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The People’s Friend - March 03, 2018

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Take a leek ?
or two!
March 3, 2018 No. 7716
Fabulous fiction
Leek and Tofu Noodle Bowl
? Pat Thornborough?s new serial set in Cornwall
? An Italian romance by Barbara Featherstone
Turkey, Feta and Leek Burger
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
UK Off-sale date - 07-Mar-18
Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
short stories
The charity that creates beautiful
gardens for children?s hospices
Explore this lovely part of Wales
The pet
facts you
need to
from 90
years of
the Oscars
Knit a
for a
little girl
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
The People?s Friend Special
No 153, priced �99
On sale
l 100-page bumper issue!
l 20 sparkling stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 855, priced �49
l A modern romance
by Sheila Spencer-Smith
Cover Artwork: St Davids, Pembrokeshire by J. Campbell Kerr.
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
4 Dylan?s Darling
by Pamela Kavanagh
15 The Ups and Downs
by Jessma Carter
23 Mix And Match
by Jan Snook
25 SERIES Tales From
Prospect House
by Malcolm Welshman
30 SERIAL The Secret Of
Trefusis Cove
by Pat Thornborough
41 Getting Your Goat
by Rebecca Holmes
47 The Ke y To The Cat Caf�
by Suzanne Ross Jones
53 Commuter Crush
by Glenda Young
58 SERIAL To St Peter?s
Fields by Sue Cook
79 Juliet?s Balcony
by Barbara Featherstone
by Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
24 Reader Offer: Perfect
For Easter
27 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: we mark St
David?s Day with a
tasty selection of
recipes featuring leeks
51 Our Next Issue
63 From The Manse
70 Reader Offer:
Enchanting Evenings
In Long Stitch
71 Would You Believe It?
73 Knitting: make our
beautiful collared
cardigan perfect for
little ones
86 Between Friends
8 Neil McAllister takes in
the sights of picturesque
21 6 good reasons to eat
29 John Stoa?s list of
gardening jobs for March
44 Barry Cashin takes a look
at the rise in
56 Wendy Glass chats to
Greenfingers Charity
about their amazing work
65 Your chance to win a
Dyson V8 vacuum
cleaner in our fabulous
68 We celebrate memorable
moments from the
Oscars in this, their 90th
anniversary year
77 Lorna Cowan explores
pet insurance
83 Extra puzzle fun
13 issues for *�when you subscribe
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This week?s new
serial has been hotly
anticipated by both the
?Friend? team and all
the many readers who
regularly write in to tell
me how much they love
Pat Thornborough?s
stories. Her brand-new
tale sees intrepid
house-sitting duo Val
and Betty heading for
the scenic coast of
Cornwall, where they
soon stumble upon a
mystery to be solved.
The first instalment of
?The Secret Of Trefusis
Cove? is on page 30.
It?s St David?s Day on
March 1, and we?re
marking the occasion
with clever recipes that
bring out the best in
leeks, as well as a
gorgeous cover painting
of St Davids and Neil
accompanying feature
on the delights of
Pembrokeshire. Last
but not least is Pamela
Kavanagh?s lively
romance set in Wales
in the late 1890s. You?ll
find ?Dylan?s Darling?
on page 4.
Other highlights
include our round-up of
some of the most
memorable moments in
90 years of the Oscars
on page 68, and a look
at the inspirational
work of the
Greenfingers Charity on
page 56.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
Set in
the late
Dylan?s Darling
Dylan wished nothing more than
to be Bronwyn?s love. He needed
to put a plan into action . . .
Illustration by David Young.
WM the Turner was
so called because of
his skill at woodturning. Balustrades,
newel posts, jugs
and ladles ? whatever a
customer requested, Twm
could make, and no-one
went away dissatisfied.
His speciality was a deep
bowl and spoon for serving
cawl, a delicious and
nourishing pottage of lamb,
root vegetables, herbs and
whatever else the larder
could provide at the time.
It was generally accepted
in the Teivi valley that no
young bride?s household
shelf was complete until it
boasted one of Twm?s
serving bowls and spoons.
Twm was content in his
cottage on the
mountainside, producing
his wares and chatting to
customers. Recently,
though, something had
started to niggle.
Who would take over
when he was no longer
here? Wedlock and the
blessing of children had
passed him by, and since
he was approaching threescore years, and having no
issue to follow him, the
future for the wood-turning
business looked bleak.
?I can?t think what?s to be
done,? Twm said to Dylan
Jones in the tap-room of
the Cilgwyn Tavern, where
Dylan worked as outside
man and general help.
Stocky, with thick dark
hair and a kind face, he
topped up the woodturner?s tankard from the
pitcher on the bar and
waited for him to continue.
?Wood-turning?s been
done in these valleys for
centuries. It?s said the craft
came over here with a wave
of people from the
Continent. This was three
thousand years ago, mind.?
?Three thousand years??
Dylan was astounded.
?So they say. Been in my
family for generations, has
wood-turning. I know that
for a fact.?
?So you?re the end of the
line,? Dylan said
?End of the line,? Twm
replied, reaching for his
There was a short silence,
into which the babble of
voices and a sharp splatter
of late autumn rain against
the window intruded.
?Why don?t you take on
an apprentice?? Dylan
suggested. ?Train him up
and your problem?s solved.?
Twm shook his head.
?I don?t know as I?d want
another person under my
roof,? he said. ?I?m used to
my own company. An old
man gets set in his ways.?
?Give lessons. That?s it!?
Dylan?s brown eyes glowed
as he warmed to the idea.
?A couple of evenings a
week, maybe. You pick out
the most promising and
concentrate on them. I?d be
keen myself.?
?You?d be prepared to
give up a steady job here
and take on a trade, with
all it involves?? Twm asked.
Dylan nodded.
?I?ve got ambitions, see,?
he explained. ?There are no
prospects here, not with
sons to take over the
tavern eventually. I need to
prove myself worthy of
something better than
hauling kegs of ale around
and sweeping floors.?
His eyes slid to the open
door to the kitchen, where
Bronwyn, the landlord?s
pretty daughter, could be
seen ladling a serving of
cawl on to a platter.
Talk had it that Bronwyn
made the tastiest cawl in
the valley, and Dylan?s gaze
lingered on her for several
telling moments.
So that?s the way the wind
blows, Twm told himself.
?Are you interested??
Dylan asked hopefully.
?In the wood-turning
sessions?? Twm shook his
head. ?Nah, I?m too old for
all that. Come St David?s
Day when I reach my
majority, I shall be closing
my doors for good.?
There was a finality in
Twm?s voice that stopped
any attempt at argument.
He swigged down the last
of his ale and shunted the
tankard across the bar.
?Another pint, Dylan, and
then I?ll be on my way.?
* * * *
?I tried to get Twm to see
things my way, but he
wouldn?t listen,? Dylan said
to Bronwyn once the tavern
doors were closed.
?There?s a shame. It?s
such a good idea of yours,
too,? Bronwyn replied.
?Do you think it?s worth
bringing it up again?
There?s no-one else doing
his sort of work around
here. Where are people
going to go for their bowls
and other things if Twm
shuts up shop??
?He mustn?t be allowed to.
There must be some way of
bringing him round. Let me
have a think about it,?
Bronwyn said.
She gave Dylan a dimpled
smile, making his heart
?Right you are,? he said
abruptly, and claiming the
broom he had leaned
against the wall, he
continued sweeping up for
the night.
* * * *
Bronwyn, running a cloth
over the bar top, watched
him surreptitiously.
Ah, Dylan, she thought,
why so cautious with me?
Why the barrier between
us, like a stone wall that
gets higher with every day
that passes?
She?d known Dylan since
he had come here from one
of the more remote villages
seeking work about two
years ago. He was a good
employee, hard-working
and trustworthy, never
shying from any task, no
matter how menial.
He was caring, too. Not
many would concern
themselves about an old
man, alone in his cottage
on the mountain and
clearly troubled about the
future of the craft his
forebears had brought here
all those centuries ago.
It was when Bronwyn had
moved on to the kitchen to
deal with the dirty pots and
was contemplating the
gleaming row of wooden
bowls and platters on the
vast dresser that the idea
Her lips curved into a
triumphant smile and a
gleam appeared in her eyes.
First thing tomorrow she
would visit the cottage on
the mountain.
* * * *
Twm was in his woodshed
sorting out the stored
timber when he heard
someone calling his name.
?Twm? Are you there? It?s
me, Bronwyn Morgan.?
?In here, Bron. Round the
back of the workshop.?
She appeared in the
doorway, flushed and out of
breath from the steep climb
in the early morning air.
?Ah, there you are, Twm.
Not opened up yet? Am I
too soon??
?Never too soon for a
pretty face,? Twm said.
?Flatterer! What?s this
you?re doing, then??
?Making sure there?s
enough sycamore for a set
of egg cups for Mrs Ivor the
Post. This is sycamore
wood, see.?
He showed her a small
billet of blond-coloured
wood, and went on to point
out some other different
varieties of timber.
?This here is oak. This is
poplar ? nice to work with,
is poplar. And this is
myrtle. A hard wood, but
durable. Anything made
from myrtle is for good.?
she descended the winding
path to the village.
* * * *
On entering the Cilgwyn
yard, Bronwyn came across
Dylan rolling a barrel of ale
towards the door of the
??Morning, Bron. You?re
up early,? he called.
??Morning, Dylan. Yes,
I?ve been up the mountain
to see Twm.?
Dylan pulled to a stop,
holding the barrel steady
with his foot.
?Did you mention what
we were talking about??
?If Twm thinks he?s busy now, he?s
in for a shock?
?Do you make boxes? To
keep trinkets in.?
Twm looked thoughtful.
?I can?t say I?ve ever been
asked, Bron. I could make
you one, though. With
compartments, perhaps, so
things don?t get tangled up.?
Bronwyn clapped her
hands together in delight.
?That sounds perfect.
When can you start??
?Not yet awhile. I?ve those
egg cups to make and
Reverend Davies needs a
new balustrade for the
vicarage staircase. Big job,
?So I?ll have to wait.?
Bronwyn?s face clouded. ?I
seem to do nothing but
wait these days. There?s
Father promising extra help
for the tavern kitchen ?
some hope, that.
?And my brother saying
he?ll take me shopping in
Carmarthen and never
does. As for Dylan . . .?
She broke off, colouring.
?Dylan Jones?? Twm
asked. ?A fine man, is
Dylan. Sweet on him??
Bronwyn shrugged, back
in control of her feelings,
and darted Twm a coy look.
?I might be. Then again, I
might not. I?d best get
back. There?s the bread to
bake and tonight?s cawl to
prepare. Oh, that reminds
me. Mam wants another
bowl and spoon set. One
isn?t enough for the tavern.?
?Right you are,? Twm
replied, nodding.
Bronwyn bid him farewell
and left, hips swaying as
?No, I did not. It?s a case
of easy does it with Twm.
My grandfather was the
same. You had to go round
him if you wanted anything
doing, rather than tackle it
head on.?
Dylan nodded, looking
?Mam?s been going on
about an extra serving bowl
for ages now, so I?ve put in
an order for one,? Bronwyn
continued. ?There?s
something I wanted for
myself, too, but I?m going
to have to wait for that.?
?Was he busy, then??
?It looked that way. He
was sorting out some
sycamore for egg cups. He
showed me some of the
types of wood he uses.
?He had a cherry tree off
us once, that came down in
a storm when my
grandfather was still alive.
Fond of that cherry tree,
was Grandfather.?
Bronwyn smiled a little
sadly, then brightened.
?About that other thing
? I?ve started a plan of
action. If Twm thinks he?s
busy now, he?s in for a
shock. There?s every chance
he?s going to find himself a
whole lot busier very soon.?
A sudden shout from the
tavern requesting the
awaited barrel of ale
deprived Dylan of an
He set the barrel rolling
again and Bronwyn, smiling
to herself, headed for the
kitchen to start the
day?s work.
A couple of weeks
later, Dylan saw Twm
pushing towards him
through the crowded
?Twm, it?s been a while,?
he said, pulling up a stool
for the wood-turner.
?Yes,? Twm replied,
sitting. ?Truth is I?ve been
run off my feet. All at once
the womenfolk hereabouts
are wanting extra serving
bowls for cawl. Don?t know
if I?m on my head or my
heels with it all.?
Dylan wondered if Bron
might be behind this. He
decided to put in a word of
his own.
?Busy, is it? Pity there?s
no apprentice with you.
You could have shipped off
some of the workload on to
him. Your usual, is it??
Furnished with a frothing
tankard and a dish of
Bronwyn?s Welsh cakes,
Twm looked happier.
?I?ve been thinking,? he
said. ?Those wood-turning
sessions you spoke of.
You?re interested??
Mindful of Bronwyn?s
warning not to rush things,
Dylan affected a shrug.
?I might be. There are
one or two others who
could be approached, all
handy fellows.?
?Steady on, Dylan. I
didn?t say anything for
sure. I?m considering it.?
Twm reached for his
tankard, signifying an end
to that line of conversation.
* * * *
Twm went ahead with the
wood-turning sessions,
settling for Wednesday
nights. He was surprised at
the response, which soon
increased from a trickle to
a steady flow.
As a result, the village
ironmonger did an excellent
trade in lathes and small
tools, as did the timberyard in seasoned wood.
Inevitably, as winter wore
on and the weather
worsened, there were those
who found their fireside too
good to leave and numbers
dwindled somewhat. A few
stalwarts remained, and
the most promising of
these was Dylan.
?That?s not a bad attempt,
boy,? Twm said one night,
inspecting a bowl Dylan
had made.
This was praise indeed
and Dylan?s expression
warmed with pride.
?If you could spare me an
hour or so on your day off,?
Twm continued, ?I could
leave some of these back
orders for cawl servers to
?I can spare the whole
day,? Dylan replied.
?Providing you don?t mind
my presence under your
roof, that is.?
?Don?t talk daft, boy,?
Twm said gruffly.
So throughout the dark
and snowy weeks of January
and early February, Dylan
climbed the mountain track
to the wood-turner?s
cottage to spend his free
time putting his new-found
skill into practice alongside
Twm in the workshop.
On one occasion Dylan
seemed quiet.
?What?s amiss?? Twm
asked him.
?Just thinking.?
?Would it have anything
to do with a pair of
sparkling dark eyes??
?Well . . .?
?Come on, Dylan. I wasn?t
born yesterday,? Twm said.
?You?ve been hungering for
Bron Morgan for months.
Have you asked her out??
?What, me? A skivvy at
the tavern? Her father
would throw me out for my
Twm snorted.
?Rubbish, man. What?s to
stop you coming here and
working for me??
Dylan stared at him.
?You?d take me on as an
?No need for that. You?re
a quick learner. You?ve
mastered the basics, so
there?s just a few other
skills to perfect and you?re
there. In fact, you?d be a
likely candidate for taking
over when the time comes.?
?That?s a change of tune.
As I recall, you were all for
shutting up shop for good
come St David?s Day,?
Dylan reminded him.
?Ah, but I didn?t say
which St David?s Day. This
year, next year, who
knows? I?m still in pretty
good fettle, and with
someone to help out I
daresay I could carry on a
while yet.?
Dylan grinned broadly.
?It?s glad I am to hear it.?
?You can start here any
time you like. I shouldn?t
worry over handing in your
notice at the Cilgwyn.
Another fellow can easily
be employed in your place
? and with a steady trade
at your fingertips, Dai
Morgan isn?t going to jib at
you courting his daughter.?
Dylan?s mind reeled. All
he needed now was to be
sure that Bron liked him
enough. But how would he
show his feelings for her?
?I need to make her
something. A token of my
regard,? he said. ?Not a
serving bowl. That might
look presumptuous. A
thimble or egg cup,
Twm shook his head.
?Nah ? too commonplace.
You want to give her
something she?ll treasure.
Like a ? goodness me!?
A look of dismay crossed
Twm?s wrinkled old face.
?I completely forgot. She
came here once asking for
a trinket box. I said I?d
make her one, and what
with one thing and another
I never got round to it.
Went clean out of my mind.
There?s your answer, boy.
Make her a trinket box.?
?I wouldn?t know where to
start,? Dylan confessed.
?I?ll show you.?
* * * *
Early on the morning of
St David?s Day, Bronwyn
sought out Dylan.
?Father says you?re
leaving to work for Twm,?
she said.
?That?s right.? Dylan
?So he?s not shutting up
shop after all. Makes it
worthwhile, all that
tramping from door to door
in the rain, getting the
housewives to order an
extra serving bowl or two
from him.?
?So that?s how you did it.?
Dylan laughed. ?But you
don?t look pleased about it.?
?It?s not that, Dylan. It?s
you. I don?t want you to go.
I?ll miss you and . . . what?s
From his jacket pocket
Dylan had pulled out a
small parcel wrapped in
brown paper.
?It?s for you,? he
Bronwyn ripped off the
wrapping to disclose a
small wooden box
fashioned in a beautifully
grained wood.
?Cherry wood, from the
tree your grandfather
liked,? Dylan explained.
Instead of a lid there was
a half-drawer at the front.
?Open the drawer,? Dylan
urged softly.
She did so, and inside,
hidden away, was another
drawer. She tilted the box
until the drawer slid
sideways, and pulled it out.
It contained a ring of
Welsh gold, deep and rich.
An ornate clasp held a
single stone ? a sapphire
so blue it seemed to drain
the colour from the sky.
?Oh!? Bronwyn was lost
for words.
?It was my gran?s ring.
Mam gave it me to give to
the girl of my choice. Will
you wear my ring, Bron?
Will you be mine??
Bronwyn found her voice.
?And here?s me thinking
I?d never hear you say
those words!? She smiled. ?I
love you, Dylan Jones. Yes,
of course I?ll be yours.?
?We?ll have to wait to be
wed,? he told her. ?I?m still
a novice at wood-turning,
but I?ll work to get up to
?All good things are worth
waiting for,? Bron replied.
With that, Dylan put the
ring on her finger.
* * * *
Great were the
celebrations at the Cilgwyn
that night. Locals, sporting
wild daffodils on their
lapels in celebration of their
patron saint, raised a glass
to the happy couple.
Landlord Morgan, looking
dazed at the turn of events,
offered drinks on the
house, and his wife smiled
at the best wishes given.
Twm the Turner was
content. His workshop was
secure for the future, and
he couldn?t think of a
better-matched couple to
take over at some point,
with the attached cottage.
He reached for his
tankard and, catching
Dylan?s eye across the
room, raised it again in
silent recognition of their
It was a joyful St David?s
Day indeed. n
This week we?re
Tiny But Powerful
The little hummingbird has one
of the highest metabolic rates
among vertebrates, eating half
its bodyweight in sugar every day
by feeding on nectar. With wings
beating up to 50 times a second, they
need all the energy they can get!
Garden Inspiration
Eggstra Special
This handcrafted solid beech egg
holder is great for safe egg storage
and will make the perfect gift for an
aspiring cook or baker. Priced at just
�.95, it is available to buy from www.
Weather Watch
Dreamscapes (Hardie Grant Books)
is a stunning collection of over 50
of our most beautiful international
gardens, photographed by author
Claire Takacs. It is a wonderful
celebration of gardens throughout
the world.
Look Back In Wonder
Keep an eye on garden temperatures
with the Tenby thermometer, which can
sit indoors or out. Measuring in both
degrees Centigrade and Fahrenheit, this
handy accessory costs � and can be
ordered from
Do you want to know more about where
you came from ? literally? Living DNA?s
kit can trace back 10 generations and
break results down over 80 geographical
areas. To find out more about who you
are, get details from
Happy Birthday!
This week we send greetings to
Scottish footballer and honorary
Liverpudlian Kenny Dalglish,
who celebrates his sixty-seventh
birthday on March 4.
Calling Crafters
If you are a fan of gritty thrillers,
the award-winning ?The Tunnel? is
perfect. Look out for the recently
box set
with Series
1-3 or
Series 3
on its own.
from the
Crafters will have a great day out at
the Creative Craft Show and Scottish
Quilting Show, both being held at
the Glasgow SEC, March 8-11. They
are perfect places to learn, try and
Tunnel Vision
The Lucerne University of Applied
Sciences and Arts (Luasa) has plans to
run a three-year bachelor?s degree and a
two-year master?s in Yodelling, a music
form originally adopted by herdsmen
and much loved by the Swiss. Something
to yodel about?
Details correct at time of going to press.
High On A Hill . . .
Neil McAllister boards the
Puffin Shuttle to enjoy a
tour of this captivating
Welsh county.
n In the 1970s the area
was the scene of alleged
UFO sightings and was
nicknamed the Dyfed
Triangle. In 1977 a
cigar-shaped craft is said
to have landed in a field
next to Broad Haven
Primary School. A group
of children saw the craft.
When the headmaster
asked the children to
draw the craft he was
surprised how similar the
drawings were.
Photographs by Neil McAllister.
n Marloes Deer Park,
cared for by the National
Trust, has never actually
contained any deer.
n St Davids? population is
around 1/200th of the
Welsh capital Cardiff.
n Even though St Davids
contains a number of
pubs, the saint himself
was known as Dewi
Dyfrwr (David the water
drinker) as he lived on
bread and water.
IVEN the choice
of boarding the
ten o?clock train
to Edinburgh or
the Flying
Scotsman, I know which I
would choose.
Giving transport a name
makes it more appealing ?
something Pembrokeshire
realised, as the St Davids
bus stop lists the ?Strumble
Shuttle? and ?Celtic Coaster?
alongside the reason for our
visit, the charmingly
monikered ?Puffin Shuttle?.
Named after the area?s
most popular feathered
tourist attraction, this little
bus travels along the Welsh
coast between St Davids
and Martin?s Haven, from
where boats take wildlife
lovers across the water to
En route, it passes through
the quaint village of Solva,
alongside the beaches of
Newgale and Broad Haven,
through the tiny harbour
village of Little Haven, and
along the cliff top to Marloes
on lanes so narrow I would
think twice about driving
Hazel?s Fiesta down them,
let alone a bus.
In winter, this recycled
vehicle runs Thursday and
Saturday, increasing to three
times a day in summer, so it
is possible to walk between
stops on the spectacular cliff
top path, or hop off to
spend a while exploring
along the shuttle?s route
within the picturesque
Pembrokeshire Coast
National Park.
As quiz fans know, in both
size and population
St Davids is Britain?s
smallest city. Visitors seeking
a landmark building on the
area?s highest point won?t
be disappointed on the
magnificence front, but the
huge church is hidden away
in a valley, away from the
eyes of Vikings.
It wasn?t immune to
Danish plunder, though,
which continued until after
the Normans arrived. The
French invaders built the
present cathedral to contain
many relics, including those
of St David, causing the
Pope to declare that two
pilgrimages to St Davids
were equal to one to Rome.
William the Conqueror
himself visited, and a few
centuries later
Broad Haven?s beach
and seafront.
Borough Head on the famous
Pembrokeshire coastline.
Boats at rest
in Solva.
Pembrokeshire gave
England its most famous
Royal House when Henry VII
established the Tudor
dynasty from Pembroke
Ironically the area was the
site of another French
invasion, during the
Napoleonic War, but the
forces quickly became
diverted by local wine,
women and song.
Penrhiw Hotel proved to
be a refined, tranquil base
for our visit. Formerly a
Victorian vicarage, in 2012
this lovely old house which
stands at the edge of the
village was converted to a
luxury hotel.
It is part of the same
group which runs Roch
Castle Hotel, just off the
shuttle?s route, and Twr y
Felin Hotel, which
incorporates an old windmill
near St Davids new Oriel y
Parc Visitor Centre.
From St Davids, the
shuttle?s first stop is Solva, a
particularly picturesque
village, where craft lovers
can alight and walk the lane
to an old woollen mill
beside the river.
Less energetic visitors can
visit the former chapel,
where flamboyant Cuban
artist Raul Speek displays
his creations alongside
works by local visual artists.
For greater choice, try the
local pottery over the road
or the small blue-painted art
gallery ? they like their
paintings round these parts.
Whilst the river is named
after the village, the Welsh
name of Solfach is Danish
for samphire, suggesting our
marauding chums the
Vikings discovered the
edible delicacy here
between pillaging raids.
Most visitors are drawn
towards the water, where a
host of bobbing craft make
the picturesque estuary
even more camera-ready.
There is little to hint that
this was once a major port.
In the 1840s ships sailed
from Solva directly to
I wonder if the two wiry
Americans who boarded the
bus knew the connection
with their home country.
Like many passengers, they
were prepared for a day on
foot, with trekking poles,
stout boots and day pack in
case the weather played up.
If you are pushed for time,
there is a short circular walk
around the Gribin, past old
limekilns and an ancient
Iron Age fort towards pebbly
Gwadn beach. The route
returns through an Ice Age
valley before crossing the
ridge to head back to Solva.
From here, the road turns
inland before returning to
the seaside at Newgale,
where most of its journey
runs alongside St Bride?s
On sunny summer days
the series of pebble-backed
beaches, starting at Newgale
Sands, are a tourist magnet,
but out-of-season visitors
can have miles of golden
sand to themselves, except
for the surfers who seem
immune from the climate as
they seek the perfect wave.
Every now and then the
beach gives way to rockier
outcrops, like at Nolton
Haven, where low tide
reveals a sandy strand in the
pebbly cove.
From the bus Druidston?s
beach is the main feature,
but from the sand the rocky
arches and sea caves delight
exploring youngsters,
though an eye needs to be
kept on the returning tide.
The bus pauses here for
passengers to enjoy the
?Teletubby House?, a
turf-roofed home
overlooking the sea, built for
a local former MP, but just
along the road another odd
structure caught our eye.
Originally built as a
croquet pavilion beside a
clifftop lawn, this eccentric
place is available as an
eco-friendly holiday let.
Near the bay?s southern
shore, Broad Haven features
pretty pastel-coloured
homes fringing one of
Wales?s loveliest beaches.
Whilst children delve into
rock pools or enjoy the soft
sand, walkers leave the
coast path in search of
liquid refreshment at the
Galleon Inn, or a bite to eat
in one of the seafront caf閟.
When the tide allows, it
is possible to take a
rocky shore walk round
A peaceful spot overlooking
Solva?s gorgeous harbour.
to Little Haven, but we
stayed on the bus until
St Brides, once home to
local MP Baron Kensington,
from where there are a
number of walking options.
Some passengers pick up
the coast path at St Brides
Cross, passing the
headland?s ancient fort
towards Musselwick Beach,
or take one of the paths
south to Marloes, whose
name has the same origins
as Melrose.
Like much of this part of
Wales, the area has been
English-speaking for the
best part of a millennium,
leading to its name of ?Little
England Beyond Wales?.
