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The Peoples Friend September 16 2017

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Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
7
short stories
Celebrate 30 years of
Scotland?s favourite play
Easy
fruity treats
Sept 16, 2017 No. 7693
�30
Raspberry Coconut
Energy Balls
The best fiction!
? New serial set in a lively auction house
? Pamela Kavanagh?s sparkling 1900s romance
Peach Slice Pancakes
9770262238299
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
UK Off-sale date - 20/09/2017
37
�30
16-Sep- 2017
Now is the
perfect time
to start
planting
bulbs
Wonderful
West Wycombe
Explore beautiful Buckinghamshire
The latest
news on
our trainee
RDA pony
Toffee
Free
Pattern
Inside
Knit this
pretty
top with
a feature
neckline
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
The People?s Friend Special
No 146, priced �99
On sale
now!
l 8 pages of puzzles
l 14 brand-new short stories
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 843, priced �49
l A modern romance set in
London by Sarah Purdue
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
Cover Artwork: West Wycombe, Bucks by J. Campbell Kerr.
Fiction
4 Lark Cottage
by Pamela Kavanagh
15 From Me To You
by Valerie Bowes
21 Summer Loving
by Wendy Clarke
23 SERIES Tales From
Prospect House
by Malcolm Welshman
28 SERIAL Going, Going,
Gone by Linda Lewis
43 Lead On, Macduff!
by Jane Tulloch
55 In A Heartbeat
by Vanda Inman
61 Across A Crowded
Room by Em Barnard
68 SERIAL Together
We Stand
by Heather Pardoe
87 A Place Of Refuge
by Hilary Spiers
93 WEEKLY SOAP
Riverside
by Glenda Young
Regulars
Features
7 This Week We?re
Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
25 Brainteasers
34 Reader Offer:
Coronilla glauca
?Citrina?
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: boost your
five a day with our
delicious selection of
fruity recipes
59 Our Next Issue
75 From The Manse
Window
78 Reader Offer: Bumble
Ceramic Range
79 Would You Believe It?
81 Knitting: our stylish
knitted top has a
beautiful feature
neckline
94 Between Friends
8 Neil McAllister explores the
picturesque village of West
Wycombe
27 Our gardening guru John
Stoa answers your
questions
40 Making the grade as an RDA
pony isn?t easy, as Toffee
finds out
53 Should the Time Lord
become a Time Lady? Join
in our Talking Point
64 Alexandra Campbell gives
her advice on planting bulbs
67 Tony Roper talks to Wendy
Glass about the enduring
appeal of his play ?The
Steamie?
76 Chris Cope finds out why
Shetland wool continues to
be a thriving industry
85 Gillian Thornton enjoys a
trip on a steam train and
horse-drawn barge
91 Extra puzzle fun
SUBSCRIPTION OFFER ? SAVE �
13 issues for *�when you subscribe
? Call 0800 318846**, quote PFCOV
Subscribe
and save
�!
*Payment by Direct Debit only. Saving based on first quarterly payment
of �and standard rate of � every 3 months thereafter. UK bank accounts
only. One year minimum term. For overseas enquiries, please call +44 1382 575580.
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www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk
www.facebook.com/PeoplesFriendMagazine
One short story
really stood out for
me as I was reading
this week?s issue ? ?A
Place Of Refuge? by
Hilary Spiers, which
you?ll find on page 87.
It takes a sensitive,
contemporary topic
and tackles it with
kindness, warmth and
compassion. Most of
all, it does what all
good fiction should do
? it makes the reader
consider a situation in
an entirely new light. I
can?t recommend it
highly enough.
It?s just one of many
highlights that we
have for you this
week. Fans of
antiques programmes
on TV will love ?Going,
Going, Gone?, our new
three-part serial set in
an auction house.
Turn to page 28 to
read the first
instalment for
yourself.
On page 40, we pay
our monthly visit to
Cotswold RDA, where
trainee pony Toffee
has reached a turning
point, and on page 67,
Wendy Glass pays
tribute to ?The
Steamie?. It?s amazing
to think that this
much-loved Scottish
play is celebrating its
30th anniversary this
year.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
twitter.com/@TheFriendMag
Lark Cottage
This was the
perfect place for
Hannah to
paint, but what
would happen
at the end of
her lease?
I reply to Miss Rossmore
with your blessing??
Tom gave in with a shrug.
?You will, anyhow. Don?t
blame me if there are mice
in the thatch and beetles in
the rafters.?
?Thank you, Tom. I shall
pen a reply right away,?
Hannah said.
* * * *
Set in
rly
a
e
e
h
t
1900s
H
Illustration by Kirk Houston.
ANNAH watched
apprehensively
as her brother
studied the
advertisement,
frowning.
To be let for six months,
furnished cottage near
Burton, Wirral. Offering
rural accommodation for
single lady, comprising
parlour, kitchen, two
bedrooms. With garden,
orchard, stabling for one
horse, carriage-house.
Apply, post paid, to Miss
A. Rossmore, Grove House,
Willaston.
?What do you think?
Tom, say something.?
Tom looked up.
?Are you serious about
this, Hannah??
?Absolutely. Tom, it?s
been good of you and
Esther to have me here
during the initial mourning
for dear Mama, but ??
?You?re welcome to stay
as long as you wish,? Tom
cut in. ?Make this your
permanent home. Esther
would be delighted.?
Without doubt, Hannah
thought uncharitably, but
with habitual honesty.
As unpaid nursemaid to
six-year-old Belinda and
young scamp Daniel, her
continued presence would
be altogether acceptable.
?I have ambitions. I want
to paint. This cottage
provides the means to do so
away from the hurly-burly
of town. We can rent the
Laurels out for the interim.?
An image of the family
house at Chester, which
brother and sister had
inherited, surfaced in
Hannah?s mind: large, cold
and echoing. She held her
breath as Tom again
scanned the advertisement.
?No mention of a
bathroom, Hannie.?
?It?s a country cottage. I
cannot expect luxuries. I
shall survive. My allowance
will cover my expenses,
and there?s accommodation
for Daisy, so I shan?t be
without a conveyance.?
?Lazy Daisy! It sounds a
fearfully rustic existence to
me. I don?t know what
Mama would have said.?
?Most likely, ?nothing
ventured, nothing gained!??
Hannah?s brisk imitation
of their mother was so true
that Tom laughed.
?Look,? Hannah went on,
sensing a softening. ?It?s
not far away. You?ll be able
to visit. The female owner
makes matters wholly
appropriate.
?Also, a lady painter
nowadays has a highly
respectable status, thanks
to the likes of Mistress
Allingham.?
?Who?s she?? Tom asked.
?She?s a renowned
watercolour artist of rural
scenes. Oh, come, brother.
I have my own life to lead.?
Hannah paused. ?Tom? Do
Julian Rossmore
regarded Hannah steadily.
?The cottage is small. No
accommodation for a
housekeeper.?
?All to the good. Another
person in a house can be
distracting.?
The March day throbbed
with the promise of spring:
puffball clouds, scents of
fresh growth, and such a
trilling of birdsong that
Hannah?s town-bred senses
were overwhelmed by the
abundance of it all.
The unexpected sight of
the tall, rather stern male
figure who had met her off
the train, instead of the
assumed female, added to
her confusion.
He introduced himself as
brother to the name behind
the advertisement.
?I trust you don?t object
to my showing you Lark
Cottage, Miss Bates. My
sister was called away.?
?Oh.? Hannah collected
herself. ?No objections at
all, Mr Rossmore.?
?Then shall we proceed?
The horse and trap is this
way.?
Lark Cottage bore little
resemblance to the picturebook representations of
Mistress Allingham, but
there was a staunchness in
the structure that Hannah
liked.
Someone had been busy
in the garden. Her gaze
SHORT STORY BY PAMELA KAVANAGH 5
took in the orchard, the
single stable with carriagehouse attached. Discreet
behind a clump of lilac was
what Hannah rightly
assumed to be the privy.
The front door of the
cottage opened on to a
low-beamed parlour
smelling of old log fires.
The room was dim and
had an unlived-in feel, and
Hannah?s step faltered.
Then a shaft of sunlight
shone through the lattice,
revealing a stone-flagged
floor and furniture that was
shabby but comfortable,
and her heart lifted again.
?But this is charming,?
she said. ?How could your
sister bear to leave it??
?I have no idea,? her
escort replied. ?Would you
care to view the rest by
yourself?
?Be mindful of the stair.
It?s steep. Amelia had
vague thoughts on turning
the landing bedroom into a
studio as it?s north facing.
Apparently the light is well
suited to the purpose.?
Hannah could hardly
believe her ears. Lark
Cottage might have been
made for her.
Two weeks later, she was
arranging her painting
equipment in the studio,
which afforded a view of
rolling fields, woods and
the glimmer of water from
the distant estuary.
Hannah sighed with
pleasure. Six months to do
what she loved best ?
painting. With milk and
other essentials available
from the farm a short walk
across the meadow, she
was unlikely to starve.
Below, the pony grazed
the tender new grass of the
orchard.
?Make the most of it,
Daisy. Tomorrow you and I
are off on a sketching
spree!?
* * * *
Julian leaned back in the
chair of his study,
contemplative. Something
of an enigma, was Miss
Bates. Not exactly a
bluestocking, but no
simpering miss, either.
Arresting rather than
beautiful, the telltale
creases around her dark
eyes put her past the first
bloom of youth.
She wore the lavender
garb of semi-mourning.
Intelligent, certainly.
Julian pulled himself up
short. He?d long accepted
his bachelor state; he was
happy with his lot.
He had his house in
Willaston, his friends and
business interests, his
books. Who could want for
more?
That said, as surrogate
landlord he had a duty to
perform.
?Well, then, Archer,? he
said to the retriever at his
feet, ?perhaps we had best
pay Lark Cottage a visit.?
* * * *
?Miss Bates. Good
afternoon.?
Hannah looked up from
the rockery she was
clearing of weeds and saw
her landlord at the gate,
accompanied by a
handsome retriever.
Conscious of her wellworn gardening skirt and
battered hat, she rose,
hastily brushing the soil
from her hands.
?Mr Rossmore.?
As Hannah advanced
towards the gate, Julian
Rossmore courteously
removed his hat, displaying
a fine head of greying
brown hair.
?You don?t have to do the
garden. I can send my man
to attend to it.?
?But I enjoy being outside
? and Daisy needed a rest.?
Hannah threw a rueful
smile at the orchard, where
the inmate was catching up
for lost time with some
serious grazing.
?My brother calls her
Lazy Daisy, but she?s a
good-natured creature.?
Her gaze went to the dog.
?What a lovely retriever.?
?Yes. Archer?s grand
company. You are fond of
dogs, Miss Bates??
?Very. Mama and I
always wanted one but
Papa suffered with his
chest, so having animals in
the house was never an
option.?
?Your parents are . . .??
?Both gone now, I fear.?
They chatted on, and
once it had been
established that all was
well, Julian Rossmore
continued on his way.
Hannah stood at the
gate, watching him walk off
along the leafy lane.
Nothing had been said
about the absent sister.
Not a thing in the cottage
revealed the personality of
its owner. The cupboards
were empty of personal
possessions, and there
were no pictures, books or
well-thumbed periodicals.
Hannah turned her mind
to what she had come here
to achieve ? a portfolio of
paintings. After which
might come the stepping
stone of an exhibition.
Over the next few days
sunshine turned to
criticism. Still, nothing
ventured, nothing gained,
as my mama would have
said.?
?Not a bad dictum to
follow.?
?Indeed, no.?
They exchanged a smile.
Julian picked up a picture
of a man and his dog
retreating down a
springtime lane. It had
been done from memory.
There was no mistaking the
subject matter.
?Would this be myself
and Archer? I would like to
have it for my study. May I
buy it from you??
Lark Cottage might have been
made for Hannah
showers, but even here
Hannah found inspiration.
She drew with compassion
and humour, and her
confidence was growing.
The sun appeared again,
stirring a trip to Parkgate
to record the fishermen
and their boats. Seascapes
were ten a penny; hers had
to be unique.
In her studio she turned
her sketches into paintings,
rejecting the current trend
for watercolour and opting
for oils.
Her canvases were not
large, and the figures in the
pictures not immediately
clear at close range, but
viewed from a short
distance away the scenes
sprang to life. It was
Hannah?s style and she
strove to perfect it.
Now and again Julian
Rossmore called by. When
she received him one day
with a paint-smudged
smock over her gown, his
gaze sharpened.
?So you are a painter!
Am I permitted to see your
work??
His interest seemed
genuine, and after a
moment?s hesitation she
fetched him a selection of
paintings. He studied them
intently, then turned to her
with enthusiasm.
?Madam, you are good.
Very good.?
?You think so? My style is
not in the usual mode and
one wonders how it might
be received. Something
new will always draw
?It was an early attempt.
Take it, do. Please, I insist.?
?Then I accept with
thanks,? Julian said
gravely.
* * * *
Towards the end of July,
a letter from Esther
proclaiming a family visit
prompted Hannah to
abandon her paintbrush for
broom and dusting cloth.
With luncheon in mind,
she went to the farm that
supplied her with eggs and
milk to see if they could
help.
The farmer?s wife
deliberated.
?A tasty bit of boiling
ham? Lettuce and radishes
from the garden to go with
it? Maybe strawberries and
a jug o? cream for pudding.?
She paused. ?Happy at
Lark Cottage, are we?
Happen you?ll be wanting
to stay on.?
?I?m not sure if that is
possible,? Hannah replied.
?Six months was the rental
agreement.?
?Oh?? The farmer?s wife
nodded understandingly.
?Seems Mr Julian erred on
the safe side this time and
had things drawn up legal,
like. They?d not had much
luck with tenants before.?
Hannah frowned.
?I thought the cottage
belonged to the sister. Did
she never live there??
?Miss Amelia? Not her!
Goodness knows what that
one gets up to.? She
shrugged. ?I?ll send
6
our Billie with your
order, miss. We can
square up when you call
again.?
Walking back, Hannah?s
mind reeled. Why had
Julian never spoken of the
problems with Lark
Cottage? Why lead her to
understand that the
property was his sister?s
home, when this did not
appear to be the case?
Where was Amelia?
Perhaps she had been
too trusting. She had
considered enquiring about
a further term of tenancy.
Maybe, Hannah
concluded, disappointment
swamping her, this might
not be appropriate.
* * * *
Julian sighed. Calling at
Lark Cottage that
afternoon, he had been met
with such a cool reception
he had made the visit short.
?And just when I needed
a word.?
Archer licked his master?s
hand, sensing disquiet.
?Better try a different
tack. Nothing ventured,
nothing gained.?
For without doubt,
Hannah had come between
him and his peace of mind.
* * * *
The arrival of the car had
Hannah hurrying to greet
her guests. The children
tumbled out of the motor
car, shrieking with
excitement.
?Aunt Hannah! We?re
here!?
?So you are, my sweets.
Esther, how lovely. And
Tom.?
Tom gave her a hug.
?You look well, Hannie.
Country air is suiting you.?
?But my dear, your
complexion!? his wife put
in. ?You should wear a hat
to keep the sun off your
face.?
On the whole the visit
went well. The children
relished being free to romp
around outside, and the
midday cold collation was
declared excellent.
Afterwards they relaxed
in the garden, which
smelled deliciously of roses.
The children slept, worn out
with sunshine and fresh air,
and the adults were free to
talk.
Not for one moment did
Hannah mention her
questionable rental
arrangement, which would
be enough to provoke an
attack of the vapours in
Esther.
Tom had news.
?I?ve had a visit from the
tenant we found for the
Laurels. Hannah, he wants
to buy the house. He?s
made a very generous offer
and he?s willing to wait until
you and I, as joint owners,
can reach a decision.?
?Sell?? Hannah found it
hard to take in. ?Tom, the
Laurels is my home.?
?Yes, but realistically the
house is too large for one
and it?s unlikely we?ll ever
want to live there. I?m
willing to sell if you are.?
?May I think it over? My
term here ends in
September. I?ll write and
tell you my thoughts before
then,? Hannah said quietly.
After they had gone, she
lingered in the garden,
considering her dilemma.
With the family house
sold, where would she live?
Not with Tom and Esther.
Some paltry residence
placed in town?
She looked at the cottage
that had become home. She
didn?t want to leave, though
here again lay problems.
The air had grown sultry
with storm clouds gathering
in the west, but Hannah sat
on, undecided what to do.
* * * *
In the end Hannah simply
immersed herself in her
painting. There was more
pressure than ever to prove
herself. She was no town
mouse. She needed the
countryside for her work.
There had been no
further contact from Julian.
September was here and
soon she would have to
leave. Some form of
communication would
surely be forthcoming.
The letter when it came
was not what she expected.
Dear lady,
There are matters I need
to discuss with you. Would
it be convenient if I were to
call Tuesday next at ten
a.m.?
I await your reply
forthwith.
Sincerely yours,
Julian Rossmore.
The letter shook slightly
in her hand. What could he
want that warranted such a
formal approach?
Frowning, she went to
pen a response.
* * * *
Hannah had intended to
be ready for her guest, but
a shimmering September
sunrise, gilding the
landscape with hazy colour,
had her setting up her easel
in the garden. Soon she
was absorbed.
The click of the front gate
alerted her of his arrival.
?Mr Rossmore. Is that the
time??
?I?m late, actually. Archer
took off after an interesting
scent and it took a while to
get him back.?
The dog, suitably
repentant, gave his tail a
hopeful wave.
Hannah put down her
paintbrush.
?Would you like tea??
?Splendid.?
Over tea, Julian launched
into the reason for the visit.
?I owe you an
explanation.?
?You misled me!? Hannah
exclaimed.
?Not intentionally. Lark
Cottage does belong to my
sister and she did intend
living here ? but other
issues took over.?
Julian took a sustaining
sip of coffee.
?She got wind of a group
of ladies with views on
campaigning for women?s
rights and joined them.?
?Good for her!?
?You are not shocked??
?Why should I be? There
is nothing wrong in
standing up for one?s
principles.?
?I should have known
you?d take the broader
aspect,? Julian replied. ?Let
me explain. When Amelia
decided to leave, she let
the place out to the first
people that came along ? a
couple who neglected it
sorely. You understand??
?I?m beginning to. When
the pair moved on you had
the cottage put to rights.?
?I hoped it might tempt
Amelia back. She did
appear briefly, but it was
plainly not for her and to
avoid another disaster she
advertised for a lady
tenant, short term, to see
how things went.
?She was then called away
and I was stuck with dealing
with the cottage. Yours
seemed the most desirable
response.?
There was a small silence
in which Hannah digested
the information.
?I hope I?ve clarified
matters. There was no plan
to deliberately mislead. It
just so happened, as I have
said.? He smiled tentatively.
?All perfectly clear,?
Hannah said, her heart
lifting at the implications.
?Mr Rossmore, I had
wondered about a further
term of rental.?
?A winter let? Winter in
the country can be bleak.?
?But worthy of painting.?
?Ah. That brings me to my
next point.?
Hannah listened as she
was informed that a visiting
friend with contacts in the
art world had seen her
picture on Julian?s wall.
?He was so taken with it
he returned with the owner
of a Liverpool gallery. Miss
Bates, the man wants to
meet you with a view to
holding an exhibition of
your work.?
Hannah was finding it
hard to breathe.
?An exhibition?? she
stammered. ?Really??
?Really,? Julian endorsed
solemnly.
?I hardly know what to
say. I?ve had such unworthy
thoughts and I could not
have been more wrong. I?ve
been very foolish.?
?You were simply being
cautious.? Suddenly he was
in command. ?As to the
rental ? the cottage is yours
for as long as you wish.
?Now I shall return home
and write to my associate to
arrange a meeting.?
Still in a daze, Hannah
accompanied him to the
gate. Here, he paused.
?I?m giving a small dinner
party. Would you consider
coming as my guest??
His eyes warmed as they
met hers. Hannah inclined
her head graciously.
?I?d be delighted,? she
replied.
She was smiling as she
headed across the grass to
her abandoned picture.
After studying it carefully,
she retrieved her brush and
began to paint. n
loving
BITS & PIECES 7
Surf?s Up!
iStock.
iStock.
This week we?re
Budget Olympics
The World Dog Surfing
Championships were held recently,
just south of San Francisco. Some
dogs surf with their owners, some
dogs surf solo ? all of them must
wear life jackets. Each dog gets
10 minutes to show their skills and
a panel judges the winner!
Los Angeles plans to keep its 2028 event
practical, setting a new benchmark.
Athletes will stay in upgraded university
and college accommodation and existing
venues will be refurbished in the hope
that the investment will benefit the
community after it?s all over.
Cute Kuri
It?s A Kind Of Magic
The world?s most successful
magician, David Copperfield, turns
sixty-one on September 16. Some
of his most famous illusions include
walking through the Great Wall of
China and making the Statue of
Liberty disappear.
Rex Features.
Typical of the new breed of domestic
robots, Kuri costs a hefty $799,
but promises to be a very handy
housemate. Kuri will keep an eye on
home security
while you are
out, can play
your music or
audiobooks (and
will follow you as
you move about
the house), wake
you up in the
morning and even
tell your pet to get
off the sofa while
you?re away.
Details correct at time of going to press.
Peace Oil
Bringing together
several ethnicities
(Bedouin, Arab, etc.)
in Israel, the Charities
Advisory Trust created
this prize-winning
olive oil to encourage
co-operation
between
communities. Buy it
online from www.
peaceoil.org or call
them on
020 7794 9835.
Across
The Mersey
Alamy.
Pet Dedication
Animal fans will love the set of all
eight seasons of ?The Supervet?,
the Channel 4 series that follows
the orthopaedicneuro veterinary
surgeon
Professor Noel
Fitzpatrick as
he provides
hope against
all the odds
for his animal
patients. RRP
�.99, from
the usual
outlets.
Fast And Fresh
How often do you find yourself
eating the same things week
in, week out because they?re
quick and easy to make? Louise
Pickford?s ?Fast And Fresh?
offers over 80 recipes that are
exciting, nutritious and easy to
prepare for people with busy
lives. RRP �.99.
Beating The Traffic
Benjamin David would do anything to
avoid his Munich commute. Instead of
joining the traffic, he puts his clothes
and laptop in a waterproof bag and
swims two km down the River Isar to his
workplace. Though he does check the
water temperature before he jumps in!
Mersey River Cruises are offering a
cruise with a visit to the Spaceport
at Seacombe plus a stop-off at the
U-boat Story exhibition. Visit
www.merseyferries.co.uk or call the
ticket office on 0151 330 1003.
Wonderful
West Wycombe
There?s lots to see and do in this
lovely Buckinghamshire village, as
Neil McAllister discovers.
This
week?s
cover
feature
Factfile
n The apparition of Paul
Whitehead is said to
haunt the Hell-Fire Caves,
searching for his heart,
which was stolen from
the mausoleum by an
Australian soldier.
n The archway leading to
Church Lane contains the
village lock-up and
whipping post.
Photographs by Neil McAllister.
n When the park was
restored in the 1980s,
architect Quinlan Terry
rebuilt the Temple of
Venus, which had been
removed over 200 years
before by Humphrey
Repton.
n A traveller passing
through 200 years ago
would have had even
more choices to refresh
himself, feed his horse, or
find a bed for the night,
as in the mid 1700s the
high street boasted 17
public houses.
A
FEW years ago,
whilst driving
away from High
Wycombe, we
stumbled on a
picturesque village, where
the main road was lined
with beautiful old properties.
A short while ago, we
bought an old book filled
with illustrations of beautiful
Britain at the turn of the last
century.
Two of West Wycombe
caught my eye, reminding
me how picturesque the
village is, so one autumn
morning we returned to
spend a day enjoying this
architectural time capsule.
Whilst the neighbouring
town is busy and modern,
West Wycombe retains
much of its historical charm.
Prior to the 1920s, the
village was part of the
Dashwood family?s estate,
and chair-making was the
traditional local industry.
The area is surrounded by
beech woodland, providing
material for the makers,
whilst in the woods,
?bodgers? turned freshly cut
timber to create chair legs
and spindles.
Approaching from the
east, there are two identical
buildings at the entrance to
the old drive, Kitty?s Lodge
and Daphne?s Temple.
Hanging baskets
in Church Lane.
If you want to see the
house and parkland, which
are owned by the National
Trust, you need to visit in
the summer, as they close at
the end of August, which
means the Dashwoods have
their home to themselves
for most of the year.
Today?s owner is Sir
Edward Dashwood, 12th
Baronet, whose mansion
THIS WEEK?S COVER FEATURE 9
Church Loft.
stands in lovely parkland
laid out in the 1700s.
There are a number of
historic follies and temples
to be found amongst the
lawns and lake, which was
home to a real galleon.
The 2nd Baronet acquired
the vessel, which was
somehow brought overland
and floated on the lake!
When the garden designer
Humphrey Repton was
brought in, he took a dislike
to a statue of William Penn,
which was removed to
Philadelphia.
When the 11th Baronet
decided to restore the park
in the 1980s, he had a copy
made to stand atop Sawmill
House, which can be seen
from the hill when the park
is closed. Indeed, the house
and much of the grounds
are visible from this position.
The earlier village of
Haveringdon stood nearby,
but was ravaged by the
Black Death in the 14th
century, then resited along
the Oxford Road, which is
why such a tiny village has
so many inns.
The George and Dragon is
The Dashwood Mausoleum.
the village?s largest pub, but
the Swan Inn is one of the
most interesting, having been
in the same family for many
years.
Landlady Christine Barry is
the third generation to run
the Swan, which has hardly
changed since the defunct
Wheeler?s Wycombe
Brewery modernised it in
the early 1930s.
?During the war, a book
called ?England Today? had a
picture with my mum and
gran in the front bar,?
Christine told us, showing us
the room which is now on
the National Inventory of
Historic Pub Interiors.
The Swan is a refreshingly
simple pub, where barrels
behind the bar help the
timeless ambiance.
Earlier, we had talked to a
local about how charming
the village was and if it had
a sense of community spirit.
Her answer was surprising.
?Most of the houses are
rented out by the National
Trust, so people don?t stay
long.?
When I mentioned this to
Christine, who has lived in
Justine Holliday at work
making jewellery.
Houses in
Church Lane.
West Wycombe all her life,
she was keen to emphasise
that not all the village was
occupied by short-term
renters.
?We look after our old
folk,? she told us. ?A ninetyfour-year-old lives opposite.
We pop in every day and a
girl calls in the afternoon to
see if she needs any help.?
Most houses date from
between the 1500s to
1700s and are either timberframed or built from a lovely
warm brick, often with flint
facings.
Some, like Church Loft,
have their bare oak structure
exposed, but each house is
different from its neighbour,
giving the street a very
pleasing appearance.
Church Loft has served
many purposes over the
year, including a rest house
for pilgrims and the village
jail.
The clock hanging above
this entrance looks new, but
dates back to 1668. The
restored mechanism is
housed in Church Loft
where it chimes every hour.
Further along the high
street, Steps House is
impossible to miss with a
lantern hanging over the
elevated front door.
Formerly known as the
Manor House, the upper five
windows are not all they
seem. The centre one is an
illusion, painted to create a
more harmonious fa鏰de.
Almost every property
along the high street is
listed, but that didn?t protect
the library. When it was
threatened by council cuts,
the tiny building beside the
butcher?s was taken over by
the community.
Today, volunteers open up
this former wheelwright?s
workshop five days a week,
but it isn?t only books on
offer ? cooked breakfasts
and lunches are also served.
The antiquity of many
buildings has been disguised
by Georgian gentrification,
but a number of houses
show their age, and many
have upper floors which
reach out towards the road,
the few extra feet for upper
floor rooms supported by
old oak beams.
Across the road from
the Swan, the Apple
Orchard shop has more
10
Inside the HellFire Caves.
than 10 rooms
crammed with Fine
Furniture, Homeware and
Unusual Things.
Like so many high street
buildings, this glorious place
was once an inn, as was
silversmith Justine Holliday?s
workshop, in the courtyard
of the former Black Boy.
Here she refashions old
jewellery and creates new
pieces, giving visitors an
insight into her craft.
Eagle-eyed visitors will
spot St Paul?s church?s
unusual sign, which is part
in Cyrillic, as the church is
shared between the
Anglican community and
Serbian Orthodox
worshippers.
The older hilltop church of
St Lawrence was described
by poet Charles Churchill as
?Built aloft in air may serve
for show and not for prayer?.
Year-round, visitors make
their way to the village to
explore an underground
attraction with a dark past.
When a number of
harvests failed in the 1740s,
unemployed farm workers
were paid to excavate the
hillside, the stone being
used to pave the road to
High Wycombe.
Sir Francis Dashwood
used the tunnels for
meetings of the Knights of
St Francis of Wycombe or
Hell-Fire Club, as it became
more notoriously known.
Sir Francis was Benjamin
Franklin?s friend and the
inventor and politician was a
visitor to the caves.
Extending 300 feet below
the hill, the caves hosted
meetings where 18thcentury toffs indulged in
wine, women and song.
When we paid a visit, the
place was full of ghouls,
ghosts and other
Hallowe?eny things ? not
that they lack their own
spectres. The spirit of Suki, a
serving girl killed in a prank
gone wrong, is said to
wander these parts.
We ended our visit at
St Lawrence?s church, whose
tower is topped with a
Golden Ball. It looks quite
This house was originally
timber-framed.
small from the ground, but
100 steps later you discover
a sphere large enough to
contain up to six people.
?The best Globe Tavern I
was ever in,? the author
John Wilkes declared.
Sir Francis Dashwood
created the church when he
returned from a grand tour
of Europe and the Ottoman
Empire with grand ideas.
First he raised the old
church tower to make it
visible from the road, then,
taking Venice?s Custom
House as his inspiration, he
built the gilded globe.
Adjoining the churchyard
is a huge hexagonal
mausoleum, built in 1765 to
protect urns containing the
Dashwood family?s ashes.
This immense memorial
enjoys wonderful views
along the Oxford Road to
High Wycombe and across
the valley to West Wycombe
Park and House.
As I tried to take a picture
of the mansion, something
Want to know more?
Buckingham Tourist Information Centre
The Old Gaol, Market Hill, Buckingham,
Bucks, MK18 1JX. Telephone: 01280 823020.
E-mail: buckinghamtic@tourismse.com
West Wycombe Park is open to visitors through
the National Trust from 2 p.m. ? 6 p.m. Sunday
to Thursday in April and May (grounds only),
and June to August (house and grounds).
flashed across my
viewfinder.
?It?s a red kite!? Hazel
exclaimed as the russet bird
turned to fly towards the
church, 10 yards over our
heads.
As we returned to the car,
Hazel?s eagle eyes flicked
upwards.
?It?s not alone,? she said,
pointing to another four
birds expertly riding the
breeze, their tails twitching
as they scoured the
woodland for lunch.
We aren?t the only ones to
appreciate West Wycombe
on a glorious autumnal
day! n
Getting there
By road:
West Wycombe
lies between
Junctions 4 and
5 of the M40.
By train: the
nearest station
is in High Wycombe on the
Chiltern Mainline from
Birmingham and London
Marylebone.
By bus: on weekdays,
buses run from High
Wycombe roughly every
half hour until 5 p.m.
MADDIE?S WORLD 13
?I hear laughter from
beyond Mrs Bass?s
herbaceous border?
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
M
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
R GRIGG has
just had a call
from Billy Bass,
a friend in the
village who has
the most wonderful garden.
It?s all down to Mrs Bass
that the garden is so
glorious, but that?s another
story.
?I could bore you for
hours with my love of
flowers and plants,? she
tells me when I compliment
her on a rather lovely
planting scheme.
The serene Mrs Bass
would not look out of place
in a Jane Austen-style dress,
carrying a trug under her left
arm. She was made for
gardening.
I doubt very much that
she?d bore me, as I love a
good garden almost as
much as she does.
However, mine is a
postage stamp compared
with her oversized,
double-A1 envelope. Just
looking at her flower-beds
and lawns gives me chronic
garden envy, so I?ll stop
right there.
Mr Bass needs my
husband?s help in putting up
a trampoline. It?s a surprise
for their grandchildren, who
are due to visit next week.
So Mr Grigg duly sets off
at just after nine o?clock and
tells me he?ll be back in
about an hour. Mrs Bass has
promised there will be a
bacon butty in it and my
husband will do anything for
free food.
?I mean, it shouldn?t take
that long to put up a
trampoline, should it?? he
says, giving me a cheery
wave as he walks down the
road. We have a lunch date
so he mustn?t be late.
Three hours later I
discover that Mrs Bass has
left me a telephone
message.
?Mr Grigg?s asked me to
give you a call to let you
know that he and Mr Bass
have just about finished. It
seems it was much more
difficult than they thought.?
To save Mr Grigg?s tired
old bones, I take the car
down to the Basses? house
to pick him up.
I ring the doorbell but find
no-one at home. Then I hear
laughter coming from
beyond Mrs Bass?s
herbaceous border.
I stroll down through the
grounds, admiring the twists
and turns and attention to
detail everywhere I look.
There?s not a weed in
sight, but plenty of colour,
interest and sweeping
informality in this garden,
which makes the most of its
lovely setting with its
pastoral backdrop of old
Dorset.
Down at the trampoline
site, I discover the source of
the noise. There is fun and
high-jinks going on, with Mr
and Mrs Bass and Mr Grigg
Mrs Bass having fun
on the trampoline!
taking it in turns to have a
go on the newly assembled
piece of kit.
