 2 (2, 3, 3,
3) times more.
Cast off.
Work a second set of spikes.
Join pieces by sewing together
shaped edges. Sew a line of
tacking stitches through the
centre stitch from the hood
border to the neck to mark the
position of where to sew the
dinosaur spikes. Place straight
edges of dinosaur spikes 1 cm
each side of the tacking
stitches and sew in place.
To Make Up ? Join all raglan
armhole seams. Easing in
slight fullness and positioning
cast-off edges of hood border
midway across top of front
bands, sew cast-on edge of
hood to neck edge. Join side
and sleeve seams. Sew on
Pin out cardigan to the
measurements given, cover
with clean damp tea towels
and leave until dry. See
ball-band for washing and
further care instructions. n
Next week:
knit a cosy jacket
In The
Willie Shand
enjoys a day out
in Edinburgh?s
own mini
mountain range.
Photographs by Willie Shand.
ROSSING over the
Forth to Edinburgh
and seeing before
me the sun lighting
up the hills ahead,
my decision for my day out
was vindicated.
I was heading for a walk
in the Pentlands, that rolling
green range of which
Sir Walter Scott claimed he
had never seen finer, and
which formed the study and
classroom of a young
Robert Louis Stevenson.
Stevenson lived in
Swanston Cottage right at
the foot of Caerketton Hill
and Allermuir Hill. My walk
today, though, would start a
little west of Swanston
above Bonaly.
Stevenson had a great
love for the Pentlands and
always regarded them as
the ?hills of home?.
Few shared more that
intimacy for the Pentlands
than Lord Cockburn of
Bonaly Tower.
He knew well every hill
and recess and once wrote
in the early 1800s that
?Go To The Hills?
Following the path
alongside Torduff Reservoir.
A lovely spot, away
from the bustle of
the capital city.
?unless some avenging
angel shall expel me, I shall
never leave that paradise.?
In times long past, this
range of hills that covers an
area of over 75 square miles
would have been well
known to the Picts and the
The hilltops would not
only have served as lookouts but as places for
worship and ritual
Thankfully, although right
on the city?s doorstep, even
in the 21st century we can
still find that solitude that
was so much loved by Lord
Cockburn 200 years ago.
But the folks of Edinburgh
have more to thank the
Pentlands for than just
providing a pretty backdrop
or a quiet place to find
escape from the ceaseless
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows that thou wouldst forget
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep
Thy heart from fainting, and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the hills!
? Longfellow.
bustle of the capital.
These hills have long
provided the city with a
clean and plentiful supply of
water. Up until the late
1600s, the water supply to
the city came from wells
and folk had to queue with
their buckets then carry it
To offset the high cost of
piping water in from the
hills, a new tax was
proposed ? a ?hearth tax?.
How much you would pay
was related to your number
of fires or hearths.
This appears to have been
no more acceptable than
dirty drinking water and so
the proposal was dropped.
Today there are several
man-made reservoirs in the
Pentlands and on my walk
I?ll be passing close to a few
of them.
The Pentlands have been
described as homely and
friendly hills. None of them
is high ? the highest being
Scald Law at just 1,898 feet.
With the range stretching
for some 16 miles and
without any motor roads
crossing them, this is great
walking country. But a walk
in these hills doesn?t mean
you need to climb to the
Today, I?d be sticking to
the valleys. With myriad
way-marked tracks crisscrossing in all directions, a
day in the Pentlands can be
as long or as short, as
difficult or as easy as you
Starting out from Bonaly,
it?s only a short climb to
Torduff Reservoir. On the
way we can already enjoy
far-reaching views from the
distant Grampians round to
the Trossachs, the Ochils,
the Lomonds and the Forth,
not to mention Edinburgh
with its own hill, Arthur?s
It?s a view that extends
across some eight counties.
I watch as yet another plane
makes its approach to
Edinburgh?s busy airport.
From up here, distance
completely mutes the sound
of the city and all we hear is
the rushing burn, the cry of
the lapwing, the pewit or
the bleating of sheep.
It?s a lovely day; sunshine
and not a puff of wind. Mind
you, if it happened to be
dreich I wouldn?t go
complaining to any
Boat number 4 seems to
have seen better days!