The bus continues to its
turning point at Martin?s
Haven. This is a popular
area to picnic or view seals,
choughs and puffins. This
All aboard the
Puffin Shuttle.
little bay is the boarding
point for boats to Skomer
Island, where wildlife lovers,
photographers and
enquiring tourists can
experience nature close up
in this isolated reserve.
Until the 1950s the Codd
Family lived on Skomer, but
even then they were
outnumbered by huge
numbers of puffins, which
arrive mid-April to nest in
Most of today?s visitors are
limited to a few hours,
although the Old Farm has
become self catering
accommodation, offering
mixed dormitories to enjoy
isolated dark sky nights
marooned with wildlife.
Whilst the bus is often the
starting point for a walk, it is
wheelchair-accessible and,
having covered its whole
route a few times, we can
confirm that it is a lovely
drive down roads many
people may hesitate to
tackle in a car.
At the right time of year,
the hedges are a riot of
colourful wildflowers and
the elevated seating gives
panoramic views both
inland, across a patchwork
of small fields, or seawards
to enjoy a leisurely view of
this spectacular coast.
One highlight of our trip
was a five-mile stroll from
Solva back to St Davids
which, apart from a few
steep bits, notably rising
from Solva Harbour, is
wonderfully flat. There is no
chance of getting lost as the
coast path is well-worn.
You may need your
sunglasses ? not to shield
the sun, but for the colourful
display of wildflowers along
the route.
Thick swathes of thrift
cling to the clifftop amongst
bright yellow gorse, and
when we paused to look
closer, we discovered all
manner of tiny, unfamiliar
blooms amongst small
succulents clinging to stone
Hazel also spotted an
adder sunning itself on the
path, which hissed angrily
away into the gorse as we
Another highlight came a
Want to know more?
For further information about holidays in Wales, go to
Neil stayed at the Penrhiw Hotel, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, St Davids,
Haverfordwest, Wales SA62 6PG. Website:
Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre on 01437 720392 or visit
little further along the coast
at Porthgain, where the
Shed Fish & Chip Bistro sits
in an old quayside building
overshadowed by huge
This restaurant specialises
in fish and chips, but is as
far removed from your local
chippie as Buckingham
Palace from a terraced
cottage. We were lucky to
get an early seat, as tables
are booked far in advance,
allowing me to enjoy a
lovely bit of brill, whilst
Hazel described her Thaistyle king prawns as
?deliciously fishy.?
Whilst we had enjoyed
sophisticated fine dining in
Penrhiw?s sister Twr y Felin
Hotel, the Shed served
equally lovely food, but in
more informal surroundings,
on plastic tablecloths with
salt and vinegar ready to
hand. I can?t imagine a
tastier way to conclude our
Welsh excursion. n
Getting there
By road:
the A487 links
St Davids with
and Fishguard.
By rail: the
railway stations are
Haverfordwest and
By bus: National Express
buses run to
Haverfordwest, and the
Richards Brothers 411
service runs through
St Davids.
?I wish I was there. I
love a good auction?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
T is a big day for Lush
Places as two properties
in the village go under the
hammer at auction.
I suggest to Mr Grigg that
we make an occasion of it
and go down to Axminster
for lunch at Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall?s River Cottage
before walking to the town?s
guildhall for the auction.
Then I find I?ve double
booked, but it doesn?t
matter. Mr Grigg goes there
all the same, with Mr
Loggins and Nobby Odd-Job
in tow.
They live it up like kings
with a two-course set lunch
for �.95 each, then head
down the road to a packed
You wouldn?t believe the
number of people from Lush
Places who are here, he
texts when I ask him from
afar how things are going.
It?s not surprising, really,
as one of the houses up for
sale is right in the village
square, and the other is a
large, dilapidated but lovely
farm and land on the edge
of Lush Places.
It?s been divided into six
separate lots and is
attracting a lot of interest.
There are at least 11
local families in the crowd,
he says, but only one or
two will be bidding.
I wish I was there. I love
a good auction, although I
always sit on my hands in
case I get the sudden urge
to scratch my nose and get
mistaken for someone who
looks like they are entering
a bidding war.
Periodically, I receive
updates on my phone from
Mr Grigg to tell me how
the sale is progressing.
The house in the village
square, which belonged to
a lovely old couple who
are sadly no longer with
us, goes for a song.
A young family currently
in rented accommodation
snap it up for just
�8,000, which is not a
lot of money for a four- to
five-bedroom house and a
shop frontage.
Yes, they?ll need to
spend quite a bit on doing
it up, and it has no parking
and not much of a garden,
but here in Dorset, where
property prices are sky
high, they seem to have
bagged a bargain.
There is much
speculation about what, if
anything, might happen to
the shop part of this house.
But it?s good that the
house is going to be lived
in again, with new life
breathed into the square.
What with the pump
project and new
enthusiastic landlords in
the pub, things in Lush
Places are looking up.
Then Mr Grigg lets me
know that it?s time for the
farm to be auctioned off. I
can just imagine necks
craning to see who is
bidding for this slice of
rural Dorset.
He texts to ask me the
name of a man he
recognises in the crowd.
I tell him. He texts back:
Well, he?s bidding for the
farm right now.
The guide price for the
farmhouse and 85 acres,
which includes what
historians consider the
most important Roman hill
fort in the area, is �0,000.
Astonishingly, it goes under
the hammer for �52
And so it goes on, with
the text notification pinging
on my phone as each lot is
sold off.
?There was absolute
silence in the guildhall,? Mr
Grigg tells me later as he
recounts how a tiny plot of
half an acre sold for
I thank my lucky stars that
I was double booked. I just
know if I?d been there I
would have put my hand
up at the wrong time and
ended up in enough debt
to sink a small country.
?You weren?t tempted,
then?? I say, tongue-incheek. These sort of figures
are well beyond our ken.
?No,? he says. ?But I
wouldn?t mind going back
for some more of that
lunch.? n
Who will buy the
properties up for auction?
The Ups
This was her last day at
work, and Teresa hoped it
would go smoothly . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
ERESA loved her
new car. Black and
small, her preretirement present
to herself beeped if
she was about to reverse
into a wall and reminded
her to fasten her seatbelt.
Flashing lights told her
when to change gear, and
there was a lever which
would pump air into her
tyre if she got a puncture.
Mary, her daughter, had
insisted she get it.
?It?s your time now,
Mum, yours and Dad?s.
You?re sixty and fit, so
throw your folders in the
dustbin, get a car and go
all those places you yearn
to see. The Lake District,
the sea, the hills of
Scotland, remember??
Mary knew them well.
Her parents had shared a
lot since travelling from
Nigeria years ago, when
their dreams of a happy
and contented life there
had disintegrated.
They had been unsure of
what they would find in the
UK, but it had been mostly
good. They?d been able to
plan an old age when they
would visit parts of Britain
they didn?t know.
Mary had phoned this
?Just phoned to wish you
well. I?ll come round
tonight with the children
and Joe can join us later.
We can celebrate.?
* * * *
Teresa switched on the
engine, listened to the
quiet purr and set off
smoothly. She was on what
would be her last visit to
the tower block.
Colin, eighteen, would be
waiting for her on the 14th
floor. Strange, the silly
things that worried her
She?d never told anyone
how much she dreaded
these visits. Not because of
Colin and his complex
needs, inarticulate, not the
brightest star in the sky,
just out of detention centre
and with a mum whose
tongue had an edge sharp
as a razor.
No, it was the choice she
had to make every week.
Climb up the stairs, stop
for a deep breath at each
landing, risk passing signs
of entertainment the night
Or take the lift? That
steel cage. There must be
air coming from
somewhere, but where?
Buttons on the side, right
up to 14, and a red alarm
And who would join her
this time on this airless
journey? Would the jolt
that opened her eyes mean
that some stranger was
coming in, or that she had
safely arrived?
Teresa was already
breathless when she
arrived at the entrance,
having parked her car in
the nearby Aldi car park.
?Think positive, even if
your stomach feels like a
twisted rag!?
She spoke sharply to
herself, trying to decide.
Stairs or lift? The smell was
slightly better today.
Perhaps the wind had
helped by teasing out the
stale air.
She had come at her best
time, early afternoon when
there were few people
hanging around. Today
there was only an isolated
mum struggling with a
buggy, some youths with
bicycles doing dangerous
wheelies and a small group
of girls watching from a
nearby wall.
None paid any attention
to Teresa; she was just
another woman with a
canvas bag, a woman
whose demeanour and
whitening hair made her
practically invisible.
?Nobody here. That?s
good.? Teresa often spoke
out loud to herself when
she knew she was alone.
She pressed the button to
call the lift. ?Last visit.?
The lift was obedient
today, coming quickly and
almost silently after she
summoned it. She stepped
inside and pressed 14.
The lift glided straight to
the top floor and sighed to
a stop. Teresa?s heart
steadied its beat as she
stepped outside into the
corridor, straightened her
shoulders and knocked on
the door.
Colin answered, washed
and dressed and as near
smiling as he ever had
?Got a job,? he told her
at once. ?A packing job at
Teresa beamed at him
and took the offered seat
on the sofa. Colin?s mum
appeared and even gave a
nod of what could have
been approval as she
looked at her son.
?Great news, Colin.?
Teresa took folders from
her bag and riffled
through the pages of a
?Somerville?s, you
say?? She wrote a few
notes, then closed the file.
?I?m so glad, Colin. You
deserve a break.
?This is my last day, so I
can leave knowing that
things are looking up for
She was tempted to pat
him on the knee. So like
her grandson, the same
hopeful, vulnerable look on
his face.
They talked about the
firm Colin was joining.
Teresa was able to tell him
it had a good reputation
for being fair to employees.
Someone was bound to
come soon. She tried to
concentrate on the good
parts of her life. Mary was
coming tonight. She would
come with a pot of
something, maybe that
spicy chicken she was so
good at.
They?d sit at the kitchen
table while the casserole
bubbled and talk, daughter
Mary, son Tobias and their
They?d laugh together
over the good times, shed
a tear or two over the bad
when, as Christians, they
had had to escape from
Someone was bound to come
soon, Teresa thought
?That?s as much as you
can ask, Colin. If they?re
fair then it?s up to you.?
She stood up and was
slightly surprised when
Colin stood as well and put
out his hand.
?Thanks for your help.?
Teresa summoned the lift
and stepped inside. A good
final day. Last visit to the
tower block had gone well.
She closed her eyes in
relief. Going down was
always different, more
relaxing. She was on the
way out.
* * * *
The lift clanked a bit and
then stopped. She opened
her eyes, reached into her
pocket for her car keys and
waited for the doors to
glide open. Waited some
more. Listened.
She banged on the
doors. The steel was cold
and sounds seemed to
echo. Her hand pressed
random buttons. Nothing
happened. She slithered
down to the floor, gazing
up at the roof of the lift.
Then she reached for the
red alarm button and
pressed and pressed. Not a
sound that she could hear.
She grappled for her
phone and tried to dial
999. How could she expect
a signal inside this metal
?This is life. One step on,
maybe two if you?re lucky,
and then one step back.?
Her voice bounced around
the metal chamber.
the threat of Boko Haram,
a group that believed all
western ideas were wicked.
The heat inside the lift
reminded Teresa of that
frightening car journey
across the Nigerian border
to safety. The car had
lurched and bumped
across the scrubland, not a
road in sight and just the
bright moon to guide them.
She remembered
Matthew wounded and
moaning beside her, Mary
on her knee, Tobias
gripping the steering wheel
tight as he drove. He was
only eleven years old but
they all had great trust in
his ability to take them to
The air was getting hot
inside the lift. Teresa
looked up again at the
ceiling. Of course, there
was a vent there, beside
the small light. She stood
up and tried to reach and
feel but she was too small.
She crouched again in
the corner, trying to
imagine she was at home
resting on the sofa. Mary
or Matthew or Tobias
would come looking for
her, even if no-one else
had tried the lift before
then and reported it out of
?Are you all right in
The voice came from a
distance as Teresa came
to, blinking at the light of
the torch.
She stumbled out into
semi-darkness and into the
arms of a man she had
never seen before. She
shrugged off his hold,
totally disorientated,
ignoring his calls of concern
as she walked unsteadily
across to the car park.
Home was all she wanted.
Home, a cup of tea, a
bath. Home.
* * * *
She fingered the car keys
and walked through the car
park. Surely the car had
been in the last aisle, the
one nearest the tower
block? It had been beside a
large white car.
But, then, that had been
about four hours ago.
Teresa wandered on. What
was the number plate
again? There were so many
small black cars.
She couldn?t possibly go
into the store and ask
someone to help her find a
car whose number she
didn?t know. She?d look a
right fool. There was a 12
in it somewhere, and SF.
Or was it SL?
The keyring, that was it.
She?d walk up and down
and flick her keyring at
every small black car until
one answered with a
flashing light and a click.
She plodded around the
car park, clicking and
?Look at that woman,?
she heard a child call. ?She
looks like she?s lost.?
?Get in, for goodness?
sake. Let?s get home,?
someone answered.
?Home,? Teresa
* * * *
Mary arrived in her car
just as Teresa was getting
out of hers.
?You?re late home,
?My last day, love.?
?Good day, was it? A
good ending??
They moved inside the
?Started bad, then fell
away.? Teresa laughed and
switched on the oven. ?I
faced my worst fears, if you
really want to know. But it
turned out well.?
?Sit down and tell me.
The children are coming
round after their sports
?I?ll keep it for later.
Share it with the children.?
Mary looked at her
mother?s calm face, the
face that had always been
there when she needed it,
the face that seldom
seemed perturbed.
?The new car OK? You
like it??
?Great. I haven?t got to
grips with all its hidden
talents yet.? Teresa started
to laugh. ?And I don?t
know the number.?
?What number??
?On the number plate.?
Teresa wiped tears from
her eyes. ?I don?t know
whether I?m laughing or
?Do both.? Mary handed
her a paper towel.
* * * *
Teresa sat back in her
favourite armchair, tired
after the excitement of the
day, and watched the
family. Mary and her
husband and children; her
son Tobias with his wife
and children. On the other
side of the crowded room,
her husband, Matthew,
cradled the baby.
After eating, she and
Matthew told and retold
the story of their life in
Africa and their journey to
Were you scared, was it
hot, did you see snakes?
When you sat on the
stoep when Mum was wee,
was the sun really bright
red at night?
When you and Grandpa
were in the car and Dad
was just a boy but driving,
were you scared?
?I was only scared that
we would not be together.?
Luke, the eldest
grandson, was curled up
against his dad on the
?That?s not possible,? he
said sleepily. ?You can?t
stop being somebody?s
mother or sister or
anything. Even if you?re far
away, you?re together, in a
kind of a way.?
Teresa relaxed and let
the murmur of their voices
drift around her. Luke was
right enough; the family
had been there with her in
the lift, in the car park.
She started to sing
quietly, a sign of
contentment. Soon they all
joined in. n
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I?m looking after my granddaughter and I?m keen
to ensure she has her five a day. She prefers fruit
rather than veg. Could this be bad for her teeth?
Elaine Tilling,
Clinical Head
of Education
at TePe, is
here to help.
Eating fruit is a great way for
children to get their all-important
five a day, and the high levels of
vitamin C make them a great
choice for not just their oral
health, but their overall health,
too. However, it is important to
remember that fruit can be very
In The News
Pacemaker For
Scientists are conducting trials
on a battery-powered
pacemaker to boost the thinking
power of people with
A team at Ohio State
University have connected wires
from a pacemaker in a patient?s
chest to thin wires implanted in
their brain to target the part of
the brain which controls
decision making and planning. It
appears that the electrical pulses
recalibrate brain circuits by
stimulating brain cells that have
not been killed off by dementia.
It is early days, but the
researchers are excited about
the role it might play in slowing
cognitive decline so typical of
acidic and also contains high
levels of sugars which can
damage the enamel on our teeth,
resulting in sensitivity and tooth
Try keeping the majority of fruit
intake to meal times to reduce
the amount of acid attacks on the
teeth. Making sure children are
brushing their teeth thoroughly
twice a day with a fluoride
toothpaste will help limit the
damage caused by acidic fruits,
helping their teeth and gums to
remain healthy, which is essential
for healthy development of their
adult teeth.
Power Of Pilates
Pilates is fast gaining in popularity as
a safe and effective form of exercise.
Here?s why to try it:
? the strength-building programme
was invented to help people recover
from injury, but new research shows it
can boost bone density, too
? it is a great way to build core
strength and improve balance and
? it tightens tummy muscles and
helps ease lower back pain
? by boosting blood flow and
dilating arteries it helps lower blood
pressure and improve brain function
? studies show it can boost mood ?
and libido
Health Bite
Look out for ?yeast flakes? in health
food stores. This is deactivated yeast
(meaning it doesn?t grow like baking
yeast) which is packed with flavour
and nutrients.
Many brands are fortified with
vitamin B12, making it a nutritional
flavour enhancer for vegans (who
often lack this essential vitamin).
It is also a ?complete protein?
(because it contains amino acids),
and contains other B vitamins plus
iron, selenium and zinc, while being
low in fat and salt. If sprinkled on
soups or sauces and stirred into pasta
it tastes a bit like Parmesan cheese.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
Advice For
Tips to
How To Have Youthful Skin
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
learns how to
keep your face
T happens to all of us sooner or later.
You look in the mirror and notice some
wrinkles, frown lines or puffy bags under
your eyes.
Age changes our skin and we can?t stop
the clock. But with the right routines and
advice, we can slow it down.
I asked Dr Katerina Steventon,
international skincare expert, scientist and
facialist, to share some of her secrets. She
runs an independent skincare clinic called
FaceWorkshops in Yorkshire, and is on the
expert panel of the British Association of
Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology
Dr Steventon explained that the biology
of our skin underlies the effects we see
as we get older. Changes to the deeper
layers of the skin cause it to wrinkle, get
thinner and start to sag. Changes in the
surface layer lead to dryness, roughness
and a lacklustre appearance.
Fortunately, there is much we can do to
keep the skin healthy and looking well.
Sun is the biggest enemy of ageing skin,
so don?t overdo your exposure. Use sun
cream (although we all need a bit of time
without it, for Vitamin D) and wear
sunglasses when it?s bright.
Stress, lack of sleep, an inadequate diet
and poor skincare habits also affect the
health of the skin. Make relaxation a
priority and get to bed at a reasonable
hour. Go for a diet rich in balanced
omega fatty acids, antioxidants, probiotics
and protein. It?s also good to stay properly
It?s essential to follow a routine of
cleansing, moisturising and, after the age
of thirty, using a serum. Use a special
product for the eye area, which is prone
to premature ageing. Do this every
morning when you wake up and every
night before bed. Using a weekly facial
mask is also a good habit from your
thirties onward.
Skincare products don?t keep for ever
? they go off. The label should tell you
how long a product will last. So make a
wise investment that?s within your budget.
Good skincare does not have to be
expensive, but it does need to be
matched to your individual needs.
It?s worthwhile to have an initial
consultation with a skincare specialist.
They can advise on your routine and what
to use. Here are some tips on finding
your expert:
? Ideally, talk to someone who works
with several product lines, so their
recommendation is based on what?s best
for you and is not restricted to one brand.
? Ask what qualifications they have, too.
You can search for a local beauty therapist
on the BABTAC website at www.babtac.
? To bring yourself up to date on the
basics of skincare, have a look at the
American Academy of Dermatology
website at The
British Dietetic Association has a good fact
sheet on food and skin health on
? You can visit www.katerinasteventon.
com for Dr Steventon?s regular articles on
various skincare topics.
Looking after your skin is one of those
occasions when doing something for your
health is also a pleasure, so do go ahead
and enjoy. n
Before you even think about
getting out to dig the garden
this spring, take heed of the
first scientific study of the
ergonomics of a good, safe
digging technique.
Researchers at Coventry
University have been working
with the Royal Horticultural
Society to analyse different
digging actions and have
concluded that a good digging
action is one which uses a
regular, repetitive digging
technique, bending from the
knees when necessary and
keeping the back straight.
The digging action most likely
to set you up for strain or
injury, or exacerbate arthritis, is
one where you stretch or lean
just out of reach and work in
an erratic or uncontrolled way.
Cheats And Eats
If you can?t stand the thought
of hunger or deprivation but
you?re longing to lose weight and
tone up for summer, a new book,
?Cheats And Eats?, could provide
the answer.
The clever diet plan allows you
to eat up to 10 delicious and
tempting ?cheats? each day but
still lose weight because the rest
of your diet is packed with ?eats?
(mostly vegetables and salads).
No calorie counting is required.
With meal plans and recipes
included, it should make sensible
slimming a breeze.
It?s �99 ? order from www.
Eat the foods you crave and
lose weight even faster
?The result is a
fabulous diet that
won?t just help you
lose weight, but
that you?ll actually
want to stick to!?
6 good reasons to eat
Vitamin C For
The combined effects of
vitamin A and C create a
great antioxidant capacity,
and with lycopene in the mix,
the red bell pepper becomes
a top notch superfood.
Lycopene is what makes
tomatoes and peppers red.
Red peppers are one of the
highest veggies in lycopene,
which has been shown to
help prevent many cancers.
A Weight-loss Aid
One medium (120g)
pepper contains
24 calories
2g fibre
160% of your daily vitamin C
1g protein
Whether you choose red,
orange or yellow peppers, the
bright colour indicates the
disease-fighting activity of
carotenoids. As with all fruit
and vegetables, the brighter
the colour, the more
phytonutrients it contains. So
bright red peppers can contain
five times as many polyphenols
and carotenes as the immature
green. You?d have to eat five
green peppers to get as many
phytonutrients as one red.
Green ones have a tenth of the
vitamin A of red, too. Cooking
peppers can double their
polyphenol count, and use the
white pith as this contains the
highest concentrations of
antioxidants and polyphenols.
Peppers have been
ranked the most
antioxidant rich of the
10 most commonly
consumed vegetables
in the Western world,
beating even broccoli
and spinach! A typical
80 g serving contains
more than twice the
vitamin C you need in
a day, plus fibre and
vitamin A. If you
are prone to anaemia,
try a fresh pepper
sauce with your steak.
The vitamin C in the
pepper helps the
absorption of iron.
Red peppers are
also a great source of
vitamin B6 and folate,
both of which can help
prevent anaemia.
It has long been known that
the metabolism hike triggered
by the heat of chillis can aid
weight loss, but recent research
has shown that sweet red
peppers can have a similar
effect. Although they don?t
contain capsaicin, which is
what makes peppers hot, they
do have a mild thermogenic
action that increases our
Studies from the US show that
eating peppers can lower your
risk of Parkinson?s disease. This
is thought to be linked to the
fact that the ?nightshade? family
of vegetables (which includes
peppers and aubergines) are
related to the tobacco plant, and
nicotine in microscopic quantities
has been shown to offer some
protection against the disease.
Researchers found people who
ate pepper daily showed half the
risk of those who ate none at all.
Mix And
It would be fun going to a
fancy-dress party ? if Melissa
could persuade David to wear
a costume . . .
Illustration by iStock.
the note that
Joshua had
just sheepishly
handed her.
?When did you get this??
she demanded as she
zipped up two-year-old
Nicky?s anorak and called
upstairs. ?Florence! Hurry
or you?ll be late for school!?
Joshua shrugged.
?I?ve told you, you?ve got
to give me notes as soon as
you get them,? she scolded.
?Where?s your gym kit?
We?re going to be late.?
?I?m off.? Her husband
was heading for the door.
?You look a bit fraught.
What?s up??
?Joshua?s only just told
me it?s World Book Day on
Thursday. He and Florence
will have to dress up as
characters in books.?
David pulled a
sympathetic face.
?It?s a great idea, though,
World Book Day. I?m glad
the kids have to think of
books occasionally rather
than stare at a screen!?
?Yes, but it?s just one
more thing to do when I?m
already struggling to do the
routine things.?
Melissa deposited the
older children at school and
Nicky at nursery (where she
discovered he, too, needed
a costume), then made her
way to work. On her
lunchbreak she called in at
the library and trawled the
children?s section for
suitable characters.
Her phone rang.
?Good, you?re there,? her
best friend, Charlotte, said
happily. ?I was ringing to
ask you and David to a
party. It?s rather short
notice, but can you make
Saturday evening??
Melissa smiled.
?Charlotte, you are just
what I needed. I seem to
spend my life ferrying the
children to parties. A proper
grown-up party would be a
real treat!? She laughed.
?Can I bring anything??
?No, just bring
yourselves,? Charlotte said.
?Suitably dressed, of
?Suitably dressed??
Melissa echoed faintly.
?Yes. I got the idea last
week from school when they
sent that note about World
Book Day. I thought, why
should the kids have all the
fun? So I hope to see you
and David as Romeo and
Juliet? Or maybe Poirot and
Miss Marple??
She gave a happy laugh.
?Anyway, lots to do. See
you on Saturday!?
* * * *
?No,? David said with a
groan. ?Please don?t make
me dress up. I don?t want
to stick on a moustache and
pretend to be Poirot.
You?ve already got yourself
into a state about the kids?
costumes. Surely we don?t
have to put ourselves
through this charade as
?It needn?t be
complicated,? Melissa
wheedled. ?I could just put
on a pretty dress and go as
Noel Streatfeild?s ?Party
Frock?, or someone from
?Ballet Shoes?, and you
could go as . . .?
?So you get to wear
normal clothes and I?ve to
make an idiot of myself?
Why on earth did you say
we?d go??
Melissa didn?t mention
the party again, but set
about organising costumes
for herself and David. On
Saturday morning she
tentatively said that the
babysitter would be arriving
at seven, and took David?s
grunted reply as
At five o?clock she laid
out their costumes on the
bed and then started on the
children?s tea.
?Seven o?clock?s early for
the babysitter,? David said,
coming into the kitchen and
pinching a bread and butter
soldier off Nicky?s plate.
?Surely we?re not due there
till half seven??
Melissa took a breath.
?I thought she could put
the children to bed while we
put on our costumes.?
?Fair point,? David said.
?Aren?t you going to ask
what our costumes are??
Melissa asked suspiciously.
?I know what I?m going
as,? David said pleasantly,
and he headed upstairs to
their bedroom just as the
doorbell rang announcing
the babysitter?s arrival.
Melissa joined him there
a few minutes later.
?Who are these for??
David asked, looking at the
costumes on the bed. ?I
thought you were going as
Party Frock.?
?No, we?re Cinderella and
Prince Charming,? Melissa
said quickly, picking up the
blue ball gown. She
couldn?t help smiling. ?It
comes with a tiara as well. I
borrowed them from the
woman who organises the
WI pantomime.?
