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The People’s Friend – 12 May 2018

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Take part in this year?s
Great British Bee Count
7 feel-good stories
Healthy snacks to
make at home
May 12, 2018 No. 7726
�30
Quorn Vegan Pieces & Nachos
The best fiction
? A sparkling 1960s romance by Lydia Jones
? Val Bonsall?s Victorian murder mystery
BBQ Teriyaki Sausage Pizza
Enjoy a day out by the Thames
Looking
forward
to the
wedding
of the year
Polly?s
collies
are now
calendar
girls!
Simple
craft
project
Competitions open to UK residents
only, unless otherwise stated.
�30
UK Off-sale date - 16-May-2018
Marlow
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
The Magic Of
12-May-2018
Make
a cute
felted
plant
pot
2
3
this week
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
The People?s Friend Special
No 157, priced �99
l 8-page 1950s romance
l 14 brand-new short stories
On
sale
now!
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 860, priced �49
l A modern Highland romance
by Jill Barry
Cover Artwork: Marlow, Bucks, by J. Campbell Kerr.
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
Fiction
Regulars
Features
4 My First Love
by Lydia Jones
15 The Talismen
by Valerie Bowes
23 Always Adamant
by Patsy Collins
25 SERIES Busy Bees
by Della Galton
30 SERIAL About The
Hollow Ground
by Pamela Kavanagh
41 Run Away
by Margaret Skipworth
47 Arsenic And Honeysuckle
by Val Bonsall
53 All In Good Time
by Natalie Kleinman
56 SERIAL All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
by Josephine Allen
79 The Thirteenth Floor
by Tony Redcliffe
85 WEEKLY SOAP Riverside
by Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re
Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
24 Reader Offer: Time For
Tea
27 Brainteasers
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: try our
tempting selection of
tasty TV snacks
51 Our Next Issue
61 From The Manse
Window
62 Reader Offer:
Miniature Patio Fruit
Trees
71 Would You Believe It?
73 Craft: brighten up your
home by making a pot
plant cover using felt
83 Extra Puzzles
86 Between Friends
8 Pat Coulter enjoys a
riverside walk in
Marlow on the Thames
21 7 Easy ways to improve
asthma
29 Ian Lloyd looks ahead
to the wedding of the
year
44 Polly Pullar?s collies are
calendar girls!
63 Our book
recommendations for
this month. Plus your
chance to win them!
65 Wendy Glass pays
tribute to Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim Rice
68 Alexandra Campbell
spruces up the garden
77 Britain?s ?Irongran?
proves it?s never too
late to get active
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With summer almost
upon us, our lovely
cover painting of the
Thames at Marlow is
just the thing to put
you in the mood for
taking a stroll in the
fresh air. I thoroughly
enjoyed Pat Coulter?s
feature on page 8
about walking the
Thames Path National
Trail, not least because
it reminded me of how
much I loved Jerome K.
Jerome?s ?Three Men In
A Boat?. I can
remember laughing out
loud at the antics of the
men and their faithful
hound when I first read
this book, so if you
haven?t discovered it
yet, I can heartily
recommend it.
And dogs also feature
on page 44 this week,
where Polly Pullar
reveals the new
modelling career her
collies have embarked
upon as calendar girls.
As always, her
photographs are simply
gorgeous.
For more inspiration
for spending time
outdoors, turn to page
68, where gardening
expert Alexandra
Campbell shares her
advice for sprucing up
your outdoor area for
the season ahead. She
also encourages us all
to take part in the
Great British Bee Count,
which I?m definitely
going to do.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
twitter.com/@TheFriendMag
4
I remember the
Sixties well. And
most of all,
I remember
Michael MontvilleJones . . .
My First Love
B
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
ACK then we had
dirt floors. Mum
waged a neverending war against
the black dust that
crept up between lino
cracks and settled on edges
of rag rugs.
If I close my eyes I can
see her: wielding a paddleshaped brush; battering
line-draped mats into hazy
submission.
The estate agent?s
description today details
limestone quarry tiles and
oak laminated flooring. I
wonder what Mum would
say?
That last summer we
lived here ? the summer
when I?d just finished
school ? I recall she had
quite a lot to say about the
inconveniences of Willow
Cottage. Most of it went
over my head.
But then I did have other
things on my mind.
* * * *
?Jim!? Mum stood in the
doorway, hands on hips.
?There?s a swanky red
sports car parked out front.
Go and see who it is, will
you??
?I?m in the privy. Our
Joyce will have to go!?
Dad?s voice bellowed from
the confines of the brick
closet with the willow tree
growing through it.
I was sitting on my
dreaming stone: a piece of
paving wedged between
the water butt and wall,
from where I had a view
over fields towards the
railway line that I knew
would one day whisk me
away from here.
?Joyce! Get your head out
of the clouds and get down
to our gate and see who it
is!?
I remember I sighed a
lot, as teenagers do,
dragging my feet round the
side of our cottage on to
the front path.
Spring was late, so
daffodils still stood sentinel
along its length, paving a
golden way towards the red
car and its occupant.
It was the most
glamorous thing I?d ever
seen and its driver was
definitely the most
gorgeous man I?d ever laid
eyes on.
He had a look of my
favourite crush, Brian
Hyland, with thick hair and
dreamy eyes.
For a second I was
speechless, then he
blushed and I realised he
wasn?t particularly sure of
himself, either.
?Hello,? he said. ?This is
Willow Cottage, isn?t it??
?Yes.?
?Only there?s no sign . . .?
?It fell off. Dad hasn?t got
round to putting it back.?
?It?s quite all right. Then
you must be . . .?
?Joyce Carter.?
?Carter, of course.
Pleased to meet you,
Joyce.?
He fumbled with the
beautiful car?s door catch
and got out. Then he
walked round its gleaming
red bonnet and offered me
a formal handshake.
?I?m Michael MontvilleJones.?
The skin of his hand was
soft but the handshake was
firm.
?I?m back down for the
holidays and Pa had this
idea that since I?m to
inherit the estate one day I
should experience
everyone?s jobs so that I
know what they do. Not
that he does.? The dreamy
eyes clouded.
?Anyway, this week I?m
being Mr Nicholson, so I?m
here to collect the rent, you
see. I should have come
yesterday,? he finished.
?Mum wondered why
nobody called,? I told him.
?I had a tennis match I
couldn?t cancel. So I
thought I could catch up
today.?
?Do you want to come in?
Mr Nicholson always does.?
?Oh, er ?? He shifted his
polished brogues,
scrunching the gravel.
?Perhaps not.?
* * * *
?Michael MontvilleJones!? Mum?s eyes were
horror-struck.
?Look at me!? She
flapped floury hands
against her apron. ?Here
? you?ll have to take it, our
Joyce.?
I thought he looked
embarrassed about taking
money from me, which was
sort of sweet.
?Thank you.?
He didn?t even seem to
notice the envelope. He
just kept staring so that I
began to blush myself.
I was acutely aware of
the twitching living-room
curtains.
?Sorry.? He shook his
head. ?Awfully rude of me.
Do you require a receipt for
that??
?Mr Nicholson notes it in
the rent book that we?ve
paid.? I giggled. ?You really
don?t know what you?re
doing, do you??
?Not a clue, I?m afraid.
The rent book?s in the car.?
Entry duly made, he
didn?t start up the engine
straight away.
?Well, it was a pleasure
to meet you, Joyce.?
I liked the sound of my
SHORT STORY BY LYDIA JONES
name in his mouth.
?I?m done with school
now, so ??
?Me, too,? I interrupted.
?Excellent.? He beamed
and something fluttery
began in the pit of my
stomach. ?I expect I?ll see
you around then.?
I didn?t see how.
?That is if I?m still being
Nicholson next week,? he
added.
I giggled again, unable to
tear my gaze away from his
gorgeous blue eyes.
* * * *
The following Friday I
practically flew down the
path. I?d washed my hair
and wore my best dress
with the daisies on it.
?You look pretty today,
Joyce,? he said, and I
thought I?d explode with a
mixture of embarrassment
and excitement.
He lingered. I sat in the
passenger seat of the
beautiful car and we talked
about the new pop music
being played by DJs like
Alan Freeman and Pete
Murray on Radio
Luxembourg.
Dad didn?t let me listen
on our old wireless, but my
friend, Iris, had her own
transistor radio and we
spent many happy hours
listening to Radio
Luxembourg in her
bedroom.
The fact that it was
forbidden made it more
appealing.
I didn?t tell Michael any
of this because I didn?t
want to seem silly or
unsophisticated.
?Most girls seem to be
mad about this new
Liverpool group, the
Beatles,? he said with
teasing in his voice.
?They?re all right.? I
shrugged in what I hoped
was a grown-up way, even
though I thought Paul
McCartney was almost as
dishy as Brian Hyland.
?I?ve got lots of records.
You should come up to the
house some time and
listen.?
?Thanks.?
I wondered in which
universe I was likely to be
invited to the home of the
Montville-Joneses.
Twice more I sat in the
car like that until one day
he turned to me.
?I was wondering ? are
you going to the fair on the
Common tomorrow?? he
asked shyly.
?Oh, I don?t know.?
Dad would never let me
go; I?d always wanted to.
?I thought ? that is ? I
was wondering if you?d like
to go with me.?
His cheeks were
practically plum with
discomfort. His blue eyes
were wide and bright with
hope.
I knew I wasn?t going to
disappoint him.
?I?d love to.?
* * * *
?Iris, you have to cover
for me.?
?I don?t have to do
anything.?
Iris was trying out a new
frosted apricot lipstick, her
eyes focused on her pout in
the reflection of her hand
mirror.
Iris?s dad was the town
bookie so there was lots of
money in her house for
luxuries like lipsticks and
magazines. I tried not to be
envious.
?Please, Iris. He?s so
handsome. He wears a suit
just like the men in ?Honey?.
I just have to be able to go
out with him. I?ll die if I
can?t.? I flopped on her bed
in despair.
?All right, Joyce, don?t be
so dramatic. Just watch
yourself, is all. Mum says
the likes of them only want
one thing from the likes of
us.?
* * * *
I walked to the main road
to meet him. I didn?t want
the beautiful red car
attracting attention.
?Hello.? He smiled and
my heart banged out a
pulse.
?Hello.?
We both seemed unable
to stop grinning.
?Oh, allow me.? He
sprang to open the car
door.
I climbed into the
passenger seat, feeling like
a princess in a fairy tale.
We parked a little
distance from the Common
and as we began to walk he
reached for my hand.
?It?s all right, isn?t it?? he
asked.
?Why wouldn?t it be??
?I don?t know. Can I let
you in on a secret? I?ve
never been on a proper
date. We don?t have girls at
school, and, well . . .?
?Neither have I.? I
laughed softly. ?Been on a
date with a boy, I mean.?
?Excellent.? His fingers
laced into mine.
Then we were just like
any other star-struck
children on a first date.
* * * *
Michael drove the
dodgem hard and made me
scream; we sang along to
Elvis on the waltzer, and in
the ghost train?s blackness
his arm crept around my
5
sounds faded into the bliss
of being in his arms.
* * * *
?What is this place??
Following Michael?s
directions, I had finally
found the spherical stone
building tucked away in
Montville-Jones woodland.
?Welcome to the Temple
of Aphrodite.? Michael?s
eyes were alight with
child-like excitement.
?Come inside ? it?s even
better.?
The circular interior was
unlike anything I?d ever
seen. Plaster walls were
covered with colourful
murals of scantily clad men
and women with draping
I didn?t want the beautiful red car
attracting attention
shoulder and I felt the heat
of his breath on my cheek.
He was excellent when it
came to shooting.
?I can?t take this home,? I
said, cradling the giant pink
teddy he?d won.
?Why not? You haven?t
told your folks you?re here,
have you??
I couldn?t look at him for
shame.
I hung my head, then I
felt a finger tipping up my
chin.
?Don?t worry.? His face
was full of gentleness. ?I
haven?t, either.?
I was awash with relief.
?It can be our secret.? He
smiled.
Then, amidst the aroma
of hot dogs and candyfloss, in the flashing fairy
lights of the fairground
shooting gallery, we shared
our first kiss.
?I?ll keep the bear for
you. I know just the place.
We?ll call her Penelope. It?s
always been my favourite
girls? name in Greek
mythology.?
I hadn?t the first idea
what he meant.
?Pretty name,? I
commented.
?I?ll put her in the
Temple,? he said. ?That?s
where we?ll meet next time.
You?ll love it there, Joyce.?
?A temple??
?Of course, you goose.?
Then he kissed me again
and fairground sights and
white robes; some had
wings and weapons, some
danced and played musical
instruments.
?Scenes from Aphrodite?s
story.? Michael grinned.
?And look.?
He opened French doors
on to a paved area
overlooking a lily-paddappled lake.
?It?s beautiful.?
?I?m glad you like it. I so
wanted to share this with
you, Joycie. It?s always
been my favourite place. It
was a den for us kids when
we were home from school.
Somewhere to go to escape
the adults.?
?Some den!?
?My sisters outgrew it
years ago, but it?s still
special to me.?
?You?ve got older
sisters?? I asked.
Somewhere on the village
grapevine I felt I knew this,
but it was proof of more
common ground.
?So have I,? I added.
?Two. I was the post-war
baby.?
?Me, too.?
We shared a grin, then
he pulled me into his arms
and kissed me in a way
that was more urgent than
before and totally
intoxicating.
* * * *
?It?s so peaceful here,? I
said later.
We were lying on a
6
woven rug just inside the
French doors overlooking
the lake.
I rested back against
Michael. He had both arms
around my body and it
seemed to me that the two
of us were melded together
to make a new conjoined
human being.
?It is.? He nuzzled my
hair. ?But it will all have to
go.?
?Why?? I swivelled,
horrified.
?The estate can?t
continue as it is. It?s
haemorrhaging money,? he
explained. ?Lots of things
will have to be sold off
when I inherit. Pa won?t see
it ? he wants everything to
go on just the way it always
has.?
?My dad is just the
same,? I replied, warmed
by how much Michael and I
had in common despite our
backgrounds.
?Mum says it?s because
of the war. Because he
went away to fight for his
home the way it was.?
?For King and Country.?
Michael nodded
thoughtfully. ?But when
they came back everything
had changed.
?The world doesn?t stand
still. It?s up to you and me,
Joycie, to build a new
world.?
?You and me,? I echoed,
enchanted.
* * * *
It became a summer of
sneaking out.
Michael and I would go
for drives in the beautiful
red car and spend long,
lazy afternoons at the
Temple, talking and
listening to his records.
?We?re like the couple in
the Brian Hyland song,? I
said. ?Except we?ll be apart
from September and have
to make our pact to meet
in December.?
?And ?seal it with a kiss?.?
Michael laughed gently,
leaning down to cover my
mouth with his.
* * * *
?You?re awfully thick with
Iris all of a sudden,? Dad
said suspiciously after a
while.
?She?s my friend,? I
replied, feeling cornered.
But Iris was already
complaining about being
my alibi. I didn?t blame her.
I was spending almost all
my time in the Temple with
Michael and no time at all
with her.
So I invented a cleaning
job in one of the new
factories that had sprung
up on the edge of town.
Dad praised my initiative
and I was flooded with
guilt. But Michael was like
a drug and I couldn?t help
myself.
* * * *
September turned wet.
Large damp patches
spread out across the
scantily clad figures on the
Temple walls.
Michael and I shivered
beneath the woven rugs.
My tech course had
started but Michael had
another month before he
left for university. He was
resentful of the time my
classes took.
?I never thought a bit of
shorthand would mean
more to you than me.?
?It doesn?t,? I retorted.
?You never think of
missing classes to see me.?
?I can?t miss classes. How
will I learn??
?Suit yourself.? He
shrugged dismissively.
?Michael, if I?m to get a
job and join you in
Cambridge ??
?Oh, Joyce ? you are
such a goose.?
?What do you mean??
He?d been sullen and
preoccupied lately. As I
looked at him that day I
saw something new in his
face that frightened me: a
kind of hopelessness.
My stomach began to
spiral.
?I just thought we could
enjoy our last month
together, that?s all.? He
glared at the damp wall
dancers.
?But, Michael ? once I?m
qualified . . .?
?Don?t, Joyce! It just
makes it worse.?
?What??
He sighed like all breath
was leaving his body.
?It?s just a dream, Joycie.
Don?t you see??
I remember there was a
humming in my ears, like
the mural lute players had
come to life inside my
head.
?You and me ?
Cambridge. Just a silly
dream,? he explained, his
face flashing unfamiliar
hardness.
?It turns out Pa knew all
about us the whole time.
?My little dalliance?, he
called it. He also made it
clear that unless I dropped
this ?? He spread slightly
shaking fingers into the
space between us. ?Then
there would be no money
for Cambridge.?
?Money? That?s what this
is about? Michael, we can
get jobs. We?ll manage. As
long as we?re together ??
?A job?? He laughed
without pleasure. ?You
don?t get it, do you? That?s
not how it is for people like
me. I?m sorry, Joyce. It?s
been lovely, but now it?s
over.?
* * * *
I don?t remember the
walk home. Over the weeks
that followed, Michael?s
betrayal made me do what
I hadn?t been prepared to
do for his love. I missed
college.
?I always said those
classes were a daft idea,?
Dad said. ?Can?t you get a
proper job in that factory
you used to clean??
Mum knew something
was wrong but I wouldn?t
talk. The garden privy
became my refuge: a place
where I could sit and sob
while the willow dripped
rainwater to mingle with
my tears.
* * * *
?Joyce! Someone?s at the
gate to see you.?
I dashed away tears with
the back of my hand.
I felt a surge of joy.
Michael had come to his
senses and was here to
make up with me.
But as I rounded the
cottage, the person
standing on our front path
was Miss Shaw, one of the
blue-stocking teachers from
tech.
After polite enquiries
about my health, her eyes
narrowed, then she sighed.
?I didn?t come in because
I wanted to say this in
private,? she explained.
?Don?t throw away your
chance of getting qualified,
Joyce. I don?t know what
the problem is, but I
suppose it?s a boy.?
?How did you know??
She gave another sigh.
?Because it?s always a
boy.? She smiled. ?I?m not
going to give you platitudes
about there being plenty
more fish in the sea. But I
will say this: in the short
time you were with us you
showed aptitude.
?This is something you
could be good at, Joyce,?
she continued. ?Your
chance at bettering
yourself.?
?What for??
?For yourself, of course.
I?m not so old I can?t
remember what it?s like to
give your heart and soul to
someone and lose.?
My scepticism must have
been obvious.
?My fianc� was shot
down over Saint-Nazaire in
Brittany.?
?I?m sorry.?
?It?s long ago now, but I
decided then that I wasn?t
going to waste my life just
because Fate hadn?t been
kind.? She put out a
leather-gloved hand.
?Please pick up the pieces
and move forward. A bright
girl like you could catch up
on missed classes. I?ll help.?
As her fingers touched
my arm I rediscovered in
their pressure something I
had lost that summer ? a
sense of my own worth; a
conviction that I could be
someone.
* * * *
When I look at Willow
Cottage today, it is that
feeling I remember most.
Of course the little piece
of my heart broken off by
Michael Montville-Jones
will always be here. But so,
too, are the roots of the
woman I became.
All of it began with a
young girl standing at this
gate, wiping away tears
and turning her face to the
future.
?Do you want to go in
and snoop?? My husband
slides an arm around my
shoulder. ?I can call the
estate agent.?
?No.? I smile. ?There?s
nothing for me there.?
Then I take my husband?s
arm and turn to walk along
a primrose-starred lane to
lunch. n
loving
BITS & PIECES
This week we?re
7
iStock.
Indian Marmalade
Covent Garden Puppets
Sloth Thoughts
Winner in the Commonwealth
category of the World Marmalade
Awards ? held in Cumbria ? was
an orange and ginger marvel from
Rajasthan. It was a labour of love,
with the ginger juice hand-crushed
using traditional stone methods!
Mr Punch will celebrate his threehundred-and-fifty-sixth birthday this
year, and Punch and Judy puppeteers
will gather from all over the country to
celebrate in Covent Garden on Sunday,
May 13. Expect shows, workshops,
refreshments and live music.
?Life In The Sloth Lane? by Lucy
Cooke, published by Workman,
features a gorgeous selection of the
author?s own images of sanctuary
sloths paired with words of wisdom
from great thinkers past and
present. RRP �99.
Grease Is The Word
The most successful movie musical
of all time celebrates its fortieth
anniversary this year. To mark the
occasion,
a Special
Edition
Blu-ray has
been
released.
With crisper
colours and
more detail,
it?s the most
life-like
version of
the film yet!
RRP
�.99.
A Friendly Face
Alamy.
Birthday Byrne
Actor Gabriel Byrne began his
screen career in Irish soap opera
?The Riordans? and has also
been an archaeologist, a cook
and a teacher. Byrne now lives in
Manhattan, and on May 12 he?ll
be turning sixty-eight.
This is Pepper, a robot clever
enough to talk to, who may soon pop
up in hotels and service roles around
the world.
Pepper is not
intended to
replace
human staff,
but rather to
be a more
intelligent
alternative to
automated
check-ins at
everything
from
hospitals to
airports.
Details correct at time of going to press.
iStock.
Rex Features.
High Fashion
Businesswoman Sandra Gault says
88% of women are wearing heels
that are too small, and has
developed a computer app to find
your right size and then custommake a comfortable heel, putting an
end to sore feet. Visit truegault.com.
Holiday Hair
Whether you swim regularly or are
planning a break on the beach, the
Tangle Teezer is the best way to
comb through wet hair. Brush
through without tugging or tangles
for just �55 from www.hairtrade.
com.
Tipping Point
Tourists in Sri Lanka had a near
miss with a hungry elephant on
the hunt for food. It came over to
investigate their safari Jeep, but
found nothing. Fortunately, both
people and elephant escaped
unharmed!
8
The Magic Of
Marlow
Pat Coulter enjoys
a riverside literary
trail along the
banks of the
Thames.
This
week?s
cover
feature
Factfile
n ?Three Men In A
Boat? was so popular
that the number of
registered Thames
boats went up by
50 per cent the year
after its publication in
1889. It?s considered
the book significantly
contributed to the
Thames becoming
a popular tourist
attraction.
n Jerome and his wife
Ettie honeymooned
on the River Thames.
Inspired, immediately
upon their return he
sat down to write
?Three Men In A
Boat?.
Photographs by Pat Coulter.
n The Thames Path is
the only long-distance
path to follow a river
for most of its length.
n There is an annual
race along the Thames
Path, with the fastest
time set by Mark
Denby in 2015 at 40
minutes 47 seconds.
R
OW, row, row your
boat gently down
the stream,
Merrily, merrily,
merrily, merrily,
life is but a dream.?
This catchy ditty
remembered from my
childhood ripples through
my mind, inspired by my
idyllic waterside setting at
dreamy Marlow on the
River Thames.
Marlow has maintained
its popularity as a mecca
for river lovers since the
days when long-time
Marlow resident Jerome K.
Jerome penned ?Three
Men In A Boat?.
A story of a jolly jape
with his two chums (to say
nothing of the dog) in a
rowing skiff from Kingstonupon-Thames to Oxford,
this whimsical book full of
amusing anecdotes was
originally intended as an
informative travel guide.
To the astonishment of
?J?, as he was simply
known, his book became
one of the most popular
books of the late Victorian
era, selling a million copies.
It was also a huge success
across the pond in
America.
It was written at the time
when the coming of the
railways enabled carriageloads of city dwellers to
escape the smog and
congestion of London for a
day in the country, larking
around on the river
surrounded by beautiful
countryside.
Poppy dog and I have
enjoyed many a Thamesside walk, but Marlow is a
first for us. Unlike the
doggie hero Montmorency
in ?Three Men In A Boat?,
Poppy won?t be climbing
aboard any vessel.
Not unaccustomed to the
ways of life on the water
(she?s sailed to Spain and
punted on the River Cam in
Cambridge), Poppy?s still a
confirmed land-lubber!
No matter. A walk along
what promises to be one of
the most scenic stretches of
the 184-mile Thames Path
National Trail will ensure
we can admire the river
and landmarks en route
without madam getting her
dainty paws wet.
Set amongst the wildliferich, verdant water
meadows of the wooded
Chilterns, the historic,
charming Georgian market
town of Marlow has a
pleasing concoction of cosy
THIS WEEK?S COVER FEATURE 9
All Saints
Church.
Picturesque
Hambleden.
pubs and familiar
high-street eateries, and
even a dash or two of
Michelin-star restaurants
for those with a discerning
palate.
Instead, we?re heading
riverside to catch an early
morning bite at the
Compleat Angler.
The dog-friendly hotel is
named after Izaak Walton?s
famous fishing tome and
boasts a riverside terrace
? just the spot to sit and
admire two of Marlow?s
most picturesque
landmarks.
Poppy?s not too keen to
walk over the first ? a
suspension bridge which
straddles the Thames
between Bisham on the
Berkshire side and Marlow
in Buckinghamshire. The
bridge feels a bit wobbly
and Poppy doesn?t fancy
the look of the flowing
water below.
?It?s all right, Poppy, I
won?t throw you in,? I
reassure her with a grin.
She doesn?t seem
convinced.
Her reluctance to cross
gives me time to read the
plaque on the bridge
revealing it has a larger
?twin? in Budapest,
spanning another famous
river, the Danube.
Both were designed by
the same British-born
engineer, William Tierney
Clark, although Marlow
Bridge was built a few
years before its Hungarian
counterpart in 1832.
Further down the river,
Clark also designed the
very first suspension bridge
to span the River Thames,
the original Hammersmith
Bridge, which is in a
different guise today.
All Saints Church is the
other prominent landmark,
with its soaring spire. It lies
Poppy by the
River Thames at
Medmenham.
directly opposite the hotel
where I?m enjoying coffee
and biscuits, drinking in the
view.
My smartphone search
reveals there was a church
in Marlow on the same site
as early as 1070.
However, the present
Victorian church was built
after the spire of the
original church collapsed in
1831. The church was built
from handsome Bath
stone, and is topped by an
elegant spire.
The hotel terrace is the
perfect spot to watch
athletic rowers scull by with
effortless ease, and the
sound of the foaming
torrent of water pouring
over the nearby weir
drowns out the traffic noise
rumbling over the bridge.
Fortunately, its size
means heavy vehicles can?t
squeeze across.
Mesmerised by the
hypnotic white water, I?m
amazed to see a flash of
azure blue as a kingfisher
skims the river, heading
downstream towards
Marlow Lock.
The river is alive in so
many ways.
Marlow isn?t just famous
for its ?Three Men In A
Boat? literary connection,
though. I?ve made a
monstrous discovery.
Author Mary Shelley and
her husband, poet Percy
Bysshe Shelley, lived for a
short time in Marlow, a
riverside sojourn between
their extensive travels
throughout Europe.
It was here she
completed her classic
gothic horror tale,
?Frankenstein?. Mary
Shelley had started writing
the book the summer
before they moved to
Marlow whilst visiting Lord
Byron near Lake Geneva. It
was Byron who had
suggested that they each
write a ghost story and her
chiller was the result.
Albion House, which the
creative couple moved into
in 1817, can still be found.
You can?t miss it ? there?s a
commemorative blue
plaque on the building.
The property lies just off
the high street, not far
from the Thames.
Beguiled by the setting,
Percy Shelley happily
wrote, ?I am now on the
point of taking a lease on a
house among these woody
hills, these sweet green
fields and this delightful
river.?
The original Albion
House, believed to date
from the mid-1700s, was
split into four separate
houses a century ago, each
with its own name in
honour of its most famous
residents.
There?s Shelley Lodge,
Shelley House and Shelley
Cottage, with the remaining
house keeping its original
name.
The walk on which Poppy
and I are heading,
upstream towards Henley,
was one of which Percy was
extremely fond.
In chilly months, the
Romantic poet could be
seen walking round Marlow
sporting a long brown coat
with lambs?-wool collar and
cuffs, while in the summer
he would casually wear an
open-necked shirt,
shunning the
10
customary cravat
fashionable at that time.
It?s time for us to strike
out in his footsteps along
the Thames Path.
The summer sunshine
provides a welcome
warmth which entices
young mums out with their
pushchairs.
Poppy chases around
with new-found canine pals
in riverside Higginson Park,
where I admire a grand
statue of Marlow-born
Sir Steve Redgrave
adorned in his five Olympic
medals.
Soon Marlow gives way
to bucolic water meadows.
It?s a pleasingly unspoiled
stretch of the Thames and
wonderfully serene.
On the opposite bank we
pass by ancient Bisham
Abbey, a spectacular
Grade I listed manor house
named after the monastery
which previously stood
alongside it.