A stunning view of the
Queensferry Crossing.
High up on the path heading
back towards Bonaly.
shepherd you might chance
to meet.
Back in Lord Cockburn?s
time, one walker made a
passing moan to a shepherd
he met about the misty
weather. The shepherd was
quick to put him right.
?What ails ye at the mist,
sir? It weets the sod, it
slockens the yowes and
forbye . . . it?s God?s wull.?
Even Lord Cockburn was
put in his place by the
shepherd when, one day, he
had observed some sheep
resting on the cold side of
the hill and commented that
if he were a sheep he would
lie on the other, warmer
side of the hill.
The shepherd replied,
?Aye, my lord, but if ye had
been a sheep, ye wad hae
had mair sense.?
It?s not easy striking a
conversation with fellow
walkers nowadays. The
number I passed that had
wires attached to their ears,
presumably listening to
music or on their phones.
Sad, isn?t it, that folk seem
incapable of enjoying
freedom from such
intrusions of modern
technologies even when
they?re out in places like
On from Clubbiedean
Reservoir and past Easter
Kinleith Farm, we take to
the right of way signposted
for Glencorse Reservoir.
The wide stony track
climbs between a band of
trees and a field with
horses. Beyond the woods,
suddenly we?re into wide
open hill country with views
away to Balerno Reservoir.
Glencorse, with its
tree-covered islet, is another
man-made loch and can tell
more than a few good tales.
Pentland Fault
is a crack in the
earth?s crust and once
What we can?t see is the
was home to a number
ancient chapel of St
of large volcanoes that
these hills. To this
It has, for almost 200
day, you can pick up a
years, lain submerged
rock on many of the
beneath the water. The
summits and it?ll
old chapel dates back at
least as far as the 1230s. A
likely be
?hope? is a hollow among
the hills.
Some of the old names
still remember these days
like ?King?s Hill? and
?Knight?s Field?. On one
occasion, King Robert the
Bruce was keen to put his
best hounds and hunters to
the test and capture a rather
elusive stag.
This particular stag,
however, had managed to
outwit the hounds and after
a chase of more than 10
miles, made his escape.
King Robert was
understandably a bit down
after his defeat but was
soon to be cheered up
when one of his knights,
Sir William St Clair of Roslyn,
made a wager.
If his hounds Help and
Hold didn?t bring down the
stag before it reached the
March Burn, the King could
take his head.
In return, if successful, the
King agreed to stake the
Pentland Estate including
the whole of the Pentland
Hill range and Pentland
The day set for the hunt
duly arrived and all met at
the Buck Stane for the start.
It soon became apparent
that this would be no easy
hunt as the stag bounded
off and made towards the
March Burn.
The onlookers were
horrified when the beast
louped into the burn,
realising Sir William would
have to uphold his end of
the wager. Sir William
surrendered to the King,
accepting his fate.
However, he had judged
the outcome too soon. In
one final bound, the hounds
brought the great stag
down. And so it was that Sir
William was conveyed all
these lands as promised.
I bet Sir William was glad
to return home that day, as
was I after a visit to these
fine wee hills. n
For more information visit
or call the Regional Park HQ on 0131 529 2401.
Our beautiful table linen kits will
give your home a fresh new look for
spring or make a lovely personalised
gift for someone special. We have
three new designs to choose from,
each using different stiches ?
Feathered Friends (cross/back stitch),
Curious Cats (cross, long, back stitch
and French knot) and Jolly Geraniums
(satin/stem stitch).
Our kits contain everything you need to
complete your project ? simply choose from
a 32? x 32? (80cm x 80 cm) tablecloth
or a 16? x 40? (40cm x 100cm) runner
- 100% pre-printed white cotton for easy
stitching, hemmed and edged, 100% cotton
DMC thread, needle, and simple to follow
instructions. The printed design will disappear
after washing. These kits are available
individually or why not purchase a complete
set and save �
Curious Cats
LYN1343 Tablecloth �.99
LYN1344 Runner �.99
LYN1343s Set of Both �.98
Name ...................................................................................
Address ...............................................................................
Postcode ..........................................
Telephone .........................................................................
Email Address ..................................................................