?And I?m supposed to
wear these?? David said,
picking up the brocade
jacket, velvet
knickerbockers and frilly
jabot. ?Really??
?Actually, I thought you
might refuse,? Melissa said
defiantly, ?but I?m going to
wear my costume
regardless. I?ve tried it on
and I love it. And if you go
in your ordinary clothes, I
shall simply have to say
that we?re Beauty and the
Beast instead. OK??
Somewhat to her
surprise, David grinned and
went over to the wardrobe
and brought out a box with
the name of a costume-hire
shop on the lid.
?You got your own?
When you were so against
the whole thing??
?Well, I thought maybe
I?d been a bit hasty. And I
got one for you as well.?
He opened the box and
pulled out a brownishyellow furry bundle, and
shook it out.
?I?m the lion from
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?The Wizard Of Oz?. Wait
till you see it on! And
you, my darling, are going
to be Dorothy!?
Melissa?s image of herself
in the elegant, shimmering
princess-like dress was
slipping away. She?d have
to be Dorothy instead.
After all, David had gone to
a lot of trouble . . .
She took a deep breath
and picked up the childish
dress and the ruby slippers.
She couldn?t help it: she
began to laugh.
?David, it?s lovely, but
what size is it??
?Ten,? he said proudly.
Melissa bit her lip.
?I?m sorry, love, but I
haven?t been a ten since we
were first married, and I?ve
had three children since
then! I?m never going to get
into this in a million years.?
David looked crestfallen
and Melissa went over and
put her arms round him.
?It was really nice of you
to go to so much trouble,
love. And even nicer to
think I was still that thin!?
?I?d better be your Prince
Charming,? David decided
?Put on the lion costume
anyway ? I?d like to see you
in it,? Melissa said,
stepping into the layers of
tulle, and turning round for
David to zip her up. ?Now I
just need the headdress.?
They were gazing at
themselves in the mirror
when Florence came in.
She stared at them both
critically, then turned and
?Was that approval or
horror, do you think??
Before Melissa could
answer the door opened
?You look OK,? Florence
said grudgingly, ?but you?d
better take these.?
She handed something to
each of them.
?A wand?? Melissa said,
puzzled. ?What do I want
with . . .??
Then David grinned.
?Perfect, Florence!
Problem solved.?
He turned to Melissa and
showed her the bit of doll?shouse furniture Florence
had given him.
?We?re going as ?The
Lion, The Witch And The
Wardrobe?!? n
A poorly pug
has a permanent
problem . . .
WAS called out one
evening to see an
emergency case at the
hospital. It was a pug
called Bertie.
Normally, as is typical of
his breed, he was all huff
and puff. Full of himself,
with big eyes, for ever
looking for what mischief he
could get up to next.
Tonight, when he was
brought in, he looked far
from mischievous. He
looked downright miserable.
?Bertie keeps bringing up
his dinner,? one of the two
burly guys that came in
with him said, introducing
himself as Ken Butcher.
?It?s been going on for a
couple of hours,? his mate,
Oliver Robbins, added.
?He?s getting distressed.?
He looked across at Ken,
who was patting his chest, a
painful look on his face.
?Bertie, that is. But so
are we.?
Meanwhile, Bertie gave a
loud snuffle and heaved up
a puddle of foam,
depositing it on the
consulting room floor.
?There. That?s what we?re
talking about.? Ken took a
tissue from his jacket
pocket and bent down to
wipe up the deposit before
carefully folding the tissue
to drop it in a nearby bin.
?We?re worried he might
have a blockage.?
I was worried, too, but
not for that reason. I
explained my plan to Ken
and Oliver.
?I?m going to give Bertie
an anti-spasmolytic
injection to calm down his
vomiting reflex. That should
help to settle him. I?ll keep
him in overnight for some
tests tomorrow. If that?s OK
with you, of course.?
The two guys nodded
their assent and bent down
to kiss Bertie goodbye,
reassuring him that they
weren?t abandoning him
and that he?d soon be
feeling better.
I hoped so as, having
given Bertie his injection, I
led him down to the kennels
for his overnight stay.
When I?d unclipped his
lead and closed the kennel
door on him, he looked up
at me with those bulbous
eyes of his and gave a final,
very loud, very frothy burp.
The next morning,
Mandy, the senior nurse,
had already been round
checking on in-patients.
She was an efficient
young lady who had high
standards which she
expected to be echoed by
those she worked with. My
fianc閑, Lucy, in particular.
Poor Lucy always did her
utmost to comply with
Mandy?s exacting
standards, although she
didn?t always succeed,
which occasionally caused
tensions between the two.
?I see we?ve this pug in
for a barium meal and
X-ray.? Mandy flicked
through the case history
notes I?d clipped to a board
outside Bertie?s kennel
before leaving last night.
She glanced at the watch
pinned to her uniform.
?Shall we make that for
eleven o?clock after you?ve
finished morning
I nodded meekly as she
carried on.
?I?ll get Lucy to give him a
dose of barium at ten
forty-five. Twenty millilitres
should be enough, wouldn?t
you say??
I gave another meek nod.
By quarter past eleven
the barium contrast X-rays
had been taken, developed
and clipped up on the
viewing screen ready to be
Mandy had already done
?A case of
megaoesophagus,? she said
as I looked at the enlarged
food tube on the X-ray,
outlined in white by the
barium that had been given
I now had to explain the
condition to his owners and
tell them what the
prognosis was likely to be.
I went on the internet to
find out more information
about megaoesophagus,
but so had Ken and Oliver.
They seemed more
knowledgeable than me
when they arrived to collect
It was an effusive reunion.
The pug dashed between
the two of them, giving
excited little yelps, his curly
tail in a constant spin.
?Congenital?? Ken said,
raising his eyebrows.
?Or idiopathic?? Oliver
said, lowering his.
I creased mine together.
?Could be either.?
Whichever, such
enlargement of the
oesophagus couldn?t be
?It can only be managed,?
I stated.
That consisted of feeding
Bertie in an upright
position, very carefully, with
food rolled up into little
balls and given over a
15-minute period three to
four times a day.
?No problem,? Ken
declared. ?We?ll take it in
turns to have him on our
laps and make sure his
front legs are raised. Won?t
we?? He turned to Bertie.
He responded with
another woof of delight.
I could see this was a dog
who adored attention. His
future would be secure in
the caring hands of Ken and
Oliver. A future he was
bound to lap up, whichever
one he sat in.
More next week.
Missing Link
1 Dodge
traffic! (7)
5 Consumer (4) 9
9 Series of rocks
lying off the Isle
of Wight (7)
10 Welsh word for
Wales (5)
11 Domain,
kingdom (5)
12 Being (6)
14 Pedestal (6)
16 Beast,
creature (6)
18 Henry the ___,
married king (6)
19 Vicar in the
army (5)
22 In the bronze
position (5)
4 Officially designated
23 Flogging (7)
as significant
24 Shrivel (4)
(building) (6)
25 Freedom,
6 Indication of the
release (7)
existence of disease (7)
7 Defeat utterly (4)
2 Combat
8 Convert into code (7)
area (5)
10 Move (text) to
3 Suitably
another place, on a
paired (4,7)
computer (3,3,5)
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
13 Abnormal reaction
to a substance (7)
15 First letter (7)
17 Pungent pod of the
capsicum, used in
sauces (6)
20 Wander
aimlessly (5)
21 Irish ___, traditional
dish (4)
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
1 9
9 1
Competition ? Affliction
Hitching up ? Greeny?blue
False name ? Scorned
7 6
2 Abatement ? Asian peanut sauce
4 Cease ? Beyond question
6 Of a life story
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
6 9
5 2
4 5
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
This week?s
There?s plenty to
do in the March
garden, as John
Stoa explains.
Plants that have given us
some cheer over winter,
such as orchids,
amaryllis, potted azaleas
and Christmas cactus, will still need
attention if they are to flower again
next year. Keep them warm, in good
light, and well watered and fed about
once a month in spring, apart from the
Christmas cactus which gets dried off
and remains dormant till new growth
buds appear (around April). That is the
time to water, feed and get it back into
Strawberry plants
are available in
autumn and spring
as cold stored plants
with a strong healthy
crown, or as runners saved from
your own strawberry patch which
has had a few years of cropping
and needs replaced. As they will
be down for three years, give
them a good start by digging in
some manure or compost. Plants
are spaced out a foot apart with
rows three feet apart.
Onions can be grown from seed
or sets. I sow my seeds now on a
window-sill as they need warmth
to germinate and good light to
keep them stocky. I use trays of
40 cells and usually need two
trays per packet. Hygro is still my
favourite variety and is also
available as sets which can be
planted any time in March.
Photographs by John Stoa and iStock.
As the weather begins
to warm up, garden
pests become more
active. Plants most at
risk are the polyanthus, pansies and
outdoor plants in containers and roses
with new growth. Greenfly are always
quick off the mark, but so are slugs
and vine weevils, so take immediate
action. There are suitable sprays and
pellets but greenfly are easy to rub off,
a messy but very effective method.
Land allocated for late
crops including
pumpkins, courgettes and sweetcorn
will benefit from a green manure
crop such as tares or clover sown in
early March. The green manure crop
will need to be trampled down and
dug in at least two months before
planting. This gives it time to rot
down and slowly release its nutrients
over the summer months.
ts !
St day
The Secret Of
Trefusis Cove
House-sitting in Cornwall
seemed an ideal way to
spend the summer . . .
Illustration by David Young.
DON?T know why I
joined the group in the
first place.? Val closed
her sketch pad and put it
into the satchel with the
rest of her artwork. ?It was
you who persuaded me in
the first place ? I?ve never
been any good at it.?
?This is only the third
Wednesday,? Betty replied.
?Neither of us can be a
Picasso in three lessons.?
?You were always top of
the class at school.?
?Well, Peter John is a
brilliant artist and I?m so
glad he decided to teach a
class at the community
centre. It?ll do us good to
have an interest,? Betty
said as she filled the kettle
at the sink.
?He said you showed
?Your sunflower was
bright. He said you had a
unique style,? Betty
?That could mean
?Are you taking sugar
today?? Betty smiled.
?Yes. I need the energy.
I?ve got to go home and
work out where the light?s
coming from.? Val sighed.
?I?m sure we?ll soon get
the hang of it.?
Betty Silk and Val
Freeman had been
schoolfriends. Both now
widowed, they lived only a
few doors from one another.
Their husbands had been
good friends and Betty and
Val shared happy memories
with their children growing
up around them. Now there
were grandchildren.
The art class would be
good for them both, Betty
thought. New skills, new
friends to meet.
If Val didn?t enjoy it there
were other things the
community centre had to
offer. She could learn
French, crochet, join the
reading group or the
Knitwits knitting group.
?I?m off.? Val got up from
her chair and put her art
satchel over her shoulder.
?Thanks for the tea. I?ll call
you when I?ve ruined the
sunflower ? or not.?
?It?ll be fine. Once you
can work on it on your own
it?ll turn out beautiful.?
?You?re kind, Betty, but
some hopes. I?ll try
anyway.? Val sighed.
?Attagirl!? Betty patted
her friend?s arm. ?And I?ll
finish my sketch of the bowl
of apples.?
?See you soon and we?ll
compare.? Val smiled.
* * * *
?The flower is lovely.?
Betty sighed. ?But . . .?
?But what??
?Why has the vase two
?It hasn?t,? Val argued.
?Yes, it has. Look, here
and here.? Betty pointed.
?It?s a mark on the
?It isn?t. And where?s the
light coming from??
?From the left,? was the
reply. ?Look, you can see
the light on the ladybird.?
?The ladybird is nice,?
Betty said comfortingly.
?No, it?s you who?s being
nice.? Val sighed. ?I?ll make
the other shadow into a
bowl or something. Mr John
may not notice.?
?He will.? Betty poured
the tea.
?I think I?ll chuck it in and
do something else.?
?What would that be??
Betty bit into a biscuit.
?Photography?? Val
brightened. ?I wouldn?t
need sketch pad or paints,
I?d just point the camera
and click. Sunflowers,
ladybirds, the lot!?
?You?ve still got to know
where the light?s coming
from, Val. And that camera
the children gave you for
Christmas? You haven?t
even touched it yet.?
?I?ll soon get the hang of
it. Everything?s digital now,
no film to develop. Easy. I
could go in for the
Countryfile Calendar
Competition.? Val put two
spoons of sugar in her tea
and stirred vigorously.
?After the lesson I?ll tell Mr
John I?m going to try
something else.?
?The class is this
afternoon. We?ll see what
Mr John says. Don?t fret,
Val, we?re all beginners.?
?Some of us are more
beginners than others,? Val
* * * *
?He seemed preoccupied
this afternoon.? Betty
unlocked the front door.
?He didn?t say a word
about my painting.? Val
sighed. ?Only that the
ladybird was nice. I didn?t
have the heart to tell him I
wanted to give it all up.?
?He?s got something on
his mind. Best not to pry;
it?s none of our business.?
?I know.? Val hung her
satchel on the back of a
kitchen chair and took two
mugs from the dresser.
?That makes me want to
pry more. Maybe he?s got
romance problems??
?Don?t be so nosy, Val.?
Betty grinned. ?By next
Wednesday he?ll have got
over whatever it is.?
The doorbell rang.
?Who could that be??
Betty made her way to the
front door and opened it.
Their art teacher was
standing on the doorstep.
?Oh, hello, Mr John.
What can I do for you??
He stood there, tall and
smiling in oversized sweater
and jeans. He sported a
neatly trimmed beard and
dark-framed glasses.
?I?m sorry to disturb you,
Mrs Silk, but I have a
problem and a favour to
ask.? He hesitated. ?Feel
free to refuse, though.?
Betty smiled.
?You?d better step
inside.? She held open the
door. ?There?s tea brewing.
Val?s here, too.?
?That?s wonderful. I
wanted to speak to Mrs
Freeman, too.?
He stepped into the hall.
?Mr John!? Val hurriedly
brushed biscuit crumbs off
her jumper.
?Take a seat.? Betty
pulled up a chair.
Val swallowed hard.
?This is not about my
sunflower, is it??
?Goodness, no! That
ladybird made quite an
impression on me.?
?Thank you, Mr John.?
?Please, call me Peter.?
Betty poured the tea.
?We?re Betty and Val. Do
you take sugar??
?Two, please.?
No more was said until
they were all settled. Val
took another biscuit.
?Now,? Betty said.
?What?s this favour you
want to ask??
?The thing is . . .? he
faltered. ?I have two
exhibitions of my paintings
this summer in London.
They?ve come at an
awkward time but the
galleries can?t fit them into
any other slot.?
?Two exhibitions?? Val
echoed. ?That?s wonderful!?
?Yes. The problem is that
I usually go down to
Cornwall during the summer
break. Chill out, do a bit of
painting, surf, you know
what I mean??
?Oh, of course.? Val was
wide eyed.
?I have a little cottage a
few miles outside St Ives. I
don?t want to leave it empty
during the tourist season.
People ? surfers, students
and the like ? could break in
and make use of it. But I?ve
no-one who could pop down
there for six weeks or more
to house-sit.?
He gazed at them both.
?When one of the ladies
in the art group told me
that you?d done a bit of
house-minding in the past, I
wondered . . .?
?Cornwall?? Betty said.
?Yes, it would be for six
?Not much.? Betty put
the car into gear. ?Cornish
cottage, here we come.?
?Tangara Cottage ? what
a romantic name.?
?As long as Peter?s ?basic?
still means comfortable, I
don?t care how romantic it
is.? Betty laughed.
They stopped a couple of
times for a short break and
to have tea from the flask
?We may see a mermaid. Stranger
things have happened?
weeks. I couldn?t pay much,
sorry.? He spread out his
?Six weeks? holiday in a
seaside Cornish cottage??
Betty?s eyes glowed.
?I could take my camera.?
Val beamed. ?Oh, Betty,
surely we could do it??
?Of course we can,? Betty
replied. ?How much time do
we have to prepare? Our
children and the neighbours
would keep an eye on
things here ? they?ve done
it before. How exciting!?
?What a relief.? Peter
smiled. ?I hardly hoped it
would be as easy as this.
There are three more
Wednesdays before the end
of term; after that would be
great. Thank you so very
much.? He reached out and
took a biscuit.
?Take two,? Val said.
?I?ll write out instructions
about Tangara Cottage and
how to find the place. I
always leave the key with
the man who runs the little
general store in the cove.
?The place is very basic
but I?m sure you?ll manage,
and the light is wonderful in
Cornwall ? a lot of artists
work there. The Tate Gallery
isn?t far from Tangara.?
He smiled at Val.
?You?ll still have to know
where the light?s coming
from, even with the most
state-of-the-art camera.?
* * * *
?We should have an
overnight stop in Exminster.
We?ll be refreshed for the
last leg of the journey.?
?I?m really looking
forward to this holiday.? Val
grinned. ?Sand, sea, fresh
air, deckchair, a good book
and peace and quiet. What
more could we wish for??
Val had provided. The day
was bright and cloudless,
perfect summer weather,
and they reached the small
village of Exminster before
dark, in time to settle into
their bed and breakfast.
Next morning they rose
early and continued their
journey through the rolling
countryside of Devon.
?Let?s have a real
Devonshire cream tea,? Val
said. ?Look, there?s a lovely
place just ahead that sells
antiques, too.?
?Tea will do. I?ve enough
stuff at home to dust and
They ordered a pot of tea
and scones, after which
Betty studied the map while
Val browsed the antiques.
?Look.? Val came towards
her waving a small book.
?Another romance to read
on the beach??
?No, it?s a book about
mermaids. It says most of
them have been seen in
Cornwall.? Val laid the book
on the table over the map.
?Have a look.?
?Silly goose.? Betty
pushed it to one side.
?There?s no such thing.?
?But it goes into a lot of
detail. It?s very convincing.?
?It?s for children.? Betty
glanced at it then turned
back to the map.
?I don?t care ? I like it.?
Val sniffed. ?We may see a
mermaid. Stranger things
have happened, you know.?
Betty gave her friend a
look and Val grinned.
?I know it?s daft, Betty,
but wouldn?t it be
wonderful if it were true??
?You?d certainly make the
Countryfile Calendar if you
got a photo of a mermaid!?
The last leg of the
journey was long and
uneventful. They both
cheered as they crossed
the River Tamar Bridge.
?Do you know, the
Romans, when they
conquered Britain, never
crossed the Tamar. They
didn?t think there was
anything worthwhile on the
other side. How wrong they
?So that?s why it?s full of
Cornish piskies and
mermaids.? Betty laughed.
?Nothing altered and
everything unspoiled. I just
hope the roads are up to
modern standards!?
* * * *
It was dark when they
reached the coast of
Cornwall. At a pub Peter
had marked on the map,
along the coast road to
Trefusis Cove on the
outskirts of St Ives, they
asked the way to their
The landlord looked
?What do you want to go
there for??
?We?re staying at Tangara
Cottage,? Betty explained.
?Why?? he asked again.
Betty began to feel cross.
She was tired and hungry.
?Are we on the right
road?? she asked as politely
as she could. ?We?ve come
to caretake the cottage for
Mr Peter John.?
?Oh, you?re them.? He
grinned. ?We know all
about it. Couple of artists,
no doubt, searching for the
right light.? He grinned.
?Place is swarming with the
likes of you.?
There was a collective
?Aah!? from the few people
in the bar.
?Is it signposted?? Val
?Nah. You drive a couple
of miles till you come to a
turn on your right. Two
white stones; you drive
between them. There?s a
steep lane down to the
cove, then you?ll come to a
turn on your left.
?There?s a beach shop
there. He may have shut up
for the night, but if you
knock loudly maybe he?ll
hear. He has the key, see.?
He glanced at the clock
over the bar.
?Better get a move on or
he?ll be closed and might
have gone to the shanties.?
Betty had no idea what he
meant about shanties, but
she thanked him and they
returned to the car.
?Couple of miles; first
turning on right; steep
lane.? Betty repeated the
instructions under her
breath. ?Two white stones.?
?It?s pitch dark,? Val
whispered, peering through
the windscreen. ?No cat?s
eyes, no street lights.?
Betty drove carefully,
concentrating on the way
?There!? Val pointed.
?Two white stones, see?
Turn there, Betty.?
Betty made a slow turn
between the markers and
down the steep incline.
The lane flattened out and
they came to a stop outside
what looked like a small
wooden kiosk. Steps up to a
door were illuminated by
the headlights of their car.
?This must be the place.?
?There?s no light
anywhere,? Val replied.
Betty opened her door
and got out. She stretched
her limbs.
Val did the same.
?So, this is it.?
?Seems like it.?
In the darkness they
became aware of the sound
of waves washing on the
shore but could see nothing.
Betty removed a small
torch from the glove box.
?Let?s see if we can rouse
She went to the steps of
the small building and
mounted them. There was
no door knocker so she
rapped with her fist.
They waited a while but
there was no response.
Betty rapped again.
?Is anyone there??
She tried the door. It was
?Oh, Betty, what if it?s
the wrong place? Maybe
we?ll never find the cottage
and have to spend the night
in the car.? Val was tired,
too, and near to tears.
?Don?t fret, Val.? Betty
led the way down the steps.
?If worst comes to worst we
can go back to the pub and
spend the night there. I?m
sure they have rooms, and
we can tackle this problem
in the daylight.?
Val sighed.
?I just want a cup of tea
and a bite to eat ? I don?t
care what. Let?s find
Tangara Cottage and see if
we can get in.?
?We must find the man
with the key. He knows
we?re arriving today so he?s
bound to be near. Let?s sit
in the car and wait. Maybe
he?s gone out and will be
back soon.?
Betty went round to the
driver?s side and opened
the door, then paused.
?What?s that noise??
?What noise?? Val leaned
across the driver?s seat.
?Singing.? Betty held up
her hand. ?Listen.?
They sat still in the dark,
straining their ears to catch
a sound above the wash of
the waves on the shore.
?There it is again. Did you
hear it that time??
?Yes,? Val whispered. ?It
sounds like a choir. It?s
spooky. I don?t like it.?
?Don?t be daft, Val. It?s
probably on a radio or a CD
player. Listen so we can
work out what direction it?s
coming from.?
?Over there.? Val pointed
a shaking finger.
?Let?s follow the sound.?
She shut the car door and
waited until Val joined her.
* * * *
Together they moved
forward into the darkness,
the small beam of the torch
lighting the way before
?Looks like some rocks up
ahead,? Betty said. ?Better
take my arm, Val, we don?t
want to trip and fall right at
the start of our holiday.?
?I can feel that we?re
walking on sand now.?
?There?s a huge rock
formation here; we?ll work
our way around it. The
music?s started again so we
must be getting
Betty spoke as confidently
as she could.
Edging their way carefully
around the rocky outcrop,
they were surprised by a
light in the distance on the
other side.
?There?s a sort of cabin
up ahead. I can just make
out the shape of it.?
?I can see the light,? Val
said. ?It?s coming from a
window, and the singing is
louder now.?
?Civilisation at last!?
Betty sighed in relief.
As they drew nearer the
going became easier and
they could see the way
ahead by the light from the
?Blow the man down,
bullies, blow the man
The music and singing
continued to flow out over
the sandy bay from what
seemed to be a very loud
CD player. Betty felt that
their cup of tea and bite to
eat were nearer still.
Mounting some steps,
they walked over to a door,
and Betty knocked loudly.
The music stopped and
voices came from inside.
?Someone at the door,
Aircut,? a voice said.
?All right, I can ?ear it.?
The door opened a crack
and a pair of bright blue
eyes appeared between a
beard and a mop of unruly
red hair, both sprinkled
with grey. The eyes crinkled
and a smiling mouth from
the beard said, ?You must
be them artist ladies for
Betty smiled.
?Yes, we?re Betty Silk and
Val Freeman. We were
supposed to collect the key
from the little shop, but
there?s no-one there.?
The door opened wider
and the small man with the
abundant beard and hair
ushered them inside.
?There ain?t no-one there
because he?s here, you see.
He?s our bass for the
A large man got up from
a semi-circle of chairs and
stools upon which a group
of men were sitting and
came forward.
?I?m the man you want.?
He grinned. ?Kit Pelago.
I?ve got the key right here
in my pocket. It got so dark
I thought you wouldn?t be
arriving until tomorrow, so I
came over to Aircut?s place
for the music.
?Sorry you?ve had so
much trouble, coming over
the sand like that. You?re
lucky the tide didn?t catch
you out.?
?Oh, thank goodness.?
Val sighed. ?We?ve come
such a long way and we?re
so tired.?
?Come over and have a
seat, ladies,? Aircut invited.
?I?ve put a spark in the
hearth, it being a bit
chilly, like. I?ll make you
a brew.?
There was a lot of
shuffling around as all the
men got up to offer their
?You?re very kind,? a
weary Betty said. ?A cup of
anything would be very
?Jar coffee be OK, will
it?? Aircut asked.
?That would be
Their host disappeared
into a room at the back and
they could hear the clatter
of mugs and the running of
There was an
embarrassing silence as the
men sat down again, each
waiting for the other to
make conversation.
?Are there many people
living in the cove?? Betty
asked. ?We couldn?t see
much in the dark.?
?Nothing but this place,
Tangara Cottage and my
shop,? Kit Pelago answered.
?It?s a mite lonely. Off the
beaten track, but all the
better for that.?
Aircut came back with two
steaming mugs on a tray. A
plate of biscuits looked
?I put a drop of my
home-made cordial in
each.? He smiled. ?It?ll
warm your bones.?
?Thank you.? Betty took a
mug. ?You?re so kind.?
?This is delicious,? Val
said. ?Your coffee must be
different down here. I?d love
to know the brand. Or
maybe it?s the different
There was an exchange of
looks between the men and
a grin from Aircut.
?It?s my cordial,? he
explained. ?It makes just
that little bit of difference.?
?There was a collective
?Aah!? from the men.
?So,? Betty said, ?you?ve
been listening to sea
shanties? We could hear the
music as we came across
the bay.?
?Nah,? Kit said. ?It was
us singing. We get together
to sing the old sea songs.?
?You?re very good. We
thought it was the radio or
a CD.?
?That?s very nice of you
to say so.? Aircut pulled up
another stool into the circle
around the stove. ?How?s
the coffee??
?It?s the best I?ve ever
tasted.? Val beamed. ?Isn?t
it, Betty??
Betty felt warm,
comfortable (despite the
hard wooden stool) and
more relaxed than she?d
been all day.