?What took you so long?? I
shout down to Mr Grigg,
who responds by muttering
something about there
being more holes than
springs and that the whole
thing was really heavy and
so hard to put together.
This, coming from a man
who takes a matter of
minutes to work out how to
assemble furniture from a
certain Swedish superstore.
?It wouldn?t be that you
had to put the trampoline
through its paces before
letting the children loose on
it, would it?? I say.
?Well, it was really hard
work,? Mr Grigg says.
Mr Bass nods in
agreement.
?Then we had to make
sure it was safe.?
?And the more we went
on it, the more we liked it,?
says the disembodied voice
of a bouncing Mrs Bass,
whom I can see on the
other side of the safety
netting doing a star jump.
?It?s my turn next!? Mr
Grigg yells. ?Lunch can
wait.? n
From
Me To
You
Linda had no
idea what her
husband had in
mind for her
birthday . . .
Illustration by iStock.
S
O, what?s Gordon
doing for your
birthday?? Janice
spooned froth from
her cappuccino.
?Something nice, I hope?
It?s not as if you?re sixty
every day.?
?Thank goodness!?
?A party! He?s bound to
organise a party. You?ll
have to practise looking
surprised, Lin! He?ll never
be able to keep it a secret,
like you did for him. Not
good with secrets, your
Gordon.?
?I?ve told him I don?t
want any fuss.?
?Of course, but you?ll be
very disappointed if there
isn?t any!?
Linda shook her head.
?Not another party.?
There had been a surfeit
of parties lately. Gordon?s
retirement do had been at
the tail end of last year.
Since then there had
been the usual Christmas
parties, followed by
eighteenth birthdays,
christenings and an
unexpected wedding.
Even if Linda wasn?t
involved in all the
organising, you could bet
your bottom dollar she?d
get landed with the
clearing up.
She just couldn?t face it.
Hence her response when
Gordon asked her if there
was anything she?d like to
do for her birthday.
?No party!? she?d said
with decision. ?Don?t make
a big thing of it, love. We?ll
have a nice family dinner.
?I?m sure Abby and Gail
will be happy to provide
starters and puddings, and
Steve, Nicky and the kids
can do the washing-up.
Sorted!?
She would do one of her
roasts, which she could do
in her sleep. She was
looking forward to it.
It was odd, though, that
he hadn?t asked her what
she?d like as a present. In
all the years of their
marriage, she?d always had
to tell him what she
wanted or drop hints.
There was plenty of time,
she told herself, and
anyway, she didn?t know
what to ask for. There was
nothing she needed. And,
just this once, she?d like it
to be a surprise.
He had nodded when she
suggested a little silver
necklace she?d seen in the
jeweller?s window, but had
made no other comment.
Linda had the feeling he
wasn?t giving it his full
attention.
Come to think of it, he?d
seemed a bit distant of
late. And he was spending
so much time at the
nursery!
After his retirement,
Gordon had been like a fish
SHORT STORY BY VALERIE BOWES 15
out of water, moping about
the house day after day.
His job as a civil engineer
had been his life and it had
been taken away. He
needed something to fill
the days while she worked
at the library.
Then Gabby from the
plant nursery mentioned
she?d just lost one of her
assistants.
?It?s only a few hours a
day,? Linda told Gordon.
?There will still be time to
do things together when I
retire as well.?
?But I don?t know
anything about plants.?
?I don?t suppose you?ll
need to. Give it a try, love.
If it?s not your cup of tea,
you don?t have to stay.?
But it had been his cup
of tea. It was so nice to see
him enjoying life again that
Linda hadn?t noticed at
first that the hours he
spent there were getting
longer.
In fact, these past few
weeks it seemed he only
came home to sleep.
It was only until the
novelty wore off, Linda
thought ? until she called
in one day.
?Gordon? He?s out the
back,? the assistant said
when she enquired.
?Greenhouse three, I
think.?
The garden centre was
where the plants were sold,
but all the work of
propagating and potting on
was carried out in the big
greenhouses behind the
public bits.
Linda followed her
pointing finger and opened
the door. At first she didn?t
think he was there, but
then she heard voices from
the far end.
Gordon and a woman
had their heads together
over a tray on the bench.
As Linda came down the
aisle, Gordon turned round
and saw her. His face
flushed and he said
something to the woman in
a whisper.
She cast a glance over
her shoulder and sent a
smile in Linda?s direction.
?Hello! Fancy seeing you
here,? Gordon said, making
a joke of it, but there was
something forced in his
tone. ?I?ll leave you to it
then, Jackie,? he added,
dusting the soil off his
hands as he came to meet
Linda.
?Don?t let me interrupt
you,? Linda said stiffly.
?No, no. I?m just about
finished for the day.?
Linda peered around
him.
?Anything interesting??
?Come and see,? Jackie
invited.
The impression that
Gordon would rather she
didn?t was so faint that
Linda wasn?t sure whether
she was imagining it. He
made no attempt to stop
her, but hung back as she
gazed at the trays and
trays of bushy plants.
?Sweet peas,? Jackie
said. ?We?re bringing
16
them on for a client.
They?ll be going out into
the open tomorrow, so
Gordon?s just making sure
everything?s prepared.?
There was something
conspiratorial in the look
she and Gordon exchanged
but, Linda told herself,
trying to be fair, they were
colleagues.
She was probably
imagining things. Gordon
would never look at
another woman, would he?
Jackie?s eyes were as soft
and brown as pansies, her
Nanna?s birthday is a good
time for something special!?
Linda laughed.
?What did you tell him??
?That if you were doing a
roast with all the trimmings
and Auntie Gail was doing
one of her special sticky
toffee puddings for afters,
he?d have to walk home if
he had chicken nuggets as
well, because the car
suspension wouldn?t take
it!?
?What does Gordon say??
Linda asked, as if it didn?t
matter.
Gordon would never look at
another woman, would he?
red-gold hair swept up into
a neat chignon. And she
was about twenty years
younger and a stone
lighter. Linda suddenly felt
like a middle-aged frump.
Well, she could do
something about that,
couldn?t she? She?d been
letting herself get into a rut.
Time for a make-over.
* * * *
Linda didn?t expect
Gordon to comment on her
new, shorter hair-do, or the
subtle highlights she had
put in. He never had in
thirty-odd years. Nothing
significant about that.
But her daughter-in-law
noticed.
?Looks great!? Abby
enthused. ?And just in time
for your birthday.?
?I?m going to get a new
outfit on Saturday,? Linda
said. ?Come with me??
It would be good to have
a younger woman?s
opinion, but she?d have to
take care she didn?t end up
mutton dressed as lamb.
If she?d thought she
might be able to pump
Abby about Gordon?s plans
for her birthday, she was
disappointed.
Her daughter-in-law was
doing the starters for the
birthday meal, and chatted
happily about the various
ideas she had.
?Our Ryan wants chicken
nuggets with dips, bless
him.? She shook her head
with a smile. ?He knows I
won?t let him have them
normally, so he says
?Oh, he?s easy so long as
we do whatever you?d like.?
?Preferably not chicken
nuggets!? Linda tried to
smile. Shouldn?t Gordon be
showing a little interest, at
least?
Abby tapped her nose.
?You?ll find out on the
day, but I promise it won?t
be anything heavy,
drenched in fat or stuffed
full of chemicals.?
Linda knew it would be
delicious and tried to
concentrate on choosing
something nice to wear on
the day.
But she found that trying
on dresses with Jackie
continually on her mind
didn?t make for an
enjoyable time.
She hardly saw Gordon in
the last few days before her
birthday. He was up and
out before she left for work.
He got in before she did
and always had a cup of tea
and a piece of the gorgeous
cake from the nursery
teashop waiting for her, but
there was a little knot of
worry between his brows in
unguarded moments.
* * * *
Linda smoothed the skirts
of the soft green dress,
knowing she looked her
best. But was it too little,
too late?
No, of course it wasn?t.
The kiss he?d given her
when he brought her
breakfast in bed this
morning was proof of that.
He?d given her a card,
too.
All my love, Gordon.
She?d put the beautiful
picture of a cottage
surrounded by a flowery
garden on the kitchen
window-sill, where she
could see it as she
prepared the dinner before
changing into the birthday
dress.
But he?d nipped out
mid-morning. A sudden
dread gripped Linda as she
checked the places were all
set on the table. Surely he
wasn?t arranging a party?
She didn?t want lots of
people and noise. She
wanted her own family
about her, eating the meal
she?d planned ? although
she still didn?t know what
Abby was doing for
starters.
She heard voices in the
hall and came out of the
kitchen.
?Here she is, the
birthday girl,? Steve said,
enveloping her in a hug.
?Happy birthday, Mum!?
As sons, daughters-in-law
and grandchildren swirled
about her, she saw Gordon
standing behind them, a
beam of pleasure on his
face.
He reached through the
m阬閑 for her hand and
drew her through the door
into the front garden.
A tepee of sweet peas
had sprouted there since
the last time she looked.
The froth of flowers was
pure white, almost silver ?
to match the delicate
necklace hanging amongst
them.
There was a small card.
Linda picked it up and read
it.
Sweet Pea Linda Lou.
?The boys helped me put
them in. I wanted to breed
a new one, but Jackie says
that can take several years,
and she had been working
on this one which was
almost ready.
?She was going to call it
Silver Joy, but she let me
name it for you if I helped
her bring it on.
?I didn?t think I was
going to get it to flower in
time. When you came in
that day, I was sure you?d
guessed and I?d blown the
surprise!?
?It?s so beautiful!? Linda
put out a finger to touch a
frilled, scented petal.
?So?s my Linda Lou,? he
whispered, kissing her
cheek.
The glow of pride from
Gordon was as good a
birthday present as the
flowers and the necklace,
which went so well with her
new dress.
Linda sat at the head of
the table, watching her
family eat the light,
delicious salad that Abby
had prepared (although
Ryan said he would still
have preferred chicken
nuggets), and contentment
washed over her in a flood.
?I?ve become really
interested in breeding sweet
peas, love.? Gordon put his
hand over hers. ?I?m aiming
to give you some of my own
cultivar for your birthday.
Not guaranteeing which
one, mind! What colour
would you like me to try
for??
?Surprise me.?
It was one secret she
didn?t mind him keeping,
and whatever he chose
would be all right by her. n
What
inspired
me...
Valerie Bowes.
I?m often not sure
where inspiration has
come from, but this
time it was something
I read (possibly in the
?Friend?!) about
breeding new and
beautiful varieties of a
plant. The breeder had
named one after his
daughter, which I
thought was a lovely
idea. And I was just
seeing the first shoots
of the sweet peas I?d
sown . . .
wellbeing
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. I?ve been struggling with watery, uncomfortable
and sore eyes. Do you have any advice that may
help to alleviate these symptoms?
Sarah
Farrant,
Optometrist
and Dry Eye
Specialist, is
here to help.
Sore, watery, uncomfortable eyes
can be hugely irritating, and one of
the most common causes is dry eye
disease ? affecting nearly five
million people in the UK over
forty-five.
The condition can be triggered by
In The News
iStock.
Sleepless Nights
If you find yourself sitting up
in bed awake in the early hours
of the morning worrying about
your health, you can be sure
you are not alone.
A report by private health
company BUPA has found our
top health concerns that disturb
slumber are overdue dental
check-ups (25% of us), losing
weight (23%) and tackling
stress (20%). These concerns
are strong enough to trigger
broken sleep in more than half
the population.
So if it?s any consolation,
while you are tossing and
turning, just remember millions
more are doing likewise, with
4.05 a.m. being the most
common time for that to
happen.
Some people suggest writing
down concerns before turning
in for the night in a bid to clear
the mind and hopefully enjoy a
good night?s sleep.
the weather and hormonal changes,
such as menopause. Ensuring you?re
using a preservative-free eye drop
such as Hycosan (�99 from
opticians and pharmacies) is key to
healthy, comfortable eyes.
From September, specialist Tear
Clinics are being set up at optometry
practices around the UK to help
diagnose and manage dry eye
disease, with treatment plans to help
relieve symptoms and prevent
potential future problems.
To find your nearest specialist Tear
Clinic, visit www.TearClinic.com or
consult your optometrist.
Heartburn Solutions
If you are troubled by heartburn, your GP might
recommend weight loss (to reduce pressure on
the stomach and keep stomach acid actually in
the stomach), as well as avoiding certain foods.
But new thinking about reflux indicates that
everyone?s trigger foods differ.
Try cutting back on these to see what works best
for you:
? Fatty foods ? slower to digest so they stay
longer in the stomach, demanding more acid in
order to be broken down.
? Tomatoes, grapefruit and orange juice ?
acidic foods which can irritate an already
sensitive oesophagus
? Prosecco ? alcohol is a well-known trigger for
reflux attacks, but fizzy alcoholic drinks may
encourage burping, which allows acid to creep up
? Processed foods ? cakes, biscuits, ice-cream
and even tinned soup can be highly acidic due
to the additives and preservatives
Try to avoid
cakes and
biscuits.
Health Bite
Look out for hemp milk as a
nutritious alternative to cow?s milk
in your coffee, tea or poured over
breakfast cereal. It is made from
hemp seeds which are rich in
omega-3 and omega-6 essential
fatty acids, great for brain power
and wellbeing.
Although hemp milk can have a
grainy texture and may separate
when poured into hot drinks, its
nutritional profile makes it a great
option if you are cutting back on
dairy.
Hemp milk is available in the
longlife milk section of larger
supermarkets or health food stores
and is priced around �a litre.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
HEALTH 19
Healing Plasters
High blood
pressure
can be
treated
Do You Know Your Numbers?
T
Spotting high
blood pressure
could be a
lifesaver. Our
Health Writer,
Colleen Shannon,
reports.
HERE is a special chance to have
your blood pressure checked
quickly and conveniently, because
Know Your Numbers! Week is coming up.
About a quarter of a million people take
advantage of this service every year, so
why not join in?
Between September 18 and 24, you?ll
be able to visit one of the many ?pressure
stations? that will run across the country.
You will find them in pharmacies, GP
surgeries and hospitals, health clubs,
leisure centres, shopping centres,
supermarkets and maybe even at your
workplace.
Volunteers will also be on hand to
provide information, and give advice on
simple steps you can take to keep your
blood pressure under control.
The idea is that we should all know our
blood pressure, the same way we know
other vital statistics like our height and
weight.
It?s important to know your reading
because many people with high blood
pressure (hypertension) are not aware
they have it. Yet it is the most common
long-term health problem in the UK.
It is a leading cause of death and
disability, and hypertension is responsible
for at least half of heart attacks and
strokes. Hypertension also puts you at
greater risk of kidney disease and vascular
dementia.
This is what I heard from Shefalee Loth,
Nutritionist at Blood Pressure UK. She
explained that raised blood pressure is
known as the silent killer because it has
no symptoms. Sadly, the first time some
people learn they have it is when they
suffer a stroke or heart attack.
Everyone should get their blood
pressure checked either by their GP or by
using a home blood pressure monitor. A
normal reading is 120/80mm Hg (that
stands for millimetres of mercury ?
remember that silver column on the old
type of equipment?) If it?s normal, the
standard advice is to have your blood
pressure checked every five years.
After the age of fifty you should have it
checked every year. That?s because
everyone is more likely to develop
hypertension as they get older, and the
quicker the readings are picked up, the
sooner you can do something about it.
Whatever your age, if you have had a
reading on the high side of normal
(between 130/85 and 139/89), or if you
have diabetes, it is best to get your blood
pressure checked every year.
If your blood pressure is high (above
140/90) your GP or health professional
will advise you what to do.
High blood pressure can be treated
with drugs prescribed by your GP. You
can also help keep your blood pressure
down by eating less salt, eating more fruit
and vegetables, watching your weight,
exercising regularly and being moderate
with your alcohol intake.
And, of course, stop by for a check
during Know Your Numbers! Week. To
find your nearest pressure station, visit the
Blood Pressure UK website at www.
bloodpressureuk.org. You?ll also find more
information about preventing or treating
hypertension. Your GP surgery and many
pharmacies can help any time you want a
blood pressure check or advice. n
Studies show some people
are far more prone to blisters
than others ? according to
podiatrist Dr Tariq Khan, it?s all
to do with the strength of the
keratin in your skin.
So if you blister easily,
instead of an ordinary plaster,
try these special washproof
dressings from
LloydsPharmacy.
Each pack contains four clear
hydrocolloid dressings
specially formulated to
maintain an optimum healing
environment and promote
rapid skin repair. They help to
relieve friction and
also protect the
skin against dirt
and bacteria.
LloydsPharmacy
Advanced Blister
Treatment costs
�29 for four
large dressings.
Cushion the pain of
blisters with these
special plasters.
Don?t Cut Your
Pills In Half
It can be tempting to break
your tablets in half to make
them easier to swallow or to
reduce the dose, but
pharmacists warn against
doing so without checking with
your GP first.
Not only is it potentially
dangerous to play with your
dose, but some tablets have a
special coating to delay the
drug release, and cutting them
can make the dose ineffective
or can irritate the stomach.
Summer
Loving
SHORT STORY BY WENDY CLARKE 21
I wanted to find the
independent girl I once was.
Instead, I found you . . .
Illustration by Mike Heslop.
I
LET myself into the
house and drop my
rucksack on to the floor.
It?s getting dark outside
and the house looks
different, as though it
belongs to someone else.
?Welcome home, Livy,? I
say under my breath.
There is no-one else to
say it.
Everything is just as I left
it before I went away: my
slippers by the door; the
newspaper on the arm of
the chair, open at the
television page.
The plate and mug I used
for breakfast before I drove
to the ferry port sit
upturned on the drainer,
waiting to be put away.
It?s too quiet. I want to
be back on the beach, the
waves teasing my bare feet
and the sun bringing out
the freckles on my arms.
I want to be back in the
little Breton g顃e with the
green shutters and the tall
cypress tree in the back
garden.
Most of all, though, I
want one last evening with
you, lying on a rug beneath
the stars, listening to the
murmur of the sea and
feeling your fingers
entwined with mine.
?I don?t want this to
end,? you said, but I didn?t
believe you.
Walking to the window, I
part the net curtains.
Beside the zebra crossing,
the yellow orb of the
belisha beacon reminds me
of the moon that looked
down on us as we walked
hand in hand by the
water?s edge last night.
I was under no illusion
that the gentle pressure of
your arm across my
shoulder, or the feel of
your lips against my hair,
meant anything more than
the end of something
beautiful.
My cat, Jessie, jumps on
to the window-sill and rubs
her head against my arm.
?Hello, you,? I say. ?How
have you been??
Before I drop the curtain,
the last thing I see is the
neon sign of the fast food
outlet across the road,
shouting its invitation to
buy fish and chips.
Could it only have been
this morning we were
sitting outside the Caf� de
Flore?
We dipped croissants
into our coffee and tried to
speak to each other in
French, laughing when we
got it wrong.
I let you think I didn?t
care that I was leaving.
?Why would I do
anything else, Jessie?? I
murmur, stroking her thick
fur. ?We both knew it was
just a holiday romance.
After all, it?s not as if I?m a
teenager any more.?
I pick Jessie up and carry
her over to the settee. As I
sit down, I see my rucksack
in the hallway.
I should unpack, but I
know that once the clothes
are washed and put away,
it will be a signal to go
back to my old life ? the
one without you in it.
Instead, I kick off my
shoes and, as I do, I notice
a shadow of sand on the
carpet.
I brush it with my bare
foot, the varnish on my
nails as pale and
pearlescent as the shells
we collected from the
shoreline.
As I look at them, the
yellow grains begin to blur
and my eyes fill with tears,
and I realise this is because
these specks are all I have
of you.
The cat gazes at me
reproachfully.
?Don?t look at me like
that, Jessie. I didn?t give
him my number because I
knew he wouldn?t want it.
?By next week he will be
in a different country, his
eye on another girl, and I?ll
be just a memory.?
I think of your unruly,
sun-bleached hair and the
lines at the corners of your
eyes that hint at years of
laughter.
You told me you?d taken
a sabbatical from your job
to travel around Europe.
You?d missed out on that
when you were younger,
going straight from school
into work.
Now, though, with money
in the bank, the time was
right.
?It must have been
right,? you said as you
took out a penknife and
whittled a piece of
driftwood into the wings of
a seagull. ?Because you
were here, too. I can hardly
believe it.?
They were just platitudes
though, easy to say to
someone you were never
going to see again.
So I made it easy for
you. Said that we were
both adults and could
remember our week
together for what it was ? a
summer romance.
And when you said we
could meet when you got
back to England, I told you
no. Your smile faltered a
little as I said it.
The Cote d?Amour had
sounded so romantic. Not
that I was looking for love,
after having just come out
of a 10-year marriage.
I just wanted to prove
that it was possible to
holiday on my own and not
be lonely.
To find the independent
girl I once was, the one
who backpacked across
Australia without a second
thought.
* * * *
The room is almost in
darkness now. I should go
upstairs and get some
sleep after my long drive,
but instead I sit and
wonder what you are
doing.
Whether, without me
there, you?ll still collect the
secrets that the waves
wash up on the beach and
watch the moon shimmer
on the water.
Or whether you?ll have
left.
I miss you. There, I?ve
said it. I miss the warmth
of your hand and the touch
of your lips.
I wish now I?d given you
my number or my e-mail. I
wish I hadn?t judged you.
I shiver. The house feels
different, too. Colder.
Without switching on
the light, I squeeze a
SERIES BY MALCOLM WELSHMAN: PART 3 OF 30 23
pouch of food into a
bowl for Jessie, then
pick up my rucksack and
take it up to my room.
The bag is old and worn
in places and is the same
one I used when I was a
teenager.
I could have taken a
case to France, but I had
liked the link it gave me
to the carefree girl I once
was.
As I unzip the outside
pocket to find my
washbag, instead of the
soft material I?ve been
expecting I touch
something hard.
Reaching further inside,
my fingers curl around
the object, and when I
pull it out I realise I am
holding the twisted
bleached wings of a
seagull.
For a moment, I am
sitting once more on the
pale sand watching the
muscles of your arm flex
as you carve the
driftwood. For a moment,
I am happy again.
I run a finger along the
wave-smoothed wood.
You must have put the
seagull in my rucksack
when I was ordering the
coffee this morning at the
Caf� de Flore.
My heart clenches at
the thought that I?ll never
see you again and, all of
a sudden, I realise why
the house seemed
different when I walked
in, as though belonging to
someone else.
It?s because it belonged
to the person I was before
I met you.
I put the seagull on the
bedside table where it will
be the first thing I see
when I wake, and as I do,
I notice amongst the
knife-cut feathers other
markings.
When I look closer, I
see they are numbers,
and that is when I
understand. You never
wanted me to leave.
My phone is next to me
and I punch the numbers
into it before I can change
my mind.
You answer straight
away and, as I hear your
voice, the house becomes
mine again.
?I hoped you?d ring,?
you say. n
It?s not just the
animals that get
attention at the
veterinary
hospital!
M
Y life-drawing
class
confrontation
with one of the
practice?s
clients, Mrs Mundy,
completely starkers, was the
subject of much banter over
coffee for several days.
?I?ll certainly see her in a
different light from now on.?
Eric chortled. ?Preferably
still clothed, though.?
For Mandy and Lucy, life
drawing in whatever shape
or size was a lost art. A
sketch for them meant one
on a TV comedy show.
The tail end of a hurricane
sweeping in ensured a
change of subject. Westcott
pier took a battering from
Storm Ingrid.
Roads were flooded and
trees blown down. In the
aftermath, I was presented
with my first canine casualty
of the storm ? Arabella. An
elderly Saluki, elegant,
greyhound-like, creamcoloured with soft silky ears,
she?d been startled by a
flying refuse bin, twisted
sharply on her lead, and
now couldn?t use her right
hind leg.
I heard a kerfuffle out in
reception and walked
through to find Mandy and
Lucy helping the Saluki up
the steps, supporting her
hind legs while Beryl held
the door open.
It seemed Beryl had seen
the owner struggling across
the car park with Arabella
and had run down to the
ward to fetch the nurses. All
three of them were very
eager to be of assistance.
?Probably best if we carry
her through for you,?
Mandy said, not to me, as
I?d thought, but the owner.
Her eyelids fluttered like
butterfly wings.
?That?s kind of you,? the
owner said.
?It?s why we?re here,?
Lucy added, her eyelids
also in a frenzy of flutter.
?I?ll just take down some
details if you don?t mind.?
Beryl?s own eyelids went
into similar lash-overdrive
as she gazed across at the
owner.
The cause of all that
lepidopterous wing-like
activity was a muscular
young man in narrow jeans,
dark hair in a gelled quiff,
shaved at the sides.
Roberto Ferrari was his
name. He was Italian.
?Call me Rob, if you
wish,? he said in a low,
husky voice.
?Any time,? Mandy
murmured, nudging Lucy.
?Let?s get the dog
through,? I said, my
eyelashes unfluttered.
With the Saluki lifted on
to the consulting table,
Mandy and Lucy were
dismissed, though they
offered to stay.
I examined her. There
were no grunts of pain as I
prodded her spine. I felt
her hips, swinging each leg
forwards, backwards and
out. No reaction.
I carefully flexed her left
knee. Fine. Then her right
knee. There was a yelp.
?Right, Roberto. Let?s see
if Arabella will stand.?
Between us we lifted her
down. She gamely stood,
left leg bearing all her
weight while her right leg
remained flexed, toes just
touching the floor.
A forward/backward
manipulation of her right
knee confirmed the
diagnosis I suspected. A
rupture of a ligament in the
knee cap.
?We can replace it with
an artificial one,? I
explained.
?At her age?? Roberto
faltered. ?She?s coming up
for fourteen.?
I nodded.
?Rest is the only other
option,? I said, knowing
that sounded obvious.
?Coupled with some
anti-inflammatory therapy,
it might just do the trick.?
A week later, there was
little improvement.
?She needs crutches,?
Roberto said.
That gave me an idea.
Arabella was admitted to
the hospital and her right
leg put in plaster.
I hoped it would act as a
supportive crutch.
Every week for a month,
Arabella stomped in for a
check-up. Same day; same
time.
At the final check, all was
well. Arabella was using her
right leg again, and the
plaster could come off.
?Excellent,? Roberto said
when he settled his
account. ?I can get back to
the art class now.?
I saw Beryl was
immediately all ears. As, no
doubt, were Lucy and
Mandy out in the corridor.
Roberto explained. He
modelled for the lifedrawing class, but not while
Arabella had been in
plaster. He hadn?t wanted
to leave her on her own in
case there were any
problems.
?But now I can attend
tomorrow?s class,? he said,
flexing his brawny arms.
In the office next day, I
spotted three newly
purchased sets of charcoal
pencils and three large
sketch pads, all ready to be
used that evening.
Roberto Ferrari. He was
bound to be a big draw.
More next week.
Brainteasers
Missing Link
WHITE
DOWN
CLAY
CLEANER
FIRST
TAG
STAR
LANGUAGE
SAME
GOES
COLD
POINT
ROYAL
BLOOD
ACID
TUBE
BUSH
ALARM
GOLD
HOUR
1
T R N E A
O
U
N
T R U T R I
4
E
E T E TWE
R A
O
I
S
E RW C A T
7
E NOR
R
R A L T H
A L A D
E
I T A
E
O
K A R D
S
I E D
10
A N S
G
C
E
O
ACROSS
1 Message?sending device
3 Loyal ? Substance that
causes rust
4 Word paired with ?neither?
ACROSS
1 Blissfully (7)
5 Potter?s
material (4)
9 Umpire (7)
10 Part of a
flower (5)
11 Jewish leader
or teacher (5)
12 Paid?for
announcement
in a
newspaper (6)
14 Peak (6)
16 Caper
along (6)
18 Central
American
canal (6)
19 Alpine trill (5)
22 Small greasy
cocktail
fruit (5)
23 Individual
programme of
a serial (7)
24 Company
emblem (4)
25 Blazing fire (7)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
24
23
25
DOWN
2 Lumley/Saunders
sitcom (2,3)
3 Share (in) (11)
4 Elbow?room (6)
6 In due course (5,2)
7 Bark (4)
8 Chair side (7)
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
T E R
E
R
M T E N
S
E
R
I
A
X
A N T C OW A U L
I
M I T
C
RM
X I D
O
Answers
on p95
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
phrase.
Pieceword
PUZZLES 25
2
3
5
6
8
9
11
12
5 South Asian yogurt
9 Numerical prefix meaning ?three?
condiment
10 Loudspeaker producing high
6 Person lacking bravery
frequencies ? Grain used in
7 Groom
brewing ale
8 Notice of danger
12 Howled in a feline manner
10 Minimum income level
needed to live (7,4)
13 Being given good
meals regularly (4,3)
15 Definition (7)
17 Compete against (4,2)
20 Perish at sea (5)
21 Child?s toy (4)
Sudoku
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
5
3
2
8 9 7
2
1
6
9 3 5
7
8
1 6
4
9
5
8 9 6
3
4 5
9
7 6
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
www.puzzler.com
GARDENING 27
Our
gardening
guru John
Stoa answers
your queries.
expert
Ask the
Q. I have some pink and
yellow poppies that just
appeared in my garden.
They are very attractive, so
can I save the seed from
these for another year?
Both the Opium poppy and the
Californian poppy are very easily
spread by wind and birds, and once
established can spread widely. They
make a great colourful display and are
easily controlled.
To propagate from seed, collect the
spent seed heads and dry them off
ready for sowing the following year. I
allow them to spread on to any bare
patches of ground for the summer.
Q. I was visiting a park in
Harlow in Essex when I
saw this beautiful mature
tree (below). I would love
to know what it is.
Q. My onions have gone
yellow and stunted. What
is wrong with them?
The rainy periods of June and
July, coupled with cooler weather,
particularly up north, gave rise to the
spread of white rot. Onions need
warm, dry conditions to grow and
ripen up. Unfortunately, there are no
resistant varieties and the disease
remains in the soil for years, so a very
long rotation may help but is weather
dependent. Some people try to kill the
fungus by soaking the affected areas
with Jeyes fluid and doing the same
two weeks ahead of spring planting.
The photo and leaf specimen look
very like a sweet chestnut, Castanea
sativa. They grow into magnificent
specimens and in autumn produce our
eating chestnuts for roasting. In the UK
they need a good autumn to ripen up
shoots so they will flower the following
year, but then they need another
good year to produce chestnuts. The
chestnut was introduced to the UK
by the Romans, who ground the nuts
down to make a porridge.
Q. Can you recommend a
low-growing ground cover
plant for a very dry, sunny
border at the top of a
south-facing wall?
Try Delosperma, known as the stone
plant or ice plant, as it is in the same
family as Livingstone daisies.
These succulent perennials only
grow a few inches tall but spread into
dense, evergreen, weed-smothering
drifts. They thrive in poor, dry, stony
soils and are perfect to stick into a dry
stone wall. Delosperma nubigenum
has yellow flowers in late spring and D.
cooperi has purple flowers in summer.
Photographs by John Stoa and iStock.
Q. I am looking ahead to next spring
and want to buy some tulips for autumn
planting. Have you got any favourites?
I use tall tulips for impact in borders and between
wallflowers, medium sized for adding into permanent
planting and dwarf doubles for tubs and planting between
spring bedding plants like polyanthus, myosotis and
pansies. My favourite tall tulips are Apeldoorn, Golden
Apeldoorn and the white scented Purissima. Medium
favourites are Negrita, Red Riding Hood and Cape Town,
and my favourite dwarf doubles are Abba, Sun Lover, Monte
Orange and Royal Acres.
John Stoa will answer your gardening queries on this page where possible but regrets he cannot send personal replies.
Please do not send SAEs with your letters.
s
t
ar ay!
t
S d
to
Going, Going,
Gone
In an auction house like this, you
never knew who would walk
through the doors . . .
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
H
OW things had
changed in the
last 42 years,
Martin thought.
He?d started off
as a trainee porter at King?s
Road Auctions; now he was
fifty-nine years old and their
most senior auctioneer.
He?d never have dreamed
of appearing on TV, let
alone having a starring role
in ?Trash Or Treasure?.
He surveyed the crowded
hall, usually home to
conferences and weddings.
King?s Road couldn?t have
afforded to hire such a big
venue. They carried out
valuations in people?s
homes or on site.
When the programme
idea had been proposed,
he?d wondered if enough
people would come to the
valuation day, but he
needn?t have worried.
Thanks to the presence of
the television crew, the
place was buzzing. There
were lights and cameras
everywhere as technicians
and lighting people scurried
hither and thither.
When he?d first joined
King?s Road at the age of
seventeen, the internet
hadn?t been invented and
there were no mobile
phones. The only television
programme that had
mentioned auctions was the
?Antiques Roadshow?.
Nowadays collectibles
were all over the television
channels, so everyone knew
something about them. Or
thought they did.
Many auctioneers hated
programmes like ?Flog It!?
and ?Bargain Hunt?, but
Martin rather liked them.
He?d spent over 40 years in
the trade and was aware he
still knew very little. The
subject was so large, and
getting bigger all the time.
He smiled ruefully. Who
would ever have imagined
that any furniture from the
Seventies would be worth
anything? Some of it was
already very collectible.