Total Cost Of Order
I enclose a cheque/postal order, made payable to Lyncroft Marketing for the
total amount of � .................... (Please write your name and address on the
back of your cheque.) If you are ordering by Credit Card please complete the
Delta/MasterCard / Visa (delete as necessary)
Start Date : ........ /........ Expiry Date: ........ /........
Card No ..........................................................................................................................
Cardholders Signature .........................................................................................
Name on Card ......................................................................................................
Price will be refunded if the item is returned undamaged and unused within 14 days of
receipt. Enquiries to 01296 641881. Your card will be debited by Lyncroft Marketing. Offer
open to UK readers only and is subject to availability. Please allow up to 21 days for delivery.
DC Thomson & Co. Ltd and its group companies would like to contact you about new
products, services and offers we think may be of interest to you. If you?d like to hear
from us by post, please tick here q telephone, please tick here ? or email, please tick
here q. From time to time, carefully chosen partner businesses would like to contact you
with relevant offers. If you?d like to hear from partner businesses for this purpose please
tick here q
Feathered Friends
LYN1083 Tablecloth �.99
LYN1084 Runner �.99
LYN1083s Set of Both �.98
Jolly Geraniums
LYN1347 Tablecloth �.99
LYN1348 Runner �.99
LYN1347s Set of Both �.98
01858 345108 quoting PF160
Lines open Mon - Fri 8.45am - 8pm, Sat 10am - 4pm, Sun 10am - 2pm. Please have your credit/debit card details
to hand. Calls cost 10p/min from standard BT landline. Calls from other networks and mobiles may vary.
BY POST: complete the coupon and send with a cheque made payable to
Lyncroft Marketing and post with your order information to:
?The People?s Friend? Embroidery Offer
PF160, PO Box 504, Leicester, LE94 0AE
Overhearing the
brings back
memories ?
some happy,
some sad . . .
Back To
The Sixties
Illustration by Martin Baines.
ES, I remember
it,? a male voice
says. ?A scruffy
old place down by
the station, half
falling to bits.?
He laughs.
?But we didn?t care
about that! Back then, it
was our town?s answer to
the Cavern Club.?
?I?m not sure I?d quite
say that!? a second voice
says. It?s also male but
softer than the first. ?But
you?re right, we had some
good times there.?
The coffee-making
machine behind the
counter of the caf� starts
hissing and clattering then,
like they do, and I don?t
catch what they say next.
Nor can I see either of
them. The caf� is also a
deli-type shop, with the
tables scattered rather
randomly about, and
they?re at one side of a tall
display cabinet of posh
vinegars and olives and I?m
at the other.
It?s a shame, because as
much as I know I shouldn?t
eavesdrop, I?m interested.
I, too, used to go to the
little dance hall that
they?re talking about.
In a way, it was our
Cavern. All our local
musicians played there.
Probably most are
salesmen or accountants
now, if not retired, but
back then, in the Sixties,
every one of them was
going to be our town?s
answer to the Beatles!
The first Saturday night I
went there, Greg, a singer
with one of the sets of
hopefuls, was belting out
the Beatles song ?I Saw
Her Standing There?.
I was a little younger
than seventeen at the time.
It seemed to me that it was
me that Greg was looking
at as he sang.
Mind you, one of the
false eyelashes that I never
got the hang of putting on
properly was perilously
close to falling off, which
was distorting my vision to
some extent!
I was right, though. In
the interval he came and
talked to me.
Later, back on stage,
they did ?I Want To Hold
Your Hand?.
And later still, outside my
house, Greg was doing just
I smile as I hum the tune
in my head again. Music
and memories go well
Next on my internal
jukebox is the Crystals:
?And Then He Kissed Me?.
That was under the street
lamp opposite the house,
and my mum, putting the
milk bottles out on the
step, saw us. Then my dad
was there, too, peering out
the window.
They weren?t entirely
happy with the look of
Greg as he had long hair.
My brother, Kev, had
longish hair then, too ?
everyone did ? but not, it
must be said, as long as
Greg?s. And Kev didn?t
wear quite such flamboyant
clothes as Greg, either.
?But he?s a singer,? I told
my parents. ?You?ve got to
look special on stage.?