Val was rosy-cheeked and
smiling, eating biscuits and
chatting with the shanty
men. They were here in
Cornwall safe and sound
and would soon be tucked
up in cosy beds in Tangara
Cottage, with six glorious
weeks ahead of them.
Betty sighed contentedly
and imagined herself
outside the cottage with her
sketch book, churning out
the most wonderful
seascapes. Val would be out
on the beach with her
camera, photographing
seaweed, shells and
interesting rock formations.
She felt her own cheeks
growing rosier and rosier.
The shanty men began to
?In your honour, a shanty
with girls in it.? Aircut
grinned as they began
?Spanish Ladies?.
?Oh, that warms my
heart.? Val sighed. ?I went
to Spain once.?
?Would you like some
more coffee, ladies?? Aircut
smiled through his beard.
?Oh, that?s very kind but
we mustn?t impose upon
you any longer,? Betty
replied reluctantly. ?If we
can have the key we?ll make
our way back to the
The men looked at one
?You?ll not get back the
same way you came.? Aircut
cocked his head. ?Listen.?
Betty could hear the
sound of waves on the
?Tide runs in swift here,?
Kit told them. ?The water is
up to the big rocks by
?But how shall we get
back?? Val wailed.
?I?ve got my people
carrier outside. I?ll take you
back by the road. It?ll only
take a minute.?
?You mean we could have
walked along the road??
?Of course, but you didn?t
have the daylight, so how
could you have known?? Kit
Betty laughed and got up
from her stool. Her legs felt
heavy and tired. Val looked
a bit wobbly, too.
?I?m more tired than I
thought,? she said with a
?Aircut?s cordial is a bit
more beneficial than it
should be.? Kit grinned.
?Mr Aircut was very kind
to share it with us. Is it an
old family recipe??
Kit grinned.
?Something like that, but
he won?t tell you what?s in
it. By the way, Aircut?s just
his nickname. When we
were all at school together
the teacher was always
telling him to get a haircut.
?He?s still a bit slow at
going to the barber so the
name?s stuck. He?ll always
be Aircut now.?
Val giggled.
?It suits him. Oh, Betty,
my legs feel all funny ? it
must be from sitting in the
car all day.?
?It?s probably something
like that.?
Betty vowed to herself
that if Aircut offered any
more coffee with cordial,
she would politely decline.
* * * *
When Betty and Val were
settled comfortably in Kit?s
people carrier, he drove
them just a short way to his
little beach shop where
they?d left the car.
?If you?ll let me have the
keys I?ll take your car down
to Tangara, then walk back
and drive you down there.?
Betty breathed a sigh of
relief as she handed over
her car keys.
Val was almost nodding
off beside her and she was
glad that she wouldn?t have
to drive any further in the
?I?ll be back in a jiffy.? Kit
disappeared and soon they
heard the familiar sound of
the motor starting up and
the rear lights of their car
receding into the distance.
Betty must have fallen
asleep for a moment or two,
for soon Kit had returned
and was already in the
driving seat starting the car.
?OK, ladies, nearly the
end of the line. You?ll soon
be warm and cosy inside
?Wake up, Val, we?re
almost there.? Betty nudged
her friend.
?I?ll give you a hand to
unload.? Kit came to a stop
behind their car. ?I lit the
logburner before I went over
to Aircut?s just in case you
turned up tonight.
?It should still be alight
? anyway, it?ll be warm. I?ve
made up your beds and put
hot-water bottles in, too.?
He handed Betty the key to
the door.
?That?s very kind of you.?
?You two go on inside. It
won?t take long to unload
your bits and pieces.?
He went round to the
boot and began to take out
their suitcases and a box
that they?d added with
groceries for their
immediate needs.
In the dark Betty found
the keyhole with her finger,
put in the key and turned it.
The door creaked as she
pushed it open to reveal a
shaft of light from the
window in the stove
flickering across the bare
wooden floor.
It was warm inside the
cottage. Kit came in
carrying two suitcases and
holding another one under
each arm.
?Where?s the light
switch?? Val asked, feeling
along the wall by the door.
Kit laughed.
?No electrics, I?m afraid.
Hang on a bit while I get the
rest of your stuff and I?ll
light the oil lamp.? He
returned to the car.
?Oh, lor?, Betty, no
electricity, how will we
manage?? Val wailed. ?I?m
desperate for a shower.?
?Peter warned us it was
basic,? Betty said, ?but it?ll
be habitable. We?ll soon get
the hang of it. There?s
bound to be a bathroom.?
Kit returned with the
remainder of the luggage.
By this time the two friends
had become accustomed to
the gloom and by the light
coming from the window in
the stove they could see a
lamp on a table with a box
of matches beside it.
?Now, then. Let?s have
some light on the subject.?
Kit removed the glass
globe, turned up the wick
and lit the lamp. A golden
light caressed the room,
which was tidy and neat
with two armchairs, one on
either side of the stove, and
four chairs at the table.
Kit strode over to a
curtained area.
?This is the kitchen. I?ve
given it a good clean as the
place has been shut up all
winter. There?s a cooker
that runs on bottled gas
and a gas water heater over
the sink.?
?Is there a bathroom??
Betty dared to ask.
?Bathroom?? Val echoed.
?There?s a tin bath
hanging on the wall outside,
next door to the privy.? Kit
grinned. ?It?s basic but it
Opening a door, he
revealed a small bedroom
with two single beds.
?I?ve put you two in
here,? he said. ?There is
another bedroom but it?s
chock-a-block with Peter?s
arty stuff.?
?You do more for Peter
than just hold the key to the
cottage,? Betty observed.
?Peter?s a good friend;
we?ve known one another
for years. It?s no bother.?
?It?s nice to know that
there?s someone around
who can show us how to
turn the lamp off again.?
Betty laughed.
?Just turn that little knob
at the side,? Kit replied.
?Don?t ever blow it out ?
it?ll make smoke if you do.
There are candles in the
kitchen to light your way to
bed. The gas stove is
simple. I?ll show you how to
work it before I leave.?
He was as good as his
* * * *
Val refilled the hot-water
bottles and Betty lit a
candle in an enamel candle
holder that they found in
the kitchen. Turning off the
oil lamp carefully, they
made their way to bed.
?Those baked beans on
toast tasted like manna
from heaven,? Val said as
she snuggled down under
her duvet. ?You worked
wonders on that stove by
?I had a stove like that
when I was first married,?
Betty remembered aloud.
?But neither of us had a
tin bath hanging on the wall
outside next to a privy,? Val
replied sleepily.
?One used to be able to
buy sea-soap that worked
in salt water.? Betty
yawned. ?If we could get
some we could wait until the
tide came in and have a
bath. Or we could get a
bucket, make holes in the
bottom, hang it in a tree
and fill it with warm water.
That would make a good
Val snored.
Betty blew out the candle.
Her eyes drooped sleepily,
then opened wide at a
sound like distant thunder.
Closer and closer it came
until it was almost
Betty sat bolt upright in
her bed, leaned across and
shook Val awake.
?What ? what?s
happened?? Val whispered.
?Listen! It?s like thunder
but there?s no lightning or
The sound died away in
the distance until silence
reigned again and they
could hear nothing except
the wash of the waves on
the shore as the tide
reached its highest point.
?It wasn?t thunder,
Betty,? Val said nervously.
?It had a sort of rhythm to
?I agree, Val, it wasn?t
?What could it have
?I have no idea, but
morning will come and
everything is less mysterious
in the daylight. Maybe it?s
rumbling from an old
abandoned tin mine. There
are lots of those around
?I don?t think I?m going to
get to sleep now.? Val
pulled the duvet over her
A moonbeam came into
the tiny bedroom through a
gap in the curtains. Betty
lay awake long enough to
hear Val snoring again. She
knew she?d locked the door
and bolted it.
Then the fatigue of the
long drive overcame her
and she slept as the Cornish
moon cast its light on the
turning of the tide.
To be continued.
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our website:
& His
changes, except
John Taylor?s
WAS going to say I was
dragged there, but that
wouldn?t be fair. Anne asked
me if I would go with her on
Sunday afternoon, because
the gardens of a nearby estate
were going to be opened to
the public for charity.
Anne was interested in the
plants for sale, although I keep
telling her there?s no more
room in the garden. She
always finds space, somehow.
The gardens were going to
be open from two o?clock to
six, and Anne wanted to be
early so she?d have the best of
the plants to choose from.
It was a lovely day. Others
besides Anne would be
looking for bargains. We got
there about quarter-past two
and there must have been a
hundred cars ahead of us.
The plant stall was quite a
bit away from the house, in
the walled garden. By the time
we reached it, all the best
plants had gone. But Anne still
found one she fancied.
Then we went for a walk to
admire the gardens. To
discourage Anne from
completely redesigning our
little plot, I suggested tea.
We got a very good pound?s
worth ? sandwiches of dates,
tomatoes, cucumbers and
egg; home-made cakes,
scones, shortbreads and all
sorts of bits and pieces.
As we were eating it, on an
old table on the lawn, Anne
turned to me.
?This is all you?re getting
Yes, she?s trying to get my
weight down again!
You know how they ? I don?t
know who ?they? are ? keep
talking about that hole in the sky
over the North Pole which is
going to make us all hotter?
Well, even I know something is
When I was younger, our land
rose gently behind the
farmhouse. Now, over 50 years
later, I reckon the earth must
have shifted and the top of the
Riggin has got nearer the sky.
The walk from the farmhouse
seems twice as steep as it was.
Anne laughed when I told her.
She said the earth hasn?t
changed, but John Taylor ? now
old John Taylor ? finds it twice
as steep!
If I walk up there now I have
to stop to get a breath and
watch the traffic on the Forth.
I?m glad when I reach the large
boulder left in our top fields
when the last glacier retreated
north. I can sit down, get my
breath and view the world.
After our afternoon tea Anne
and I went home tired and
happy. That night we had a glass
of grapefruit juice and a
sandwich of brown bread, with a
little butter, a lettuce leaf and a
slice of Anne?s home-cooked
It was quite enough and we
both enjoyed it. n
Our St David?s Day
recipes are tasty
and good for you!
Make More Of
Crab, Leek and Pesto Tart
Flour, for dusting
350 g (12 oz) ready-made shortcrust pastry
Olive oil for frying
1 leek, shredded or chopped finely
3 tbs sun-dried tomato pesto or regular pesto
200 g (7 oz) fresh white crabmeat
3 eggs, beaten
250 ml (9 fl oz) cr鑝e fra頲he
3 tbs finely grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Heat oven to 200 deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 5 mm
thickness and use to line a 23 cm (9 in) loose-based fluted
tart tin. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.
3 Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with
Course: Lunch
Skill level: easy
Serves: 6
baking beans. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until dry to touch,
but not coloured. Remove the paper and beans and return
the pastry case to the oven for a further 3 to 5 minutes
until it is just cooked. Reduce the oven temperature to
180 deg. C., 350 deg. F., Gas Mark 4.
4 Heat a little olive oil in a frying-pan and saut� the leek for
2 to 3 minutes until just soft.
5 Spread the pesto over the base of the tart case. Scatter
over the crabmeat and leeks. Whisk together the eggs and
cr鑝e fra頲he and season with salt and pepper. Put the tart
tin on a baking sheet and pour in the egg mixture. Place the
tart in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until just set.
Nutritional analysis per serving:
calories 458 kcal, fat 31.7 g, saturates 13.2 g,
carbohydrates 24.6 g, sugars 2.4 g, fibre 2.8 g,
protein 17.2 g, salt 1 g
Recipes by award-winning TV nutritionist, chef and author Christine Bailey for
Chicken, Leek and Brioche Crumble
n 175 g (6 oz) brioche loaf
or gluten-free bread
n Handful of fresh parsley
n 3 tbs cornflour
n Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
n 400 g (1 lb) chicken
breast cut into strips
n 1 tbs olive oil
n 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) leeks,
about 3, sliced finely
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
or shredded in a food
� onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100 ml (3� fl oz) white
125 g (4� oz) half-fat
cr鑝e fra頲he or Greek
100 g (3� oz) grated
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Place the brioche and parsley in a food processor and pulse to
form a coarse crumble texture.
3 Place the cornflour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Dust the chicken in the cornflour.
4 Add the olive oil to a large saut� pan. Fry the chicken on each side
until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and place
on a plate.
5 Add the leeks, onion and garlic to the pan and cook very gently for
5 minutes until the leeks are soft. Return the chicken to the pan. Pour
in the white wine and cr鑝e fra頲he and simmer for 5 minutes.
6 Spoon the mixture into a baking dish. Scatter the crumble over the
leeks and top with the grated cheese. Bake in the oven for
15 minutes until bubbling.
Leek and Tofu Noodle Bowl
n 15 g (� oz) dried wild
mushrooms, such as
porcini or shiitake
n 2 tbs tamari soy sauce
n 2 tbs rice vinegar
n 1 tbs mirin
n 350 g (2 oz) firm tofu,
drained, patted dry and
cut into 8 cubes
n Cornflour for dusting
n Olive oil or coconut oil
for frying
n 4 free-range eggs
n 1 leek, shredded
n � tsp fresh grated
n 2 pak choi, roots
trimmed, leaves
separated and washed
100 g (3� oz) shiitake
mushrooms, sliced thinly
200 g (7 oz) straight to
the wok rice noodles
2 tbs white miso paste
Large handful of fresh
2 spring onions,
trimmed, sliced very
50 g (1� oz) roasted
cashew nuts, chopped
To Serve: fresh coriander
leaves, sliced red chilli
Nutritional analysis per serving:
calories 462 kcal, fat 18.4 g, saturates 9.6 g,
carbohydrates 28.7 g, sugar 5.3 g, fibre 6.2 g,
protein 37.8 g, salt 1.1 g
Course: Lunch or light main
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
1 Put the dried mushrooms in a jug and cover with a little boiling
water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes then drain (reserve liquid) and
chop finely.
2 Combine the tamari, vinegar and mirin in a shallow bowl and stir to
mix. Place the tofu in the marinade and turn to coat. Leave to absorb
the flavours for about 30 minutes or more.
3 Scatter the cornflour over a plate. Remove the tofu from the
marinade, reserving the marinade, and roll in the cornflour to coat
all sides. Heat a wide frying-pan over a medium-high heat and add
enough oil to cover the base of the pan. Fry the tofu, using tongs to
turn, until dark golden and crisp all over. Drain on kitchen paper.
4 Soft boil the eggs: heat water in a medium-sized saucepan to a
rolling boil. Use a slotted spoon to gently place the eggs in the water.
Cook for 5 to 6 minutes and immediately transfer to a bowl of cold
water to prevent further cooking. Let cool until they are able to be
handled, then peel.
5 Place 1 litre (1� pt) of water in a medium saucepan with the
reserved marinade and bring to the boil. Add the reserved mushroom
liquid, dried mushrooms, shredded leek, ginger, pak choi, mushrooms
and noodles and return to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are
just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the
miso paste, beansprouts and spring onions.
6 Halve the eggs. Divide broth between 4 bowls and place the tofu
cubes and eggs on top. Scatter with chopped nuts and coriander
leaves and a little sliced chilli, if liked.
Nutritional analysis per serving:
calories 287 kcal, fat 11.5 g, saturates 1.9 g,
carbohydrates 19.4 g, sugar 6.2 g, fibre 6.9 g,
protein 22.8 g, salt 2.2 g
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.
Gut Healthy Leek and
Cheese Seeded Flapjacks
Course: Snack
Skill level: easy
Makes: 12
75 g (2� oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 leek, shredded
1 tomato, chopped finely
� tsp smoked paprika
30 g (1 oz) mixed seeds e.g. sesame seeds, sunflower
seeds, pumpkin seeds
175 g (2� oz) gluten-free oats or regular oats
1 tbs chopped parsley
200 g (7 oz) grated Cheddar
3 eggs, beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Pre-heat the oven to 190 deg. C., 375 deg. F., Gas Mark 5.
2 Grease and line a baking dish either 20 cm (8 in) square or use
Can be
frozen for
up to 1
firmly down with the back of a spoon.
individual mini square or loaf tins to make individual flapjacks.
3 Add the butter, leek, tomato and smoked paprika to a saut� pan or
frying-pan. Place on a low heat and cook gently for 5 minutes until the
leek has softened. Turn off the heat and allow the leek mixture to cool
4 Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5 Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin or individual tins and press
6 Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
7 Allow to cool slightly. If using one larger tin, lift the flapjack out on
to a board and cut into pieces while warm. If using individual moulds,
allow the flapjacks to cool for 10 minutes before removing and
cooling on a wire rack. Delicious warm or cold.
Nutritional analysis Per Flapjack:
calories 211 kcal, fat 14.5 g, saturates 7.6 g,
carbohydrates 10.8 g, sugars 0.6 g, fibre 1.8 g,
protein 8.3 g, salt 0.4 g
Turkey, Feta and Leek Burgers With Herby Yoghurt Dressing
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
Makes: 4 burgers
� tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of parsley leaves, chopped finely
Handful of mint leaves, chopped finely
Handful of dill leaves, chopped finely
� lemon, juice only
To Serve: burger buns or gluten-free rolls; lettuce
leaves; grated raw beetroot; sliced tomato; salad;
1 Grease a baking tray.
2 To make the dressing, simply mix all the ingredients together.
n Oil for greasing
n 1 leek, chopped roughly
n 400 g (1 lb) turkey mince
n 100 g (3� oz) feta cheese, cut into chunks
n 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
n 1 tbs capers, drained
n � lemon, zest only
n 1 egg yolk
n Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Dressing:
n 150 g (5� oz) natural yoghurt
n Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Next week: quick and easy ways
with noodles.
Season to taste. Chill until required.
3 For the burgers, place the roughly chopped leek in a food
processor and process until chopped finely. Add the remaining
burger ingredients, and process briefly until well combined. Using
damp hands, shape the mixture into 4 large burgers. Place on a
greased baking tray and chill for 30 minutes.
4 When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 190 deg. C.,
375 deg. F., Gas Mark 5. Place the burgers on a tray and bake for
15 to 20 minutes until golden and cooked through.
5 To serve, cut the burger buns in half. Place some lettuce on a
bun followed by the burger. Then add some grated beetroot and
tomato. Finally, drizzle over a little of the dressing and top with the
other half of the burger bun. Accompany with salad and coleslaw.
Nutritional analysis per burger with bun,
accompaniments and dressing:
calories 303 kcal, fat 10 g, saturates 3.9 g,
carbohydrates 24.6 g, sugars 4.2 g, fibre 4.7 g,
protein 26.4 g, salt 1.4 g
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
Rainbow?s birthday gift put
her grandad on the horns of
a dilemma!
Illustration by Tracy Fennell.
to look twice
out of the
French windows
to check he
wasn?t seeing things.
?At the risk of asking an
obvious question, why is
there a goat on the back
lawn?? he asked.
Rainbow shifted from one
foot to the other.
?It?s your birthday
present from me, Grandad.
Don?t you like it??
Sensing a tactful
approach might be best, he
cleared his throat.
?It?s rather an unusual
present, isn?t it??
As if knowing it was being
talked about, the animal
raised its head and stared
directly at him before
opening its mouth to bleat.
?I didn?t mean to get you
a real goat,? Rainbow
replied. ?You were going to
send one to Africa, to help
people there. And you did
? I?ve got the certificate.?
?Don?t you need to be
eighteen to order these
?Gran helped me.?
Rainbow glanced over her
shoulder as a spluttering
noise came from Hilary,
Malcolm?s wife, who made
a hasty exit, doubtless to
get a drink of water in the
It had been down to
Hilary that they had bought
this draughty old house and
its monstrosity of a garden
many moons ago, rather
than the sort of place most
sensible people settled for
when looking for a family
She had always had a
fanciful side, with her
romantic novels and yoga
classes, along with running
a health food shop.
Even after living here for
over thirty years, they were
still playing catch-up with
the endless jobs that always
needed done.
?But afterwards I began
to worry that it might be
treated badly and suffer,?
Rainbow continued. ?Not to
mention the long journey.?
Since their granddaughter
moved in, the kitchen had
become awash with
vegetarian cookbooks as
Hilary tried to come up with
ideas of what to feed her.
One could only have so
many omelettes.
?So, to make up for it, I
adopted this one. I mean,
we?ve got that massive
garden, and it takes ages to
cut the grass, so a goat?s
just the thing, especially
since you said your parents
used to keep them when
you were a boy.?
Malcolm couldn?t help
smiling at the memory. How
long was it since he?d
thought of that? Life was so
busy, there rarely seemed
?He came yesterday while
you were out,? Rainbow
continued. ?Gran and I put
him in the shed with food
and some hay. One of the
panels is broken where he?s
kicked it. I was worried
you?d hear him.?
?I didn?t hear a thing. I
was so tired, I was out like
a light.? Malcolm frowned.
?So your grandmother was
in on this??
Rainbow nodded.
?Apart from the
charitable donation, not
until yesterday.?
Hilary reappeared from
the kitchen. The aroma of
coffee wafted in behind her.
?I hadn?t the heart to
send him back. He needs a
Something about her tone
reminded him of another
moment, almost a year
earlier, when she?d said
almost the same thing
about Rainbow.
?The girl?s constantly
being moved from pillar to
post,? she?d argued. ?That?s
no life for a fourteen-yearold. The fact that Laura?s
asked us to look after her
speaks volumes.
?She needs this job to get
her life back on track, but it
involves travelling abroad.
It?s not as if we don?t have
enough room.?
Rainbow?s father, their
former son-in-law, had
been what Malcolm?s
mother would have referred
to as a ?wastrel?.
In fact, both Malcolm and
Hilary had felt the marriage
was doomed from the start,
but refrained from saying
so to their wilful daughter.
?That?s the trouble when
our children grow up. We
can?t protect them any
more,? Hilary had said. ?All
we can do is stand back
and be ready to pick up the
It had been almost a
relief when he had left
them, despite the pile of
debts he?d left in his wake
for Laura to cope with.
Stubborn as ever, she?d
refused financial help from
her parents, but at least
they had been able to help
with Rainbow, even if it had
resulted in Malcolm?s hopes
for a quiet life being put on
Laura?s smile beamed
across the room from her
framed photo on top of the
bureau. Maybe he and
Hilary should have put their
foot down as soon as
they?d got the first
hint that she was
getting in with the wrong
Then again, knowing
Laura, she wouldn?t have
listened. Strong-willed
women seemed to run in
their family.
Rainbow was already
showing signs of having
inherited the streak, while
coping with a teenager
again at their stage of life
was even more wearing
than it had been the first
time around.
Yet, for all that, Malcolm
knew that life without
Rainbow?s impulsive,
sometimes whirlwind,
presence would be less
colourful, somehow.
?Now we?ve got that out
of the way, I?ll switch on the
oven, warm the croissants,
and we?ll open champagne,?
Hilary announced. ?After
all, it isn?t every day you
turn sixty-five.?
?Thank you for the
reminder, dear,? Malcolm
said drily.
When she kissed his
cheek, he breathed in her
perfume ? the same one
she?d always worn. At least
some things stayed the
They hadn?t seen Laura
for over a month. She had
promised to try to be back
in time for his birthday but,
with working hundreds of
miles away and the expense
of travelling, that was more
easily said than done.
Rainbow had her mum?s
old room, but the bed in
the guest room was always
made up.
?Happy birthday!? Hilary
produced a cylindrical
package that emitted a
tell-tale glug.
Malcolm read the label
?Single malt. Very nice.
I?ll enjoy a tot of that later.?
She handed him an
?Two tickets to visit the
distillery in Scotland. I?ve
booked a hotel room. Now
you?ve stepped back from
partner status to part-time
consultant, you can?t argue
that the firm won?t be able
to spare you,? she said with
a smile.
?My word. I feel like I?ve
struck gold.? He stopped.
?What about Rainbow??
?I?m fifteen, Grandad. I?ll
be OK. Anyway, Tina?s
going to look after me.?
Tina was Hilary?s sister,
and lived locally. She?d be
coming round later to join in
the family celebration.
Malcolm looked outside
again. The goat was still
watching him. Even as a
child he?d always thought
there was something about
a goat?s gaze, as if they
could see into your soul.
?Let?s go out and say
hello. The poor thing looks
lonely out there,? he said.
?But you?re still in your
dressing-gown.? Rainbow?s
eyes widened, whether in
horror or shared mischief,
Malcolm wasn?t sure.
?I?m sixty-five. I can do as
I like.? That had always been
one of Laura?s phrases,
albeit with different ages
inserted. ?But I might
change out of my slippers,?
he added with a wink.
If anyone happened to
look in the garden as the
two of them ventured out,
they would have been
greeted with a strange sight,
with him in his dressing-gown
and boots, and Rainbow in
her habitual black.
Malcolm didn?t care,
though, and neither did the
goat as it trotted up to
?Are you going to call him
Barney, after your favourite
goat when you were little??
Rainbow asked. ?You used
to tell me about him when
Mum and I came to stay
here and I couldn?t sleep.
And how your parents kept
goats for milk.?
?Fancy you remembering
that.? A lump rose in
Malcolm?s throat. ?They?re
affectionate creatures,
goats. I missed them when
they were gone.?
Rainbow rested her head
against his arm.
?I know. You told me
about that, as well. I?ve
always loved your stories.?
She giggled as the goat
gently butted him. ?Barney
wants food. I?ll get some
from the shed.?
While she was gone,
Malcolm gazed around the
When he and Hilary had
moved here, they?d had so
many plans to lick it into
shape. Lots of other plans,
too. Having waited so long
for Laura to arrive, the
three of them were going to
be the model family.
Looking back with the
wisdom of age, had there
been too many expectations
laid on Laura?s shoulders?
A sudden breeze set the
shrubs at the bottom end of
the garden rustling. He must
check that none of those
were poisonous to goats.
The swing he?d made when
Laura was five still hung
from the apple tree, swaying
back and forth as if powered
by an invisible child. Laura
had always loved that swing.
Rainbow did, too. She used
it even now, sitting on it
looking thoughtful for hours
at a time.
?Here we are.?
His granddaughter tipped
some oats into his hands
and Barney helped himself,
lips and breath tickling and
warming Malcolm?s skin.
?We?ll have to get a
nanny goat to keep this one
company,? he said. ?Goats
aren?t meant to be solitary,
you know. They get lonely.
She could be yours, if you
Rainbow?s face lit up.
?Really? That would be
great! Thanks, Grandad.?
?Thank you for the
present, even though I must
admit it wasn?t exactly what
I?d had in mind.?
?But you won?t have to
mow the grass now.?
He chuckled.
?We?ll see.?
When Rainbow went back
indoors for breakfast,
Malcolm stayed out for a
few more minutes to savour
the peace of the garden and
the undemanding
companionship of their new
family member.