Many things hadn?t
changed. King?s Road still
bore the same look: tired
and a little shabby. Other
auction houses had
modernised, showing each
lot on big screens, but
King?s Road still looked the
same as it had when he?d
first joined.
As the years passed and
he gained experience, he?d
had plenty of opportunities
to move, including an offer
from one of the big names,
based in London, but his
heart belonged in Devon.
He?d never get to bring
the gavel down on a Van
Gogh worth millions of
pounds, but he had no
complaints.
By the time he finished
his coffee and headed back
to his post, the queue had
doubled in length. He
needn?t have worried about
the turnout. The large hall
was practically bursting at
the seams.
?What do you have for
me today?? he asked the
next couple as they
emptied the contents of a
carrier bag on to the table.
The man, who Martin
guessed was in his sixties,
glanced at his wife.
?We weren?t sure about
getting rid of any of these,
were we, Iris? But . . .? His
SERIAL BY LINDA LEWIS: PART 1 OF 3
shrug said it all.
That they were tight for
money was clear from their
clothes; good quality but
well worn.
As each item appeared,
Martin?s smile grew
strained. So far, they?d be
lucky to get five pounds for
the lot. Then he saw
something that made his
smile real. A puppet.
?This is interesting. Do
you still have the box??
The woman shook her
head.
?Not for this one.?
?We do for some of the
others,? the man said.
?They belong to our
granddaughter, Katie.?
Martin turned the puppet
over and inspected it. It
was a dog, wearing a frock
and a green cap.
?This is a Pelham puppet.
They were very popular in
the Fifties and Sixties.
Many children had them,
me included. I used to put
on plays for my parents.?
Martin smiled at the
memory. His plays had
mostly involved lost dogs or
visits to his favourite place
? the zoo ? but his parents
had never complained.
?There were lots of
different kinds, some more
popular than others. The
older wooden puppets are
usually worth more. The
later ones have more plastic
parts and were produced in
their thousands.?
?Does that mean they?re
worthless?? the woman
asked.
?It?s all about the
condition and the rarity.?
Martin picked up the dog
again. ?Take this little
dachshund. It could fetch a
hundred pounds at auction.
He?d be worth more if he
hadn?t been played with.
?The top collectors want
puppets that look as though
they?ve never been taken
out of their boxes.?
?I can?t see the point of
that,? Frank said. ?They?re
toys. Toys are meant to be
played with.?
?I agree,? Martin said.
?You?d think they?d be
worth more if they?ve been
loved.?
He put the dog down and
picked up the second
puppet, a black and white
cat.
?This one, even with its
original box, would only be
worth, say, twenty pounds.?
He noticed the couple
exchange glances. ?How
many puppets do you
have??
?A dozen at least.
Possibly more.?
Martin made a note on
his pad.
?They?d make a great
spot on the show. Would
you be happy to be
filmed??
Iris looked at her
husband, who nodded.
?We?d love that. We?re
huge fans of the show.?
?Great. If you can come
back later with some of the
others, we?ll do the filming
then.? Martin explained
how it would work. ?You
need to pretend we?ve
never met and that you
didn?t know what the
puppets were worth.?
He felt a warm glow as
the couple walked away,
their heads close together
as they talked about being
on the telly. Giving people
good news was one of the
reasons he loved his job.
The next 20 people
brought no real surprises.
Cheap vases; ornaments
that had been mass
produced in China; rings
that were only worth scrap
value. When he checked his
watch, it was ten past one.
He could take his lunch now
or do one more.
Before he reached a
decision the next person in
the queue, a smartly
dressed woman somewhere
in her fifties, he guessed,
had already sat down.
She unwrapped a small
watercolour and placed it
on the table.
* * * *
Ben walked over to a man
struggling to get an ornate
table through the door.
?Let me give you a hand
with that.?
He was enjoying himself.
He had only taken the
junior porter?s job because
his mother had been giving
him a hard time, but it was
working out well.
The days before an
auction flew by as a
constant stream of items
came through the door.
Everything needed to be
logged in, checked,
inspected and valued, if it
hadn?t already been. Then
everything needed to be
sorted and put on display.
It was hard work, but Ben
enjoyed it so much, it
hardly felt like working.
It was the auction days
Ben loved best. There was
something about the
atmosphere as the
auctioneer took the stand.
As the bids rose in value
you could feel the tension,
even when the final sale
price was less than �0.
Martin, the lead
auctioneer, was so good at
his job he never missed a
29
birthdays and Christmas
before eventually dwindling
away to nothing. Now they
hadn?t heard a word from
him for three years.
Frank sighed. Katie?s
father didn?t even know
that his ex-wife had died
and that Katie had moved
in with them. They?d tried
to find him, but he?d
moved so many times, it
had proved impossible.
If he were honest, Frank
was almost happy about
that ? he?d never liked the
man. But Iris saw the good
in everyone, which was just
Katie wasn?t bad, but since she?d
turned sixteen things had changed
bid. It was a job Ben
dreamed of doing, but it
would take years before
he?d have a chance to make
that dream come true.
OK, it wasn?t Sotheby?s.
The local dealers sifted the
valuable items out before
bringing anything to King?s
Road. But they didn?t
always spot everything. Ben
had already picked up a lot
of knowledge as well as the
odd bargain.
Today, he was in the town
hall, helping the public
carry in their valuables.
There were TV cameras
everywhere. He?d already
been filmed a couple of
times, helping people with
larger items.
He grinned. Mum was
going to love watching him
on TV.
* * * *
?We need to speak to
Katie about the puppets,?
Frank said. ?I?ll get the rest
of them down and make
some tea. Hopefully, she?ll
be back before we need to
return to the hall.?
?Thanks, love,? Iris
replied as she sank into her
favourite chair.
Frank knew she worried
about their granddaughter.
Katie wasn?t a bad kid, but
since she?d turned sixteen
things had changed. She
talked about leaving school
at the end of the term, with
no idea of what she wanted
to do.
She?d been ten when her
father had packed his bags
and left. At first he?d kept
in touch, then it was just
one of the many reasons he
loved her so much.
The front door slammed
and familiar footsteps
clumped up the stairs.
Not even a greeting,
Frank thought. He nodded
towards the hallway.
?Katie?s home. Do you
think she got the job??
Iris shook her head.
?I shouldn?t think so. I
mean, I love her to bits, but
would you employ her??
Frank didn?t reply. Katie
seemed to go out of her
way to look unappealing. It
wasn?t just the piercings;
her clothes were a
mismatch of styles and
almost always black.
But it was the sullen look
on her face that he found
most distressing.
?I wish she?d make more
of an effort,? Iris said at
last. ?She?s got a good
brain. She could go to
college; do something.
There are so many
opportunities these days. I
hate to watch her wasting
her life.?
Frank sat beside Iris and
slipped an arm round her
shoulders.
?Try not to fret. It?ll turn
out all right in the end.?
Now wasn?t the time to
tell Iris his suspicions. The
odd fiver here, a ten-pound
note there. Unless he was
very much mistaken, Katie
was stealing money.
* * * *
Martin recognised the
style immediately. He
picked the painting up,
checked the signature,
30
then sat back and
smiled.
?Is it valuable?? the
woman asked eagerly, then
reddened. ?Sorry. I?m
Rachel Matthews. My sister
married an American eight
years ago and moved to
Chicago. I?d love to visit
her, then spend a couple of
days in New York.?
She looked at Martin.
?Do you know who it?s
by??
?Yes. Alfred William
Hunt. As it happens, I?m a
big fan of his work.?
?He?s famous??
?He?s one of many very
good Victorian landscape
painters. He was associated
with the Pre-Raphaelites for
a while.?
?You mean Rossetti,
Millais, Holman Hunt? I
love their paintings.?
?Me, too. Sadly, they?re
out of my league.? He
tapped the frame of the
painting. ?But his work I
can afford. I have two of his
paintings at home. If you
ask me, he?s underrated.?
He pointed out the detail in
the trees. ?Just look at the
vibrancy of his colours.?
Rachel nodded.
?How much would it fetch
if I decided to sell it??
?Two or three hundred
pounds. More if you?re
lucky.?
Rachel?s smile faded but
returned quickly.
?Oh, well, I guess that?s
America out. I?ll go to the
Isle of Wight instead.?
When she laughed, the
sound was so infectious,
Martin laughed, too.
?The problem is, I?m not
sure I want to sell it.? She
lowered her voice. ?I didn?t
come here hoping to get on
the TV. I just wanted to find
out if it was valuable.?
?It?s up to you. If you
want to sell it, bring it into
the auction rooms some
time next week, but before
you decide, you might want
to consider this.
?If the painting is
featured on the show, it?s
likely to get a better price,
thanks to all the publicity.?
He paused. ?Shall we go
ahead and get them to film
us, just in case??
?Why not?? she said at
last.
Martin signalled to one of
the camera crews.
?We?ve something here.?
As they got into position,
she held out her hand.
?Did I tell you my name?
It?s Rachel Matthews.?
?I?m Martin Lane, and I?m
very pleased to meet you.?
* * * *
Rachel thought about
Martin as she made her
way home. It had been a
while since a man had made
her laugh. Too long.
There was something
about him ? his warm grey
eyes, his obvious love of
antiques, his relaxed way
with people, even the
stroppy ones. He was the
kind of man she . . .
You?re being silly, she
told herself as she turned
the key and went inside her
house. For all you know,
he?s married.
She put the painting back
in its spot over the
fireplace. The room would
look bare without it, but
she?d made up her mind to
let it go.
It had been a gift from a
man she?d once loved. It
was all she had to remind
her of the time they?d spent
together, but it was time to
let go of the past.
It was a shame that
selling it wouldn?t make
enough to afford to go to
America to see her sister.
Still, at least she could
have a break. Having spent
the best part of her life
looking after her parents, it
would be nice to be able to
do something for herself.
The phone rang, making
her jump. It would be her
sister, Julie, calling from
America.
Rachel had expected the
calls to dwindle after their
parents had died. Their
relationship had suffered
when Julie had emigrated
just as their parents
became frail, but now the
sisters had become closer
again, almost as close as
when they were small.
?Hi, Rachel! How?s
tricks??
Julie started every phone
call that way.
?Fine, thanks. Better than
fine,? she added. ?I might
be going on TV.?
Julie gasped.
?You?re kidding me!?
Rachel smiled. It wasn?t
often she was able to
surprise anyone, least of all
her sister.
?I?m not.? She told Julie
about the valuation day. ?I
took my painting along. The
one that David gave me.?
?The landscape? It can?t
be worth much, can it?
David was hardly known for
his generosity.?
Rachel might have argued
with her, only she was right.
?It?s no Picasso, but the
auctioneer thinks it might
fetch two to three hundred
pounds. Apparently it?s by
a Victorian artist called
Alfred Hunt.?
?Who??
Rachel laughed.
?I?d not heard of him
either. Apparently he?s a
well-regarded landscape
artist.?
She explained how they?d
had to replay the valuation
scene for the benefit of the
television cameras.
?I?d to pretend we?d only
just met so that it looked
genuine. Martin was great
at settling my nerves.?
?I?m impressed,? Julie
said. ?I hope they show the
programme over here.?
?Don?t worry about that!?
Rachel chuckled. ?I?ll be
recording it.?
?When will it be on??
?Not for a couple of
months, at least. After the
auction. Martin says ??
?Who?s this Martin you
keep mentioning?? Julie cut
in. ?Is he a new boyfriend?
If so, why don?t I know
about him??
?He?s the auctioneer. He
asked me to go to the
auction because the TV
cameras will be there. If the
painting features on the
programme, it might attract
more bids. I?m looking
forward to it. I?ve never
been to an auction before.?
?Nor me. I?d be terrified
in case I ended up buying
something. You hear stories
of people accidentally
buying Ming vases!?
Rachel chuckled.
?They don?t get many of
them at King?s Road. It?s
what they call a general
auction house. Some lots
sell for as little as ten
pounds. Martin?s promised
to show me the ropes.?
?What?s he like??
Rachel thought before
answering.
?He?s about the same age
as me. A little under six feet
tall with brown hair that
curls at the ends, soft grey
eyes and a lovely smile.?
?He sounds nice,? Julie
said approvingly. ?Any
chance of, well, you know??
?No. At least, I shouldn?t
think so.? Despite herself,
Rachel couldn?t help feeling
a little flustered by her
sister?s question. ?For all I
know, he?s married. We got
on well, that?s all.?
But she wouldn?t
complain if he asked her
out.
They chatted for half an
hour before Julie said she
had to go.
?Will you be coming to
England soon? I?d love to
see you,? Rachel said. ?It?s
been such a long time.?
?I?d love that, but Jack?s
so busy at the moment.
You know you?re always
welcome to come to us.?
?I?m working on it, I
promise.?
The trouble was, due to
some kind of hitch, probate
on their mother?s will
hadn?t been settled yet,
which meant Rachel was
living on her income from a
part-time job at the
supermarket. She?d hoped
the painting might provide
more of a windfall.
?You never know, my
painting might be worth
more than Martin thinks.?
* * * *
Once the public and the
television crews had gone
home, the real work
started. For the next couple
of days, Martin was kept
busy as a steady stream of
people delivered their items
to the auction house, ready
for the next sale.
There were quite a few
new clients, people who?d
never been to an auction
house before but had been
tempted by the valuation
day. They needed to be
registered so that they
could be allocated a card
with a unique number
printed on it.
That number would be
used to identify them if
they wanted to bid at one
of King?s Road?s auctions.
Most clients were
regulars, including the local
house-clearance firms.
Martin always enjoyed
booking in their lots as
33
he was never sure what
they might turn up with.
His favourites were the
boxes of mixed bits and
pieces pulled out of
forgotten lofts and
cupboards. They could
contain anything from a
gold bracelet to tablecloths,
from tin-plate toys to
mittens and gloves.
This time, the contents of
a local shoe shop that had
recently gone out of
business were also being
added to the auction. The
lots from the valuation day
that were to be filmed for
possible use in the TV show
were gathered into one
area and would form a
separate part of the
auction.
?I?m glad the worst is
over,? Martin said as he
and Ben shared a pot of
tea once the rush had
finally died down.
Ben smiled.
?What?s wrong? You?ve
been a bit flat since the
valuation day.?
He paused, his eyes
teasing.
?I saw you with that nice
woman who brought the
painting in. Got a thing for
her, have you??
Martin got to his feet.
?Don?t be daft. I?m
fifty-nine, not nineteen.? He
took a last swig of tea.
?Right, that?s me done.
Time to get back to work.?
He?d only just returned to
the desk when Rachel came
through the door, making
him catch his breath. She
really did have the most
captivating smile.
?I?m not too late, am I?
Only I?ve decided to sell the
painting.?
As she handed it to
Martin their fingers
brushed, setting his senses
on edge.
?Are you sure you?re
happy to sell? The thing
about general auctions like
this one is that you never
know what will happen. This
little picture could make
three hundred pounds, but
it might only make fifty.?
?I see.?
He couldn?t miss the
disappointment in her voice
and guessed she might be
having second thoughts
about selling.
?If that worries you, you
could always put a reserve
on it. Then, if there aren?t
enough bids, you can take
it home again.?
Rachel shook her head.
?I wouldn?t want that to
happen. Not now I?ve made
up my mind to sell it.?
?I?ll tell you what,? Martin
told her. ?I?m chief
auctioneer. Why don?t you
leave it to me? If it?s not
getting the bids, I?ll
withdraw it and put it in the
next sale.
?That will give you a bit
more time to decide
whether you want to let it
go cheaply or hang on to it
instead. Auctioneer?s
discretion.?
?That?s very kind.?
?Right,? he said. ?I?ll need
your details.?
He took a form and put it
on the counter. She pulled
out a pen and filled in the
form.
Martin checked it then
issued her with a number.
?Now you can make a bid
and the auctioneer will
know who you are.?
?Thanks, but I?m not even
sure I?m coming,? she said.
Time seemed to stand still
as Martin struggled to find
the words he wanted to
say. If he didn?t do or say
something, and soon, she?d
be gone. He might never
see her again.
By the way his heart was
pounding, and if he hadn?t
known better, he might
have thought young Ben
was right and he was falling
for Rachel. But that wasn?t
possible, was it? They?d
only just met!
The truth was, he hadn?t
stopped thinking about her
since the valuation day.
He did want to get to
know her better. All he had
to do was ask her out, for a
meal or even just a coffee,
but the words refused to
leave his throat.
Do it now. Don?t wait
until the auction. You?ll be
too busy then, he thought
to himself.
She turned and walked
away.
Too late.
* * * *
Frank brought the
suitcase full of puppets
downstairs and spread
them out on the table. It
had been so long since he?d
seen them, he?d forgotten
about most of them.
Katie?s father, Peter, had
given her the first one ? an
old, tired-looking witch ? for
her seventh birthday. She?d
played with it for hours.
That gift was such a
success he?d bought her
another one ? a scarylooking black cat ? for
Christmas.
After that, he?d continued
giving her puppets, even
after she?d stopped playing
with them.
A few of the earlier ones,
including the witch, had
fallen apart from being
played with so often, but
there were still twelve in
good condition, most with
their original boxes.
?Do you remember the
plays Katie used to put
on?? Frank asked.
Iris nodded.
?She?d put on strange
voices and pull such funny
faces.? She smiled at the
memory. ?It?s a shame
children have to grow up.
?She hasn?t played with
them for ages. Can you
remember the last time she
even looked at them??
Frank shook his head.
Not since her father
walked out, he thought.
?We?ll have to ask her if
it?s OK for us to sell them.
Do you think she?ll mind us
getting rid of them??
?Getting rid of what??
Katie demanded. She?d
managed to come home
without them hearing her.
She spotted the puppets
on the table and ran over
to them, scooping them into
an untidy heap.
?What are you doing with
my puppets? You can?t get
rid of these. They?re mine!?
?We were thinking about
selling some of them at
auction. We were going to
ask you first,? Frank
explained.
?We took a couple to the
valuation day at the Town
Hall to see if they were
worth anything,? Iris added
quickly.
?How much are they
worth? Did they say??
Frank noticed that his
granddaughter?s attitude
had changed as soon as she
realised the puppets might
be worth something.
?Apparently, it varies
from puppet to puppet.?
He picked up the cat in
one hand and the
dachshund in the other.
?This one might fetch
fifteen or twenty pounds,
but the dog might go as
high as a hundred pounds,
possibly more.?
Katie ran her hand over
the pile of puppets.
?My dad gave me these,?
she whispered.
?We know, sweetheart,
and if you want to keep
them, that?s fine,? Iris said,
?but . . .?
?What your grandmother
is trying to say is that
money is tight. The truth is,
we?re struggling. The
boiler?s getting old and
we?re almost at the point
where it can?t be repaired.
?If we sold some of the
puppets, the money would
go towards getting it
replaced.? Frank paused.
?What do you say? You
haven?t even looked at
those puppets for years.?
Iris gave him a look.
Frank knew she didn?t
approve of his bluntness,
but sometimes the truth
needed saying.
He loved his
granddaughter every bit as
much as Iris did, but he was
worried about her. He
hated to see people he
cared about wasting their
lives.
He swallowed. Sometimes
Katie reminded him so
strongly of her mother, it
broke his heart. She?d had
a stubborn streak, too.
He watched as Katie
slowly sorted the puppets
into three piles.
When she?d finished, she
turned to her grandparents.
?These, I want to keep.
I?ll look up the dachshund
and the clown on eBay
before I decide what to do
with them. You can sell
those and put the money
towards the boiler.? She
picked up the first pile and
headed for the door.
Frank thanked her. Katie
wasn?t a bad kid. Once
she?d gone upstairs, they
probably wouldn?t see her
again for hours.
He sighed and went to
fetch the newspaper, which
had just thudded on to the
mat. After flicking through
it, he passed it to Iris.
?Look, that?s us.
We?re in the news.?
A reporter had done a
Coronilla glauca ?Citrina?
Evergreen, scented, compact winter shrub
Buy 2
and save
�99
PLEASE SEND ORDER & PAYMENT TO: Gardening Offer, Dept TDC508Z,
PO BOX 162, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3BX
Title ............ Initial ............ Surname..............................................................................
Address ..........................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................Postcode....................................................
Telephone ......................................................................................................................
Email Address.................................................................................................................
CODE
T74420
T74421P
T56850P
T59095P
T47551
T47552
DESCRIPTION
Coronilla glauca 'Citrina' x 1
Coronilla glauca 'Citrina' x 2
Large Patio Pot & Saucer x 1
Large Patio Pot & Saucer x 2
incredibloom x 1 100g Pack
incredibloom x 1 750g Pack
PRICE
�.99
�.99
�99
�.99
�99
�.99
QTY
P&P
TOTAL
�
�
�
�
�
�
�95
Total
�
Payment Details:
I enclose a cheque for �.......................................... Made payable to Thompson & Morgan and with
my name and address on the back.
Or charge my Visa / Mastercard / Maestro
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From time to time DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., its group companies and its partner businesses would like to contact customers to
manage their account, for market research purposes and about new products, services and offers we think will be of interest.
We?ll assume that we can contact you by e-mail, post or telephone unless you tick the relevant box. No contact from DC Thomson
& Co. Ltd., or its group companies unless it relates to an existing order q No contact from our partner businesses q Offer subject
to availability and to UK readers only. Offer closes 14th October 2017. Please note that your contract of supply is with Thompson
& Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich IP8 3BU, company reg. no. ? 358372. Terms & conditions are available upon request. All offers
are subject to availability. Plants despatched from October 2017. Please note that we cannot deliver this product to the following
postcode areas: GY, HS, IV41-IV56, KW15-KW17, PA34, PA41-48, PA60-PA78, PA80, PH40-PH44, TR21-TR24, ZE1-ZE3.
TDC508Z
Coronilla ?Citrina? will light up the garden in winter with an
abundance of lemon-yellow pea-like blooms that just keep
coming. This hardy, easy to grow shrub will flower from December
to April making it a hard-working addition to the garden scene and
providing much needed winter colour.
Hardy Coronilla ?Citrina? shows off it?s sweet-scented blooms
against unusual blue-green foliage and is a versatile shrub for
almost any garden situation, performing particularly well in exposed
locations and coastal areas. A compact, rounded habit makes this
tough little performer ideal for patio containers where you can
really appreciate the scent and pretty petite blooms. Alternatively,
why not train it as a wall shrub for a spectacular upright display.
Height and spread: 100cm (39?). Supplied as a 9cm potted plant.
Buy 1 for �.99
Buy 2 for �.99 Was �.98
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Gardening Offer,
Dept TDC508Z, PO Box 162,
Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3BX.
two-page spread all
about the valuation day
and the forthcoming
auction.
The biggest picture
showed a watercolour by
an artist Frank had never
heard of, but there, in the
bottom left, was a photo of
him and Iris sitting with the
auctioneer as he held the
dachshund puppet in his
hand.
?Fame at last,? Frank
said with a smile.
* * * *
Ben liked viewing days.
The hard work of sorting
and arranging the lots was
done, but it was still busy
enough that he didn?t get
bored. His number one
priority was to keep an eye
on everyone.
?Some people have sticky
fingers,? Martin had told
him on his first day. ?Things
go missing despite the
security cameras.?
Thanks to the TV
programme and the extra
publicity, a lot more people
than usual were turning up.
If they were new
customers they had to be
registered and issued with a
bidding number. Some had
never been to an auction
house before so Ben told
them how it worked.
?So if I scratch my head I
won?t get lumbered with
ten pairs of wellingtons??
one man joked.
Ben smiled.
?No. The auctioneer
won?t take a bid unless you
wave your bidding number
in the air.?
The TV cameras were only
coming for an hour later in
the day, but the auction
house had kept that piece
of information to
themselves. If they hadn?t,
everyone would have come
to view at the same time.
The day was flying past,
just the way Ben liked it. It
seemed like no time at all
before Carol, the lady who
worked in the office, tapped
his shoulder.
?I?ll take over while you
have your break.?
?Cheers.?
He went outside, ate his
sandwich in record time,
then hurried back inside.
He enjoyed watching people
as they inspected the lots,
searching for something
valuable that had been
missed.
He?d been working there
for nearly a year now and
knew all the regulars. Some
people came along every
fortnight to browse, but
never actually bought
anything at the sales; then
there were the people in the
trade, hoping to snap up a
bargain and sell it on at a
huge profit.
There were also a number
of experts who only looked
at the silver or the
ceramics, as well as young
couples looking to furnish a
new home on the cheap.
The puppets were getting
a lot of attention, Ben
noticed, which was hardly
surprising as they were such
a mixed bunch.
He guessed that many
people might have had
Pelham puppets when they
were children and were
enjoying a nostalgic wallow.
Then he spotted Katie.
He?d noticed her when
she?d registered at
reception. She was one of
the few people there who
was close to his own age.
He remembered thinking
how pretty she would have
looked without that frown
on her face.
But it wasn?t her face that
had grabbed his attention
now. There was something
else that set off his radar
? the way she kept coming
back to the same spot; the
way she kept glancing
about her.
Ben started to shadow
her, taking care that she
didn?t notice him.
Before long his suspicions
were confirmed as, in one
swift movement, she took a
piece of jewellery from a
large box and slipped it into
her pocket, before moving
on to the next box.
Ben sighed. The auction
house had a strict policy. If
anyone was caught stealing
the police were called.
He strode up to her and
put his hand on her arm.
?Excuse me, miss. I need
a word.?
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
The
Farmer
& His
Wife
No cheese
before bedtime
for John Taylor!
I
MET Jack today. He was
looking drawn.
?Has Alice said anything
about him being ill?? I asked
Anne.
?Not a thing,? Anne replied.
?He?s probably just tired. They
never go to bed till after
midnight ? they sit and watch
the telly.?
Jack, I suppose, gets up at
6.30 every morning, like me.
How anyone can survive on six
hours? sleep I can?t imagine.
Anne goes to bed about half
past nine, just after the news. If
we?re still up at ten o?clock, it?s
a late night for us.
The other evening, a fellow
farmer dropped in on his way
home from the local pub. We
were just about to hit the stairs.
I went to the door, saw
Calum ? and the state he was
in!
?Come in, Calum,? I said and
he swayed his way up the hall.
?Anne, Calum would like a
black coffee ? very black!?
Anne made him a beef
sandwich and rang his wife to
tell her where he was and that I
would run him home.
I was happy to do so, but it
meant I didn?t get to bed till
eleven o?clock. Anne was in
bed fast asleep with the light
still on. I?ll be honest, I didn?t
feel like getting up at 6.30 the
next morning.
I like my sleep. Anne says I
snore, but that?s only if I?m lying
on my back and have eaten a
cheese sandwich before
retiring.
Anne has tried to get me out
of this habit. She now makes a
thick oatmeal porridge which I
enjoy with a drop of cream. I
think I sleep better than I do
after a cheese sandwich.
We have a firm bed, bought,
according to Anne, from
Blindcraft in Dundee. It?s a bit
too firm for my liking. Isn?t there
a happy medium?
Many years ago we went to a
wedding in Kirkby Lonsdale. We
stayed in a hotel where the
bed was an old-fashioned one
with a wire base and a feather
mattress. Anne and I both fell
into the middle. However we
tried, we couldn?t sleep in our
own halves.
The next morning I asked
who the owner of the hotel
was. I wrote to him and got a
reply. Some time later, when
we returned to that same hotel
for another cousin?s wedding,
we were given the Royal Suite.
At home, Anne sleeps on the
left side, that is if you?re
standing at the bottom of the
bed looking up to the head. I
sleep on the right, the window
side.
Any time we?re away, we
have to go through the ritual of
standing at the bottom and
working out which side is
whose.
We got it wrong one night
and it took us about half an
hour to work out why we
couldn?t get to sleep! n
More
next
week
Frutti
Tutti
Freeze-dried
raspberries
can be found
in Waitrose,
Sainsbury?s and
online.
Raspberry Coconut Energy Balls
Course: Snack Skill level: easy
Makes: 20 energy balls
? 100 g (3� oz) coconut flakes
? 50 g (1� oz) unblanched
almonds
? 10 medjool dates, pitted
? 225 g (8 oz) Dole� frozen
raspberries
? 3 heaped tbs almond butter
? 40 g (1� oz) desiccated coconut
? 2 tbs freeze-dried raspberries
1 Place the coconut flakes and almonds
in a food processor and blitz until
chopped. Add the dates and blitz until
www.dole.eu.
these are chopped, too. Add the frozen
raspberries and almond butter and
then pulse until the mixture is finely
chopped and sticking together.
2 Divide the mixture into 20 then roll
the mixture between wet hands to
make balls.
3 Mix the desiccated coconut and
raspberry together in a shallow bowl
and roll each ball in the mixture until
coated.
4 Place the balls in a plastic container
lined with baking parchment and leave
to firm in the fridge for an hour before
eating. Once made, store in the fridge
for up to 1 week.
Citrus, tropical,
berries and tree
fruit combine in
our deliciously
easy recipes.
COOKERY 37
www.lovecannedfood.com.
Peach Slice Pancakes
Course: Breakfast or dessert
Skill level: easy Serves: 4
? 1 x 415 g can of peaches
sliced in juice
? 1 tsp maple syrup
? Icing sugar to dust
For the Pancakes:
? 135 g (4� oz) plain flour
? 1 tsp baking powder
? � tsp salt
? 2 tbs caster sugar
? 130 ml (4� fl oz) milk
? 1 large egg, beaten
? 2 tbs melted butter
? Vegetable oil, for frying
1 With an electric hand blender,
whisk all the pancake ingredients
together until smooth. It should
be a thick mixture.
2 Heat a little vegetable oil in a
non-stick frying-pan.
3 Drop dessert spoons of the
mixture into the frying-pan. Don?t
overcrowd the pan so you can
turn the pancakes easily.
4 When the pancakes start to
bubble on top, flip them over to
cook the other side. Both sides
should be golden brown. Keep
them warm while you cook the
rest of the mixture.
5 To serve, place some
pancakes on each person?s
plate and top with the peaches,
lashings of maple syrup and a
dusting of icing sugar.
Easy Acai Breakfast Bowl
Course: Breakfast
Skill level: easy Serves: 4
? 300 g (10� oz) Dole�
frozen tropical mix
fruit
? 200 ml (7 fl oz)
coconut water
? 2 tbs freeze-dried acai
berry powder
? 2 tbs golden linseed
(flax seeds)
? 1 small ripe banana
To Serve: extra fruit;
toasted coconut flakes;
Cook?s tip:
drizzle over
some kirsch or
cherry brandy
before cooking
if you fancy.
www.jubileestrawberries.co.uk.
www.dole.eu.
chia seeds; linseed;
whole almonds, flaked;
pumpkin seeds.
1 Place the frozen fruit in a
blender with the coconut
water, acai powder,
flax seeds and
You can
banana. Blend
buy acai berry
until smooth.
powder from
2 Divide
branches of
between 4
Holland &
small bowls and
Barrett
and
serve topped
online.
with your choice of
toppings.
Strawberry, Lime and
Marzipan Croutes
Course: Dessert or sweet treat
Skill level: easy Serves: 6
? 6 slices of brioche, or
use brioche buns and
slice open
? 175 g (6 oz) marzipan,
grated
? 300 g (10� oz)
Jubilee Selections
by Driscoll?s�
strawberries, hulled
and sliced
? 1 lime, halved
? Sprinkle of sugar
(optional)
? Handful of flaked
almonds
? Icing sugar to dust
To Serve: cr鑝e fra頲he or
Greek yoghurt.
1 Pre-heat oven to 190 deg. C.,
375 deg. F., Gas Mark 5.
2 Place the brioche on a baking
sheet then scatter over the
marzipan evenly.
3 Divide the strawberries
between each one, squeeze
over the lime juice, then sprinkle
with sugar, if using, and almonds.
4 Bake in the pre-heated oven
for about 20 to 25 minutes or
until the brioche is golden and
the topping is bubbling. Remove
and dust with icing sugar and
serve with a dollop of cr鑝e
fra頲he or Greek yoghurt.
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.
Strawberry Crumble
Course: Dessert
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4 large ramekins
? 1 x 400 g punnet
Jubilee Selections
by Driscoll?s�
strawberries, hulled
and chopped roughly
(reserve a whole
strawberry to slice for
decoration)
? Zest of � lemon and
juice of 1
? Small handful of
flaked almonds or
pecans, chopped
(optional)
? Icing sugar, for dusting
For the Crumble Topping:
? 125 g (4� oz) plain
flour
? 50 g (1� oz) butter,
diced
? 50 g (1� oz) golden
caster sugar
To Serve: icing sugar;
vanilla ice-cream or
cream.
1 Pre-heat the oven to
190 deg. C., 375 deg. F.,
Gas Mark 5.
2 To make the crumble
topping, add the flour into
a bowl then add the butter
and rub it in using your
fingertips; don?t rub it in
as finely as you would for
pastry as you need it a little
lumpy to create a crispy
topping. Stir through the
sugar and put to one side.
3 Mix the strawberries
with the lemon then divide
between the ramekins.
Scatter over the crumble
mixture to cover each one.
4 Sit the ramekins on a
baking tray and put in the
oven to bake for about
30 minutes until bubbling
and golden. Scatter over
the nuts, if using, for the
last 5 minutes of cooking.
5 Remove from oven
and dust with icing sugar.
Decorate each with a slice
of strawberry and serve hot
with ice-cream or cream.