To me, of course, he
looked special anywhere,
with his dark hair and
soulful eyes. He was way
ahead of any of the
pin-ups from magazines my
friends had on their
bedroom walls. My first
real boyfriend ? and I
adored him.
The coffee machine has
quietened down now and I
can hear my unseen
neighbours again.
I get the impression they
haven?t seen each other for
some while because they
seem to be updating each
other on everything they?ve
been doing since they last
Both appear to have
lived away for some time.
But finding themselves
alone, they?ve both now
returned to their home
town and appear to have
bumped into each other by
chance outside the caf�
Why they?re both now on
their own, I don?t know. If
it was discussed, it was in
the part of the
conversation I missed.
?Another reason I
decided to come back,?
the one with the softer
voice is saying, ?is my
sister. She?s having a hard
time looking after my
brother-in-law. He was in a
terrible accident. I want to
be near to help her. To
help them.?
What a nice brother, I
I?m aware there?s no
need for me to be
envious. I have a
terrific brother in Kev.
During my divorce ?
which I didn?t want and
found horrendously difficult
? he was great. And his
wife, Kath, too.
It feels like I?ve known
Kath for ever, but I forget
the exact date. But
certainly it was after Kev
had passed his driving test,
I can recall.
And on this afternoon of
a walk down memory lane
that I?d certainly not
expected, that, too, has its
songs . . .
Kath had been round at
our house all afternoon.
Our parents were away
visiting other family so
favourite records were
played loud and non-stop.
Now I hear ?The House
Of The Rising Sun?, much
Greg said he understood
and I stopped going. But
wouldn?t this be a lovely
surprise for him?
It turned out to be more
of a surprise for me.
We arrived very late after
getting lost. The village in
question was a long way
The first thing I saw when
we eventually arrived at
the hall was Greg in the
arms of another girl.
She was local, I think.
Certainly she seemed to
know other people there.
Another girl then went up
to her and offered her a lift
home and the pair of them
I confronted Greg. He
said it was nothing, that
she?d thrown herself at
The first thing I saw was Greg in
the arms of another girl
loved by Kev and Kath,
and Gene Pitney?s ?It Hurts
To Be In Love? which I
Except it wasn?t true, of
course. I thought of Greg.
Being in love made you
happy, as I told Kev and
Kath, having already
decided I liked Kath and
wanted to encourage Kev
to stick with her.
After we?d eaten ? I
might be wrong here, but I
seem to picture a Vesta
curry ? Kev suggested we
go to see Greg playing.
The group were doing
quite well with bookings at
dances held in little village
halls round and about, and
that?s what they were
doing that night.
This one was a regular
booking, though off the
beaten track. But with our
parents away, Kev had the
use of Dad?s car.
And still being a novice
at driving, he said he
fancied the challenge of a
trip into the surrounding
hilly countryside.
I liked the idea, too.
Occasionally I?d
accompanied Greg and the
rest of them in their van.
None of the other lads
had steady girlfriends who
went along, and they were
long nights on my own
while they were playing.
Then he turned the tables
and asked why I was there
?Spying on me?? he
I denied it and explained
how it happened.
?We?ve got the car and
Kev suggested we came
out for a run.? I spoke in
A couple of weeks later, I
discovered it wasn?t quite
as simple as that.
Kath had apparently
heard that Greg was
two-timing me with the girl
I?d seen him with. She told
Kev and they wondered
how to tell me.
Kev decided that I?d
never believe it unless I
saw it for myself, hence his
suggestion to go and see
Greg playing.
It?s true that I wouldn?t
have believed them if
they?d simply passed on to
me what Kath had heard.
But nor did I believe it
after what I?d seen. I fully
accepted Greg?s story.
But the next weekend,
when they were playing at
the ?Cavern? again, as I
was arriving I caught him
using the payphone they
had in the foyer.
It was clear he was
talking to another girl.
Maybe it was her, or
maybe someone else. Like
a sailor, he perhaps had a
girl in every port, or every
place they played.
He ended the call when
he saw me.
?I must go. We?re on
stage now,? he told her.
They weren?t.
Then he started making
his excuses to me as well,
but I saw the truth in his
I ran out, knocking the
flimsy card-type table by
the door where they took
the entrance money. The
young guy who was sitting
there was great.
?Don?t worry,? he said.