Today it is familiar to
many of our sporting
greats as home to one of
the National Sports
Centres, managed on
behalf of Sport England.
They welcome all comers
to stay there, but it doesn?t
mean you have to train like
an Olympic athlete!
Picturesque Hurley Lock
is a welcoming watering
hole for weary walkers,
with its enticing riverside
tearoom and a chance to
do a spot of ?gongoozling?,
which is us land-lubbers
idly watching the rivercraft
go by.
At the time when ?Three
Men In A Boat? was
written, there would have
been hundreds of rowing
skiffs and steam launches
negotiating the lock in a
single weekend.
We amble past a
riverside campsite, a
reminder that Jerome and
his pals fashionably
adapted their rowing skiff
for camping afloat by
stretching a tarpaulin
canopy over the boat.
Pretty unsuitable for
sleepwalkers, I?d say!
Glimpses of Medmenham
Abbey come into view on
the opposite bank.
The gothic-style former
abbey was the haunt of the
infamous Hell-Fire Club, a
bunch of aristocrats
hell-bent on a selfproclaimed ?Do-as-youplease? lifestyle.
Jerome commented
sadly, ?A grim fraternity,
passing grim lives in that
sweet spot that God had
made so bright!?
Just like Jerome, his two
chums and Montmorency
the dog, Poppy and I are
happy to arrive at our
hostelry for the night.
Our day ends in
Hambleden, one of the
The statue of Olympian
Sir Steve Redgrave.
most unspoiled villages in
England, at the Stag and
Huntsman, a traditional
pub with individually
styled, characterful rooms.
Our adventurous day
ends strolling around the
village, discovering the
traditional village shop,
cosy flint cottages and
handsome church and
pocket-handkerchief-sized
green complete with
water pump.
It?s a scene so
unchanged, it?s made
Hambleden a favourite with
film crews from ?Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang? to
?Sleepy Hollow? and
?Inspector Morse?.
But that?s another
chapter on this fascinating
literary trail. n
Getting there
On Marlow
Bridge.
Want to know more?
By car:
take the
M4
motorway
exit at
Junction
8/9,
signposted A404 for
Marlow, then follow
signs to Marlow on
the A4155.
By train: there is an
hourly service to
Marlow from London
Paddington via
Maidenhead. For
train timetables visit
www.thetrainline.com.
Marlow Visitor Information Service, Marlow Library, Institute Road, Marlow SL7 1BL.
Telephone: 01296 382415. Visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thames-path.
MADDIE?S WORLD 13
We?re just about to
start decorating
the spare bedroom
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
A
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
T the moment,
our house is a
bigger tip than
usual.
The kitchen, hall
and living-room are full of
furniture which is usually in
our dining-room. And
upstairs there is stuff all
over the landing.
The reason for this mess
is that we were just about
to start decorating the
spare bedroom when we
had a call from our village
painter, Michelangelo, to
say he unexpectedly had
some time on his hands.
Did we want him to paint
our dining-room?
We jumped at the offer
because Michelangelo is
usually booked up months
in advance. If we got him
in, and Mr Grigg did a bit
of labouring for him, it
would be another job to
tick off the long list of
maintenance tasks
associated with an old
property.
Yes, it meant the house
would be in a bit of a state
for a few days, but we
could cope with that, even
though we?re due a visit
from the grandchildren this
weekend.
So we put the upstairs
bedroom project in
abeyance, but not before
we finally did something
I?ve been longing to do ever
since we moved into Lush
Places 17 years ago.
?If you don?t do it, I?m
going to take a
sledgehammer to it,? I told
Mr Grigg.
There?s no way I would
have done that, but if he
thought I was likely to take
matters into my own hands
then he?d get on with it.
He stripped off the
woodchip paper under the
mantelpiece to reveal a
piece of plywood which had
been attached to the wall.
He prised it open and ? tada! ? guess what he found?
It was a beautiful little
Victorian fireplace,
complete with surround
and grate. I was thrilled.
We knew there was a
fireplace there because a
mantelpiece had always
jutted out from the wall,
but we didn?t think it would
be intact.
?It?s gorgeous,? I said,
enthusing about this find.
Over the years, we?d
already discovered two
hidden fireplaces in our
cottage, flagstones under
the carpet and lovely wood
panelling.
?We won?t be able to use
it,? Mr Grigg said,
incorrectly reading the
delighted look on my face.
?I know that,? I said. ?But
what a great decorative
feature it?ll make. And
maybe we can sand down
the floorboards, too. And
we can get an old brass
bedstead.?
His face paled at the
thought of more work and
all that dust.
?But there are some
screws in the floorboards
from when the plumber did
A beautiful
Victorian fireplace.
the central heating!? he
wailed. ?We?ll have to deal
with all of that.?
The jury is out at the
moment on whether the
floorboards will be restored
to their natural glory, but
even the oldest grandchild
is with me on this one.
?They?d look nice,
Granny,? she said as Mr
Grigg and I stood in the
doorway and stared
downwards.
?You don?t think it might
make the room feel a bit
bare??
?You could always put a
nice rug in the middle of
the floor,? she said.
Such wisdom from
someone not yet thirteen.
Pondering the spare
room?s future direction, Mr
Grigg and I decided to have
a break before
Michelangelo arrived.
We went out for the
morning to Thomas Hardy?s
birthplace on the outskirts
of Dorchester. We?ve got
National Trust membership
and need to make the most
of it before it runs out.
I?d been to this cottage
before, when I was in the
sixth form and studying
Dorset?s most famous
writer, but Mr Grigg had
never been.
It?s a delightful thatched
cottage on the edge of the
woods. The two of us were
smitten by it even before
we walked in through the
front door.
And upstairs, in Mr and
Mrs Hardy senior?s
bedroom, with its exposed
floorboards and brass
bedstead, was a fireplace,
just like the one we?ve
found.
I think we?re going to
paint ours white, like
theirs. The job list just
keeps on growing. n
The
Talismen
They came to
every concert,
yet she didn?t
even know their
names!
Illustration by iStock.
T
HERE was a brief
smattering of polite
applause.
?Martin Connery,
ladies and gents,?
the MC said with forced
enthusiasm as the singer
lumbered off.
?Won?t get much change
out of this lot,? Martin
grunted to Faith as she
waited nervously in the
narrow passage that the
management of the Hoop
and Grapes insisted on
calling the wings.
She gripped her guitar
tight, growing more and
more on edge. It never got
any easier.
At last, she heard the
whine of the microphone as
the MC breathed heavily
into it.
?And now, ladies and
gents, put your hands
together for our very own
Queen of the Ballads, the
beautiful Faith Brannan!?
The guy who worked the
spot had got it slightly
wrong, as usual. Faith was
almost blinded as she
walked out, a wide smile
belying her nerves.
She found her way to the
stool in the centre and
settled herself.
The audience was
invisible behind the glare
and, for a moment, she felt
a flash of panic.
Suppose the Talismen
weren?t here? Then the
spotlight shifted fractionally
and she could see the faces
looking back at her.
She spotted Tom first. A
fraction of a second later
Dick was handing him one
of three dripping pint
glasses. So Harry must be
here, too.
Her nerves quietened.
She felt the familiar ridges
under her fingers, swept
her plectrum gently over
the strings and began.
Tom, Dick and Harry. She
hadn?t a clue what their
real names were. They?d
been there at her very first
gig, when she was so
nervous she was shaking.
Tom?s twinkling smile had
been something to focus
on, Dick?s unrestrained
clapping had given her
confidence and Harry . . .
well, Harry had scarcely
taken his eyes off her.
Faith thought Tom would
be somewhere in his early
sixties, Dick and Harry not
much older than herself.
They turned up every time
she played and she was
sure they brought her luck.
Her Talismen.
She should have gone
round to the front after her
set and spoken to them.
Found out their real names.
But, somehow, that would
break the spell.
The applause was
definitely warmer for her
than it had been for Martin
Connery.
Perhaps that was
because the Talismen were
clapping so loudly, or there
were more Folk fans in
tonight than Country and
Western. Faith could do
both, but her heart was
given to the traditional
tunes that people had sung
for generations.
Her nerves reached fever
pitch when she approached
the mid-point of her set.
Would this audience
appreciate something new
SHORT STORY BY VALERIE BOWES 15
or should she stick to the
tried and tested?
Her eyes met Harry?s and
he gave her a smile and a
nod. She felt a surge of
confidence.
?And now, I?d like to sing
you a song of my own. It?s
based on one of our local
legends and it?s called ?Lord
Roland And The Deer?. I
hope you like it.?
They did like it. Dick had
his fingers in his mouth,
whistling, Tom was
beaming and Harry gave
her a double thumbs-up.
She?d speak to them
tonight, she promised
herself as she struck the
opening chords of the next
song, and thank them for
their support.
She was putting her
guitar away when someone
came into the grotty little
space which was the
dressing-room.
?Faith Brannan??
?Yes,? she said, looking
up.
?Could I have a word??
The small man holding
out his hand was one of the
agents she hadn?t dared
approach until she?d got a
few more performances
under her belt.
Her stomach did a
back-flip.
It was some time before
Faith emerged from the
dressing-room, her mind in
a whirl. The Talismen had
left already.
And she?d really wanted
to speak to them tonight.
* * * *
The stage looked the size
of a football pitch and the
auditorium was a dark
cavern.
Faith settled herself on
her stool, concentrating on
keeping the guitar still on
her trembling knees.
What seemed like
hundreds of eyes stared
back. What did it matter if
she couldn?t see one
particular pair?
Tom, Dick and Harry had
probably only been at all
her performances because
they went to that particular
pub. It was too much to
hope they?d follow her to
this new, bigger venue.
But if she?d ever needed
her Talismen, it was now.
She struck the opening
notes. There was a ripple of
anticipatory pleasure from
the watchers and, right at
the end of a row, Tom was
beaming at her.
They were here!
Confidence returned to
her fingers and, by the end
of her set, she knew she?d
never sung better.
As she took her bow to
generous applause,
she looked at the row
16
where she?d seen Tom.
He was standing in the
aisle and Dick was peering
over his shoulder.
She couldn?t see Harry,
but perhaps they hadn?t
been able to get three
seats together. The theatre
was gratifyingly full.
She was surprised and
pleased that some people
were at the stage door to
congratulate her, but Tom,
Dick and Harry weren?t
among them. Oh, well.
Perhaps they?d be there
next time.
She knew she was on the
road to stardom when she
found the audience
humming along whenever
she sang certain songs.
She didn?t need the
Talismen any more, she
told herself after yet
another fruitless scanning
of the faces in the seats.
Once, she thought she
saw Tom, and several times
the sound of whistling
mingled with the applause.
But she never saw Harry
and she was stunned by
the depths of her
disappointment.
She missed them, and
she?d never thanked them.
* * * *
One evening she made
her way to the Hoop and
Grapes. If the Talismen
were there, she could
repair her omission and let
them know just how much
they?d helped her.
The pub was busy,
although there was no
performance tonight. Faith
sat nursing a drink, hoping
to see the three men come
in for their usual pint.
But they didn?t.
?Pity you didn?t bring
your guitar,? the bartender
said as he pulled another
frothing ale. ?You could
have given an impromptu
performance, like.
Remember your roots, now
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
magazine
you?ve hit the big time.?
?Hardly the big time.?
Faith laughed. ?And if I
ever get that big-headed
you have my full permission
to boo! If it wasn?t for you
all here . . .?
She looked round at the
roomful of people.
?Do those three guys
come in these days? Used
to be always here. Older
one and two younger.
Could be father and sons??
The barman handed over
the pint to the customer
and turned to her, his grin
sliding from his face.
?Frank and his lads?
Nephews, not sons. You
haven?t heard, then? About
the accident??
Faith?s heart began to
beat quicker.
?What accident??
?Some idiot three times
over the limit crashed into
their car. Totalled it.?
?And them??
Faith could barely get the
words out. Not her
Talismen! They brought her
good luck; hadn?t they
saved any for themselves?
?Last I heard, they were
in hospital.?
She relaxed a little.
?When did it happen??
?Beginning of May, I
think. Yes, mate?? He
served another customer.
Faith set her wineglass
down and slid off the stool.
She tried to think back as
she drove home. She?d had
her first gig at the new
venue at the start of May.
Both Tom and Dick had
been there, though she
hadn?t seen Harry. So it
must have happened after
that. Maybe Tom and Dick
had been discharged from
hospital.
Suppose she hadn?t seen
Harry because he was more
badly injured? Or even
dead!
If only she?d gone round
to see them when they
were at the Hoop and
Grapes. Now, she didn?t
know what to do.
The next time she saw
any of them at the theatre,
she wouldn?t mess about.
Even if it was just Tom or
Dick there, she?d go and
talk to them and ask about
Harry.
* * * *
As she settled herself on
her stool, Faith scanned
the audience eagerly.
She had to fight
disappointment when she
didn?t spot any of the
Talismen as she played, but
as she took her bow she
heard Dick?s piercing
whistle.
She shaded her eyes and
stared across the rows of
faces as they faded into the
dimness of the auditorium.
She didn?t see Tom, or
Dick. She saw Harry. He
was so pale, he could have
been a ghost.
She ducked a last hasty
bow, shot off-stage and
hurried round to the front
of the theatre to tip-toe
down the aisle to the seat
where she?d seen him.
It was empty.
Quietly, so as not to
disturb the next act, she
hurried back up the aisle to
the foyer.
?Did anyone come out
just now?? she asked the
front-of-house girl.
?Guy with a walkingstick? Just left.?
Faith sagged with relief,
then pushed through the
doors into the street. A
man was limping down the
pavement and she ran to
catch him up.
?Harry!? She called the
name automatically.
He turned.
?Yes??
?Oh!? It suddenly
occurred to Faith what
she?d done. ?Your name
really is Harry??
To guarantee you receive each issue
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Some newsagents may even offer
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Simply complete this form and hand
it to your local newsagent.
He smiled.
?Yes. And you?re Faith
Brannan. Frank, Denny and
I have been fans of yours
since you started at the
Hoop. I?m sorry we didn?t
make it to your first
performance here.?
He indicated the walkingstick with a rueful grimace.
?Unavoidably detained,
I?m afraid.?
?I?m so glad to see you,?
she said. ?I was afraid . . .?
She looked around,
wondering why Frank and
Denny hadn?t come out
with him.
?But they?ll have told you
how it went??
?Who??
?Frank and Denny. I saw
them, but I couldn?t see
you and then I heard you?d
had a car crash.?
He looked at her, his face
seeming to go even paler.
?You saw Frank and
Denny that night?? he
asked quietly.
?Yes,? she said,
bewildered. ?And tonight I
heard Denny whistling,
then I saw you.?
He reached out and took
her hand, his eyes puzzled
but holding the same glow
that she?d drawn strength
from every time she sang.
?Faith, we were on our
way to the theatre when
the crash happened. Frank
and Denny died in the
hospital.?
A stab of sorrow shot
through her. But Harry?s
hand was wrapped around
hers and that helped.
A new career. A new
beginning.
What more could a girl
ask?
Harry didn?t seem to
want to let go of her hand,
and she thought that
perhaps now was her time
to help him.
She wanted to walk into
a future with him beside
her.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 ....................................................................................................
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wellbeing
18
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy
Q. My mother is considering moving into a care home,
and I?d like to know if she would be able to take her
pet with her.
Andy Seal,
Anchor?s
Service
Delivery
Consultant, is
here to help.
Most pet-owners would agree that
their animal is like one of the family. As
we age many people worry they will
have to give up their pets, particularly if
they live in a care home.
Anchor, like some other homes
In The News
Pioneering Eye Trial
Doctors have unveiled a pioneering
new treatment for the eye condition
age-related macular degeneration
(AMD) which affects 600,000
people in the UK, leaving them able
to see little more than a blur.
The technique involves surgically
inserting a ?patch? of stem cells into
the eye to gradually repair damage
to the retina. There are two types of
AMD ? wet and dry ? and although
there is no treatment for the dry
form, two patients with the wet form
found their sight was restored as a
result of the trial.
The hope is that this treatment
could be available on the NHS within
five years.
around the country, encourage people
to bring their pets with them once an
assessment ensures there would be
limited impact on other residents
already living there.
The transition from home to care
home can be stressful, so a pet policy
enables residents to reduce that stress.
Studies have shown that residents are
healthier and happier when they
interact with pets, especially if it?s a pet
they have owned for years.
Having pets in our homes is also a
good way for carers to initiate
conversations with residents,
particularly those with dementia.
Be Vigilant
Breast cancer is more
common ? but more
effectively treatable ?
than ever before, and
your chance of full
recovery soars the
sooner any problem is
picked up. So be vigilant
and make time for
regular self-checks:
l When you get out of
the shower, stand briefly
in front of a mirror with
your hands on your hips
and look for any changes
in shape, colour or size,
any swelling or dimpling
of the skin, changes to
your nipple (such as
inversion) or any leaking
fluid
l Slouch your shoulders
iStock.
forwards and check again
l Put your hands above
your head and check
again.
Health Bite
The yoghurt aisle of any large
supermarket will be bursting with
options, all claiming to enhance your
health, but Skyr is a yoghurt type
worth trying.
This traditional dairy product from
Iceland is comparable in texture and
nutrition to Greek yoghurt but
contains more protein and fewer
calories. It is made by putting
skimmed milk through multiple
straining processes with biocultures
in a process that uses four times
more milk than regular yoghurt. So
although it remains virtually fat-free
(0.2g of fat per 100g), Skyr ends up
thicker, creamier and higher in
protein than any other yoghurt. A
100g portion is around 65 calories,
but contains 11g of protein ?
equivalent to half a chicken breast.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
HEALTH 19
Brush Up On
Dental Hygiene
Epilepsy At Any Age
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
Shannon, has
some facts
that may
surprise you.
We are coming up to National
Epilepsy Week, which runs from May
15 to 21, and it?s a good time to
learn more about this condition.
Epilepsy is not widely understood or
talked about, so people who have it
can become quite isolated. This is
unfortunate because there is so much
we can all do to help, and specialist
support is freely available, too.
To separate the myths from the
facts, I got in touch with Shelley
Wagstaff, Advice and Information
Services Manager at the charity
Epilepsy Action.
She told me that one in 100 people
have epilepsy, making it one of the
most common serious conditions
affecting the brain and nervous
system.
There is a misconception that
epilepsy is something you?re always
born with, and it is indeed often seen
in children. But it can appear at any
age, and one in four people newly
diagnosed with epilepsy is over
sixty-five.
For half of people in this group,
there is no obvious cause. For others,
epilepsy can be the result of various
medical conditions, such as having a
stroke.
Epilepsy does not always mean
losing consciousness, falling to the
floor and having convulsions (fits).
This does happen to some people and
it?s called a tonic-clonic seizure.
However, people who develop
epilepsy after the age of sixty do not
Chat
groups
can offer
support
usually have this type of seizure.
They are more likely to experience
focal seizures, which can be hard to
recognise and may take some time to
diagnose. A focal seizure might cause
symptoms such as confusion or
memory problems. Sometimes,
people who are having a focal seizure
experience a strange taste, or they
smell something that isn?t there.
There are many other seizure types,
depending on what part of the brain
is affected.
And when it comes to daily life,
epilepsy can affect individuals in
different ways.
People with epilepsy may not be
able to drive for a period of time.
Many worry about the effect on their
work, or about what will happen if
they have a seizure while they?re out
and about.
It might mean changing things
they?ve long taken for granted, like
having a bath when at home alone.
Extra support might be needed from
friends and family, whether it?s to stay
safe during a seizure or just doing
day-to-day tasks. It can all lead to
lonely and anxious feelings.
Fortunately, you can talk to
someone who understands and get
lots of free advice and help, if you
know where to look.
Epilepsy Action offers an online
course that teaches people skills to
manage their condition. People who
have taken part in the course feel
better, in control, and more confident.
They also feel less alone.
In addition, the charity offers
information on its website, help from
a telephone and e-mail helpline, and
local coffee and chat groups. To find
out more visit epilepsy.org.uk or call
the freephone Epilepsy Action
Helpline on 0808 800 5050. They
are there to help you and your family
when you need it most. n
Dentists increasingly argue
that electric toothbrushes are a
more effective way of clearing
harmful and damaging bacteria
from your teeth, because they
ensure you use precisely the
right cleaning action for
precisely the right
amount of time
morning and night.
Dr Mark Hughes of
the Harley Street
Dental Studio says
electric brushes are
particularly useful as
we get older and he
recommends the
brand FOREO
because it uses
?sonic? pulses which
help to dislodge
stubborn plaque, and
unlike many brushes,
a one-hour charge will
keep it going for
seven months.
FOREO ISSA2 is
�9 from John Lewis.
Airborne Germs
When you?re booking the
flights for your summer holiday
this year, consider opting for a
window seat on the plane.
A study from Emory University
in Atlanta has found if you sit
within two seats (or one row
ahead or behind) someone with
a cold or flu you have an 80%
chance of getting it (compared
to a 3% chance if you sit further
away).
An aisle seat is the worst,
potentially exposing you to
people on both sides as well as
anyone walking past. Pre-book
your window seat and reduce
your risks.
Pick your
seat wisely.
7 Easy Ways
HEALTH 21
To Improve
ASTHMA
3
4
5
1
Have a pre-holiday
health check
Arrange to see your GP or asthma
nurse before your summer holiday
to ensure your personal asthma
action plan is up to date. Pack spare
inhalers in case of loss or theft, and
take a print-out of your regular
prescriptions (including the generic
name of any medication) in case you
need to replace it overseas.
iStock.
2
Wash your bedding
Use dust-mite covers on mattresses and pillows
to prevent these microscopic creatures (or their
droppings) from triggering an allergic reaction.
Vacuum regularly and wash bedding (even
duvets) at intervals on a hot 60-degree cycle.
Consider investing in allergy-free bedding or
pillows, duvets and mattress covers topped with
real wool (from www.thewoolroom.com) which
are naturally hypoallergenic.
6
7
Stay fit
Many top sports stars (such as Paula
Radcliffe, Jo Pavey and David
Beckham) have asthma, and the
condition should never stop you
exercising. In fact, as long as your
symptoms are under control, exercise
can help by giving your lungs a
regular workout, which can cut your
risk of asthma-related problems.
Clear the air
According to Dr Rob Hicks, author of
?Beat Your Allergies?, investing in an
air purifier (such as Vax AP01 Air
Purifier, �.99, www.vax.co.uk) may
help reduce the risk of an asthma
attack by removing airborne particles,
such as dust, pet dander and pollen,
therefore reducing your contact with
indoor allergens.
Low-asthma gardening
Asthma UK recommends those with
pollen sensitivities aim to cultivate
foxgloves, honeysuckle, lavender,
jasmine, sweet William and dahlias
because their pollen is hidden inside the
petals, and to avoid tending to
ornamental grasses and trees or shrubs
with catkins when possible, because
these throw off large amounts of pollen.
Eat more carrots
The beta-carotene in carrots helps
support the health of respiratory tract
membranes that line the airways and
lungs, and is absorbed more easily
from food than supplements, so snack
on carrot sticks or drink Biotta Carrot
Juice (�99, 500ml from health
stores or www.avogel.co.uk).
Manage your hay fever
Research shows that keeping on top of hayfever can
reduce the risk of your asthma getting out of hand, so
talk to your pharmacist about using nasal sprays,
non-drowsy anti-histamines or anti-inflammatory
eye-drops if you don?t already use them. Tying up your
hair under a hat and wearing wrap-around sunglasses
when you are outside during the summer will reduce
your exposure to potential allergens and reduce your
risk of an asthma-triggering reaction.
Always
Adamant
Once, Tanya had
been sure about
everything ?
when had that
changed?
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
I
SEE you?ve pencilled in
to take this Saturday
off,? Tanya?s colleague
said as she waited for a
client?s perm to take.
?Yes, that?s right.?
?Do you have plans??
?Not exactly.?
Tanya?s husband had
dropped a bombshell which
she needed to discuss with
him, but she hadn?t yet
worked out precisely how,
or when, to tackle that.
?It?s just that I?ve been
offered the chance of an
adventure weekend in the
Lake District!?
The younger woman
raved about visiting an
area she?d never been to
before and how much she
enjoyed water sports.
Before Tanya realised
what was happening, she?d
been talked out of her
Saturday off ? her own
fault for being indecisive.
The cancelled day off did
help with planning their
conversation, though. It
would have to be Sunday
after their children had
been and gone.
As Tanya rinsed the
client?s hair, she let her
mind wander in the hope it
would settle on an answer.
A few days ago she?d
seen Paul reading an old
letter. Like her, he was
turning fifty and clearly
thinking back to his youth.
He?d rummaged through
the loft and shown her
mementos of the early days
of their relationship and his
childhood.
She?d dug out her old
diaries and found the one
from 1981.
She hadn?t written much
on each page, because she
hadn?t needed to. No
teenage angst for Tanya.
She used to be so sure
about everything back
then. Not always right, but
absolutely sure.
Hers would be a life full
of travel, adventure and
fun. Nothing ordinary.
For a while she?d been in
love with Adam Ant. She?d
liked other stars, but she?d
thought she?d for ever be
Goody Two Shoes to
Adam?s Prince Charming,
even though she?d known a
relationship between them
could never work.
That didn?t matter,
though, because Paul was
in her English class.
The teacher got them to
try putting forward
arguments for causes they
didn?t believe in. Tanya
couldn?t remember why or
what he?d discussed, but
she did remember a
classmate saying, ?Are you
sure??
?Yes,? Paul had replied
confidently. ?I?m adamant.?
She?d thought he was
claiming to be Adam Ant.
Until then she?d taken very
little notice of Paul.
She soon saw he was
funny, kind and shared her
adventurous spirit. It took
little effort to persuade him
to ask her out.
* * * *
Once Tanya made up her
mind she wanted
something, she worked
hard to achieve her aim
and generally got there.
She?d persuaded
someone to take her on for
the job she wanted in the
hairdressing salon and
SHORT STORY BY PATSY COLLINS 23
train her to do it.
She?d had the wedding
and the children and the
house. They?d needed to
work long hours, and the
children had attended
after-school clubs,
Brownies and Scouts.
The children were happy
and confident and now led
independent, full lives. The
mortgage was paid off on
their nice little house in a
pleasant area.
She still had her job, and
her marriage, but there
was something missing. It
was all very ordinary.
That wasn?t the problem.
She?d grown up since she
was fourteen. There was
nothing wrong with
ordinary, if that was what
she now wanted. The
trouble was, she didn?t
know.
That certainty had left
her even before she
realised her husband
wasn?t satisfied with things
as they were.
Her ordinary, safe home
and slightly dull routine
might not be what she
wanted, but she wasn?t
sure she cared to give them
up.
Nor did she want to lose
her husband, but if he was
unwilling to stay she didn?t
have a choice.
Her client was delighted
with the finished hairstyle
and tipped generously.
?And thanks for letting
me talk through my
problems. It?s helped.?
Tanya had merely
encouraged the woman to
express her concerns as
her new curls were blowdried. She hadn?t even
really listened.
Perhaps seeing the
answer was as simple as
clearly seeing the problem.
* * * *
After work Tanya dug out
more diaries. In one she?d
written page after page
about the exciting things
she and Paul would do.
Their plan had been to
earn some money, then
backpack around the
world. In the entries she
sounded like her colleague
had, when she?d managed
to wangle the day off
simply by being so clear
about wanting it.
According to another
diary, Tanya had been in
love with a boy called
Jeremy whom she couldn?t
remember, Tim whom she
could, and Jed who was
best forgotten.
She?d been decisive, all
right ? until the moment
she altered course.
Some things had stayed
with her, including her
liking for Adam Ant?s
music. Which she
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SERIES BY DELLA GALTON: PART 6 OF 30 25
could hear now!
She?d been so
engrossed she hadn?t
noticed her husband come
home and put the stereo
on.
He gave her a glass of
wine.
?Trying to soften me up??
she asked.
?No, I want us to talk. I
don?t think I explained
myself very well. I?ve been
thinking about turning fifty
and I read some old letters,
but this isn?t a sudden
whim or midlife crisis.?
?I know,? Tanya said.
?Do you??
?Yes, you?ve been feeling
a bit unsettled for a long
time. Unsure, indecisive,
not knowing if you?re doing
the right thing.?
?How did ? you, too??
?Yes, Paul. But I?m not
the girl who wrote you
those letters about the
travelling we?d do, the
adventures we?d have.?
?You are.?
Was he right?
?Well, maybe a bit, but
not just her. I?m sensible
now. I see the advantages
of a proper home and
guaranteed income. There?s
the children to consider.