Pink and Delicious
Baked Apples
Course: Dessert
Skill level: easy Serves: 4
? 30 g (1 oz) butter,
softened
? 2 South African Pink
Lady apples
? 2 South African
Golden Delicious
apples
? 50 g (1� oz) ground
almonds
? 30 g (1 oz) light
muscovado sugar
? 2 tbs sultanas
? 1 large orange, finely
grated zest and juice
To Serve: vanilla icecream or single cream.
1 Pre-heat the oven to
180 deg. C., 350 deg. F.,
Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking
dish with a knob of the butter.
2 Using
www.jubileestrawberries.co.uk.
If you can?t
fit all the filling
into the apples, just
add it to the baking
dish 5 minutes
before the end of
cooking time.
a sharp
knife, score
around the
middle of
each apple ? like
an equator running
around the earth. Remove the
cores with an apple corer or a
sharp knife. Stand the apples
in the prepared baking dish.
3 Mix the remaining butter
with the ground almonds,
sugar, sultanas and orange
zest. Spoon into the cored
apples, and pour the orange
juice on top.
4 Bake the apples in the preheated oven for 20 to
25 minutes, until the flesh is
soft ? check with the tip of a
sharp knife to see if they are
tender. Cool for a few minutes
and serve with vanilla icecream or single cream.
Next week: quick and easy pork
dishes.
http://beautifulcountrybeautifulfruit.com.
For more delicious recipes visit our website:
www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
Photographs courtesy of Riding for the Disabled.
Thanks for
everything, Flyer.
Turning Point For
Toffee
Making the grade as an RDA pony isn?t
easy, as our trainee discovers . . .
Flyer loves his
work at RDA.
A
T RIDING for the Disabled
Association, finding the right
horses and ponies for the
charity?s 500 groups around
the UK can be a real
challenge.
We?ve been following the exploits
of new recruit Toffee at Cotswold RDA
in Gloucestershire. Cheeky Toffee has
been put through his paces in
lessons, competitions, proficiency
tests and more.
Unfortunately, as the weeks went
on, Toffee?s trainers started to feel he
just wasn?t happy with his job as an
RDA pony.
It takes a lot to make the grade and
help disabled children achieve their
goals, and if things aren?t working out
sometimes tough decisions have to
be made.
One of the situations almost all
RDA horses have to be comfortable
with is sidewalking. This is when a
volunteer walks alongside the rider if
they are a novice or might need extra
support during the lesson. Some
riders will have a sidewalker on both
sides.
?Horses are ?fight or flight? animals
who are naturally wary of being
approached or followed,? RDA Coach
Heather explains. ?They have to learn
to be comfortable with people around
them at close quarters, and some
don?t like it at all.?
Despite gentle encouragement,
Toffee just found this part of his work
very unsettling.
Equine welfare is of paramount
importance at RDA, and when a pony
isn?t happy in their work it isn?t fair to
make them carry on.
So with heavy hearts, Toffee?s
trainers decided not to continue with
his training and to let him go back
home to his family.
?It was a really difficult decision,
because he has achieved so much
this year, but we knew we weren?t
able to give him what he needed,?
Heather explains.
?We?ll miss his funny little ways; his
habit of escaping at every opportunity
and most of all his adorable face!?
Since then, the group have been
trying to find a replacement ?cheeky
chappie? for their younger riders.
There have been a few likely
candidates but so far none as
promising as Toffee.
So what does it take to become the
perfect RDA pony? It?s time to
introduce Flyer.
Flyer is an eight-year-old Welsh
Section B. That means he?s the same
breed of pony as Toffee but a little
bigger (13.1 hh). He joined Cotswold
RDA in February 2015, and although
he?s a lively young chap he?s already
settled well into RDA life.
?He?s my favourite,? Yard Manager
Debbie confesses. ?He?s stunning,
HELPING OTHERS 41
RDA Horse Of The Year
intelligent, forward going and fun to
ride.?
Good temperament is vital in RDA
horses ? but that doesn?t mean they
should be old, slow plodders. RDA
needs healthy, fit and active horses
because the work isn?t always easy,
and as Toffee discovered, they need to
be good at learning new things. Flyer
is a quick learner and he loves his
work.
?He really enjoys a challenge, and
because he?s got quite an active walk
he provides a really good riding
experience for the kids,? Debbie
explains.
Around the stables he displays good
manners, gets on well with the other
horses and is quite a sociable little
pony. Like Toffee, Flyer has his fair
share of personality and likes nothing
better than a roll and a buck at
playtime ? or pulling a funny face!
So although it has been an upheaval
having to say goodbye to Toffee, life
goes on at Cotswold RDA, where a
new school term will bring new riders,
new things to learn and achieve ? and
many more adventures for Flyer and
his friends. n
Next time: find out how RDA pony
Flyer helps to train the volunteers.
All About RDA
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) enriches the lives of people
with disabilities through horse riding and carriage driving. Through a
network of around 500 volunteer groups throughout the UK, RDA provides
opportunities for therapy, achievement and enjoyment, improving health,
wellbeing and self-confidence, and benefiting mobility and co-ordination.
? 25,000 disabled adults and children benefit from riding or carriage
driving with RDA
? RDA is supported by 18,000 dedicated volunteers
? RDA has 500 volunteer groups all over the UK
? 3,500 horses and ponies are involved in RDA activities
RDA is reliant on voluntary help, donations and legacies to deliver its services.
You can donate now at www.rda.org.uk.
RDA is a charity registered in England and Wales (No: 244108) and Scotland
(No: SC039473).
Happy Endings!
Toffee was on loan to Cotswold RDA from a
family called the Chichesters, and he is now back
with them.
?He is so happy,? Heather says. ?We?ve been
following his adventures with his rider, Sophie,
and have even seen a picture of them in ?Horse &
Hound? magazine! [pictured]
?He came second in his first-ever one-day event
and is back to loving life. We?re so pleased for him
and we know we made the right decision.?
The group will continue to stay in touch with
Toffee?s family and feel sure there will be many
happy times ahead for Toffee and rider Sophie.
Even so, it?s always sad to say goodbye to a horse
? especially one as mischievous as Toffee.
Wheeee! Hold
on tight, Sophie!
Photograph by Jess Photography. www.jess-photography.co.uk
RDA Groom Lou will
miss cheeky Toffee.
Horses are so special at RDA that they
even have their own award. The RDA
Horse of the Year is described as ?a very
special RDA equine that has helped to
achieve something extraordinary?.
Last year?s winner was Mickey, from
Mickey is
the Brae RDA in Scotland. Mickey not
such a star!
only provides horse riding, carriage
driving and hippotherapy lessons to a
wide range of clients, but he is also trained in back riding (specialist
therapy where both the therapist and client sit on the horse).
Mickey recently began his training to become the Brae?s first vaulting
horse. Equestrian vaulting might seem a surprising activity for RDA, but
hundreds of the charity?s children and adults benefit from this most
graceful and athletic of horsey pursuits, which is increasing in popularity
around the UK.
Without Mickey?s hard work and enthusiasm to learn, it would not have
been possible for the vaulters to benefit so much. Vaulting has improved
the lives of the clients, making a huge impact on their self-confidence,
balance, motor skills, flexibility co-ordination and strength.
As the group said, ?With his lovely, laid-back, kind, caring nature,
Mickey is truly a horse in a million.?
Lead On,
Macduff!
SHORT STORY BY JANE TULLOCH 43
The phrase had followed me all
my life, but I?d given up hope
of ever hearing it again . . .
Illustration by Philip Crabb.
L
EAD on, Macduff.?
If I?ve had that said
to me once, I?ve had
it said 1,000 times.
Every time the
person saying it thought it
was the first time I?d ever
heard it. How hilarious they
thought they were, yet how
irritating I found it.
How I wish someone
would say it to me now.
I was Corporal Macduff in
the Army and left it as
Sergeant Major Macduff.
Then I ended up police
sergeant Macduff.
That?s the sort of person I
am. I know what I?m doing
and I know what others
should be doing. I?ve told
them often enough in my
fine, loud voice.
My voice was the pride of
the regiment when I was in
the Army. It held miscreants
(and some junior PCs) to
account while on my beat in
the police force. No
nonsense here, thank you
very much.
Of course, my wife
objected to being
addressed, as she put it,
like a battery of slackers or
an adolescent gang of
shoplifters.
I learned to moderate my
voice when talking to her
and the children, but I did
find it harder as they grew
up.
These days I can hardly
understand what young
people are actually talking
about, so I just keep the
conversation going myself.
That way we keep to topics
we can all contribute to.
Well, I can, anyway.
Rose, my wife, prefers to
visit the children in their
own homes now, so I don?t
have much opportunity to
keep them up to date on
local developments in the
way I?d like to.
I would like to see more
of the grandchildren, too,
but I gather that I scare
them. Ridiculous.
Anyway, life was all going
very well for me for a long
time. But you don?t
appreciate what you?ve got
till it?s gone, as they say.
What has gone in my life
is my voice. I don?t know
what happened. I thought I
had a cold.
I didn?t have a sore
throat at all, but my voice
just seemed to get weaker.
I tried my best to shout
as loudly as possible but it
just came out as a squeak.
How the constables laughed
at me. It was humiliating.
This went on for a few
weeks until Rose, who had
seemed more cheerful
lately, spotted a notice on
the bus. The notice said
that persistent sore throats
should be taken to the
doctor.
I argued (quietly) that my
throat wasn?t actually sore,
but Rose sighed and said
that she?d already made an
appointment for me.
I didn?t tell her that the
inspector had already
ordered me to see a doctor.
I?m not the sort of person
that likes being told what to
do, but orders are orders.
I?ve not been to the
surgery for years. It?s all
changed. It?s bright and
airy with lots of chairs
arranged around the room.
Even the receptionist was
pleasant.
No wonder the NHS is in
dire straits, throwing money
away on refurbishing
perfectly serviceable
premises and staffing them
with chits of girls.
The old staff may have
been battle-axes, but you
knew where you were with
them.
As Rose and I waited, I
became aware of music in
the background and
children playing with toys in
the corner.
Rose leaned over and
quietly told me that she
knew what I was thinking
and I was not to say it.
So I didn?t. But I most
certainly thought it ? if they
were well enough to play,
they were well enough to be
at school.
I glared at them. They
carried on regardless. How I
missed my voice.
Finally, the tinkly music
paused briefly and a
disembodied female voice
cooed, ?Mr Macduff to
room six.?
Rose nudged me and we
set off down the corridor. It
was well supplied with
so-called modern art
paintings, I noticed.
Well, the doctor was
about twelve ? and female.
?Where?s Doctor Booth??
I croaked.
?Doctor who?? she
queried. ?Sorry. He must
have been before my time.
What can I do for you
today??
Rose took over and
explained my almost total
voice loss. The doctor
perked up a little and said
that she was particularly
interested in what she
called ?ENT issues?.
Issues, indeed.
Apparently she?d done two
years in the local hospital in
the ENT department before
moving into general
practice.
I must say that she did
look as though she knew
what she was doing. I
thought she?d have to refer
me to some sort of
specialist due to the
seriousness of my
complaint, but no, she put
on a headband with a
reflecting mirror on it and
told me to open wide
and lean my head
back a little.
44
She peered in, then sat
back and looked at me.
?Well, Mr Macduff, it
looks to me as though you
have a paralysed vocal
cord.? She picked up a pen
and pad and drew what
vocal cords should look like,
then what mine resembled.
I could see that the two
didn?t meet in the middle,
as one was curved back.
My head filled with a
thousand questions, but
Rose got in first.
?What does it mean?
What should we do?? She?s
getting very pushy these
days.
The doctor told us that
vocal cord paralysis can be
caused by a virus and it
can spontaneously improve.
Well, that?s a relief, I
thought, as I had secretly
begun to fear the worst.
The doctor continued.
?The general advice is not
to whisper, don?t try to
shout, no heavy lifting, be
careful when eating, avoid
noisy places and tell your
friends about the problem.?
I looked at Rose and
nodded permission for her
to speak.
?Is there anything in
particular that he could try?
Any voice exercises or
anything?? she asked.
The doctor thought for a
moment.
?I wonder if he wouldn?t
benefit from an
appointment with our
speech therapist. She?s with
us today. Would you like
me to speak to her??
We looked at each other
and obviously agreed. Rose
is getting much better at
understanding me these
days.
The doctor lifted the
phone and asked to be put
through to the Visiting
Services room.
* * * *
Well, the upshot of all
that really wasn?t what I
expected at all. Now I?m in
the hands of a bunch of
women with the new
talkative Rose, the doctor
and the speech therapist.
Even my daughter has
taken to visiting again. She
and Rose chat away,
oblivious to me sitting in
the corner deploring the
local paper. Mind you, I?m
quite enjoying hearing what
the grandchildren are up to
these days.
Anyway, I?m still at work
in the back office and quite
relishing collating statistics.
It?s amazing what they
throw up. Sometimes I?m
desperate to rush through
to tell the inspector that
we?ve made a fourteen
percent improvement in car
crime rates, but I can?t.
One day, though.
The speech therapy lassie
made me cough and laugh,
which was difficult for me.
I?ve often been told that I
have no sense of humour.
There?s been no call for it.
However, I can make an
approximate form of
laughter and can cough.
Then we tried humming.
My vocal cords are doing
something, at any rate.
After the humming
session, the lassie asked if I
had ever sung in the past.
Naturally, I told her that I
had never sung since I left
school except, perhaps,
droning along with the
National Anthem in the line
of work.
However, she suggested
that I might benefit from
singing. She must have seen
my appalled face.
?I don?t mean Frank
Sinatra-style stuff,? she
said. ?Is there a church
choir or local singing group
you could join??
I was very taken aback.
I?ve never even thought of
anything like that.
I croaked that there might
be one and indicated that
I?d investigate. She nodded
and we agreed another
appointment to review
progress. Progress!
Rose got on the case, as
she put it, and came in the
next day brandishing the
church newsletter.
?There is a singing group,?
she told me excitedly,
?You?ll need to get your
name down for it soon. It?s
bound to be popular.?
It?s hard to explain how I
felt when she said that. I?m
not a coward and I?ve got
medals to prove it. But I
was scared. I might fail. I
might not be good enough.
It was all such a risk.
I, Sergeant Macduff,
might not be able to do it. I
felt quite ill. I must have
looked it, too, for Rose
peered at me worriedly.
?I?ll come with you if you
like,? she offered, but I
shook my head.
I must have looked
sufficiently grim for her to
reply huffily, ?Fine. Do it
your way. As usual.?
I don?t know what she
meant by that. We seemed
to have rather a silent
supper after that, but it
wasn?t as if I was able to
say anything anyway.
The following Tuesday
evening at the appointed
hour I let myself into the
church hall.
A group of people were
clustered around a slight
figure sitting at an upright
piano. They turned towards
me. A plump middle-aged
woman came forward,
holding her hand out.
?A new recruit! Tenor or
bass?? she asked.
?Er, I don?t know,? I
whispered.
Her brow wrinkled in
puzzlement.
?Surely you know what
your voice is,? she
continued.
At that point the slim
young man detached
himself from the piano stool
and joined us.
?You must be Sergeant
Macduff,? he said.
The group stared over at
him. The young man turned
to them and told them that
he?d been contacted by my
wife and that I had no voice
and needed to try singing
to strengthen it.
Well, I?ve never been so
embarrassed in my life. I?d
have something to say to
Rose when I got home, or I
would do if I could.
I stood and waited for the
others to start laughing. To
my surprise, they didn?t.
The young man, Malcolm,
smiled.
?Welcome.?
I was soon surrounded by
a group of smiling people
holding out their hands to
greet me. I decided to give
them a chance. To give
myself a chance.
Seeing my discomfort,
Malcolm led everyone back
to the piano. The middleaged lady handed out hymn
books and people began to
shuffle places.
Malcolm introduced the
sopranos to the right of the
piano, altos next to them,
then tenors, then a couple
of basses at the back.
I wondered where I should
stand. One of the basses
called out, ?Care to join us?
We like to hide at the
back!?
I moved towards them,
grateful that they?d seen
my discomfort.
The choir practice started
by going over the hymns
planned for next Sunday?s
service. They all seemed to
be old favourites that
hardly needed practice, but
everyone sang out with
obvious enjoyment.
I found myself initially
doing a sort of whisper/
mumble sort of thing, but
this seemed to grow into a
thin version of my voice.
My real voice.
I was hesitant to push it.
Scared in case it went away.
I?ll never think the same
way about ?Praise My Soul
The King Of Heaven? again.
It?s the one we were singing
when my voice came back.
It didn?t stay for long that
evening, but it was a start.
It was all a start. I found
myself really enjoying the
singing. I even looked
forward to my Tuesday
evenings in the church hall.
Over time, my voice
became stronger. My
speaking voice never
regained its previous
volume or, at least, I never
tried to use it to its
maximum velocity, but
strangely the need for this
never arose.
I didn?t have to shout at
anyone at work or at the
grandchildren. They seem to
have improved enormously
in some mysterious way. I
began to see what Rose saw
in them and why she was so
fond of them.
I do enjoy their company,
but I have very little time
for them now. You see, my
voice came back more
quietly but much improved.
I?ve learned a lot on the
way, like sight reading
music. Or listening to Rose.
I don?t stand with the
basses now. My voice
turned out to be a tenor
and I?ve developed a talent
for singing.
I?m in several choirs now
and am usually lead tenor.
Now I quite often hear that
marvellous phrase, ?Lead
on, Macduff?, but in quite a
different way! n
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point
CHAT 53
Talking
Should the Time Lord become a Time Lady?
W
HC
BBC/Colin Hutton.
E?RE looking
forward even
more than usual
to the next series of
?Doctor Who?, and in
particular to the
Christmas special. Much
as we?ve loved Peter
Capaldi in the role of the
Twelfth Doctor, the
casting of Jodie
Whittaker as the
Thirteenth Doctor is
going to take the show
in a new direction.
Not everyone is in
favour. Twitter was a
battlezone for a day or
so after the
announcement between
those who thought that
a woman couldn?t
possibly play the part of
a two-thousand-year-old
time traveller, and those
who thought it was way
past time for equality
inside the TARDIS.
Some of us grew up in
the era of William
Here?s what
you said on
the ?Friend?
Facebook page
VR Not happy, but
Hartnell, Patrick
Troughton and Jon
Pertwee and learned to
think of the Doctor as a
grandfatherly figure. The
new era Doctor, starting
with a leather-jacketed
Christopher Eccleston
? a northerner, no less!
? was a shock for some.
Now we have Jodie,
who is not only
northern, but female,
too.
She?s a terrific actor,
with great performances
in ?Broadchurch? and
the recent BBC drama
?Trust Me?. But can she
take on a role that has
been exclusively male
for 12 incarnations?
Of course, there?s a
long history of men
playing female roles,
dating from
Shakespeare, but we?re
less used to it
happening the other
way round.
Good luck, Jodie, we
say! n
?The Doctor is a hero for everybody?
Iain McLaughlin, book publisher,
writer and lifelong ?Doctor Who?
fan, ??Doctor Who? is always
about change. It?s an inclusive,
progressive show. The Doctor is a
hero for everybody regardless of
gender or race. My great-niece
had the best reaction. With a
huge smile she said, ?He?s a girl
now!? She?ll be amazing.?
?It?s great stereotypes are being upended?
Claire Bartlett, writer of official
?Doctor Who? books and audio
dramas. ??Doctor Who? first aired
in a period not known for its
fair treatment of women in the
I have been
watching since the
first episode, and
from what I can
recall there?s been
an outcry every
time the role has
been recast . . .
which usually goes
away after a
couple of months.
workplace. Verity Lambert was
one of the show?s producers ?
the first time a female had held
such a role. It?s great stereotypes
are being upended once more.?
You can join in the chat every day. Pop in and say hello at
www.facebook.com/PeoplesFriendMagazine
will wait and
see. Just don?t
think it will work
personally!
SR
Will be very
strange seeing a
female Time Lord
after watching
?Doctor Who? for
years. Don?t think I
could do it?
SS
I?m not a great
?Doctor Who? fan,
but hope Jodie
doesn?t get blamed
if the viewing
figures drop even
more than they
have done recently.
I think she?ll make
a brilliant Doctor
and wish her every
success in the role.
I am a huge
HJW ?Doctor Who? fan
and have watched
it all my life and
I don?t see a big
problem. After all,
the Master [his
nemesis] had a
gender change
and nobody
thought anything
was wrong with
that.
SHORT STORY BY VANDA INMAN 55
I was supposed
to be exercising
for my health,
but that man
made my blood
pressure rise!
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
I
In A
Heartbeat
?D seen him a few times
lately as I jogged
through the park. Each
time I wanted to throttle
him or push him straight
into the duck pond, but I
always swallowed my
feelings and kept on
running.
?He was there again,? I
fumed as I arrived at work.
?In a striped sweatshirt,
spraying that wall near the
bandstand, paint cans all
over the place. It wasn?t as
if he was painting anything
nice, just a load of random
splodges. Graffiti at its
worst!?
I said this every time I
encountered him. It took
me a good 10 minutes to
calm down when I got
home and it wasn?t doing
my health any good.
In fact, I was beginning
to wonder if my early
morning jog was beneficial
at all. Exercise was
supposed to get the heart
rate up, but not this high.
I checked the monitor
strapped to my wrist. I?d
done almost 3,000 steps
and had burned
approximately 100
calories, but my heart rate
remained higher than it
should have and it was all
due to him.
Goodness knew what
toxins my annoyance had
released into my body.
I took several deep
breaths in an attempt to
calm down.
?My dear Amy, don?t let
him rattle you,
sweetheart.?
Pascal was looking
devastating this morning.
I sighed. My boss was
always so effortlessly fit
and attractive.
Today he was dressed as
a swashbuckling pirate,
sword slung across his
narrow hips, rakish hat
askew on his head. Even
the eye patch had an air of
mystery about it.
That was one of the good
things about working in a
fancy dress shop. Crazy
Costumes, it was called.
Pascal insisted the staff
dress up in the outfits to
show the customers how
good they could look, and I
had to admit it was fun.
Like becoming a different
character every day.
My absolute favourite
was Wonder Woman.
When I wore that outfit I
felt like I could change the
world.
Of course, all this
keep-fit was to impress
Pascal. Although I wasn?t
sure he saw past me as a
shop assistant, I was
determined to work at it
and win his heart.
One day, I was certain,
he?d invite me to wear the
Juliet costume with his
Romeo, or the Cleopatra
with his Antony, or . . .
?Well,? Pascal said,
adjusting the ruffles around
his wrists, ?if it?s upsetting
you so much and damaging
your health, why don?t you
do something about it??
I surreptitiously checked
the monitor strapped to
my wrist. I was calming
down now and so was my
heart rate. I?d be OK as
long as Pascal didn?t wink
at me, sending my pulse
racing all over again.
A few days passed and
nothing happened, just the
wall with its ugly swirls and
lines greeting me each
morning, but the following
week the guy was there
again, spray cans littering
the grass, intent on his
task of defacing public
property.
He was dressed in old
grey tracksuit bottoms and
a baggy, stripy sweatshirt
which would have done
Dennis the Menace proud.
I had a feeling I?d seen
him before but couldn?t
quite place where, and I
had a surge of annoyance
just looking at him. I felt
my heart beating and
checked the monitor. Up
more than it should be.
Then I thought of
Pascal?s comments
yesterday and realised I
was running away, literally,
from doing what was
needed. Where was
Wonder Woman now?
There was no
question about it, I
56
had to confront him.
My heart rate
increased, the fight or
flight reflex kicked in, but I
knew I had to see it
through. I jogged up to him
and stopped, hands on
hips, catching my breath
before launching into my
big speech.
?You?re bleeping.? He
turned, spray can in hand,
then made an ugly red
stripe on the wall.
?What?? I gasped.
?You. You?re bleeping,?
he repeated.
?Oh.? I fiddled with the
monitor on my wrist.
?Bad for the knees,
commented when I arrived.
He was dressed as an
Army officer, gallant and
dashing.
?Who are you going to
be today??
Good question. Little
Bo-Peep? Or perhaps Little
Miss Muffett, afraid of a
spider?
I shook my head sadly.
?Never mind,? Pascal
said after I?d told him the
sorry story. ?He who fights
and runs away lives to fight
another day.?
I knew Pascal was right,
but Dennis the Menace, as
I now thought of him, kept
coming back to me.
If I wanted things to change, I
needed help. I needed an army!
jogging,? he continued.
?And I?m not sure about
getting out of breath quite
so much either.?
?Please be quiet.? I
gasped in exasperation.
?I?ve stopped here, not
because I?m out of breath
or because my knees are
hurting, but because I want
to know exactly what you
think you?re doing,
defacing this wall!?
There was another bleep
due to inactivity for over
two minutes and he looked
slightly confused.
?A hooligan, that?s what
you are,? I continued. ?You
should be made to scrub
that mess off. What?s it
supposed to be anyway??
?Well, you see . . .?
?Get it cleaned up before
I come back to sort you
out,? I continued.
He stared at me.
?You and whose army??
he challenged.
I glared back, my
monitor bleeped and I ran
off before he could say any
more, cheeks flaming,
realising I was running
again.
First I?d been running
away from doing the right
thing, now I was running
away because I?d had a go
and failed.
?Hey, wait!? I heard him
call, but I kept on running.
* * * *
?You look slightly ruffled,
sweetie,? Pascal
?You and whose army??
Where was Wonder
Woman now? It was all
very well trying to change
the world, but I needed
support.
I needed an army of my
own.
There weren?t usually
many people around in the
park at that time of
morning and the only other
people I knew who would
be available were my
neighbours, because they
were all retired.
Could you assemble an
army out of a handful of
people who liked a quiet
life in their gardens? Would
they support my cause?
The thing was, the
neighbours were all a lot
older than me and I felt it
was up to me to look after
them.
I mended leaking taps for
Rory, put up shelves for
Sid and Elsie and had even
been known to assemble
flat-pack furniture for
Lennie.
It was the Wonder
Woman in me coming out.
But needs must, as they
say, and it seemed they
were my only hope.
?I see where you?re
coming from,? Lennie
mused when I told him
about it at the weekend,
?but I?m not sure I?m up to
taking anybody on these
days.?
He flexed what used to
be his muscles.
?Thirty years ago I?d
have given him a bunch of
fives, but . . .?
Rory professed he?d love
to help but had a gammy
leg, and Sid was quite keen
but couldn?t get far without
his sticks.
The only person who was
entirely up for it was Sid?s
wife, Elsie.
?It?s all in the eyes,? she
told me. ?If you look ?em in
the eyes and don?t flinch,
outstare ?em, show your
inner core of steel, that you
aren?t afraid, then they
haven?t got a chance.? She
tapped her head.
?Psychological, that?s what
it is.?
I was impressed, thinking
that Elsie would be a great
asset to my army ? the
only problem being that
she could only get around
in her electric wheelchair.
* * * *
It was all looking
hopeless until, one day at
work, I had a brilliant idea.
?Could I hire a few
costumes,? I asked Pascal,
?with staff discount??
?Whatever for??
?It?s for my army.? I
explained, wondering if he
would think me completely
mad or in possession of a
rather good idea.
?I thought that if we
dressed up a bit hard
looking, like bikers or
something, Dennis the
Menace might realise I
mean business.
?Perhaps if they?re just
loitering in the background
he won?t realise they?re all
senior citizens,? I finished
feebly.
Pascal looked as if I?d
gone completely mad, but
got himself under control
fairly swiftly.
?You could give it a go, I
suppose,? he said. ?There
are half a dozen bikers?
outfits you could use.
Bandanas and false beards
and stuff.?
Elsie seemed up for a bit
of excitement and between
us we managed to talk the
others round.
?Where are those bikers?
outfits?? I asked Pascal as
we were closing up a few
days later. ?Dennis the
Menace is always there on
a Friday and I need to kit
the guys out tonight.?
?Oh, those costumes
went out this morning,? he
replied.
?But you said I could!?
?Sorry, ducks.? He
shrugged. ?I wasn?t sure
you really meant it and a
customer came in, wanting
them all. Won?t something
else do??
I could have cried. All my
plans were going to come
to nothing, after all!
?Look,? Pascal said
eventually. ?Take what you
want and no charge, just
by way of apology.?
He flashed me a smile,
but somehow it didn?t have
the usual effect.
I scrabbled around in the
back room to see what I
could find. Amy?s Army, as
we now called ourselves,
was practically baying for
blood, ready for action. We
simply had to go through
with it.
I found some costumes
after a while and would
just have to hope that
Amy?s Army could loiter far
enough in the background
for Dennis the Menace not
to notice anything more
than a group of people.
Strange-looking people,
maybe, but my army,
nonetheless.
* * * *
?I have come,? I
pronounced sternly the
next morning, ?to ask ? no,
demand ? that you stop
defacing public property.?
Dennis the Menace
turned.
?Nice to see you, too,?
he replied as he finished a
particularly ugly maroon
swirl. ?How are you
today??
?All the better if you
scrub that muck off the
wall,? I replied. ?And I?m
not alone this time. I have
friends with me and we?re
standing for no nonsense
from the likes of you.?
Dennis raised his
eyebrows and put down his
spray can.
?Really?? he replied.
I tried to look him
straight in the eye, just as
Elsie had said, but he
turned and glanced
towards my army, amassed
some distance away and
ready for action.
A glimmer of a
smile twitched around
58
his lips which riled me
all the more.
My monitor bleeped as
my blood pressure rose
and I raised an arm: the
signal to advance. The
army moved hesitantly
forwards, but I could see,
even from this distance,
their hearts weren?t really
in it.
All of a sudden, Elsie
broke ranks and charged
towards us, electric
wheelchair on full throttle.
Dressed as Boudicca with
her long hair streaming in
the breeze, brandishing her
sword, she cut quite a
figure.
Dennis looked shocked,
and his mouth dropped
open in surprise, but as
she reached us Elsie slowed
down, almost lost her
sword and sped up again.
Then we both realised
she was heading straight
for the duck pond.
It was like everything
went into slow motion.
Horror, incomprehension,
then sheer panic all
crossed Elsie?s face in a
matter of seconds,
although it seemed like
hours.
I was rooted to the spot.
Then Dennis threw himself
towards the wheelchair,
deflecting it away from the
duck pond.
At the same time he
knocked off the power, but
the movement caused him
?Jason! Are you OK??
Suddenly the army were
all there, standing on the
shoreline, calling out to ?
Jason!
Who was Jason, and
what about me, I fleetingly
thought as I came up for
air before he kissed me
again.
And then my monitor
was bleeping, my heart
racing, sending my heart
rate into orbit. I didn?t
want it to stop.
?You know him? You
know who he is?? I
demanded.
Sid wrapped his Batman
cloak around me and Rory
attempted to dry me off
with his Roman toga.
Lennie arrived a little
after the others, hampered
slightly by his Mr Blobby
costume, but Jason picked
me up, all Superman style
but without the outfit.
I realised that what I?d
taken for fat underneath
the stripy sweatshirt was
actually pure muscle.
Then he carried me
straight back to Elsie?s for
a hot bath and cocoa, even
though it was barely nine
o?clock in the morning.
* * * *
?Better?? Elsie said as I
sat in her kitchen
recovering from it all.
Jason, who seemed to
know everyone, was sitting
opposite me, a silly but
Sid put his Batman cloak round me
and Rory offered his toga
to lose his footing,
swerving as he turned.
He clutched at me as he
skidded past then plunged
straight into the duck pond
with a huge splash, taking
me with him.
We thrashed around for
a bit, then Dennis
stumbled to his feet and
pulled me upright.
?At last!? He gasped. He
was clutching me as if he
was never going to let go
and I wondered if he was
going to take this
opportunity to drown me
once and for all. ?At last
you?ve stopped telling me
off.?
And then he kissed me.
slightly smug smile on his
face.
?You know him!? I glared
at them all. ?How??
?Oh, we didn?t realise
your Dennis the Menace
was Jason,? Sid told me,
?or we?d have put you
right straight away. Jason
here?s a builder, but he
does odd jobs for us . . .?
He stopped, following a
frown from Elsie.
?I thought I did your odd
jobs,? I said. ?What does
Jason do??
?Erm, mostly he puts
right what you did in the
first place,? Rory
confessed. ?But we didn?t
like to say and we did love
having you around.?
They all nodded
enthusiastically.
I sighed, remembering
now where I?d seen Jason
before ? walking down our
street, presumably after
putting my latest
handiwork to rights.
Jason shrugged.
?I had to do something.
You must have jogged past
me a hundred times sitting
on that bench in the
mornings before work.
?Then I heard about you
saving the world and all
that, and I realised I?d
have to do something
different to get your
attention.
?So I asked the council if
I could spray a mural on
that wall, and, hey,
sometimes even bad
attention is better than
none at all. How else was I
going to get you to stop
and talk??
?I did enjoy it, though,?
Elsie said, a twinkle in her
eye. ?Especially the last
bit.?
?And you looked great in
your Wonder Woman outfit
today,? Jason added
hastily, as the humour of it
all finally struck me and I
began to smile.
The next day I took all
the outfits back to Crazy
Costumes, but not before I
passed a small group of
men loitering on the edge
of the park. My biker
costumes! I?d know them
anywhere.
One of the men gave a
whistle as I walked past,
which riled me even more.
I turned and glared at
them all.