?It?s fine. Are you all
I obviously wasn?t.
Roy Orbison?s ?It?s Over?
was playing somewhere
and I burst into tears.
I ran out on to the street,
only just missing being hit
by an approaching car.
If the doorman hadn?t
dived out and grabbed
hold of me, I dread to think
what might have
?Where are you going??
he asked, his arm still
round my shoulder.
?Just to the bus,? I said,
He took me to the bus
stop and stayed with me
till it arrived.
?How is your uncle Len
doing?? The voice of one of
the pair at the other side of
the vinegar and olives
brings me back to the
present. ?He was a
character, wasn?t he??
?He?s well,? the one with
the softer voice replies.
?He and his wife moved to
Spain years ago. I?m going
to see them next week.?
There was a pause.
?Yes, he was a character.
But after my dad died he
was very good to me. Kind
of like a second dad,
though he laughs when I
say that.?
?I envied you,? the other
chap says. ?You having
that part-time job at the
club, when for me it was a
paper round to get a few
extra bob!?
?I?ll have you know it was
hard work at the club! He
was a bit of a slave-driver,
was Len!?
The pair laugh together.
?Sure it was! I saw you
one night when you were
supposed to be working,
your arm round a girl at
the bus stop!?
?I was just waiting with
her. She was upset and ??
?Ha!? This is me
speaking, now out loud.
I?m so surprised!
The lad who helped take
the money at the door,
who?d saved me from
falling in front of a car ? he
did tell me that he was
related to Len and his wife,
who were the owners.
I?m uncertain what to do
next. I can?t just bound up
and say, ?Hey, I am the girl
you?ve been talking
I decide just to leave it.
When I get up to go, I
can?t resist a peek round
the other side of the
They see me.
?Sorry, I don?t mean to
be rude,? I am forced to
say. ?But I overheard you
talking about the club that
used to be down by the
They both smile and
without knowing quite how
it happens I?m sitting with
them having another
Len?s nephew is called
John. The other one is
Barry. Barry then has to
leave, but John and I
I?d love to say that I
recognised him right away,
or that he recognised me.
But I didn?t and he didn?t,
either. A long time has
But we seem to be
getting along and I think
again about the night he
took me to the bus stop.
He definitely made me
feel better.
Kev and Kath said after
the incident out in the
village that I?d be better off
without Greg, and standing
there with John, waiting for
my bus, I started believing
Despite my tears there
had been a spark between
us, and as we now order
yet more coffee I?m
thinking that it may still be
there, all these years later!
The caf� has a radio
playing quietly and I smile
as I hear what song is
playing. The Beatles again.
Would you believe, it?s
?When I?m Sixty-Four?! n
How long will it take you to correctly fit the words
relating to aquariums and tropical fish into the grid?
4 letters
7 letters
5 letters
8 letters
Brick Trick
Enter the answers to the clues in the bricks in the wall.
Every word is an anagram of its neighbours, plus or
minus a letter.
Hardened (3)
Thomas Hardy heroine (4)
Religious groups (5)
Trunks, ottomans (6)
Small bags (7)
Brief extracts (8)
Drives forward (7)
Location of the
Parthenon (6)
9 ___ Richie, TV actor (5)
10 Ogden ___, US
humorist (4)
11 UK organisation founded
in 1948 (inits)(3)
Kriss Kross
Brick Trick
6 letters
3 letters
Kriss Kross
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd
The Ship is
missing a player
for the darts
final . . .
ACKED?? Jenny
repeated, unable to
comprehend what
Eric had told her.
Eric nodded.
?I don?t understand,?
Jenny began. ?Fraud? What
have you done??
?I?ll explain everything,?
Eric said quietly as he
stood up. ?But first I need
to go for a walk to clear my
?You?re going nowhere,?
Jenny told him, more
assertive than she felt. ?I
deserve an explanation!?
Eric sank down on to the
sofa and began to reveal
the details of how he?d
been caught taking cash
from a land developer.
?He called it commission
for pushing through his
application,? he pleaded.
?How was I to know it was
all a bunch of lies??
Jenny sat quietly and
listened to all that he had
to say. There was a
moment of silence before
she spoke.
?How old are you, Eric??