We can?t just sell up and
backpack around the world
for the rest of our lives.?
?You?re right, we can?t.?
Tanya blinked. He was
going to do it without her?
?I?m not talking about
selling up. I thought we?d
let out the house, take a
sabbatical from work and
get a campervan. Tour
Europe for a year.?
?Oh!?
Tanya?s first reaction was
a decisive gut instinct.
Once, that would have
been enough, but she
forced herself to think
carefully first.
She?d miss the children
and wasn?t overly keen on
having strangers living in
her house.
But the internet would
keep her family in touch,
they could redecorate and
she?d be welcomed back at
work.
More importantly, they?d
have the adventure they?d
always wanted, together.
?Let?s do it,? Tanya said.
?Are you sure??
?Yes,? she said. ?I?m
adamant.?n
Busy
Bees
Things don?t work out quite as
planned for Elizabeth!
M
UM?S agreed to
hold off on the
council protest,?
Helena told Peter over
their nightly hot chocolate.
?She?s dropped the ?Save
Our Allotments? petition
that she started online.?
?Thank heavens.?
?Under one condition.?
He looked up in alarm
and Helena smiled.
?Don?t worry, it?s nothing
awful. She wants to invite
us all to hers for supper.?
?All?? Peter asked warily.
?Us and the girls. I think
she?s invited her friend,
Rita, too, Arthur Matlock,
and possibly a couple more
folk from the allotments.?
?It sounds like a huge
social event.? He frowned.
?I?m not a big fan of huge
social events, as you know.?
?It?s nothing formal. Fish
and chips in a basket.?
She knew full well he
wouldn?t be able to resist
his favourite meal.
Peter straightened.
?Never let it be said that
I don?t join in. When is it??
?Tomorrow night.
Apparently it?s
International Nurses? Day.
Or something.?
?Of course it is.?
Helena suppressed a
smile. She wondered what
her mother was planning.
International Nurses? Day
would have nothing
whatsoever to do with it.
* * * *
Elizabeth was in her
element. Organising was
one of her strengths.
It came from her days at
the water company.
?An excellent facilitator?
was how her boss had
described her. It meant she
was good at getting people
to do what she wanted.
And the best way to do
that was to make them
think it had been their idea
in the first place.
Hence Rita was bringing
two of her strawberry
mousses. Arthur was
providing some extra
chairs and a table, as there
would be 10 of them, and
granddaughters Bethany
and Suzy were picking up
the fish and chips.
She?d hardly done
anything. Even Josh, Rita?s
grandson and Suzy?s plus
one, agreed to get drinks
from the supermarket.
?It can be my
contribution,? he?d said.
?I shall pay for them,? she
told him, mindful that he
was at college and broke.
Elizabeth had two main
aims for the evening.
Number one was to get
Arthur Matlock and Rita to
notice each other. She?d
asked them to come early
and they were busy setting
things up in her kitchen.
Number two was a
surprise to all of the
attendees except Onelegged Mick, who was a
whizz when it came to
laptops and the internet
and had helped her with
the technical side.
She was in the lounge
watching him when a shout
came from the kitchen.
?Daft mare! Mind where
you put that table leg.?
?It?s not you who?s
walking backwards,? came
Rita?s indignant reply.
She and Arthur were
certainly noticing each
other, but not in the way
Elizabeth had hoped. She
went to smooth things
over.
They both glared at her.
The doorbell rang and
Elizabeth escaped.
Half an hour later the
party was in full swing.
Suzy and Josh were holding
hands. Mick was in
conversation with her
son-in-law, Peter.
Helena and Bethany were
feeding someone?s Jack
Russell terrier ? she
thought her next-door
neighbour had brought it
? left-over chips.
Arthur and Rita ignored
each other.
?We will now adjourn to
the lounge to watch a short
video,? Elizabeth
announced. ?Follow Mick.?
Elizabeth dimmed the
lights and the title of the
short film appeared.
Allotments Are Fun.
Everyone groaned, but
good-naturedly. In fact,
Elizabeth was just thinking
it was all going rather well
when there was a crash
from the kitchen.
She hurried out. The dog,
who had been left
unsupervised, was standing
on the kitchen table, licking
its chops, which were
mysteriously pink-tinted.
The crash had been one
of Rita?s strawberry mousse
bowls hitting the floor,
where it now lay in two
halves. Pink mousse
splattered the immediate
vicinity as well as quite a
lot of the not so immediate
vicinity.
How could one little Jack
Russell make so much mess
in five minutes?
Elizabeth saw that her
daughter had followed her
out. Helena took in the
chaos and patted her
mother?s shoulder.
?Good job we have
several professional
cleaners on the premises,
isn?t it?? she said with a
smile. ?I think I?ll catch up
with that video later, Mum!?
More next week.
Brainteasers
Missing Link
CRITICAL
MARKET
BOTTLE
CARD
ANSWER
DOOR
SOCIAL
ETHIC
CHAIN
VAN
COLD
DRAGON
DESK
SUM
TRUE
AFFAIR
HARD
BOOK
BUBBLE
SALTS
1
2
D J U
9
4
S C E C
L E G A D
S H A L
R
E E
E N A E D
R H
E
A S
I
S
P
7
I UGG I NG D I C
A
O
F
I
H
R
C A L L Y
T
I A P R
10
G C T E R
P T R
I
I
I
N A T E C E D R R A
ACROSS
1 Referee
3 Orange?coloured fruit of the plum
family ? Encouraged, brought about
5 Casual attitude
7 Put up ? Boat race meeting
5
6
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
4 (Of a wound)
infected with
bacteria (6)
5 Short, high?pitched
sound (4)
6 Substance in its
simplest form (7)
7 Keep locked up (11)
8 Large mansion (7,4)
3
A A
C
N F E E
G T
R
4
8
2
E
E R E I
A N C S
M
I C O
I
S E D L
3
7
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
1
E
B A
S
I G
T I C N
ACROSS
1 Plato or
Aristotle,
eg (11)
9 Affectionate
name for
grandma (3)
10 Reliant (9)
11 Sporty (8)
12 Trial (4)
14 Herb of
the onion
family (6)
16 Soft shade (6)
18 Large frilly
collar (4)
19 Cover for
an ocular
injury (8)
22 Land (9)
23 Little ___,
lettuce
variety (3)
24 Focus
attention
(on) (11)
DOWN
2 Instinctive
notion (5)
3 Ruined
(stockings) (8)
A T O
U
O
T T A
T
R ON C V E R
D I N
N
N D U
S
M I A
N
N
E
S
Answers
on p87
Try our quick crossword
Fit ten words into the
grid so each one connects
up with the words on
either side eg - wishing well - done. Read down
the letters in the shaded
squares to spell out a
word.
Pieceword
PUZZLES 27
5
Sudoku
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
9
6
8
9
11
2
12
13
7
14
15
9 Calmed, medically ? Deficiency of
red blood cells
11 Giving too much to eat
13 Jewelled staff, part of the royal
regalia ? Needling
15 In an unpredictable way
13 Anyone subject to
state levies (8)
15 Conflagration (7)
17 Powerful
businessman (6)
20 Securely
fastened (5)
21 Constituent of
brass (4)
7 8
5 1 9
9 6
6
8
4
7
2
4
5
9
4 7
5 8 4
8 3
6
2
8
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
www.puzzler.com
ROYALS 29
Ian Lloyd looks ahead to
the wedding of the year.
Heaven
O
N May 19 the
eyes of the world
will be firmly
fixed on Windsor,
eager to see the
wedding of the year.
The ever-popular Prince
Harry, who has been
desperate to follow William
and Kate to the altar, will tie
the knot with his ravenhaired bride, Meghan
Markle. Thousands are
expected to turn out to see
the couple on their carriagedrive through the town, and
millions more will be glued to
the live coverage of the day.
Harry has always been a
crowd pleaser. William was
the shy, sensitive one, while
Harry was the mischievous
one, who would nip out from
their home in Kensington
Palace and run off alone into
the nearby high street ? to
the horror of his protection
officers.
Like his brother, he learned
valuable lessons from both
parents. Diana taught them
to be as ?normal? as it was
possible for two princes to be.
They watched the latest
blockbusters at the local
cinema and had burgers at
McDonalds.
She showered them in hugs,
which is why Harry in
particular is so relaxed when
he meets people and finds it
so easy to glad-hand his way
through the royal walkabouts.
Harry has said many times
he wants to continue the work
his mother started. In 2006,
aged twenty-two, he founded
Sentebale, a charity for
Rex Features.
Harry and Meghan seem
the perfect couple.
vulnerable children of
Lesotho and Botswana, which
helps children affected by
HIV/AIDS ? a cause Diana
famously championed.
He also followed in his
mother?s footsteps by visiting
Angola to see the work being
carried out by HALO Trust,
which campaigns against
landmines.
Together with William and
Kate, Harry founded Heads
Together to help combat the
stigma surrounding mental
health.
In a moving interview Harry
admitted that he had come
?very close to a nervous
breakdown on several
occasions? as he tried to
come to terms with the death
of his mother, and that he
had ?shut down all emotions?
over the past 20 years.
In the end William
suggested he tried
counselling, and he also took
up boxing. Such admissions
are sure to help those from
all backgrounds who are
struggling with grief and its
effects. It is a world away
from the traditional royal
reluctance to comment on
personal feelings in public.
Perhaps Harry?s greatest
achievement has been the
founding of the Invictus
Games, the Paralympic-style
PA Images.
A Match Made In
sporting event for injured
servicemen and women,
which has done so much to
motivate those who compete.
Harry has carved a
successful role for himself in
his charity work and this helps
explain the strength of his
relationship with Meghan.
They met in June 2016 on
a blind date, and what
captivated him was her own
commitment to good causes.
She became a global
ambassador for World Vision
Canada, travelling to Rwanda
for the Clean Water Campaign
to provide clean drinking
water. She has also travelled
to India to raise awareness of
issues concerning women.
This strong bond would
have made Diana proud. As
Harry said of his mother,
?They?d be thick as thieves,
without question. I think she
would be over the moon.?
Not since Grace Kelly
married Prince Rainier of
Monaco have we had such a
famous union between an
American actress and a
handsome prince.
Meghan may have left the
small screen for good, but she
and Harry are about to take
on a joint role as goodwill
ambassadors on the world?s
stage, as well as partners in
life and love. n
30
Set in
the
1870s
About The
Hollow Ground
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
The Story So Far
NAN VESSEY
inherited Cross Lanes
Farm after her father?s
death. The farm, due
to poor judgement and
bad harvests, has
become very run down,
and Nan resolves to
get it back on its feet.
CHARLOTTE is Nan?s
cousin on her father?s
side. Her father fell
out with Nan?s father
before he died, and
Charlotte visits Nan
without her parents?
knowledge.
Nan employs MERCY
DALE, an illegitimate
child of the daughter of
the local smith, as
general maid to help in
the house now she is
without household
staff.
PIERS MERRIMAN
turns up at the farm
looking for work, and
Nan takes him on to
work with her two
farmhands, LOGAN
BRASSEY and shepherd
NOAH SKELLAND,
while living in a tied
cottage on her land.
After employing
Piers, Nan wonders
what this mysterious
stranger?s story could
be . . .
What reason could Edwin
and Daniel Harrison have
for visiting Nan?
N
AN was pensive
as she left the
house to give
Piers Merriman
a tour of
inspection of Cross Lanes?s
acres.
Yesterday, it was to the
man?s credit that he had
not baulked at the
condition of the cottage
she had offered with the
occupation, but merely
eyed the leaking roof and
rotting timbers with the
same steadily assessing
look he had awarded the
ramshackle yard and
unyielding home fields,
before pronouncing it well
enough.
Today it was a raw wind
that swept across the
fields, threatening rain.
Hoping her confidence in
the new man would not go
unrewarded, Nan drew her
shawl over her head and
quickened her step.
Piers was waiting by the
SERIAL BY PAMELA KAVANAGH: PART 2 OF 8
tithe barn as arranged.
Freshly shaven and spruce,
he had clearly taken
trouble with his
appearance.
Piers nodded in greeting,
his cheekbones and the
tips of his ears reddening
in the blustery air.
?Morning, mistress. An
uncivil one, I fear.?
?Good morning,
Merriman. Yes, it is. We
had best make haste
before the rain starts in
earnest.?
It was hard going
tramping across the soggy
fields, and both were
mud-stained and gasping
when they reached the
sparsely cropping higher
region.
Here they paused to
catch their breath,
contemplating the farm
spread out below.
Piers kicked at a clump
of hillside gorse.
?These slopes should
never have been put down
to crops. The ground?s too
stony and shallow to
sustain proper growth. It
needs to be restored to
grass, as it likely once was.
A flock of sheep would
keep it tidy.?
?Sheep are costly,? Nan
replied. ?And the Cross
Lanes coffers cannot rise
to it.?
?What of that machinery
lying in the yard? Does it
ever get an airing??
?Not often. Why so??
?Maybe it?s time to cut
your losses, get rid of it
and put the proceeds into
something profitable, like
a dozen hardy Swaledales,?
Piers suggested.
?Yes, I take your point.
What about the lower
fields? We?ve always grown
our own grains, but never
in the quantity you see
here.?
?Likely this was a mixed
farm, given the type of
land it lies on. Forgive me,
mistress, but I take it your
late sire was responsible
for the change in farming
practice??
Nan nodded.
?Quite so,? she
confessed. ?Dear Papa. He
would indulge objectives
that carried a degree of
risk. We had a bailiff who
kept things in check. When
he left I fear Papa had the
upper hand.?
?It?s all redeemable. Do
you have horses on the
place??
?Working beasts? Yes,
we have two.? Nan didn?t
add that the rest had been
sold to pay the feed
merchant and other debts.
?And there?s Dandy, the
trap pony, and Minstrel,
Papa?s hunter.?
She paused, swallowing,
and continued in a low
voice.
?It was Minstrel that
Papa came to grief on.
?Papa went for his usual
morning ride and Minstrel
returned without him.?
?Your sire was fatally
injured in a fall?? Piers
asked.
?So it would appear,
yes.?
There was no mistaking
the trace of doubt in Nan?s
voice, and Piers looked at
her narrowly.
?A bad business. Could
he have been a victim of
attack? You never know
who?s about nowadays.
Thinking on, you don?t
always know who?s to be
trusted.?
Piers spoke harshly, as if
from bitter experience,
and Nan gave him a hard
look before replying.
?A deliberate attack? I
had been thinking along
the lines of Minstrel losing
his footing and Papa being
thrown, perhaps. That
could happen to the most
accomplished rider. But
anything else . . .?
She did not care to dwell
on it. The possibility of her
papa having been set
upon, maybe by ruffians
was more than she could
bear.
?Was anything missing
from his person??
?No, nothing . . . wait.
There was something. I
once gave him a gold
charm, a four-leaf clover.
Papa always carried it with
him. He had the jeweller in
town solder it on to the
chain of his pocket watch.?
?And??
?Well, when I was going
through Papa?s effects, the
watch and chain were
there, but the charm had
gone. Of course, it could
have come off in the fall.?
?Presumably you
searched the area where
he was found.?
Nan shook her head.
?There seemed little
point,? she replied. ?The
ground was saturated and
thick with dead leaves. It
would have been like
searching for a needle in a
haystack.?
There was a poignant
silence into which the wind
gusted, flinging a sudden
stinging shower of rain into
their faces.
?Seems we?re in for a
soaking,? Piers said with a
glance at the troubled
skies.
They retraced their steps
across the lower fields,
31
she knows little about??
Measured footsteps
alerted them to the return
of the new man.
Piers carried a bulky bag
of tools over his shoulder.
?Right, then, men. Best
we make a start on the
bottom fields and work
upwards to the top hedge,
if that?s agreeable to you.?
?What about the
hillside?? Brassey asked.
Piers looked at him, one
eyebrow raised in
question.
?What about it??
?Tes like this. The late
gaffer aimed to open up all
the fields into one girt area
?What?s the missus thinking of,
taking on a stranger??
where Piers stopped
briefly to examine a ditch
that was clogged with
weed and overflowing.
He was still stressing the
necessity of dealing first
and foremost with the
drainage when they
arrived back at the
farmyard, where the two
farm workers had arrived.
Nan briefly made the
introductions.
?Brassey and Shepherd
Skelland, this is Piers
Merriman. Anything you
need to know, Merriman,
the men will oblige.?
* * * *
?What do you make of
him?? Brassey asked
Shepherd Skelland,
choosing his moment when
Piers had returned to the
cottage to collect his
ditching tools.
?I dunno. He surely
knows what?s what on a
farm. Not local, is he??
?Sounds more down
country to me. Bit evasive
on that score, I?d say. Not
anxious to talk about his
past. Comes across as
being used to taking
charge.?
Shepherd Skelland
nodded.
?Aye. The same thought
occurred to me. I reckon
he?s had a prime job
somewhere ? so what?s he
doing leaving it for a lesser
position? There?s summat
not quite straight here.
What?s the missus thinking
of, taking on a stranger
of crops ? and that
included the hill slopes.?
?Aye, Miss Vessey said
as much. It?s not a
practical move to me. Hill
ground is good for sheep
and not much else.?
?You told the missus
that?? Shepherd Skelland
said in plain disbelief.
?I did. Perhaps give her
time to mull it over.
Meanwhile, there?s plenty
can be done about
reducing the water lying on
these lower levels.?
Piers shifted the bag of
tools to a more secure
position on his back and
set off.
The two men,
exchanging a glance,
collected some ditching
equipment from the depths
of the barn and grudgingly
went after him.
* * * *
Over the next weeks a
great deal of work was
done on the poorly drained
ground. Piers set the three
of them to clear out the
choked ditches and dig out
and repair the broken
sluices, a necessary
procedure before the
water could run freely
again.
One morning Brassey,
raking out a sluggish
watercourse, paused to
wipe the sweat from his
face and gave a grunt of
astonishment.
?Seems we?ve got
company.?
The mistress was
33
approaching along the
path, spade in hand,
clearly intending to help.
Piers looked downright
disapproving, while
Brassey gave a dry smile.
?Seen it all now, and no
mistake!?
?It?ll not last,? Shepherd
Skelland remarked dourly.
But it did last. Nan dug
and raked alongside them,
and a resounding cheer
went up when Piers
opened the restored
sluices and the water
gurgled rowdily through
the outlets once more.
The straggling hedges
came next. While Piers
attended to the cutting
back and layering, a skilled
job which he tackled with
went in for. Tes to be
auctioned off come
Saturday.?
?Well, I dunno. Sheep,
eh? Things is looking up,
Noah.?
?Let?s wait and see.?
Shepherd Skelland never
was one to presume. Action
spoke louder than words,
to his mind. ?If that load of
ironmongery sells and
makes a fair price, me and
Merriman are to attend the
market and make the
purchase. If there?s owt
worth bidding for, mind.?
?Aye, there is that. Still,
you may be lucky.? Brassey
rubbed his bearded chin
musingly. ?You?ll have
reason to think more kindly
towards Merriman, in
?I?m blessed if I?m waiting on two
such ungrateful miseries!?
obvious expertise, Brassey
forked the clippings on to
the cart which Nan then
drove to the orchard,
where Shepherd Skelland
had a bonfire going.
?Should be able to
plough afore long,?
Shepherd Skelland said as
he and Brassey put the
finishing touches to the
bonfire.
Brassey directed a nod
towards the heights.
?I?d say that?s already in
hand.?
On the slopes, Piers was
occupied with horses and
plough, churning the
reluctant crop of winter
wheat back into the
ground in preparation for
reseeding.
Nan, crossing the yard,
looked up, smiling. For the
first time in weeks there
was hope in her heart for
the future.
* * * *
?Heard the latest??
Shepherd Skelland asked.
Brassey put down the
brush with which he was
tarring a newly mended
five-barred gate.
?What would that be??
The shepherd gestured
towards the heights.
?Turns out we?re going
ahead with those sheep.
Merriman?s talked the
missus into parting with
that new-fangled
machinery the late gaffer
that case.?
Shepherd Skelland did
not immediately answer.
Piers had now been at
Cross Lanes for the best
part of six weeks, and
though they all pulled
together workwise, the
same mistrust existed.
?I dunno about that,? the
shepherd said. ?Granted,
the missus dunna seem to
mind knuckling down and
getting her hands mucky,
but to my mind it inna
proper to see one of her
position skivvying like a
lackey.?
?The missus is striving for
her farm,? Brassey pointed
out surprisingly. ?There?s
sense in that. But
Merriman.? He gave his
shaggy head a shake. ?He?s
too much of an unknown
quantity.?
?Aye, I?m with you there,
Logan,? the shepherd
agreed.
Mercy, appearing with a
basket containing the
men?s midday snap of
wedges of meat and potato
pie and a bottle of cold tea,
overheard the men and
dumped the basket down
at their feet.
?You two should be
ashamed of yourselves!
Piers has worked his
hardest here. Long after
you?ve left for home of a
night he?s carried on,
slogging away by lantern
light.
?I?m not saying you didna
pull your weight before,
but it weren?t getting the
place anywhere. Direction,
that?s what was needed,
and Piers provided it.?
The men, taking in
Mercy?s indignant face,
exchanged a twinkly look.
?Oh, Piers, now, is it?
What d?you reckon to that,
Noah?? Brassey asked.
?I?d say someone were
smitten.?
Mercy blushed.
?Smitten? Fie! I were
merely voicing a few home
truths and it wunna do you
two grizzle-grouchers any
harm to heed it.?
She gave the basket of
food a flashing glance.
?There?s your snap.
When you?ve done, return
the basket to the kitchen.
I?m blessed if I?m waiting
hand and foot on two such
ungrateful miseries as I see
before me!?
?That?s telling us,?
Brassey said, and the pair
sat down on the bank and
set about eating their
meal.
* * * *
An abrupt change in the
weather prompted Piers to
do something about his
cottage, starting with the
roof, which was letting in a
quantity of rain.
On close inspection,
most of the laths were
sound, but two at the
gable end, which took the
brunt of the easterlies,
were beyond repair.
He replaced the pails
strategically positioned to
catch the drips and went
on to measure the rotted
and broken window for a
new frame. Roofing slates
came next, then tar,
brushes and whitewash.
The list grew.
He went down to the
farm to borrow the horse
and cart for a trip to the
suppliers at nearby
Tattenhall.
?Materials for repairs?
What of the expense??
Nan cried in some dismay.
?Don?t you worry about
that. I?ll stand the cost
myself,? Piers told her as
he backed the horse into
the shafts. ?And while I
think on it, I shall see to
the stables of a morning
and night.?
?Why so? I am quite
capable.?
?I don?t doubt it,
mistress, but it isn?t
seemly. No more is it right
for a lady in your position
to be working alongside
the men.?
Nan?s chin came up a
notch.
?It helps get the job
done. The more hands, the
better.?
?It?s just not the done
thing,? Piers said steadily.
?I take it I am free to do
whatever needs doing with
the cottage??
?Oh, do as you will,? Nan
replied.
Without another word he
boarded the cart, shook
the reins and went
rumbling from the yard,
leaving Nan standing
there, frowning.
The rain had stopped by
the time he returned with
his supplies. Counting on
still having a couple of
hours of daylight left, he
made a start on the roof
with the loan of a ladder
and tools from the farm.
While he was sorting out
the new laths, Shepherd
Skelland came tramping
along with his dogs.
?Hello, there, Merriman.
You?re a glutton for work.?
?It?s a case of needs
must, Shepherd. A fellow
has enough of waking up in
a lake of water of a
morning.?
?You?re staying on,
then??
?Looks that way. I?ve
leave to do what I think fit
with the cottage.?
Shepherd Skelland?s eyes
narrowed.
?And meet the expense
yourself??
?That?s as maybe.?
Piers bent to fuss the
dogs who had come to
him, plumed tails waving.
Nan Vessey had given
him reason to think that
the position of bailiff could
be in the offing once the
farm?s finances improved.
No promises had been
made, but it was food for
thought nonetheless.
An increase in wage was
not to be sniffed at. He
had some thinking to do,
and Cross Lanes, tucked
away in the hills, was
sufficiently remote for
the purpose.
No-one would find him
here. No-one would
come accusing him of a
deed he had not done.
The fact that another,
more thought-provoking
and complex reason
entered the equation ? that
of his deepening and
somewhat perturbing
emotions towards Nan
Vessey ? he chose to
overlook for now.
His head throbbed. Last
night the dream had
returned: graphic; the
voices harsh with censure.
Piers felt again the
savage blow and saw the
burst of stars that faded to
numbing blackness, and
awoke on his makeshift bed
on the floor in a drenching
sweat, shaking, and at a
?You suspect foul play??
Piers asked. ?Did Vessey
have enemies??
?None that I could name.
He were well liked.
?Tweren?t robbery, either.
His pockets hadn?t been
turned out and his silvertipped riding crop were
there on the ground.?
Shepherd Skelland
shrugged.
?Ah, well, we shall never
know the truth of it. Best I
let you get on while there?s
light enough to see.?
He called to the dogs
and went trudging off up
the track to his home in
the heights.
Piers watched him go,
thoughtful. Was there a
softening in attitude
towards him from the
Daniel was surprised to find his
interest captured
loss to reason what could
be done to resolve his
plight.
He never had been one
to run. One day he would
go back and clear his
name.
Piers was aware of the
shepherd having spoken.
?Beg pardon, Shepherd.
You were saying??
??Twere how Tom Dewes,
the bailiff that was, kept
this cottage up to scratch
when he lived here. After
he?d gone, sudden like, the
place was left to go to pot.
?We never did learn why
Tom scarpered. Last we
heard he were working for
Harrison, down Egerton
way. I puzzle to think what
the gaffer would?ve made of
that.?
Piers hesitated.
?Was he a good sort,
Henry Vessey??
?Oh, aye, good enough.
He were no farmer, mind.
Had a head full of schemes
that wunna viable. Met a
sorry end an? all.?
?The fall from the
saddle??
?That were no fall. He
could stick to an ?oss like
glue. ?Twere Logan brought
the matter up ? it were him
and me found the gaffer,
you understand, ower
yonder in Stack Wood, his
neck broke. Then I got to
thinking. Happen Logan did
have a point.?
shepherd? It seemed so.
It was a strange business
over Henry Vessey. No
smoke without fire, his
mother would have said.
Piers was slowly piecing
together a picture of the
late master of Cross Lanes
Farm.
Henry Vessey seemed a
man out of his true
environment, an academic,
perhaps, principled,
struggling to uphold an
inheritance without
success.
Piers put the matter
aside for now and returned
to dealing with his roof.
The next morning, Piers
was stripping the gable
end of damaged slates
when the crunch of hooves
and wheels alerted him to
an approaching vehicle.
Up here, he had a clear
view of the farmyard and
saw a handsome bay and
gig drawing up at the
house, two passengers on
board.
It looked like Nan Vessey
had callers.
* * * *
Daniel Harrison flung a
disdainful glance around
the deserted farmyard.
Plainly no-one was coming
to take charge of the horse
and gig.
He turned his sunbrowned, handsome face
to his father in silent
reproach, the chiselled
mouth tight set.
His travels abroad had
opened up fresh avenues
and given him a taste for
more.
He had not expected to
come home to the
prospect of a proposed
marriage with the
daughter of a local farmer,
and all for the sake of
adding a few more acres to
Vinewood, the already
extensive Harrison estate.
Edwin Harrison, a
blustering and portly man,
now checked the horse,
which was starting to
fidget.
?Here we are, m?boy. I?d
thought to see Miss Vessey
in church this morning.
Not like her to be absent.?
He broke off as the door
opened to reveal the
person herself. Nan Vessey
came out of the house,
trim and solemn in her
dark gown of mourning.
Not beautiful in a
conventional way, but
certainly arresting, the
owner of Cross Lanes
presented a very different
picture from the one
Daniel was anticipating,
and he was surprised to
find his interest
immediately captured.
She gave them a smile of
welcome.
?Master Harrison. Good
morning.?
?Good morning, ma?am.?
Edwin removed his hat.
?We were on our way back
from St Oswald?s and
thought to enquire how
you fared.
?You?ll remember my
lad? Granted, with being
away at school and then
off on his travels, Daniel
ain?t a familiar figure
hereabouts.?
His red, jowly face full of
forced good humour,
Edwin indicated the
immaculately clothed
young man at his side.
?I?m pleased to make
your acquaintance, sir,?
Nan said gravely.
?And I yours, ma?am,?
Daniel acknowledged with
a swift, sophisticated look
under lowered lids.
?Most kind of you to call.
Won?t you come inside?
The horse can be secured
here.?
?Much obliged, ma?am,?
Edwin said.
The two men
disembarked and, looping
the reins over the tethering
post indicated, they
followed her into the house.
She directed them into a
low-beamed, well-furnished
parlour, where a bright fire
crackled in the old stone
fireplace.
?Do sit down, sirs. Mercy,
we shall take coffee.?
?I must offer my
condolences on your loss,
ma?am. I have been in Italy
these past twelve months
and did not hear of your
papa?s demise until my
return last week.?
She inclined her head
graciously.
The maid reappeared
with the coffee in a silver
pot and a tiered cake stand
of sweet pastries, and the
unprecedented visit took its
natural course.
When father and son had
taken their leave, Daniel
was coming round to the
idea that marriage to Nan
Vessey might not be such a
daunting prospect after all.
The woman had appeal in
abundance, and other, less
definable qualities that
were lacking in many
females of his
acquaintance. Socially, she
had the makings of an
excellent hostess for the
house parties expected of a
man of his status.
His father?s voice
intruded into his thoughts.
?Methinks the visit went
well, m?boy.?
?Well enough, Papa. Miss
Vessey was not what I had
envisaged. She always
seemed a mouse of a
creature to me.?
Edwin?s shrewd, slightly
bulbous gaze narrowed.
?And now??
?Let us say I was not
displeased.?
?Good, good. Whoa there,
Jasper!?
Edwin wrestled with the
reins as a figure in plumcoloured velvet came
hurtling round the bend on
a fiery chestnut
thoroughbred, the horse?s
mane and the golden hair
of the rider streaming.
Daniel, his attention
seized, gallantly raised his
hat to her.
?By all the saints, there is
one worthy of a second
35
glance,? Daniel commented.
His father chuckled.
?All in good time, m?boy.
Best we focus on serious
issues for now.?
Cracking the reins, Edwin
sent the horse speeding
onwards. His expression
denoted every satisfaction
with the trip to Cross Lanes
Farm.
* * * *
?Hello, Nan dearest. Do I
take it you have had
callers??
Charlotte tossed her
riding crop on to the hall
table and strode into the
parlour, peeling off her
gloves.
Nan, stacking the used
coffee dishes on to a tray,
looked up.
?Charlotte, it?s you. Yes,
the Harrisons. You will have
passed them on the way.?
?I did. I had heard the
son was back from his
travels. He?ll have bored
you witless with talk of it.?
?It did rather hog the
conversation, yes. Still, it
was neighbourly of Master
Harrison to call by.?
?Neighbourly? Fiddle! The
man is a boor and
avaricious to boot. He?s
fishing for Cross Lanes and
dangling the son as bait. It
is to be hoped that Mercy
managed to spill the coffee
in Edwin?s lap!?
Nan choked back a
gurgle of laughter.
?Nan, you must not be
taken in by that odious
man. Nor the son, for that
matter.?
?You make too much of
it,? Nan assured her cousin.
?This was nothing but a
social call. Daniel Harrison
was altogether charming.?
?Oh, he?s a charmer, I
shall give you that. Fine for
a little dalliance ? but
marriage? I think not.?
?Then that is all to the
good, for nothing is further
from my mind,? Nan said
robustly. ?Cousin, I have
not offered you any
refreshment.?
?A cup of Mercy?s lemon
cordial would be perfect.
And perhaps a bite to eat??
Nan went to pull the bell
for the request. Soon they
were seated with the low
table between them.
?Mmm, these marzipan
fancies are delicious,?
Charlotte said, helping
herself to another. ?Mercy
is an asset in the kitchen.
?And what of the new
man?? she went on. ?Is he
proving his worth??
?Indeed, yes. The Cross
Lanes coffers are no longer
empty, thanks to
Merriman. You will recall
the mechanical binder and
flailing machine we had in
the yard? Both have been
auctioned off, together with
other oddments.?
?The sale went well??
?Extremely.? Nan
nodded. ?I intend investing
in a modest flock of sheep.
It is a step towards getting
the farm together again.?
?Oh, that should put a
smile on Shepherd
Skelland?s gloomy visage!?
For once the merry
quipping failed to raise the
desired response and
Charlotte frowned.
?Nan, dear, you are quiet
all at once. I fear the
Harrisons? visit has quite
worn you out.?
?No, it is not that.? Nan
reached for the jug of
cordial. ?Charlotte, at
Papa?s funeral, do you
recall a stranger at the
graveside? A woman,
slender and heavily veiled. I
wondered about her at the
time.?
Charlotte gave a little
shrug.
?I did notice, yes.?
?Well, yesterday when I
went to put flowers on the
grave, she was there.?
?And did she speak??
Nan shook her head.
?No. As soon as I entered
the lych gate she made
herself scarce. Someone
had left a posy of violets by
the headstone. It seemed,
well, an intimate move.?
?Likely it was some poor
soul my uncle had
encountered at some
point,? Charlotte suggested.
?You know his penchant for
helping those in need.?
Nan could see the sense
behind Charlotte?s
reasoning. Nonetheless, the
sight of that sorrowing
black-clad figure at the
graveside was disturbing.
Who was she and why was
she there?
Nan wanted some
answers.
To be continued.
The
Farmer
& His
Wife
If a job?s worth
doing, it?s
worth doing
well!
W
E had finished
tea, washed up
and put away the
dishes. I was sitting
reading the local paper
when Anne suddenly went
across to the cutlery
drawer.
She then proceeded
to lift out knives, forks,
spoons and odds and ends
on to the worktop.
?I?ve been meaning to
do this for days,? she said.
?Come here, John, and
give me a hand.?
In the drawer, there?s a
plastic thing with divisions
for the cutlery. Out it
came and got a thorough
clean with soap and water.
Emptying the drawer
had taken just a couple
of minutes. Putting
everything back was a
different story.
It was the ?odds?
section which caused
the delay. I didn?t get a
minute to read my paper!
?John, where did I get
this?? Anne held up a horn
spoon.
?Auntie Bell gave it to
you.? I was amazed I?d
remembered!
?What?s this for??
was her next question,
followed, before I could
answer, by, ?Oh, do you
remember, we bought this
in Kirkby Lonsdale??
And so it went on.
Eventually, everything
was put back in its proper
place.
?I?m glad I did that, John.?
My only comment was,
?Do you want to hear the
nine o?clock news, dear??
I remember Mother always
used to say, if a thing?s
worth doing, it?s worth doing
well. Anne?s just the same.
Cleaning out the cutlery
drawer had to be done
properly, even if it had
taken up half the night!
Mind you, I suppose I?m
just as fussy as my dear
Anne, when it comes to
some things.
Take mending a stone
dyke, for example.
In summer, I quite enjoy
taking the tractor up to our
top fields to repair a drystone dyke. I hate to see
gaps in stone walls or where
a lazy farmer has bridged
the gap with a piece of old
galvanised iron sheet.
I can spend hours
repairing a dyke. I get each
stone to bond and get the
top stones looking as I hope
they did before the sheep
made the gap.
Anne thinks I?m fussy.
Well, maybe I am when it
comes to mending a stone
wall. n
More
next
week
36
A Little
Something
Tempting snacks for an
evening in front of the TV.
Blueberry and
Bergamot
Popcorn
with Salted
Caramel
Course: Snack
Skill level: easy Serves: 2
50 g (1� oz) popping
corn
50 g (1� oz) sugar
� tsp bergamot lemon
or lemon zest
100 g (3� oz) Chilean
blueberries, half
roughly chopped
Sprinkling of sea salt
1 Place the corn in a lidded
https://fruitsfromchile.info.
pan (a clear lid is helpful so
you can see how much corn
has popped) and heat over a
medium heat until the corn has
stopped popping, shaking the
pan occasionally ? this will take
several minutes. Once it has
all popped, spread it out on a
baking sheet.
2 Place the sugar in a small,
heavy-based pan over a
medium heat to melt, swirling
it gently round to ensure any
remaining crystals have melted.
It will melt to a light caramel.
Let it darken slightly before
removing from the heat.
3 Quickly scatter the lemon
zest and blueberries over the
popcorn and drizzle over the
caramel then stir to mix. You
will get some clumps and some
smaller pieces.
4 Sprinkle with the sea salt and
serve warm or cool and pack
into bags or pots. Best eaten
the same day, but it will stay
reasonably crisp for a day or two.
COOKERY
Frank?s
RedHot�
Halloumi Fries
Course: Snack Skill level: easy
Serves: 24 Vegetarian
2 tbs flour
2 tbs za?atar
2 tbs Frank?s RedHot�
Original sauce
150 g (5� oz) natural
yoghurt
2 x 250 g blocks
halloumi cut into thick
chips, about 12 per block
Oil for deep frying
To Garnish: chopped mint;
pomegranate seeds.
Quorn Vegan
Pieces and
Nachos
Course: Snack
Skill level: easy Serves: 6
Vegan
1 ripe avocado
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
1 x 280 g pack Quorn
Vegan Pieces, defrosted
Vegetable oil
1 large bag corn tortilla
chips
Toasted pumpkin seeds
For the Pre-dust
� tsp salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
Juice of � lime
For the Nacho Sauce
2 medium aubergines
200 ml (7 fl oz) rice milk
� tsp salt
� tsp black pepper
� tsp ground cumin
� tsp paprika
� tsp chilli flakes
1 tbs yeast flakes
1 tsp vegan
Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cornflour
dissolved in 2 tbs cold
water
For the Salsa:
1 red onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, diced finely
37
1 Combine the flour and za?atar
in a shallow bowl and set aside.
2 Stir half the Frank?s RedHot�
Original sauce into the yoghurt
and set aside.
3 Lay the halloumi on kitchen
paper to dry. Brush each chip
with Frank?s RedHot� Original
sauce, then coat in the flour
mixture.
4 Heat the oil to 190 deg. C.,
375 deg. F. Add the chips
Za?atar is
in 2 batches and cook for
a Middle Eastern
1 to 2 minutes, turning
spice blend of thyme
once until golden.
or oregano, sumac and
Drain on kitchen
sesame seed with salt
paper.
and possibly black
5 Serve the chips,
pepper. Find it in the
scattered with the
spice aisle at larger
mint and pomegranate
supermarkets.
seeds, with the yoghurt
for dipping.
3 large ripe plum
tomatoes, diced finely
Small bunch of
coriander, chopped finely
� lime, juice only
To Serve: mashed avocado;
thinly sliced red chilli;
coriander leaves; vegan
cream; salt and freshly
ground black pepper.
1 Split the avocado and remove
the stone. Take off the skin and
dice half the avocado, then mash
the rest and season to taste.
Refrigerate till required.
2 In a bowl, combine the
pre-dust ingredients and stir in
the Quorn Vegan Pieces, then
cover and refrigerate for 30
minutes.
3 Pre-heat oven to 200 deg. C.,
400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
4 To make the Nacho Sauce,
coat the aubergines with
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
then bake in the oven for 20 to
30 minutes, or until softened.
Remove and cool slightly then
scoop out the flesh. Place the
aubergine in a food processor
along with the rice milk, salt and
spices, yeast flakes and vegan
Worcestershire sauce and blitz
until smooth. Place in a pan,
bring to the boil then add the
cornflour, stirring until thickened.
Remove from the heat and set
to one side.
5 In the meantime, to prepare
the salsa, combine all of the
ingredients in a bowl, cover and
www.franksredhot.co.uk.
refrigerate until required.
6 Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a
frying-pan and fry the Quorn
Vegan Pieces for 7 to 8
minutes.
7 To assemble the nachos,
place a layer of tortilla chips in a
large, shallow ovenproof dish.
Add a layer of the Nacho Sauce,
more tortillas, tomato salsa,
diced avocado and Quorn
Vegan Pieces. Repeat this,
topping with the Quorn Vegan
Pieces and toasted pumpkin
seeds. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes
until golden and thoroughly
warmed through.
8 Garnish with freshly chopped
coriander and fresh chilli slices
and serve with the mashed
avocado and vegan cream.
Vegan
versions of
Worcestershire
sauce are produced
by Biona, Geo
Organics, Tiger
Tiger and
Granovita.
www.quorn.co.uk.
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.
38
Quorn Mini
Quiche
Lorraine
Course: Snack
Skill level: easy Serves: 9
Vegetarian
Knob of butter
� small onion, diced
finely
4 strips Quorn
Vegetarian Bacon
1 tsp dark soy sauce
(optional)
2 eggs
60 ml (2� fl oz) double
cream
60 ml (2� fl oz) milk
25 g (1 oz) finely grated
Cheddar
1 tsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
1 packet ready rolled
puff pastry
www.quorn.co.uk
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg.
C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Melt the butter in a small
frying-pan, add the onion and fry
over a low heat until translucent.
3 Remove the onion from the
pan, then quickly fry the Quorn
Vegetarian Bacon Rashers until
starting to turn golden. Remove
the heat, pour over the soy sauce
and stir well to coat.
4 Whisk the eggs, cream, milk,
Cheddar and chives together in
a jug, then stir in the onion and
bacon pieces. Season with salt
and pepper.
5 Use a round cutter to cut 9
circles of pastry and lightly press
them into a non-stick bun or
muffin tin. Pour the mixture into
each of the pastry cases until
three-quarters full.
6 Bake in the pre-heated oven
for about 20 to 25 minutes until
golden, puffed and just set.
7 Allow to cool for 5 minutes
before carefully removing from
the tin. Store any leftovers in an
airtight tin for a day and reheat in
a gentle oven.
BBQ Teriyaki
Sausage Pizza
Course: Snack
Skill level: easy Serves: 4-6
2 x 145 g packs pizza
base mix
1 tbs oil
4 pork sausages,
skinned and broken into
small chunks
100 ml (3� fl oz)
Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
with Roasted Garlic
1 small green pepper,
deseeded and sliced
� small onion, sliced
thinly
2 x 125 g balls
mozzarella, torn
� tsp chilli flakes
2 spring onions, sliced
1 Heat the oven to 230 deg. C.,
450 deg. F., Gas Mark 8. Prepare
the pizza bases as instructed on
the pack.
2 Heat the oil in a frying-pan and
cook the chunks of sausage for
3 to 4 minutes, until browned all
over. Turn down the heat and
www.kikkoman.co.uk.
add the Teriyaki Sauce with
Roasted Garlic and 50 ml
(2 fl oz) water to the pan. Stir to
coat the sausages and cook for a
minute, then remove from the
heat.
3 Roll the pizza bases out each
Next week: recipes to make the
most of tasty Jersey Royals.
to about a 25 cm (10 in)
diameter and place on two
baking trays. Spread the
sausages and sauce over the
pizza bases, then top with the
pepper and onion.
4 Bake for 5 to 6 minutes, then
remove from the oven and top
each with the torn mozzarella.
Return to the oven for another 5
to 6 minutes until the cheese is
melted and oozing.
5 Sprinkle with the chilli flakes
and spring onions to serve.
For more delicious recipes visit our
website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
Run Away
SHORT STORY BY MARGARET SKIPWORTH 41
When times were tough,
Amber?s first impulse was to
pack her bags . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
A
MBER glanced at
the clock on the
dashboard.
?Can we take a
detour to the
cemetery?? she asked the
taxi driver.
?If you?re not too long,?
he replied. ?The roads near
the railway station can be
busy at this time of the
day.?
?I?ll only be ten minutes,?
she said, giving him a polite
smile.
When they arrived at the
cemetery, she bought a
bunch of pink carnations
? her sister?s favourite
flowers ? from a stall at the
entrance, and then made
her way through the
grounds.
As she neared the white
marble headstone marking
her sister?s grave, she felt
her spirits lift.
Monica had always given
her a shoulder to lean on
and, even though her sister
had been gone for more
than a decade, Amber still
found it comforting to talk
to her.
Amber was only two
years younger than Monica,
but their personalities
couldn?t have been more
different.
Monica had been every
parent?s idea of a perfect
daughter. She was studious
and sensible. She did well
at school, didn?t drink or
smoke, and always chose
boyfriends her parents
liked.
When she was nineteen,
after spending a year
working in Greece, she
went to Oxford to study
law. Amber had no doubt
she would have become a
successful barrister if her
life hadn?t been cut short
by a car accident.
Amber, on the other
hand, was what her parents
described as a ?problem
child?.
When she was growing
up, she threw tantrums and
demanded her own way.
Once she became a
teenager, she started
playing truant to hang
around street corners with
her friends.
She stayed out late, often
got drunk and was even
arrested a couple of times
for shoplifting. After leaving
school she left home and
drifted from one dead-end
job to another.
Monica had patiently
supported her through
every crisis. Most
importantly, she had never
criticised or judged her.
Monica?s death had
shocked Amber into
realising she was wasting
her life. On the day of
Monica?s funeral she?d
vowed she would change
and make her sister proud
of her.
She?d managed to get a
job in a small, upmarket
boutique and had attended
night classes to catch up on
the education she?d missed.
Eventually, much to her
parents? relief, she?d fallen
in love with and married an
architect.
A smile touched Amber?s
lips now as she
remembered the first time
she?d met Nathan.
He?d come into the
boutique to buy a silk scarf
for his sister. Being over six
feet tall and with a rugby
player?s build, he?d looked
uncomfortable and
awkward in the tiny shop.
When he?d asked Amber
for her help in choosing the
right scarf, he?d stammered
over his words and pink
spots had stained his
cheeks.
With his ash-blond hair,
soft blue eyes and a smile
that lit up his whole face,
Amber had thought he was
the nicest-looking man
she?d ever seen.
They?d chatted easily and,
before he?d left the shop,
he?d asked her to have
dinner with him that
evening.
As she knelt down to
arrange the carnations in a
vase, her smile faded.
?I do love him,? she said
aloud. ?But he?s so
ambitious.?
A sudden blast of wind
snatched Amber?s hair,
whipping strands across
her face.
Combing the hair away
from her eyes with her
fingers, the thought struck
her that Nathan had always
been hard-working. It was
one of the things she?d first
admired about him.
?But he works such long
hours these days,? she said
defensively.
?Even when he?s at home
he?s sketching plans or
talking on his mobile with
clients.?
She choked back the
misery welling inside her.
?Honestly, Monica, he
often works through the
night, or all weekend, if
there?s a deadline to meet.?
Amber shivered as a
cloud blocked out the sun.
Getting to her feet, she
zipped up her thin jacket
and looked at the sky.
The morning had been
warm and bright. Now the
powder-blue sky had
darkened to steel and thick
black clouds hovered above
her threateningly.
A cool wind swirled
around her, slapping her
cheeks.
?Nathan?s working for
both of you,? the wind
seemed to hiss angrily.
?You have a beautiful
house; you enjoy good
holidays; he buys you
expensive perfume and
jewellery. Perhaps he
believes those things make
you happy.?
Feeling a twinge of guilt,
Amber pulled the cuff of
her jacket over the bracelet
on her wrist. It was a
beautiful diamond and
sapphire bracelet that
Nathan had given her for
her birthday two weeks
ago. It had cost a
fortune.
?None of that?s
42
important any more.?
She sighed. ?I want to
start a family. But what?s
the point when all Nathan
thinks about is making
money?? She folded her
arms in a gesture of
stubbornness.
?I?m thirty-four now. How
much longer can I wait??
Realising she?d raised her
voice, she glanced around
to see if anyone had heard.
Apart from two
gardeners working in
another part of the
cemetery, the grounds
were deserted.
As rain started pouring
down, she took a final look
at Monica?s headstone.
?I?ve decided we need a
break from each other,?
she said. ?I?m going to stay
with Aunt Joan until I can
decide if me and Nathan
have a future together.?
She turned her back on
the grave to walk away, but
a gust of wind made it
impossible for her to move.
Placing her hand on the
headstone to steady
herself, she heard Monica?s
voice in her head.
?You?re running away
again? Why don?t you face
up to your problems for a
change??
Amber felt tears in her
eyes as the words jolted
her mind back to the days
when she?d first left home.
Every time something
happened that she didn?t
like, or life became difficult,
she?d packed up, moved to
another flat or bedsit and
started afresh.
Always, Monica had said
the same thing: ?Running
away never solves
anything?.
Wiping the tears from her
eyes with her hand, she felt
the strength of the wind
ease.
She pulled her jacket
over her head and hurried
out of the cemetery.
When she reached the
taxi, the driver pushed the
door open for her.
?I don?t know where that
storm came from,? he
remarked as she slipped
into the passenger seat. ?It
wasn?t forecast.?
He peered at the sky
through the windscreen.
?It looks like it?s
brightening up so there
shouldn?t be any transport
delays to worry about.?
Amber bit her lip. Monica
had been right all those
years ago. Running away
wasn?t the answer.
But how could she make
her marriage work when
she and Nathan were
drifting apart?
?I?ve changed my mind,?
she blurted out. ?Will you
take me back home??
Amber?s thoughts
switched to the note she?d
left for Nathan on the
kitchen table. It was a
cowardly thing to do.
As soon as she got home,
she screwed up the note
and threw it in the bin.
Then, leaving her suitcases
in the hallway, she ran
upstairs to change out of
her wet clothes.
When she pushed open
the bedroom door she
froze. The sweet aroma of
jasmine, with a hint of
vanilla, wafted around her.
A trickle of unease ran
down her spine. The smell
reminded her of her sister?s
favourite perfume.
Nervously, she scanned
the room. Everything was
as she?d left it, except one
of her favourite dresses was
hanging on the wardrobe
door. She was certain it
hadn?t been there earlier.
She tutted at her
foolishness as she crossed
the room to the wardrobe.
She was letting her
imagination run riot.
The unexpected, violent
storm had unsettled her,
that was all. She?d
obviously forgotten that
she?d taken the dress out of
the wardrobe.
Trying to calm her jittery
heart, she smoothed her
fingers down the dress. It
was indigo blue.
?The same colour as your
eyes,? Nathan had said
when she?d bought it.
She smiled wistfully. The
last time she?d worn the
dress was for a dinner
organised by Nathan?s firm
to thank employees for a
successful year.
She?d been so proud of
Nathan that day. He had
received a large bonus, and
when they?d got home
they?d sipped champagne
and talked about how they
would spend the money.
They?d listed holidays,
new cars and a bigger
house. Neither of them had
mentioned having children.
Amber hadn?t thought
any more about it until
later that week, when her
best friend had confided in
her that she was pregnant.
?That?s great,? Amber
said sincerely as they ate
lunch together.
?It?s the best news ever,?
Katie replied, beaming. ?I?m
on cloud nine.?
After giggling over baby
names and discussing
venues for a christening
party, Katie said suddenly,
?Do you have any plans to
start a family??
Taken aback by the
question, Amber felt her
cheeks redden.
?Nathan?s busy building
up his career. So we?re not
thinking about children
yet.? As she said the words,
she was surprised to feel a
tug inside her heart.
?Don?t leave it too long.?
Katie chuckled. ?None of us
are getting any younger.?
Going over the
conversation now, Amber
realised that she and
Nathan had never talked
about children.
Amber flinched as the
truth hit her. She hadn?t
mentioned starting a family
to Nathan because she
feared he would say he
didn?t have time for one.
?But isn?t it better to
know what he wants ? even
if it does mean the end of
your marriage?? Monica?s
voice cried.
Amber sighed deeply.
?Of course it is,? she
whispered to herself.
She was about the put
the dress in the wardrobe
when her mobile rang.
Tugging it out, she saw
Nathan?s face on the
screen.
?Hi,? he said cheerily
when she answered. ?I
thought I?d let you know I?m
about to leave the office.?
Amber checked her
watch. It was only five
o?clock. She couldn?t recall
the last time Nathan had
got home before eight.
Concern squeezed her
chest.
?What?s wrong?? she
stuttered.
?Nothing?s wrong.?
Nathan laughed. ?It?s been
a weird day. One minute
the sun was shining, next
thing there was a storm.?
She heard him take a
gulp of coffee before
continuing.
?The storm only lasted
ten minutes but it shut
down all the computers.
You didn?t get caught in
that rain, did you??
?I?m fine,? Amber said
distractedly. ?I?m at home.?
She slumped on to the
bed. The storm had come
out of nowhere while she
was talking to Monica, she
realised.
?Anyway,? Nathan went
on, ?while the computers
were down I started looking
through photos of us on my
phone. You know, days out
we had when we were first
married.?
Amber heard his voice
crackle with emotion.
?I realised that because
I?m so tied up with work,
we don?t spend much time
together any more.?
Amber?s heart lurched
with love for him.
?I know,? she replied.
?I?ve been thinking the
same thing.?
?I wondered if you fancied
going out for dinner
tonight?? he suggested.
?It?s ages since we?ve done
anything like that.?
The prospect of spending
a whole evening with
Nathan sent a warm glow
through her body. It would
give them the chance to
talk about the future ?
their future together.
?That would be lovely,?
Amber replied. ?But what
about work??
?I?ve told them I intend to
cut down my workload.? His
voice rich with love, he
added, ?You?re more
important than money.?
Joy coursed through
Amber?s veins. Perhaps
they weren?t drifting apart
after all.
?We could try that Italian
restaurant in the precinct??
Nathan said. ?Seven, OK??
Amber frowned. She had
to unpack her suitcases
before Nathan got home
and then have a shower.
The jasmine scent
seemed to fill the room
again. Amber?s gaze was
drawn to the dress.
?I?ll be ready,? she said,
her heart full of hope. ?I?ve
already decided what I?m
going to wear.? n
44
Calendar
Girls
W
HEN, in
2008, Birlinn
of Edinburgh
published a
book I
co-authored, ?Fauna
Scotica, Animals And
People In Scotland?, in
which collies featured in
both words and images, I
became aware that their
managing director and
founder, Hugh Andrew, was
passionate about dogs.
His favoured breed is the
Jack Russell terrier. Years
Photographs by Polly Pullar.
?Polly?s Collies? 2019,
ISBN:9781780275451,
is available from
May 2018.
Contact:
Booksource,
50 Cambuslang Road,
Glasgow, G32 8NB
Tel: 0845 370 0067
International: +44
(0)141 642 9192
E-mail:
customerservice@
booksource.net or visit
www.birlinn.co.uk/
Polly-s-ColliesCalendar-2019
Polly Pullar?s collies hit new
heights in their modelling careers!
ago, he asked me to take
portraits of his two elderly
companions, Milly and
Morag, at that time well
into their dotage.
I?d envisaged a glorious
photography session atop
Arthur?s Seat ? two small
terriers against a
magnificent backdrop of
Edinburgh and the Forth,
with distant mountains
below them.
Instead, I was quickly told
that no, the garden would
be a safer bet.
Spoiled by my own trio
who love to pose, I found
Milly and Morag a
challenge, for they had
other ideas.
However, knowing that
terriers can have minds of
their own, I had put chunks
of cheese into my camera
bag in case a little bribery
was necessary.
It was a horrible day,
grey and dreich. I simply
had to make the best of it
by photographing them in
Hugh?s garden.
The two old ladies were
very naughty, and to make
it worse kept falling out
with one another ?
growling and snapping and
being extremely grumpy.
Posing side by side was
out of the question ? so
they had to have individual
portrait sessions.
Many of the Birlinn staff
clearly found it hilarious, as
I could see them peeping
out of their office windows,
enjoying my attempts at
getting the pair to sit ? it?s
true you cannot teach old
dogs new tricks.
Our girls ? Granny
Pippin, her daughter Molly
and her granddaughter,
Maisie ? have always had
to put up with endless
posing.
In fact, I really think they
love it, and even now they
will race ahead and often
find a big rock or high place
where they sit and wait for
me with the camera.
I am not exaggerating ?
they often pick the finest
Reader Offer
Glen Lyon in winter ?
Pippin on the left with
my dear old collie, Kim.
spots without me having to
tell them. On occasion, if I
have taken a picture I
particularly like, I have
e-mailed it on to Hugh or
Birlinn?s editorial manager
Andrew Simmons, who I
know is collie-mad.
One day I received an
e-mail from them
suggesting we should do a
?Polly?s Collies? calendar. I
thought they were joking,
but it soon became clear
they were not.
A selection of dog images
was duly sent, and it wasn?t
long before I heard that
they really did want to
publish a collie calendar.
The initial selection
included well over 100
shots, but it was the
editorial team who did the
hard work and made the
final selection.
Rather than printing the
actual images that feature
on the calendar, here are
some of my own favourite
photos that did not make
the final cut. n
?Polly?s Collies Calendar 2019?, published by Birlinn
Limited, is available from bookshops and online for
�99. Readers can order a copy for �50 with free
p&p, UK only. Call Booksource on 0845 3700067
and quote code ColCalPF2019.
NATURE 45
Molly, Maisie and Pippin
posing on yet another rock ?
this one in Wester Ross.
Molly in bluebells in
the wood at home.