?Look, you aren?t actual
bikers. You are pale
imitations of the real thing,
anyone can see that. So
stop posing and grow up!?
I stalked past, leaving
them open mouthed and
feeling rather pleased with
myself.
But minutes later there
was a great roar behind me
and they all passed on
their big bikes, whistling
and tooting for all they
were worth, causing
everyone around to stop
and stare.
I sighed. My face was
red, and not for the first
time lately. Maybe, I
thought as I arrived at the
shop, it was time I stopped
wearing the Wonder
Woman costume and put it
back in stock.
?I need a Juliet for my
Romeo tonight,? Pascal
said as I opened the door.
He adjusted a ruffle
around his neck and
admired his reflection in
the mirror.
?Do you fancy it??
?No, thanks,? I snapped.
?You didn?t give me a
thought when you let those
biker costumes out to
someone else, so don?t
bother now.?
?Dearie me, and I
thought you were Wonder
Woman, saving the world.?
He raised an eyebrow,
eyeing my outfit.
?How about saving me
some time??
I dumped the costumes
on the counter in front of
him.
?I don?t need to dress up
any more,? I told him.
?Maybe it?s time you gave
it a go in the real world,
just as you are, and see
what everyone makes of
you then. I quit!?
And it was true. I?d found
my inner core of steel, as
Elsie put it ? with a little
help from my army of
friends, of course ? and I
was done with mooning
after Pascal.
* * * *
It was a few weeks later
when Jason and I walked
through the park to admire
his finished handiwork.
I gasped, amazed that
such beauty could have
come from all those swirls
and stripes at the
beginning.
The mural depicted life in
the park: the duckpond
with its wildlife, trees,
birds, people walking,
families picnicking, and a
girl suspiciously like me
who was jogging along with
a big smile on her face.
?There?s one last thing I
need to do,? I said as we
turned for home.
I unstrapped the monitor
from my wrist and lobbed
it into the nearest bin. As it
landed it gave one last
bleep, indicating a racing
heart rate.
But I knew exactly the
reason why ? Jason was
kissing me again. n
Inside next week?s issue
Our cover feature:
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to the Wildcat Trail
in Newtonmore
On sale
every
Wednesday
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Newman
remembers
the heroic
efforts of
Grace Darling
l Serve up a
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recipes
Plus
7 short stories
l Our
Shetland
shawl is a
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SHORT STORY BY EM BARNARD 61
Something
happened when
Jon met Diane?s
gaze that first
time . . .
beside him, if only in his
mind?s eye.
* * * *
Across A
Crowded Room
Illustration by Martin Baines.
S
ITTING in the
garden of the
Sailor?s Return, Jon
gazed over the
river, with its many
craft bobbing gently in the
evening sunshine.
?Here we are, Jon.? His
brother set two lagers on
the table and sat down.
?Cheers.?
Jon raised his glass to
him.
?As I was saying, Nat, I
popped into the church hall
for a savoury and cake
from the WI for lunch, and
through the noise and
chatter I heard this
gorgeous laughter.
?I spotted her further
down the stall: she had
golden hair and a blue silky
scarf bunched round her
neck.
?And then, Nat, as she
left the stall she gazed
straight at me for all of
three seconds, that
gorgeous smile still on her
lips. She even tipped me a
nod before turning away.?
He sighed.
?Then I had to turn away
to pay, and when I looked
back she had gone.?
?A sad story, Jon,? Nat
replied.
Jon grinned and leaned
into the table.
?But I did see her again.
I was waiting to cross the
road to the river when she
drove past, that blue scarf
fluttering out of the window
like she was waving to
me.?
?And did you wave
back?? Nat raised his
eyebrows.
Jon ignored his mockery.
?Still OK for our sail
tomorrow afternoon?? he
asked.
?Ah. Sorry, but Gran?s
had a sudden urge to
visit,? Nat replied. ?Janie
wants me to meet her at
the station as she has to
collect the girls from ballet
class.?
Jon looked into his lager.
He understood. Nat had a
family now while Jon was
still a bachelor.
Nat set down his glass on
the coaster.
?Look, I?m booking a
table here for all of us
tomorrow evening. You
could join us after your
sail. It won?t be till six
o?clock.?
?I can?t guarantee times
when I?m sailing. But if I?m
back I?ll pop in and say
hello,? Jon promised.
?Great.? With that Nat
downed his beer and left to
make the reservation, then
return home to his
beautiful wife and
daughters.
Jon envied him his
family. Jon lived in the flat
above his estate agency in
Market Hill. But at
thirty-one he was still
waiting for the right girl to
look his way.
He downed his beer and
strolled home with that
sunny cider-haired beauty
Diane was washing her
blue scarf in a bowl of
warm soapy water when
her sister?s voice broke into
her thoughts.
?So has the mark come
out of your scarf, Di?? she
asked, wedging goodies in
the picnic hamper on the
table.
?Yes. Serves me right for
trying to take it off while I
was driving. I nearly lost it
out the window.?
?So what?s had you
smiling all over your face
since you got home
yesterday afternoon,
then??
?Oh, just a guy I saw.?
Di squeezed the scarf
gently.
?Tell me more.? Teri
grinned and opened the
cutlery drawer.
?He was nice, that?s all.?
Teri placed a corkscrew
in the hamper.
?Where was this?? she
asked.
?At the WI when I
popped in to buy those
cheese straws that Mum
likes for our picnic. Just
staring at me, he was. And
I sort of stared back, kind
of mesmerised.?
?Tall, dark and
handsome, was he??
Di caressed the scarf with
her thumbs.
?Thick hair, keen eyes,
wine silk tie over a blue
shirt, pin-striped suit.
Great physique, too.?
Teri raised her eyebrows.
?You noticed all that
while mesmerised?? She
laughed. ?So then what
happened??
?I just smiled and left.?
A jar in each hand, Teri
turned to look her sister
in the eye.
?You walked away
62
from a gorgeous guy??
?My parking ticket
was almost up!? Di
exclaimed. ?I had to run as
it was.?
?You get a great chance
to find the guy of your
dreams and you blow it
due to a parking ticket??
her sister continued.
?But what was the use
anyway?? Di rinsed the
scarf. ?I didn?t know till
this morning I?d got that
receptionist?s post at the
White Horse Hotel. I could
have been heading back to
London next weekend for
all I knew.?
Diane had been eager to
work in London 10 years
ago. It was more exciting
than this quiet market
town, but now she yearned
to come home. This third
interview had brought
success.
?Right.? Teri lifted the
hamper. ?I?ll put this in my
car then I?m ready, so
hurry up. I?ll phone Mum
and tell her we?re on our
way.?
* * * *
Di set down the hamper,
slipped her shoulder bag
off and raised a hand to
shield her eyes from the
sun over the sparkling river
with its dinghies and
shiny-hulled boats.
This was the quiet end of
Barton Wold, a sandy
shore where kids could
play safely in the shallows
while folk picnicked on the
grassy levels.
On Saturdays her father
played golf with his pals,
so they were meeting up
later, down river at the
Sailor?s Return for a drink.
She helped Teri yank
open some canvas chairs
as well as a table, and set
out the nibbles.
?I?m so pleased that you
got that job, Di. It will be
so nice having you home
again,? her mum said,
pinching three cheese
straws before settling in a
chair.
?But I shall need a flat of
my own soon,? Diane
reminded her. ?I can?t stay
with Teri and Ian for ever.?
?And maybe you?ll find a
nice young man now and
settle down, like Teri.?
Di glared at Teri,
forbidding her to mention
the guy she?d seen, and
reached for the binoculars
to make a getaway to the
shoreline.
She liked to check the
current and what was going
on before she swam.
She scanned the boats
? those sailing and those
moored ? swinging on a
rising tide. She focused on
a guy on a yacht, the
Sunbeam, mid-river.
He was wearing a wine
T-shirt and denim jeans,
and he reminded her of the
suited guy in the WI.
She watched him as he
skilfully hefted sails and a
dozen other actions before
casting free of the buoy
and heading down the
river.
She traipsed back to the
picnic.
?Going in for a swim??
Mum asked.
?Yes, then I can have
something to eat.? She
untied her wraparound
dress to reveal her
swimsuit under it, then
pulled on a swimming hat.
?Just be careful, Diane.
You know you?re prone to
cramp,? her mum warned
her.
It was chilly, but
gloriously refreshing in the
water. Much more
enjoyable than the
swimming baths back in
London.
A half hour later Diane
was eating the last cheese
straw.
They enjoyed the
afternoon, chattering and
relaxing. It had passed five
and they had begun to
pack up when Di spotted
the Sunbeam returning to
the buoy. She grabbed her
swimming hat. She had to
check him out.
?Be careful!? Mum called
against Teri?s groan of
protest.
Once waist-high in the
water, Di dived in and
powered along with her
strong breaststroke.
She was a dozen strokes
from the yacht when her
mum?s warning became
apt. Cramp seized her calf.
She stopped swimming and
the next moment she was
swallowing water.
?Give me your hand!?
She heard the call when
she bobbed up for air.
She waved a hand
blindly. It was clasped in a
strong grip and she was
hauled aboard a dinghy
like a wet fish.
Di spluttered water out
and air in. She scrambled
to sit on the thwart,
regaining her breath and
swiping her eyes to clear
her vision.
?Cramp. But I?m OK,?
she breathlessly assured
the old sea dog as she
rubbed her calf. He was
wearing thick turned-top
wellies, baggy jeans, a
navy checked shirt and a
denim hat with a
you, too.?
Di smiled, gave a nod of
acknowledgement to the
guy as she put her bag on
her shoulder, then weaved
through the crowd and out
into the sunshine.
She wanted their first
meeting to be alone and
special. If he followed . . .
* * * *
?Nat, I?ve found her.?
Standing behind his
brother at the bar, Jon
nudged him.
?Found who?? Nat
turned.
Di wanted their first meeting to be
alone and special
grease-worn peak.
?You?re lucky I was
rowing by. Where can I
take you, miss??
Di scanned the shoreline,
disorientated, then
pointed.
?My sister and my mum
? that?s them waving.?
Once near the shore,
Diane stepped out in the
shallows, thanked the old
guy and waved him off.
?Di! Are you all right??
?Yes, Mum, I?m fine.?
?So what was all that
about?? Teri asked.
Di tugged off her hat,
shook out her hair and
turned to look for the
Sunbeam. It wasn?t on the
buoy. She couldn?t see it
anywhere.
?Come on, Dad will be
waiting,? Teri said
impatiently, hefting the
hamper.
As usual the pub was
packed. It always was on
sunny days, with folk
enjoying the riverside and
the great food the pub
offered.
Inside they were
searching for Dad when Di
was struck by a face she
knew. She grabbed Teri?s
arm.
?It?s him! The guy from
the WI. In the wine T-shirt
at the bar.?
Teri followed her gaze
and made admiring noises.
?Well, you?d best go get
him. But let me know how
you?re getting home.
?I?ll tell Mum and Dad
you?ve met a friend.? She
grinned. ?Hey, he?s spotted
?The girl from the WI.
Look, she?s just leaving.?
?Ah, the one with the
cider-gold hair. I see why
you?re taken with her.?
?Make excuses to the
family for me, Nat,? Jon
said with a grin.
Again the crowd seemed
to crush him, to hinder his
attempt to follow her, but
eventually he stumbled
outside. He was relieved to
see her strolling along the
shoreline.
She was unmissable, her
hair glowing in the sunshine
like a beacon leading him
home. He jogged up to her.
?Hi. Didn?t I see you in
the WI yesterday??
She gave him that smile
that made his heart leap.
?Yes. And didn?t I see
you this afternoon on a
yacht called Sunbeam??
?Why, yes. Where were
you??
She brushed some cider
strands from her face.
?Picnicking on the grass
at Barton Wold, opposite
your buoy.?
?Really??
?I saw you return, but
you didn?t moor up to the
buoy.?
?No, I sailed her here.
She?s at the jetty. Would
you like a closer look? I?ve
a bottle of wine in the
cabin fridge. We could sit
on deck and get to know
each other.?
Her smile left Jon in no
doubt that he?d never have
to wait for the right girl to
come along again. And she
knew it, too. n
my garden
Notes from
Start thinking now about planting
bulbs with advice from our gardening
expert Alexandra Campbell.
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
Indoor Bulbs
For Christmas
You need to plant
Hippeastrum (commonly
known as amaryllis) by
September 24 if you
want to enjoy these
beautifully showy red or
white lily-like flowers for
Christmas. They?re sold
with planting
instructions on the pack.
I tend not to grow
indoor hyacinths and
paperwhite narcissi,
though, because our
local market sells them
cheaply when they?re
about to flower.
Y
OU can plant
daffodils, hyacinths
and other bulbs any
time from now
onwards. But don?t
plant tulips until October or
November. Tulips don?t start
putting out roots until then,
and the later you plant
them, the less likely they are
to suffer from viral diseases.
However, daffodils,
narcissi, hyacinths and other
bulbs can be planted now.
And even with tulips, it?s
certainly worth buying or
ordering your bulbs now if
you haven?t already done so.
Garden centres will soon
be full of Christmas goodies,
and from now on, you may
find that your favourite
bulbs have sold out.
Probably the easiest way
to guarantee a stunning
bulb display is to plant your
bulbs into plastic pots or
?bulb baskets?, and then
sink them into the ground
where you want them once
they?re flowering.
Bulb baskets look a bit
like wide colanders, and are
easier to sink into the
ground than plastic pots.
They?re available cheaply
from garden centres or
online. But even simple
plastic pots can be dropped
into more attractive
containers at flowering time.
I have decided that the
?bulb lasagne? is a myth.
Every year, some glossy
magazine will come up with
the news that you can have
a glorious pot of bulbs
flowering from February to
April, by planting your bulbs
in layers. You put tulips on
the bottom layer, then
daffodils, then there?s a
layer of crocus . . .
I have never got a bulb
lasagne to work. I have tried
packing bulbs in tightly.
Then the next year I gave
them more room.
I?ve even been sent a
?bulb lasagne? pack, with
layers of bulbs already set
out for me. The result? One
tulip, a distorted hyacinth,
and three manky-looking
crocuses.
GARDENING 65
Write It Down
Blazing
Leaf Colour
If you don?t keep a
gardening diary, then
write down what went
well in your garden this
year, and what you want
to improve for next. Take
photographs. When you
start planning next year
(any time between
November and March), the
garden will look
completely different and
it?s impossible to
remember what was good
and what wasn?t!
Don?t miss the glorious
fireworks of autumn
leaves changing colour. To
make the most of it, visit
an arboretum, woodland
garden or botanic garden
in late September or
October.
Top gardens include the
Royal Botanic Garden in
Edinburgh, Winkworth
Arboretum in Surrey,
Bodnant Garden in Wales
and Mount Stewart in
Northern Ireland.
If you want a series of
bulbs in pots from February
to April, grow them
separately in plastic bulb
baskets or pots and drop
them into your more
beautiful planters when they
are nearly flowering.
When they fade, take the
plastic pot out and replace it
with the next nearly
flowering one. You could
even plant a few extra in
case of disappointments.
So why do we so often
plant 15 bulbs in a border
and only get nine up the
following spring? Squirrels
dig up bulbs (although they
only eat some). If you?re
planting into the ground, a
piece of chicken wire over
the area may prevent this.
Heavy rain will rot bulbs,
and there?s nothing you can
do about that.
I think it?s also worth
ordering bulbs from
specialist bulb growers
rather than dropping them
into the weekly shop at the
supermarket.
Supermarkets and garden
centres do look after their
stock well, but the bulbs will
have come from the
specialist nursery to start
with, and you might as well
cut out the extra journey
and the time spent on the
shelf.
However, you can also
have some wonderful
surprises in bulbs. Maybe
you?ve cut back a shrub
that?s encroached too far
over the beds? The
following year, some
long-forgotten daffodil or
tulip may just pop its head
up.
And some bulbs really do
naturalise well, spreading in
borders and coming back
year after year. I find that
muscari are positively
invasive, and orange
?Ballerina? tulips have come
up every year for 14 years in
this garden.
Bulbs are such a joy ? we
should forgive their
somewhat erratic flowering
antics. n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
Growing Crab-apples
Crab-apple jelly is one of those delicacies you have
to make. You don?t get it in the shops ? although it?s
worth looking out for it at any WI fairs.
Firstly, though ? do you have a crab-apple tree?
It?s one of the best small garden trees, with beautiful
flowers in spring and glorious autumn fruits. A crabapple tree is a good pollinating partner for any other
apple trees you have, which is why farmers plant a
couple of crab-apple trees in each row of apple trees.
When you buy a crab-apple tree, think about what
you want it for. If you want the crab-apples for
cooking, then choose one known for its flavour, such
as Malus ?Pink Glow?.
If you want long-lasting autumn colour, ask for one
that ?holds on to its fruit? long into the winter, such
as Malus ?Gorgeous?. A tree that holds on to its fruit
is also best for wildlife.
My favourite crab-apple is Malus hupehensis. A
friend grew two from pips, and gave them to me
seven years ago. They are now around 15 feet high,
and very striking with brilliant white blossom in spring
and tiny long-lasting red fruits in autumn/winter.
Time To Make Crab-apple Jelly
Crab-apples are high in pectin, so they make a good
addition to other jams and jellies. I use this recipe
when I make crab-apple jelly:
Makes around 1.8 kg/3.5-4 lbs jelly:
u 2.5 kg/5.5 lb crab-apples
u Granulated sugar
To Flavour: either 6 cloves or handful of fresh mint or
small stick of cinnamon.
1 Chop the crab-apples roughly (there?s no need to peel or core).
Put into a pan with the cloves or cinnamon and 1.75 litres/3 pints
of water. Simmer for around 1-1� hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain through a muslin jelly bag for 8-10 hours. Don?t press it
through, just let it drip slowly. (I hang the bag from a clothes
drying rack.)
2 Adding 450 g/1 lb sugar for every pint of clear juice (and the
mint, if using), heat slowly, stirring until the sugar is dissolved (this
is important).
3 Boil fast for at least 10 minutes, until setting point has been
reached. Test this by keeping a saucer in the freezer, then adding
a few drops on to it to see if it jellies ? look for wrinkled skin
when you push it gently. Pour the jelly into clean, dry jars, cover
and store in a cool, dark place.
REMEMBER WHEN 67
30 Years Of
Photographs courtesy of the Steamie 30th Anniversary Tour.
Actor and writer Tony Roper talks to Wendy Glass about
the enduring appeal of his much-loved play.
I
N 1987, a play about
four hard-working
housewives doing their
weekly laundry at their
local wash-house was
first performed in Glasgow
? and was an instant hit.
Since then, ?The
Steamie? has become one
of Scotland?s classic plays
and is currently attracting
sell-out audiences to its
30th anniversary tour,
which finishes in
Edinburgh in November.
?I never expected the
first play I ever wrote to
stand the test of time,?
Tony Roper admits.
He is the actor who
wrote ?The Steamie? in
1987 ? and who is
perhaps best known as
Jamesie Cotter of ?Rab C.
Nesbitt? fame.
?I thought it would have
a three-week run ? not
thirty years and counting!?
?The Steamie? is set in a
1950s Glasgow
wash-house on Hogmanay,
where Dolly, Magrit,
Doreen and Mrs
Culfeathers are desperately
trying to get their
washing done before
the bells ring out at the
start of the New Year,
helped, or maybe
hindered, by the
not-so-handy Andy.
With its heartwarming combination
of laughter, tears and
song, ?The Steamie? is
an ode to days long
gone, with young
Doreen?s visions of
the future, Mrs
Culfeathers? look back
at the past and
Magrit?s moaning that
a woman?s work is
never done ? and the
all-pervading sense
of community spirit
and teamwork that
could make a visit to the
wash-house one of the
highlights of a housewife?s
week!
?It?s based on my mum?s
memories of the steamie
where she?d wash our
clothes,? Tony, who was
brought up in a Glasgow
tenement, says.
?My mum was technical
advisor for the play! It was
vital I get every detail right
as, when the play was first
performed, there would be
women in the audience
who had done their
washing in the wash-house
every week.
?My mum explained the
whole routine of the
wash-house to me ? it
wasn?t like nowadays when
you just pop the washing in
the machine and it comes
out nice and clean.
?I was in my late forties
when I sat down with a Biro
and a jotter and wrote ?The
Steamie?,? Tony continues.
?It?s wonderful that it?s still
bringing laughter and tears,
and touching that intangible
something in an audience
that continues to make it a
favourite night out.?
?The Steamie? is being
performed at theatres across
Scotland from now until
November 6. n
Not so long ago, without
the luxury of modern
household appliances such
as twin tubs or automatic
washing machines, making
sure the family?s clothes were
sparkling clean involved a
visit to the nearest washhouse once a week.
At the wash-house, or
?steamie? as it was often
called in Scotland,
housewives would spend
several hours slaving over
large sinks filled with nearboiling water, rubbing away
stubborn stains on clothes
boards and squeezing out
excess water with handwound mangles.
With no such thing as a
tumble-dryer, wet clothes
had to be hung in the drying
green or on wires stretched
between tenement buildings.
However, although going
to the wash-house involved a
few hours of very hard work,
it was an opportunity for
women to catch up on the
gossip ? and inspect
everyone else?s laundry.
Going home with washing
that wasn?t whiter than white
would be the focus of
wagging tongues for weeks!
iStock.
The Steamie
Wash-house
Traditions
Together
We Stand
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
The Story So Far
HENRY GILLINGHAM is
in Llandudno with his
sister MADELEINE after
their uncle SAMUEL?S
death. He has left them
the Bron Derw guesthouse.
Samuel left his prot間閑
TANNI PHILLIPS a wagon
he used while working as
a photographer during
the Crimean War, which is
full of photographic
equipment. Mystery
surrounds the wagon as
there were rumours
Samuel worked as a spy.
A camera is then stolen
from Tanni?s studio and
Inspector TWM WILLIAMS
is investigating the case.
Samuel has bequeathed
a building to be used as
tearooms and a meeting
place for the suffrage
movement, run by
GWENDOLYN HUMPHRIES,
as well as a photographic
studio for Tanni. The
tearooms have several
volunteers, including
EDITH MCGOVERN.
MARI JONES?s
grandfather knew Samuel.
She asks him what he
knows of the wagon, but
Edith?s grandfather, owner
of the shipping company
employing Mari?s
husband, warns her to
stop asking questions.
Gwendolyn decides to
stand in the council
elections. COUNCILLOR
BANKS opposes her plans
and closes the tearooms
and studio, forcing Tanni
to open a kiosk on the
pier instead.
One evening Tanni and
Madeleine realise they
are locked in the studio
? and they are not
alone . . .
T
ANNI followed
Madeleine through
the maze of rooms
and offices above
the tearooms. The
footsteps behind them
followed, quietly and
stealthily, keeping pace but
without hurrying.
?They must have guessed
there is no other way out,?
Tanni whispered as they
reached the higher floors.
?They know we?re trapped.?
Madeleine peered around
in the darkness. They had
reached the top floor, with
doors leading off either side
of a narrow corridor, and a
spiralling staircase that led
up to the old servants?
rooms in the attics.
The two exchanged
glances. The footsteps on
the stairs behind them had
stopped. Their pursuer was
listening, waiting to see in
which of the rooms they
Set In
1904
Not everyone
was happy with
the things that
Gwendolyn
Humphries had
to say!
would hide.
?There must be a place
we can lock ourselves in,?
Madeleine whispered.
Her voice was drowned
out by a shot, its crack
echoing round the dusty
rooms.
The footsteps were
moving towards them
again. Tanni felt a bullet fly
past her, burying itself into
the plaster of the far wall.
?Quickly!? she hissed,
racing to the end of the
corridor and up the stairs
into the attic, Madeleine
close behind her.
There were two doors on
either side at the top. They
tried one, then the other,
but both were locked.
At the far end, a door
warped with age and
hanging off its hinges
loomed out of the half-light
of a distant window, leading
to rooms further along.
SERIAL BY HEATHER PARDOE: PART 6 OF 7
?They might lead to the
next building along,?
Madeleine said desperately.
?It must be the Harpers,
next door on this side.
They?d help us if we can
find a way through.?
Tanni pulled the remains
of the broken door just
wide enough for them to
squeeze through. The attic
loomed dark and vast in
front of them.
?If only we had a candle,?
Tanni muttered. ?Whoever
is behind us could have a
lamp, then we won?t stand
a chance.?
?There?s more than one
following us,? Madeleine
whispered, as behind them
a rush of footsteps joined
the first, followed by a low
murmur of voices.
?But there is one other
way out.? She swept Tanni
into one of the attic rooms,
bolting the door behind
them.
?At least that should hold
them for a while. I helped
Mrs Humphries when they
were clearing up here. I?m
sure the windows opened.?
?The window?? Tanni
glanced at her, horrified.
?It?s the only way out.?
The footsteps had
reached the attic. There
was the sound of a shot,
echoing into the darkness.
Madeleine pushed open
the window, which led on to
the roof. The street below
looked horribly small.
Tanni glanced back. The
room was bare of furniture,
with nowhere to hide.
As she watched, the
handle of the door rattled,
followed by a banging as
their pursuer pushed at the
door.
The lock wasn?t strong
and already it was giving
way.
She met Madeleine?s
eyes. On the other side of
the door lay an unknown
enemy with a weapon, and
a clear desire to see them
silenced.
?This way we stand a
chance.? Tanni eased
herself through the window,
clambering on to the roof,
followed by Madeleine.
They pulled the window
closed behind them as
firmly as they could.
A sea breeze caught
them, sending them off
balance, but at least the
rain had stopped and the
evening sun had dried the
tiles.
Trying not to look down,
they set off across the roof
as fast as they dared.
* * * *
Next to the town hall,
Gwendolyn Humphries?s
rally was in full swing.
She stepped on to the
platform and gazed at the
small group of supporters.
?I never thought to see
this day,? she said, ?when I
would be standing for
election to become a
councillor and have a say in
how our lives can be
improved.
?Too long, women have
been forced into the
background, told to be
invisible and to obey our
fathers and husbands.?
?Hear, hear!? a woman?s
voice replied.
?It?s high time a woman?s
voice was heard on the
council,? Gwendolyn
continued. ?Women are just
as practical as men. I?ve
helped run my late
husband?s business for the
past twenty years, and I
run it perfectly well on my
own now.
?I understand how
important it is for business
to provide an income for
every single one of us. But
what is the point of earning
an income for it to go on
statues and vanity projects
for the rich??
Henry Gillingham shifted
his position at the edge of
the crowd. He could see the
numbers were rapidly
increasing, swelled by the
intrigued, and one or two of
the hostile.
A few of the visitors
passing by looked shocked
at the sight of a woman
speaking in public, but
more than one had already
stopped to listen.
?Exactly!? an elderly
woman called. ?Good for
you! Time they was told,
an? all.?
Henry grinned, his anxiety
relaxing a little. He still
couldn?t see this passing
without some trouble, but
with so many witnesses,
no-one would attempt
anything truly despicable.
?Evan!? Henry spotted
his friend walking towards
him. ?Where are Tanni and
Madeleine? I thought you
were with them at the
tearooms??
?Aren?t they here?? Evan
frowned at him. ?The
message said they had
decided to leave the
developing of the
photographs until morning
so that they could support
my mother from the start.?
Henry shook his head.
?What message? They
went to the tearooms as
planned.?
On the platform,
Gwendolyn was getting into
her stride.
?We need practical
matters. I am talking about
hospitals open to all, not
just the rich. And drainage.
?There are still families
living in appalling
conditions, with one
69
sending its rickety structure
swaying.
?Get off there, you fools!?
Evan yelled. ?Someone is
going to be killed!?
As he and Henry pushed
their way through the
surging crowd towards the
front, the platform finally
collapsed and Gwendolyn
disappeared from view.
* * * *
?It sounds like a riot!?
Tanni cried in despair as
she and Madeleine reached
the furthest roof from the
window, crawling on hands
and knees across the slates.
?Look, the police are
arriving. No-one is going to
see us up here.?
?It?ll be all right. They?ll
work out we are missing
and look for us.? Madeleine
A flurry of flour and eggs hit the
women on the platform
outhouse between ten
families or more. Is it any
wonder disease is rife?
What I am suggesting are
practical measures . . .?
Her voice was drowned
out by the arrival of a large
crowd of men and women
emerging in a rush from a
side street with the look of
meaning business.
Evan dodged as an egg
flew over his head. He
turned to one of the older
men next to him.
?Alert Inspector Williams,
will you, Gwyn? Or there
will be a riot on our hands.?
?With pleasure, Doctor,?
Gwyn replied, eyeing the
newcomers with contempt.
?Not even local, half of
them. Councillor Banks
brought them in from
Conwy and Penmaenmawr,
and there?s one or two I
know from Bangor.
?Must have cost the
earth, bringing them all the
way up here just to stop a
respectable woman from
speaking. Disgraceful.?
As Gwyn shot off in the
direction of the police
station, a flurry of flour and
eggs hit the women on the
platform.
Several of the men in the
crowd had already turned
to tackle the intruders, and
fists were beginning to fly.
A few of the newcomers
staggered into the platform,
glanced back. There was
still no sign of the intruder
emerging to follow.
They had reached the end
of the row of terraced
buildings, and were clinging
to the final chimney, where
the roof fell away on all
sides towards the street.
?Look,? Tanni said, her
voice rising in alarm.
?Someone?s opening the
window. They?re not giving
up.?
?Well, I?m not staying
here to be murdered.?
Madeleine peered down.
As she had hoped, there
was a small balcony with a
room in the eaves below
them, with an ill-fitting
window, just like the one
they had left.
Once they got down
there, if they couldn?t force
the window open, they
would be truly trapped.
Tanni followed her gaze.
?At least we?ll be hidden.?
They slid down gingerly
on to the little balcony.
Tanni pulled her hat from
her head, using it as
protection as she broke the
pane, smothering the sound
of shattering as much as she
could, and praying their
pursuer wasn?t near enough
to hear.
She reached in and undid
the lock, allowing the two
of them to slip inside.
Like the room they
71
had left, the little attic
was used only for
storage.
?Let?s hope there?s no
lock on the door,? Tanni
muttered.
?Shhh.? Madeleine pulled
her down.
Above them came the
sound of boots, clattering
as they made their way
above their hiding place.
Holding their breath,
Tanni and Madeleine
stayed as still as they could
and waited.
* * * *
?Mama!? Evan reached
the stage as Gwendolyn
was pulled out, covered in
dust.
?Good grief!? Councillor
Banks arrived behind Evan,
his face ashen. He pulled
himself together.
?This is an outrage. You
can see what this
foolishness can lead to. This
is precisely why I was
forced to shut down those
tearooms.?
Gwendolyn sneezed.
?I?ve had more than a
few bruises in my time.?
She struggled to her feet.
?Maybe you should put
your energies into
dispersing your ruffians,
Andrew.
?I?m quite sure the police
have been alerted and are
on their way. You wouldn?t
want anyone saying
anything they shouldn?t,
would you??
?I . . .? Andrew Banks
spluttered. He caught sight
of Inspector Williams,
followed by half the police
of Llandudno, heading their
way.
?Well, if you are sure you
are unhurt,? he muttered,
shooting off to disperse the
sections of the crowd who
had been rather too well
entertained at the nearest
public house to notice
disaster bearing down on
them.
?I hope he?s arrested for
what he has done,? Evan
said angrily.
?Unlikely.? Gwendolyn
brushed herself down,
removing flour and the
remains of eggs from her
collar. ?But it might give
him pause next time.?
?Next time?? Evan gazed
at her, horrified.
?In fact, there?s no reason
for us not to resume, now
the inebriated element has
been dispersed.?
?I?m taking you back to
the surgery,? Evan told her
firmly. ?That was quite a
bang on the head.?
?I?m sure there?s no
need.? Gwendolyn came to
a halt as Henry pushed
through the crowds to join
them, followed closely by
Inspector Williams.
Gwendolyn blinked at
them, then turned to Evan.
?Did you hear this
commotion from as far
away as the tearooms?? she
demanded. ?Who?s staying
to guard Tanni??
Evan looked at her
anxiously.
?Mama, are you sure you
shouldn?t sit down? Don?t
you remember, Tanni
decided not to go until the
morning to print her
photographs.? He glanced
round at the ladies from the
tearoom gathering around.
?She and Madeleine must
be here somewhere.?
?Of course they are not.?
Gwendolyn turned even
paler. ?Tanni promised to
deliver a print early
tomorrow morning. She
wouldn?t have time for it to
dry.
?And I know Tanni ? she
wouldn?t let any of her
customers down.?
?Which means she must
be in the tearooms!? Henry
exclaimed. ?I?ll alert the
inspector. The sooner we
get there the better. Let?s
hope we?re not too late.?
Evan hesitated.
?I need to examine your
head, Mama.?
?I?ve had my head for
some time, my dear. I?m
quite sure it can wait. Off
you go. This smells of a
trick to me. It?s Tanni and
Madeleine who might be in
urgent need of your skills.?
* * * *
Tanni and Madeleine
crouched in the attic,
keeping as still as they
could. Tanni could hear her
heart beating in her chest,
and was quite sure it would
betray them.
Their pursuer paused
above the broken window.
They could feel him listening
for any sound that might
betray their presence.
A tile slipped, as there
was an experimental slide
towards them, then
abruptly halted. Tanni
grabbed Madeleine?s arm
as the slide began again.