?What?s that got to do
with it?? he blustered. ?You
know that I?m ??
?Old enough to know
better,? Jenny said. ?And
you?ve worked in the
council planning
department long enough to
know that council officials
can?t be seen fraternising
with developers.?
His gaze dropped to the
?You?ve been taking
bribes, haven?t you?? she
said, but Eric didn?t
Jenny felt tears in her
?I?m not sure how much
more I can take,? she said,
holding back her tears.
?First you lose all of our
savings ??
?That wasn?t my fault!? he
?? to internet scammers,?
Jenny continued. ?We had
to sell our lovely big house
and move to this flat. I lost
my job because of all the
worry it caused me, and
now this??
?We could sell the flat,?
Eric said meekly. ?Start
again somewhere new??
Jenny shook her head.
?I?ve had enough,? she
said, trying to keep her
voice calm.
There was silence for a
few moments.
?I think I should stay with
Mum for a few days,? Eric
suggested. ?It?ll give us
time to think things
through before we make
any hasty decisions.?
But Jenny?s mind was
already made up.
* * * *
?Are you all right, love??
Mary asked.
Jenny took a sip from the
gin Big Jim had passed to
her earlier.
?It?s been a hard day.?
She smiled. ?I?ll be OK.?
?Is it anything I can help
with?? Mary asked.
Jenny took another sip of
her drink.
?No, but thank you,? she
Jim came through from
the back room of the pub.
?All done through there??
Mary asked him.
?The buffet?s laid out and
the dartboard?s waiting. It
should be a good match,?
Jim said, smiling at Jenny.
?I?m looking forward to
seeing you take on the Pig
and Whistle. What time?s
Eric coming in??
Jenny squared her
shoulders and looked from
Jim to Mary, both of them
waiting for her reply.
?Eric won?t be coming
tonight,? she said.
?But he has to! If he?s not
coming we?ll need an extra
player!? Jim cried. ?We
can?t play the final of the
darts tournament without a
full team!?
Jim and Jenny both
turned towards Mary.
?Oh, no!? Mary laughed.
?I?ve never played darts in
my life.?
?You?re our only hope,?
Jim said.
?It?s true,? Jenny said.
?Bullseye Bev and her team
are going to be here in
twenty minutes. Please,
Mary? We?ve got a spare
team T-shirt you can wear.?
Mary pushed up her
sleeves and headed to the
back room of the pub.
?We have twenty minutes.
You?ll have to teach me
everything you know!?
* * * *
?I hope these are decent
steak pies and not those
ones you got last time,?
Bob Lewin told Sam.
?Bought these fresh from
the butcher this afternoon,?
Sam replied.
?And that cheese?? Bob
pointed to the far end of
the buffet table. ?How
long?s that been sitting
there sweating??
?Uncle Jim laid it out
minutes ago.?
?Well, I don?t mind
putting in the work to win
at darts, as long as I know
the food afterwards is up to
?Glad it meets your
approval,? Sam said, rolling
his eyes at Mary who was
listening to their exchange.
Jim leaned over the bar
into the back room.
?I want to say a few
words before the other
team arrive,? he began.
?Think of tonight as less of
a tournament final and
more of just a game ??
?That you want us to
win?? Anna laughed.
?Because you want the
local bragging rights,? Mike
chipped in.
Jim laughed.
Just then a bloodcurdling
scream came through from
the front of the pub.
Jim gulped.
?What was that, Uncle
Jim?? Sam asked.
?Bullseye Bev. It?s her
war cry. She does it before
every match she plays.?
?There?s only one thing
left to do,? Jenny said,
gathering her team close.
They each raised an arm
in the air and in unison
yelled out their team cry.
?Let?s play darts!?
More next week.
Happy Cats
I thought I?d share with
readers pictures of two
cats that I adore.
I have taken on both
Jess (who is black) and
Leeloo, from the truly
wonderful organisation the
Cinnamon Trust, who work
so hard to care for beloved
pets of people who are no
longer able to care for
Jess and Leeloo have
settled and love exploring
the area around their new
Miss E.M.P., Penzance.
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ, or e-mail us at
Star Letter
A few months ago, I was cutting off
dead stalks and generally tidying my
orchids after their first flowering and
was about to feed them, when I was
suddenly taken ill and had to go into
hospital, where I still am.