?Well, old boy,? he said,
scratching the top of the
goat?s head as he always
used to with childhood
Barney. ?Something tells me
you?ll soon make yourself at
home here.?
Barney licked his hand
again and was looking
hopefully for more food
when Malcolm became
aware of voices from the
A moment later, Hilary
called from the back door.
?You?ve got a visitor.?
And him not even dressed
?Keep them in the front
room and tell them I?ll be
there in a minute,? he
called back.
?That isn?t an option.
They have some important
Malcolm groaned and
prepared to stamp in like an
awkward teenager, but
when he saw who was next
to her, he stood rooted to
the spot.
A second later, a smile
crept over his face,
matching the one on his
They started walking to
each other at the same
time, Rainbow following
close behind her mum.
Malcolm opened his arms to
encompass both of them in
a hug that spoke more than
any words.
The moment was broken
only when the goat,
impatient at being ignored,
butted him.
?I see you?ve got a new
lawnmower.? Laura grinned
once they?d all stepped
?A lawnmower that needs
a lot of care,? he returned
?In that case, it has the
perfect owner. Happy
birthday, Dad. It?s good to
be home.?
?It?s good to have you
home.? Malcolm hesitated.
?What?s the important
Rainbow, obviously
bursting to say something,
?Mum?s been promoted.
It means she doesn?t have
to travel away any more.
Isn?t that brilliant? We?re
going to live somewhere
close enough for me to
come here every day and
look after my nanny goat.?
?Right,? Hilary said, still
on the doorstep and as
practical as ever. ?I?ll put
some extra croissants on,
shall I??
?I?ll introduce Mum to
Barney while Grandad gets
dressed,? Rainbow added,
loudly enough for Malcolm
to suspect that most of the
neighbours would have
That was all right. He
didn?t mind if the whole
world heard. His family was
together, safe and sound,
and he wouldn?t have any
of them ? goat or human ?
any other way. n
The Rise Of ?Shrinkflation?
by Barry Cashin,
Consumer and
Money Expert
WHEN you visit the
supermarket, have you ever
wondered why some of the
products you usually buy
appear to be smaller in size,
yet the price has stayed the
same or even gone up?
Welcome to shrinkflation,
the questionable practice of
reducing the size of a
product in order to maintain
or raise the price.
Call it crafty, call it canny
commercialism, it seems
that most major food
manufacturers and
producers are at it. In fact,
according to the most
recent report by the Office
for National Statistics,
everything from chocolate
bars, crisps, toilet rolls and
cleaning products have
been getting smaller over
recent years, with over
2,500 products ?shrinking?
in size in the five years up to
January 2017.
What?s the cause?
Cynics say that
shrinkflation is caused by
simple profiteering, but
there are some valid
commercial reasons also.
For example, currency
fluctuations and uncertainty
over Brexit, together with
changes in raw material
costs, are cited by many
industry leaders as part of
the cause of shrinkflation.
After the Brexit referendum,
the pound declined against
the Euro, though it has
recovered a bit since.
The ONS has dismissed
Brexit as a reason for
shrinkflation, even though it
has undeniably contributed
to an increase in the price of
some imported goods. The
fact remains that we are
paying the same or more for
many everyday household
items which are seemingly
shrinking in size before our
very eyes.
Typical examples
Chocolate goods appear
to be the biggest culprits
when it comes to shrinking
packaging sizes. For
example, both Toblerone
and Jaffa Cake biscuits have
shrunk their products;
Toblerone retained the
same sized packaging but
reduced the amount of
chocolate by 20g.
Likewise, other major
brands such as Andrex toilet
tissue and Tropicana fruit
juice have reduced the size
of their products, too. Even
the good old British cuppa
has not escaped the ravages
of shrinkflation, with many
major brands of teabags
now containing fewer bags
than they did before,
making the price of a cup of
tea less palatable.
Retailers have become
more sophisticated in their
efforts to hide price
increases, but such is the
frequency of change that
consumers have cottoned
on and are now far more
savvy when it comes to
price/weight comparison.
Indeed, it is de rigueur
nowadays, as well as a
purse full of coupons, for
shoppers to be armed with
a calculator as they spin
around the aisles!
What can be done?
Consumer watchdog
Which? used their supercomplaint powers by calling
on the Competitions &
Markets Authority to take
action against supermarkets?
pricing tricks. They agreed
that action was needed and
secured legal commitments
to end dodgy pricing.
Although supermarkets
have tightened up their act
generally, food producers
continue to reduce product
sizing and shrinkflation
remains unpoliced. Some
have called this a fraud
against consumers.
Until action is taken to
prevent it, the practice
remains perfectly legal.
Consumers are effectively
being hit with the double
whammy of organic inflation
plus shrinkflation, making
every bite of each affected
product more expensive.
Did you
figures are
to take
account of
so that
prices are
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.
Your lighter
shopping basket
In 2009 a Mars bar
was reduced in size
from 62.5g to 58g,
while the price
remained at 37p.
In 2010, Tetley teabags
were sold in boxes of
88 instead of 100.
In January 2009
H鋋gen-Dazs reduced
the size of ice-cream
cartons in the US from
16 US fl oz (470 ml) to
14 US fl oz (410 ml).
In 2016, Toblerone
reduced the
400g-sized bar to
Cadbury Creme Eggs
are now sold in packs
of five rather than six.
Almost all packs of
Iceland frozen chips
after the Brexit
referendum were
reduced in size to
Ask The Expert
Use money off coupons. To mitigate the impact
of shrinkflation, sign up to your favourite brands?
websites to receive promotions and offers which
give discounts off the brands you like. This will
make your money go further.
Look up and down. Supermarkets tend to place
the most profitable stock at eye level, yet these
are not always the best deals for shoppers. Cast
your eye both high and low for the best deals.
Lower shelves have all the bargains.
Find out when your usual supermarket marks
down its ?about-to-go-out-of-date? stock. If you
can use something the same day, or freeze for
later, there are bargains to be had.
If fresh veg is pricey, try frozen. Not only is it
cheaper, but as produce is frozen close to harvest,
it may also contain more vitamins and minerals
than fresh produce that has been transported a
long way.
Alex Neill of
association Which?
is here to help:
WHAT can consumers do
to make a proper price
comparison in
Shrinking products have had shoppers concerned
that they?re not getting value for money. Last year,
Which? investigated the changing sizes and prices of
products, finding many products were getting smaller ? but
the same couldn?t be said for their pr ices.
There are a couple of ways you can compare products
to make sure you?re not paying more for less. Comparing
unit pricing (the price per 100g or 100ml) instead of the
cost of the item is one method of making sure you?re
paying the best price for your products. If you?re comparing
between supermarkets, you can use a price-comparison
website like to find the cheapest
version of your basket.
It?s often worth trying out cheaper own-brand versions of
products, too ? we?ve found own-brand products that have
beaten more expensive big-brand products in our taste
tests, and have awarded many own-brand products Best
Buy awards, so don?t assume that branded is always
Next month: more tips from our
The Key
To The
Cat Caf�
Both Maxine and Angus
knew that this was
symbolic . . .
Illustration by iStock.
HE show starts at
eight,? Angus told
He was leaning
casually against the
counter with arms folded
neatly, almost as though
the giant Norwegian forest
cat on his shoulder weighed
nothing at all.
?I thought I could close
the shop early and we
could get away as soon as
you finish up here. Then we
might have time for a quick
bite to eat beforehand.?
Maxine liked the sound of
that. He had booked tickets
to see her favourite
comedian and a meal would
start the evening perfectly.
?Maybe we could eat at
the little bistro across the
road from the theatre??
?I?ll book a table.? He
grinned. ?I?d best get back
to the shop, but I?ll pop
back at half five to collect
Maxine frowned. She
didn?t close the caf� until
five, and she?d need to
shower and get changed
from her uniform of jeans
and T-shirt into something
a little smarter. And do her
?Take this,? she said,
rummaging in the drawer
under the till and emerging
with a key to the caf�s
back door. ?You can let
yourself in and make a cup
of tea so I don?t have to
interrupt my getting-ready
time by answering the
She put the key into his
upturned palm. It seemed
so much more than just a
key for convenience. It was
a significant step in their
relationship. By giving him
a key she was trusting him
with her caf�. With her
The way Angus was
maintaining eye contact,
with a solemn expression
on his face, confirmed he
understood the significance.
?You?re sure?? His hand
was still outstretched,
almost as though he was
offering her the chance to
snatch the key back if she
wanted to change her mind.
She?d never been surer of
anything in her life.
?You might as well hang
on to it afterwards,? she
said, smiling. ?You never
know when I might be glad
of a neighbour with a spare
But they both knew it
meant more than that.
He grinned and slipped
the key into his pocket,
then turned his attention to
Gladys, who was still
perched on his shoulder.
?OK, Trouble.? He lifted
the cat and set her down
on the counter.
?Miaow,? Gladys
complained and Angus
ruffled the fur behind her
?I?ll see you later.?
Then he turned to Maxine
and, even though the wink
was barely there, she
noticed it.
Her heart fluttered.
Angus let himself out
through the storm porch at
the front of the caf� just as
Sabrina, the caf� assistant,
arrived for work.
* * * *
Maxine always left the
window-blinds closed when
they were getting the caf�
ready for opening. It
wo uldn?t do to let the
guests see the hard work
behind keeping the place
spick and span ? it would
ruin the magic.
When everything was as
it should be, Maxine threw
open the blinds, allowing
the visitors their first
glimpse of the cats.
As always, there was
much excitement. They
nudged each other, they
pointed at a cat here,
smiled at a furry face there.
And 13 cats stared back at
them in a leisurely fashion.
Maxine never tired of
this. Sensing the growing
anticipation of the crowd
waiting to be let in ? some
of them regular visitors, too
? validated the decision
she?d made to give up her
career to open this place.
She made people happy
and that had to be one of
the most important jobs of
As she glanced along the
queue, someone caught her
eye ? a man lurking at the
back of the line, looking for
all the world as though he
was about to meet his
doom. He didn?t look a part
of the joyous crowd
outside. He didn?t fit in with
them at all.
Maybe a doting dad, who
had given in to nagging and
reluctantly brought his
offspring? Or a hesitant
boyfriend? She?d seen
plenty of both types of
visitors. Both sorts were
generally won round by the
end of the session.
But there was something
about this man. He seemed
oddly familiar. Something
about the close cut of his
hair, the way his shoulders
hunched up against the
cold . . .
It hit her as suddenly
as a bolt of lightning
striking through
the caf�.
?What?s wrong??
Sabrina asked. ?You look
like you?ve seen a ghost.?
Maxine made a
monumental effort to pull
herself together.
?Robert,? she managed
to croak. ?It?s Robert.?
?Your ex-fianc�? Sabrina
followed Maxine?s gaze to
the window. ?Outside??
Maxine nodded. She
hadn?t recognised him and
she?d been engaged to him
for two years.
?Looks like he?s waiting
to come in.?
Maxine frantically tried to
remember if he was on the
guest list.
?I don?t recall seeing his
name when I checked the
bookings first thing.?
For one wild moment,
Maxine considered sending
him away, giving him the
excuse that there wasn?t a
table for him.
?I took a booking from a
man just after I arrived this
morning,? Sabrina
admitted, turning pale. ?I
didn?t catch his name and I
didn?t like to keep asking. I
put him in as John Doe.?
Maxine hadn?t noticed
the code for an unknown
man. She bit her lip. She
really didn?t want to see
him. He was firmly in her
past and had no place in
the bright future she?d
made for herself.
But if he?d made a
booking she had no option.
Maxine wasn?t in the habit
of turning people away
when they?d booked.
She glanced again
towards the window.
?I wasn?t expecting to see
him ever again.?
Maybe she could escape
the back way. But that
would leave Sabrina on her
own, and even though she
was more than capable, it
wasn?t really fair to leave
her with a full house.
?Isn?t Robert the exfianc� who doesn?t like
Maxine nodded. His
distaste for cats had been
the final straw for their
They?d both been
unhappy for a while by that
point, aiming for different
goals. As accountants,
they?d worked hard to gain
their qualifications, but
while Robert had seen his
future in numbers and
balance sheets, Maxine?s
heart hadn?t been in it.
She?d wanted to start a
business of her own.
When Robert had
laughed at her dream of
opening a cat caf� she?d
known it was over between
?What is he doing here,
then, if he doesn?t like
cats?? Sabrina seemed as
perplexed as Maxine.
The queue was growing
restless and it was already
a few minutes past the start
of their session.
Maxine pasted on a smile
as she headed for the door.
?Only one way to find
* * * *
As the other guests
played with and cooed over
the cats, Robert sat ramrod
straight in a corner chair
and looked more miserable
than Maxine had ever seen
him before, which was
saying something.
Maxine wondered now
why she hadn?t broken their
engagement sooner. He?d
often made her miserable,
too, but maybe she hadn?t
realised that until recently.
When she thought of how
being in Angus?s company
made her heart soar, she
thanked heaven she?d
discovered in time just how
unsuited she and Robert
really had been.
If they?d married! She
tried not to shudder at the
?Hello, Robert.?
He looked up from his
chair and frowned.
?I can?t believe this
Maxine smiled.
?It is rather special, isn?t
it.? She deliberately
misunderstood his
She knew she should ask
him what he wanted, but
the words wouldn?t form.
Instead, she went into her
default caf�-owner mode.
?What would you like to
drink?? she asked,
preparing to write his order
down in her little book.
He wrinkled his nose.
?I can?t believe you
actually serve refreshments
in this place. What about
cat hairs? Germs??
Once, a very long time
ago, she had found his
fastidiousness oddly
charming. Now it irritated
?We keep the place
clean. The caf� has been
inspected and I have food
hygiene certificates,? she
told him haughtily. ?The
kitchen is a cat-free
environment, in any case.?
He didn?t look convinced.
?Well, he?s all . . .?
Robert waved a hand
towards Teddy?s unblinking
face. ?He?s all curly!?
?He?s a Selkirk Rex.?
The blank look she
received in response
showed that Robert was
unfamiliar with that breed.
?Did you perm him or
?Those curls can?t be
For a moment she hadn?t
recognised her ex-fianc�
?You can?t come to a cat
caf� and neither interact
with the animals nor have
anything to eat or drink.
You might as well not have
She knew she sounded
sharp, but what did he
expect? Maxine?s Cat Caf�
was a happy place, but he
would infect the whole
session with his grumpiness.
?OK,? he said grudgingly.
?I?ll have a cup of tea. Two
sugars and no milk.?
She raised an eyebrow.
He?d always liked his tea
very milky.
?Milk will make it harder
to see if there are any cat
hairs floating in my cup.?
She bit her tongue to
stop herself from replying.
When she came back with
his tea, he was staring
suspiciously at Teddy, who
was sitting on the floor a
few feet away.
?What?s wrong with that
?What do you mean??
She put Robert?s tea on a
nearby table.
?It keeps looking at me.?
?You?re in his chair.?
Robert looked startled.
?His chair? You can?t
possibly expect me to get
up for an animal.?
Maxine sighed.
?Normally, if his chair?s
occupied, he would have no
problem sitting on a lap.?
Robert shuddered visibly
and Maxine could see
exactly why Teddy wasn?t
going near him. Cats could
sense when they were
He peered suspiciously at
?What have you done to
?What do you mean??
natural. Have you had his
fur in curlers??
If Maxine had needed
proof that Robert knew
nothing about cats, this
was it.
?No. They are entirely
natural.? She spoke slowly
to ensure that the message
got across. ?That?s how he
was born. I wouldn?t put a
cat?s fur in curlers ? they
wouldn?t like it and it would
be cruel.?
Teddy was looking hurt.
She wasn?t sure he
understood the words, but
there was no getting away
from the fact that he was
aware he was being spoken
about in derogatory terms.
She felt anger towards
Robert. She knew he wasn?t
fond of cats, but how dare
he make one of her babies
feel so uncomfortable? And
in his own home, too?
?Why exactly are you
here, Robert? It?s obvious
you?re not here for the
?No. I?m here for you.?
Maxine felt her eyebrows
rise to her hairline.
?I need to talk to you.?
?I?m afraid I really don?t
have time to chat.? She
waved an arm around the
caf�. ?As you can see, I?ve
a full caf�.?
?Surely you can spare five
Despite her reluctance to
have anything to do with
him, she had to admit that
a part of her was curious
about why he was here.
?Is something wrong??
He shook his head.
?Not wrong, but it is
important that we talk.?
?Come back after
closing time,? she
decided reluctantly.
?But I will only be able
to spare you five
minutes. I?m going out
She wasn?t going to keep
Angus waiting for anyone.
* * * *
?That ex of yours is
outside again,? Sabrina
practically whispered, as
though he might be able to
hear her through the
double glazing.
?He wants to talk.?
into question her caf�s
hygiene credentials for a
second time. Besides, with
one eye on the clock, she
knew there wasn?t much
?How can I help you??
He cleared his throat,
gave the cats one last
suspicious glance, then
began to speak.
?I?ve been made a
partner of the firm.? He
put the information out and
sat back smugly, waiting to
Angus must have let himself in by
the back door
Maxine frowned. ?I told
him to come back after
closing time.?
She wondered if she
should have told him to
come back tomorrow. She
didn?t want to put herself in
a bad mood before Angus
came to pick her up.
?I thought you and Angus
were going to see that
?We are. Robert won?t be
staying long.?
Five minutes, she had
told him, and that was
exactly what she meant.
?Do you want me to hang
Maxine shook her head.
?It?s fine, thanks. I just
need to find out what he
wants. It wasn?t
appropriate to talk earlier,
with everyone here.?
Sabrina hesitated by the
coat cupboard.
?I can hang on for five
minutes. Make sure he
doesn?t cause any trouble.?
Again, Maxine shook her
?You get going. You need
to collect Chloe from her art
club, remember? I?ll be
Sabrina let Robert into
the caf� on her way out. He
glanced around nervously
as 13 pairs of feline eyes
regarded him with equal
?I didn?t think they?d still
be here.?
?Where did you think
they?d be? They live here.?
He shrugged, looking
uncomfortable as he sat
down at the nearest table.
Maxine didn?t offer him a
drink. She didn?t want to
give him the chance to call
be congratulated.
Maxine couldn?t see why
he?d bothered to seek her
out to share this news, but
she knew that to Robert
this would mean as much
as the caf� did to her. She
found it in her heart to be
pleased for him.
?That?s good news.
?I knew you?d be
pleased.? He lifted his head
and puffed out his chest. ?It
means we can get married
straight away and put all
this nonsense . . .? he
paused to look haughtily
around Maxine?s cats
?. . . behind us.?
Propelled by shock,
Maxine sat down.
?I?m sorry??
?The other partners are
all married,? he explained,
putting his proposal into
the least romantic terms
that Maxine could have
ever imagined. ?It would be
useful, for dinners and
things, if I was, too.?
Maxine sighed. He was
suggesting a marriage of
convenience. She had never
felt less flattered in her life.
?We can go ahead and
arrange that big wedding
? my mother always said
we should wait until we
could afford it.?
She?d liked Robert?s
mother ? she would have
been a good mother-in-law.
But that was as bad a
reason for getting married
as the groom needing a
convenient wife to attend
work functions.
?We?re not engaged any
longer . . .?
He waved that objection
?Easily remedied.? With a
flourish, he pulled an
engagement ring from her
Unless she was very much
mistaken, it was the very
ring she had handed back
to him more than a year
He grabbed her hand and
slid the ring on to her
?There, back where it
belongs.? He smiled,
satisfied with a job well
As Maxine was rendered
mute by indignation, she
noticed a movement from
the corner of her eye.
Angus was taking in the
scene from near the kitchen
door. He must have let
himself in through the back
door, just as Maxine had
told him to.
Her overriding awareness
was of the look of shock on
his face.
?Miaow.? Gladys,
delighted to have noticed
her favourite human, broke
the silence.
A mask of neutrality
descended over Angus?s
?I see I?ve arrived at an
awkward time.?
If the situation hadn?t
been so absurd, Maxine
would have laughed. But all
she could do was watch
with mounting horror as
Angus momentarily fussed
over Gladys before he
turned and left as silently
as he?d arrived.
?Who was that?? Robert
Recovering her wits,
Maxine slipped the ring off
and handed it back to
Robert for a second time.
?That was my boyfriend,?
she told him, realising this
was the first time she?d
described Angus as such.
?Take this back, please. I
can?t marry you. And, if
you?re honest, you don?t
want to marry me, either.?
?How can you say that??
?Because it?s true. You
haven?t tried to make
contact in more than a
She sighed. She didn?t
want to hurt him, but she
had to make him see the
?Besides, you haven?t
mentioned love in all of
?Surely that?s a given.?
She shook her head.
?If you really loved me
you would accept my cats,
rather than expecting me to
abandon them.?
?Don?t be silly, Maxine.
Who in their right mind
would want to live with all
these animals??
She showed him to the
door, intent on taking no
more nonsense.
?If you loved me as a
bride deserves to be loved,
you would learn to love my
cats. If only because they
matter to me.?
There was someone who
had done exactly that and
she would never settle for
less. And now she was
going to have to go and
find him and explain the
situation he had walked in
Because she feared he
had misunderstood.
* * * *
?I?ll have to go in my
jeans,? Maxine said
apologetically when Angus
came to the door and let
her in. ?As you saw, I was
held up by a visitor.?
?Jeans are fine,? he said
gruffly. ?So, your man?s in
He didn?t look thrilled,
Maxine was pleased to
note. If the roles had been
reversed and it had been
Angus?s ex-wife who had
happened by with
suggestions of marriage,
she would have been
equally miffed.
?Yes,? she told him,
keeping eye contact and
trying not to smile. ?He is.?
When she saw his
shoulders deflate and the
light leave his eyes she
couldn?t keep up the
?It?s you, you daft thing.?
She nudged his arm. ?I
rather thought you were my
And there it was, the grin
that she loved so much ?
the one that made her
breath catch and her heart
?That is,? she added
almost shyly, ?if you want
to be.?
When he pulled her closer
and kissed her thoroughly,
he left her in no doubt that
he did. n
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Holidays in Jersey
JerseY - BATTle OF FlOWers TOur
OPTION 1. 7-10 AuGusT 2018
BesT WesTern rOYAl HOTel***
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Price includes
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? 3 or 7 nights? accommodation in a twin/double room at
selected hotel
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The phrase took
on a whole
meaning once
Suzanne had
read the paper?s
personal ads . . .
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
N Monday
morning, the
7.52 rumbled
into view and
Suzanne steeled
herself. She knew from too
many years? experience
that when the train arrived
at the station there would
be an almighty crush
forward that she?d be swept
up in.
If she were lucky she
might not end up with
someone?s elbow in her rib
cage, or their backpack in
her face. And if she were
very lucky, once inside the
train, she might just find a
In need of some serious
cheering up ? it was
Monday morning, after all
? Suzanne was snuggled up
inside her favourite brown
and white striped hat and
velvet coat.
Once inside the train, she
fell into an empty seat,
removing the free
newspaper that someone
had left there.
The paper was called the
?Platform Pulse?, mostly
made up of pages of ads
and puzzles. Suzanne
opened it and flicked
through the pages until she
came to the bit of the
?Pulse? that she liked best.
She started to read the
Commuter Cupid page, her
one guilty pleasure.
Guy with the most
incredible blue eyes on the
8.16 on Friday last week. I
think I love you. Want to
meet? Pink jumper girl with
blonde hair.
She smiled and read on.
Cute brunette with black
biker jacket. I offered you a
mint imperial, you smiled
and said no, thanks. Fancy
a drink? Short lad in the
quiet coach.
Suzanne wondered who
these people were and if
they would ever meet. She
allowed herself a quiet
smile and gazed out of the
Almost every other
passenger around her
appeared to be swiping
their phones, but she liked
to gather her thoughts on
the train ride to work.
Suzanne enjoyed her job
well enough. She worked in
university admin, which
kept her mentally
challenged and physically
active, chasing around after
professors and students for
paperwork that always had
a deadline she had to meet.
The best thing about her
job was the people that she
worked with ? colleagues
who had become friends
over the years. And she was
lucky in where she worked,
The department she
worked in was set on the
edge of an open green
space in the middle of an
over-crowded, often dirty
and always busy city.
There were worse places
to work, Suzanne thought.
She knew she was lucky in
many respects. At least she
wasn?t in a tiny office in a
high rise with no view,
where some of the
university admin were
Sadly, though, the worst
thing about her job was this
daily commute on the train.
Five days a week, packed
tight like sweaty sardines in
a very busy carriage, was
never going to be fun, but
she tolerated it the best she
When she turned her
gaze back to the ?Pulse?,
she almost leapt up out of
her seat in shock.
Stylish lady who boards
the 7.52 every morning,
recently wearing brown
velvet coat and striped hat.
I see you every day but am
too scared to say hi! Shy
guy in blue jacket.
Brown velvet coat?
Check. Striped hat? Check.
7.52 train? Check. Stylish?
Well, she?d take that!
Suzanne calmed her
racing mind with some deep
breathing exercises that
she?d been taught in yoga.
Then, when she dared lift
her eyes from the paper,
she glanced around the
It was with a mixture of
both relief and
disappointment that she
noticed there wasn?t a blue
jacket in sight.
* * * *
On Tuesday morning
Suzanne waited for the
7.52 as usual. And as usual
she was caught up in the
same crowd who jostled to
get on the train.
Once on board, all the
seats had been taken and
she had to stand.
Squashed into the
carriage, there wasn?t
even enough space to
open her copy of the
?Platform Pulse? to check
on the Commuter Crush
column. Instead, she delved
into her bag for a
paperback to read.
It was when she opened
her book that she caught
sight of a blue jacket
Slowly her gaze followed
the sleeve up to the collar
of the blue jacket, and then
up to a not-unpleasant face
of a man wearing a blue
into an empty seat with
relief when she finally got
on the train.
Once she was sitting
down, with her copy of the
?Platform Pulse? in her
hands, she realised she
wasn?t fully sitting on the
seat. The man sitting next
to her had his newspaper
spread open as wide as his
blue-trousered legs.
Suzanne edged along the
seat. She didn?t want to be
rude and ask him to move,
but he really was taking up
Suzanne smiled at the man, hoping
to attract his attention
suit. He, too, had a book in
his hands and she noticed it
was a book of sudoku
She smiled at the man,
hoping to attract his
attention, but he was
engrossed in his puzzles
and didn?t return her gaze.
?Nice jacket,? she
ventured finally.
He looked at her as if she
were mad.
?Nice blue jacket, I
mean.? She smiled.