Our three are
on the top deck,
and below are
various relations,
owned by Lou
Radfort, and her
lovely three-legged
rescue dog, Cody.
I particularly love this one
? Gone with the Wind,
Durness, Sutherland.
Molly and Pippin in one of my
favourite spots in Ardnamurchan ?
on the shore by Ben Hiant.
I love this one. Maisie
had been digging and
has mud on her nose.
From left to right:
Pippin, Maisie and Molly
with Liathach, Torridon.
An Ardnamurchan
sunset ? Maisie with the
Isle of Muck behind.
SHORT STORY BY VAL BONSALL 47
Set in
the
1900s
It was clear
there had been
foul play. The
difficulty would
be finding out
who had added
the poison!
Arsenic And
Honeysuckle
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
T
HAT doctor,? the
girl said, ?reckoned
as it was death by
natural causes. I?m
not sure about
that.? She blushed. ?But,
then, I?m just a maid, sir.?
?No.? Inspector Brown
glanced at Victoria,
standing beside his
wheelchair, both of them
behind his desk. ?You did
absolutely the right thing.
What is your name??
?Lucy, sir.?
?You did right to come to
us, Lucy. You say this
happened today??
?Yes, sir. The master went
into convulsions during
lunch.?
?So you called a doctor??
?Not called one, no. One
of the guests is a doctor.?
?Guests??
?Yes. It is the master?s
birthday and he had invited
some people round.?
?The doctor examined
him immediately??
?Yes, and said it was
natural causes. But I have a
sharp nose and I noticed a
smell about the food
remaining on the master?s
plate.?
Her eyes widened.
?It was white arsenic.?
?White arsenic does not
smell.? Brown frowned.
?That is true, sir,
normally. But this white
arsenic must have been
very freshly prepared, as it
still had a trace of the
odour associated with its
manufacture.
?A distinct odour, it is,
that I know from watching
it being made by the
apothecary when I was sent
to buy some to kill vermin.?
The inspector and
Victoria exchanged another
look.
?Did you express your
concerns to the doctor??
?No, but I told Cook and
Nanny. Nanny Gray has
become the master?s most
trusted servant. I might
almost venture to say, his
friend. She always knows
what to do.
?She said to come to the
police station and report
my suspicions.?
?I think we had perhaps
best accompany you back
to the house, Lucy,? Brown
said.
Victoria was already
behind his wheelchair,
ready to guide him out of
his office.
Sergeant Travis and a
constable accompanied
them and Victoria heard
Lucy querying the situation
as they proceeded along
the street.
?Yes, it is a tragedy that
the inspector was injured,?
Travis answered in
response to the maid?s
questions.
?But Miss Victoria is a
trained nurse who lives in
with him and his mother
and, with her to help with
his mobility, he remains as
fine a detective as ever he
was.? Travis laughed.
?Indeed, sometimes I think
that, now he has Miss
Victoria, he improves every
day!?
* * * *
Like most cities, theirs
was a place of contrasts. To
one side of the police
station were damp alleys
and slums, to the other
rows of grand houses.
Today they were headed
for the latter.
Lucy had given Mr Hulme
as the name of her
deceased employer and
both Brown and Victoria
knew of him as a man
who?d made a fortune, in
this age of much
innovation, as a successful
inventor.
Certainly the house was
impressive from the
outside, though not overly
fancy, like some, Victoria
thought.
It was elegant in a
smooth, calm way.Which
was very different from
what they met inside!
The doctor, having been
made aware of Lucy?s
suspicions by the cook, had
revised his opinion of death
by natural causes.
Accusations of very
unnatural causes were
now being hurled
about, aimed at
48
Nanny Gray, the woman
to whom, along with the
cook, Lucy had first raised
her suspicions.
With his usual air of
authority, Brown quietened
them and Victoria jotted
down who was who at the
deceased?s table.
There were eight of them
at the start, the dead man
and seven guests: two men
and three women (cousins
of the deceased); another
man (the doctor, a close
friend of the other guests,
apparently) and Miss Gray
(the family nanny).
?We all saw her adding
something to his meal.?
One of the cousins, a
good-looking woman
named Clara, sobbed.
As she spoke, she
pointed at Nanny Gray with
one hand, briefly placing
her other on Brown?s arm.
Nanny Gray shook her
head in denial.
?I assume this
interference with the
deceased?s food occurred
whilst you were dining??
Brown asked. ?Tell me,
please, where you were all
seated.?
?The servant . . .? Clara,
tears in her beautiful eyes,
pointed again at Nanny
Gray ?. . . was next to him,
and ??
?That?s not right.? This
from one of the maids
who?d been called into the
room at Brown?s request.
?Julia ? Nanny Gray ? was
nowhere near the master.?
Other members of the
staff nodded agreement
but the other guests sided
with Clara and there was
uproar again.
?Silence!? Brown clapped
his hands.
He surveyed them.
?I will need to question
you further, so make sure
you are available. But
tonight, when emotion will
have lessened, please all of
you check your memory of
events for accuracy.?
?Diplomatically put,?
Victoria said when they
eventually left. ?It is
obvious that either one
side or the other is lying.?
?Yes, the guests versus
the staff. All the staff
support the assertion that
Miss Gray was too far
away.?
?On the other hand, all
the guests say she was
seated right next to him,?
Victoria finished.
?Indeed.? Brown?s face
was thoughtful. ?But Lucy
said it was Nanny Gray who
told her to bring her
suspicions to us.
?Would she be likely to
do that if she is the
murderer??
* * * *
That evening, in the cosy
room of Brown?s mother?s
house they referred to as
the library ? though that
was rather too grand a
description ? Victoria put
aside the book she was
reading.
It was ?Vanity Fair?, one
of her favourites, to which
she constantly returned.
?I keep thinking about
this latest puzzle we have.
What you said is correct,
but it occurs to me, if the
cook was present when
Lucy spoke to Miss Gray,
then perhaps Miss Gray
feared it would look odd if
she did not recommend
Lucy come to us.?
?True.?
Brown was gazing into
the fire, the way he often
did.
?It is also true that none
of the servants were in the
dining-room for any length
of time whilst the guests,
on the other hand, were
there all the while.?
?Yes. The guests arrived
together and went straight
in.?
Victoria looked at the
notes she?d taken.
?But by their own
admission some of the staff
merely glanced in, as one of
them phrased it, and the
seating could have been
changed at any time.?
?What did you make of
the guests ? the cousins??
?They all seemed
immensely respectful of the
deceased.
?Reading between the
lines, he was the shining
star in their family; the
most successful, in a
material sense, by far.
?The extent to which the
servants felt confident to
argue with them perhaps
supports this.?
?And Nanny Gray??
?I would not like to offer
an opinion there. She did
not say sufficient for me
properly to formulate one.?
Victoria frowned.
?I did note that she was
invited to the event ? to
celebrate the deceased?s
birthday, I believe.?
?It?s not that unusual,?
Brown said, ?for someone
like a family?s nanny, who
has become much loved, to
dine with her employers.
?But you are right, she
said little. Tomorrow, then,
we will endeavour to find
out more from her.?
* * * *
?You are the nanny, Miss
Gray?? Brown opened the
interview the next day with
the woman, who was aged
probably in her late
thirties.
They were at the house,
in a quiet room overlooking
the rear garden.
Victoria recalled what
Lucy had told them when
she?d come dashing into
the police station the
previous day.
She?d spoken of her
concerns to Miss Gray,
she?d said, because ?she
always knows what to do?.
At their previous
meeting, she had not struck
Victoria as being of that
type at all.
Today, though, she did
indeed seem like a woman
who was organised and in
control.
So in control that she
could influence the
testimony of other staff
members?
Glancing at the inspector,
Victoria suspected he was
thinking the same thing.
?Yes,? Miss Gray
answered. ?I have been
here many years, before
even Mrs Hulme died.?
?I have not observed any
children,? Brown remarked.
?Florence is presently
with her grandparents in
the country ? her late
mother?s parents, that is.
?She was very close to
her mother and likes to
spend time in her mother?s
old home. Charles is away
at school, a boarder.?
?So your immediate
duties cannot be especially
demanding.?
?That is true. Florence is
nearing seventeen years
now. But Charles is younger
and has only recently gone
off to school, and so
Mr Hulme asked me to stay
on a while. There are the
holidays to consider, and
Florence returns often.?
She smiled.
?I think Mr Hulme trusted
me. Thought me fit to
watch over the household.?
?Have the children been
informed of the recent
tragic event??
?I have sent Alfred, the
coachman, to collect
Florence and then we will
go together to speak to
Charles ??
She broke off as the door
opened.
?What are you doing
here, so soon?? she asked
in amazement.
The newcomer was a girl
and Victoria correctly
guessed that this was the
daughter, Florence.
?I came as soon as I
received Father?s letter,?
Florence said, her face
bright with happy
excitement. ?Is he here??
Nanny Gray looked at
Brown.
?We will leave you a
while,? he said.
?What did she mean
about receiving a letter
from her father?? Victoria
said as they waited in an
adjacent room.
?I am wondering that,
too.? He sighed. ?And
whilst I hate to bother the
girl at this time, we will
have to find out.?
* * * *
The inspector read the
letter handed to him by
Florence, her face, which
had held such radiance less
than an hour ago, now
stricken with grief.
My dear Florence,
Because I am aware of
the particular love you had
for your mother, I want you
to be the first to know that
I intend to ask Julia Gray
to be my wife.
My feelings for her have
grown over a long period. I
have so far kept them
entirely to myself; partly, I
must be honest, through
fearing that you, my
darling, might be upset.
But now you are older, I
hope you will understand.
It will be the anniversary
of her arrival at the house
in a matter of weeks. I
propose to speak to her
then . . .
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50
?When did you receive
this?? Brown gently
asked Florence.
?Just yesterday. My
immediate return was
arranged so I could tell my
father face to face how
delighted I was for him.?
She turned to the nanny.
?And how pleased I was
for you, too.?
She reached out and took
Nanny Gray?s hand.
?You have been a second
mother to Charles and me.?
Leaving the two women
to console each other,
Victoria manoeuvred the
wheelchair out of the
elegant house.
?We have the name of
the deceased?s solicitor, I
believe?? Brown said.
Victoria had anticipated
the question and had the
information ready.
* * * *
Mr Poole, smart in
morning coat and stiff
white collar, eyed the
inspector and Victoria over
the paper-strewn surface of
his huge lawyer?s desk.
?Yes, I have heard the
news,? he said. ?A bad
business.?
?When did you last see
him??
?He came by a week or
so ago to sign some papers
in relation to a business
matter.?
The lawyer nodded his
head knowingly.
?Your assumption is
correct in that he did
mention that he was
planning shortly to change
his last will and testament.?
?Planning to change it??
Brown confirmed.
?Correct.?
?Who are the main
beneficiaries under the
terms of his will as it
presently stands??
?Obviously the bulk of his
considerable estate is to
his son and daughter. But
you may know, small
though his family is, he
does have several cousins.
?They are provided for in
the will, albeit in a smaller
way ? with the exception of
the pretty one, Clara.?
?She was not named as a
beneficiary??
?On the contrary. After
his wife?s death Mr Hulme
appointed her as the
children?s guardian, and in
acknowledgement of this
she was to receive a more
substantial sum than the
others.?
Poole frowned.
?I can imagine what you
are thinking, Inspector,? he
continued. ?But I cannot
see how anyone other than
myself would have known
of Mr Hulme?s intentions.?
He turned his gaze to the
papers on his desk.
?If that is all??
The lawyer clearly felt
he?d said enough.
Victoria looked at the
inspector to see if he was
going to press him.
He didn?t.
?I appreciate your help. I
may need to speak to you
again.?
Poole helped Victoria
manoeuvre the chair down
the steep stairs from the
chambers.
As they were doing this,
another man was coming
into the building. Greetings
were exchanged.
?Who was that?? Victoria
asked Poole when the other
man had gone inside.
?A patent agent,? Poole
replied, ?who has rooms
upstairs.?
* * * *
?What prompted your
question there, Vicky??
Brown asked as they
proceeded along the busy
street.
Victoria smiled.
?I have something in
common with Lucy, who
first had suspicions about
this sad affair, in that I, too,
have a sharp nose!?
?Meaning??
?Our friend, the patent
agent, quite reeked of
honeysuckle. Did not you
notice??
?No, nor do I see its
relevance.? He smiled back
at her. ?Though doubtless
you will enlighten me!?
?Cousin Clara, the one
who was going to receive a
larger sum in lieu of being
appointed the children?s
guardian, also smelled
strongly of honeysuckle
when we met her on the
night of the murder. It is, I
believe, a very popular
addition to perfumes.?
He was quiet for a few
moments.
?So you are suggesting a
friendship between her and
the patent agent? And the
deceased was an inventor.
Doubtless he registered
patents for his products.
?Probably, too, he would
seek the assistance of his
lawyer, who in turn would
liaise with an agent. And
since there?s one in the
same chambers as the
lawyer . . .?
?Yes.? Victoria nodded.
?Perhaps when the
deceased last visited Poole,
the agent came down also
to see him and overheard
talk of the forthcoming
change to the will.?
?And also his intentions
towards Miss Gray. The
solicitor did not refer to
this, but likely it was
discussed,? Brown added.
?Right. Then the agent in
turn told Clara. She is a
strikingly beautiful woman.
Well able, perhaps, to
manipulate men??
?Certainly she would have
a lot to lose. If Miss Gray
had accepted the offer of
marriage, there would not
be the same need to
appoint a guardian for the
children.?
He thought again.
?Proving something,
though, Vicky. As usual,
that?s the rub, especially
with six of them insisting
they saw Miss Gray poison
the deceased.?
?They are all certainly in
collusion,? Victoria agreed.
?Presumably Clara spread
the news among them and,
with them all fearful of
being disinherited, they
concocted their plan.
?No doubt they hoped
the doctor?s assertion that
he?d died of natural causes
would just be accepted, but
Lucy put paid to that.?
?Yes. The doctor is a
close friend, Clara said.
Maybe you?re right about
her and she used him, too.?
He smiled.
?I did notice, on our first
visit, the way she even laid
her hand on my arm! But
there must be something, if
we think back, that will give
them away.?
Back at the station,
Victoria looked again
through her notes.
?This might be relevant.
Lucy said she thought one
of the guests arrived a few
minutes after the others.?
?And that guest was ? let
me guess ? Clara. I wonder
why she was held up.
?Likely we can guess that,
too. Presumably there?s an
apothecary quite near the
house, the one from where
Lucy herself bought white
arsenic to kill the rats.?
* * * *
?I did sell some
yesterday, yes.? The
proprietor nodded at them
over the counter. ?The
reason I remember is that I
happened to go out myself
immediately after the
woman who bought it, and
I saw her going into a
house that I know.?
?How do you know it??
?They have a young maid
called Lucy working there
and she has been in for the
same thing.?
He shook his head.
?It shows you can?t tell
from appearances. The
house from the outside is
handsome, but inside it
must be riddled with
vermin!?
?Would you recognise the
woman who bought it
again??
?Oh, yes.? He smiled.
?She, too, was very
handsome.?
Inspector Brown turned
to Victoria.
?I?d say this will pretty
much seal the matter.?
* * * *
?Another one brought to
a conclusion,? Victoria said
that evening as they sat
together by the fire in
Brown?s mother?s house,
?and quickly, too.?
Brown smiled ? rather
forlornly, Victoria thought.
?An especially sad case,
though, this one,? he said.
?The dead man. Tragic that
he put off telling Nanny
Gray how he felt.?
Victoria nodded.
?Yes, there is no doubt
from what she has said
since to us that she would
have accepted him.
?If he?d spoken up sooner
and generally gone about it
in a different way, they
could have had a happy life
together.?
?Yes. If only he?d spoken
up.?
Brown quietly echoed her
words, turning away from
the dancing flames as he
spoke to look at her. n
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SHORT STORY BY NATALIE KLEINMAN 53
All In Good Time
The clock meant more to her than
she could ever put into words . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
T
HOUGH the clock
was ticking, the
hands were still.
They?d been set in
that same position
for a long time ? just
before twelve ? but Laney
could remember when they
moved, chiming the hour.
It was a comforting
sound; a memory of her
childhood.
?Come on, love. It?s time
to go.? It was a gentle
reminder.
She looked over her
shoulder at her husband
waiting patiently at the
front door, her eyes
pleading for understanding.
?Just another few
minutes. I need another
few minutes.?
Jacob understood. He
always understood.
?I?ll be in the car. Take as
long as you need.?
He closed the door
behind him so Laney would
feel no pressure to hurry.
He knew better than
anyone her reluctance to
leave.
She turned back to face
the clock.
Every detail was etched
on her memory, from the
Roman numerals and the
old gold-coloured
pendulum with its weighted
disc, to the plainness of the
wooden case.
Grandpa.
She?d begun talking to
the clock as a child when
her real grandfather was
long gone, having died
before she was born.
?This clock is your
grandfather?s,? Gran had
said when Laney was too
young to understand.
She hadn?t heard the ?s?
on the end, and from that
day on the large antique
timepiece had become her
grandfather, and the
receiver of her innermost
secrets and ambitions.
The entrance hall to the
old Victorian house was
spacious enough to house
this and a large oak
dresser.
There were two panels
with coloured glass set into
the front door, and when
the sun was in the right
direction a beam of light
shone on to the clock face.
On one side stood a
small footstool covered
with tapestry.
?I made it years ago,? her
grandmother had told her
years ago, ?when Mummy
was even younger than you
are now. When it was
finished, I?d sit in an
armchair with my feet on it.
I was so proud.?
Laney lifted the stool and
placed it gently right in the
middle of the hall, its feet
on the four indentations
where it had made its mark
long ago.
She was far too tall to sit
on it now, and tried
kneeling instead on the soft
padding. She couldn?t
manage that, either, and it
made her feel sad.
There had been so many
changes.
She moved it to one side,
but even standing she still
had to look up at
Grandpa?s face.
Dust motes could be
seen dancing in the air as
the light filtered in from
outside, and Laney was
transported back to her
childhood . . .
* * * *
?You?ve got school
tomorrow. Have you
finished your homework??
?Yes, Mum. I?ve learned
all my spellings and done
my sums. Mrs Gordon says
my writing?s really neat.?
?All right, off with you,
then. But only round the
block. Don?t forget to put
away your scooter when
you get back.?
?No, Mum, I won?t,?
Laney promised, already
skipping her way out of the
house.
It was cherry blossom
time and she went into a
street that, to her child?s
eyes, seemed to be filled
with something akin to
candyfloss.
Jacob had been waiting
for her then, three weeks
her senior and definitely
the leader, on account of
his age and gender.
That was the way it was
in those days. Laney
worshipped him.
As a consequence of his
height, and her lack of it,
Laney struggled hard to
keep up with him. Her
stride was shorter and the
distance took far longer to
cover.
She was never put off
because Jacob didn?t laugh
at her. He just waited
patiently until she caught
up. Not like some of the
other boys.
As time went by he
became her champion,
sheltering her from the
unkind gibes that only
children can make.
Laney suffered her first
tragedy when she was
twelve and her
grandmother passed away.
Until then the worst
things that had happened
were grazed knees and the
taunts of the older boys
when Jacob wasn?t there to
shield her.
They wouldn?t let her go
to the funeral.
?It?s no place for
children,? her mother had
said.
Jacob had stayed with
her. His parents were close
neighbours of her own
mum and dad, and were off
to the church to give their
support.
Afterwards the house
was filled with people
dressed in black, and all
speaking in hushed tones.
Jacob and his family had
gone and Laney crept
unnoticed into the hall,
picked up the little stool
and put it in its usual place.
?It shouldn?t be like this,
Grandpa,? she said. ?Gran
would have hated all the
whispers and the misery.
?Why don?t they just sing
one of her favourite songs?
She?d have liked that so
much better.?
The wisdom of youth.
Grandpa?s face
looked back at her
54
steadily and serenely.
The minute hand, the
one that still moved then,
reached the hour and the
gong rang sonorously, the
wonderful familiar sound
filling the hall.
Laney giggled.
?I knew you?d agree with
me.?
Gran had always made
her presence felt and for a
while the house was
unnaturally quiet.
She?d had a huge impact
on the whole family.
Some of them had been
in awe of her, so typical
was she of her generation,
of her conscience that even
his imagined opinion was
important to her.
She and Jacob got
engaged when they were
eighteen, the day before
they both left for different
universities, and in spite of
the enforced separation
and to the surprise of
many, they were still
together three years later.
By some miracle Jacob
landed a job immediately
after qualifying. It took
Laney much longer, but it
wasn?t easy for anyone out
there any more.
She took on part-time
Grandpa still had a surprise in
store for her
leading from the front,
strict but with abounding
love.
Laney thought once or
twice that her dad was a
little bit afraid of his
mother-in-law, but that
couldn?t have been right.
Her dad wasn?t afraid of
anything.
Life moved on. Fairly
soon a new normality was
established.
In her mid-teens Laney
had taken up her position
in the hall as usual. She
was getting a bit big for the
stool now, but her limbs
were supple and she didn?t
seem to notice.
?I?m going to marry
Jacob,? she whispered. ?He
kissed me today. It was the
first time I?ve ever been
kissed by a boy.?
There was strong
emphasis on that last word.
Grandpa looked suitably
impressed.
?I know I?m only fifteen
and it won?t be for ages
yet, but I am. You?ll see.?
The old face looked down
on her and she sensed
approval.
?I will finish school and I
will try to get into
university,? she continued.
?I?m just planning ahead.?
Laney imagined that
Grandpa?s face relaxed.
He was so often the voice
waitressing while she was
looking for more
permanent work, and on
the basis of Jacob?s
success they fixed the
wedding date and married
10 days after his twentythird birthday and 11 days
before hers.
It wasn?t a big wedding.
They needed to save for a
home of their own.
So when her mum and
dad offered them a choice
between a big do or the
money, Laney went to
consult with Grandpa.
?I don?t know what to do.
Every girl dreams of a
white wedding, but it?s
such a lot of money to
spend on one day.?
The clock remained
impassive.
?I could still have a white
dress, and marrying Jacob
is all I really want. A big
reception in a posh hotel
isn?t my thing at all.?
Grandpa?s expression
didn?t alter. Sadly he could
no longer chime out his
approval.
His hands had stopped
moving long ago, though
he still ticked as loudly as
ever, since Laney?s mother
had continued to keep him
wound up.
She could sense his
endorsement, though.
?It?s the only decision to
make, really, isn?t it?? she
said.
Her father came into the
hall. There was no time for
her to whisk the stool away.
?I see you?re still talking
to Grandpa. Is it anything I
can help you with??
?No, Dad, thank you. It?s
just an old habit I can?t
seem to shake.?
In truth it was a habit she
didn?t want to shake.
The wedding was
everything she and Jacob
had hoped for.
The registrar made them
feel like she was someone
they?d known all their lives.
Photos were taken and
Laney threw her bouquet
over her shoulder.
Her shy young cousin
caught it and Laney knew
how she must have felt. The
hopes she would cherish
and nurture.
It wasn?t, after all, that
long since she?d been a
teenager herself.
The party went back
home, where family and the
few friends they had invited
drank the first toast to Mr
and Mrs Curtis in the hall
under Grandpa?s
affectionate gaze.
That had been three
years ago, and Laney and
Jacob had lived in her old
home ever since, scrimping
and saving to add to the
nest egg that her parents
had provided them with.
Finally they were able to
put a deposit on a new
home, the nest egg having
grown in time with the
baby Laney was nurturing
inside her, due to make an
entrance into the world in
about six weeks.
It was time to move on.
* * * *
Laney stood in the hall,
facing the clock, torn
between leaving her old
home and a future that
held so much promise.
?I?ll be back, Grandpa.
When I come to see Mum
and Dad. I?ll never forget
you.?
Of course, these days she
knew he wasn?t her real
grandfather. She
remembered her gran
teasing her when she?d
learned her mistake, but
kindly.
Gran had always been
kind.
Laney continued to talk
to the clock anyway. Just
articulating her problems
always seemed to make
them better.
She swung round, ready
now to join Jacob waiting
patiently in the car.
But Grandpa still had
one surprise in store for
her. Laney didn?t know it,
but he?d had a visitor
himself recently and a long
overdue service.
As she stepped towards
the front door, the minute
hand reached XII and the
noise of the gong
resonated in her ears.
It was many years since
she?d heard it, a muchloved sound that was, as it
had been in times gone by,
a reassuring affirmation
that all was well.
Her baby stirred inside
her as if acknowledging its
cadence. Would she
introduce her child to this
backbone of her own
childhood as her gran had
done for her?
The old stool was in her
hands. She?d planned to
take it with her to her new
home, but hesitated.
Perhaps another
generation could seek
comfort and guidance as
she had.
Her mother came into
the hall and Laney held the
small piece of furniture out
in front of her. It was taken
and gently set in its
customary place.
The stool would remain.
They didn?t speak, but
mother and daughter
embraced, an
understanding between
them needing no words.
Laney was ready now.
Outside, her husband was
waiting. Her new home
was waiting.
But behind her was
something she would never
forget. n
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56
All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
The Story So Far
IT?S been four months
since PETER DAWSON
handed over the reins
of Dawson?s Dairies to
his daughter ALLISON,
who is running things
with the help of her
sisters JOANNE,
KATRINA and
JENNIFER.
There?s a lot to be
done to make the
factory a success, but
with the help of Peter?s
former team, JACK,
AKBAR and SALLY, as
well as farmer GARETH
who supplies the milk,
plans are nearly
complete to open a new
deli and caf�.
Peter is finding
retirement boring,
unlike LILLIAS who
retired soon after him
and is writing a book
and training with Peter
for a mini triathlon.
Jack, the factory
manager, suggests
Peter use his skills and
experience to set
himself up as a
business consultant.
Dawson?s now has a
website and a photo
shoot is planned to
advertise the business
on social media. Allison
asks handsome Gareth
to take part and he
agrees if she will go out
for a meal with him.
He convinces Allie
that his bachelor days
are behind him and
she?s the only girl he?s
really ever wanted.
The triathlon goes
well, ensuring more
good publicity for
Dawson?s, but two days
before the deli?s grand
opening the
refrigeration units
break down.
The suppliers
apologise and the
owner comes personally
with replacement units.
To Allie?s surprise her
sister Jennifer
recognises him. Could
he be the mystery
father of Jennifer?s
little boy?
Thankfully no-one had been hurt,
but did this mean all their hard
work had been for nothing?
F
ROM the window
Katrina watched as
Jennifer got into the
sleek black sports
car, and Kyle
Morgan reversed it out of
the car park.
?What on earth did you
make of that?? she
demanded, turning to her
remaining sisters who were
sitting, looking shellshocked, at the caf� table.
Joanne shook her head
and Allison frowned as
Katrina sat back down
beside them.
?I think we?ve just
discovered the identity of
Angus?s father.?
?We mustn?t jump to
hasty conclusions.? Allison
glanced over her shoulder
at Sally. ?All he said was
that he knew Jennifer.?
Katrina rolled her eyes.
?She looked at him as if
she?d seen a ghost! And he
looked as if she was . . .?
?The love of his life??
Joanne grimaced. ?The one
who got away? I wonder
what excuse she gave for
ending their relationship.
He obviously doesn?t know
the real reason.?
?Poor Jen,? Allison said.
?To have him turn up like a
bolt from the blue like this,
when she?s clearly not over
him any more than he?s
over her. My heart goes
out to the pair of them.
?It?s like the plot of one of
your romances, Joanne.?
?Complete with secret
baby.? Katrina let out a
long sigh. ?If only it were
one of your stories. Then
we could be guaranteed a
happy ending.
?What do you think
they?re talking about? Do
you think he used the
SERIAL BY JOSEPHINE ALLEN: PART 5 OF 6
excuse of resolving the
freezer issues to ask her
for a second chance?
?Maybe, now she?s seen
him, Jen might reconsider
and tell him the truth!?
?You?re assuming, if Kyle
knew about Angus, he?d
definitely want to be part
of his life, Kat,? Allison
said. ?What if he doesn?t??
Joanne?s phone beeped.
?It?s Jennifer,? she said,
swiping the screen.
The call was a short one.
?Well, that puts a stop to
any speculation about how
Kyle might or might not
react,? she said sadly. ?He?s
dropping Jen off.
?According to her, he?s
anxious to complete the
paperwork with Allison and
head back south. And on
no account are we to
mention Angus to him.?
* * * *
?At this rate the shelves
will be cleared by the end
of our first day.?
In the tiny back office of
the new shop, Sally pulled
her lipstick out of her
apron pocket and applied
an emergency coat.
?That?s a nice problem to
have,? Allison said. ?Don?t
worry. Jack?s back at the
factory picking up fresh
supplies of cheese as we
speak.
?Joanne has gone to visit
the patisserie lady to see if
she can do an emergency
bake to top up the caf�s
stock of cakes, buns and
biscuits.?
She wrinkled her brow.
?There are more
preserves in the store
cupboard, and . . . Oh, yes,
the smoked meats. I?m
sure they?ve been delivered
by Gareth?s friend.?
She turned to Sally.
?You have enough coffee
and cold drinks??
?Yes.? Sally gave her a
hug. ?You and your sisters
have done a brilliant job.?
?Everyone has done a
brilliant job, including you,
Sally. I still can?t quite
believe we?ve pulled it off.?
?I know, it?s a fantastic
start. The real trick will be
to keep up the good work
day after day, and keep
those tills ringing.
?Although these state-ofthe-art contraptions that
Akbar ordered are more
like space shuttle
computers!?
Sally grinned.
?And talking of
contraptions, I?d better get
back behind the counter
and carry on my fight with
that blooming juicer.
?It was Peter?s
suggestion. He swears by
them, according to Lillias.
Though why people would
prefer a smoothie over a
cup of tea is beyond me.?
One final check of her
lippie and Sally was off.
Allison, who had been
running on coffee and
adrenalin for the last two
weeks, finally allowed
herself to take a breather.
As she peeked around
the door at the bustling
crowds in the caf� and
shop, relief washed over
her.
They?d done it! There had
even been a small crowd of
people waiting at the door
when they opened, and the
local rag had come up
trumps again, busily
snapping away, with the
promise of a full page in
the next edition.
The samples of juices and
smoothies being handed
out by Lillias and Joanne
were going down a treat,
and over in the corner
Katrina was in charge of
the two new girls at the
bustling food-tasting table.
The big screen flashed a
selection of images from
the website. Akbar and
Jennifer were doing a great
job of handing out price
lists and business cards,
while chatting up a few
potential new suppliers.
And Dad ? Allison
frowned. Where was Dad?
As if on cue, he appeared
by Jennifer?s side, and she
clapped her hands together
to attract everyone?s
attention.
Peter leaped on to a
table top, looking the
picture of health. He was
hardly recognisable as the
man who had announced
his retirement back in
June, Allison thought.
He wasn?t the only one
transformed. The factory.
The business. This place.
All of them, her sisters
and herself, totally changed
in the last five months.
?Ladies and gentlemen,
boys and girls . . .?
As Peter spoke, Allison?s
eyes filled up at the pride
on her father?s face when
he looked at his daughters.
He waved his hand to
motion them forward, and
she joined Joanne, Jennifer
and Katrina.
?Let?s hear it for the next
generation of custodians of
Dawson?s Dairies,? Peter
concluded as the applause
broke out.
57
?I don?t know what to
say. This is amazing.?
Gareth pulled her to him.
?Not as amazing as you.?
He kissed her soundly on
the lips.
* * * *
Jennifer was sitting at the
kitchen table, staring
morosely at her mobile
phone, when Joanne came
down in search of coffee.
Could Joanne persuade her sister
to open up about her feelings?
?I hope I haven?t
embarrassed you by
making you the centre of
attention,? he added, for
their ears only. ?I?m just so
proud of what you?ve
achieved.?
Katrina chuckled.
?Don?t worry, Dad. The
centre of attention is about
to shift dramatically. Look
over there.?
Gareth stood in the
doorway, looking sheepish.
He was dressed in his kilt,
teamed with work boots
and a thick woollen jumper,
obviously one of his mum?s
complex creations.
He looked, Allison
thought with an odd leap of
her heart, even better in
real life than his life-size
cardboard alter-ego.
And it seemed, from the
crowd which surged
towards him, she wasn?t
the only one to think so.
?Meet Gorgeous Gareth,?
Katrina announced to the
customers. ?He has very
kindly offered to lead the
inaugural tour of his farm
for anyone interested. So
you can see where the
Dawson?s journey begins.?
?Gareth didn?t mention
this to me,? Allison
muttered to Joanne.
?It was Katrina?s idea, but
Gareth who wanted to
surprise you. Go on, say
thank you.? Grinning,
Joanne gave her a push.
Gareth spotted her.
?I?ve saved a special place
on the tour for you,? he
said, leading her to the car
park, where his tractor had
a trailer, fitted out with
seats, hitched behind it.
As the excited
passengers scrambled
aboard, Allison beamed up
at him, overwhelmed.
It was two days after the
opening, and both of them
were heading back home
the next day.
?You?re an early bird,?
Joanne said, setting about
priming the complicated
coffee machine which
Allison had had installed.
?Too much on my plate to
sleep,? Jennifer answered,
indicating her laptop.
As the coffee machine
began to burble into life,
Joanne sat down opposite
her. Like Allison, she?d
been of the opinion that
what Jennifer required was
support, not hectoring.
Joanne was loath to
jeopardise the closeness
that had blossomed
between the sisters these
last few months. But was
silence really the best way
of supporting Jennifer?
Whatever Kyle had said
to her, he must have
stirred up ghosts. Maybe
even doubts.
Joanne poured herself a
coffee.
?Can I have one??
Jennifer smiled wryly.
?There are days when tea
just doesn?t cut it, and this
is one of them.?
Was that a subtle cry for
help?
Joanne poured two
mugs, added milk to
Jennifer?s and handed it
over. She wondered, if she
shared a confidence of her
own, whether it might
provoke a reaction.
She took a strong
draught of coffee.
?I can?t have children.?
?What??
?I?ve never actually said it
out loud before.? Joanne?s
voice wobbled. ?I can?t
have children, Jen.
?And it?s my fault.
59
Not Jean-Luc?s.?
Jennifer stared at her,
aghast.
?It?s not your fault. It?s
never anyone?s fault. It?s
just a cruel twist of fate.?
?That?s what he says.?
?He?s right,? Jennifer said
fervently. ?Oh, Joanne, I?m
so very sorry.?
?It?s fine.?
Joanne sniffed.
?Actually, it?s not fine,?
she said, and promptly
burst into tears.
?Joanne!? Jennifer,
normally so in control of
her emotions, sobbed
loudly as she hugged her
sister. ?I?m so, so sorry.?
Joanne allowed herself to
be soothed as Jennifer
stroked her hair.
?Mum used to do that,?
she said, sitting up and
rubbing her eyes with the
back of her hand. ?Stroke
our hair to calm us. Do you
remember??
?Yeah. I do it to Angus.
Are you OK??
Joanne nodded.
?I need more coffee.?
Jennifer refilled her mug,
handed her some kitchen
towel then sat back down
beside her.
Joanne blew her nose.
?Jean-Luc says that what
matters is we have each
other. It took me a while,
but I believe that.
?But being back here so
often lately, seeing more of
Angus and Kat?s three, it?s
made me realise that I?ve
been missing out, you
know??
?I didn?t even notice,?
Jennifer said, looking
troubled. ?I feel terrible.?
?No need. I?m good at
pretending everything?s
fine, even when it?s not.?
?Hiding in France, giving
us only the edited version
of your life on WhatsApp.
Isn?t that what we all did,
up until recently??
Jennifer took a slug of
coffee, grimacing.
?How can you drink this
stuff? It?s like tar.?
She stared off into the
distance, her brow
furrowed.
?Do you feel better for
having told me??
?I didn?t mean to cry all
over you.?
?That isn?t an answer,?
Jennifer persisted.
?Actually, I do feel better.
I thought I didn?t want
anyone to know. I just
didn?t want everyone to
pity me, you know?
?But it?s different with
you, Kat and Allie. At least
these days. I can trust you
to be on my side.
?I feel I?ve deceived you
all by keeping it from you.?
She took a deep breath.
?And you think I?m
making the same mistake
by not talking about the
situation with Kyle??
?Since you ask, yes, Jen. I
think it would help you to
share your thoughts and
feelings. I promise I won?t
judge, but I will listen.?
?You?re right. It?s just that
I?m so used to dealing with
everything myself.?
Joanne smiled gently.
?Jen, whatever you
decide to do, we?ll be on
your side.?
?Even Kat??
?Even Kat,? Joanne said
firmly. ?So talk.?
Jennifer heaved a sigh.
?You might need to put
on another pot of coffee.
I?m definitely going to
require a fresh pot of tea.?
* * * *
Lillias was tapping away
on her newly acquired
tablet, midway through
drinking her smoothie,
when Peter came bounding
into the juice bar.
Quickly, she closed the
program. She?d been
reading another in a long
series of e-mails from
Joanne?s agent.
Lillias didn?t think Peter
would even recognise the
address, but she didn?t
want to take the chance.
?What are you looking so
furtive about?? he asked,
brushing a quick kiss to her
cheek before sitting down
on the seat opposite her.
Lillias shrugged. She
longed to tell him, but she
wouldn?t risk it, not until all
the Is were dotted and the
Ts crossed.
?Looking for some new
lights for my bike. It gets
dark so early these days.?
Peter scanned the menu.
?I don?t know why I
bother looking at this,? he
said to the hovering
waitress. ?I?ll have my usual
Muscle Man.?
Lillias ordered a mineral
water. There was only so
much juice a woman could
drink in one day.
?How are things, now
that the big launch is out of
the way?? she asked. ?I saw
the spread in the paper
yesterday. It was great.?
?Excellent, but no more
than they deserve.
Everyone at the factory, I
mean, not just my girls.
?It?s been a real eyeopener to see Jack and
Sally step up the way they
have. I never thought they
had it in them.?
Peter took a sip of his
juice and made a face.
?Why is it that everything
that?s good for you tastes
horrible??
?Why do you order it if
you don?t like it??
?I?m a creature of habit.?
Peter took another sip. ?I?d
certainly got into a rut at
Dawson?s.?
?We both had.? Lillias
raised her glass in a toast.
?But look at us now, Peter.?
He laughed.
?You?re right. I?ve learned
to swim; you?ve learned to
cook; we?ve actually
completed a triathlon
together. And you?ve
written a potboiler.?
?I never said it was a
potboiler!?
?Aha!? Peter exclaimed
triumphantly. ?So you have
written something!?
?Maybe.?
?Confess. Is it racy??
Lillian chuckled.
?More cheesy.?
?You mean . . .??
?I?m not saying another
word, Peter, not until
there?s something to say,
so you can stop asking.?
?All right.? He drained his
glass and set it aside.
?Actually, I?ve got a secret
of my own to share.?
He rummaged about in
the carrier bag he?d set
down on the floor.
?Close your eyes and hold
out your hands.?
Intrigued, she did so. The
object was light and small.
?A card??
?Not any old card. Look.?
It was a business card.
Embossed, cream-coloured,
with a quirky line drawing
of an angel on one side.
She turned it over and
yelped with delight at what
she read.
Peter Dawson. Business
Angel.
?What do you think,
Lillias??
He heaved the carrier
bag on to the table.
?In here is my business
manifesto ? my motives,
aims and objectives for
supporting fledgling
companies. A charging
structure for my advice and
input.
?I?ll have a website, but
that?s not live yet.?
She stared at him in
astonishment.
?You?re a dark horse,
Peter Dawson. When did
you dream this up??
?It was Jack who planted
the seed.?
Lillias scanned the
document. It was clear and
concise, but it was also
quirky, not formal or dry.
Peter grinned.
?Turns out you can teach
an old dog new tricks! I?ve
learned a lot from my girls.
But you?ve still not told me
what you think.?
?I think you?re a genius!?
She scanned the price list.
?Even though you?re not
planning on being a rich
genius.?
?I?m in the privileged
position of not needing the
money. I?d do it for free,
but people value what they
pay for more than what
they get for nothing.
?I just want to cover my
costs. The real reward will
be helping small businesses
survive and grow.?
Peter frowned down at
the table.
?I?ve been lucky, Lillias,?
he said sombrely. ?For
years, after I lost Claire, I
felt like fate had dealt me a
cruel hand. I threw myself
into my business, working
all hours of the day to fill
the huge void in my life.?
?You made time for the
girls, Peter.?
?When they were
younger, maybe. But my
health scare was a real
wake-up call.
?I?m a very lucky man,
Lillias, but there are lots of
people out there struggling
to juggle running
businesses with family
commitments. If I can offer
a helping hand, I?ll feel as if
I?m giving something back.?
He shrugged, blushing.
?Anyway, that?s the
general idea.?
?I think it?s a
60
wonderful idea. I?m so
very proud of you, Peter.
I?m also glad you?ve
resisted the temptation to
step back in and take over
at Dawson?s.?
?I?d have to shove Allison
out of the way to do that!
She is one tough cookie.
And even if I succeeded
pulling fatherly rank on
her, Akbar, Jack and Sally
would have something to
say about it.
?They like the new
regime, and why wouldn?t
they, it?s a good ?un. No,
Lillias, my days at
Dawson?s are well and truly
over.?
?I?m glad. Though I hope
you?re not planning to let
this new venture rule your
life, like Dawson?s did for
all those years.?
?Didn?t I just tell you that
this old dog has learned
new tricks? In fact, on that
subject I was wondering
what you thought about us
signing up for this.?
He pulled a piece of
paper from his pocket.
?Another mini triathlon.
This one is being held in
the Highlands next May.?
?All those mountains will
make for a tough course.?
?But one passing through
beautiful scenery. We could
make a wee holiday of it,
just the two of us. Will you
think about it??
Lillias smiled.
?I don?t need to.?
Just the two of us. She
wasn?t sure what he meant
by that, but decided she
would like to find out.
* * * *
Jennifer gazed around
the kitchen table at her
sisters. It had been her
idea to call them together
while Dad was out.
Kat?s obliging husband
James had agreed to be
packed off with his three
and Angus for yet another
visit to Gareth?s farm.
Kat and Allie clearly
assumed that the only
confession to be heard
related to Kyle. When
Joanne stumbled through
her own confession they
were stunned and then
distraught as they realised
Joanne had put up a brave
front for so long.
A great deal of tea and
coffee was drunk, a great
many biscuits consumed.
When it came to
Jennifer?s turn, it was easy.
These were her sisters and
they loved her. It made it
so much easier to express
her real feelings.
?Go on, then,? she
concluded, ?speak your
minds. What should I do??
?That sort of depends on
what outcome you want,
deep down,? Allie said.
?A happy ever after, just
like in one of Joanne?s
books,? Jennifer replied
wryly. ?But then I wake up.?
?Do you think Kyle loves
you?? This was from Kat.
Jennifer started to shrug
but remembered honesty
was the new rule.
?Yes.? Her voice wobbled.
?And I love him. Seeing him
made me realise how hard
it?s been, pretending not to
miss him.?
Kat reached across the
table for Jennifer?s hand.
?At the end of the day, all
I want is for you to be
happy. I can?t help but feel
that you and Angus would
be happier with Kyle in the
picture, rather than not.?
?Only if Kyle is happy
with Angus also being in
the picture,? Allison said
dryly. ?Are you still certain,
Jen, that he?ll run a mile if
he finds out he has a son??
?I?m not sure of anything
any more,? Jennifer said
wretchedly. ?There?s no
denying that Angus is
Kyle?s son. His hair has the
exact same little kink at
the crown as Kyle?s.
?He has a way of looking
at you, as if he can see
straight through you ? he
gets that from Kyle, too.
?Angus is too young at
the moment, but at some
point he?s going to start
asking questions. I can?t
prevaricate for ever.?
?But you?re loath to tell
him the truth if it turns out
that you?re right and Kyle
doesn?t want to play any
role in his life, is that it??
?Yes, Kat. That?s the
thing that bothers me more
than anything.?
The pensive silence was
broken by Allison.
?It?s dangerous to make
assumptions. People can
confound your
expectations.?
She began to play with a
biscuit wrapper.
?Take Gareth, for
example.?
Now it was Jennifer?s
turn to stare, along with
Joanne and Katrina. Was
Allison finally going to
admit that she and Gareth
were an item?
?Go on,? she encouraged.
?Well.? Allie was now
bright red. ?I thought he
persisted in asking me out
because I?d always turned
him down in the past. I
thought he saw me as a
challenge, nothing more.
?It had become a bit of a
private joke between us.
He?d tell me he liked me,
I?d tell him I wasn?t
interested in being a trophy
girlfriend. But I was
wrong.?
She set the biscuit paper
down.
?I was wrong, in fact, not
only about Gareth but also
myself. I always valued my
freedom, prided myself on
my independence.
?I never thought of myself
as the type to settle down.
Couldn?t envisage meeting
a man capable of making
me change my mind.?
She laughed ruefully.
?Turns out he was under
my nose the whole time.?
Katrina?s eyes were huge.
?Are you telling us you
and Gareth are thinking of
getting married??
?Well, he hasn?t asked me
yet.? Allie?s face split into a
huge grin. ?But I?m pretty
sure that he will. And I?m
certain that, if he does, the
answer will be yes.?
For the third time, the
sisters found themselves in
a huddle of tears and
exclamations, though this
time they were happy in
nature. It was Allison who
eventually called order.
?Kyle might surprise you,
Jen, if you give him the
opportunity. I didn?t take
Gareth seriously for years,
and the biggest lesson I?ve
learned from Dad these
last few months is that life?s
too short.
?You might not get the
answer you want, but you?ll
never know if you don?t ask
the question.?
Jennifer sniffed.
?How did you get to be
so very wise, Allie??
Allison laughed.
?Kat asked me that
recently. By listening to my
big sisters.?
?So, what do you intend
to do, Jen?? Joanne asked
as they all sat down again.
?Call Kyle and tell him
about Angus. It seems so
obvious now. I?ve been
unfair to him.
?And unfair to Angus. It
doesn?t guarantee there?s
going to be a positive
outcome, but as Allie says,
at least I?ll have tried.?
She smiled at them.
?Thank you.?
?Right.? Joanne went to
the fridge and pulled out a
bottle of bubbly. ?This is
one of ours, from our very
own vineyard. We?re not
allowed to call it
champagne, but in my
opinion it?s far superior,
and you lot better agree.?
She popped the cork and
poured four glasses.
?A toast. To sisters. The
best friends any woman
could ever have.?
* * * *
The call came in the
middle of the night a week
later. First Allison?s mobile,
waking her from deep
slumber, trilling away at
her bedside table.
Then the house phone,
ringing insistently in the
hall.
Half-awake, she noted
the unrecognised number,
then heard the thud of
footsteps down the stairs
to answer the other call.
?Who is this??
?Allison, it?s Jack. I?m
sorry to disturb you but I
thought you had to know.?
?Know what??
?There?s been an
explosion at the factory.?
Heart racing, she listened
to the scant details.
?I?m on my way.?
Opening the door of her
bedroom, peering down the
stairs, she saw her dad
setting the receiver back
down, looking shocked.
?That was the police.
There?s been an explosion.?
?I know. I?m going now.
I?ll let you know.?
?Don?t be ridiculous. I?m
coming with you.?
* * * *
Smoke was still drifting
into the air as dawn broke,
though the fire brigade had
managed to get the fire
61
under control quickly.
Miraculously, the cheese
production section of the
factory was undamaged,
but the packaging and
distribution areas had not
got off so lightly.
Allison, still wearing
pyjamas under her coat,
her bare feet clad in her
Ugg boots, gazed around
her in horror. The car park
was strewn with glass
where the windows of the
offices had been blown out.
The air was acrid. Her
nose and eyes smarted.
She couldn?t believe that
this was happening, but
here was an ashen-faced
Jack striding towards her.
?What if this had
happened during the
working day?? Allison said,
her voice shaking. ?Thank
heavens no-one was
injured.?
?Aye, Tommy the night
security guard was the only
one here, but luckily he was
in his little hut and not
doing his rounds when it
happened. He was the one
who raised the alarm.?
Jack gave her a hug. He
was covered in dust, and
seemed to have aged ten
years.?
?What do we know so
far?? Allison asked. ?Was it
the new kit we installed??
?No, it was the boilers,?
Jack answered grimly. ?You
know how much hot water
is needed to clean and
wash down the production
areas every day. Those
tanks are huge.
?Without getting too
technical, one of the valves
was blocked. It stopped the
steam being automatically
released, the pressure built
and the boilers blew. I?m so
sorry, Allison.?
?Why are you sorry? It?s
not your fault.?
?Not technically, no, but
I?m ultimately responsible
as the factory manager.?
?Dad, let me deal with
this,? Allison said gently as
her father joined them. ?It?s
my problem, not yours.?
She pushed her hair out
of her eyes, trying
desperately to think clearly.
?Are we up to date with
our maintenance??
?Of course.?
?This blockage in the
valve, it?s not something
that could have been
building up, is it? I mean,
it?s open or it?s blocked,
right? So whatever caused
it, it happened tonight??
?Yes.? Jack shook his
head. ?I?m not thinking
straight.?
Allison smiled faintly.
?It?s as well I am. It was
an accident, and therefore
our insurance will cover it.
Leave that with me.
?How soon before we get
back into production?
Because we?ve got a whole
load of important orders
that need to go out this
week at the latest.?
?Allison, lass . . .?
She became aware that
both Jack and her dad
were looking at her
pityingly. She had a
horrible premonition of
what they were going to
say.
Things had been going so
well! Orders rolling in . . .
?Spit it out,? she said.
?The good news is that
we haven?t lost any stock.
Those cheese maturation
stores are hermetically
sealed.
?The problem is the
damage to the packaging
and labelling production
lines. In the short term
we?ve got no way even to
portion the cheese, never
mind package and label it.
?The specialist artisan
products could be done
manually at a push, but the
main product ? it?s just not
possible.?
?But some of those
orders are from new
customers. You don?t get
second chances with new
customers!? Allison said,
aghast.
?And the deal with the
pasta company. They?re
launching that new mac
cheese dish based on our
Cheddar. We have to find a
way to fulfil those orders!?
?It can?t be done, love,?
Peter said sadly. ?Jack?s
right. You?re going to have
to cancel them.?
?If we do they?ll never use
us again!? Allison?s voice
was shaky.
?This doesn?t just
threaten our short-term
cash flow, it could put our
entire business strategy at
risk. It could spell the end
of Dawson?s Dairies.?
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the
manse window
By Rev. Andrew Watson.
S
OMETIMES the
obvious eludes me. I
mean simple things,
like the effective operation
of a vacuum cleaner.
There I was, giving it my
best shot, attacking the
dust on the stairs without
mercy, but apparently to
no avail. It refused to
budge.
Eventually I cottoned on
to the problem. The bag
was full and ready to
burst. It simply couldn?t
take any more.
One dusty expedition to
the wheelie bin later, with
a new, empty bag fitted,
we were ready to go again
with a fresh blast of
power, clearing all before
us like a mighty whirlwind!
A simple solution in the
end, but one worth
thinking about.
Ironically, it was when
my old vacuum was
emptied that it had the
most power. When it was
full of stuff it was sluggish.
Once it had been cleaned
out it was like a rocket!
Ancient wisdom
suggests great
effectiveness (and perhaps
even true greatness)
actually comes about
when someone humbles
themselves, emptying
themselves in the service
of others.
We like our leaders to
be confident, to know
what they?re doing and
talking about as they set
out their visions and
plans.
However, we?re not so
keen when managers and
politicians on the world
stage seem too full of
themselves.
As our inspiration,
Christians worldwide
remember Jesus.
The hymn by Charles
Wesley expresses it
beautifully.
He left his Father?s
throne above,
So free, so infinite his
grace ?
Emptied himself of all but
love,
And bled for Adam?s
helpless race.
Since his resurrection,
Jesus has been exalted by
God and given ?the name
that is above every name?.
But first he did his most
powerful work by emptying
himself of all heavenly
majesty to suffer for our
sins and offer global
salvation.
Paul suggests we should
follow suit. Instead of
being obsessed with
gratifying our selfish ego,
we should humbly consider
and look to serve the
needs of others.
And there?s no shortage
of opportunity!
We might donate or
volunteer to help an
organisation ministering to
the orphans and refugees
who are fleeing the
theatres of conflict around
the world.
Or simply call for a chat
with a lonely neighbour.
This may require us to
unload some of our
comfort or pride or relieve
our busy schedules of
some less important
things, but these are the
kind of sacrifices which
make us stronger and
more focused in practice.
This week, let?s think of
Jesus and look for an
occasion to do something
humble but potentially
powerful in his name! n
Next week: Barbara
Mosse discusses her
love of books.
THIS MONTH?S BOOKS
This gripping mystery
will keep you guessing
to the end
The Retreat
An Orphan?s War
By Molly Green
The war years
dealt Maxine Grey a
series of cruel blows,
leading to her
accepting a job in
Liverpool?s Dr
Barnardo?s
orphanage. Despite
her own pain, one
boy in particular tugs
at her heart . . .
ISBN: 9780008238971, �99
By Mark Edwards
VVVVV
When a horror novelist books
in for a stay at a writers? retreat,
he soon finds himself in the
midst of a mystery. What
happened to the little girl who
disappeared two years ago?
Was the Red Widow of local
folklore real? This engrossing
tale, set in rural Wales, is a real
page turner.
The Little Italian Bakery
By Valentina Cebeni
Tired of secrets,
Elletra sets out to
visit the Italian
island of her
mother?s birth. But
as the past unfolds,
more secrets
confront her and
only the old recipe
book seems to
show a way
forward.
ISBN: 139781477805176, �99
VVVVV
What happened the day
Lily disappeared?
ISBN: 9781408707951, �.99
bookshelf
VVVVV
On the
Win all four books
Which is the largest Italian island?
a Crete
b Jersey
c Sicily
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?
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to May Bookshelf, The People?s
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Lines open at 6 a.m., on Saturday, May 5, 2018 and the winner will be chosen at random
from combined correct entries after 9 a.m., on the closing date of Friday, May 25, 2018. This
competition is open to UK residents only. Competition contact details: Premium Rate Telephone
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Marketing, Copy of your Competition Terms, DC Thomson, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
Shipyard Girls In Love
By Nancy Revell
This is the fourth
in the series about
the shipyard girls.
Set in Sunderland in
1941, it follows
their lives, their
work, friendships
and romances. Life
can be harsh but the
girls are always
there for each other.
ISBN: 9784787460218, �99
VVVVV
63
REAL LIFE 65
?Cats? opened
in the West End
in 1981.
A Golden
Partnership
Fifty years on
from the first performance of
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?, Wendy
Glass pays tribute to its creators
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Photographs by Alamy.
I
N 1968, parents and
teachers at an end-ofterm concert at a
London school were
treated to a 20-minute
musical retelling of the
Bible story of Joseph and
his coat of many colours.
Or, according to Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Tim
Rice?s version of the tale,
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?!
Andrew and Tim had met
a year earlier when
Andrew was a seventeenyear-old Oxford student
who harboured dreams of
composing for West End
musicals.
Tim, four years older,
had recently turned his
back on plans to become a
solicitor and embarked
upon a career writing lyrics
for pop songs.
The young men pooled
their talents and wrote a
musical, ?The Likes Of Us?,
which disappeared without
as much as a rehearsal.
Thankfully, the music
teacher at Colet Court
School in London was a
friend of Andrew?s family,
and he asked Andrew and
Tim to come up with
?something different? for
his choir to perform.
And that?s what he got!
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?
was the highlight of the
concert and, six months
later, it had been
expanded to 35 minutes,
had been performed in
St Paul?s Cathedral and
Andrew Lloyd Webber and
Tim Rice had signed a
record deal.
The full-scale version
didn?t make its West End
debut until 1973, following
the success of ?Jesus
Christ Superstar?. Since
then, ?Joseph And The
Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat? has been seen
by over 200 million
people, while the music
and words of Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim Rice have
given us many of the
world?s best-loved
musicals.
The Ultimate Superstar
Inspired by the response
to their version of Joseph
and his coat of many
colours, Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim Rice turned
their attention to the pages
of the New Testament. Their
rock opera, loosely based on
the last week in the life of
Jesus, was initially a concept
album, but ?Jesus Christ
Superstar? was soon wowing
Broadway audiences and in
1972 moved to London?s
West End, with Paul
Nicholas in the title role.
66
Star Quality
Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim
Rice were only too
happy to take risks
with the people they
cast in their musicals,
with pop stars and TV
celebrities appearing
in several lead roles.
David Essex was
?Evita?s? first Che
Guevara; Madonna
took the starring role
in the film version of
?Evita? and Jason
Donovan, Phillip
Schofield and Donny
Osmond all received
critical acclaim when
they played Joseph.
The X Factor
Rice and Lloyd
Webber musicals have
been excellent
launching pads for
many musical theatre
mega-stars. Elaine
Paige went from
obscurity to overnight
success when she won
the part of Evita, Lee
Mead soared to fame
when he won the BBC
talent competition to
find the next Joseph
and a young Agnetha
F鋖tskog from Abba
was Mary Magdalene in
the first Swedish
production of ?Jesus
Christ Superstar?.
Argentina?s
First Lady
The power-hungry
second wife of a South
American dictator isn?t
the most obvious theme
for a musical.
However, once Lloyd
Webber and Rice had
worked their magic on
the story of Eva Per髇,
?Evita? was destined for
greatness.
?The fact Eva Per髇 is
so well known is very
much down to the
musical,? Tim Rice
admitted. ?In 1974, she
was buried in an
unmarked grave in
Milan. Now she?s in a
tomb in Buenos Aires
with a plaque bearing
the words Don?t cry for
me, Argentina.?
The Magic of Words
After his partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber came
to an abrupt end, Tim Rice?s success with musicals
continued with ?Chess?, which he co-wrote with Abba?s
Benny Andersson and Bj鰎n Ulvaeus.
He worked with Disney on the stage productions of
?Aladdin?, ?Beauty And The Beast? and, with Elton John,
?The Lion King?, the highest-grossing Broadway
production of all time.
Let The Music Play
Rice and Lloyd Webber went their separate ways in the
1980s following a row about their latest project ? ?Chess?.
?For once, we were out of step,? Lloyd Webber said.
The two were bitterly estranged for years, but reconciled
when Andrew was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
?That sort of thing makes you realise who your real
friends are.?
Andrew has been equally successful without his partner
in rhyme. He transformed T.S. Eliot?s ?Old Possum?s Book
Of Practical Cats? into a hit musical, introduced rollerskates to theatre land with ?Starlight Express? and has
entranced audiences for thirty-two years with ?The
Phantom Of The Opera?.
His current hit is ?School Of Rock?, based on the film of
the same name.
??School Of Rock? is about how music can empower
kids,? Andrew said.
He was inspired to write this musical by his three
children, who loved the film when they were younger. n
68
my garden
Notes from
Alexandra Campbell is sprucing up
the garden, furniture and all!
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell unless otherwise stated.
Talking Veg
Plant courgette and
climbing bean seeds
inside or in a
greenhouse/potting
shed. Plant out next
month after the last
frosts. Both can be
grown in pots (but feed
regularly). Both will
crop for several months
if you keep picking and
feeding them.
M
AY can be
scorching hot
or cold and
drizzly. Or
both. But it is
the first month where we
may ? if we?re lucky ? start
enjoying ourselves in the
garden.
You might have to be a bit
brave to eat outside, but it?s
a good idea to get out your
favourite garden chairs and
make sure they?re in good
working order. So, for me,
it?s time to check all the
finishing touches.
We power-wash the
terrace once every couple of
years. I like the weathered
look, but sometimes it gets
downright grubby.
We also do a big weed
between the pavers now
because, if we?re really
thorough, that should keep
the terrace reasonably free
of weeds until around July. I
find that there?s no
substitute for hand-weeding
between paving stones ? it
seems to last longer.
Next, there is cleaning
and maybe even painting
garden furniture. We have
folding canvas directors?
chairs which my mother
bought from auctions in the
1970s, so they need a
once-over to check that
everything is still hanging
together.
Every so often they need
complete renovation, which
probably costs as much as
buying new chairs, but I do
love them. We also have an
Edwardian steamer chair of
hers which really needs
re-covering, but I adore its
battered vintage look.
Tables, parasols and
dining chairs also need to
be checked and cleaned.
It?s definitely better to do
this when you?ve got time
to sort out problems rather
than leaving it until five
minutes before you decide
to eat outside!
I also like to wash jam
jars or glass lanterns and
put night lights or candles
in them. Otherwise we find
ourselves hunting for it all
when an evening is
unexpectedly warm enough
for lingering outside.
Finishing touches include
sprucing up garden paths.
We have a gravel path at
the back of the garden.
Gravel needs topping up
every so often ? it?s a
budget choice, but it?s not
as permanent as stone or
concrete pavers. Ours was
last renewed in 2010 and
it?s more earth than gravel
now.
A friend is going to use
seashell mulch instead of
GARDENING 69
I?m Loving?
Fiskars� Xtract
Garden Saw. It?s the
smallest of the pruning
saws, but gives me
more options than just
using loppers or
secateurs. It cuts easily
through branches I
wouldn?t have been
able to manage before,
and the blade slides
safely away when not in
use. It?s slim so gets
into awkward places.
I?ve been trying out
gardeners? knee pads. They
strap on to your knees,
which is super-useful
because you can move
around the garden without
having to move a pad, too.
I like Burgon & Ball?s
Kneelo Knee Pads which
strap on with Velcro, so
comfortable that I forget
to take them off. My other
half likes Screwfix?s
Optimus Gel kneepads
which hook on and have a
hard outer shell.
The Great British
Bee Count
local landscaping company
who should be able to
deliver and lay it for you.
Finally, we may touch up
the garden gate. We paint
our front door, back door,
garden gate, logstore, bin
store and shed all in the
same colour (Farrow &
Ball?s Black Blue). Having it
all the same colour makes
the back terrace look less
messy ? there are quite a
lot of different elements in
a relatively small space.
Our garden gate (it?s
really a door) gets graffiti
on the street side. We have
been told that the quicker
you paint out graffiti, the
less likely you are to get it
again. Graffiti artists want
to leave their mark, and if
their mark disappears
almost immediately, then
they may not bother in
future. So we have a brush
and paint pot ready to
paint out any marks.
And I think, after all that,
we deserve a drink in the
garden! n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
From May 17 to
May 30 it?s the Great
British Bee Count, run
by Friends of the Earth
and supported by
Ecotalk and Buglife.
You sign up via the
Friends of the Earth
website. On May 17
you can download a
free app, and use it to
identify and count the
bees in your
neighbourhood.
We rely on bees to
pollinate plants and
crops, and the decline
of bees in the past
decade is a very
worrying trend. By
monitoring which bees
are where, and how
many there are, you
can help provide the
information that is
needed to help bees
thrive.
But it?s not just about
the bees ? it?s really
interesting for us, too. I
remember someone
walking through my
garden and asking if I
knew how many
different varieties of
bee I had buzzing in my
lavender. I hadn?t even
thought about it, but
now I?d love to know.
I?ve signed up for the
Great British Bee Count
because I?d like to know
more about the bees in
my garden ? and most
particularly a very large,
fat type of bee that
lives in the front garden
and buzzes sleepily into
the house at the end of
every year, often
collapsing on the
doorstep.
See friendsoftheearth.
uk/bee-count.
Friends Of The Earth.
gravel on her path, so
we?ve decided to do the
same. Cockle or seashell
mulch is a by-product of the
shellfish industry. It is made
of small, broken-up bits of
seashells and looks quite
like gravel.
It used to be discarded,
but it?s now being used
increasingly in gardens for
paths and as mulch. It?s a
bit cheaper than gravel and
is a ?green? alternative
because it?s not mined.
Snails and slugs
apparently hate it, and it
will eventually break down
into the soil. And if it gets
on to the lawn, it?s less
likely to damage mower
blades than gravel will.
But seashell mulch isn?t
very easy to find. My friend
and I are sharing a one-ton
bag, ordered from
Gardenscapedirect.co.uk
which delivers in our area.
Not many garden centres
seem to stock seashell
mulch, but you could ask.
Or you could order it via a
David Podmore.
Knee Pads
believe it?
TEA-BREAK TRIVIA 71
Would you
Got a question? Get in touch through e-mail
wouldyoubelieveit@dctmedia.co.uk or *write to
?The People?s Friend?, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
I?d Like To Know
75 years ago
the first Royal Windsor Horse
Show was held as a fundraiser to buy Spitfires and
Hurricanes for the RAF.
Q
I?m hoping to secure tickets to
see the Military Tattoo in
Edinburgh this summer, having
thoroughly enjoyed this spectacular
event many years ago. I?m curious
to know when this tradition first
began ? can you help?
Mrs J.K., Essex.
55,000
The first official Royal Edinburgh
Military Tattoo was held in 1950
and this year it will take place from
August 3-25.
The Tattoo has different themes each year, and as well as Massed Military
Bands, it welcomes musicians and performers from around the globe, all showcasing
their cultures and talents. Edinburgh Castle makes the perfect setting for the Tattoo,
with each performance concluding with the Lone Piper.
As it attracts an audience of around 220,000 each year, it?s wise to book early!
A
Q
Can you settle an argument? I say Johnny Cash
released his own version of the song ?Bridge
Over Troubled Water?, but my friend doesn?t
believe me.
Mrs W.D., Great Yarmouth.
A
You are right. Johnny Cash did, indeed, do his
own version of the song which was a hit for Simon
and Garfunkel. Paul Simon composed it and countless
artists have covered it over the decades, including
Elvis. The most recent version of the song was a
collaboration of various artists in a bid to raise funds
for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower
fire, which was released last year.
Q
Talk about being
bamboozled! I
heard the word
gongoozler used
recently, but what does
this actually mean?
Mr T.W., Dorset.
A
The term is informally
used to describe
someone who likes to idly
spectate something,
particularly watching
activity on UK canals.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
iStock.
The good old days really were better
? four out of ten of us consider our
childhood days the best of our lives.
According to research for Hollywood
Bowl, the top three things we all miss
from our childhoods are school holidays
(six weeks ? what would we do with
six-week holidays nowadays?); hot
summers (remember those summers
when the sun shone every day?) and
playing outside in the street with our
friends, even in the dark.
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
spectators are expected
to attend this year?s Royal
Windsor Horse Show ? and
there may be a few extra
royals in the crowd with
Harry and Meghan?s big day
approaching.
3,739 nappies
have been changed by
parents by the time their
child is four.
of bakers
make a cake
to cheer
themselves
up.
�2
is spent, on average, by
proud grans when a new
arrival comes along ?
grandpas spend �.
50 bones
make up a turtle?s shell,
which is actually part of
its skeleton.
CRAFT 73
Happiness
Blue Bird Of
Create a beautiful felted plant pot to brighten up your home.
diate
e
Interm
74
What is Lagom?
Author Debbie von
Grabler-Crozier writes:
?The word itself comes
from Sweden and it means
?just enough, everything in
moderation? or ?elegant
sufficiency?, to quote my
nana. It is about a healthy
balance, and the idea of
having not too much and
not too little is actually
something positive to live
by. It is a homespun
ideology that nourishes
using what you have and
making do.?
READER OFFER
Enlarge by 400%
YOU WILL NEED
To fit a 16 cm (6� ins)
diameter pot with straight
sides.
? Piece of wool felt in
each of blue, cream
and dark red,
measuring 22.5 cm x
55 cm (11 ins x 18 ins/
fat eighth)
? Piece of wool felt in
green, measuring
10 cm x 10 cm
(4 ins x 4 ins)
? Sewing threads in blue,
black and cream
? Length of black and
white cord/twine of
around 20 cm (8 ins)
? 2 medium-sized plain
wooden beads
? 1 small black bead
TO MAKE
1. Using the template, cut a
main piece from both the
blue and cream felt pieces.
On the template there is a
line a short distance down
from the top, this is the
cream felt cutting line. When
you have cut out the shape,
pink along this line with
scalloped pinking shears.
2. Taking the blue piece
(which will become the
lining later), check it fits
around your plant pot and
then place the two short
ends together and sew a
back seam. Trim the threads
and put aside until needed.
3. Using the template once
more, cut out the other
pieces for the cover - the
bird from the remaining blue
felt, the scalloped trim from
TOOLS
the dark red felt (measuring
? Water-soluble marker
3 cm (1� ins) high and
pen (optional)
46 cm (18 ins) long) and
? Fabric scissors
the leaf wing from the green.
? Scalloped pinking
Lightly glue them into
shears
position in the centre of the
? Sewing machine
cream panel but
leave a gap at the
with darning
Tip: you
base of the bird
foot for free
can use a waterto fit the
embroidery
soluble marker to
? Embroidery
mark the scallops on beads in later.
4. Cut two
hoop for
the red felt. They do
machine
not have to be even ? pieces of
cord/twine,
embroidery
they are meant
each
(optional)
to look hand
measuring
? Glue stick
drawn!
approx. 8 cm
? Sewing needle
(3 ins) long, and tie a
for bead
knot in one end of both.
Thread a wooden bead on to
each piece, and then tuck
them up under the bird
using the photograph as a
guide. You may need to trim
the length. Lightly hand stitch
these in place, you will
secure them later when you
use the sewing machine.
5. Set your machine up for
free machine embroidery
and outline the shapes with
black thread, going around
them at least twice.
Embroider the veins on the
leaf. You do not need to be
obsessive about neatness.
Trim the threads.
6. Sew the small black bead
on to the head of the bird to
make an eye.
7. As you did for the large
blue panel, place the two
short ends of your outer
piece together, check for fit
and sew the back seam.
8. With the blue lining inside
out and the cream outer
piece the right way out, slip
the cream outer over the
blue lining and nest the back
seams together so that they
are flat. Using the cream
thread, sew the layers
together and go over the top
and bottom a couple of
times to secure. Trim
threads. If you wish, trim the
felt to neaten the edges. Slip
on to plant pot.
This project is taken from
the book ?Lagom-Style
Accessories? by Debbie von
Grabler-Crozier, published
by Search Press ISBN
9781782216070. It costs
�99 and is available from
all good bookshops. To
order, with free p&p*, visit
www.searchpress.com and
use Order Code SP3857 or
telephone 01892 510850
quoting ?The People?s Friend
Lagom-Style Accessories
Offer?. Alternatively, send a
cheque (made payable to
Search Press Ltd.) to: The
People?s Friend Lagom-Style
Accessories Offer, Search
Press Ltd., Wellwood, North
Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells,
Kent TN2 3DR.
The closing date for this
offer is August 31, 2018.
*UK only. Overseas
customers please contact
Search Press direct for
postage details.
Next week: knit this
versatile top
INSPIRING LIVES 77
Edwina Brocklesby.
Members of the
Silverfit charity, a cause
close to Eddie?s heart.
Susanne Hakuba.
It?s never too late
to get active ?
I?m proof!
E
Edwina Brocklesby, affectionately known
as ?Irongran?, tells Yvonne McKenzie
how she went from a half-marathon to
representing Great Britain in
competitions.
DWINA
BROCKLESBY
thought she must be
mad when she was
talked into doing a
half-marathon at the age of
fifty ? after all, her only real
exercise-related regime
prior to this was taking her
children to their sports
clubs.
Little did she know then
how much sport was to
change her life, helping her
cope with the loss of her
husband of thirty years and
giving her own life real
purpose away from her job
as a social worker, which
she did for fifty years.
From that first halfmarathon, Eddie could
never have dreamed that
over the course of the
following twenty-odd years
she would go on to
represent Great Britain in
many European and World
triathlons and duathlon
championships.
?Losing my husband Phil
when I was fifty-two was a
major blow. The support of
running friends at that time
was invaluable,? Eddie
explains.
?They also gave me a
London Marathon place, so
I was forced to continue
with my running. I have
made so many friends
through my sporting
networks that it?s difficult to
imagine life without all
those friends and
challenges.?
Now still competing at the
age of seventy-five, Eddie is
passionate about sharing
the fitness message,
founding the charity
Silverfit, which encourages
older people to become
more active.
?It?s never too late to start
getting that bit more active
? I?m proof! It?s the social
aspect of it, too; it?s great to
exercise with a friend or a
group. ?Couch to 5k? is a
brilliant training programme
and it?s important to focus
on strength training as we
age.?
Eddie doesn?t see age as
a barrier, but she does
recognise that it is a real
number.
?Now that I?ve turned
seventy-five I?ll be the
youngest in a new age
group when next competing
? the seventy-five to
eighty-year-old age group!?
She laughs.
?But I never reject a seat
when offered on the bus or
Tube. I accept that I am
older and value the spirit in
which the seat was offered.?
Little do those good
Samaritans know when
offering a seat that Eddie
has earned the acclaim of
being the oldest British
woman to have completed
an Ironman triathlon. How
does she feel about that
title?
?Great!? she enthuses.
?Especially if I can
demonstrate that it is never
too late to become fitter.
?The media interest
around me completing the
Ironman at the age of
seventy-four was totally
unexpected, though. I love
the triathlon events in
Lanzarote and London, but
Cozumel Ironman in Mexico
last year was just fantastic.
?The swim over the coral
reef and seeing the fish,
then a flat bike route with
great support on the way,
followed by a fun three-lap
run with supportive crowds
and lively music, was just
fantastic.
?I especially loved coming
in to finish with my friend
Steve Trew commentating,
?You are a seventy-fouryear-old Ironman ? you are
an Irongran!??
It is not difficult to see
where the title of Eddie?s
new book comes from, or
the heartfelt words inside.
I dedicate this book to
the ultimate relay: to my
beloved husband for our
shared times together and
for continuing to inspire me
today, and to my children
for enthusiastically
accepting the baton in
encouraging me to lead life
to the full.?
Proving what a great
leveller sport can be, Eddie
also competes in the same
races as her now-grown
children.
She rattles off upcoming
challenges that she?s keen
to sign up for . . . the
London Triathlon in July,
the Lanzarote Ironman and
the Cozumel Ironman!
So Irongran, who has
even cycled a 3,000 miles
relay across America, isn?t
ready to put her feet up?
?Definitely not!? Eddie
says. n
?Irongran? by Edwina
Brocklesby is in all
good bookshops now,
priced �.99.
SHORT STORY BY TONY REDCLIFFE 79
The Thirteenth
Floor
Being stuck in a
lift wasn?t so
bad when you
had someone to
talk to . . .
Illustration by Sarah Holliday.
T
WO smartly
dressed people,
strangers, stood
side by side,
waiting.
She would perhaps be
two or three years short of
sixty; he had probably
reached that milestone
already.
She wore a tweed suit, a
small silver thistle brooch
in the left lapel, a cream
blouse. He was in a light
grey suit, white shirt, black
and red striped tie.
Behind them, a painted
sign on a frosted glass door
identified the offices of
Courtney & Boyes Financial
Services, where each of
them had had
appointments.
They were both waiting
for the lift to take them
down from the seventeenth
floor of the Baltic Tower
Commercial Building to
resume their normal lives
? separately, of course.
With a sigh and a bump,
the lift arrived and the
doors opened. It was
empty.
The man gave a slight
indication of his hand, and
with a quick smile, the lady
stepped in, and he
followed. The doors closed.
Before pressing any of
the array of buttons, he
turned to her.
?Ground?? he asked.
She nodded.
?Please.?
With a slight shudder the
lift began its
descent.
Both the man and
the woman looked up at
the lit floor indicator,
probably to avoid each
other?s eye.
The numbers descended
rapidly from 17 to 14.
Then the lift stopped.
The occupants waited for
a moment, but the doors
didn?t open. Nothing
happened.
The man stepped forward
and pressed Ground again.
Nothing happened. The
doors didn?t open. The lift
didn?t move.
He gave another hard
jab. Nothing.
For the first time the man
and the woman looked at
each other.
?We?ll give it a minute.
Just a glitch,? the man said.
?Yes,? she replied, feeling
a tad anxious.
They stood in silence, the
man tapping his foot
impatiently.
He pressed the button
again. Nothing.
He looked at the lady.
?I think we should try the
alarm button. Don?t you??
?I suppose so, yes.?
If they expected an alarm
bell to ring, they were
mistaken. There was just a
buzz rather like someone
pushing a front door bell.
They looked at each
other.
From a small grille at the
side of the alarm button
came a man?s tinny voice.
?Hello? Has someone
pushed the alarm? If it?s
that kid again, I?ll ??
?Hello,? the man replied
to the grille. ?We pressed
the alarm because we?re
stuck.?
?Oh, I see,? the tinny
voice replied. ?Not to
worry. It does that
sometimes.?
?Can you fix it?? the man
said.
?No, I can?t, but Stanley
can. He?s used to fixing it.?
The man and the woman
looked at each other. The
woman rolled her eyes and
spoke to the grille.
?Well, would you please
ask Stanley to fix it as soon
as possible??
?Right, lady. How many
of you are there??
?Two of us,? the man
replied.
?That?s not so bad, then,
is it? We?re going to find
Stan now. Trouble is, he?s
on his dinner so we?ll have
to look.
?Sometimes he goes to
the Crispy Cod for a bag of
chips and a small fish, but
sometimes to the Greasy
Spoon for a fry-up, or to
the Butty Bar,? the man
continued, seemingly in no
hurry.
?He goes in the park
sometimes by the
duck pond. He gives
the ducks the crusts, you
see.?
The man blew out his
cheeks in exasperation.
?Just go and get him. We
are anxious to get on with
the rest of our lives.?
?Right, I?m sending young
Tommy to find him. Sit
tight.?
With a click, the line was
disconnected.
The woman looked round.
It was a box of polished
grey steel with a small sign
which indicated a capacity
of six persons.
The man noticed her
looking at the sign.
?Capacity of six,? he said.
?I think they would need to
be six close friends or close
relatives. Close being the
operative word.?
He was trying to be
light-hearted as he sensed
she was a little uneasy.
?Still, there?s just the two
of us. Plenty of room.?
?Yes,? she agreed.
He held out his hand.
?I?m Gordon.?
She took his hand.
?Linda,? she replied, then
looked at her watch. ?Where
is that man??
?Have you somewhere to
go??
?Not really. It?s just being
stuck here like this.?
?Yes, of course,? he
agreed.
There was a pause.
?Do you have
80
interests, hobbies? Do
you make jam??
?Jam? Why on earth
would I make jam?? What a
strange question.
?Sorry. I just thought . . .?
Linda knew he was only
trying to keep her mind off
their situation and she?d
spoken sharply because
she was anxious.
She tried to retrieve the
situation.
?I?m not very good in the
kitchen. I like reading and
the garden and walking.
What about you??
?I like reading: military
history or a good murder.?
not surface.?
Linda shrugged.
?Well, there you are.?
They sat in silence once
again.
?You were in the Finance
place, too, weren?t you??
Gordon said finally. ?They
call me in once a year and
tell me my investments are
either up a bit or down a
bit and I nod and that?s it.?
?I was making a new will,?
Linda replied. ?My husband
died five years ago and I
wanted to make a few
alterations.?
?I see. You?re a widow.
I?m sorry,? Gordon said
?My favourite song is from the
musical ?South Pacific??
?Really?? Her voice
sounded a little weak.
Was it her imagination or
was it getting a little
warmer?
?Standing like this tires
me out,? Gordon went on.
?My legs begin to ache. I?m
going to sit down.?
?The trick is,? he added,
?to put your back against
the wall and slide down.?
And he did.
With some trepidation,
she did the same, then they
were sitting side by side,
their legs towards the
doors of the lift.
They sat in silence for a
while.
?I spy with my little eye
something beginning with
B,? Gordon suddenly said.
?Button,? she blurted out.
?Gosh, you?re quick,? he
said.
?Well, there?s not a great
deal of choice, is there??
she replied.
?Go on, it?s your turn.?
She sighed.
?I spy with my little eye
something beginning with
S.?
He nodded.
?Right.? His eyes went
round the lift.
?Shoe,? he said
triumphantly.
?No.?
?Oh.? He looked around
again and frowned. ?I?m no
good at this. I give up.?
?Surface,? she said.
?Surface? You can?t have
surface! It?s not an object,?
he protested. ?You could
have W for wall or F for
floor or C for ceiling, but
quietly. ?We?re both in the
same boat, then, as well as
in the same lift. I lost my
wife just over six years ago.
It seems longer.?
?Yes,? she said simply. ?I
know what you mean.?
?You know,? Gordon went
on, ?even today I can go
into the kitchen of a
morning and take two cups
and saucers out of the
cupboard, and then I
realise and have to put one
back.?
?It hits me sometimes
when I?m emptying the
washing machine,? Linda
replied thoughtfully. ?I
realise there are no socks.
?I had a terrible habit of
losing socks. Bob used to
say that if a burglar looked
in his sock drawer and
found all those odd socks
he?d think he was in Long
John Silver?s house.?
Gordon laughed.
?You said you like
reading. Is there anything
else??
She smiled.
?I love films. Old
musicals: ?Show Boat?;
?Oklahoma?; ?West Side
Story?; ?South Pacific?. My
favourite song of all time is
from ?South Pacific?. ?Some
Enchanted Evening?.?
Gordon nodded.
?I thought ?West Side
Story? was terrific, but I
couldn?t stand ?The Sound
Of Music?. Much too sweet.
?Although when I was in
America I did stay a few
days at the Von Trapp
Family Lodge in Vermont,?
he went on. ?They ran the
film in the ballroom every
night. Fortunately
attendance was not
obligatory.?
She laughed.
?Do you have a favourite
tune??
?Yes, but not from a
musical. It?s from a
documentary about the
American Civil War. It?s
called the ?Ashokan
Farewell?. It?s very sad, but
very beautiful. You?re on
the internet??
?Yes.?
?Just type it in and listen.
I?ll write the name down for
you if we ever get out of
here,? Gordon told her,
only half joking.
?Thank you.?
Linda looked up at the
yellow indicator that still
stood at 14.
?Come on, Stanley. Two
lost souls on the fourteenth
floor.?
?Actually,? Gordon
corrected her, ?we?re stuck
on the thirteenth floor. Very
few tall buildings or hotels
indicate a thirteenth floor.
They just miss it out, as
people are superstitious.?
?Perhaps with good
reason,? Linda commented.
?Here?s something,?
Gordon began. ?If you had
a choice of who you?d want
to be stuck in a lift with,
who would it be??
She thought for a
moment.
interesting person, don?t
you think??
?Oh, yes. Excellent
choice. And she?d probably
say to us, ?Have you come
far?? We?d say, ?Just from
the seventeenth floor,
ma?am?.?
They both started
laughing.
Suddenly the grille
squawked into life.
?Hello! Are you still
there??
It was the same tinny
voice as before.
?Yes!? they both shouted.
?We found Stan. He was
in the canteen all along,
having spag bol!?
?Good,? Gordon said.
?Can he fix the lift??
?He?s seeing to it now. Do
you want to go up or
down??
?Down!? they both
shouted.
A moment later, with a
slight judder, the lift began
moving.
?Wonderful,? Linda said.
?At last.?
?We?re going to have to
stand up.?
He got to his knees.
?Put your hand on my
shoulder,? Linda told him.
?Thank you. Here we go.
Made it. Give me your
hands.?
With a swish, and with
the indicator light showing
they had reached the
ground floor, the lift doors
Who would she like to be stuck in
a lift with? Good question
?I?ll have to think about
that. What about you??
?Dolly Parton,? he said.
Linda raised an eyebrow.
?It?s not what you think.
She?s a very interesting
person. No dumb blonde
by any means. I saw her in
an interview. She had a
very hard life but
persevered, fending for
herself.
?She seemed genuinely
nice,? he went on. ?And I
like her music. Actually,
she?s quite petite so she
wouldn?t take up much
room, either. And if you
were ever in a tight
squeeze . . .?
Linda started laughing.
?I catch your drift,? she
said. ?Actually, I?d like the
Queen to join us. Such an
opened and two smartly
dressed people stepped
out.
As they did so, a line
from Linda?s favourite song
came into Gordon?s head:
?When you have found
her, never let her go.?
?Look, there?s rather a
nice cocktail bar here on
the first floor. Don?t you
think we deserve a drink?
Perhaps a gin and tonic??
She smiled and nodded.
?Let?s take the stairs.?
Once upstairs they sat
opposite each other at a
small table.
?The thirteenth floor,?
Gordon mused. ?Some
people think thirteen is
unlucky. Well, unlucky for
some, perhaps, but not for
others.? n
Puzzle It Out!
Wordsearch
Find all the female poets in the
grid. Words can run horizontally,
vertically, forwards, backwards or
diagonally.
I
B Y
T A C K E R B S C G R A M
B E N P A R K E R O L
R A E G S Y H
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O L E R E O A T
W C L U T
I
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F T
I
N E E P
L E M A
I
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N O T D C S O P N L N T U
I
T T N U E D U O K P D T
N T
I
C M F D A H H
I
H
I
G S L O A E F U R A S C G
N L O R D E R Y N B M
I
R R O N O S A E L G
R B
I
S
E A D E T W O H P P A S N
Can you fit the listed numbers into the grid?
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B
K
H
A
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O
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D
F
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S
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M
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3 5 7
2 2 6 1
0
9
6
7
8
4
3 7 0
9 0 4 5 5
2
1
2 5 3 9 5 7
8
5
1
8 8
2 0 6
6
1
8 5 2 2 2 7
7
8
7
2 8 5 0
4
4
1 6 0 6
4
4
2
4
2
8
8
3
3 1 7 7
5
6
4 8 1 4 4
5
7
5 6 8 7
8
0
4 0 3 9 0
5
9 3 8
2
7
9 2 7 4 3
3
3
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3 6 1
8 digits
37048144
44242883
58865784
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7 digits
3585580
4253957
8852227
9537436
Wordsearch
T
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A
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5 digits
16068
32850
6 digits
140390
263515
617740
Solutions
A
K
P
G
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U
D
N
C
O
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4 digits
2261
2801
2938
3177
5089
5687
47700
90455
92743
94423
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5 6 8 7
3 digits
170
206
357
361
488
764
938
952
H
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Number Fit
LOY
MILLAY
MOORE
NAIDU
PANKHURST
PARKER
PLATH
RICH
SAPPHO
SINCLAIR
STEIN
WHEATLEY
L E Y M S
W
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B
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ACKER
ALCOTT
ANGELOU
BENNETT
BISHOP
BRADSTREET
BRONTE
BROWNING
DOOLITTLE
DUFFY
GLEASON
LORDE
W H E A T
PUZZLES 83
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
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SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
George has a
plan to catch
the allotment?s
intruder . . .
iStock.
I
NSIDE St George?s
church, baby Sarah?s
christening was turning
into high drama.
The vicar, standing at
the font, tapped his watch
and gave a little cough.
Dave checked his phone
again.
?He?ll be here soon,
vicar,? he said.
Susan exchanged a look
with Dave.
?Your best man,
Stephen,? she said, ?was
late for our wedding, and
now he?s late for our
daughter?s christening.?
?He?s coming from Spain,
Susan. There was a hold-up
at the airport. It?s not his
fault,? Dave replied.
In the front pew of the
church George and Mary
sat on one side, with Mike
on the other.
Sitting next to Mike was
Carol, who?d insisted on
attending the christening
as Mike?s plus one, despite
his objections. He was
trying to see less of Carol,
who was turning out to be
more needy and clingy than
he?d anticipated.
The vicar tapped his
watch again, glaring
towards Dave.
Just then the church door
swung open.
85
Riverside
?Sorry I?m late, all.?
Stephen smiled and
nodded at the guests as he
walked to Dave?s side.
The vicar positioned
himself behind the font.
?We?ll have to make it
quick, I?m afraid. There?s
another christening due in
five minutes.? He pointed
at Susan and Dave. ?You
two stand here and the
godfather is there.
Godmothers to this side.?
Everyone assembled
around the font with the
baby sleeping soundly in
Susan?s arms.
At the church door,
Susan caught sight of the
next christening party who
were ready to come in.
The vicar?s words began,
slowly at first, with
readings and prayers given
until he, too, caught sight
of the party hovering by
the door, wondering what
was going on.
The rest of the service
was completed at speed,
with a sweat breaking out
on the vicar?s forehead.
* * * *
Later, at the Ship Inn,
where the celebrations
were in full swing in the
back room of the pub,
Mike took George aside.
?I heard about the
break-in at the allotments
last week. Who would
break into a greenhouse
and smash plant pots, for
heaven?s sake??
George shook his head.
?Beats me, Mike.You
might want to get someone
else to supply your
courgettes this summer.
Mine are worse than
useless now. I?ve had to bin
them all.?
?I could ask that Simon
chap,? Mike suggested.
?He?s got an allotment on
the same site as yours,
hasn?t he? And he grows
vegetables, too.?
?Simon?? George replied.
?Can?t say I?ve met anyone
by that name up at the
allotments.?
?Tall fella, bald head?
Seemed a nice chap,? Mike
said. ?He came into the deli
caf� last week offering to
grow vegetables for our
summer menu. Said he
would undercut any price
we were already paying.?
George looked at Mike in
alarm.
?It?s all right, I sent him
away with a flea in his ear,?
Mike assured him. ?You?re
our sole supplier, you know
that. But I might ask him
about the courgettes, as
long as it?s OK with you.?
Mike and George both
took a sip from their pints.
?This Simon bloke,
though,? Mike continued.
?Is there a chance he could
be the culprit? Smashing
up your greenhouse out of
jealousy, like??
George shrugged.
?It had to be an inside
job, Mike. The allotments
were locked when I reached
the gate, and the fence
around the site is too high
for anyone to climb.?
?Did the police find
anything?? Mike asked.
?Footprints in the soil,
anything like that??
?Nothing,? George
replied. ?I?m planning a
stake-out up there tonight
to see if I can catch the
culprit before they break
into anyone else?s.?
Mike?s eyes lit up.
?A stake-out up at the
allotments? Do you need
some company??
?I wouldn?t say no.?
George laughed. ?You?ll
need warm clothes as we?ll
be up all night.
?There?s a spot we can
hide in at the back of the
allotment. We?ll keep watch
from there.?
?And if it is an intruder??
?Then we?ll nab him!?
George replied.
?Nab who?? Jim leaned
across the bar.
?George?s intruder up at
the allotments,? Mike said.
?We?re going on a stake-out
tonight to bring down
whoever smashed up
George?s greenhouse.?
Jim looked at them.
?You two? What if it?s a
big fella, handy with his
fists? Let me come, too.?
George thought for a
while.
?Good idea,? he said.
?Both of you, wear dark
clothes and bring a torch.?
Mike gave a mock salute.
?Anything else we?ll need
to bring??
?Just the essentials,?
George replied.
?Do you mean walkietalkies so we can go on
manoeuvres around the
allotment in our hunt for
the assassin?? Jim asked a
bit too eagerly.
George smiled.
?I was thinking more
about sandwiches and a
flask of hot tea! Let the
stake-out commence!?
More next week.
86
Pecking
Order
A Grand
Day Out
The recent picture
of swans from Mrs
P.H. of Wisbech
reminded me of this
image that I took.
It looks like the
mum is telling off
her cygnets and I
would love to know
what they?d done to
receive this ticking
off. I hope your
readers like it.
Mrs P.R., Oundle.
My mother-in-law
Frances loves the ?Friend?,
having been a regular
reader for more years than
she?d probably care to
remember.
She recently celebrated
turning ninety and we all
enjoyed a great day out to
mark the occasion. Here?s a
picture of Frances with her
granddaughter Maisy, who
is nine.
Mrs L., Hereford.
Friends
Between
Write to us at Between Friends, ?The People?s Friend?,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD, or e-mail us at
betweenfriends@dctmedia.co.uk.
Star Letter
My husband and I have
lived in a flat for 10 years
and thankfully, now that we
have a young family, we
finally have a house with a
garden.
We are really enjoying
having this outdoor space
and my husband Jack has
now been able to show off
his creative talents by
building play equipment
and fencing, as you can see
from the picture.
Our children Misty and
Jaiden love playing in the
garden.
Jack is also a children?s
rights campaigner and has
now been spurred on by his
handiwork to make play
equipment to donate to our
children?s school gardens.
Mrs C.R., Essex.
Our Star Letter will receive a Dean?s all-butter shortbread tin
worth �.69 RRP. Consume as part of a balanced diet.
All other printed UK letters will win one of our famous tea
caddies and a pack of loose tea. Our friends from overseas will
receive an alternative prize.
Spreading
The Word
I am a huge fan of your
great magazine and love
the serials, in particular
one you ran last year about
a young family in Arbroath
left orphaned when the
father had died.
When I went to one of my
local supermarkets a lovely
lady called Elaine spoke
with a distinct Scottish
accent. I asked her what
part of Scotland she came
from and she replied that I
probably would never have
heard of it, but that it was
Arbroath. I was able to tell
her all about the serial
you?d printed.
The look of surprise on
her face was a picture and I
think I?ve got you another
fan when I told her all
about the fascinating Willie
Shand articles about
Scotland.
Ms S.M., Australia.
Competition
Winner
Congratulations to
Mrs E. Douglas of
Wishaw, the lucky
winner of a Dyson
vacuum cleaner.
YOUR LETTERS 87
Tracks Of Time
Dog-tired
Eddy was so tired after an adventure week away in a
motor home. The fresh air obviously took it out of him
and he was sound asleep within minutes of getting home,
despite not looking very comfy.
Mrs L.V., Wakefield.
A Garden
To some it?s just a piece of ground, for which some gravel must
be found.
For others, it?s for veg to grow, shrubs to blossom, lawns to
mow.
To some it?s a playground with sandpit and slide.
To others, a haven that fills them with pride.
To some it?s an unkempt extra space, that?s overgrown and full
of waste.
To others, a giant window box to fill with roses and hollyhocks.
For me, it?s nature?s sanctuary, with homes for all the birds and
bees.
A welcome haven, where I find
A soothing, comforting peace of mind.
What is a garden? Large or small, it?s a different thing to one
and all.
Mrs C.C., Devon.
I really enjoyed Gillian
Thornton?s recent article
about the British Mail
trains.
It conjured up memories
of my father, who worked
for the Travelling Post
Office nearly all of his life,
having started off as a
telegraph boy in the
1920s. It was actually
through this job that he
met his future wife.
He was on the infamous
Great Train Robbery train,
although he left at his usual
destination at Preston.
My father retired soon
after and enjoyed many
holidays abroad and, as
you can imagine, put up
with more than a few
tongue-in-cheek questions
along the lines of ?Did you
get a cut?!
Ms L.T., Aberdeen.
Missing Link
The words in order
are Mass, Bank,
Back, Work, Mail,
Snap, Tidy, Love,
Cash, Bath.
The word is
MACKINTOSH.
Crossword
I
N
C
A
R
C
E
R
A
T
E
P H I L OSO
U
A
E
AN
D E P E
C
D
T
T H L E T I C
R
C
H I V E S
P
N
D
T
U F F
E Y E
E
Z
C
E RR I T OR
N
N O
CON C E N T
Pieceword
A
R
A P R
I
A
M N
L
G
E R E
S
S E D
N
I
E
O
S
C
S C E
S
E
Me And Spiderman!
I was visiting my
grandson and his
parents recently
and when I first
entered their
living-room, I
actually thought it
was my grandson
dressed up as
Spiderman.
It turns out his
parents had
bought him the
big model figure
as he?s so keen on
superheroes.
Mrs J.D., Burnley.
Puzzle Solutions
from page 27
Flower Power
I thought you might like
to see this photo of my
lovely amaryllis flower.
This is the second flower
to have bloomed this year
and it?s as lovely as the
first.
I am constantly amazed
by nature?s beautiful
creations.
Mrs E.O., Portsmouth.
D J UD
I
I CO T
O C
ONCH
S
E
C T E D
I
A T E D
U
A
V E R F
N
T
P T R E
S
RRA T
Sudoku
6
9
5
4
8
2
1
7
3
1
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4
5
3
7
6
9
8
8
3
7
1
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6
5
4
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8
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6
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1
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d will
be helping small businesses
survive and grow.?
Peter frowned down at
the table.
?I?ve been lucky, Lillias,?
he said sombrely. ?For
years, after I lost Claire, I
felt like fate had dealt me a
cruel hand. I threw myself
into my business, working
all hours of the day to fill
the huge void in my life.?
?You made time for the
girls, Peter.?
?When they were
younger, maybe. But my
health scare was a real
wake-up call.
?I?m a very lucky man,
Lillias, but there are lots of
people out there struggling
to juggle running
businesses with family
commitments. If I can offer
a helping hand, I?ll feel as if
I?m giving something back.?
He shrugged, blushing.
?Anyway, that?s the
general idea.?
?I think it?s a
60
wonderful idea. I?m so
very proud of you, Peter.
I?m also glad you?ve
resisted the temptation to
step back in and take over
at Dawson?s.?
?I?d have to shove Allison
out of the way to do that!
She is one tough cookie.
And even if I succeeded
pulling fatherly rank on
her, Akbar, Jack and Sally
would have something to
say about it.
?They like the new
regime, and why wouldn?t
they, it?s a good ?un. No,
Lillias, my days at
Dawson?s are well and truly
over.?
?I?m glad. Though I hope
you?re not planning to let
this new venture rule your
life, like Dawson?s did for
all those years.?
?Didn?t I just tell you that
this old dog has learned
new tricks? In fact, on that
subject I was wondering
what you thought about us
signing up for this.?
He pulled a piece of
paper from his pocket.
?Another mini triathlon.
This one is being held in
the Highlands next May.?
?All those mountains will
make for a tough course.?
?But one passing through
beautiful scenery. We could
make a wee holiday of it,
just the two of us. Will you
think about it??
Lillias smiled.
?I don?t need to.?
Just the two of us. She
wasn?t sure what he meant
by that, but decided she
would like to find out.
* * * *
Jennifer gazed around
the kitchen table at her
sisters. It had been her
idea to call them together
while Dad was out.
Kat?s obliging husband
James had agreed to be
packed off with his three
and Angus for yet another
visit to Gareth?s farm.
Kat and Allie clearly
assumed that the only
confession to be heard
related to Kyle. When
Joanne stumbled through
her own confession they
were stunned and then
distraught as they realised
Joanne had put up a brave
front for so long.
A great deal of tea and
coffee was drunk, a great
many biscuits consumed.
When it came to
Jennifer?s turn, it was easy.
These were her sisters and
they loved her. It made it
so much easier to express
her real feelings.
?Go on, then,? she
concluded, ?speak your
minds. What should I do??
?That sort of depends on
what outcome you want,
deep down,? Allie said.
?A happy ever after, just
like in one of Joanne?s
books,? Jennifer replied
wryly. ?But then I wake up.?
?Do you think Kyle loves
you?? This was from Kat.
Jennifer started to shrug
but remembered honesty
was the new rule.
?Yes.? Her voice wobbled.
?And I love him. Seeing him
made me realise how hard
it?s been, pretending not to
miss him.?
Kat reached across the
table for Jennifer?s hand.
?At the end of the day, all
I want is for you to be
happy. I can?t help but feel
that you and Angus would
be happier with Kyle in the
picture, rather than not.?
?Only if Kyle is happy
with Angus also being in
the picture,? Allison said
dryly. ?Are you still certain,
Jen, that he?ll run a mile if
he finds out he has a son??
?I?m not sure of anything
any more,? Jennifer said
wretchedly. ?There?s no
denying that Angus is
Kyle?s son. His hair has the
exact same little kink at
the crown as Kyle?s.
?He has a way of looking
at you, as if he can see
straight through you ? he
gets that from Kyle, too.
?Angus is too young at
the moment, but at some
point he?s going to start
asking questions. I can?t
prevaricate for ever.?
?But you?re loath to tell
him the truth if it turns out
that you?re right and Kyle
doesn?t want to play any
role in his life, is that it??
?Yes, Kat. That?s the
thing that bothers me more
than anything.?
The pensive silence was
broken by Allison.
?It?s dangerous to make
assumptions. People can
confound your
expectations.?
She began to play with a
biscuit wrapper.
?Take Gareth, for
example.?
Now it was Jennifer?s
turn to stare, along with
Joanne and Katrina. Was
Allison finally going to
admit that she and Gareth
were an item?
?Go on,? she encouraged.
?Well.? Allie was now
bright red. ?I thought he
persisted in asking me out
because I?d always turned
him down in the past. I
thought he saw me as a
challenge, nothing more.
?It had become a bit of a
private joke between us.
He?d tell me he liked me,
I?d tell him I wasn?t
interested in being a trophy
girlfriend. But I was
wrong.?
She set the biscuit paper
down.
?I was wrong, in fact, not
only about Gareth but also
myself. I always valued my
freedom, prided myself on
my independence.
?I never thought of myself
as the type to settle down.
Couldn?t envisage meeting
a man capable of making
me change my mind.?
She laughed ruefully.
?Turns out he was under
my nose the whole time.?
Katrina?s eyes were huge.
?Are you telling us you
and Gareth are thinking of
getting married??
?Well, he hasn?t asked me
yet.? Allie?s face split into a
huge grin. ?But I?m pretty
sure that he will. And I?m
certain that, if he does, the
answer will be yes.?
For the third time, the
sisters found themselves in
a huddle of tears and
exclamations, though this
time they were happy in
nature. It was Allison who
eventually called order.
?Kyle might surprise you,
Jen, if you give him the
opportunity. I didn?t take
Gareth seriously for years,
and the biggest lesson I?ve
learned from Dad these
last few months is that life?s
too short.
?You might not get the
answer you want, but you?ll
never know if you don?t ask
the question.?
Jennifer sniffed.
?How did you get to be
so very wise, Allie??
Allison laughed.
?Kat asked me that
recently. By listening to my
big sisters.?
?So, what do you intend
to do, Jen?? Joanne asked
as they all sat down again.
?Call Kyle and tell him
about Angus. It seems so
obvious now. I?ve been
unfair to him.
?And unfair to Angus. It
doesn?t guarantee there?s
going to be a positive
outcome, but as Allie says,
at least I?ll have tried.?
She smiled at them.
?Thank you.?
?Right.? Joanne went to
the fridge and pulled out a
bottle of bubbly. ?This is
one of ours, from our very
own vineyard. We?re not
allowed to call it
champagne, but in my
opinion it?s far superior,
and you lot better agree.?
She popped the cork and
poured four glasses.
?A toast. To sisters. The
best friends any woman
could ever have.?
* * * *
The call came in the
middle of the night a week
later. First Allison?s mobile,
waking her from deep
slumber, trilling away at
her bedside table.
Then the house phone,
ringing insistently in the
hall.
Half-awake, she noted
the unrecognised number,
then heard the thud of
footsteps down the stairs
to answer the other call.
?Who is this??
?Allison, it?s Jack. I?m
sorry to disturb you but I
thought you had to know.?
?Know what??
?There?s been an
explosion at the factory.?
Heart racing, she listened
to the scant details.
?I?m on my way.?
Opening the door of her
bedroom, peering down the
stairs, she saw her dad
setting the receiver back
down, looking shocked.
?That was the police.
There?s been an explosion.?
?I know. I?m going now.
I?ll let you know.?
?Don?t be ridiculous. I?m
coming with you.?
* * * *
Smoke was still drifting
into the air as dawn broke,
though the fire brigade had
managed to get the fire
61
under control quickly.
Miraculously, the cheese
production section of the
factory was undamaged,
but the packaging and
distribution areas had not
got off so lightly.
Allison, still wearing
pyjamas under her coat,
her bare feet clad in her
Ugg boots, gazed around
her in horror. The car park
was strewn with glass
where the windows of the
offices had been blown out.
The air was acrid. Her
nose and eyes smarted.
She couldn?t believe that
this was happening, but
here was an ashen-faced
Jack striding towards her.
?What if this had
happened during the
working day?? Allison said,
her voice shaking. ?Thank
heavens no-one was
injured.?
?Aye, Tommy the night
security guard was the only
one here, but luckily he was
in his little hut and not
doing his rounds when it
happened. He was the one
who raised the alarm.?
Jack gave her a hug. He
was covered in dust, and
seemed to have aged ten
years.?
?What do we know so
far?? Allison asked. ?Was it
the new kit we installed??
?No, it was the boilers,?
Jack answered grimly. ?You
know how much hot water
is needed to clean and
wash down the production
areas every day. Those
tanks are huge.
?Without getting too
technical, one of the valves
was blocked. It stopped the
steam being automatically
released, the pressure built
and the boilers blew. I?m so
sorry, Allison.?
?Why are you sorry? It?s
not your fault.?
?Not technically, no, but
I?m ultimately responsible
as the factory manager.?
?Dad, let me deal with
this,? Allison said gently as
her father joined them. ?It?s
my problem, not yours.?
She pushed her hair out
of her eyes, trying
desperately to think clearly.
?Are we up to date with
our maintenance??
?Of course.?
?This blockage in the
valve, it?s not something
that could have been
building up, is it? I mean,
it?s open or it?s blocked,
right? So whatever caused
it, it happened tonight??
?Yes.? Jack shook his
head. ?I?m not thinking
straight.?
Allison smiled faintly.
?It?s as well I am. It was
an accident, and therefore
our insurance will cover it.
Leave that with me.
?How soon before we get
back into production?
Because we?ve got a whole
load of important orders
that need to go out this
week at the latest.?
?Allison, lass . . .?
She became aware that
both Jack and her dad
were looking at her
pityingly. She had a
horrible premonition of
what they were going to
say.
Things had been going so
well! Orders rolling in . . .
?Spit it out,? she said.
?The good news is that
we haven?t lost any stock.
Those cheese maturation
stores are hermetically
sealed.
?The problem is the
damage to the packaging
and labelling production
lines. In the short term
we?ve got no way even to
portion the cheese, never
mind package and label it.
?The specialist artisan
products could be done
manually at a push, but the
main product ? it?s just not
possible.?
?But some of those
orders are from new
customers. You don?t get
second chances with new
customers!? Allison said,
aghast.
?And the deal with the
pasta company. They?re
launching that new mac
cheese dish based on our
Cheddar. We have to find a
way to fulfil those orders!?
?It can?t be done, love,?
Peter said sadly. ?Jack?s
right. You?re going to have
to cancel them.?
?If we do they?ll never use
us again!? Allison?s voice
was shaky.
?This doesn?t just
threaten our short-term
cash flow, it could put our
entire business strategy at
risk. It could spell the end
of Dawson?s Dairies.?
To be concluded.
On
Reflection
From the
manse window
By Rev. Andrew Watson.
S
OMETIMES the
obvious eludes me. I
mean simple things,
like the effective operation
of a vacuum cleaner.
There I was, giving it my
best shot, attacking the
dust on the stairs without
mercy, but apparently to
no avail. It refused to
budge.
Eventually I cottoned on
to the problem. The bag
was full and ready to
burst. It simply couldn?t
take any more.
One dusty expedition to
the wheelie bin later, with
a new, empty bag fitted,
we were ready to go again
with a fresh blast of
power, clearing all before
us like a mighty whirlwind!
A simple solution in the
end, but one worth
thinking about.
Ironically, it was when
my old vacuum was
emptied that it had the
most power. When it was
full of stuff it was sluggish.
Once it had been cleaned
out it was like a rocket!
Ancient wisdom
suggests great
effectiveness (and perhaps
even true greatness)
actually comes about
when someone humbles
themselves, emptying
themselves in the service
of others.
We like our leaders to
be confident, to know
what they?re doing and
talking about as they set
out their visions and
plans.
However, we?re not so
keen when managers and
politicians on the world
stage seem too full of
themselves.
As our inspiration,
Christians worldwide
remember Jesus.
The hymn by Charles
Wesley expresses it
beautifully.
He left his Father?s
throne above,
So free, so infinite his
grace ?
Emptied himself of all but
love,
And bled for Adam?s
helpless race.
Since his resurrection,
Jesus has been exalted by
God and given ?the name
that is above every name?.
But first he did his most
powerful work by emptying
himself of all heavenly
majesty to suffer for our
sins and offer global
salvation.
Paul suggests we should
follow suit. Instead of
being obsessed with
gratifying our selfish ego,
we should humbly consider
and look to serve the
needs of others.
And there?s no shortage
of opportunity!
We might donate or
volunteer to help an
organisation ministering to
the orphans and refugees
who are fleeing the
theatres of conflict around
the world.
Or simply call for a chat
with a lonely neighbour.
This may require us to
unload some of our
comfort or pride or relieve
our busy schedules of
some less important
things, but these are the
kind of sacrifices which
make us stronger and
more focused in practice.
This week, let?s think of
Jesus and look for an
occasion to do something
humble but potentially
powerful in his name! n
Next week: Barbara
Mosse discusses her
love of books.
THIS MONTH?S BOOKS
This gripping mystery
will keep you guessing
to the end
The Retreat
An Orphan?s War
By Molly Green
The war years
dealt Maxine Grey a
series of cruel blows,
leading to her
accepting a job in
Liverpool?s Dr
Barnardo?s
orphanage. Despite
her own pain, one
boy in particular tugs
at her heart . . .
ISBN: 9780008238971, �99
By Mark Edwards
VVVVV
When a horror novelist books
in for a stay at a writers? retreat,
he soon finds himself in the
midst of a mystery. What
happened to the little girl who
disappeared two years ago?
Was the Red Widow of local
folklore real? This engrossing
tale, set in rural Wales, is a real
page turner.
The Little Italian Bakery
By Valentina Cebeni
Tired of secrets,
Elletra sets out to
visit the Italian
island of her
mother?s birth. But
as the past unfolds,
more secrets
confront her and
only the old recipe
book seems to
show a way
forward.
ISBN: 139781477805176, �99
VVVVV
What happened the day
Lily disappeared?
ISBN: 9781408707951, �.99
bookshelf
VVVVV
On the
Win all four books
Which is the largest Italian island?
a Crete
b Jersey
c Sicily
Calls cost 26p from a
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to May Bookshelf, The People?s
Friend, D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.,
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Lines open at 6 a.m., on Saturday, May 5, 2018 and the winner will be chosen at random
from combined correct entries after 9 a.m., on the closing date of Friday, May 25, 2018. This
competition is open to UK residents only. Competition contact details: Premium Rate Telephone
Services Department, D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD. Helpline:
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Marketing, Copy of your Competition Terms, DC Thomson, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
Shipyard Girls In Love
By Nancy Revell
This is the fourth
in the series about
the shipyard girls.
Set in Sunderland in
1941, it follows
their lives, their
work, friendships
and romances. Life
can be harsh but the
girls are always
there for each other.
ISBN: 9784787460218, �99
VVVVV
63
REAL LIFE 65
?Cats? opened
in the West End
in 1981.
A Golden
Partnership
Fifty years on
from the first performance of
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?, Wendy
Glass pays tribute to its creators
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Photographs by Alamy.
I
N 1968, parents and
teachers at an end-ofterm concert at a
London school were
treated to a 20-minute
musical retelling of the
Bible story of Joseph and
his coat of many colours.
Or, according to Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Tim
Rice?s version of the tale,
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?!
Andrew and Tim had met
a year earlier when
Andrew was a seventeenyear-old Oxford student
who harboured dreams of
composing for West End
musicals.
Tim, four years older,
had recently turned his
back on plans to become a
solicitor and embarked
upon a career writing lyrics
for pop songs.
The young men pooled
their talents and wrote a
musical, ?The Likes Of Us?,
which disappeared without
as much as a rehearsal.
Thankfully, the music
teacher at Colet Court
School in London was a
friend of Andrew?s family,
and he asked Andrew and
Tim to come up with
?something different? for
his choir to perform.
And that?s what he got!
?Joseph And The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat?
was the highlight of the
concert and, six months
later, it had been
expanded to 35 minutes,
had been performed in
St Paul?s Cathedral and
Andrew Lloyd Webber and
Tim Rice had signed a
record deal.
The full-scale version
didn?t make its West End
debut until 1973, following
the success of ?Jesus
Christ Superstar?. Since
then, ?Joseph And The
Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat? has been seen
by over 200 million
people, while the music
and words of Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim Rice have
given us many of the
world?s best-loved
musicals.
The Ultimate Superstar
Inspired by the response
to their version of Joseph
and his coat of many
colours, Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim Rice turned
their attention to the pages
of the New Testament. Their
rock opera, loosely based on
the last week in the life of
Jesus, was initially a concept
album, but ?Jesus Christ
Superstar? was soon wowing
Broadway audiences and in
1972 moved to London?s
West End, with Paul
Nicholas in the title role.
66
Star Quality
Andrew Lloyd
Webber and Tim
Rice were only too
happy to take risks
with the people they
cast in their musicals,
with pop stars and TV
celebrities appearing
in several lead roles.
David Essex was
?Evita?s? first Che
Guevara; Madonna
took the starring role
in the film version of
?Evita? and Jason
Donovan, Phillip
Schofield and Donny
Osmond all received
critical acclaim when
they played Joseph.
The X Factor
Rice and Lloyd
Webber musicals have
been excellent
launching pads for
many musical theatre
mega-stars. Elaine
Paige went from
obscurity to overnight
success when she won
the part of Evita, Lee
Mead soared to fame
when he won the BBC
talent competition to
find the next Joseph
and a young Agnetha
F鋖tskog from Abba
was Mary Magdalene in
the first Swedish
production of ?Jesus
Christ Superstar?.
Argentina?s
First Lady
The power-hungry
second wife of a South
American dictator isn?t
the most obvious theme
for a musical.
However, once Lloyd
Webber and Rice had
worked their magic on
the story of Eva Per髇,
?Evita? was destined for
greatness.
?The fact Eva Per髇 is
so well known is very
much down to the
musical,? Tim Rice
admitted. ?In 1974, she
was buried in an
unmarked grave in
Milan. Now she?s in a
tomb in Buenos Aires
with a plaque bearing
the words Don?t cry for
me, Argentina.?
The Magic of Words
After his partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber
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