The orchids never got their feed,
and I voiced my concern to my son.
He checked them and was happy to
report back that they are all
flowering, despite being neglected,
and even took a picture to prove it.
Isn?t nature wonderful? The news
fairly brightened my day.
Mrs S.R., Manchester.
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.
My granny Netta Carmichael
has been an avid reader of
?The People?s Friend? for more
than 40 years and she never
misses a copy.
As a keen knitter, she?s
always eager to see the latest
pattern and all of the
grandchildren ? me included
? have been the welcome
recipients of her handmade
Granny Carmichael will be
celebrating her ninetieth
birthday this month with the
family ? four children, 12
grandchildren and 18 greatgrandchildren ? and she?ll be
delighted to see her picture in
her favourite magazine.
Miss E.C., Dundee.
I was already thoroughly
enjoying December 30 issue
of the magazine and even
more so when I turned to the
?Would You Believe It? page
and saw the question about
the song ?Silent Worship?.
I was in the choir at junior
school and the senior choir
was entering a competition
and had to learn two songs,
one of which was ?Silent
Our teacher then asked if
we would like to sing it, and
my heart leapt as I think I
would have sung solo just to
get the chance, even though I
was quite shy, as it?s so
I have never forgotten the
words and often sang them to
my children when they were
young, and then to my
Thank you for evoking so
many wonderful memories.
Mrs R.N., Boston.
On Christmas morning my
husband and I were leaving to
go to dinner at our daughter?s
when I spotted a single red
rose in bloom on the climber.
The next day, after a snow
shower, I just had to take a
photograph as it looked so
Mrs N.B., Sheffield.
I?d like to say thank you for
the article on Cromarty. My
grandfather, Alexander
McLeod, a one-legged tailor,
lived there before he
emigrated in 1890. This article
verified several things my
family had been told by our
uncle Norman.
I highlighted the article to
cousins, who in turn contacted
other family members, and
I?ve subsequently found that
our aunt Liza is alive and well
at the age of one hundred
and one! Thank you so much
for creating the opportunity to
contact her again.
Ms B.B., Australia.
Some years ago we had a dog
And sundry cats galore!
And trying to make our winter walks
A little less a chore,
I hit upon the bright idea
Of picnics in the car.
At first the children thought it odd.
They said it was bizarre.
But when we?d driven to the woods
And walked for chilly miles,
The thought of still-warm sausages
Turned frowns back into smiles!
With baked potatoes wrapped in foil
And treats for one and all,
I found our winter walks were not
The slightest chore at all!
Eileen Hay.
A poem
just for
Winter Picnics
New Lease
Of Life
In Time
I was interested to read
about public loos which have
been converted for other uses.
One that I know of is
Sleaford Museum in
Lincolnshire. What a fantastic
way in which to make use of
buildings rather than allowing
them to be neglected and
become an eyesore.
Mrs S.M., Sleaford.
I loved seeing the
recent picture of the little
girl with bubbles in
Between Friends and it
reminded me of this
picture, showing my
husband and
granddaughter, taken
when she was just 20
months old.
It?s hard to believe that
the little girl in the photo
is now 20 years old! I?m
proud to say she?s turned
into a lovely young lady.
Mrs L.J.B., Isle of
Mrs J. Cooper of
Staffordshire is the lucky
winner of our �0 festive
spending spree competition.
Puzzle Solutions from page 27
Missing Link
The words in order
are Over, Bass,
Talk, Open, Town,
Riot, Skin, Mind,
Lead, Seam.
The word is
Terms and conditions.
We?re sorry, but we can?t reply to letters or return photographs and poems unless you enclose a stamped addressed envelope. All contributions must be your own original work
and must not have been sent elsewhere for publication. The Editor reserves the right to modify any contribution. By making a contribution you are agreeing that we and our group
companies and affiliates may, but are under no obligation to, use the contribution in any way and in any media (whether now known or created in future) anywhere in the world. If
you submit a contribution featuring a third party you must ensure that you have their permission for us to publish their image or personal details. If you are sending in a digital image,
please make sure that it is high resolution. Always write your name and address on the reverse of any photographs; printed digital images must be on photo-quality paper and we
cannot use photocopies. Please note, for all advertising queries, call 0207 400 1054. For editorial queries, call 01382 223131.