?Police!? The shout was
distant, but clear. The man
above them cursed under
his breath, followed by the
sound of running footsteps
across the roof, back
towards the window.
?Thank goodness for
that,? Madeleine breathed.
?Now we have to find a way
to get out of here.?
She caught the look on
Tanni?s face from the light
creeping in from the
window.
?What is it??
?That warning sounded
like Edith.?
?Edith?? Madeleine
frowned at her. ?Edith was
down in the basement. She
could still be down there.
And if she?d escaped . . .?
?Exactly,? Tanni said.
?She wouldn?t be alerting
her kidnapper.?
?Are you sure it was her??
?No,? Tanni confessed,
?but I can?t be sure it
wasn?t. Mari Jones?s
husband works for Edith?s
grandfather.
?Wasn?t he sent out to
Russia? That was why they
wanted the photograph of
the baby so badly.
?He could be out there
for months. Supposing it?s
not for trade, or that trade
is a cover??
Madeleine shivered.
?I can?t believe Edith
would do such a thing.?
?If her grandfather is
involved in any way with
espionage, the rest of the
family would be ruined.?
?But he runs a
respectable business. He?s
one of the wealthiest and
most respectable men in
the town. Who on earth is
going to believe us??
?Exactly,? Tanni said,
scrambling over rolls of
wallpaper and abandoned
tea chests to try the door.
?If this is to do with Edith?s
grandfather, they might
beat us yet.?
* * * *
Henry was the first to
reach the tearooms. He
could see from a distance
that it was open. Fear
coursing through him, he
hurried inside.
The tearooms were empty.
The studio was shuttered
with a light burning in
the basement.
?Tanni?? he called.
?Madeleine??
There was no reply.
Cautiously, he made his
way down. There was
no-one there, and no signs
of Tanni starting her work.
Unease gripping him, he
began to make his way up
the stairs again.
He was just at the top
when he heard the
inspector?s voice arriving at
the door, instructing his
men to search the building.
There was a rush of boots
across the room. Henry
raced to the top of the
steps, almost colliding with
a figure heading for the
shutters.
?No, you don?t!? he
exclaimed, grabbing the
fugitive?s arm.
They struggled for a few
moments, but his opponent
was strong, pulling himself
free, making for the
windows.
?In here!? Henry yelled,
giving chase.
He managed to grasp the
intruder?s coat, but with
the sound of ripping the
man turned, landing a blow
that winded him, before
escaping through the
window.
?Don?t worry, sir, we?ll
catch him,? Inspector
Williams said, as his men
gave chase.
?They are not in the
basement.? Henry gasped,
trying to catch his breath.
?They must be upstairs.?
?It?s all right, sir.? The
inspector helped him to his
feet. ?A lady has just
reported seeing two figures
on the roof.?
?The roof!? Henry gazed
at him in alarm.
?Enterprising young
women,? the inspector
remarked. ?Sounds like
they managed to make their
way into Harpers? shop at
the end.
?It?s closed today, but my
sergeant has been
dispatched to fetch the key.
We?ll have them out of
there in no time.?
It took only minutes for
the key to be located, and
for Tanni and Madeleine to
be released from the
gloom of the shop.
72
?I still need to print
those photographs,?
Tanni said anxiously as
they emerged into the
street.
?I should think the last
place you want to be is in
that darkroom.? Inspector
Williams frowned.
?It?s all right,? Henry
said. ?My sister and I will
stay with her.?
?As you wish. I?ll leave as
many of my men outside as
can be spared. I?m not
letting the ruffian get away
this time. We?ll catch him.
?I can see no-one in
Llandudno is going to be
able to sleep in their beds
until we do.?
* * * *
Later that night, Tanni
wearily made her way up
the last few steps to the
cottage on the Orme.
?Thank you, Mr
Gillingham,? she said as
they stopped in the
darkness, just out of
earshot of the policeman
standing in front of the
door. ?I?m glad I managed
to get the prints finished.?
?I?ll fetch you tomorrow
morning. I can drive you to
the hotel in plenty of time
before your clients leave.?
?There?s no need.?
?I think there is,? Henry
persisted. ?You saved my
sister?s life with your quick
thinking. Heaven knows
what might have happened
if you hadn?t managed to
escape. I don?t know what I
would have done.?
?At least Madeleine is
safe.?
?It wasn?t just Madeleine
I was thinking of. Finding
the tearooms open, and
realising we had all been
tricked . . .? He took her
hands.
?I couldn?t bear it, Tanni.
There are few things certain
in my life, but of one thing I
am certain, and that is that
I can?t imagine life without
you.? He pulled her close
towards him.
?I can?t imagine life
without you,? she
whispered, meeting his kiss.
She pulled away to look
into his eyes.
?I must go. Mam will be
worried, and you need to
get back to Madeleine.?
As if in answer, the door
opened and her mother
appeared, her voice
anxious as she spoke to the
guarding policeman.
?Of course,? Henry
whispered regretfully into
Tanni?s hair.
With an effort, Tanni
pulled herself free, and ran
across the grass to where
her mother was waiting.
* * * *
?Mr Banks.? Gwendolyn
pushed her way into the
councillor?s offices a few
days later, bruising still
visible on one cheek. She
had a look of determination
on her face.
?Mrs Humphries.? Banks
stared at her, alarm turning
his face a shade of pink.
?I wish to have a word
with you.?
?I?m somewhat
preoccupied.? He waved a
wad of papers rather
helplessly. ?You can make
an appointment.?
Gwendolyn sat down.
?I am not going
anywhere. And in case you
are considering sending for
the police to remove me, I
suggest you think twice. For
your own good, that is.?
Banks flushed scarlet. He
glanced at his staff, who
had appeared at the door
to remove the intruder, and
were hanging on every
word.
?Ask my next
appointment to wait, will
you, Mr Huws?? he
remarked to his secretary, a
rather pale young man who
looked decidedly nervous at
the sight of Gwendolyn?s
umbrella held in an
uncompromising manner. ?I
am never one to say no to
a lady in distress.?
?So I?ve heard.?
Gwendolyn smiled grimly.
?I can give you ten
minutes,? Banks said in
tones of deepest dignity.
Gwendolyn sighed. She
waited until the door to the
outer office shut, then
leaned forward, placing her
arms on the table.
?Come on, Andrew. You
can do better than that. I?m
giving you a way out.?
?A way out??
?My solicitor suggests I
bring a prosecution. They?ve
arrested more than one of
your hired thugs, who
talked quickly once they
sobered up.
?I could have been killed
as a result of your antics.
I?ve dissuaded him for
now.?
?My dear lady ??
?Oh, for goodness? sake!?
She frowned at him. ?We?ve
known each other long
enough not to beat about
the bush, and it?s no good
you coming over all
pompous with me.
?Hasn?t it occurred to you
that I have no intention of
stepping into your shoes
and taking your place?
?This isn?t a matter of
winning or losing. It?s a
matter of different points of
view.
?You say I can?t
understand the world of
commerce and of men. Very
well, I don?t agree, but I?ll
concede the point.?
?Indeed.? His features
eased and he sat back in
his chair, a hint of
smugness threatening to
overtake his features.
?On one condition.?
?Condition??
?Yes. That you concede
that you have very little
understanding of the world
of women.?
He bristled.
?My wife will testify to
the contrary.?
?I?m not talking about
your wife!? She gazed at
him, exasperated. ?I?m
talking about looking after
a household, looking after
children, the sick, and the
old.
?I?m talking about women
who have no home and no
family, often through
sickness, and through no
fault of their own.
?I?m talking of women?s
particular needs.? At this
the councillor blanched. ?In
particular, women?s health
needs,? she added a little
louder, pressing home her
advantage.
?Women feel happier
talking to women, just as
men feel happier talking to
men. They have a different
point of view.
?I?m not attempting to
take over your role, but to
complement it.? She eyed
him. ?Your Annabelle is a
good woman. I?d have
made you a terrible wife,
Andrew. You?d never have
had a moment?s peace.?
She saw the look of
dignity returning to his face
and gritted her teeth,
preparing to make the
ultimate sacrifice.
?The truth is, Andrew, I
have always been grateful
for your perception, and
your generous gesture in
not forcing me to bend to
our parents? wishes. I will
always deeply respect you
for that.?
?Indeed.? Andrew Banks
shot her a suspicious
glance, but her face was
perfectly serious. He
cleared his throat. ?And I
have always admired your
energy and commitment,?
he muttered graciously.
Gwendolyn smiled.
?Then perhaps it might
not be so hard to work
together, after all. Should I
have the good fortune to
be elected, that is.?
?Indeed,? he murmured.
?Without intervention,?
she added firmly. ?I?m well
aware that missiles thrown
at me before I speak are
likely to be my lot. I can
take it from those I wish to
represent. Not those
brought in for the occasion.?
?Yes,? Andrew said
smoothly once again. ?I
shall instruct Inspector
Williams to keep an eye out
for such underhand
dealings.
?I am a strong supporter
of democracy, as you know,
Mrs Humphries. I will
always uphold the rule of
law.?
?Oh, indeed.? She rose.
?I shall inform the inspector
of that, shall I? It won?t be
out of my way as I go to
instruct my solicitor.?
?If you would be so
kind,? he growled, with the
expression of a man about
to have teeth pulled.
?Excellent. I shall leave
you to your appointment.?
At the door she turned. ?I
look forward to the prospect
of working with you.?
?Yes,? Mr Banks growled,
not quite able to bring
himself to return the
compliment. ?Should you
have the good fortune to
be elected.?
?Oh, I will,? she replied,
the glint back in her eye.
?Just you wait.?
* * * *
?There has to be
something here,? Tanni
said, peering up at the
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looming shadow of the
picture wagon.
?Agreed,? Madeleine
replied, joining her.
?Maybe we should just
get rid of it.? Tanni sighed.
?And give in to threats??
Henry said. ?It seems our
mysterious intruder has
concluded there is nothing
more of value here.?
He looked at the wagon.
?It has to be worth one
more try. The inspector
seems to have little idea
about who this might be,
and why they are interested
in Uncle Samuel?s wagon.?
?One last try,? Madeleine
agreed.
They stepped inside. For
the remainder of the
afternoon and long into the
evening, the three of them
searched.
?It can?t be here,? Henry
said at last, as dusk began
to fall, and he and
Madeleine emerged into
the fresh air, while Tanni
tidied up a few last items.
?But that means it might
never be found. And we
don?t even know what we
are looking for.? Madeleine
shuddered. ?I?m not sure I
want to stay here, never
knowing what might
happen next.?
?Nor do I,? Henry replied
thoughtfully.
He forced himself to be
cheerful as Tanni emerged
from the picture wagon, a
canister of film in her hand.
?A cup of tea to chase all
those chemicals away, I
think,? he suggested.
?That sounds like a good
idea.? Tanni glanced at the
canister. ?This had rolled
under one of the cabinets.
It must be film inside.?
She shook it.
?What?? Madeleine
demanded as Tanni came
to an abrupt halt.
?That?s not film,? Tanni
said slowly. ?That sounds
like paper.?
She prised it open and
shook out a carefully rolled
sheet of paper.
?That doesn?t look like
writing,? Henry said. ?And
it doesn?t look like any kind
of journalist?s shorthand,
with those marks and
numbers.?
?It could be some kind of
code,? Madeleine said.
?The kind of code used
by spies?? Tanni asked.
Madeleine nodded.
They looked at each
other. Darkness was now
falling rapidly, and a breeze
had stirred.
Tanni shivered.
?This could be the very
thing our intruder has been
looking for.?
?And was prepared to kill
for,? Madeleine added,
glancing round uneasily.
?That settles it.? Henry
straightened. ?I suggest we
take this down to Inspector
Williams. The sooner this is
out of our hands, the
better.?
?I?ll telephone now and
let him know we are on our
way,? Madeleine said.
Tanni followed them back
towards the house, carefully
rolling up the paper and
resealing it in its canister,
which she thrust as deep as
she could into her pocket.
?Inspector Williams will
meet us at the station,?
Madeleine said, emerging
breathlessly from the
house. She handed a coat
to Tanni. ?This will keep you
warm. The air is cold
tonight. It almost feels like
autumn.?
Tanni paused, her hand
on the coat. Madeleine was
right. There was an edge of
chill in the air, laced with
the scent of distant bonfires.
?Oh!? she whispered,
letting the coat fall.
?What is it?? Madeleine
exclaimed.
?Have you seen?? Henry
called, racing back from the
road. ?I saw it as I was
starting the automobile. It?s
high up on the Orme. It
looks like the flames took
hold almost instantly.?
?Tanni.? Madeleine
grasped her hand. ?Tanni,
it isn?t . . .?
?No,? Tanni said in a
strangled voice. ?It?s not
Mam?s house.?
?It must be the Jones?s
cottage,? Henry said.
?Mari?s there alone with
the baby,? Tanni cried.
?Come on!? Henry cried.
?It will take ages for anyone
to reach them from the
town, and we are only a
few minutes away.?
The next minute they
were roaring up the hill,
towards the flames etched
against the sky.
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the manse
window
By Rev. Andrew Watson.
W
E?D been in Chamonix
before, on a family
holiday, and it had
been cloudy that day, too. The
rocky outcrop of the Aiguille
du Midi, the highest cable car
station on Mont Blanc, had
been shrouded from view.
That day we told the kids
we?d take them for pizza and
drive under the mountain
through the 11.6 km tunnel
into Italy!
Our kids are adults now and
had thoughtfully clubbed
together to buy their mum and
dad the plane tickets to have
another crack at the summit.
So there we were, eager to
ascend, but again the mountain
tops were hidden in cloud. All
we could see were trees
disappearing into the grey.
Ever resourceful, my wife
studied the map and
persuaded her reluctant driver
(guess who?) to drive our
rented SUV in the other
direction, up the valley past
Vallorcine and through the
winding pass into Switzerland.
Last time Italy for pizza, this
time Montreux for coffee,
enjoying light jazz on a sunny
terrace looking over Lake
Geneva!
For us, unused to Alpine
weather and roads, it was an
epic journey. We had 25 cm
of powdery snow in Chamonix
that morning but it had
stopped around lunchtime.
The steam was rising like
mist from the road as the
temperature rose. Our ears
popped as we gained altitude,
but we got our first glimpse of
blue sky! As the clouds lifted
we began to witness the most
majestic mountain scenery in
all directions.
In Montreux we visited
mediaeval Chillon Castle, which
these days rests beneath an
elevated concrete motorway.
We also visited the former
studio where Queen recorded
their last album, ?Made In
Heaven?. The statue of lead
singer Freddie Mercury is a
little distance away on the lake
shore.
That evening we made it
back to Chamonix, where next
day we finally, in unbroken
sunshine, got to have breakfast
?on top of the world?!
Crowds of brightly dressed
skiers had squeezed into the
cable car to make the most of
the last days of the season.
Never having learned to ski,
we watched enviously as they
curved down the slopes.
For a bible enthusiast like
me, the most obvious scripture
that came to mind was Psalm
121: ?I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills from whence
cometh my help. My help
cometh even from the Lord,
who hath made heaven and
earth.?
The writer of the psalm was
a pilgrim, travelling up through
the mountains of Judea to
Jerusalem to worship God at
the Temple. On the way he
would have seen ?high
places?, shrines to other gods.
Some believed these local
deities lived near the peaks.
I was thinking of how so
often our admiration and
worship stop short. We
naturally marvel at the skill of
the road-builders, and make
icons of popular athletes and
singers, but fail to
acknowledge the Maker who
formed the mountains, the
universe, the world and its
ecosystem.
We idolise the gifts and the
gifted, but neglect to worship
the Giver who made us skilled
and creative in his image.
I always admire human skill
and ingenuity in whatever
form, but like the psalm-writer,
I will look higher than the hills
to our Creator and Protector.
Worship is reserved for
him! n
Next week: Rev. Ian
W.F. Hamilton visits the
Forth Bridges.
Shetland Wool
Chris Cope talks to the talented women who are
dedicated to keeping tradition alive whilst always
moving with the times.
T
Photographs by Campaign for Wool and Jamieson & Smith.
HE remote Shetland
Islands are well
known for knitting,
from Fair Isle
cardigans to lace
shawls.
But at the heart of every
piece of knitwear is its wool.
Jamieson & Smith have
been buying wool from local
crofters and farmers in
Shetland, a small cluster of
islands at the north of
Scotland with a population
of 22,000, and selling it on
since the 1930s.
They purchase wool from
over 700 people ? which
equates to 80% of wool
produced in Shetland ?
meaning that Jamieson &
Smith play a vital part in
keeping the isles? traditions
alive in the 21st century.
They sell wool from their
headquarters in Shetland?s
capital town, Lerwick, while
they also offer knitwear. A
quick scan around the shop
and you?re greeted with a
kaleidoscopic rainbow of
coloured yarn.
Two people helping to
keep the heritage flowing
are Jamieson & Smith staff
members Ella Gordon and
Sandra Manson.
The company has moved
with the times, with mail
orders ? which they have
sent out since the 1960s ?
now joined by online orders
from around the world.
All of the products carry a
three-sheep logo which
means the item is made
from 100% real Shetland
wool from sheep born and
bred in the isles.
The wool is taken into a
?If I don?t
know how to
do something,
I?ll just find
YouTube
videos?
large sorting shed next to
the shop and is graded by
staff before it is sent to the
UK mainland every couple
of weeks to be spun and
dyed, then returned to
Shetland to be sold.
?In the past couple of
years we?ve started doing
the knitwear as well, and
Sandra organises that,? Ella
says.
?That?s things like the
yoke cardigans. We get the
bodies knitted for us by
somebody in Whalsay and
there are different hand
knitters all over Shetland
who do the yokes.
?We are paying them well
for it, as we?re trying to
make it a worthwhile thing
for people to do. It used to
be that you got so little for
knitting a yoke, so why
would people do it
nowadays??
?There?s one old lady who
knits for us who said she
used to knit the whole body
and the cardigan, and she?d
only get four pounds for
doing it,? Sandra adds. ?She
can?t believe how much
money she is now getting.
It?s great, and it makes you
feel like you?re kind of
helping a bit.?
Sandra feels it is ?really
important? to keep the
knitting tradition in Shetland
alive in a digital age where
smartphones and social
networking rule the roost.
But she says it is changed
days from when she was
younger and she was the
only knitter in her social
group.
?When I was a teenager
Gift For A New Arrival
A few years ago Sandra knitted a
one-ply christening robe for the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?s
new arrival, Prince George. It was
presented to grandfather Prince
Charles on behalf of the national
group Campaign for Wool, but
unfortunately the piece was never
used on the big day.
?It just all sort of happened over
a two-week period,? Sandra
reflects. ?When I was doing it, I
couldn?t think that it was actually
going to royalty. You just have to
knit it and not dwell on that.?
Sandra and Ella marry
traditional with contemporary
to keep knitting fresh.
and when I was growing up
? I?ve knitted for ever ? I
was the only person I knew
who did it,? Sandra says. ?I?d
never tell my friends, for
fear they?d just torment me.
?If they came knocking on
the door, it was off with the
knitting belt! It was kind of
funny ? folk never really
knew I knitted until there
was something printed in
?The Shetland Times? not
that many years ago.?
Ella, however, does not
have the same problem.
She blogs about her own
designs online and enjoys a
strong presence on internet
platforms like YouTube and
Instagram.
Compared to Sandra, Ella
is something of a late
bloomer, only picking up
knitting in her later years.
?When I learned to knit at
school I had no interest in it
HERITAGE 77
A mountain of wool is
graded by expert hands.
You only need
three shades
of wool for
these hats.
at all,? she says. ?When I
finished school and went to
college to do textiles, I was
doing machine knitting and
weaving.
?I got my Saturday job
here when I was at college
and that was what got me
into the hand knitting. I?ve
only really been hand
knitting for nearly six years,
and I?ve been teaching
myself as I go. If I don?t
know how to do something,
I?ll just find YouTube
videos.?
Both Ella and Sandra
agree that it is important to
mix the traditional with
contemporary to keep
knitting fresh.
?I think that?s the only
way things change,? Ella
says. ?There?s a reason why
we?re not all knitting and
wearing things that were
being knitted in the Thirties.
But there?s always a place
for the traditional, and we
find that the best patterns
we sell are traditional.?
?Everybody has their own
way that they put colour
together,? Sandra adds.
?Ella?s way is totally different
from what I would do. I?m
old school, I suppose you
There?s a great
demand for
Shetland wool.
would call it. It?s good to
have Ella because we help
each other out.?
It?s clear that the future of
knitting in Shetland is in
very good hands with
people like Ella and Sandra
involved. The designs
continue to prove popular
around the world, with
fashion house Chanel
putting Fair Isle-influenced
patterns on the catwalk a
couple of years ago.
In addition, the annual
Shetland Wool Week, which
features a number of
workshops and events and
was initially founded by
Jamieson & Smith eight
years ago, has become
hugely popular and attracts
global visitors. This year it?s
running from September 23
to October 1.
?You can see things
everywhere in the world
now,? Ella says. ?With social
media like Instagram,
Twitter and Facebook, you
get so much more feedback,
and you?re speaking to your
customers more.
?We pride ourselves that
we?re real people. I think,
for us, that?s our most
important thing. And when
there?s things like Shetland
Wool Week, we just see so
many people, and they
come back year after year.
?Every year there are more
classes going on. We?re so
lucky that we don?t have to
try that hard in some ways,
because Shetland wool has
such a good reputation, all
we have to do is to make it
easy for people to get.?
?But there are so many
people who are scared of
it,? Sandra adds. ??Oh, no, I
never do that?, they say. But
why not? I don?t think I was
even ten when I tried to knit
a bootee out of a pattern
that Mam had. I never knew
anything about the right size
of needles, but I went ahead
and knitted it, and it was
huge. But I knitted it. I
thought, wow, it?s huge, but
I?ve actually made it all by
myself.? n
If you like Shetland
crafts, look out for next
week?s issue and try
your hand at our
knitted shawl.
Bumble
Ceramic Range
Bees Teapot
PFBE5
Beautiful ceramics
to give your kitchen
a ?buzz?.
FROM ONlY
�75
Bees Jug
PFBE8
This eye-catching range will brighten
up your kitchen and impress your
guests. Created by Scottish artist
Elspeth Gardner, these stunning
?Bumble? ceramics have been
created in her small studio in
Glasgow. Elspeth developed an
interest in ceramics and decided to
combine it with a longstanding love
of drawing, creating beautiful and
unique pieces. Drawn freehand and
hand-painted Elspeth?s ceramics are
often used for gifts and interiors.
Why not treat yourself to the whole
range and co-ordinate your kitchen?
EACH
INC. P&P
Bees
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Pepper
Set
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I?D LIKE TO KNOW
Q
45,000
A
The BabyCentre website, which
has a community of three million
UK mums, compiled a list a few
months back highlighting a list of names
which haven?t been registered by any parents so far this year. Among them
are Cilla, Bertha, Dorothy, Mildred and Edna. Meanwhile, falling out of favour in the
boys? selection are Clarence, Edmund, Roger, Bertram and Clive. It?s also worth noting
that Sybil has not been registered so far this year, so you?re still unlikely to bump into
another with your name any time soon! Surprisingly, perhaps, popular 1980s choices
Donna and Ian are also falling out of favour.
Q
A
Ostriches, which are native to
Africa, are the largest living bird
species, and a fully grown male
can reach up to nine feet tall. An adult
emu can reach six feet in height and is
the largest native bird in Australia. No
wonder these birds are flightless!
Q
There was a song about a China
doll in the 1950s ? please can
you tell me who sang it?
Mrs J.L., Essex.
A
You may be referring to Slim
Whitman, who sang the
country classic ?China Doll?.
The American country singer was
probably best known for his 1955 hit
?Rose Marie? which spent 11 weeks at
Number One.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
iStock.
270 degrees
? how far an owl
can rotate its head.
Every year there seem to be lists
produced showing popular baby
names. What I?d really like to know,
however, is which ones are falling out of
favour? I was born in 1930 and in all of
my years at school and work, have never
met another who shares my first name of
Sybil.
Mrs S.K., Tyne & Wear.
Can you settle a debate, please
? which is larger, an ostrich or
an emu?
Mr S.T., Wick.
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 79
Almost everyone now carries a
mobile phone with them at all times,
but the latest versions aren?t just
smartphones ? they?re supersmart!
It?s now possible to download apps
which will check how level something
is (ideal for hanging pictures) and
measure distance, height and width
at a glance. There are also apps which
turn your mobile into a microscope,
will monitor your heartbeat and will
even start your car!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
napkins were loaded
on to Titanic at the
start of the famous
liner?s ill-fated voyage.
�8
is the cost of one of the
world?s most expensive
bars of chocolate ? a
50 gram bar of To?ak
Chocolate 2014.
55 million
cups of coffee are drunk
in the UK every day.
15
large cans of
hairspray are
used every
month by the makeup artists on TV?s
?Coronation Street?.
17%
of Brits
have
never seen
a toad in the wild.
Photographs by Ally Stuart, www.allystuartphotography.co.uk.
Hair and make-up by Linda Wilson
Photographed at Rufflets Hotel: www.rufflets.co.uk.
KNITTING 81
All Tied Up
We?ve given
this top extra
interest with
a feature
neckline
and textured
patterning.
intermediate
82
MEASUREMENTS
To fit sizes: 81/86 cm
(32/34 ins), 91/97 (34/36),
102/107 (40/42), 112/117
(44/46), 122/127 (48/50),
132/137 (52/54).
Actual size: 93 cm
(36� ins), 103 (40�),
113 (44�), 123 (48�),
133 (52�), 143 (56�).
Length: 57 cm (22� ins),
58 (23), 59 (23�), 60
(23�), 61 (24), 63 (25).
MATERIALS
5 (5, 6, 6, 6, 7) 50-gram balls
of Rico Fashion Silk Blend
DK in Pink (002). One pair
each 4 mm (No. 8) and
5 mm (No. 6) knitting
needles; set of four 4 mm
(No. 8) knitting needles (or
circular needle). If you have
difficulty finding the yarn used,
you can order directly from
Wool Warehouse, website:
www.woolwarehouse.
co.uk, telephone 0800 505
3300.
TENSION
20 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm
measured over st-st using
5 mm needles.
ABBREVIATIONS
alt ? alternate;
beg ? beginning;
inc ? increase;
K ? knit;
P ? purl; st(s) ? stitches;
st-st ? stocking-stitch (K1 row,
P1 row);
tw2 ? slip next st, K1, pass
slipped st over st just knitted
and knit into back of it.
Important Note
Directions are given for six
sizes. Figures in brackets refer
to the five larger sizes. Figures
in square brackets [ ] refer to
all sizes and are worked the
number of times stated. When
writing to us you must enclose
an SAE if you would like a
reply.
FRONT
With 4 mm needles, cast on
91 (101, 111, 121, 131,
141) sts.
1st (right side) row ? K2,
[P1, K1] to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K1, [P1, K1] to
end.
Repeat these 2 rib rows until
work measures 15 cm, ending
after 1st row.
Next row ? Purl, inc 1 st at
each end of row ? 93 (103,
113, 123, 133, 143) sts.
Change to 5 mm needles and
ridge pattern.
1st row (right side) ? K26
(29, 33, 38, 42, 46), P1, tw2,
P64 (71, 77, 82, 88, 94).
2nd row ? K64 (71, 77, 82,
88, 94), P2, K1, P26 (29, 33,
38, 42, 46).
3rd row ? P27 (30, 34, 39,
43, 47), tw2, P1, K63 (70,
76, 81, 87, 93).
4th row ? P63 (70, 76, 81,
87, 93), K1, P2, K27 (30, 34,
39, 43, 47).
5th and 6th rows ? As 1st
and 2nd.
7th row ? K26 (29, 33, 38,
42, 46), P1, tw2, P1, K63 (70,
76, 81, 87, 93).
8th row ? P63 (70, 76, 81,
87, 93), K1, P2, K1, P26 (29,
33, 38, 42, 46).
These 8 rows set the pattern.
Continue in pattern until work
measures 32 cm from beg,
ending after a wrong-side row.
Shape cap sleeves ? Inc 1 st
at each end of next 7 rows
working extra sts into pattern
? 107 (117, 127, 137, 147,
157) sts.
Place a marker in centre of last
row.
Work straight until front
measures 16 (17, 16, 17, 17,
19) cm from marker,
measured through centre of
work, ending after a wrongside row.
Shape neck ? Work across
37 (41, 45, 49, 53, 57) sts,
turn.
Continue on this group of sts
for left half of neck.
Dec 1 st at neck edge on next
5 rows ? 32 (36, 40, 44, 48,
52) sts.
Work straight until front
measures 23 (24, 25, 26, 27,
29) cm from marker, ending
at sleeve edge.
Shape top sleeve and
shoulder ? Cast off 4 (5, 5,
6, 7, 7) sts loosely at beg of
next row and the 4 following
alt rows ? 12 (11, 15, 14, 13,
17) sts.
Work 1 row straight.
Cast off 6 (5, 7, 7, 6, 8) sts at
beg of next row ? 6 (6, 8, 7,
7, 9) sts.
Work 1 row straight.
Cast off.
With right side facing slip next
33 (35, 37, 39, 41, 43) sts
on a stitch-holder and leave.
Neatly rejoin yarn to remaining
37 (41, 45, 49, 53, 57) sts
and work to end of row.
Complete as left half of neck.
BACK
Omitting neck shaping, work as
front to shoulder shaping, ending
after a wrong-side row.
Shape shoulders ? Cast off 4
(5, 5, 6, 7, 7) sts loosely at beg
of next 10 rows, then 6 (5, 7, 7,
6, 8) sts at beg of next 2 rows,
finally 6 (6, 8, 7, 7, 9) sts at
beginning of following 2 rows
? 43 (45, 47, 49, 51, 53) sts.
Slip remaining sts on a stitchholder and leave.
TO COMPLETE
Join shoulders.
Neckband and ties ? With set
of four 4 mm needles (or circular
4 mm needle) cast on 35 sts
loosely for first tie, now with right
side facing, using same needle,
knit across 33 (35, 37, 39, 41,
43) sts of front, pick up and knit
28 (28, 31, 31, 34, 34) sts
evenly up right side of front neck,
knit across 43 (45, 47, 49, 51,
53) sts from back neck, finally,
leaving last 3 rows ends free at
base of neck, pick up and knit
25 (25, 28, 28, 31, 31) sts
down left side of front neck, cast
on 35 sts loosely for second tie
? 199 (203, 213, 217, 227,
231) sts.
Beg with a knit row for wrong
side, and working backwards and
forwards in rows, not rounds,
work 4 rows in reverse stockingstitch.
Cast off loosely.
Sleeve borders ? With 4 mm
needles and right side facing,
pick up and knit 131 (139, 147,
151, 157, 165) sts evenly along
sleeve edge. Beginning with a
2nd row, work in rib as on front
for 7 cm. Cast off loosely in rib.
To Make Up ? Omitting ribbing,
press work lightly on wrong side
following pressing instructions.
Join side and sleeve seams.
Press seams. With purl side
outward, fold neck ties in half to
wrong side and hem in place. n
Next week: knit a traditional shawl.
OUT AND ABOUT 85
A Lovely Way To
Courtesy of Gillian Thornton.
Travel
Gillian Thornton enjoys a trip on a steam
train and horse-drawn barge.
N
Geoff Moore.
O matter how
many times I
watched ?Ivor The
Engine? as a child
or read ?Thomas
The Tank Engine? to my
children, I?d never have put
myself down as a steam
buff.
But 30 years on, here I
am, standing on the
footplate of a steam engine,
oil can in hand and driver?s
cap perched temporarily on
my head. And I have to
admit, it?s a real treat.
I?m in Ivor country, the
?top left-hand corner of
Wales? as brought to life in
the Postgate-Firmin cartoon
of the 1960s. And I?m
sampling the view from the
cab of Merddin Emrys, a
gleaming red steam engine
on the Ffestiniog Railway.
One of several heritage
railways in North Wales, the
line was built in the 1830s
to carry slate from the
quarries at Blaenau
Ffestiniog to Porthmadog on
the coast.
I first rode the Ffestiniog
in my early twenties, a
romantic first holiday with
the then special man. Ten
years later, I was back with
my husband and our young
children. Now our children
have grown and flown but
the Ffestiniog is just as
magical as I remember.
As we chug steadily up
the narrow track, I watch the
valley fall away outside the
carriage. We pass trackside
cottages, catch a glimpse of
country houses below, and
around every bend, see a
new vista opening up.
Every steam line in North
Wales offers something
different, as I?m finding out
on my short break. I?ve
already sampled the sharp
curves and steep gradients
of the Welsh Highland
Railway which runs coast-tocoast from Caernarfon to
Porthmadog.
And I have been blessed
with a fabulous clear day for
my trip to the top of Wales?s
highest mountain on the
Snowdon Mountain Railway.
I even watched a classic
episode of ?Ivor The Engine?
as I waited for departure ? a
happy reunion with Jones
the Steam, Owen the Signal,
and Dai Station!
Next day, I trundle along
the Llangollen Railway on its
seven-mile journey to
Corwen. The only standard
gauge heritage line in North
Wales, this scenic track runs
beside the River Dee
through an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty,
and was restored by
enthusiasts after the original
line closed to traffic in 1968.
And as I tuck into coffee
and scones in my 1950s
carriage, I can?t help thinking
it was a good use of their
time. The landscape is
glorious but so, too, are the
bright little stations with
leather luggage, traditional
milk churns and painted
trolleys strategically placed
on the neat platforms.
But there?s a different
kind of treat waiting for me
at Llangollen Wharf, a
relaxing canal cruise in a
horse-drawn barge.
Pleasure boat rides
began here in 1884 when a
certain Captain Jones used
his pension from the White
Star Line ? of Titanic fame
? to buy two wooden
lifeboats from a liner in
Liverpool docks, a couple
of horses, and an old
storage barn by the canal.
I?ve loved ? and owned
? horses all my life, so I
can?t resist the chance to
make friends with Harley,
who?s pulling our barge.
Then I sit back and relax
to the rhythm of hooves on
towpath as we glide
between sunshine and
shadow on a summer?s
afternoon. Horse power or
steam power? Let?s just say
the jury?s still out! n
Want To Know More?
Enjoy steam trains and sightseeing on escorted breaks
with Great Rail Journeys (www.greatrail.com or call
01904 521 936) and Rail Discoveries (www.
raildiscoveries.com or call 01904 734 939).
For barge trips, visit www.horsedrawnboats.co.uk or
call 01978 860702.
SHORT STORY BY HILARY SPIERS 87
A Place
Of Refuge
The girl staying with
me has been through so much
in her short life . . .
Illustration by iStock.
G
OOD heavens, it?s
murderous out
there!? Putting
down the trug of
broad beans, I
wipe the back of my hand
across my damp forehead.
The girl is sitting where
she was when I came out
into the garden an hour
ago, book open on the
table in front her, pencils
perfectly aligned. Her plate
is now empty, though, and
the glass of orange juice
drunk.
Her brown eyes meet
mine in what I take to be
confusion.
?I meant it?s very hot. Do
you know what murderous
means??
She nods gravely.
?Yes,? she says with a
hint of an American accent.
?I know what it means.?
I curse my
thoughtlessness silently, but
soldier on.
?Your English is excellent,
Abir. I don?t have a word of
Arabic, I?m afraid.?
Abir looks down.
?I thought perhaps we
might walk into the village
this afternoon,? I say. ?Pick
up some groceries. We
won?t go far.?
?I must come?? the girl
asks without raising her
head. She looks like she?s
awaiting punishment.
?No!? I?m thrown once
more. ?Of course not. You
don?t have to do anything. I
just thought, well, you
haven?t seen the village. It?s
very pretty.?
Nearly two weeks she?s
been here. Two weeks of
polite, distant responses; of
murmured thanks; a
shadow passing on the
stairs.
Days in which she hasn?t
left the house, or barely
ventured into the garden.
I had such plans! London,
the seaside, a theatre trip.
But every time her wide,
scared eyes have stopped
me.
With each refusal, each
indication of unhappiness,
I?ve backed off, my resolve
weakening and my sense of
failure growing ? along with
a seed of resentment. What
more does she want?
?I spoke to one of the
other families yesterday.
You know, where your
friend Madihah is staying?
They?ve been lots of places.
I?ve not shown you much of
England at all.?
Again that unnerving
gaze.
?What will you tell
everyone when you get
back? They?ll think I kept
you locked away all the
time!?
?I will tell them,? Abir
says, ?that I stayed in
England with a kind lady.
Thank you.?
I don?t want thanks. What
I want is to give this poor
orphaned child some sense
of normality. A chance to
see what the world might
be, and how things can be
different. I want her to
know wonder and
excitement.
I turn back to the sink
and begin shelling the
beans, feeling almost
tearful. I can?t help
wondering what I?ll tell the
placement officer at
Saviours of Peace.
There?s movement at my
side. I look down to find her
standing beside me, her left
sleeve hanging empty like a
reproach.
?I am sorry, Mrs Phillips,?
she says. ?Perhaps another
girl would have been
better.?
?Oh, you silly thing!? I
say before I can stop
myself, dropping the knife
into the water.
Abir?s eyes flare as a
splash of water stains her
cheek like a tear.
?I?m sorry. I didn?t mean
you are silly.? I bend down
to her, our faces inches
apart. ?Abir, I want you to
enjoy yourself, that?s all. I
just don?t know what it is
you like to do.?
She thinks for a few
moments, still holding my
gaze. Then she takes a
wobbly breath.
?I like . . . to be here. In
the house. In the quiet. Not
too many peoples.?
I glance down at where
her arm should be.
?Is that it, Abir? Your
arm? You think someone
will say something unkind?
No-one will do that. No-one
would be so rude. And it?s
so hot that most people will
be indoors today.?
Her eyes dart out into the
garden which lies baking in
the sun.
Biting her bottom lip, she
reaches a decision and
looks back at me.
?It is not so hot for me,
England. But yes, thank
you. I would like to come.?
At last, I think. A
breakthrough.
I go to embrace her but
she has slipped back to the
table, leaving only an
impression of a child in the
humid air.
I go into the utility room
to collect my basket.
* * * *
We walk slowly down the
lane towards the village,
the church spire proud and
tall ahead of us through the
canopy of oak trees.
Passing cars stir up the
dust and the occasional
bird swoops over our
heads, but mostly the
countryside slumbers in this
unaccustomed heat. It?s the
England of legend, of
apocryphal childhoods and
now, more prosaically, of
global warming.
At some point, Abir?s
hand creeps into mine and
my heart glows with a sort
of quiet triumph.
As we reach the post
office, May Albury almost
cannons into us as she
bustles out, deep in
conversation on her mobile
phone.
She gives me an
exasperated roll of her eyes
before catching sight of
Abir.
?Gotta go, love,?
88
she says quickly into the
phone. ?Speak soon.?
Snapping the phone
shut, she stares with
undisguised curiosity at
Abir, barely glancing in my
direction.
?Afternoon, Mrs Phillips.
This one of them Saviours
of Peace kids, is it? Saw it
in the paper. From ??
?Yes,? I cut in brusquely,
anxious to remove Abir
from this unwelcome
scrutiny. ?Excuse me, Mrs
Albury.?
I try to slide past her into
the shop, but she?s
immovable.
?Not much of her, is
there, little dot?? She
starts. ?What happened
there, then? With the arm?
Bomb, was it?? She leans
towards me. ?She speak
any English??
I am angry and
embarrassed. I?ve let Abir
down.
?Yes, she does. Come on,
Abir, we should be getting
back. You must be tired.? I
turn to retrace our steps.
But Abir, still holding fast
to my hand, stands firm.
Ignoring the other
woman, she speaks in a
clear voice.
?Thank you, but I am not
fatigued, Mrs Phillips. And
our task is not yet
completed.?
May Albury?s face is a
picture of cartoonish
astonishment, mouth
hanging open, eyes wide
with surprise.
?No,? I say, taking
courage from Abir?s bravery
and coolness. ?You?re
absolutely right, Abir.
Excuse us.?
This time, we step past
the woman into the cool of
the shop, leaving her
blinking on the pavement.
Very gently Abir squeezes
my hand and I return the
pressure.
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
magazine
In the greengrocer?s, Sam
Cox and I exchange a few
words while the girl hangs
back by the door, scanning
the passers-by nervously. I
am poring over the punnets
of raspberries when
suddenly a motorbike roars
down the high street and,
as it disappears into the
distance, backfires.
Abir throws herself back
against the wall with a
terrified cry, dislodging a
pile of oranges that cascade
across the shop floor.
I run over to her and
gather her in my arms. Her
whole body, so
insubstantial against my
fleshy own, trembles. I can
smell her fear.
?Shush, now. It?s OK. It
was only a stupid
motorbike. There?s nothing
to be frightened of.? I start
blindly groping around to
gather the fallen oranges.
Sam makes his way over.
?Leave it,? he says kindly,
starting to pick up the fruit.
?No harm done. She all
right??
I feel Abir?s head move
against my chest and her
face emerges.
?Sorry,? she whispers, her
hand shielding her face.
?Sorry?? Sam returns.
?You?ve got no need to be
sorry, my lovely. It?s that
idiot with that bike who
should be saying sorry.
Here.? He gently takes hold
of Abir?s hand and presses
an orange into it, closing
her fingers around it. ?Like
them, do you??
She nods shyly, cradling
the orange like a jewel as
she stares up at him with
her customary grave
expression.
?They?re good, them
oranges. Nice and juicy. All
the way from ??
?Yes,? Abir says. ?I know.
My father grows them.? Her
face tightens. ?Grew them.?
?Good on him,? Sam says
into the awkward silence.
* * * *
The street is empty now.
As we make our way to the
deli, hand in hand, I point
out the landmarks: the
16th-century coaching inn,
the old chapel, the drinking
trough. I throw in a bit of
local history.
I?m feeling much more
confident now. If only we
had managed to do this
earlier, how different our
fortnight together might
have been.
Abir takes it in politely,
like a tourist, nodding with
each new piece of
information.
Passing one of the shops,
I feel the slightest tug on
my arm and, stopping in
mid-spiel, follow Abir?s gaze
to the window display of
bright summer clothes. Of
course!
?Do you like those? The
dresses??
Abir has been in T-shirts
and trousers since she
arrived. I?d caught her early
one morning at the sink
trying to scrub her clothes
clean with soap and one
hand.
Some delicate
explanations and
negotiations had been
required to persuade her to
relinquish her precious
belongings to the maw of
the washing machine.
?Come on, then,? I say,
steering Abir into the shop.
We make straight for the
carousel of dresses as the
assistant comes over.
?For the little girl, is it?
Oh!? She?s noticed. ?With a
sleeve, then.?
But Abir has pulled out a
vivid blue dress with yellow
suns all over it. It has no
sleeves. The assistant
glances over at me for
approval. I smile resignedly.
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Simply complete this form and hand
it to your local newsagent.
The saleswoman pulls out
the same dress in a larger
size.
?That one will be too
small for you, young lady.?
Abir fingers the fabric.
?This is lovely, Mrs
Phillips.?
?Yes,? I say carefully. ?It
is, Abir. But it won?t fit ??
?For my sister.?
I am taken aback. It?s the
first I?ve heard of a sister or
any family.
?Your sister? But we
don?t know her size ??
?Yes. This is good. For my
sister. Please.?
She has never asked me
directly for anything before.
She has never shown such
excitement and naked
desire.
?Of course, Abir. But let?s
look at something for you,
too, shall we??
Abir shakes her head.
?No, thank you. Just for
my sister. She will be
beautiful in this.? She is
resolute.
So we have it wrapped
and Abir clutches the parcel
to her thin chest, rubbing
her chin against the paper
as she waits for me to pay.
I?m smiling as we make
our way home. The tension
has vanished from Abir?s
face. She?s faced a test and
passed it with honours. We
both have. I feel very proud
of her.
Thoughts of the future
bubble up. Abir returning,
Abir studying in England,
prostheses, surgery . . .
She pulls my hand down
until we are face to face.
?I was thinking, Abir,? I
begin. ?Maybe next year ??
?I was thinking also. Next
year, Mrs Phillips,? she
says, lips dusting my cheek.
?Next year, to thank you, I
show you my country.?
And she turns her face to
the bright English sky and
smiles. n
Please reserve/deliver* a copy of ?The People?s Friend? on a
regular basis, commencing with Issue No........ *delete as appropriate
Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms ...................... First Name ........................................
Surname ....................................................................................................
Address ......................................................................................................
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PUZZLES 91
Arroword
Enter the answers in the direction indicated by the arrows.
Bask on
a beach
Top of a
baby?s bottle
Revise
proofs
Canadian
province
Cab
Speak lazily
Tilers
Hooting
bird
Removable
cover
Colour of
ashes
Scowls,
glowers
Existence
Nocturnal
creature
In addition,
as well
Levy
Fish spawn
Unbuttered
(toast)
Surname of
TV comedian
Jack
Inclined,
likely
Grip with
the teeth
Lubricate
Get older
State
south of
Minnesota
Long angry
outburst
Performing
surgery
Crosses out
Besides,
otherwise
SMOKE
SMOULDER
SWEEP
WARMTH
F
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I
W
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S
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F E A R G D L U O M
RADIATE
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MANTELPIECE
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A
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A
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M A U E R H T N A S W COKE
E C S D O G F M E S E
FIREDOG
L A H K I N L A C P E
FIREPLACE
P S H R A D N G O A T
FIRESIDE
E M T M W L I E K I E
FLAMES
R O K T E R E R A D S
KINDLING
K
C
F
T
N
M
A
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L
L E S BUCKET
T N R R A C E T E D I COAL
Pathfinder
U
C
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E
T
F
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D
K F
GRATE
B
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I
C
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G
N
D
L
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I
BRUSH
E
E
F
A
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A
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F
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H
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I
E C E B U K E R F ANTHRACITE FLICKER
FIREDOG, FLAMES, SWEEP, COKE,
RADIATE, SMOULDER, GRATE,
WARMTH, SMOKE, FIREPLACE,
MANTELPIECE, BUCKET, FLICKER,
FIRESIDE, ANTHRACITE, COAL,
BRUSH, KINDLING
I
Arroword
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D R AWL
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L I F E
T OO DR Y
F
B O
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Beginning with the highlighted word, follow a continuous
path to find all the words relating to fireplaces. The trail passes
through each and every letter once, and may twist up, down or
sideways, but never diagonally.
S
U
ON
B
T A
T
H
D E
Pathfinder
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG 93
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
What will Jenny
do now she has
been sacked?
J
iStock.
ENNY, are you all
right, love?? Mary
asked. ?You look a
bit shaken.?
Jenny shook her
head.
?I?ve been sacked,? she
said softly, not believing
her own words. ?I?ve never
been sacked from a job
before in my whole life. It?s
come as a bit of a shock.?
?Here,? Mary said,
moving along the leather
seat of the booth. ?Come
and sit with us.?
Mary caught Dave?s eye
across the deli and
beckoned him over to their
table.
?Three coffees, Dave,
please,? Mary said.
?Thanks, Mary,? Jenny
replied as she glanced
between Mary and Ruby.
?I?m sorry to interrupt, but
I didn?t know where else to
go. Eric?s at work and I
couldn?t face going back to
an empty flat.
?Anna has told me she
can?t afford to keep me on
now Carol is back from
Tenerife.?
?And they?ve sacked you,
just like that?? Ruby said,
shocked, as Dave returned
with their drinks.
Jenny sighed.
?I should have seen it
coming. I knew the bank
balance wasn?t looking
Riverside
very good, but I didn?t
expect . . .?
?Something else will turn
up soon,? Ruby said as
cheerfully as she could, but
Jenny shook her head.
?I wish I had your
optimism, Ruby,? she
replied. ?I have no idea
what I?m going to do next.?
?What about going back
to the type of work you
used to do before you
moved here?? Mary asked.
Ruby nodded
encouragingly.
?Lots of small businesses
could do with help with
their books,? she said.
?And there?s the college,?
Mary continued. ?And the
community centre. Both of
them run courses for
adults.
?You can learn all kinds
of things now and upgrade
your skills if you need to.?
?Oh! That reminds me!?
Ruby added. ?I was
thinking of ringing the
community centre to see if
there?s anyone who could
teach me to get the most
out of my new tablet.?
Jenny took a sip of her
drink.
?I need to give it some
thought,? she said quietly.
?I think I?m still in shock. I
feel like I need some fresh
air to clear my head.?
Ruby glanced at her
watch.
?The number fifty-six bus
to the beach is due in ten
minutes. You could do a lot
worse than a walk on the
sands. Sea air does
wonders to clear the
cobwebs. I know it always
works for me.?
?Thanks, Ruby.? Jenny
smiled. ?That sounds like a
good idea. I might treat
myself to an ice-cream
while I?m down there.?
Jenny stood to leave, but
before she put on her coat
she delved into her
handbag to find her purse.
Mary shook her head.
?Don?t you worry about
paying,? she told Jenny.
?This one?s on me.?
?Thanks, Mary,? Jenny
replied gratefully, then
turned to Ruby. ?The
number fifty-six, you say??
?It stops outside the Old
Engine Room on the other
side of the road,? Ruby told
her.
Ruby and Mary watched
as Jenny headed out of the
deli. They saw Dave call out
his goodbye to Jenny as
she passed, but she
appeared not to hear him.
Head bent, Jenny walked
out through the doors.
Inside the caf�, Mary
drained her coffee cup.
?I think I?ll go home, Ruby.
I?m feeling a bit done in.?
?I hope everything turns
out all right, Mary,? Ruby
told her friend. ?You know,
with the blood test results.?
?Thanks, love,? Mary said
as she slid across the
leather seat of the booth.
?I?ll text you next week to
let you know if I feel up to
going to the yoga class.?
?OK,? Ruby replied,
waving her friend goodbye.
?Give my love to George.?
Once Mary had left the
caf�, Ruby turned her
attention back to her new
tablet and the task in hand.
She opened up a web
browser and as the cursor
blinked on the screen, Ruby
squared her shoulders and
sat up straight in her seat.
?You can do this,? she
told herself.
Her fingers made contact
with the keypad, and in
front of her appeared the
dating website that Brenda
from the yoga class had
recommended she try.
Ruby entered her age
and postcode into the
website. Then she entered
her interests: reading, good
food, honesty and
friendship.
She also entered the
things she didn?t like:
baking, cooking and
football.
Once her details were
entered, up on her screen
came profiles of men her
own age . . .
* * * *
When Mary arrived
home, she was relieved to
find the house empty. She
didn?t have the energy to
take off her coat, so she
simply sank straight down
on to the sofa.
Mary closed her eyes and
gave in to the tiredness
that had threatened to
overwhelm her all day.
That was how George
found her when he
returned home that
afternoon from working at
the greenhouse.
?Mary?? he said, puzzled
when he saw his wife lying
on the sofa still wearing her
coat.
When she didn?t reply, he
ran to her side.
?Mary!? he cried again,
alarmed now. ?Mary! Wake
up!?
But there was no
response.
More next week.
Natural
Beauty
My son and
daughter-in-law sent
me this photograph
taken in a monastery
garden when they
were holidaying in
Vietnam.
I?ve never seen a
fuchsia like it ? it?s so
unusual and
beautiful.
Ms S.R.,
Manchester.
Affectionate
?Lion?
My dog is of a breed that is
seldom seen these days, yet
I?m sure readers will agree that
Between
Friends
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ, or e-mail us at
betweenfriends@dcthomson.co.uk.
Star Letter
Dawn, Marian, Pam and I all met when
we were very proud Gamesmakers at the
London 2012 Olympics.
We spent nearly three weeks camping
together in Walthamstow during that
fabulous summer and have remained in
touch, meeting up a couple of times a year
despite living in different parts of the
country.
As it is the fifth anniversary this year we
wanted to do something special, so your
feature on the best ?Afternoon Teas? was perfect timing.
The Grand Pacific in Manchester was the ideal choice. It was easy to get to by
train, is an absolutely stunning setting with friendly staff ? and, of course, serves a
delicious high tea. We had a fantastic afternoon full of chatter and laughter.
Here we are raising a toast to friendship and, of course, ?The People?s Friend?.
Thank you again for your wonderful article ? now, thinking caps on for where we
can go for the 10th anniversary!
Mrs L.P., Blackwell.
Our Star Letter will receive a Dean?s all-butter shortbread tin worth
�.69 RRP.
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 prize.
chow-chows look very
appealing.
Typical of the breed, Kwan
looks a bit like a lion ? only a
lot more affectionate!
Mr N.K., Blackpool.
Painful
Lesson
Reading ?The Farmer &
His Wife? in the July 22
issue, when John Taylor
writes about gooseberries,
took me back to the
1960s.
My mother and I spent
an afternoon ?topping and
tailing? a large quantity of
gooseberries for freezing
using small scissors, and
we both finished up with
painful blistered fingers.
We later discovered that
if you freeze gooseberries
?whole?, and later take the
amount you need to use
from the freezer and just
bang the bag on a work
surface, all the tops and
tails fall off! No surprise,
then, that we used that
method the following year.
Ms S.N., Spain.
Website
Competition
Winners
Congratulations to
Lorraine Anderson,
Bannockburn, who won the
Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Country Casual outfit.
The ?Holiday In The
Hamptons? book winners are
Pauline Morris, Leominster;
Sue Robinson, Launceston;
Annette Stephens, Fraddon;
Kay Adams, Peterborough;
Jools Kingsbury, Suffolk;
Lynda Haigh, Huddersfield;
Cherry Edwards, Redruth;
Jayne Kohli, Somersham;
Jacqui Northcott, Callington;
and Catherine Thorp, Ryde.
YOUR LETTERS 95
iStock.
A poem
just for
you!
Child?s Play
I love this picture of
my grandson, William,
being so hands-on with
technology when I often
Kittens
Most baby animals are cute,
Their antics make us smile;
For me the cutest of them all
Are kittens, by a mile!
I love the way their manic play
Will make them bounce and leap,
Then when their energy runs out
Fall instantly asleep!
They?re often naughty ? knowingly,
Approval they don?t seek,
They swiftly have you trained, and rule
The roost within a week.
Small kittens quickly steal your heart
With their huge trusting eyes.
They bring a joy that?s out of all
Proportion to their size!
? Eileen Hay.
struggle with the
computer.
I now realise where I
went wrong ? I just
didn?t start early enough!
Ms D.C., Richmond.
Remembering
Annie
Back in the 1950s I recall
my gran talking about the
stories she read in ?The
People?s Friend? that were
written by Annie S. Swan. So I
was quite delighted on a
recent caravan holiday in
Coldingham, whilst walking
my dogs in the Templehall
area of the village, to find this
plaque dedicated to her
attached to a tree.
I thought it might be of
interest and bring back
memories to those readers of
the magazine who are of an
age to remember her.
Mrs H.E.U., Scone.
Puzzle
Solutions
from page 25
Missing Link
The words in order
are Flag, Pipe,
Name, Sign, Here,
Sore, Blue, Test,
Fire, Rush.
The phrase is
GINGER BEER.
Crossword
HA P P I L Y
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The Power Of Words
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Sudoku
I was absolutely delighted to read the letter from Mrs O.A.,
Ireland, and to hear that she had felt my poem ?Gardens? was
written especially for her.
To know that someone had felt touched by something I?d
written (and had actually gone to the trouble of writing a letter
about it!) meant more to me than I can say.
I wish I could thank her and tell her that she made my day!
E.H., Dorset.
P
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or write to the Readers Editor at The People?s Friend, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
r quick
thinking. Heaven knows
what might have happened
if you hadn?t managed to
escape. I don?t know what I
would have done.?
?At least Madeleine is
safe.?
?It wasn?t just Madeleine
I was thinking of. Finding
the tearooms open, and
realising we had all been
tricked . . .? He took her
hands.
?I couldn?t bear it, Tanni.
There are few things certain
in my life, but of one thing I
am certain, and that is that
I can?t imagine life without
you.? He pulled her close
towards him.
?I can?t imagine life
without you,? she
whispered, meeting his kiss.
She pulled away to look
into his eyes.
?I must go. Mam will be
worried, and you need to
get back to Madeleine.?
As if in answer, the door
opened and her mother
appeared, her voice
anxious as she spoke to the
guarding policeman.
?Of course,? Henry
whispered regretfully into
Tanni?s hair.
With an effort, Tanni
pulled herself free, and ran
across the grass to where
her mother was waiting.
* * * *
?Mr Banks.? Gwendolyn
pushed her way into the
councillor?s offices a few
days later, bruising still
visible on one cheek. She
had a look of determination
on her face.
?Mrs Humphries.? Banks
stared at her, alarm turning
his face a shade of pink.
?I wish to have a word
with you.?
?I?m somewhat
preoccupied.? He waved a
wad of papers rather
helplessly. ?You can make
an appointment.?
Gwendolyn sat down.
?I am not going
anywhere. And in case you
are considering sending for
the police to remove me, I
suggest you think twice. For
your own good, that is.?
Banks flushed scarlet. He
glanced at his staff, who
had appeared at the door
to remove the intruder, and
were hanging on every
word.
?Ask my next
appointment to wait, will
you, Mr Huws?? he
remarked to his secretary, a
rather pale young man who
looked decidedly nervous at
the sight of Gwendolyn?s
umbrella held in an
uncompromising manner. ?I
am never one to say no to
a lady in distress.?
?So I?ve heard.?
Gwendolyn smiled grimly.
?I can give you ten
minutes,? Banks said in
tones of deepest dignity.
Gwendolyn sighed. She
waited until the door to the
outer office shut, then
leaned forward, placing her
arms on the table.
?Come on, Andrew. You
can do better than that. I?m
giving you a way out.?
?A way out??
?My solicitor suggests I
bring a prosecution. They?ve
arrested more than one of
your hired thugs, who
talked quickly once they
sobered up.
?I could have been killed
as a result of your antics.
I?ve dissuaded him for
now.?
?My dear lady ??
?Oh, for goodness? sake!?
She frowned at him. ?We?ve
known each other long
enough not to beat about
the bush, and it?s no good
you coming over all
pompous with me.
?Hasn?t it occurred to you
that I have no intention of
stepping into your shoes
and taking your place?
?This isn?t a matter of
winning or losing. It?s a
matter of different points of
view.
?You say I can?t
understand the world of
commerce and of men. Very
well, I don?t agree, but I?ll
concede the point.?
?Indeed.? His features
eased and he sat back in
his chair, a hint of
smugness threatening to
overtake his features.
?On one condition.?
?Condition??
?Yes. That you concede
that you have very little
understanding of the world
of women.?
He bristled.
?My wife will testify to
the contrary.?
?I?m not talking about
your wife!? She gazed at
him, exasperated. ?I?m
talking about looking after
a household, looking after
children, the sick, and the
old.
?I?m talking about women
who have no home and no
family, often through
sickness, and through no
fault of their own.
?I?m talking of women?s
particular needs.? At this
the councillor blanched. ?In
particular, women?s health
needs,? she added a little
louder, pressing home her
advantage.
?Women feel happier
talking to women, just as
men feel happier talking to
men. They have a different
point of view.
?I?m not attempting to
take over your role, but to
complement it.? She eyed
him. ?Your Annabelle is a
good woman. I?d have
made you a terrible wife,
Andrew. You?d never have
had a moment?s peace.?
She saw the look of
dignity returning to his face
and gritted her teeth,
preparing to make the
ultimate sacrifice.
?The truth is, Andrew, I
have always been grateful
for your perception, and
your generous gesture in
not forcing me to bend to
our parents? wishes. I will
always deeply respect you
for that.?
?Indeed.? Andrew Banks
shot her a suspicious
glance, but her face was
perfectly serious. He
cleared his throat. ?And I
have always admired your
energy and commitment,?
he muttered graciously.
Gwendolyn smiled.
?Then perhaps it might
not be so hard to work
together, after all. Should I
have the good fortune to
be elected, that is.?
?Indeed,? he murmured.
?Without intervention,?
she added firmly. ?I?m well
aware that missiles thrown
at me before I speak are
likely to be my lot. I can
take it from those I wish to
represent. Not those
brought in for the occasion.?
?Yes,? Andrew said
smoothly once again. ?I
shall instruct Inspector
Williams to keep an eye out
for such underhand
dealings.
?I am a strong supporter
of democracy, as you know,
Mrs Humphries. I will
always uphold the rule of
law.?
?Oh, indeed.? She rose.
?I shall inform the inspector
of that, shall I? It won?t be
out of my way as I go to
instruct my solicitor.?
?If you would be so
kind,? he growled, with the
expression of a man about
to have teeth pulled.
?Excellent. I shall leave
you to your appointment.?
At the door she turned. ?I
look forward to the prospect
of working with you.?
?Yes,? Mr Banks growled,
not quite able to bring
himself to return the
compliment. ?Should you
have the good fortune to
be elected.?
?Oh, I will,? she replied,
the glint back in her eye.
?Just you wait.?
* * * *
?There has to be
something here,? Tanni
said, peering up at the
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looming shadow of the
picture wagon.
?Agreed,? Madeleine
replied, joining her.
?Maybe we should just
get rid of it.? Tanni sighed.
?And give in to threats??
Henry said. ?It seems our
mysterious intruder has
concluded there is nothing
more of value here.?
He looked at the wagon.
?It has to be worth one
more try. The inspector
seems to have little idea
about who this might be,
and why they are interested
in Uncle Samuel?s wagon.?
?One last try,? Madeleine
agreed.
They stepped inside. For
the remainder of the
afternoon and long into the
evening, the three of them
searched.
?It can?t be here,? Henry
said at last, as dusk began
to fall, and he and
Madeleine emerged into
the fresh air, while Tanni
tidied up a few last items.
?But that means it might
never be found. And we
don?t even know what we
are looking for.? Madeleine
shuddered. ?I?m not sure I
want to stay here, never
knowing what might
happen next.?
?Nor do I,? Henry replied
thoughtfully.
He forced himself to be
cheerful as Tanni emerged
from the picture wagon, a
canister of film in her hand.
?A cup of tea to chase all
those chemicals away, I
think,? he suggested.
?That sounds like a good
idea.? Tanni glanced at the
canister. ?This had rolled
under one of the cabinets.
It must be film inside.?
She shook it.
?What?? Madeleine
demanded as Tanni came
to an abrupt halt.
?That?s not film,? Tanni
said slowly. ?That sounds
like paper.?
She prised it open and
shook out a carefully rolled
sheet of paper.
?That doesn?t look like
writing,? Henry said. ?And
it doesn?t look like any kind
of journalist?s shorthand,
with those marks and
numbers.?
?It could be some kind of
code,? Madeleine said.
?The kind of code used
by spies?? Tanni asked.
Madeleine nodded.
They looked at each
other. Darkness was now
falling rapidly, and a breeze
had stirred.
Tanni shivered.
?This could be the very
thing our intruder has been
looking for.?
?And was prepared to kill
for,? Madeleine added,
glancing round uneasily.
?That settles it.? Henry
straightened. ?I suggest we
take this down to Inspector
Williams. The sooner this is
out of our hands, the
better.?
?I?ll telephone now and
let him know we are on our
way,? Madeleine said.
Tanni followed them back
towards the house, carefully
rolling up the paper and
resealing it in its canister,
which she thrust as deep as
she could into her pocket.
?Inspector Williams will
meet us at the station,?
Madeleine said, emerging
breathlessly from the
house. She handed a coat
to Tanni. ?This will keep you
warm. The air is cold
tonight. It almost feels like
autumn.?
Tanni paused, her hand
on the coat. Madeleine was
right. There was an edge of
chill in the air, laced with
the scent of distant bonfires.
?Oh!? she whispered,
letting the coat fall.
?What is it?? Madeleine
exclaimed.
?Have you seen?? Henry
called, racing back from the
road. ?I saw it as I was
starting the automobile. It?s
high up on the Orme. It
looks like the flames took
hold almost instantly.?
?Tanni.? Madeleine
grasped her hand. ?Tanni,
it isn?t . . .?
?No,? Tanni said in a
strangled voice. ?It?s not
Mam?s house.?
?It must be the Jones?s
cottage,? Henry said.
?Mari?s there alone with
the baby,? Tanni cried.
?Come on!? Henry cried.
?It will take ages for anyone
to reach them from the
town, and we are only a
few minutes away.?
The next minute they
were roaring up the hill,
towards the flames etched
against the sky.
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the manse
window
By Rev. Andrew Watson.
W
E?D been in Chamonix
before, on a family
holiday, and it had
been cloudy that day, too. The
rocky outcrop of the Aiguille
du Midi, the highest cable car
station on Mont Blanc, had
been shrouded from view.
That day we told the kids
we?d take them for pizza and
drive under the mountain
through the 11.6 km tunnel
into Italy!
Our kids are adults now and
had thoughtfully clubbed
together to buy their mum and
dad the plane tickets to have
another crack at the summit.
So there we were, eager to
ascend, but again the mountain
tops were hidden in cloud. All
we could see were trees
disappearing into the grey.
Ever resourceful, my wife
studied the map and
persuaded her reluctant driver
(guess who?) to drive our
rented SUV in the other
direction, up the valley past
Vallorcine and through the
winding pass into Switzerland.
Last time Italy for pizza, this
time Montreux for coffee,
enjoying light jazz on a sunny
terrace looking over Lake
Geneva!
For us, unused to Alpine
weather and roads, it was an
epic journey. We had 25 cm
of powdery snow in Chamonix
that morning but it had
stopped around lunchtime.
The steam was rising like
mist from the road as the
temperature rose. Our ears
popped as we gained altitude,
but we got our first glimpse of
blue sky! As the clouds lifted
we began to witness the most
majestic mountain scenery in
all directions.
In Montreux we visited
mediaeval Chillon Castle, which
these days rests beneath an
elevated concrete motorway.
We also visited the former
studio where Queen recorded
their last album, ?Made In
Heaven?. The statue of lead
singer Freddie Mercury is a
little distance away on the lake
shore.
That evening we made it
back to Chamonix, where next
day we finally, in unbroken
sunshine, got to have breakfast
?on top of the world?!
Crowds of brightly dressed
skiers had squeezed into the
cable car to make the most of
the last days of the season.
Never having learned to ski,
we watched enviously as they
curved down the slopes.
For a bible enthusiast like
me, the most obvious scripture
that came to mind was Psalm
121: ?I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills from whence
cometh my help. My help
cometh even from the Lord,
who hath made heaven and
earth.?
The writer of the psalm was
a pilgrim, travelling up through
the mountains of Judea to
Jerusalem to worship God at
the Temple. On the way he
would have seen ?high
places?, shrines to other gods.
Some believed these local
deities lived near the peaks.
I was thinking of how so
often our admiration and
worship stop short. We
naturally marvel at the skill of
the road-builders, and make
icons of popular athletes and
singers, but fail to
acknowledge the Maker who
formed the mountains, the
universe, the world and its
ecosystem.
We idolise the gifts and the
gifted, but neglect to worship
the Giver who made us skilled
and creative in his image.
I always admire human skill
and ingenuity in whatever
form, but like the psalm-writer,
I will look higher than the hills
to our Creator and Protector.
Worship is reserved for
him! n
Next week: Rev. Ian
W.F. Hamilton visits the
Forth Bridges.
Shetland Wool
Chris Cope talks to the talented women who are
dedicated to keeping tradition alive whilst always
moving with the times.
T
Photographs by Campaign for Wool and Jamieson & Smith.
HE remote Shetland
Islands are well
known for knitting,
from Fair Isle
cardigans to lace
shawls.
But at the heart of every
piece of knitwear is its wool.
Jamieson & Smith have
been buying wool from local
crofters and farmers in
Shetland, a small cluster of
islands at the north of
Scotland with a population
of 22,000, and selling it on
since the 1930s.
They purchase wool from
over 700 people ? which
equates to 80% of wool
produced in Shetland ?
meaning that Jamieson &
Smith play a vital part in
keeping the isles? traditions
alive in the 21st century.
They sell wool from their
headquarters in Shetland?s
capital town, Lerwick, while
they also offer knitwear. A
quick scan around the shop
and you?re greeted with a
kaleidoscopic rainbow of
coloured yarn.
Two people helping to
keep the heritage flowing
are Jamieson & Smith staff
members Ella Gordon and
Sandra Manson.
The company has moved
with the times, with mail
orders ? which they have
sent out since the 1960s ?
now joined by online orders
from around the world.
All of the products carry a
three-sheep logo which
means the item is made
from 100% real Shetland
wool from sheep born and
bred in the isles.
The wool is taken into a
?If I don?t
know how to
do something,
I?ll just find
YouTube
videos?
large sorting shed next to
the shop and is graded by
staff before it is sent to the
UK mainland every couple
of weeks to be spun and
dyed, then returned to
Shetland to be sold.
?In the past couple of
years we?ve started doing
the knitwear as well, and
Sandra organises that,? Ella
says.
?That?s things like the
yoke cardigans. We get the
bodies knitted for us by
somebody in Whalsay and
there are different hand
knitters all over Shetland
who do the yokes.
?We are paying them well
for it, as we?re trying to
make it a worthwhile thing
for people to do. It used to
be that you got so little for
knitting a yoke, so why
would people do it
nowadays??
?There?s one old lady who
knits for us who said she
used to knit the whole body
and the cardigan, and she?d
only get four pounds for
doing it,? Sandra adds. ?She
can?t believe how much
money she is now getting.
It?s great, and it makes you
feel like you?re kind of
helping a bit.?
Sandra feels it is ?really
important? to keep the
knitting tradition in Shetland
alive in a digital age where
smartphones and social
networking rule the roost.
But she says it is changed
days from when she was
younger and she was the
only knitter in her social
group.
?When I was a teenager
Gift For A New Arrival
A few years ago Sandra knitted a
one-ply christening robe for the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?s
new arrival, Prince George. It was
presented to grandfather Prince
Charles on behalf of the national
group Campaign for Wool, but
unfortunately the piece was never
used on the big day.
?It just all sort of happened over
a two-week period,? Sandra
reflects. ?When I was doing it, I
couldn?t think that it was actually
going to royalty. You just have to
knit it and not dwell on that.?
Sandra and Ella marry
traditional with contemporary
to keep knitting fresh.
and when I was growing up
? I?ve knitted for ever ? I
was the only person I knew
who did it,? Sandra says. ?I?d
never tell my friends, for
fear they?d just torment me.
?If they came knocking on
the door, it was off with the
knitting belt! It was kind of
funny ? folk never really
knew I knitted until there
was something printed in
?The Shetland Times? not
that many years ago.?
Ella, however, does not
have the same problem.
She blogs about her own
designs online and enjoys a
strong presence on internet
platforms like YouTube and
Instagram.
Compared to Sandra, Ella
is something of a late
bloomer, only picking up
knitting in her later years.
?When I learned to knit at
school I had no interest in it
HERITAGE 77
A mountain of wool is
graded by expert hands.
You only need
three shades
of wool for
these hats.
at all,? she says. ?When I
finished school and went to
college to do textiles, I was
doing machine knitting and
weaving.
?I got my Saturday job
here when I was at college
and that was what got me
into the hand knitting. I?ve
only really been hand
knitting for nearly six years,
and I?ve been teaching
myself as I go. If I don?t
know how to do something,
I?ll just find YouTube
videos.?
Both Ella and Sandra
agree that it is important to
mix the traditional with
contemporary to keep
knitting fresh.
?I think that?s the only
way things change,? Ella
says. ?There?s a reason why
we?re not all knitting and
wearing things that were
being knitted in the Thirties.
But there?s always a place
for the traditional, and we
find that the best patterns
we sell are traditional.?
?Everybody has their own
way that they put colour
together,? Sandra adds.
?Ella?s way is totally different
from what I would do. I?m
old school, I suppose you
There?s a great
demand for
Shetland wool.
would call it. It?s good to
have Ella because we help
each other out.?
It?s clear that the future of
knitting in Shetland is in
very good hands with
people like Ella and Sandra
involved. The designs
continue to prove popular
around the world, with
fashion house Chanel
putting Fair Isle-influenced
patterns on the catwalk a
couple of years ago.
In addition, the annual
Shetland Wool Week, which
features a number of
workshops and events and
was initially founded by
Jamieson & Smith eight
years ago, has become
hugely popular and attracts
global visitors. This year it?s
running from September 23
to October 1.
?You can see things
everywhere in the world
now,? Ella says. ?With social
media like Instagram,
Twitter and Facebook, you
get so much more feedback,
and you?re speaking to your
customers more.
?We pride ourselves that
we?re real people. I think,
for us, that?s our most
important thing. And when
there?s things like Shetland
Wool Week, we just see so
many people, and they
come back year after year.
?Every year there are more
classes going on. We?re so
lucky that we don?t have to
try that hard in some ways,
because Shetland wool has
such a good reputation, all
we have to do is to make it
easy for people to get.?
?But there are so many
people who are scared of
it,? Sandra adds. ??Oh, no, I
never do that?, they say. But
why not? I don?t think I was
even ten when I tried to knit
a bootee out of a pattern
that Mam had. I never knew
anything about the right size
of needles, but I went ahead
and knitted it, and it was
huge. But I knitted it. I
thought, wow, it?s huge, but
I?ve actually made it all by
myself.? n
If you like Shetland
crafts, look out for next
week?s issue and try
your hand at our
knitted shawl.
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I?D LIKE TO KNOW
Q
45,000
A
The BabyCentre website, which
has a community of three million
UK mums, compiled a list a few
months back highlighting a list of names
which haven?t been registered by any parents so far this year. Among them
are Cilla, Bertha, Dorothy, Mildred and Edna. Meanwhile, falling out of favour in the
boys? selection are Clarence, Edmund, Roger, Bertram and Clive. It?s also worth noting
that Sybil has not been registered so far this year, so you?re still unlikely to bump into
another with your name any time soon! Surprisingly, perhaps, popular 1980s choices
Donna and Ian are also falling out of favour.
Q
A
Ostriches, which are native to
Africa, are the largest living bird
species, and a fully grown male
can reach up to nine feet tall. An adult
emu can reach six feet in height and is
the largest native bird in Australia. No
wonder these birds are flightless!
Q
There was a song about a China
doll in the 1950s ? please can
you tell me who sang it?
Mrs J.L., Essex.
A
You may be referring to Slim
Whitman, who sang the
country classic ?China Doll?.
The American country singer was
probably best known for his 1955 hit
?Rose Marie? which spent 11 weeks at
Number One.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
iStock.
270 degrees
? how far an owl
can rotate its head.
Every year there seem to be lists
produced showing popular baby
names. What I?d really like to know,
however, is which ones are falling out of
favour? I was born in 1930 and in all of
my years at school and work, have never
met another who shares my first name of
Sybil.
Mrs S.K., Tyne & Wear.
Can you settle a debate, please
? which is larger, an ostrich or
an emu?
Mr S.T., Wick.
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 79
Almost everyone now carries a
mobile phone with them at all times,
but the latest versions aren?t just
smartphones ? they?re supersmart!
It?s now possible to download apps
which will check how level something
is (ideal for hanging pictures) and
measure distance, height and width
at a glance. There are also apps which
turn your mobile into a microscope,
will monitor your heartbeat and will
even start your car!
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
napkins were loaded
on to Titanic at the
start of the famous
liner?s ill-fated voyage.
�8
is the cost of one of the
world?s most expensive
bars of chocolate ? a
50 gram bar of To?ak
Chocolate 2014.
55 million
cups of coffee are drunk
in the UK every day.
15
large cans of
hairspray are
used every
month by the makeup artists on TV?s
?Coronation Street?.
17%
of Brits
have
never seen
a toad in the wild.
Photographs by Ally Stuart, www.allystuartphotography.co.uk.
Hair and make-up by Linda Wilson
Photographed at Rufflets Hotel: www.rufflets.co.uk.
KNITTING 81
All Tied Up
We?ve given
this top extra
interest with
a feature
neckline
and textured
patterning.
intermediate
82
MEASUREMENTS
To fit sizes: 81/86 cm
(32/34 ins), 91/97 (34/36),
102/107 (40/42), 112/117
(44/46), 122/127 (48/50),
132/137 (52/54).
Actual size: 93 cm
(36� ins), 103 (40�),
113 (44�), 123 (48�),
133 (52�), 143 (56�).
Length: 57 cm (22� ins),
58 (23), 59 (23�), 60
(23�), 61 (24), 63 (25).
MATERIALS
5 (5, 6, 6, 6, 7) 50-gram balls
of Rico Fashion Silk Blend
DK in Pink (002). One pair
each 4 mm (No. 8) and
5 mm (No. 6) knitting
needles; set of four 4 mm
(No. 8) knitting needles (or
circular needle). If you have
difficulty finding the yarn used,
you can order directly from
Wool Warehouse, website:
www.woolwarehouse.
co.uk, telephone 0800 505
3300.
TENSION
20 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm
measured over st-st using
5 mm needles.
ABBREVIATIONS
alt ? alternate;
beg ? beginning;
inc ? increase;
K ? knit;
P ? purl; st(s) ? stitches;
st-st ? stocking-stitch (K1 row,
P1 row);
tw2 ? slip next st, K1, pass
slipped st over st just knitted
and knit into back of it.
Important Note
Directions are given for six
sizes. Figures in brackets refer
to the five larger sizes. Figures
in square brackets [ ] refer to
all sizes and are worked the
number of times stated. When
writing to us you must enclose
an SAE if you would like a
reply.
FRONT
With 4 mm needles, cast on
91 (101, 111, 121, 131,
141) sts.
1st (right side) row ? K2,
[P1, K1] to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K1, [P1, K1] to
end.
Repeat these 2 rib rows until
work measures 15 cm, ending
after 1st row.
Next row ? Purl, inc 1 st at
each end of row ? 93 (103,
113, 123, 133, 143) sts.
Change to 5 mm needles and
ridge pattern.
1st row (right side) ? K26
(29, 33, 38, 42, 46), P1, tw2,
P64 (71, 77, 82, 88, 94).
2nd row ? K64 (71, 77, 82,
88, 94), P2, K1, P26 (29, 33,
38, 42, 46).
3rd row ? P27 (30, 34, 39,
43, 47), tw2, P1, K63 (70,
76, 81, 87, 93).
4th row ? P63 (70, 76, 81,
87, 93), K1, P2, K27 (30, 34,
39, 43, 47).
5th and 6th rows ? As 1st
and 2nd.
7th row ? K26 (29, 33, 38,
42, 46), P1, tw2, P1, K63 (70,
76, 81, 87, 93).
8th row ? P63 (70, 76, 81,
87, 93), K1, P2, K1, P26 (29,
33, 38, 42, 46).
These 8 rows set the pattern.
Continue in pattern until work
measures 32 cm from beg,
ending after a wrong-side row.
Shape cap sleeves ? Inc 1 st
at each end of next 7 rows
working extra sts into pattern
? 107 (117, 127, 137, 147,
157) sts.
Place a marker in centre of last
row.
Work straight until front
measures 16 (17, 16, 17, 17,
19) cm from marker,
measured through centre of
work, ending after a wrongside row.
Shape neck ? Work across
37 (41, 45, 49, 53, 57) sts,
turn.
Continue on this group of sts
for left half of neck.
Dec 1 st at neck edge on next
5 rows ? 32 (36, 40, 44, 48,
52) sts.
Work straight until front
measures 23 (24, 25, 26, 27,
29) cm from marker, ending
at sleeve edge.
Shape top sleeve and
shoulder ? Cast off 4 (5, 5,
6, 7, 7) sts loosely at beg of
next row and the 4 following
alt rows ? 12 (11, 15, 14, 13,
17) sts.
Work 1 row straight.
Cast off 6 (5, 7, 7, 6, 8) sts at
beg of next row ? 6 (6, 8, 7,
7, 9) sts.
Work 1 row straight.
Cast off.
With right side facing slip next
33 (35, 37, 39, 41, 43) sts
on a stitch-holder and leave.
Neatly rejoin yarn to remaining
37 (41, 45, 49, 53, 57) sts
and work to end of row.
Complete as left half of neck.
BACK
Omitting neck shaping, work as
front to shoulder shaping, ending
after a wrong-side row.
Shape shoulders ? Cast off 4
(5, 5, 6, 7, 7) sts loosely at beg
of next 10 rows, then 6 (5, 7, 7,
6, 8) sts at beg of next 2 rows,
finally 6 (6, 8, 7, 7, 9) sts at
beginning of following 2 rows
? 43 (45, 47, 49, 51, 53) sts.
Slip remaining sts on a stitchholder and leave.
TO COMPLETE
Join shoulders.
Neckband and ties ? With set
of four 4 mm needles (or circular
4 mm needle) cast on 35 sts
loosely for first tie, now with right
side facing, using same needle,
knit across 33 (35, 37, 39, 41,
43) sts of front, pick up and knit
28 (28, 31, 31, 34, 34) sts
evenly up right side of front neck,
knit across 43 (45, 47, 49, 51,
53) sts from back neck, finally,
leaving last 3 rows ends free at
base of neck, pick up and knit
25 (25, 28, 28, 31, 31) sts
down left side of front neck, cast
on 35 sts loosely for second tie
? 199 (203, 213, 217, 227,
231) sts.
Beg with a knit row for wrong
side, and working backwards and
forwards in rows, not rounds,
work 4 rows in reverse stockingstitch.
Cast off loosely.
Sleeve borders ? With 4 mm
needles and right side facing,
pick up and knit 131 (139, 147,
151, 157, 165) sts evenly along
sleeve edge. Beginning with a
2nd row, work in rib as on front
for 7 cm. Cast off loosely in rib.
To Make Up ? Omitting ribbing,
press work lightly on wrong side
following pressing instructions.
Join side and sleeve seams.
Press seams. With purl side
outward, fold neck ties in half to
wrong side and hem in place. n
Next week: knit a traditional shawl.
OUT AND ABOUT 85
A Lovely Way To
Courtesy of Gillian Thornton.
Travel
Gillian Thornton enjoys a trip on a steam
train and horse-drawn barge.
N
Geoff Moore.
O matter how
many times I
watched ?Ivor The
Engine? as a child
or read ?Thomas
The Tank Engine? to my
children, I?d never have put
myself down as a steam
buff.
But 30 years on, here I
am, standing on the
footplate of a steam engine,
oil can in hand and driver?s
cap perched temporarily on
my head. And I have to
admit, it?s a real treat.
I?m in Ivor country, the
?top left-hand corner of
Wales? as brought to life in
the Postgate-Firmin cartoon
of the 1960s. And I?m
sampling the view from the
cab of Merddin Emrys, a
gleaming red steam engine
on the Ffestiniog Railway.
One of several heritage
railways in North Wales, the
line was built in the 1830s
to carry slate from the
quarries at Blaenau
Ffestiniog to Porthmadog on
the coast.
I first rode the Ffestiniog
in my early twenties, a
romantic first holiday with
the then special man. Ten
years later, I was back with
my husband and our young
children. Now our children
have grown and flown but
the Ffestiniog is just as
magical as I remember.
As we chug steadily up
the narrow track, I watch the
valley fall away outside the
carriage. We pass trackside
cottages, catch a glimpse of
country houses below, and
around every bend, see a
new vista opening up.
Every steam line in North
Wales offers something
different, as I?m finding out
on my short break. I?ve
already sampled the sharp
curves and steep gradients
of the Welsh Highland
Railway which runs coast-tocoast from Caernarfon to
Porthmadog.
And I have been blessed
with a fabulous clear day for
my trip to the top of Wales?s
highest mountain on the
Snowdon Mountain Railway.
I even watched a classic
episode of ?Ivor The Engine?
as I waited for departure ? a
happy reunion with Jones
the Steam, Owen the Signal,
and Dai Station!
Next day, I trundle along
the Llangollen Railway on its
seven-mile journey to
Corwen. The only standard
gauge heritage line in North
Wales, this scenic track runs
beside the River Dee
through an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty,
and was restored by
enthusiasts after the original
line closed to traffic in 1968.
And as I tuck into coffee
and scones in my 1950s
carriage, I can?t help thinking
it was a good use of their
time. The landscape is
glorious but so, too, are the
bright little stations with
leather luggage, traditional
milk churns and painted
trolleys strategically placed
on the neat platforms.
But there?s a different
kind of treat waiting for me
at Llangollen Wharf, a
relaxing canal cruise in a
horse-drawn barge.
Pleasure boat rides
began here in 1884 when a
certain Captain Jones used
his pension from the White
Star Line ? of Titanic fame
? to buy two wooden
lifeboats from a liner in
Liverpool docks, a couple
of horses, and an old
storage barn by the canal.
I?ve loved ? and owned
? horses all my life, so I
can?t resist the chance to
make friends with Harley,
who?s pulling our barge.
Then I sit back and relax
to the rhythm of hooves on
towpath as we glide
between sunshine and
shadow on a summer?s
afternoon. Horse power or
steam power? Let?s just say
the jury?s still out! n
Want To Know More?
Enjoy steam trains and sightseeing on escorted breaks
with Great Rail Journeys (www.greatrail.com or call
01904 521 936) and Rail Discoveries (www.
raildiscoveries.com or call 01904 734 939).
For barge trips, visit www.horsedrawnboats.co.uk or
call 01978 860702.
SHORT STORY BY HILARY SPIERS 87
A Place
Of Refuge
The girl staying with
me has been through so much
in her short life . . .
Illustration by iStock.
G
OOD heavens, it?s
murderous out
there!? Putting
down the trug of
broad beans, I
wipe the back of my hand
across my damp forehead.
The girl is sitting where
she was when I came out
into the garden an hour
ago, book open on the
table in front her, pencils
perfectly aligned. Her plate
is now empty, though, and
the glass of orange juice
drunk.
Her brown eyes meet
mine in what I take to be
confusion.
?I meant it?s very hot. Do
you know what murderous
means??
She nods gravely.
?Yes,? she says with a
hint of an American accent.
?I know what it means.?
I curse my
thoughtlessness silently, but
soldier on.
?Your English is excellent,
Abir. I don?t have a word of
Arabic, I?m afraid.?
Abir looks down.
?I thought perhaps we
might walk into the village
this afternoon,? I say. ?Pick
up some groceries. We
won?t go far.?
?I must come?? the girl
asks without raising her
head. She looks like she?s
awaiting punishment.
?No!? I?m thrown once
more. ?Of course not. You
don?t have to do anything. I
just thought, well, you
haven?t seen the village. It?s
very pretty.?
Nearly two weeks she?s
been here. Two weeks of
polite, distant responses; of
murmured thanks; a
shadow passing on the
stairs.
Days in which she hasn?t
left the house, or barely
ventured into the garden.
I had such plans! London,
the seaside, a theatre trip.
But every time her wide,
scared eyes have stopped
me.
With each refusal, each
indication of unhappiness,
I?ve backed off, my resolve
weakening and my sense of
failure growing ? along with
a seed of resentment. What
more does she want?
?I spoke to one of the
other families yesterday.
You know, where your
friend Madihah is staying?
They?ve been lots of places.
I?ve not shown you much of
England at all.?
Again that unnerving
gaze.
?What will you tell
everyone when you get
back? They?ll think I kept
you locked away all the
time!?
?I will tell them,? Abir
says, ?that I stayed in
England with a kind lady.
Thank you.?
I don?t want thanks. What
I want is to give this poor
orphaned child some sense
of normality. A chance to
see what the world might
be, and how things can be
different. I want her to
know wonder and
excitement.
I turn back to the sink
and begin shelling the
beans, feeling almost
tearful. I can?t help
wondering what I?ll tell the
placement officer at
Saviours of Peace.
There?s movement at my
side. I look down to find her
standing beside me, her left
sleeve hanging empty like a
reproach.
?I am sorry, Mrs Phillips,?
she says. ?Perhaps another
girl would have been
better.?
?Oh, you silly thing!? I
say before I can stop
myself, dropping the knife
into the water.
Abir?s eyes flare as a
splash of water stains her
cheek like a tear.
?I?m sorry. I didn?t mean
you are silly.? I bend down
to her, our faces inches
apart. ?Abir, I want you to
enjoy yourself, that?s all. I
just don?t know what it is
you like to do.?
She thinks for a few
moments, still holding my
gaze. Then she takes a
wobbly breath.
?I like . . . to be here. In
the house. In the quiet. Not
too many peoples.?
I glance down at where
her arm should be.
?Is that it, Abir? Your
arm? You think someone
will say something unkind?
No-one will do that. No-one
would be so rude. And it?s
so hot that most people will
be indoors today.?
Her eyes dart out into the
garden which lies baking in
the sun.
Biting her bottom lip, she
reaches a decision and
looks back at me.
?It is not so hot for me,
England. But yes, thank
you. I would like to come.?
At last, I think. A
breakthrough.
I go to embrace her but
she has slipped back to the
table, leaving only an
impression of a child in the
humid air.
I go into the utility room
to collect my basket.
* * * *
We walk slowly down the
lane towards the village,
the church spire proud and
tall ahead of us through the
canopy of oak trees.
Passing cars stir up the
dust and the occasional
bird swoops over our
heads, but mostly the
countryside slumbers in this
unaccustomed heat. It?s the
England of legend, of
apocryphal childhoods and
now, more prosaically, of
global warming.
At some point, Abir?s
hand creeps into mine and
my heart glows with a sort
of quiet triumph.
As we reach the post
office, May Albury almost
cannons into us as she
bustles out, deep in
conversation on her mobile
phone.
She gives me an
exasperated roll of her eyes
before catching sight of
Abir.
?Gotta go, love,?
88
she says quickly into the
phone. ?Speak soon.?
Snapping the phone
shut, she stares with
undisguised curiosity at
Abir, barely glancing in my
direction.
?Afternoon, Mrs Phillips.
This one of them Saviours
of Peace kids, is it? Saw it
in the paper. From ??
?Yes,? I cut in brusquely,
anxious to remove Abir
from this unwelcome
scrutiny. ?Excuse me, Mrs
Albury.?
I try to slide past her into
the shop, but she?s
immovable.
?Not much of her, is
there, little dot?? She
starts. ?What happened
there, then? With the arm?
Bomb, was it?? She leans
towards me. ?She speak
any English??
I am angry and
embarrassed. I?ve let Abir
down.
?Yes, she does. Come on,
Abir, we should be getting
back. You must be tired.? I
turn to retrace our steps.
But Abir, still holding fast
to my hand, stands firm.
Ignoring the other
woman, she speaks in a
clear voice.
?Thank you, but I am not
fatigued, Mrs Phillips. And
our task is not yet
completed.?
May Albury?s face is a
picture of cartoonish
astonishment, mouth
hanging open, eyes wide
with surprise.
?No,? I say, taking
courage from Abir?s bravery
and coolness. ?You?re
absolutely right, Abir.
Excuse us.?
This time, we step past
the woman into the cool of
the shop, leaving her
blinking on the pavement.
Very gently Abir squeezes
my hand and I return the
pressure.
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
magazine
In the greengrocer?s, Sam
Cox and I exchange a few
words while the girl hangs
back by the door, scanning
the passers-by nervously. I
am poring over the punnets
of raspberries when
suddenly a motorbike roars
down the high street and,
as it disappears into the
distance, backfires.
Abir throws herself back
against the wall with a
terrified cry, dislodging a
pile of oranges that cascade
across the shop floor.
I run over to her and
gather her in my arms. Her
whole body, so
insubstantial against my
fleshy own, trembles. I can
smell her fear.
?Shush, now. It?s OK. It
was only a stupid
motorbike. There?s nothing
to be frightened of.? I start
blindly groping around to
gather the fallen oranges.
Sam makes his way over.
?Leave it,? he says kindly,
starting to pick up the fruit.
?No harm done. She all
right??
I feel Abir?s head move
against my chest and her
face emerges.
?Sorry,? she whispers, her
hand shielding her face.
?Sorry?? Sam returns.
?You?ve got no need to be
sorry, my lovely. It?s that
idiot with that bike who
should be saying sorry.
Here.? He gently takes hold
of Abir?s hand and presses
an orange into it, closing
her fingers around it. ?Like
them, do you??
She nods shyly, cradling
the orange like a jewel as
she stares up at him with
her customary grave
expression.
?They?re good, them
oranges. Nice and juicy. All
the way from ??
?Yes,? Abir says. ?I know.
My father grows them.? Her
face tightens. ?Grew them.?
?Good on him,? Sam says
into the awkward silence.
* * * *
The street is empty now.
As we make our way to the
deli, hand in hand, I point
out the landmarks: the
16th-century coaching inn,
the old chapel, the drinking
trough. I throw in a bit of
local history.
I?m feeling much more
confident now. If only we
had managed to do this
earlier, how different our
fortnight together might
have been.
Abir takes it in politely,
like a tourist, nodding with
each new piece of
information.
Passing one of the shops,
I feel the slightest tug on
my arm and, stopping in
mid-spiel, follow Abir?s gaze
to the window display of
bright summer clothes. Of
course!
?Do you like those? The
dresses??
Abir has been in T-shirts
and trousers since she
arrived. I?d caught her early
one morning at the sink
trying to scrub her clothes
clean with soap and one
hand.
Some delicate
explanations and
negotiations had been
required to persuade her to
relinquish her precious
belongings to the maw of
the washing machine.
?Come on, then,? I say,
steering Abir into the shop.
We make straight for the
carousel of dresses as the
assistant comes over.
?For the little girl, is it?
Oh!? She?s noticed. ?With a
sleeve, then.?
But Abir has pulled out a
vivid blue dress with yellow
suns all over it. It has no
sleeves. The assistant
glances over at me for
approval. I smile resignedly.
To guarantee you receive each issue
of ?The People?s Friend?, just ask
your newsagent to place a regular
order for you. Your copy of the
?Friend? will then be held for you
to collect, saving you having to
search the shelves.
Some newsagents may even offer a
home delivery service, so just ask
them about this service as well.
Simply complete this form and hand
it to your local newsagent.
The saleswoman pulls out
the same dress in a larger
size.
?That one will be too
small for you, young lady.?
Abir fingers the fabric.
?This is lovely, Mrs
Phillips.?
?Yes,? I say carefully. ?It
is, Abir. But it won?t fit ??
?For my sister.?
I am taken aback. It?s the
first I?ve heard of a sister or
any family.
?Your sister? But we
don?t know her size ??
?Yes. This is good. For my
sister. Please.?
She has never asked me
directly for anything before.
She has never shown such
excitement and naked
desire.
?Of course, Abir. But let?s
look at something for you,
too, shall we??
Abir shakes her head.
?No, thank you. Just for
my sister. She will be
beautiful in this.? She is
resolute.
So we have it wrapped
and Abir clutches the parcel
to her thin chest, rubbing
her chin against the paper
as she waits for me to pay.
I?m smiling as we make
our way home. The tension
has vanished from Abir?s
face. She?s faced a test and
passed it with honours. We
both have. I feel very proud
of her.
Thoughts of the future
bubble up. Abir returning,
Abir studying in England,
prostheses, surgery . . .
She pulls my hand down
until we are face to face.
?I was thinking, Abir,? I
begin. ?Maybe next year ??
?I was thinking also. Next
year, Mrs Phillips,? she
says, lips dusting my cheek.
?Next year, to thank you, I
show you my country.?
And she turns her face to
the bright English sky and
smiles. n
Please reserve/deliver* a copy of ?The People?s Friend? on a
regular basis, commencing with Issue No........ *delete as appropriate
Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms ...................... First Name ........................................
Surname ....................................................................................................
Address ......................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................
.......................................... Postcode ...............................
Telephone No .................................................................
PUZZLES 91
Arroword
Enter the answers in the direction indicated by the arrows.
Bask on
a beach
Top of a
baby?s bottle
Revise
proofs
Canadian
province
Cab
Speak lazily
Tilers
Hooting
bird
Removable
cover
Colour of
ashes
Scowls,
glowers
Existence
Nocturnal
creature
In addition,
as well
Levy
Fish spawn
Unbuttered
(toast)
Surname of
TV comedian
Jack
Inclined,
likely
Grip with
the teeth
Lubricate
Get older
State
south of
Minnesota
Long angry
outburst
Performing
surgery
Crosses out
Besides,
otherwise
SMOKE
SMOULDER
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FIREDOG
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FIREPLACE
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FIRESIDE
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B
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E C E B U K E R F ANTHRACITE FLICKER
FIREDOG, FLAMES, SWEEP, COKE,
RADIATE, SMOULDER, GRATE,
WARMTH, SMOKE, FIREPLACE,
MANTELPIECE, BUCKET, FLICKER,
FIRESIDE, ANTHRACITE, COAL,
BRUSH, KINDLING
I
Arroword
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T OO DR Y
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P E RA T I NG
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Solutions
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Beginning with the highlighted word, follow a continuous
path to find all the words relating to fireplaces. The trail passes
through each and every letter once, and may twist up, down or
sideways, but never diagonally.
S
U
ON
B
T A
T
H
D E
Pathfinder
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG 93
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
What will Jenny
do now she has
been sacked?
J
iStock.
ENNY, are you all
right, love?? Mary
asked. ?You look a
bit shaken.?
Jenny shook her
head.
?I?ve been sacked,? she
said softly, not believing
her own words. ?I?ve never
been sacked from a job
before in my whole life. It?s
come as a bit of a shock.?
?Here,? Mary said,
moving along the leather
seat of the booth. ?Come
and sit with us.?
Mary caught Dave?s eye
across the deli and
beckoned him over to their
table.
?Three coffees, Dave,
please,? Mary said.
?Thanks, Mary,? Jenny
replied as she glanced
between Mary and Ruby.
?I?m sorry to interrupt, but
I didn?t know where else to
go. Eric?s at work and I
couldn?t face going back to
an empty flat.
?Anna has told me she
can?t afford to keep me on
now Carol is back from
Tenerife.?
?And they?ve sacked you,
just like that?? Ruby said,
shocked, as Dave returned
with their drinks.
Jenny sighed.
?I should have seen it
coming. I knew the bank
balance wasn?t looking
Riverside
very good, but I didn?t
expect . . .?
?Something else will turn
up soon,? Ruby said as
cheerfully as she could, but
Jenny shook her head.
?I wish I had your
optimism, Ruby,? she
replied. ?I have no idea
what I?m going to do next.?
?What about going back
to the type of work you
used to do before you
moved here?? Mary asked.
Ruby nodded
encouragingly.
?Lots of small businesses
could do with help with
their books,? she said.
?And there?s the college,?
Mary continued. ?And the
community centre. Both of
them run courses for
adults.
?You can learn all kinds
of things now and upgrade
your skills if you need to.?
?Oh! That reminds me!?
Ruby added. ?I was
thinking of ringing the
community centre to see if
there?s anyone who could
teach me to get the most
out of my new tablet.?
Jenny took a sip of her
drink.
?I need to give it some
thought,? she said quietly.
?I think I?m still in shock. I
feel like I need some fresh
air to clear my head.?
Ruby glanced at her
watch.
?The number fifty-six bus
to the beach is due in ten
minutes. You could do a lot
worse than a walk on the
sands. Sea air does
wonders to clear the
cobwebs. I know it always
works for me.?
?Thanks, Ruby.? Jenny
smiled. ?That sounds like a
good idea. I might treat
myself to an ice-cream
while I?m down there.?
Jenny stood to leave, but
before she put on her coat
she delved into her
handbag to find her purse.
Mary shook her head.
?Don?t you worry about
paying,? she told Jenny.
?This one?s on me.?
?Thanks, Mary,? Jenny
replied gratefully, then
turned to Ruby. ?The
number fifty-six, you say??
?It stops outside the Old
Engine Room on the other
side of the road,? Ruby told
her.
Ruby and 
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