There was still no
response so she tried
?Your blue jacket? My
brown velvet coat??
But there was nothing in
reply; no smile, no words,
not a thing.
?Striped hat, right?? she
said as a final try.
The man gathered his
book towards his chest as if
for protection. It was then
that she noticed the ring on
his wedding finger.
He smiled at her.
?I?m really sorry. I?m
afraid I have absolutely no
idea what you?re talking
about. But if you?re
referring to this blue jacket
I?m wearing, my wife
bought it for me as an
anniversary gift.?
Suzanne apologised and
turned away, determined
not to make any more of a
fool of herself than she
already had.
* * * *
On Wednesday morning
the 7.52 arrived several
minutes late.
A frustrated and
exasperated Suzanne sank
far too much space.
Inch by inch she claimed
her space on the seat.
That?s when the man
?Are you comfortable
now?? he yelled, folding up
his paper with a sigh.
?Well, there?s not much
space on these seats,?
Suzanne replied curtly. ?But
they are meant for two
people, you know!?
A woman sitting opposite
gave her a supportive smile.
The man dug into his
pocket and pulled out his
phone, jabbing it into life a
little too aggressively for
Suzanne?s liking.
That was when she
noticed the blue jacket he
was wearing.
Well, if that was her
commuter crush, she
wanted nothing to do with
him, she decided.
She took out her novel
and lost herself in it until
the train arrived in the city.
* * * *
On Thursday morning
Suzanne waited for the
7.52 in higher spirits than
so far that week. Thursdays
were bearable, being so
close to the weekend. And
she had a good day to look
forward to, with a pizza
night out after work with
her friends.
The train was slightly
quieter than it had been on
the previous days and she
found a seat much more
easily. She sat down ? right
next to a man wearing a
blue suit.
She looked at the blue
jacket. Could this be the
man from the ?Platform
?Nice day.? She smiled in
a friendly sort of way.
?Yes, it?s nice,? he replied
and gave her a big smile.
It unleashed a tidal wave
of garlic breath that
threatened to drown her
and pull her under.
As the man continued
talking about the weather,
she pressed herself back
into the seat, trying to turn
her face away from the
halitosis horror.
Suzanne took out her
novel in the hope of killing
dead the weather
If he?s my commuter
crush, then I?m squashing it
flat right now, she decided.
* * * *
Finally it was Friday. Good
old Friday, the best day of
the working week with its
promise of the weekend
waiting in the wings.
With no empty seats on
the 7.52, Suzanne stood in
the aisle of the train.
?Please, take my seat,?
she heard a voice say.
She looked down to where
a man was gathering his
newspaper to him,
preparing to leave his seat.
?Are you sure?? she
?I insist,? he replied.
She smiled and said thank
you, then slid into the seat
as he took her place
standing in the aisle.
?It?s very kind of you,?
she said, glancing up at
?My pleasure,? he
replied, opening up his
newspaper. ?This paper?s
rubbish, isn?t it??
He smiled, showing her
the cover of the ?Platform
?It?s all adverts and
celebrities I?ve never heard
of. And as for this
bit . . .? He opened the
page to Commuter Crush.
?Have you ever read such
Suzanne laughed.
?Reading that page is my
one guilty pleasure.?
?Listen to this,? the man
began. ?Sexy lady on the
10.20 into the city, I love
your leggings. Fancy a
She couldn?t stop herself
from laughing. The woman
sitting next to her tutted
?Here?s another,? the
man continued. ?Oh, you
have to hear this one. Guy
in pink shirt on the 8.20
train to the city. Meet me
under the station clock for a
kiss. Big Bev in Coach B.
?Do people really read
these things and take them
seriously?? he asked her.
?Excuse me,? the woman
next to Suzanne said. ?My
stop?s next.?
Suzanne stood up and let
the woman leave, then she
slid into the vacated seat by
the window. The man with
the open copy of the
?Platform Pulse? sat down
next to her.
?I?m Gary,? he said,
extending his hand.
?Suzanne,? she replied,
taking his hand and shaking
it firmly.
?Listen to this one,? he
continued. ?Driver of the
10.18 train to the coast
each Sunday. I wave when
you pass the station, but
you never seem to
notice . . .?
But Suzanne wasn?t
listening properly. She was
too busy laughing at Gary?s
comical face.
She noticed his dark suit,
impeccably pressed, and his
shoes shined to perfection.
A briefcase sat on his lap
and he folded the ?Pulse?
and laid it on top.
For the remainder of their
journey into the city they
chatted and laughed
non-stop. They talked about
the weather, working in the
city and the horrors of
commuting in the rush-hour
By the time the train
slowed to enter the city
station, they both knew
about each other?s shared
like of bagels, striped hats
and daydreaming.
Passengers around them
gathered their belongings,
put on coats and talked into
phones, but Suzanne and
Gary were in no hurry to
leave. Neither of them
wanted their conversation
to end.
?Will I see you again on
Monday morning,
perhaps?? he asked
Suzanne smiled.
?I?ll be on the 7.52, as
always.? n
Photographs courtesy of Greenfingers Charity.
OR eighteen years
Charity has been
creating beautiful
yet practical
gardens where children with
life-limiting or lifethreatening conditions can
play, relax and spend time
with their loved ones. It has
designed and built 54
gardens in hospices across
the UK.
?These gardens make a
huge difference to the
children and families
involved,? Linda Petrons of
Greenfingers says. ?These
gardens are where many
families create precious
moments and unforgettable
memories in a protective yet
inspiring outdoor
Linda explains that
spending time outdoors can
be enormously beneficial to
children who require
hospice care.
?Many children with
life-limiting or lifethreatening conditions can
find it difficult to spend time
outside, as they often need
to be near medical care or
close supervision.
?By providing a safe
outdoor environment within
the grounds of the hospice
they attend, these children
can enjoy outdoor
experiences most children
take for granted, such as
Hanging garden at
Chestnut Tree House.
Linda Petrons.
fresh air, space to play and
being close to nature.
?When I visit a hospice
with a Greenfingers? garden
I?m always struck by how
much children enjoy being
outside. Sometimes I?ll spot
a child coming into a garden
after a stressful morning and
I can actually see them relax
and, more importantly,
Greenfingers Charity
works closely with each
hospice to ensure their new
garden will fulfil the needs
of the children and families
who will be using it.
?A hospice might request
a garden with specially
adapted playground
equipment such as a
roundabout,? Linda says. ?Or
they might ask for a
woodland garden, a piratethemed garden or simply a
tranquil space where
families can reflect or simply
be together.?
When creating a
Greenfingers? garden the
designers the charity works
with ensure it?s accessible
and appeals to all five
?There are often water
features in our gardens, as
well as scented flowers,
plants that are perfect for
touching and sensitive
lighting, which also helps to
promote peacefulness.
?However, it?s often the
simplest of things that really
make a difference, such as
adding a wheelchair-friendly
picnic table,? Linda adds. ?It
can be surprisingly
challenging to go for a
family picnic when one of
your children is in a
Although Greenfingers?
gardens are created with
children in mind, they?re
used by adults, too.
?Mums and dads
appreciate being able to
meet other parents in the
garden and share
experiences while their
children have fun,? Linda
?In addition, parents who
spend time in a hospice
with their child can
experience times when it all
gets too much. That?s when
a Greenfingers? garden can
provide a place to escape
from the intensity of it all, to
calm down, to prepare for
whatever challenges lie
Linda adds that hospice
staff and volunteers also
find the gardens invaluable.
?As well as being a quiet
spot where they can take a
break, staff and volunteers
in many of the hospices
hold activities such as
nature talks and plant
growing in our gardens.
Greenfingers? gardens are
places where children who
spend time in hospices can
experience ?normal?
childhood activities.?
Glass learns
about the
work being
done by
Kaleidoscope Garden
at Helen House.
Greenfingers Charity
creates memory gardens for
hospices, too.
?I recently spoke to
parents at a hospice who
had lost their daughter,?
Linda continues. ?They told
me that the memory garden
gave them a reason to
return to the hospice,
helping them to stay in
touch with the staff and the
other parents and children
who had known their little
girl so well.
?Another family I met had
very limited access to
outside space as they?d
carried out major
improvements to their
home so their child could
have a more comfortable
home life. The Greenfingers?
garden at the hospice was
the only place they were
able to be outside together.?
Greenfingers was
established in 1999 by
horticultural writer and
broadcaster Richard Jackson,
who is a gardening
presenter on QVC.
?Richard?s wonderful idea
of giving children in
hospices the precious gift of
a garden was warmly
welcomed by the gardening
Garden Re-Leaf Day
On March 16, garden
centres and garden
suppliers across the
country will be
participating in Garden
Re-Leaf Day to raise funds
for Greenfingers Charity.
With fund-raising
activities ranging from
bake sales, gardening
talks and quiz nights to
staff planting pots
throughout the night as
part of ?Plant-athon?, this
annual event is growing
like Jack?s beanstalk! Visit
uk/, call 01494 674749 or
e-mail linda@
industry and they have given
us incredible support ever
Garden Re-Leaf Day is
Greenfingers? national
fund-raising campaign and
is celebrated by garden
centres, garden suppliers
and many others across the
UK every March. In addition,
the charity also encourages
gardeners to open their
gardens to the general
public or hold cake sales to
raise vital funds.
?We?re also asking people
to raise funds by hosting a
Greenfingers? Garden Tea
Party. This can be anything
from a cuppa with a slice of
home-made cake to an
Creating Memories
?The Woodland Walk
Garden at Chestnut Tree
House is everything
Iona-May would have
loved. We can imagine
sitting there as a family,
spending time having a
picnic. The reflections
through the trees and off
the pond . . . .? Parents of
a child who spent time at
Chestnut Tree House
Children?s Hospice in
Arundel, West Sussex.
A Greenfingers?
elaborate high tea worthy of
Downton Abbey.?
Linda explains that
Greenfingers has a waiting
list of hospices who need
their help.
?Thanks to the generosity
of our supporters, we aim to
create three gardens each
year. This year, as well as a
new pirate-themed garden
at Andy?s at St Andrews, a
hospice in Grimsby that
Adam Frost and children opening
the Greenfingers Keech garden.
cares for children and young
people with any progressive
life-limiting illness, we?re
also creating a ?Nest And
Rest? garden at Grace House
in Sunderland, and we?re in
the early planning stages for
other gardens.?
Although Linda stresses
that every Greenfingers?
garden is special, she admits
to having a current favourite:
the garden at Keech
Hospice Care in Luton,
which was designed by TV
gardener Adam Frost.
?Adam and his team
transformed a drab
courtyard in a modern
hospice building into a
vibrant, wheelchairaccessible garden which
delights all the senses. As
with all Greenfingers?
gardens, families love using
this space, where they can
enjoy time together ? all
thanks to flower power.? n
?Nobody Leaves Without
A Smile On Their Face?
?The Kaleidoscope
Garden at Helen House is
something else. Everyone
enjoys colourful
stimulation and
enjoyment whatever the
weather. Nobody leaves
without a smile on their
face.? Kathy Patching,
House Manager, Helen
House, Oxford.
?A Beautiful Space?
?Adam?s Garden at Keech
Hospice Care is a
beautiful space for
reflection, relaxation and
escapism ? not only for
our young patients and
their families but also for
our excellent care team
and our volunteers. At a
time when a person
needs peace and quiet
and when families want
to make memories,
Adam?s Garden is always
there.? Liz Searle, Chief
Executive Office, Keech
Hospice Care, Luton.
The villagers were ready
for their journey ? but
there was one man Mary
worried about more than
the rest . . .
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
The Story So Far
widowed shopkeeper in
Pickford, a small village
outside Manchester.
Widower DANIEL
LAWTON is a butcher
whose shop is next door
to Mary?s, and he is in
love with her, but she will
not agree to marry him
unless he gives up his
efforts for political
reform, as she is worried
about the consequences.
A small, bedraggled
child, ROBERT OGDEN, is
spotted by Mary one day
outside her shop, and he
reminds her of her dead
son, JOSHUA, who would
have been a similar age.
She finds out that
Robert?s mother is ill so
she employs the boy to
help out in her shop,
paying him with muchneeded food.
When Mary visits
Daniel?s shop to discuss
the young boy, she finds
out that Robert and his
mother are only days
away from the poor
house. Shocked, Mary
asks Daniel what they
can do to help, and he
urges her to join the
reformers at the planned
meeting in Manchester,
calling for one man, one
vote . . .
HE morning of
August 16 dawned
bright with an early
haze of the sort
that would soon
burn off, leaving a perfect
August day.
People wearing their
Sunday best streamed into
the Square outside Mary?s
shop from all directions.
There were summer bonnets
and picnic baskets
Excited children weaved
in and out of their parents,
losing their caps in the
Trade was brisk in Mary
Andrew?s store as many
picked up last-minute
provisions for the journey.
The new bottles of fizzing
soda water proved popular,
as did pieces of fruit to help
the marchers slake their
thirst on their trek.
There were queues
outside Mr Milner?s baker?s
shop on the other side of
the Square, too.
Mary still had misgivings.
If only it would rain, fewer
people would march into
At five minutes to eight,
the banner of the Pickford
reformers was raised aloft,
the bold slogan Reform Or
Slavery painted in white on
Holding the two poles
were Daniel Lawton and his
eldest son, William. Behind
them was the next-eldest
son, Gabriel. The two
younger children were
staying with Daniel?s sister
for the day.
Daniel and William were
like twins, save a difference
of twenty years. They were
tall, with thick hair and
strong limbs. They would
have no trouble toting the
banner the 10 miles to
Manchester, or the 10 miles
Mary left the shop and
marched straight up to
Daniel, chin tilted defiantly.
?You?re determined to
lead these fine people, are
?You know I am, Mary.?
?And put William in
harm?s way??
?What harm? We intend
to walk, listen to Mr Hunt
speak and walk back again.
You worry too much.?
Daniel leaned forward,
adding in a low voice, ?I
love you all the more for
Her mouth tightened at
his cavalier attitude. She
turned her eyes up to the
banner, trepidation chilling
her bones.
?Reform or slavery.
Hardly a glowing testament
to the government.?
?But not something they
can lock us up for, Mary.?
Mary?s eyes held his
defiantly and she shook her
head. There was nothing
she could say that would
change his mind.
She turned to William.
?Are you willing in this? If
you two are imprisoned,
what will happen to your
?We have to go, Mrs
Andrew,? he said, his face a
picture of earnest belief.
?Someone has to stand up
and do something. People
are starving, and there?s
no-one to speak for them.?
Daniel rested his warm
hand gently on her arm.
?There is still time for you
to join us, Mary. It will do
you good to have a day
out, get some sun on your
pale skin.? He lifted his
hand and ran a finger lightly
down her cheek.
?Will you stop that?? she
said in a loud whisper,
pushing his hand away with
hers, feeling her cheek glow
red at his touch. ?People
are watching.?
?Let them,? he replied,
his face warming with a
grin. ?The whole village
knows how I feel about
He lowered his voice.
?The way you once told
me you felt about me. They
all know I want you to
marry me. Come with us
and enjoy a day out away
from that shop of yours,
and listen to what Mr Hunt
has to say.
?I know you?ll be swayed
by his words. He speaks
from the heart. He speaks
of equality and fair play for
Mary glanced quickly
about her, wondering who
was listening and watching.
The whole village seemed to
be milling about them,
taking not the blindest bit
of notice.
The Square was filled with
jostling bodies and excited
chatter, each and every one
of the villagers captivated
by the thrill of the day.
Only William, pink-cheeked
and uncomfortable, seemed
aware of the exchange.
?Mr Hunt and his kind will
end up behind bars,? Mary
pointed out. ?I?m terrified
that you?ll be there with
him, carrying that thing,?
she added, pointing
towards the banner.
?Then I?ll need a kiss to
sustain me in that awful
place,? he teased, and
leaned forward quickly to
brush his lips against hers.
William groaned and
looked as though he wanted
to be a million miles away.
?You should listen to your
son,? Mary said, taking a
step back. ?And stop such
ridiculous public displays.?
She turned and strode as
best she could back through
the throng to her shop.
?I?ll pray for you,? she
called over her shoulder.
What else could she do?
At eight o?clock, the mill
band struck up ?Joy To The
World? enthusiastically if
somewhat discordantly, and
slowly the Square emptied.
The air throbbed as the
beat of the drum and the
ring of boots and clogs on
cobbles bounced off the
enclosing stone walls of
narrow streets leading away
down the hill.
Slowly the Square grew
quieter and quieter as the
tramp and drum drew
steadily further away, until
strangely, suddenly, there
was silence. The village was
utterly deserted.
None of the shops save
Mary?s was open. All the
other keepers had shut and
joined the march.
Never had Mary felt quite
so alone.
Knowing it was going to
be a slow day, she decided
to take stock and clean her
shelves. For that she
desired help.
Looking out through the
shop door, she realised that
Pickford had left one small
son behind. Sitting on the
horse trough on the other
side of the Square was the
tiny figure of Robert Ogden.
She beckoned to him and
he flew across to her shop.
?How sensible of you not
to go with the others,
?I wanted to, Mrs
Andrew,? he said. ?But it?s
such a long way. And
Mother can?t come.?
?How is she today?? Mary
asked with what she hoped
was a positive smile, aware
that Sarah Ogden?s health
was perilous.
?The same,? he said, not
meeting her eyes.
?Did she enjoy the cheese
I sent up last night??
He shrugged.
?She couldn?t eat much.
Said it made her feel sick. I
liked it, though. It were
right good.?
Mary looked at him, at
the cheeks which had filled
out a lot in the week he had
been doing odd jobs for her
and getting paid in food.
She didn?t like to think how
little he must have been fed
before this.
?Well, Bobbie, today we
are going to check the
stock. Can you read??
?Of course I can,? Robert
said. ?Mother taught me.?
Mary managed to hide
her surprise.
?You must have a very
clever mother, Bobbie.?
?I think she was going to
be a teacher or something.
But something happened so
she couldn?t,? he said with
a slightly puzzled look.
No doubt Bobbie had
happened. Mary wondered
if Sarah had been a
governess who had been
dismissed when her
condition was discovered.
But what had happened to
the father?
?Excellent,? she continued
brightly. ?Then we shall
make short work of it.?
Soon the two of them had
a routine going. Robert
emptied one or two shelves
at a time, washed and dried
them, while Mary made
notes and sorted the goods.
?Good ?eavens,? Ernie
Smith said as he was
greeted by a stack of
bottles and boxes piled
high on the counter, and a
small boy balancing on a
ladder, scrubbing at
wooden shelves.
Mary Andrew?s head
popped up from behind the
stack, her cheeks flushed
with bending.
?Sorry, Ernie. I didn?t
hear you pull up in the
?Are you moving??
?No, no. Just sorting out
?Never you mind, Robert
Ogden,? Mary called. ?Are
you going to restock my
caddies, Ernest Smith, or
not?? She started to hunt
about the bottles and
packets arranged in front of
her. ?I had a list here
somewhere. I know I need
more ground coffee.?
?What you need is your
own coffee grinder,? Ernie
said. ?It seems to me
you?ve got plenty of space
now,? he added with a grin.
?You never give up, do
?Not while I?ve got Mr
Earnshaw on my back and
the prospect of promotion
and an indoors job,? he
admitted. ?You could take
pity on an old soldier.?
* * * *
Daniel Lawton had never
seen so many people.
St Peter?s Fields in the
heart of Manchester was
full. The atmosphere was
excited, expectant.
He wondered if anyone
had heard Mr Hunt speak
before. He spotted
someone from the female
reformers up there, too
? maybe women were going
to get a say as well.
Women voting, even. Could
it be?
Suddenly there was silence. The
village was utterly deserted
what I have already. Taking
advantage of slack trade.?
He pushed his cap back
and scratched his head.
?I?m not surprised it?s
slack. I?ve never seen so
many on the roads. And a
fair sight it is, too.
Thousands of people happy
and singing, brass bands all
playing their own tunes.
?I don?t mind telling you I
wish Mr Earnshaw had
given me the day off. I?d
love to be with ?em.?
?Well, I?m glad not to be,
and you should be, too.?
Mary said firmly. ?I can?t
help this terrible feeling that
there will be trouble.?
?I think you?re overly
concerned about one of
them people in particular,?
Ernie said with a wink.
Mary felt her cheeks turn
?Who?s that?? a small
voice came from up above.
Daniel held on to the
village banner while Gabriel
and William left in search of
drinks to slake terrible
thirsts. It was a glorious
day. There was no chance
of getting wet in a sudden
cloudburst, but he wished
perhaps that it weren?t so
Elsie Maitland?s son was
wilting, too. He clung to his
mother?s skirts, his head
hanging down.
?I shouldn?t have brought
him,? she confessed to
Daniel, her hand stroking
the boy?s mousy hair. ?I
hadn?t realised it would be
so far and so hot. He?s
scared of getting lost.?
?Why don?t you help me
hold the banner?? Daniel
asked the boy. ?Let your
mother find you a drink.
You must be thirsty, and
you can?t get lost if you
are holding the
banner, can you??
The boy looked up at
his mother, who nodded
and smiled. He let go of her
skirts and transferred both
hands tightly to the pole
Daniel held out, the foot of
which rested on the ground.
?I won?t be long,? she
said and turned to find a
way through to the edge.
Her words shouldn?t have
worried Daniel, but they
did. He hadn?t expected his
sons to be long, but it
seemed an age since they
had started edging their
way in the same direction
as Elsie.
Were they lost? No, they
could hardly fail to find the
tens of thousands of people
here assembled. And the
black village banner was
easily visible above
people?s heads.
Daniel tried not to think
of the companies of cavalry
they had passed stationed
in the streets around as the
marchers had filed into the
arena. Mary Andrew?s
concerns crowded in on
boys and Elsie had gone.
Over the top of the massed
bonnets and caps he saw
the blue jackets and box
hats of the Yeomanry.
Between them and him,
the heads of his sons were
dodging in and out of the
Daniel?s throat was
suddenly drier than thirst
alone could manage. Time
He saw in slow motion the
soldiers raise their long,
curved sabres and advance
towards the crowd, making
a line which took them
through his boys and
through Daniel himself.
?Stand fast!? someone
cried. ?Link arms!?
It seemed for a moment as
though the uniformed men
would not advance, that
they would be stilled by the
mass of people. But then
those steel blades, glinting
cruelly in the sun, came
crashing downward.
There were shouts and
cries of surprise and anger,
and the horses started to
make way.
Daniel would feel happier when his
boys were back by his side
Now that he was here,
and had seen the soldiery
for himself, he would feel
much happier when his
boys were back by his side.
No sooner had Elsie left
them than the speaker,
Henry Hunt, stood up and
held out his hands to shush
the crowd. He was starting
Daniel cheered with the
others. Then a hush fell as
the great man?s words
came, small over the heads
of so many. Daniel
struggled to hear what he
was saying.
After what seemed like
only a few seconds, a
murmur went up from
women on a slight rise at
the other side of the field.
At first Daniel thought
them rude that they would
not stand quiet and listen,
but then it became obvious
they could see what others
could not.
A rumble ran through the
crowd, echoing their
warning ? soldiers.
Daniel turned his head in
the direction in which his
?Gabriel!? Daniel yelled
with all the power his throat
and lungs had. ?William!?
He tried to raise the
banner to get their
attention, but became aware
of a heavy weight attached
to it. Elsie?s boy. He looked
down to see the lad hugging
one of the carrying poles
tight to his body.
Daniel finally caught
William?s eye. He jabbed his
pointed hand towards what
was happening behind them,
the mayhem that was
advancing towards them.
William turned and saw
the danger. He grabbed
Gabriel and tried to dodge
sideways, out of the way,
pushing women in front of
him, helping them to safety,
Elsie was suddenly at
Daniel?s side, scooping her
son into her arms.
?Go,? Daniel said.
?The banner,? she said.
?They?ll be after it. After
?Don?t worry about me.
Get to safety.?
She nodded and tried to
move out of the path of the
advancing men, but there
was confusion and a huge
mass of people with
nowhere to go.
Daniel turned back to his
sons and saw Gabriel go
?No!? he cried and surged
?Seize the banner!? an
officer shouted and Daniel
locked eyes with a soldier
who spurred his horse
towards him.
He thought of Mary then,
certain now of his fate, yet
uncertain about the fate of
his family which had been
so sure in his mind just
hours before.
* * * *
As the day wore on,
Pickford provided more
customers than it should
have done. Mary had to
keep stopping to search for
things that she could
normally put her hand on
with her eyes shut.
Fortunately, little Robert
proved to have an excellent
memory. And being small
and nimble, he repeatedly
dived into some tiny space
amongst the disarranged
boxes and sacks to locate
something which completely
escaped Mary.
?Be careful down there!?
she exclaimed more than
once as he disappeared
behind a mound of goods.
?You could get crushed if
something falls.?
?Shan?t,? he replied
confidently, holding up the
packet he?d gone to
retrieve. ?Because you
would get me out, wouldn?t
With that he?d shin back
up the ladder and continue
his work. Of course, he was
right. If there was any risk
of him getting crushed, she
would tear the pile apart.
Robert seemed very
bright and clearly could
read. He knew what was in
every packet and box.
Mary thought someone
should be taking charge of
his education. He could go
far, given the right chances.
She found herself thinking
that if he were to become
her apprentice then she
could make sure he got to
school at least some of the
But he was too young to
be an apprentice. She
needed someone more
Gabriel?s age. Someone old
enough to be trusted with
the shop on their own if she
had to leave for some
Jed, the delivery boy,
would be perfect, but his
mother had other ideas.
Yet something deep
within her wanted Robert to
be part of her life very
much. It would be like
having Joshua beside her,
had he lived.
Would that be so bad?
Taking another child in
place of hers? Giving him
the chances her son should
have had?
When the clock struck
two, other thoughts came
to Mary unbidden. Mr Hunt
would be starting to speak
and the memory of Daniel?s
lips on hers just a few hours
before brought a heat to
her cheeks, a thumping to
her chest.
She tried to convince
herself nothing bad would
happen, that the Yeomanry
would not be deployed. To
think otherwise was
Daniel would be one
among tens of thousands
there, Ernie Smith had said
as much, and the crowd
was in excellent spirits.
Even if something bad did
happen, there was no
reason to think that it
would happen to Daniel
above all those others.
She redoubled the effort
of cleaning and polishing
and forced her thoughts to
As the clock struck three
she had forgotten all about
the meeting.
Robert was exhausted
and almost falling off the
steps as she handed tins
and packets back up to
She decided to send him
home and finish the job
alone and had given him a
handful of coins in payment
when the room darkened.
She looked to the door
and found it filled by
Reverend Simmons.
?I thought I?d find him
here,? he said, his eyes on
Mary stepped in front of
the boy. She didn?t want
the vicar thinking he was
stealing money now.
?What of it?? Mary
asked, her chin tipped up
in defiance.
?He is needed.?
Robert ducked out from
behind Mary?s skirts.
?Is it Mother??
The reverend nodded.
?I?m afraid so. It?s time to
?Is she . . .?
?She is to go to the
workhouse. There are people
there who will . . .?
Reverend Simmons broke off
as though to consider his
words carefully. ?Nurse
?And Robert?? Mary
?That ragamuffin can
hardly be left on his own,
can he? Not that he has a
home now. Arrears,? he
added in a stage whisper, as
though that was the worst of
the news.
To Mary?s surprise, Robert
turned to her with no
emotion on his face
whatsoever. He held out his
his hat.
?Here? I hardly think so.?
Mary stood straight, her
shoulders square.
?Why not? He has been
very helpful.? She swept an
arm around all the shelves
they had sorted together.
?Mary, you work far too
hard without looking after a
small child as well. You
should get married again.
Keep house. Take lunch
with other ladies of a similar
status to your good self.
?Surely the life of a vicar?s
soulmate is preferable to a
life of hard labour and
single parenthood??
Mary decided to ignore
his suggestions.
Sarah was dying. Robert
had no-one else. She could
hardly expect a stranger to
turn up and claim him.
She found herself wishing
that Daniel were here, so
she could turn to him for
support. He would know
what to do and his voice
would carry more weight.
Mary willed the speeches in
Manchester over
tiny hand and returned the
coins she had just given
?Will you look after these
for me, Mrs Andrew?? he
asked solemnly.
Mary couldn?t speak. She
didn?t want to look after his
money, those paltry coins
which now sat cold and hard
in her palm. She wanted to
look after him.
She fought for something
to say as Robert went to the
vicar and the two headed
silently out through the
?Wait!? she cried.
They both turned.
?I . . .? she started, not
sure how to finish.
?Yes?? Reverend Simmons
?Isn?t there another way?
Does he have to go with
?He has no close relatives.
At least none that will own
Mary assumed he was
referring to the absent
father and wondered if the
vicar knew who this was.
?Can he stay with me??
she asked.
Reverend Simmons?s
eyebrows raised up under
?You would rob a mother
of her only child?s company
in her last hours?? Reverend
Simmons said earnestly.
?Of course not. I only
mean ??
Robert took a small step
forward, his brown eyes
?I do want to be with
Mother, Mrs Andrew.?
?It is best that procedure
is followed, my dear,?
Reverend Simmons
continued. ?Of course, if
you wished to apply to take
the boy from the workhouse
after . . .?
At last, Mary noted, he
had the decency to glance
at Robert to check how
much of his dire situation
he understood.
?Though frankly,? he
continued, ?I cannot
comprehend why you
should wish to do so.?
He turned his attention
fully to Robert.
?Come,? he ordered, as
though talking to a dog,
and the two left the shop in
utter silence.
* * * *
Even after Arthur died,
when she?d reopened the
shop after the funeral, she
at least had customers to
serve. This afternoon,
customers were as rare as
cats at a dogfight.
Mary willed the speeches
in Manchester over and the
marchers returned so she
could speak to Daniel, seek
his support and counsel.
Surely the workhouse
would let her take Robert
once he was orphaned? But
would Daniel still want her
with a young boy around
her skirts?
Now her worries were not
about Daniel being in
danger, but little Robert
being alone, and there was
no comfort for that. His
moist eyes were vivid in her
mind. He was brave, but
little more than a baby.
As the clock finally
chimed four, there was a
ruckus in the square
outside ? horses? hooves
clattering on the cobbles
and raised voices. Mary
rushed outside to see if this
meant news from
Mr Overshot, the mill
owner, and his son, looking
hot and dusty on their
horses, were talking to one
of Mary?s neighbours. He
was saying something about
arrests and injuries.
She rushed forward.
?What?s going on? And
who is that?? she added,
pointing to a bloodied
youth slumped on the horse
behind Mr Overshot.
He doffed his hat.
?Mrs Andrew, I fear it is
Daniel Lawton?s lad.?
?William?? Her mind
worked furiously. If this was
William then where was
Gabriel? Where was Daniel?
?Nay. The younger one.?
At that moment, Gabriel?s
head popped up behind the
mill owner. His face was
muddy and his head
roughly bandaged with
She rushed forward and
grasped his hand.
?Gabriel! Are you all
right? Where are the
?I?m fine, Mrs Andrew.
Just a bit bruised.?
Mary turned to Mr
?Where are you taking
?William asked me to
bring him home after the
incident. I?m taking him to
his aunt?s. I thought it best.?
?You?ll do no such thing!
That lad is in no fit state to
ride another step. You?ll
bring him in here and he can
stay with me till his father
gets home.?
Mr Overshot looked
?I?ll bring him in, Mrs
Andrew, but I can?t say how
long you?ll be waiting for Mr
Mary stared at him, willing
him to expand, but he said
no more, just indicated to
his son to help Gabriel
Soon the lad was tucked
up in Mrs Andrew?s spare
room, then Mary joined Mr
Overshot in her parlour.
?The Yeomanry charged
on the crowd,? he explained.
?They say it was to arrest
those on the speaking
platform, but the crowd
would not let them through
and sabres came out. Men,
women and children alike
were trampled, and some
struck by swords.?
?And Gabriel??
?Like many others he was
unable to get out of the
way. He fell under a horse.
William managed to pull him
clear of others coming
behind. He?ll come back on
foot with the rest of the
?Was anyone else hurt??
Mary asked, fearing the
Mr Overshot?s face was
?Aye,? he said. ?Some
killed, they say.?
Mr Overshot took a deep
breath in and let it out
?Truth is, I don?t rightly
know. He was holding the
banner which the authorities
wanted. The banner was
taken and there was no sign
of Daniel Lawton after it was
all over.
?I cannot say whether he
was arrested or whether he
made his escape.?
Mary felt the constriction
around her chest suddenly
?You mean he?s alive??
?There is nothing to say he
is dead. I saw people lying
bloodied and still on the
ground as I left. I?m sure
none of them was him. You
can?t miss that head of hair,
can you?? he finished with a
small smile.
?No doubt William will be
able to tell you more when
he gets back. He and the
other villagers are casting
around for news.
?Now I must go home. I
wish to write a report of
everything I?ve seen while it
is fresh in my mind.
?I?ve sent my son to fetch
the doctor to Gabriel and
instructed him to send me
the bill. Frankly, Mrs
Andrew, I am shocked and
ashamed by what
With that he got up to
Mary held out a hand to
stop him, but drew it back.
There was so much she
wanted to ask, yet didn?t
know where to start.
?Thank you,? she said.
?That?s very kind.?
The doctor arrived within
the hour. A short-sighted
man in his middle years, he
examined Gabriel?s cut
head, which was less
severe than Mary had
imagined, and his bruised
leg with skill and
?No serious damage
done,? he pronounced.
?He?ll be sore for a week or
two. A few days? rest
should help that leg,
though he should take a
turn or two around the
room several times each
day to keep stiffness at
?No prescription for his
leg?? Mary asked.
The doctor shook his
?Ask Mrs Bell for some of
that herbal muscle rub she
makes. I?ve no idea what
she puts in it. I?ve tried
getting the recipe out of the
woman, but she?s adamant
it?s an old family secret and
she?ll pass it on to her
daughters and no-one
?Well, thank you for
coming so promptly,? Mary
said, holding the door open
for him.
The doctor stopped and
placed his hand on Mary?s
?Let?s hope that everyone
returns home safe.? His
eyes looked earnestly into
hers and his meaning was
She managed the weakest
of smiles before he turned
and left.
* * * *
It was another hour before
the first of the marchers
trickled back into the
village. Everyone had their
own version of what had
All said William was
coming behind. No-one
knew what had happened to
Mary busied herself in the
shop, serving village folk,
and she built a fire upstairs
thinking that it was not only
Gabriel that needed to be
washed. William would be
dusty from the road when
he returned.
* * * *
The light was beginning to
fade when he came. He was
covered in grime from head
to foot and looked like he
hadn?t slept for a month.
Mary flew to him and held
him tight. He staggered and
she shifted her grip to
support rather than hug.
?I?m sorry, William. I?ve
been so worried. Come with
?Is Gabriel here?? he
?Upstairs, in the spare
room. He?s fine. Better than
you, I?d say. You need to sit
down, then have something
to eat and drink.?
She led him upstairs to
the parlour and he dropped
into her best armchair. She
took off his boots as he
sagged with his head lolling
on the back of the chair,
then she pushed a cup of
tea into his hands.
?You?ll feel better if you
drink something. Then you
must tell me about your
father. What happened to
him?? she asked nervously.
His face creased.
?I checked everywhere. At
the infirmary, the mortuary,
the inns, with the constables.
Everyone?s looking for him,
but he?s nowhere to be
found. I think . . . I
think . . .? He sniffed.
Mary caught his arm and
fought to control the
swimming sensation in her
?What is it??
?I think he?s on the run.
What shall we do??
To be concluded.
From the manse
by Rev. Ian W.F. Hamilton
N St David?s Day
many a Welshman or
woman, in order to
show their love for and
loyalty to the land of their
birth and to its patron saint,
will wear either a leek or a
daffodil. The leek is the
Welsh national emblem, and
the daffodil the Welsh
national flower.
Wearing daffodils was
promoted in particular, I have
read, by former Welsh-born
Prime Minister David Lloyd
George, and I believe that
?daffodil? translates in Welsh
as ?cennin Pedr? or ?Peter?s
Just why the leek came to
be chosen as the country?s
emblem we cannot be
absolutely sure, because
there are several different
legends. However, one thing
is certain; wherever
Welshmen gather ? and
particularly in the Welsh
Army Regiments ? there are
countless leeks to be seen,
especially on St David?s Day!
But who, we must ask, was
St David? The Welsh
equivalent of the English
name David is ?Dewi? and
records tell us that he was
born around the year 520 in
the south-west corner of
Wales, which is known today
as Pembrokeshire. His birth,
it is said, took place on the
cliffs during the course of a
wild thunderstorm near the
city that is now named after
Very little is known about
his early life except that he
pledged himself to the
service of Jesus Christ and
decided to build a monastery
near his home. This he did
around the year 550, and
during his lifetime he
founded no less than 12
monasteries throughout
Great Britain. It is said also
that he went on a long
journey to Jerusalem and
there the Church made him
a bishop. At home in Wales
he did meet with some
opposition, but generally he
was very well-liked, so much
so that eventually he was
acclaimed an archbishop.
St David is remembered in
the city and in the famous
cathedral which today bears
his name, as well as in the
hearts of Welsh people
throughout the world. We?re
not exactly sure of the date
of David?s death, but tradition
holds that it was on March 1,
which is the day on which
St David?s Day is celebrated.
His final words to his
followers came from a
sermon which he had
preached on the previous
Sunday. These words
translated are ? ?Lords,
brothers and sisters, be joyful
and keep your faith and your
creed, and do ye the little
things that you have seen
me do and have heard
about. As for me, I will walk
the path that our fathers
have trod before us.?
A particular extract from
that final quotation of
St David, ?Do ye the little
things in life?, is today a very
well-known phrase in Welsh
? and how relevant it is, not
just to those who are rightly
proud to be of Welsh
heritage, but to all of us.
As we all know, it?s the
little things we do for others
and that they do for us that
are often the most important.
Acts of kindness, acts of
caring, acts of concern and
acts of love ? all of these
speak louder that any words
we could ever utter or offer,
and these are but a glorious
reflection of the divine
strategy of the One to whom
?Dewi? in his earlier years
devoted his life. n
Next week: the Rev. Ian
Petrie shares a moment
of forgetfulness.
could be
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Who sang the song
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09012 925 026 (�02)
b George Formby
Text PFCOMP, your
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b or c to 64343 (�00)
c Norman Wisdom
Once you know the answer, just call 09012 925 026 (calls cost
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Rex Features.
And The
To . . .
Ahead of the 90th Academy
Awards ceremony, we
remember some memorable
occasions in its history.
Walt Disney picked up
N 1929 a small private
ceremony of under 300
people gathered to hand
out awards to the
blossoming Californian
film industry. Over in just 15
minutes, this humble
occasion grew in importance
as Hollywood expanded and
became home to the world?s
largest moviemakers, turning
into the billion-dollar
industry it is today.
There is no definitive
answer to the question of
how Oscar got his name,
but it is known he was
designed by the Art Director
at MGM Studios. A man
standing on a film reel with
a sword in hand, standing
35 centimetres tall, he?s
made of solid bronze,
gold-plated, and weighs in
at nearly four kilograms.
During the war, shortages
saw them made of painted
plaster instead, but winners
could cash theirs in for a
real one after the war
Although the winners are,
of course, known well
ahead of time, a series of
unfortunate leaks of
winners? names in the early
years resulted in the famous
last-minute envelopeopening of modern
This year, the Academy
Awards celebrate its 90th
anniversary, and although
there are many film-award
ceremonies these days, the
Oscars are still the gold
standard in movie
accolades. In that time,
they?ve also had more than
their fair share of
unforgettable moments . . .
Greer Garson picked up an award for her performance in
the rousing war movie ?Mrs Miniver?. The British-American
actress then went on to set a currently unbroken record for
the longest acceptance speech at seven minutes. The
Academy thereafter set strict time limits on speeches, using
the conductor striking up the orchestra as a way of hustling
winners off the stage when they?d had their moment.
one tall and seven small
figurines from Shirley
Temple for directing the
first animated feature
film. With one
posthumous Oscar
awarded for ?Winnie The
Pooh?, Walt won 26
during his life, leading
Bob Hope to once quip
at a ceremony, ?If we
have any of these
statues left over, we?ll
just send them to Walt
Rex Features.
subdued ?Thank you?
was possibly one of the
shortest speeches in
Oscar history. Many felt
that, after receiving
only five nominations
for his career?s work,
the Irving G. Thalberg
Memorial Award that
he?d just won was too
little, too late for his
taste. The Academy
claimed that he also
said ?very much
indeed?, too, but that
the microphone had
been cut off by then.
antagonised Bette
Davis in their longrunning feud by
accepting Anne
Bancroft?s Best Actress
Oscar on her behalf.
Davis had been
nominated in the same
category for her role in
?Whatever Happened
To Baby Jane?? and
Crawford ? who had
also been in the film
? received no
nominations, but still
walked away with the
Oscar that evening.
Alfred Hitchock?s
Rex Features.
Joan Crawford
1Ch9arl7ie2Chaplin had been
two Oscars this year for
his film ?Life Is
Beautiful?. Overjoyed at
winning Best Foreign
Language Film, he stood
up on the chairs
(supported by Steven
Spielberg) and skipped
to the stage before
thanking everyone
poetically. When
receiving his second
Oscar of the evening, he
joked, ?This is a terrible
mistake because I used
up all my English.?
Rex Features.
Meryl Streep wins the
Best Actress Oscar for
her role as Margaret
Thatcher in ?The Iron
Lady?. This year, Meryl
has been nominated
for her 21st Oscar for
her role in Steven
Spielberg?s ?The Post?.
Meryl has confessed to
not remembering what
most of her Oscar
nominations were for,
but perhaps that?s
excusable considering
she?s been nominated
for 389 awards in total!
Rex Features.
Roberto Benigni won
Rex Features.
travelling abroad in 19
when the
Senator McCarthy de
him a commun
ing to
was ba
en he
the States until 19
was permitte
country to pick up an
up his
When he finally
prize, he
in Oscar history at 12
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Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
I absolutely adore pandas. Can you tell me
how many different species there are and a
little bit more about them?
Mrs A.C., Perth.
There are two types ? the giant panda and
its distant relative, the red panda. They vary
greatly in size, with the latter not much bigger
than a domestic cat. An adult giant panda, as the
name suggests, is much bigger, reaching five feet in
some cases. Giant pandas are known for their rotund
shape, and an adult male can weigh between 100150 kg. Wild giant pandas are found in mountainous
regions of central China.
The red panda has a russet-coloured coat with a long bushy tail, which it uses for
balance as it spends most of its time in trees. The tail also provides warmth when it
curls up for a sleep. The red panda lives in the mountains of Nepal and central China.
Both giant and red pandas feed on a diet of bamboo, although the latter also eats eggs
and fruit.
As the centenary of the end of World War I
is this year, I wonder if you can tell me what
happened to the German Kaiser, who was
Queen Victoria?s grandson?
Miss J.S., Manchester.
Wilhelm II was born in January 1859 in Berlin
to Queen Victoria?s namesake daughter and
Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia. The eldest of
their children, Wilhelm, became Kaiser at the age of
twenty-nine following the death of his father. Wilhelm
was father to seven children following his marriage
to Augusta Victoria, Princess of Schleswig-Holstein.
Following the war, Wilhelm was forced to abdicate
in 1918 and spent the rest of his life in exile in the
Netherlands. He died in 1941.
Can you please
settle a debate and
tell me what the
name is for young salmon?
Mr H.R., Norwich.
The reason why there
may be a debate is
that they begin as
eggs, growing into aelvins,
and emerge from their eggs
as fry. The young fish then
become parr when they are
over one year old,
becoming smolts after this
Something we didn?t
know last week...
According to research by Emo Oil,
36% of Brits think their home may be
haunted. However, in the majority of
cases, door hinges in need of oil, air in
radiators and noisy water pipes prove to
be the reason for spooky, unexplained
noises! Interestingly, the research also
found that 56% of those who experience
things that go bump, squeak or bang in
the night will wait at least six months
before investigating the problem.
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
March 1
is National
Peanut Butter
Lover?s Day ? a
great excuse for
a nutty sandwich.
years ago, the patron
saint of Wales,
St David, died on
March 1 and was buried
at St David?s Cathedral in
movies share the
honour of winning
11 Oscars ? ?Ben
Hur?, ?Titanic? and
the first film of the ?Lord
Of The Rings? trilogy.
? how much
an Oscar
must offer their gold
statuette for to the
Academy Awards?
organisers before
putting it up for sale.
13 miles
? the length of
the world?s biggest
train set, which is in
Hamburg, Germany.
individual but
bones make
up a tortoise?s
To fit sizes: 31 cm
(12 ins), 36 (14), 41 (16),
46 (18), 51 (20), 56 (22).
Actual sizes: 37 cm
(14� ins), 45 (17�),
48 (19), 52 (20�),
59 (23�), 63 (24�).
Length: 16 cm (6� ins),
17 (6�), 21 (8�),
25 (9�), 29 (11�),
32 (12�).
Sleeve seam: 9 cm
(3� ins), 11 (4�),
12 (4�), 15 (6), 19 (7�),
23 (9).
1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 3) 50-gram balls
of Peter Pan Petit Fleur DK
in Peony (3082). One pair
each 3.25 mm (No. 10) and
4 mm (No. 8) knitting
needles; stitch-holders.
4 buttons code P16
6114/0005 size 18. For yarn
and button stockists write,
enclosing an SAE, to
Peter Pan Wools, Thomas
B. Ramsden & Co. Ltd.,
Netherfield Road, Guiseley,
Leeds LS20 9PD.
Telephone: 01943 872264.
Website: www.tbramsden.
22 sts and 32 rows to
10 cm measured over pattern
using 4 mm needles.
With the body worked in one piece, this
pretty cardigan is perfect for the little
lady in your life.
alt ? alternate;
dec ? decrease;
inc ? increase; K ? knit;
P ? purl; patt ? pattern;
psso ? pass slipped stitch
over; rem ? remaining;
rep ? repeat; sl ? slip;
SKPO ? sl 1, K1, pass slipped
st over;
st(s) ? stitch(es);
st-st ? stocking-stitch (K1
row, P1 row); tbl ? through
back of loops;
tog ? together; yf ? yarn
forward; yo ? yarn over
Important Note
Directions are given for six
sizes. Figures in brackets refer
to the five larger sizes. Figures
in square brackets [ ] refer to
all sizes and are worked the
number of times stated. When
writing to us with your queries,
you must enclose an SAE
if you would like a reply.
With 4 mm needles, cast on
on 78 (93, 102, 111, 126,
135) sts.
1st row ? (right side) ? K2,
?yo, sl 1, K2, psso, rep
from ? to last st, K1.
2nd row ? Purl.
3rd row ? K1, ?sl 1, K2,
psso, yo, rep from ? until
2 sts rem, K2.
4th row ? Purl.
These 4 rows form patt.
Continue in patt as set until
body measures approx 7 (6,
8, 11, 14, 16) cm, ending
after a 4th row and inc 1 st on
2nd size only.
Divide for armholes ? Patt
17 (21, 23, 25, 29, 31) sts
and sl these sts on to a
st-holder for right front, cast
off 4 sts, patt until there are
36 (44, 48, 53, 60, 65) sts
on right needle and sl these
sts on to another st-holder for
back, cast off 4 sts, patt to
Keeping patt correct, work on
this last set of 17 (21, 23, 25,
29, 31) sts only for left front
as follows:
Shape armholes ? Purl.
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt to
Rep the last 2 rows 4 (7, 11,
12, 13, 14) times more ?
12 (13, 11, 12, 15, 16) sts.
Next row ? Purl.
Shape neck ? K1, SKPO, patt
until 2 sts rem, K2tog.
Next row ? [P2tog] 0 (1, 1,
1, 1, 1) time, purl to end.
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt
until 0 (0, 2, 2, 2, 2) sts rem,
[K2tog] 0 (0, 1, 1, 1, 1) time.
Next row ? [P2tog] 0 (0, 0,
1, 1, 1) time, purl until 3 (3,
0, 0, 0, 0) sts rem, [P2togtbl,
P1] 1 (1, 0, 0, 0, 0) time.
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt
until 0 (0, 0, 0, 2, 2) sts rem,
[K2tog] 0 (0, 0, 0, 1, 1) time.
Next row ? [P2tog] 0 (0, 0,
0, 0, 1) time, purl until 3 (3,
0, 0, 0, 0) sts rem, [P2togtbl,
P1] 1 (1, 0, 0, 0, 0) time.
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt to
Next row ? Purl until 3 (3, 0,
0, 0, 0) sts rem, [P2togtbl,
P1] 1 (1, 0, 0, 0, 0) time ? 4
(4, 4, 4, 6, 6) sts.
5th and 6th sizes only ?
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt 3.
Next row ? P2, P2togtbl, P1
? 4 sts.
All sizes ?
Next row ? K1, SKPO, K1.
Next row ? P2togtbl, P1.
Next row ?K2tog and fasten
Return to 36 (44, 48, 53, 60,
65) sts left on st-holder for
back and rejoin yarn with
wrong side facing
Shape armholes?
Next row ? Purl.
Next row ? K1, SKPO, patt
until 3 sts rem, K2tog, K1.
Rep last 2 rows until 22 (24,
14, 17, 22, 25) sts remain,
finishing on a right-side row.
Next row ? P1, P2tog, purl
until 3 sts rem, P2togtbl, P1
? 20 (22, 12, 15, 20, 23) sts.
1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th sizes
only ? K1, SKPO, patt until
3 sts rem, K2 tog, K1.
Next row ? P1, P2tog, purl
until 3 sts rem, P2togtbl, P1.
Rep last 2 rows 2 (2, 0, 0)
times more.
All sizes ? Break off yarn and
leave rem 8 (10, 12, 15, 16,
19) sts on a st-holder for back
Return to 17 (21, 23, 25, 29,
31) sts left on st-holder for
right front and rejoin yarn with
wrong side facing.
Shape armholes ?
Next row ?Purl.
Next row ? Patt until 3 sts
rem, K2tog, K1.
Rep last 2 rows 4 (7, 11, 12,
13, 14) times more ? 12 (13,
11, 12, 15, 16) sts.
Next row ? Purl.
Shape neck ? K2tog, patt
until 3 sts rem, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? Purl to last 0 (2,
2, 2, 2, 2) sts, [P2tog] 0 (1, 1,
1, 1, 1) time.
Next row ? [K2tog] 0 (0, 1,
1, 1, 1) time, patt until 3 sts
rem, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? [P1, P2tog] 1 (1,
0, 0, 0, 0) time, purl to last 0
(0, 0, 2, 2, 2) sts, [P2tog] 0
(0, 0, 1, 1, 1) time.
Next row ? [K2tog] 0 (0, 0,
0, 1, 1) time, patt until 3 sts
rem, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? [P1, P2tog] 1 (1,
0, 0, 0, 0) time, purl to last 0
(0, 0, 0, 0, 2) sts, [P2tog] 0
(0, 0, 0, 0, 1) time.
Next row ? Pattern until
3 sts rem, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? [P1, P2tog] 1 (1,
0, 0, 0, 0) time, purl to end
? 4 (4, 4, 4, 6, 6) sts.
5th and 6th sizes only ?
Next row ? Patt 3, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? P1, P2tog, P2 ?
4 sts.
All sizes ? K1, K2tog, K1.
Next row ? P1, P2tog.
Next row ?K2tog and fasten
With 4 mm needles, cast on
24 (24, 30, 30, 39, 39) sts.
Work in pattern as given for
body, inc 1 st at each end of
the 5th and every following
4 (4, 5, 4, 7, 7)th row until
there are 30 (34, 40, 48, 51,
55) sts, taking extra sts into
Continue straight until sleeve
measures approx 7 (9, 10, 13,
17, 21) cm, ending after a
wrong-side row.
Shape raglan ? Keeping
pattern correct, cast off 2 sts at
beg of next 2 rows ? 26 (30,
36, 44, 47, 51) sts.
Working all raglan decreases
as for shape back, dec 1 st at
each end of next and every
following alt (alt, 4th, alt, 4th,
alt) row until 6 (4, 30, 8, 43,
9) sts remain.
1st and 4th sizes only
? Dec 1 st at each end of next
row, finishing on a wrong-side
row ? 4 (6) sts.
3rd and 5th sizes only
? Dec 1 st at each end of
every following alt row until (6,
9) sts remain.
All sizes ? Work 0 (1, 1, 0, 1,
1) row, finishing on a wrongside row.
Break off yarn and leave
remaining 4 (4, 6, 6, 9, 9) sts
on a safety-pin.
Cuff edging ? With 3.25 mm
needles and right side facing,
pick up and knit 21 (21, 31,
31, 36, 36) sts evenly across
cast-on edge of sleeve.
??Knit 3 rows.
Change to 4mm needles.
Beginning with a knit row,
work 4 rows in st-st.
Casting off sts as you go along,
now work scalloped cast off as
follows:?Knit next st 4 rows below
(do NOT pull up st but leave it
short and tight to gather up
st-st), now knit and cast off
next st again, knit and cast off
each of next 4 sts, rep from ?
to last st, knit last st 4 rows
below (do NOT pull up st but
leave it short and tight to
gather up st-st), now knit and
cast off last st again ??.
Join sleeve and raglan seams
by top sewing.
Neck edging ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and knit
10 (9, 9, 12, 14, 15) sts up
right side of neck, knit 4 (4, 6,
6, 9, 9) sts from right sleeve
safety-pin, 8 (10, 12, 15, 16,
19) sts from back neck
st-holder dec 0 (0, 1, 0, 0,
0) st at centre, knit 4 (4, 6, 6,
9, 9) sts from left sleeve
safety-pin, then pick up and
knit 10 (9, 9, 12, 13, 14) sts
down left side of neck ? 36
(36, 41, 51, 61, 66) sts.
Work as given for cuff edging
from ?? to ??.
Hem edging ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and knit
76 (91, 101, 111, 126,
131) sts evenly along cast-on
edge of body. Work as given
for cuff edging from ?? to
Buttonband ? With 3.25 mm
needles and right side facing,
pick up and knit 31 (36, 41,
51, 61, 66) sts along left front
opening edge, beginning and
ending at cast-off edges.
Work as given for cuff edging
from ?? to ??.
Buttonhole band ? Work as
given for buttonband, picking
up sts along right front
opening edge and with the
addition of 4 buttonholes
worked in 2nd row as follows:2nd row ? K3 (3, 4, 3, 3, 3),
?yf, K2tog, K6 (8, 9, 13, 16,
18), rep from ? twice more,
yf, K2tog, K2 (1, 2, 1, 2, 1).
To Make Up ? Sew on
buttons. n
Next week: knit this lovely
rib top with cable twist
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Your pet
helps to meet
vet bills
Pets & Vets
Cover Story
Consumer expert
Lorna Cowan looks at
insuring your pets.
ITH vet bills
soaring into
hundreds or
thousands of
pounds, it makes financial
sense to have pet insurance.
Policies differ, but they
mainly fall into three
categories ? accident-only,
non-lifetime and lifetime
cover, each increasing in
price as the cover becomes
more comprehensive.
The cheapest, accidentonly cover does as the policy
name suggests.
To claim for illnesses,
you?ll need more cover.
Non-lifetime policies offer
two options ? per condition
and time-limit per condition.
Both will set a claims limit,
for example �000.
However, if you buy per
condition cover, the policy
will pay out over months or
years for, say, an ongoing
hip problem, until the
What?s covered?
treatment is complete and
the limit is reached (so long
as you renew the policy each
With the time-limit per
condition cover, you usually
only have 12 months to
claim, even if the cost of
treatment hasn?t reached the
For more peace of mind,
many pet owners opt for
lifetime cover, which tends to
have the highest cover and
the highest premiums.
This may be a better choice
for pets with an ongoing or
recurring illness as your
claims limit is reset every
year when you renew the
policy. There are also two
options with lifetime cover:
Policies offer cover for:
l accidents and illnesses
l third-party liability ? if a pet injures a third
party or damages their property (dogs
l missing pets ? to pay a reward or for
l boarding fees ? if you are suddenly taken
to hospital and have no-one to look after
your pet
Per condition per year
cover sets a limit for 12
months. For example, a
�000 limit would mean that
over the 12-month period,
you could claim �000 for
an acute ear infection and
also �000 for diabetes
An annual policy has a
maximum overall limit. If the
limit was �000, this would
cover both a �000
emergency operation and
�000 of treatment for a
stomach upset at another
time. Once the maximum has
been reached on any policy,
it?s up to you to pay the
Many policies offer optional
extras, for example some will
cover you if you have to
cancel a holiday because of a
pet?s accident or illness.
Excess payments
With every policy, an excess
is agreed upfront ? what you
are prepared to pay towards
a claim. This can be a fixed
amount, say �, and you?d
contribute � regardless of
whether the claim is �0 or
�000, or a percentage of
the treatment bill.
by PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman.
Do budgies
need vitamin
It shouldn?t be necessary
to use supplements if a
budgie is getting a balanced
diet that represents what
they would eat in their
natural habitat. A mixture of
seeds, sprouting seeds and
fresh greens is best. Contact
your vet if there seems to
be a nutritional deficiency
before you add any
My cat won?t let
me groom out
the mats in her long
coat. What can I do?
I would recommend
taking her for a vet check
in case she is in pain, as
arthritic cats can often
develop mats in places they
can no longer groom. Your
vet can assist with removing
the mats under sedation if
necessary. By regularly
grooming her, you can help
prevent mats from
But won?t cover you for:
regular vaccinations and check-ups
neutering costs
l pre-existing medical conditions and
dental treatment as standard
l pets over eight years old if not
currently insured
Not all policies will include the
options above ? always check policy
wording to make sure you have the
cover you need.
PDSA is the UK?s leading
veterinary charity. For further
information visit www.pdsa. or call 0800 731 2502.
Juliet?s Balcony
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
BEGIN to write.
Dear Luca,
Even writing your name
causes my heart to beat
faster. I want to say ?my
Luca?, but I no longer know
if I have that right.
Forgive me; I should have
I should have listened. I
should have let you explain,
instead of running like
some scared little girl. But
when you spoke those
words, you shook my world
and I was lost.
I am not me any more. I
need time to find myself
I want you to know what I
feel. When you are close to
me, there is only you and I
forget all else. This is why I
am writing to you, sitting
alone, back where it all
Do you remember the
beginning, Luca? I was a
young English teacher,
recently arrived in Verona
from London to take up this
exciting new post at the
I?ve adored Italy with a
fierce passion since visiting
as a child and this was a
dream . . .
* * * *
I am walking up the path
towards the university,
staring enthralled at this
imposing building, my arms
full of books.
I recall that day in Verona
when I discovered the tale
of two lovers . . .
Students and lecturers
are milling about the
grounds. There are over
2000 students here and
more than a dozen
?Mi scusi, signorina!?
Someone brushes against
me, scattering my books.
I guess him to be in his
early twenties. He is tall
and dark-eyed, as so many
Italian men are. His arm is
around a pretty blondehaired girl in cut-off jeans
and pink T-shirt.
The stranger isn?t you,
Luca. It is Roberto.
He bends towards my
scattered books, then,
suddenly, there is someone
else, thrusting in front of
Roberto, gathering my
books up swiftly.
This is you, Luca. You are
taller than Roberto, and a
year or so older, perhaps.
Your eyes are more
eloquent, your blue-black
hair a little long, shining in
the sunlight.
There?s a lot of banter in
rapid Italian. I know enough
to catch the gist.
You are telling Roberto to
back off. He has a girlfriend
? his beautiful Swedish
blonde, Elina.
Roberto shrugs. He
touches his lips to me,
flirting wickedly with his
Elina laughs, teasing, as
she and Roberto drift away.
I think she knows him well.
You pile my books
beneath a shady tree and
we sit beside them. You tell
me that you and Roberto
are friends; you share an
apartment just a street
from mine. You are both
enrolled on a post-graduate
specialisation programme
at the university ? Roberto
for medicine, you for law.
As we talk, you gaze into
my eyes, and something
inside me changes.
And so it begins.
We meet when we can. I
adore the summer concerts
you take me to, the openair operas, our visits to
Verona?s historic centre
admiring mediaeval and
Renaissance buildings, and
our excursions further afield
to Lake Garda.
I enjoy, too, the company
of Roberto and Elina with
whom we often make up a
foursome. But it is their
happiness together, their
ease with each other and
their obvious love which is
there for all to see, that
creates in me one day that
first frisson of doubt.
It is said, Luca, that
opposites attract. This is
the case with Roberto with
his blue-eyed, goldenhaired Elina.
But I, with the dark hair
that inspired my name ?
Raven ? and skin that tans
easily, am sometimes taken
for Italian. So I wonder,
Luca, what has drawn you
to me?
This morning, I have my
You have asked me to
meet you early this morning
in the grounds of the
university. This is where we
always meet, where you
and I began.
We kiss. You take my
hand and whisper that I am
I ask where we are going
and your eyes flash secrets.
?Verona,? you remind
me, ?is the city of love. This
morning we will visit the
most romantic place of all.?
We take a taxi across
Ponte Pietra, the arched
stone bridge, the oldest
bridge in Verona.
Sunlight sparkles on the
water as we cross the
Adige River into the
heart of the city.
We?ve visited Piazza
delle Erbe once before,
but still we linger a while
in the narrow, cobbled
streets, admiring its
historical buildings, its
statues, monuments and
ancient fountain.
I love the pretty pink
leather bag you buy for me
From the covered
archway, we come out into
a small cobbled courtyard.
Here, there is a bronze
statue of Juliet and an
ancient brick house five
storeys h igh with a tiny
balcony known as Juliet?s
I learn that the house
I never imagined it could be like
this, falling in love
in one of the local
handicraft shops.
We wander from the
piazza to Via Cappello 23.
?This,? you tell me, ?is
our secret destination.?
I am intrigued. A plaque
above the stone entrance
reads Casa di Giulietta
? Juliet?s House.
This is the setting of
perhaps the most poignant
love story of all: the
star-crossed lovers, Romeo
Montague and Juliet
Inside a short dark
archway, a crazy daubing of
graffiti swirls over the walls
like oil in puddles.
Hundreds of lovers? names
are entwined; hundreds of
tiny love notes pasted
We pause to read some,
entering a private world.
I can barely believe there
are so many letters. But
there are more, you say.
There are scarlet mail
boxes to be found at
Juliet?s House or at the
Juliet Club, situated on the
outskirts of the city.
The boxes have the name
Giulietta. Each year
thousands of letters are
posted here, addressed to
Juliet: letters of heartbreak
and unrequited love,
written in many languages.
A team of special
secretaries ? volunteers
from all walks of life ?
answer each letter by hand.
The letters are kept and
placed in an archive.
The cost of stamps and
paper for the replies to the
letters is borne by the city,
in respect for tourism and
in an effort to maintain the
aura of romance. But the
secretaries work for free.
Maybe this, I think, is
their personal contribution
to an enchanting City of
dates back to the 13th
The courtyard is quiet and
peaceful, but you say it
isn?t always so. We have
come early to avoid the
tourists who like to pass
their hands over the bronze
statue for luck in love.
Lovers buy mementoes
from the souvenir shops
and little jewelled padlocks
into which they lock their
names, hanging them from
a wall.
I remember how you
frown at me. You worry that
I might find it all too
commercial. But I
understand. This is a
modern world where
romance and realism often
I giggle a little and shake
my head and you smile.
We explore the house. I
am enchanted by the
furniture, the artwork and
displays of velvet costumes
representing the period. I
am moved by the beautiful
painting of the lovers
entwined in death.
Then we come out on to
the tiny Juliet balcony.
I never imagined it could
be like this, falling in love.
This crazy rollercoaster of
emotion, this wild joy
coursing through my veins
as you draw me close.
You smooth the tangle of
my hair as it blows in the
breeze, and brush my
mouth with your lips.
Your eyes are full of
passion, your voice with a
little break in it, as if with a
sudden sadness, a sudden
memory in which I have no
part. Your breath is against
my cheek.
Then you speak those
?You are so much like
she . . .?
I hear you murmur
The word echoes in my
mind. Fidanzata: fianc閑.
You whisper another?s
name. It is then that I run.
This hot, dreamy summer
I have thought myself your
first love, Luca, as you are
mine. But this morning you
speak of another girl, a girl
you have loved before. Do
you love her still?
I think of the story of the
star-crossed lovers, Juliet
and Romeo.
Maybe it is you and me,
Luca, who are the starcrossed ones.
These thoughts are
swirling in my mind as I run
down the stairs into the
courtyard, back through the
covered archway.
In the piazza, I find a taxi
* * * *
Now here I am, Luca,
back where we began.
The love letters in the
covered archway are what
gave me the idea to write
to you. Words spoken in
hurt or in anger can
sometimes destroy the
fragility of love .
Roberto is walking down
the path from the
university; I?ll ask him to
drop this letter back to the
apartment for you.
* * * *
I wait in the grounds for
your reply, but it?s Roberto
who comes, not you, and
Elina is with him.
He has a letter for me
from you. He says you
wrote it at Casa di Giulietta
just after I left.
remain somewhere in your
Elina brushes a kiss
against my cheek.
?It is a different kind of
love,? she says.
Then she and Roberto
I open your letter.
My Raven,
This morning we read
together some of those
hundreds of love letters
fluttering in the archway at
Casa di Giulietta.
There are so many ways
to write ?I love you?.
Ti adoro, cara mia: I
adore you, my darling.
Il mio cuore � solo tua:
my heart is yours.
Sei tutto per me: you are
everything to me.
There are many ways of
loving, too. For a while,
Maria was part of my life; I
will hold her in a small
corner of my heart.
I tell you this now, as I
tried to tell you before, on
the little balcony, because
there will be no other girl in
my life but you, my Raven.
Ti amo,
Your Luca.
The letter drifts to the
You are right, Luca. Maria
will always be part of you.
In your memory she will be
for ever young and
beautiful, whereas I . . .
I sit a while in the grounds
of the university. I have a
choice to make.
Then, as the setting sun
turns the sky to rose, gold
and amethyst, a shadow
falls across my face. I
glance up and you are here.
My decision is made. You
You whisper another?s name.
It is then that I run
He hesitates before he
gives it to me.
?Maria,? he says, ?la
fidanzata di Luca.?
He explains gently. Maria,
your fianc閑, a pretty Italian
girl, died in a road accident.
It was one winter, three
years ago.
You and Maria met as
children, your growing love
sweet and gentle. Roberto
didn?t think you would ever
love another girl.
Tears slip down my
cheeks. Tears for your pain;
tears for a girl who will
are you, Luca, just you. You
come to me with honesty
and love. You come to me
with your own thoughts,
your own experiences and
What is part of you will,
in time, become part of me.
?Ti amo, Luca. I love you.
I want for us to grow old
You whisper it back ? ?Ti
amo? ? and your eyes are
This is where it all began.
And now we have a new
beginning . . . n
Enter the answers in the direction indicated by the arrows.
2006 Lily
Allen single
Most fresh
__ Boyle,
Part of
the head
in West
Side Story
Violate a
religious or
moral law
In column
of Disney
__ Dennis,
Verify in
Beginning with the highlighted letter, follow a continuous path to
find all the words relating to the gemstone jade. The trail passes
through each and every letter once, and may twist up, down or
sideways, but never diagonally.
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd
Will George find
Mike Brennan
hiding in his
EORGE!? Mary
cried. ?What on
earth are you
doing here??
?That?s a fine
welcome, I?m sure,? George
huffed. ?If you must know, I
wasn?t feeling well ??
George stopped in
mid-flow, taking in the
devastation that greeted
him as he walked into the
?What on earth?s
Mary took a deep breath
before she allowed herself
to speak. She placed one
hand on the dressing table
to steady herself and gave a
quick glance at the
wardrobe door.
She had to be certain that
Mike was well hidden in
there, out of George?s sight.
?The tin of paint, George,?
she replied quickly. ?Fell off
the ladder, didn?t it? I was
just about to start painting
the ceiling and off it went.?
?We?ll need a new carpet
by the looks of things,?
George said, taking in all
the mess in front of him.
?We were thinking of
getting one anyway, weren?t
we?? Mary replied in as
normal a tone as she could
?Come downstairs with
me,? she went on, trying to
usher George out of the
bedroom. ?I?ll put the kettle
on and you can put your
feet up. Are you coming
down with a cold??
George shook his head
and slowly placed a hand in
the middle of his chest.
?No, it?s a pain. Been
bugging me all morning, it
has. I had to stop work at
the allotment.?
?Downstairs with you,?
Mary said, but George was
not for moving.
?Give me a couple of
minutes,? he said. ?I need to
change my shirt. I?ve had
this one on all morning
working in the greenhouse.?
?No!? Mary cried. ?You
?I can?t?? George said,
puzzled. ?I can?t what??
?You can?t go in the
wardrobe. You go and sit on
the sofa downstairs and I?ll
get a clean shirt for you. I?ll
bring it down for you.?
?Have you taken leave of
your senses?? George
demanded. ?I come in here
and you?ve got paint all over
the floor, you?re rushing me
out of my own bedroom and
now you won?t let me look in
my own wardrobe!?
?It?s the paint,? Mary said.
?I don?t want you traipsing it
all over the carpet.?
?It?s a bit too late for
that,? George said.
His gaze fell to the floor
and Mary?s heart sank when
she realised what he was
looking at. In her panic, she
hadn?t realised that Mike
had stood in the paint. His
large footprints gave the
game away as they trailed
in white paint to the
wardrobe door.
?Mary?? George asked,
pointing at the footprints.
?Yes?? she replied, smiling
to mask the horror she felt
as he walked towards the
wardrobe door and gently
slid it open.
He was greeted by Mike
Brennan?s face beaming up
at him from underneath the
rack of shirts.
George stared hard at
Mike, unable at first to take
in just what he was seeing.
Mike stared back at George,
unable to speak.
It was Mary who broke
the silence.
?I can explain everything,?
she said, and took a step
towards the two men.
But as she neared them,
George clutched at his chest
with both hands . . .
Mary caught her husband
as he fell to the floor.
?Mike, do something!? she
Mike untangled himself
from George?s shirts and
crawled out of the wardrobe.
?Phone an ambulance!?
she cried.
?I don?t need an
ambulance,? George
whispered. ?I?ll be fine.?
Holding George in her
arms, Mary watched as
Mike dialled 999 on his
?They say there?s
roadworks on the Ryemouth
ring road and it could take
them up to twenty minutes
to arrive,? he told her.
?Twenty minutes?? Mary
Mike snapped into action.
?I?ve got my car. We?ll
drive to the hospital. I?ll
carry him down the stairs.?
?I?ll walk down,? George
whispered, but when he
tried to stand, it was clear
he was going to need Mike?s
* * * *
?I feel such a fool,? George
said after Mary had
explained the reason why
she?d hidden Mike in the
?There?s no need to feel
foolish, George. We all
thought you were a goner
there for a few minutes. You
didn?t half give us a scare.?
?Heartburn, the doc said
it was,? he said. ?Who?d
have thought heartburn
could be so painful??
Mary looked at her watch.
?Mike?s offered us a lift
home, you know. He?s been
waiting in the car park and
said he?d pick us up outside
the hospital entrance.?
?I think I owe him a pint,?
George said. ?If it had been
a heart attack, Mike could
well have saved my life.?
?You?re not going for a
pint tonight, that?s for sure,?
Mary told him. ?It?s home
for some rest. I?ll make up
the bed in the back room
for us until the front room?s
cleaned up and painted.?
George and Mary walked
along the hospital corridors
looking for the exit. Just
then, a set of double doors
flung open behind them.
?George! Mary!? a voice
called out.
They turned to see their
son-in-law, Dave, running
after them.
?It?s all right,? Mary told
him. ?George will be fine.
Just a touch of heartburn.?
?No!? Dave cried. ?It?s
Susan. She?s in labour!?
More next week.
Triumphant Teddy
This is my Lhasa apso, aptly named Teddy.
He enjoys going to dog shows as he?s a bit of a show-off
and recently came second in the category ?dog the judges
would most like to take home? and third in ?best groomed?.
Ironically, he also came third in ?the scruffiest dog?!
We came home with rosettes and a bag of treats and
Teddy is doing well for his age. He?s ten now and shares
his home with his partner, Florence, and their son Bonzo. I
also have a rottweiler called Cherry, who thinks she?s a
lapdog, too, so that?s a bit of a weighty problem!
Mrs J.G., Bristol.
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ, or e-mail us at
Star Letter
There?s a Glasgow tenement flat that has its
own claim to fame.
Standing in the window is an old teddy bear.
His fur is weathered by his years spent in this
spot and surrounding him are postcards from all
over the globe ? some from as far as ?deepest,
darkest Peru?.
This Paddington Bear began his life decades
ago and has made his name as one of Glasgow?s
most esteemed residents. He belongs to my
great-aunt, Nan Shearer, and he came from the
Occupational Therapy department at
Knightswood Hospital where Nan?s late
husband, Leslie, worked.
It was 1981 when Nan moved into the
tenement flat with Leslie and seemingly left
Paddington in the window by mistake. The real
mistake occurred when Nan removed Paddington from the window ? only to be
met by protesting locals who?d become accustomed to his presence.
Soon Paddington?s reputation began to grow and well-wishers have sent more
than 1,000 cards to Nan?s address. Some have gone as far as to send jars of
marmalade, and he?s even had a wedding invitation.
Paddington?s fame made it to the local press and he is now a feature of the
Glasgow city bus tour ? there?s no way Nan can retire him from the window now!
Ms K.W., Aberdeen.
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.
Top Read!
I have not bought or read
a regular magazine for years
as nowadays they seem to
be so full of gossip about
people?s private affairs, and I
don?t like gossip because it
can cause so much pain an d
However, a friend
introduced me to ?The
People?s Friend? and I was
amazed ? it?s full of fiction,
interesting articles, knitting
patterns and recipes.
I?d forgotten what a good
magazine should be!
Ms C.P., Australia.
Prized Badge
When my son was a youn g
boy, one of the things he
always wanted was a Blue
Peter badge.
He entered all the
competitions and collected
different things for their
charity appeals but he never
won a badge.
He now works as a
teaching assistant at a
pre-school, and when the
children were doing pictures
to send off to the popular TV
show, my son drew one and
jokingly wrote Mr Yates,
aged fifty-three years.
He was too old for a metal
badge, but they did send
him a cloth one ? it really
made his day!
Mrs A.Y., Tamworth.
Too much of the food we
buy is covered with too
much plastic material, in my
It?s such a shame, given
how harmful plastic is to
wildlife, and I now believe
that the UK will have to burn
or bury all that?s collected in
recycling bins because China
has been swamped and has
stopped accepting anything
from us.
Surely to solve the
problem here in the UK, we
should recycle our own
waste in a factory where
plastic can be reduced into
pellets and then reused for
making useful items like
school furniture or play
Just a thought.
Mrs J.M., Brough.
This is Charlie Bruce, my
two-year-old great-grandson.
He?s looking rather smart as
he?s just on his way to a party.
He, along with his big sister
Ellie, certainly keep their mum
and dad on their toes!
Mrs B.R., Aberdeen.
There are days when nothing happens:
The March sky wet with cloud, the cold
A raw ache grey in every room,
And through the window underneath the tree
The spines of daffodils clasped tight asleep.
The house is silent: the telephone
Lies white acros s its cradle as though dead,
And from outside, far off, come voices without words.
There is no breath of wind: spring seems
Still buried and impossible, so far away.
Sometimes then enough to know
Blue sky will be again, and new buds
That break back into light. We wait like children,
Patient, our chins on window-s ills ?
Watching and believing ? a little longer yet.
Kenneth Steven.
Hardy Blooms
Helping Hand
This is a photo of the snowdrops in my garden which
appeared a number of weeks ago.
They are so pretty and tiny that it?s amazing how resilient
they are.
Miss L.K., Sheffield.
My family are big fans of
?The People?s Friend?. My
grandmother, Johanna Munro,
always had the magazine
delivered, and my dad, Finlay
George Munro, remembers
her having it even when he
was a child ? he?s eighty-nine
this year.
I?d just like to say a big
thank you to my dad for all he
does. Not only does he drive
me to the hospital every day
to visit my husband, he also
takes me shopping and helps
pensioners, too.
He never seems to
complain ? no wonder we all
love him so much.
Mrs L.F., Kent.
Puzzle Solutions from page 27
Missing Link
The words in order
are Bone, Real,
Book, Tw in, Mind,
Baby, Ring, Case,
Pack, Hand.
The phrase is
Ready To Party
A poem
just for
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she added,
pointing to a bloodied
youth slumped on the horse
behind Mr Overshot.
He doffed his hat.
?Mrs Andrew, I fear it is
Daniel Lawton?s lad.?
?William?? Her mind
worked furiously. If this was
William then where was
Gabriel? Where was Daniel?
?Nay. The younger one.?
At that moment, Gabriel?s
head popped up behind the
mill owner. His face was
muddy and his head
roughly bandaged with
She rushed forward and
grasped his hand.
?Gabriel! Are you all
right? Where are the
?I?m fine, Mrs Andrew.
Just a bit bruised.?
Mary turned to Mr
?Where are you taking
?William asked me to
bring him home after the
incident. I?m taking him to
his aunt?s. I thought it best.?
?You?ll do no such thing!
That lad is in no fit state to
ride another step. You?ll
bring him in here and he can
stay with me till his father
gets home.?
Mr Overshot looked
?I?ll bring him in, Mrs
Andrew, but I can?t say how
long you?ll be waiting for Mr
Mary stared at him, willing
him to expand, but he said
no more, just indicated to
his son to help Gabriel
Soon the lad was tucked
up in Mrs Andrew?s spare
room, then Mary joined Mr
Overshot in her parlour.
?The Yeomanry charged
on the crowd,? he explained.
?They say it was to arrest
those on the speaking
platform, but the crowd
would not let them through
and sabres came out. Men,
women and children alike
were trampled, and some
struck by swords.?
?And Gabriel??
?Like many others he was
unable to get out of the
way. He fell under a horse.
William managed to pull him
clear of others coming
behind. He?ll come back on
foot with the rest of the
?Was anyone else hurt??
Mary asked, fearing the
Mr Overshot?s face was
?Aye,? he said. ?Some
killed, they say.?
Mr Overshot took a deep
breath in and let it out
?Truth is, I don?t rightly
know. He was holding the
banner which the authorities
wanted. The banner was
taken and there was no sign
of Daniel Lawton after it was
all over.
?I cannot say whether he
was arrested or whether he
made his escape.?
Mary felt the constriction
around her chest suddenly
?You mean he?s alive??
?There is nothing to say he
is dead. I saw people lying
bloodied and still on the
ground as I left. I?m sure
none of them was him. You
can?t miss that head of hair,
can you?? he finished with a
small smile.
?No doubt William will be
able to tell you more when
he gets back. He and the
other villagers are casting
around for news.
?Now I must go home. I
wish to write a report of
everything I?ve seen while it
is fresh in my mind.
?I?ve sent my son to fetch
the doctor to Gabriel and
instructed him to send me
the bill. Frankly, Mrs
Andrew, I am shocked and
ashamed by what
With that he got up to
Mary held out a hand to
stop him, but drew it back.
There was so much she
wanted to ask, yet didn?t
know where to start.
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