Published in Great Britain by DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., Dundee, Glasgow and London. Distributed in the UK and Eire by MarketForce UK Ltd, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London
E14 5HU. Phone: +44 (0) 20 378 79001. Email: Website: EXPORT DISTRIBUTION (excluding AU and NZ) Seymour
Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel: +44(0)20 7429 4000. Fax: +44(0)20 7429 4001. Email: Website:
� DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2018. Editorial communications to ?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ. While every reasonable care will be taken, neither
D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd., nor its agents will accept liability for loss or damage to any materials submitted to this publication.
We are committed to journalism of the highest standards and abide by the Editors? Code of Practice which is enforced by the
Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). If you have a complaint, you can e-mail us at or
write to the Readers Editor at The People?s Friend, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
ere she?s
working in Hawick.?
He paused, colouring.
?I stopped off on impulse.
I was heading home when I
thought you might be
walking Franz at the river. It
seems a bit silly now.?
Gabrielle fell in beside
him on the path.
?I?m glad you followed
your impulse,? she said.
?Would it stretch to letting
you have a cup of tea with
me? It would be nice to chat
to someone.?
He looked embarrassed.
?That would be lovely,?
he replied. ?But you gave
me back my scarf. This time
I have no excuse.?
?Who cares?? Gabrielle
As they walked, they
chatted about the work she
was doing in the charity
shop, and how the ongoing
redevelopment of the town
centre had temporarily
emptied it of life.
?Most of the other shops
are gone,? she said,
?leaving only charity shops
Reaching home, she
ushered him into the front
room while she made a pot
of tea for them both, and
put some biscuits on a
Bringing through the tea
tray, she set it down on the
low table between the
chairs. Stephen?s back was
to her, studying the array of
music along the wall.
He turned, frowning.
?I think you said it was
once an obsession,? he said
quietly. ?The music, I mean.
What did you mean??
She poured tea into the
cups as he came over and
sat down.
?Do you never listen to it
any more?? he asked, his
voice still quiet.
?No,? she replied.
There was a long pause,
broken by the noise of the
cup and saucer sliding
across the table to him.
Nodding his thanks, he
left them untouched, his
eyes still on hers.
?Why not?? he asked.
?Or is that too painful a
question? If so, forgive me.?
Gabrielle sipped her tea,
which scalded her throat. It
made her cough.
His eyes never left hers as
he waited quietly.
She sighed, and it seemed
to come from the depths of
her soul.
?If you are good at
something,? she said. ?I
mean, really good at it.
More than good enough to
take your place among the
first violins in any European
orchestra and be accepted
with respect by the
members of that
section . . .?
Her voice faltered and she
?Then something
happens, taking it all away
from you,? she continued,
?the world stops. The hurt
is more painful than having
an arm or leg torn off.
Music was my whole life. It
left no room for anything or
anyone else.
?If I wasn?t playing, I was
practising. If I wasn?t
practising ? six hours each
day, when we weren?t
performing or rehearsing
? then I was listening to my
music here.
?This house was full of
music from when I opened
my eyes each morning until
I closed them at night.
?That ended once I
realised I could no longer
play. There was nothing left
in life for me and, at first, I
didn?t even want to live.?
Blindly, she reached for
her cup, almost knocking it
Stephen reached across,
steadying it. He remained
silent, listening, and in his
silence, she felt there was a
huge affinity, because he,
too, had lost something ? or
in his case someone ? who
had been the centre and
sole purpose of his life.
?Even now I cannot bear
to hear music playing,? she
said, her voice shaking.
?Because my gift has gone,
and I can no longer join in.?
?Poor Gabrielle,? he said
She struggled to force a
?Of course, that doesn?t
mean that other people
can?t play or enjoy music.
Have you a favourite piece??
She watched him. Then he
?Something called ?The
Lark Ascending?,? he said.
?Shiri loved it.?
?Vaughan Williams,? she
said. ?A beautiful solo violin
line. Did you like it, too??
?It was lovely, but a bit
Журналы и газеты
Размер файла
19 824 Кб
The People’s Friend, journal
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа