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The People’s Friend – 19 May 2018

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Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.
Money-off coupon for Elaine
Everest?s new Woolworths book
7 joyful stories
Make the most of
Jersey Royal potatoes
May 19, 2018 No. 7727
�30
Spring Vegetable Pizza
Unmissable fiction
? Alison Carter?s adventure set on the Isle of Wight
? A sunny Italian romance by Val Bonsall
Jersey Royal Brownies
with Peanut Butter and
Salted Caramel
UK Off-sale date - 23-May-2018
Charming
Kellie Castle
Discover a hidden gem in the East Neuk of Fife
We meet
the stars
of ?Fat
Friends The
Musical?
All about
Britain?s
beautiful
tawny
owls
Free
Pattern
Inside
Knit this
versatile
top in a
soft, silky
yarn
AU $4.50, NZ $4.50
�30
19-May-2018
2
this week
3
Inside The People?s Friend
If you like the ?Friend?
then you?ll love...
On
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The People?s Friend Special
No 157, priced �99
l 8-page 1950s romance
l 14 brand-new short stories
�49
The People?s Friend Pocket
Novel No 861, priced �49
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Print
l A modern romance set at the
seaside by Ewan Smith
Cover Artwork: Kellie Castle, Fife, by J. Campbell Kerr.
All?s fair in
love and
business . . .
UK Off-sale date - 31-May-2018
�49
#861
AU $8.95, NZ $9.80
Available in newsagents & supermarkets
Penny
Wise
Ewan Smith
Fiction
Regulars
Features
4 The Trickster
by Alison Carter
15 Location, Location
by Val Bonsall
21 All Sewn Up!
by Mhairi Grant
23 SERIES Busy Bees
by Della Galton
28 SERIAL About The
Hollow Ground
by Pamela Kavanagh
41 Decisions, Decisions
by Tracy Baines
47 Wallowing
by Annie Harris
53 The Trolley Dash
by Eirin Thompson
58 SERIAL All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
by Josephine Allen
79 The Little Things
by Wendy Clarke
85 WEEKLY SOAP
Riverside
by Glenda Young
7 This Week We?re Loving
13 Maddie?s World
18 Health & Wellbeing
25 Brainteasers
32 Reader Offer: Royal
Wedding Souvenirs
35 The Farmer & His Wife
36 Cookery: tasty recipes to
make the most of Jersey
Royals
51 Our Next Issue
63 From The Manse
Window
71 Would You Believe It?
72 Reader Offer: Gorgeous
Guernsey Lilies
73 Knitting: stunning in
silver, our overtop is
perfect for summer
83 Extra Puzzles
86 Between Friends
8 Willie Shand heads to
Kellie Castle
27 Elaine Everest discusses
her new book ?Wartime
At Woolworths?, plus
money-off voucher
44 Wendy Glass goes
backstage to meet the
stars of ?Fat Friends The
Musical?
57 Malcolm D. Welshman
finds out all about owls
65 We look at the work of
Kieron Williamson,
hailed as a mini Monet!
68 Alexandra Campbell
heads off to the garden
shows
75 Alex Corlett is fascinated
by the unwritten rules of
queuing
81 Is there more pressure
on us to stay young?
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I love this week?s
cover painting of Kellie
Castle, which is a
favourite summer
outing destination for
me. If you decide to
follow in Willie Shand?s
footsteps and visit for
yourself, my tip is to go
early in order to have
your pick of the fresh
garden produce that?s
available to buy. The
strawberries they grow
there are amongst the
best I?ve ever tasted!
Speaking of fresh fruit
and veg, another
seasonal delight, Jersey
Royal potatoes, features
in our cookery section
this week. I can
personally recommend
the Jersey Royal
Brownies, as one of the
?Friend? team recently
baked a batch for us to
enjoy with our morning
cup of tea. You?ll find
the recipe on page 36.
Other highlights this
week include vet
Malcolm D. Welshman?s
look at the enduring
appeal of owls on page
57, Wendy Glass?s
interview with the stars
of ?Fat Friends The
Musical? on page 44
and our article on page
65 about the amazingly
talented junior art
prodigy Kieron
Williamson.
I?ve just time to
mention my favourite
short story in this issue,
Alison Carter?s fastpaced adventure ?The
Trickster?, in which
feisty Florence saves
the day. It?s on page 4.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
twitter.com/@TheFriendMag
4
The Trickster
Set
in 19t
centurhCowe y
s
Illustration by Martin Baines.
I
WOULD woo this
beauty myself, Mr
Martin, this bright star
in the firmament, if I did
not know she was yours
already.?
The speaker was Yves
Perignan, one of the most
dashing men Florence had
ever seen, and he was
bestowing upon her lover,
Christopher Martin, a look
of sly amusement.
?By Jove, monsieur,?
Christopher responded,
blushing furiously. ?I don?t
know about ?mine?. I mean
to say . . .?
?Do not tell me that you
have not made her your
own!? the Frenchman
protested in his pretty
accent. ?She must be the
loveliest creature on the
whole of the Isle of Wight!?
Monsieur Perignan was a
new arrival at Cowes. A
well-dressed, charming
man of thirty-five or so, he
had come by ship to enjoy,
as he described it, ?the new
social whirl that is her
Majesty Queen Victoria?s
island?!
The Queen had only
lately bought Osborne
House and altered it to be
her winter home. The
grand mansion stood just
over the river from the
town of Cowes.
But, as M. Perignan said,
the entire world was
visiting the Isle of Wight
now, in the hope of seeing
the handsome Royal Family
and the young woman who
ruled over half the world.
Christopher had not yet
made Florence King his
own, but she knew he
would. There was no doubt
that they would marry.
Christopher was shy and
slow to act, but Florence
loved him dearly and knew
he loved her.
They had both lived in
Cowes all their lives. She
was the daughter of a
senior customs officer, he
the son of a builder.
The Martins were no
ordinary firm of builders;
they had amassed a great
fortune erecting the island
fortifications for which it
was already well known:
the forts and batteries, the
turrets and towers.
Christopher had lately
taken over much of the
administrative work from
his father and knew his
trade.
The workers loved him,
and he was destined for
great achievement.
M. Perignan had used
the correct word, ?bright?,
to describe Florence King.
Her beauty was outshone
by the qualities of her
mind.
Florence?s mother
sometimes said that she
would make a better
customs man, sniffing out
smuggling and contraband,
than anyone working on
the docks at Cowes.
?There is scarcely a
smuggler left anywhere on
the south coast or on the
island,? Florence told her
mother, laughing.
?Because they know that
Florence King is here, and
sees their ways, and they
are afraid!? Mrs King
declared.
* * * *
M. Perignan had taken
the Cowes social circle by
storm. It was a small group
and eager for fresh
company.
He had arrived one sunny
September morning, a
fortnight before, on a
regular crossing from
Cherbourg.
?England,? he told a small
party at Mrs Walker?s
house, ?is the centre of
things, and this green and
lovely island is the centre
of England!?
It made them laugh.
Florence?s quick
mind was a
match for any
clever man on
the island . . .
?It?s a hilly little lump
that?s drifted off the bottom
of the nation!? Mrs Walker
declared.
?That is very amusing,
Mrs Walker,? the
Frenchman said.
?Thank you, Monsieur
Perignan. Now, more
sherry? And tell us where
you get your neckerchiefs,
because my sons must have
the same.?
?A shop in the Rue
Saint-Jacques, Mrs Walker,
but I will have a dozen sent
when I get home again.?
M. Perignan had secured
introductions to the house
via a relative of Mrs Walker
in Paris, and he had come,
as he said, ?purely for
leisure?.
?I am fortunate to have a
private income. In France
we have no lords and ladies
nowadays, at least not
visible! But there are still
pockets of plenty.?
He hinted at an old
aristocratic connection, and
assured the company that
any animosity between
France and Great Britain
was nothing to him.
?I am an international! I
travel and I learn.?
Everybody liked him,
including Florence.
Christopher admired him.
?Yves is the sort of man I
long to be. He?s unafraid,
you see, and he talks so
easily to all and sundry.?
Florence reached up and
kissed Christopher?s cheek.
?True, but I do not love
Yves, I love you. I hope that
stands for something.?
?Everything in the world,?
Christopher replied.
Florence was bonnie, with
golden hair and a wide
smile that made other
people smile with her.
Her parents loved her
dearly, and were delighted
with the match that they
saw coming with the Martin
SHORT STORY BY ALISON CARTER
family. Christopher was an
excellent businessman and
a good friend.
Knowing she would soon
be Mrs Christopher Martin,
Florence?s father had
suggested gently that she
spend less time on the
dock at Cowes, talking to
the staff and passing the
time of day with the
yachtsmen and fishing
teams.
?What if next spring sees
you a wife, and one with
position??
?A wife may take the
seaside air, Father,?
Florence retorted. ?I like it
there, and I like my
friends.?
Florence?s best friend
(after Christopher, of
course) was Matthew
Caesar. Matthew worked
for the customs office,
taking on any task that
needed doing, running
errands and undertaking
an astonishing variety of
work.
He was of indeterminate
age, and had been working
so long at Cowes that
nobody could quite
remember how he got
there. But he received a
wage and was known to be
indispensable to all.
He was very small ?
several inches below
Florence?s height ? and his
skin was the colour of a
hazelnut shell.
?I was darker in my old
life,? he often joked to
Florence. ?When they freed
me I left the hot places
behind, and now the wind
here on this cold island has
taken my colour away!?
Matthew said that he was
a freed slave, but he never
gave details. It was enough
that he knew more than
anyone about the workings
of a port, and the people
who came and went.
He had many friends
(though none so good as
the customs officer?s
daughter), and the upper
floor of a house on Market
Hill to dwell in.
Matthew had taught
Florence many things: the
right way to eat an oyster;
how to tell if a boat was
overladen; how to pull a
coin from behind a person?s
ear. He and Florence were
as thick as thieves.
?Don?t use that word,
Flo,? Matthew would say,
using his pet name for her.
?There?s thieves enough in
Cowes without us two.?
* * * *
M. Perignan livened up
the evenings in Cowes as
the summer waned, and
when he had been there for
six weeks everybody was
shocked, and said it felt
like yesterday when he had
first come among them.
He planned to go back to
Paris soon.
Invitations came in to the
handsome lodging house in
which he was staying.
Florence heard his name
everywhere she visited.
?He is very . . . French.?
Frances Parker was a
friend with whom Florence
had shared a tutor in her
youth.
?I like that. We hardly see
any Frenchmen after so
many silly wars, and they
are marvellous fun!?
Frances was thought to
be in love with M.
Perignan, but then so were
two other young ladies, and
one older one, and all in
the space of a few weeks!
Christopher invited Yves
Perignan to play billiards
and drink his best wines at
every possible opportunity.
There was even a moment
when Florence heard Yves
make reference to the
possibility of being
Christopher?s best man.
?When you pluck up the
courage to ask that
beautiful lady, my good
friend,? Florence heard M.
Perignan say, ?I?d be
honoured, and would
charter a boat to get me
here if the crossings did not
work for the chosen date!?
* * * *
One sunny morning,
Florence and her parents
visited the Martin house.
It was a comfortable
edifice, built by Mr Martin
senior. It stood on a bluff
among oak trees, looking
east at the Channel.
The old people (as they
called themselves) had
gone inside, feeling the
chill, and Florence and
Christopher were left in the
garden, perambulating the
shrubbery and talking.
The creak of the tall iron
gates made them turn, and
there was the broadshouldered figure of Yves
Perignan striding across
the lawn towards them, his
coat tails flying.
He stopped before
Christopher. Florence saw
a look of anxiety ? almost
despair ? on his face.
?I am a fool,? he cried. ?A
wicked fool, and I came
here because I know that
you are the one man in the
world who will be kind to
me.?
He covered his face with
his hands.
?Good heavens, man!?
Christopher said. ?What?s
happened??
?No, I find that I cannot
5
frowned. ?But surely, Yves,
you are a man of . . .?
Florence knew that he
hated talking about money.
What Christopher wanted to
say was ?a man of
substance?.
?Oh, in Paris I have
plentiful funds,? Yves said.
?But every penny I have
here in England is now in
Rawlin?s pocket, and they
are demanding I pay.
?I understand their
demand ? after all, I am just
some foreigner whom they
do not know; I am an
itinerant with no credentials.
?They will call a constable
if I am not back before noon
with all ??
There was a look of despair on
Yves Perignan?s face
tell you, Christopher, now I
see you. You who are so
good, and honest, and now
will see what a stupid
friend you have.?
?Just say it, Yves. I am
sure it cannot be so bad.
You?re not ill??
M. Perignan took his
hands away and looked at
Florence.
?You see why I urge him
to marry, this man. Miss
King, you deserve such a
husband, when there are
blaggards all about you! I
have gambled.?
?At Rawlin?s??
Christopher asked. ?We?ve
all done the same. It?s
harmless.?
Cowes had acquired its
first gaming club that year,
a small institution that
wanted to be larger, and
advertised constantly to all
gentlemen on the island.
?No, Christopher,? Yves
said. ?Not harmless to me!
At first I wagered modestly
on roulette, and lost, and
drank too much.
?Red had come up, again
and again, and ? oh, now
you will see what a fool you
have before you! I told
myself that red had had its
day, and so then I bet on
the black, again and again.
?None of the good and
true men that I have met
here were near the table; I
wish to God that they had
been. I have lost it all.?
?All?? Christopher
?Don?t be silly, Yves,?
Christopher interrupted.
?That will never do. I can
vouch for you; we all can.?
Yves took Christopher?s
hand.
?And I thank you, my
friend. But . . .? He shook
his head. ?No, I cannot ask
it.?
?Ask what??
M. Perignan hung his
head, and with one hand
pressed the broad lapels of
his cutaway coat against his
chest.
Florence glanced at
Christopher, who blinked.
?You mean ask me to . . .?
My dear fellow, instantly!
The firm?s counting house is
behind the servants? block,
and there is always ample
money in there.
?How much is needed?
Come, we must be frank
with each other. After all,
this is a minor matter,
really.?
?It should not be a matter
at all, because I will have
every penny sent from Paris
as soon as I make my way
back, and I have my
passage booked, so that is
not a problem now I am
temporarily a pauper.?
Yves smiled a wan smile.
?It is a shameful sum,
though ? one hundred and
ninety pounds.?
Florence could see that
Christopher was surprised.
It took some boldness at
roulette to lose so much.
6
But he took Yves by
the arm.
?Let?s go to the counting
house now. Florence?s
parents and mine will never
know.?
?You are,? Yves said
firmly, ?the best of men.?
* * * *
In the counting house
Florence took M. Perignan?s
coat and hung it on a hook.
Then she saw him draw
from his pocket a small, flat
packet with its seal broken.
He unfolded it.
?I went back to my
lodging for security,? he
explained.
?Security?? Christopher
was unlocking a cabinet
with a key that he kept
about his person.
?My dear Christopher,
you cannot think I would
borrow money ? a lot of
money ? from a good friend
without security? I must
and shall be business-like.
?This is a certificate of
shares in a copper mine. I
know not why I had it about
me, but thankfully I did.
?At current prices it will
yield more than a thousand
pounds, and (I again thank
God) it allows me to rest
easy, when you give me the
hundred and ninety, that
you have more than enough
security.?
Christopher took the
certificate and looked it
over briefly.
?Really, Yves, there is no
need.?
?But there is,? Yves said.
?It would pain me beyond
words to think I left for
Paris without you knowing
you can present this in
London, should I turn out to
be a scoundrel!?
Christopher burst out
laughing.
?I refuse your certificate,?
he said.
?I cannot allow that.? Yves
held out the certificate.
From what she knew of
such things, Florence could
see that it was genuine, and
she could also tell that
Christopher saw it was a
valuable piece of paper.
?Well,? Christopher said,
and tucked the paper in his
pocket, ?then to business.?
Florence spoke up.
?I am going to make sure
the old people are safe in
the drawing-room with
their tea and Madeira
cake.?
?Quite right,? Christopher
said.
She was back five
minutes later, and assured
the pair that nobody would
disturb their transaction,
but it was almost done.
There were tears in
Yves?s eyes.
?Never will I forget this
kindness.?
?We?ll joke about it when
I come to see you in the
Rue du Renard,?
Christopher said. ?The time
you were unwise at the
roulette table!?
?On your honeymoon!
You will come then, when
the debt is repaid and I can
give you a real French
welcome!?
?And I can return these
shares to you!?
Yves spread his arms
wide and the two men
embraced for a few
seconds.
?I will embrace you, too,
Yves,? Florence said. ?It has
been quite a morning.?
Yves was damp-eyed
again.
?My two dear friends!? he
said, and embraced
Florence, but with a more
delicate movement. ?I wish
you all the good fortune in
the world.?
* * * *
He was gone a minute
later, and they heard his
feet on the gravel path
back to the lawn, fading
away.
?He is such an interesting
man,? Christopher said.
?Again I say I wish I was
more like him. I don?t think
there?s a person in Cowes
presents
who does not find him
fascinating.?
Florence took both his
hands in hers.
?My darling,? she said.
?You are fifty, no, a
hundred times the man
that Yves Perignan is.?
?Don?t judge him,
Florence. All men gamble
at some time. There but for
the grace of God go I. If I
lived in Paris, for
instance . . .?
?Hush,? she said. ?I have
something to show you.?
She pulled from her
pocket the share certificate.
Christopher?s mouth
opened and closed twice.
?Is that Yves?s paper? It
looks like it.? He patted his
top pocket.
?I don?t imagine it was
ever his, Christopher.?
?But I don?t understand.
Are there two?? He was
tugging at the empty
pocket. ?How did you get
this from me??
She hesitated.
?You know Matthew
Caesar??
?Of course. Everyone
knows Matthew.?
?Just as you and I have
grown up together, so have
Matthew Caesar and I.
From Matthew I learned
many things, one of them
being to ??
?Pickpocket!? Christopher
was horrified. ?You did take
it from me!?
?No, Christopher, I took
it from M. Perignan. He
took it back from you when
he embraced you.
?He doesn?t have it any
more, and soon he will not
have your hundred and
ninety pounds either.
Matthew will relieve him of
it while the ship to
Cherbourg is packing up to
go.?
She looked at the
carriage clock on the desk.
?I sent your man Jones
with a message when I left
this room. Jones is a fine,
quick servant.
?At first, Christopher, I
liked our monsieur just as
you did, and just as the
whole island seemed to.
But everything about him
is a fraud.?
She shrugged.
?Maybe he is French;
who knows. He came from
France, I suppose. But I
dare say we will find that
his letter of introduction
from Mrs Walker?s relative
in Paris was forged.
?It?s almost as easy to
charm a servant as to
charm their mistress, and I
wager Perignan went
around and found a Cowes
resident with a French
connection that he could
employ.?
She laughed at
Christopher?s face, which
was a comic portrait of
astonishment.
?I did wonder why he
came here so long before
Her Majesty will arrive for
the winter with the royal
children.?
?So now he is going home
with nothing??
?I imagine you were not
his only victim, but yes, I
hope so.?
He frowned.
?But wait! The certificate
is genuine??
?Yes, I think so, and so
we have the task of finding
its owner, who is no doubt
a previous sufferer from
the charms of Monsieur
Yves Perignan.
?Christopher, can you
love a girl who is a customs
officer?s child and knows
every trick, and who is
friends with reformed
trickster Matthew Caesar??
?I will love you for ever,
trickster or not,?
Christopher said, and he
put his arms around her.
?What man could not love a
woman with such a mind?
You leave me standing.?
?Let?s test that. It?s a fine
day, so let us walk on the
downs, and see if you can
get the shares certificate
from me.? She waved it in
the air above her head.n
Discover a new way to enjoy our favourite short
stories with weekly audio readings which are easy to
listen to. Each one lasts 15 to 25 minutes ? just the
right length for listening to with a cup of tea!
www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/category/audio
loving
This week we?re
BITS & PIECES
7
Peter Cairns.
A Stitch In Time
Support The Reds!
The Mighty Spitfire
From May 18 until July 1 the
Great Tapestry of Scotland
returns to New Lanark for a
special exhibition with photos,
sketches and memorabilia. Find
out more at www.newlanark.org.
Buy tickets online or at the door.
Charity Trees For Life have launched
an appeal ? they?re hoping to raise
enough money to reintroduce red
squirrels to eight grey-free woodlands
in the Highlands. To support their
work, visit www.treesforlife.org.uk/
appeal or call 01309 691292.
John Nichol?s new book
celebrates not just the machine,
but also the story of the men and
women who worked with this
British icon which changed the
course of history. Published by
Simon & Schuster UK, RRP �.
Press Association.
Emergency Charge
Harry And Meghan
Garden Guardian
This �99 (free p&p) mini charger
is great for those low battery
emergencies when you?re out and
about. Charge it at home then plug it
into your phone when you?re running
low. Available for iPhones and Android
phones from www.asos.com.
The day has finally arrived! This
Saturday sees the wedding of
Harry to Meghan in St George?s
Chapel at Windsor Castle, where
Charles and Camilla?s marriage
was blessed. Rumour has it the
Spice Girls will be performing!
Add a touch of class to your garden
with ornaments inspired by the
stoneworks of the Historic Royal
Palaces. Visit www.historicroyalpalaces.
com to see the range, including this
heraldic lion for � ? a copy of one
at Hampton Court Palace.
Details correct at time of going to press.
The Show Must Go On
iStock.
Doughnut Week
It?s National Doughnut Week
until Saturday, May 19, and shops
up and down the country will be
selling them in aid of the
Children?s Trust. Last year, they
raised �,431 ? so get stuck in
for a good cause!
Aviointeriors.
Standing Room Only
Italian aircraft interior manufacturers
Avio Interiors have unveiled their
design for the future of economy
flights. These ?standing seats? let 20%
more passengers into the cabin, and
may bring ticket costs down to even
more affordable prices.
After spending months in the
cinemas and proving a roaring
success, Hugh Jackman?s pet
project ?The
Greatest
Showman?
is at last
available on
DVD. Find out
what made it
a hit and
enjoy the
great original
score at home
for �99, or
�.99 on
Blu-ray.
88
This
week?s
cover
feature
Charming
Kellie Castle
I
F you?ve ever wondered
what a Scottish
gentleman?s home
should look like, you
couldn?t find a better
example than the grand
baronial mansion of Kellie
Castle some two miles
north of St Monans in the
East Neuk of Fife.
Set within its 1,100-acre
estate, it would certainly do
me, although I hate to think
what the cost of its upkeep
Willie Shand enjoys a day out at one of
Fife?s most attractive stately homes.
might be.
Parts of Kellie Castle are
believed to date from as far
back as 1360 and to the
days when this was the
home of the Oliphants. It?s
now in the care of the
National Trust for Scotland.
If two factors can be
attributed to the castle?s
fine preservation, ironically,
one must be that it lay
derelict for much of the
19th century.
This was a time when
many other great houses
saw huge alterations.
Secondly, and no less
significantly, in the late
1800s it was to be lovingly
and painstakingly restored
by Professor James
Lorimer of Edinburgh.
Kellie was to become his
family summer holiday
home. Beats a caravan!
One of Lorimer?s six
children was the renowned
Scottish architect, Sir
Robert Lorimer.
Prior to the family?s care,
the castle had fallen into
such a state of dilapidation
and neglect that it was
even being used as a grain
store to the home farm.
Who knows what state it
would be in today had it
not been for their
intervention.
From the woodland car
park it?s just a short walk
Photographs by Willie Shand.
Looking across to
the Isle of May.
The walk from the car
park up to the castle.
Factfile
Skeps in bee boles
provided honey.
THIS WEEK?S COVER FEATURE 9
n With its outstanding
Renaissance architecture
and rich interior, Kellie
Castle was a home fit for
royalty. And royal blood
did indeed run through
its veins. Sir Robert
Oliphant, who built
the earliest part of the
castle, was married to a
daughter of King Robert
the Bruce.
n The Lorimers were an
artistic family. Born in
1864, Sir Robert Lorimer
became one of the UK?s
great architects. The
Scottish National War
Memorial at Edinburgh
Castle, Ardkinglas
House in Argyll, and
Portsmouth, Plymouth
Summerhouse in the
garden at Kellie Castle.
up past the pond to the
castle.
The pond is fed by the
Kellie Burn. This morning,
its sheltered waters
rewarded me with almost
perfect reflections.
Up by the castle, the only
activity is a wee lass
chasing and trying to catch
a hen. The hen isn?t having
to work too hard at
escaping her, though, and
almost looks like it?s
enjoying teasing her.
There are a few hours yet
before the castle will be
opening its doors to visitors
? just perfect time to let
me fit in a walk over Kellie
Law immediately to the
north.
As hills go, Kellie Law, at
only 557 feet high, is tiny,
but surrounded by
relatively low-lying
countryside, and with the
Firth of Forth off to the
south, it?s a surprisingly
rewarding climb.
It?s early May and,
although sunny, there?s a
chilly wind blowing in from
the North Sea. It?s true
enough ? ?Ne?er cast a
clout till May be oot.?
You won?t find any
exciting stories of battles
or of much turmoil at
Kellie. The castle has
managed to lead a
relatively quiet life.
What we see today was
never really built for
defence, but rather for
enjoying a grand and
luxurious lifestyle.
But what castle can
survive over 600 years and
not have its ghost?
Passing behind the castle
when no-one else is around
might be just the time to
meet it. The ghost of Anne
Erskine who, for whatever
reason, fell from one of the
upper-storey windows, is
said to haunt the building.
This is a lovely quiet
corner of Fife; just that wee
bit removed from the
busier coastal villages of
St Monans, Anstruther,
Pittenweem and Crail. On a
walk up Kellie Law you?re
not likely to meet many
others.
Coming out on to the
road that runs behind the
castle, I turn right and, with
the Law now on my left,
head for the hamlet of
Carnbee.
The fields are ploughed
A great example
of restoration.
and Chatham Naval
Memorials are just a
few of his many grand
designs. His brother was
the painter John Henry
Lorimer, and his son the
sculptor Hew Lorimer.
n The household
would never have been
short of fresh fruit and
veg. Some 26 varieties
of organically grown
apples are still carefully
picked and stored
through the winter. Each
apple is set with the
stalk downwards and
placed so that no two
apples are touching.
They?ll be checked every
fortnight for damage or
blemishes.
and some spring growth is
already beginning to
appear. As the road gains
height we can begin to
enjoy distant views across
the Forth.
The distinctive lumps of
the Bass Rock and North
Berwick Law make
excellent reference points.
A wee wagtail keeps me
company for a while,
keeking round every now
and again to see I?m not
getting too close.
It doesn?t take long to
explore Carnbee. There are
only a handful of houses, a
red-granite war memorial
and a kirk. A bell rope
hangs down from the gable
of the kirk.
The present church is
only a few hundred years
old. Apparently, when a
condition report was
carried out on its ancient
gothic predecessor and the
outcome wasn?t very good,
this was just what the
minister wanted to hear.
He wasted no time in
knocking it down and
building a new one in its
place.
Just a little above
Carnbee, I leave the road
and join an unsurfaced
farm track aiming for the
hill top. My presence hasn?t
gone unnoticed by a herd
of cattle with young calves.
Happily, there?s a good
strong fence between us.
With gradual, steady
gain in height we?re
10
soon enjoying a bird?seye view over all the
wee fishing ports strung
out along the fringes of the
Forth.
Not far off to the west is
Largo Law, which I stood
on the top of just five days
earlier, and beyond it rise
the Lomonds.
From up here we win a
very different view of Kellie
Castle. I?ve picked a great
day to climb the Law with
puffy white cumulus clouds
to contrast against the
blue sky.
From the summit, rather
than returning by the same
route, I keep west, skirting
the edges of the fields to
round the rear of
Gillingshill House, joining
the Arncroach road at
Gillingshill Reservoir.
This was once two
reservoirs, but the lower
one was drained in 1986.
While the present loch is
no longer used as a water
supply, it?s a great place
for mute swans, mallard,
tufted ducks and little
moorhens.
Flowing down from the
reservoir through a
wooded den is the Dreel
Burn. It was close to where
this little burn eventually
spills into the Forth at
Anstruther that King
James V once had occasion
to cross.
The King was travelling
incognito at the time
dressed as a commoner
but, just the same, with the
river?s stepping stones well
covered by water, he had
no desire to get his royal
feet wet.
It just so happened that
Towards the Forth
from Carnbee.
a beggar woman noticed
and recognised him.
The King was happy to
accept her offer to carry
him across on her back.
She was to be well
rewarded for her assistance
as, when safely across, the
King paid her not in
coppers, but in gold.
A pleasant path through
beech, ash, elm and
sycamore leads down
through the den above the
burn. The grassy banks are
covered in wild primroses.
Approaching the village
of Arncroach, we pass one
of the East Neuk?s rare
road way-markers. Set on
its tapering iron column,
the sign states the miles to
10 different places, the
direction indicated by two
pointing hands.
Arncroach is looking
colourful this morning with
its daffodils and flowering
pink and white cherry trees.
From here, the Carnbee
road provides a nice easy
return to the castle,
passing Kellie Castle Farm
as we go.
One of the unique charms
of Kellie Castle is its
magnificent ornamental
plaster ceilings.
When the 3rd Earl of
Kellie commissioned his
plasterers in the 1660s, it
seems no expense was
spared. You?ll find at Kellie
four of the finest
plasterwork ceilings in
Scotland.
Another charming feature
of Kellie Castle is its secret
garden ? a veritable
sanctuary hiding behind a
door in a high stone wall.
This sheltered garden was
The pond, a tranquil place
beside Kellie Castle.
designed around 400 years
ago and, after almost a
century of neglect, was also
restored to its former glory
by the Lorimers.
With colourful herbaceous
borders, old-fashioned rose
beds and age-old apple
trees, within this magical
space it?s easy to lose track
of time.
Should you wish, though,
you can still keep a check
on the hour with the
Armillary Sphere sundial on
the central walkway ? if you
know how to use it.
From wicker bee skeps
set into bee bole recesses
in the wall, the family would
have had their own supply
of honey ? a valuable
commodity in the days
before sugar became
readily available.
It?s hard to imagine that,
before the Lorimers fell in
love with Kellie Castle,
every window-pane was
broken, the roof leaked,
ceilings were sagging and
birds were nesting in the
plaster cornices.
Rather fittingly, on the
lintel above the castle
entrance door is a Latin
inscription. It simply
translates ? ?This mansion
snatched from rooks and
owls is dedicated to honest
ease amidst labours.? n
Getting there
By car:
Kellie Castle
and Gardens
stand just
outside
Arncroach
about 10
miles south of St
Andrews and three miles
north of Pittenweem off
the B9171.
By bus: the WD1 from
Pittenweem travels close
by, and the X60 travels
from Leuchars train
station to Pittenweem.
By train: the best bus
connections run from
Leuchars train station.
Want to
know more?
Kellie Castle is a
National Trust for
Scotland property
www.nts.org.uk
Tel: 01333 720271
Open 10 a.m. ?
5 p.m. but closed
on Fridays.
For National Trust for
Scotland Properties
and opening hours:
www.nts.org.uk
www.visitscotland.com.
MADDIE?S WORLD 13
It looks as if someone?s
been rifling through
the store room
Photographs courtesy of Maddie Grigg.
W
In her weekly column,
Maddie Grigg shares
tales from her life in
rural Dorset . . .
ORK is
moving on in
decorating
the Grigg
house.
Michelangelo and my
husband have been hard at
work in the dining-room,
reaching the parts other
painters cannot reach.
Our house is one of the
oldest in the village. From
the front it looks like a little
two-up, two-down, but
inside it?s a TARDIS. At the
back of the house is our
kitchen and dining-room,
which was, many years ago,
an old stable.
This means that the
ceiling is rather high and
you?d have to be Twizzle
(remember him?) to get a
paintbrush near it.
Mr Grigg?s ?village
ladder? was on standby for
the job until he had a
brainwave. He?d borrow the
scaffold tower that was
buried in the depths of the
storeroom under the stage
at the village hall.
He and Michelangelo
went to the hall to collect
it. It was all in bits and
needed some concentration
to assemble, as you would
for that flat-pack furniture
you get in Ikea.
He and Michelangelo
were battling to put up the
tower in the dining-room,
when the doorbell rang.
?Could you get that?? he
shouted upstairs to me.
I was working at my desk,
which is currently in our
bedroom while the spare
room/office is out of action.
I was trying to conjure up
the appropriate words and
feelings for an important
passage in an historical
novel I have always
promised myself I would
write.
It?s set in the 17th
century, and revolves
around the Monmouth
Rebellion of 1685, in which
a number of my ancestors
fought (on the rebel side, of
course).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
wrote a book about it ?
?Micah Clarke? ? but it?s
largely been forgotten by
the writers of today. I?ve
taken it upon myself to
redress the balance but, to
be honest, I?m struggling.
Anyway, I digress.
Unfortunately, when the
call came for me to answer
the door, I wasn?t listening
to music through my
headphones, which I usually
do when I?m writing.
The reason for this is that
it blocks out unnecessary
noise, such as Mr Grigg
yelling at me from afar.
I had no option other
than to stomp down the
stairs, more noisily than I
should have because I was
trying to make the point
that just because he?s
retired, it doesn?t mean
that I am and can respond
to his requests.
The sooner I can get a
writing shed in the garden,
the better. After all, he?s
got a pizza oven to play
with, so it?s about time I
had my shed.
Downstairs, I opened the
front door to find Mr
Woodbine, a village
stalwart and long-serving
member of the hall
committee, standing
outside.
?Sorry to disturb you,? he
began. ?I was wondering if
Mr Grigg was around. I?ve
been up to the hall and it
looks as if someone?s been
rifling through the store
room.?
Ha! Mr Grigg was busted.
As chairman of the hall
committee, he hadn?t
thought anyone would miss
the scaffold tower.
?Do come in, Mr
Woodbine,? I said.
?A visitor for you, Mr
Grigg,? I announced on
entering the dining-room.
He looked up from the
disassembled scaffold tower
and spoke quick as a flash.
?Oh, Mr Woodbine, you
couldn?t give me a hand
putting this together, could
you??
The cheek of it! Then he
had the audacity to ask me
to put the kettle on.
He didn?t even say please!
I made the tea and then
went back upstairs while
they got on with it.
I?m sure there is a part for
a character like Mr Grigg in
my historical novel.
The moral of this story is
never upset a writer. You
might end up in one of their
stories. n
Many hands make light work ?
at least that?s the theory!
SHORT STORY BY VAL BONSALL 15
Location, Location
Daytime television
had a lot to
answer for,
according to
Frederico!
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
F
REDERICO blamed
all those programmes
on the British
television. The ones
encouraging people
to buy dilapidated old
wrecks of houses and do
them up.
From his memories of his
two-year stint spent working
in the UK, they were on all
day, every day!
Locations in the warmer
climes were the most
popular ? France, Spain,
Portugal, and of special
interest to him since it was
his homeland, and where he
had now returned to live,
Italy.
Well, if you had a leaky
roof, he imagined a bit of
sunshine helped!
Getting into his car to
drive to the nearby town
where he worked, Frederico
scowled across at the little
house that was his only
close neighbour.
It had been empty for
years.
Then, last week, she?d
arrived in a dusty car with a
UK registration plate.
Jilly, her name was. She?d
come over to his house and
introduced herself ? in
Italian, for which he
grudgingly gave her a star,
since she had at least
troubled herself to learn the
language.
Mind you, when he?d
replied in English,
explaining about his sojourn
there, she?d seemed happier
to continue that way.
He learned that she came
from Devon. He?d been
there. It was very pretty, he
recalled.
So why hadn?t she bought
herself a little house there
as a renovation project?
He scowled some more as
he started up his car.
He knew somewhere
inside him that he was
being unreasonable. But
the thing was, he?d moved
into the house he was living
in because of its quiet
? some people would say
rather lonely ? location.
After the way it had
ended with Sophia, that
was what he wanted, to
hide away, even though his
mother said it was the
worst thing he could do.
?You must not cut
yourself off, Frederico. You
will be better meeting
people,? she constantly
lectured him.
But she, he was well
aware, had an agenda. She
wanted him, her only son,
married.
Both his sisters were
married and had children.
But that wasn?t enough for
her. He sighed.
Jilly was out in her
garden as he drove past.
She gave him a friendly
wave and he felt guilty
about his less-thanwelcoming attitude.
It wasn?t all about his
selfishness, he decided.
There were other reasons
she shouldn?t have come.
They made it all look so
easy on TV. But it was
hard, physical work and,
frankly, she didn?t look up
to it.
She had the pale
colouring that burned in
the sun and a general
fragility about her.
He couldn?t see her up a
ladder, that was for sure!
That was, however, where
she was when next he saw
her.
There she was, appearing
to be trying to clamber up
on to her roof.
It was just a single-storey
structure. But even so . . .
Without thinking further,
he hurried out to her.
She was already
retreating down the steps
? taking them very
carefully, he noticed.
The land surrounding the
house, neglected for years,
had been taken over
principally by spiky plants.
Not a soft landing were you
to fall.
And he knew about that,
he reflected, as Sophia?s
face popped into his head.
Yes, he was an expert on
hitting the ground hard.
?It needs retiled.? Jilly?s
voice interrupted his
thoughts.
She pointed up to the
roof.
?I?m getting someone to
come and give me a quote.
I saw an advert, but I
thought I?d take a look
myself beforehand.?
She paused.
?I?ve never had this kind of
job done before, Frederico,
so I don?t know how noisy it
will be. But if it disturbs you,
let me know and I?ll see if it
can be completed when
you?re out.?
?Thank you.? He nodded.
She was if nothing else a
thoughtful woman.
?Who is it you?ve got
coming? I know a lot of the
local tradesmen.?
She supplied the name.
?Do you know him? Is he
OK??
Frederico paused.
He had been at school
with him and he was bone
idle and a cheat. As far as
he?d heard, he still was to
this day.
If she wanted shoddy work
and a big bill, he was her
man.
But you didn?t behave like
that, did you?
?My cousin Luigi is in the
building trade, and very
good,? he said instead. ?How
about I ask him to have a
look at it for you??
It was true about Luigi. He
wasn?t just singing his
praises because he was
family.
?Would you? Oh, I?d
16
be so grateful if you
could arrange it!? She
beamed as though he?d
just given her the world.
He nodded again, unable
to remain unaffected by the
pure radiance of her smile.
And he was not the only
one, as he discovered a few
days later . . .
* * * *
?Luigi says your new
neighbour has a most
lovely smile.? Frederico?s
mother, seated opposite
him in his kitchen, gave
him a searching look.
Busy pouring coffee for
them, he didn?t reply.
?Ah, well, I will see for
myself shortly,? she
continued.
?How?s that??
?She told him she wanted
to learn how to cook
proper Italian food and
asked if there was a school
in the town he could
recommend. A school!?
She laughed, clearly
finding the idea highly
amusing.
?I told him to tell her she
didn?t need any school,?
she added. ?I would give
her lessons. Which is where
I am going now.?
?Mother!? He nearly
dropped his coffee.
?What is wrong with
that?? His mother gave him
a fierce look. ?Are you
suggesting I am not a
sufficiently good cook to
give lessons??
?Of course not! It?s
just . . .? He shrugged,
again unsure of quite what
it was.
* * * *
Shortly after, he was
away for a month at the
company?s head office.
When he finally got back
? fairly late in the day,
after a very long drive ? he
noticed immediately the
smart new roof on his
neighbour?s house.
Luigi had done a good
job, as he?d known he
would.
There were other
improvements that were
immediately obvious, too.
The land around had
been cleared, and a
window that had been in
bad condition refitted; the
door, which had had a huge
gap at the bottom, had
been replaced, too.
Jilly was up a ladder
painting it. She looked a lot
more confident than when
he?d first seen her up it.
She waved, so he parked
his car and went over to
her.
In telephone calls from
his family while he?d been
away, he?d learned that his
mother, grandmother and
one of his sisters, too, now
seemed to be regular
visitors to Jilly.
He loved his family, he
really did, but they could
be a bit overpowering.
Especially to someone like
Jilly, who was clearly a
solitary sort of person.
Why would she have
taken on a house in this
location unless, like him,
she wanted to be away
from people?
He started a clumsy
apology, but she stopped
him.
?I love having them
coming round.? She smiled
at him. ?You look tired. Will
you join me for a meal?
Save you cooking.?
He started to protest, but
so did she.
?Come on, I know from
your mum all your favourite
dishes and I?ve got the
ingredients to make at
least three of them!?
He smiled, too. How
could he say no without
seeming very ungracious?
* * * *
The food was delicious.
Quite as good as anything
he?d ever eaten, though he
wouldn?t dare tell his
mother that!
They took the remainder
of the wine he?d brought
outside and sat at a table
Jilly had contrived ? rather
ingeniously, he thought ?
from the discarded old
door and several empty
olive oil cans.
?What made you come
here?? he asked her. ?Do
you have connections
here??
She shook her head.
?No connections at all. I
was out of action for some
time after I was involved in
a bad accident, and
because I couldn?t do much
else, I watched a huge
amount of daytime
television.?
She laughed.
?I don?t know whether
you ever saw any when you
lived in the UK, but there?s
a load of programmes on
about doing up old
houses ??
?I remember them!? he
interrupted, also laughing.
?Yes. Well, it became an
ambition of mine, I
suppose. A dream for the
future. I decided that, when
I got better, I?d buy
somewhere and renovate it
and the process of doing
that would complete my
own healing.?
She was silent a while.
?I think it has, too,? she
continued.
He looked at her in the
light of the candle on the
makeshift table,
remembering his first
impressions of her.
The pale skin he?d
expected to burn hadn?t.
Instead it had gone a
beautiful golden colour.
And the air of
helplessness that had
concerned him was gone.
?I came here feeling
weak,? she said, ?but now
I?m strong again.?
Her words kept returning
to him as they finished the
wine.
He, too, had come here
in a weakened state. But
not because of physical
injury, like Jilly. With him it
had been emotional
damage.
The way Sophia had
thrown him over had hurt
him badly. He?d just
wanted to be alone.
But now that was
changing. Had already
changed.
The truth was, he never
thought about Sophia now.
He?d missed Jilly while
he?d been away. It hadn?t
been just eagerness to
return to his own home that
had kept him going on the
drive back ? it had been his
eagerness to see her again.
Suddenly she sighed.
?Are you all right?? he
asked.
?Yes. But I need to go
back home at the
weekend ??
?The weekend??
He saw from her face that
she?d seen the alarm in his,
but he didn?t care.
Their eyes locked.
?Just for a couple of weeks
and then I?ll be back,? she
said. ?A lot of my work I can
do from home, and this feels
like home now. And if there
are problems I?ll do
something else. I?ll sort it
out somehow.?
?I?ll help you,? he said.
?We?ll sort it out.?
Their eyes locked again ?
and then their lips.
* * * *
His mother accompanied
him to see off Jilly. Then,
while he watched the
aeroplane till it was just a
speck, she suggested they
take the opportunity to go
shopping.
?Oh, our poor Jilly,? she
said as they drove along.
?She?ll be missing us the
same as we are missing her.
What will there be on TV for
her to watch tonight??
He shot his mother a
baffled look.
?You yourself said,
Frederico, when you were
living there, that the
television was awful.
Nothing but endless
programmes about doing up
old houses.?
He laughed till tears
streamed down his face and
he had to pull in. He had
said it, yes, but now he?d
changed his mind.
In his eyes, they were the
best things on TV! n
You?ll find recipes, features, a daily serial and great
subscription offers at www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk
wellbeing
18
Health &
Great advice to keep you happy and healthy.
My grandson was visiting recently and I noticed he had a rash at
the back of his knees, which he was scratching. What could this be
and can I buy anything to relieve his discomfort?
Dr Emma
Wedgeworth,
Consultant
Dermatologist
and British Skin
Foundation
Spokesperson,
is here to help.
This sounds most like atopic eczema,
which very commonly affects the
creases of the arms and the back of
the legs. Atopic eczema causes red,
dry itchy patches.
Start by avoiding anything that
might be making it worse, such as
foaming washes or bubble baths.
These dry out the skin and weaken
the barrier function. Apply a
fragrance-free moisturiser
(emollient) on a regular basis. Your
pharmacist will be able to help you
select a suitable one.
Choose thicker ointments if the
patches are more severe, or lighter
creams for milder areas.
If this doesn?t help, it would be
wise for your grandson to be seen
by his GP who can advise on further
treatments, such as mild steroid
creams.
In The News Tap Into Help
iStock.
Bursts
Of Energy
If you are struggling to
get anywhere near the
recommended 150
minutes of exercise each
week, take heart from
new research which shows
short 10-minute bursts of
activity could be enough
to slash your risk of dying
early by more than half.
The US study showed
six brisk 10-minute walks
peppered throughout the
day (an hour in total) cut
your risk by 57% and
reinforced the dangers of
inactivity ? less than 20
minutes of activity a day
puts you in the highest
risk bracket.
Those people with
underlying health issues
should check with their
doctor first.
The NHS is currently
reviewing and trialling a variety
of different health-related apps,
many of which can be
downloaded for free on to your
smartphone:
? myCOPD ? helps people with
COPD better manage their
condition
? Chill Panda ? learn to relax
and manage worries
? SilverCloud ? an online course
to help manage stress, anxiety
and depression
? FearFighter ? an online course
for people who struggle with
phobias, panic or anxiety
? Evergreen Life ? a personal
health record app which
stores your health information
in one place
? Active 10 ? gets you in the
habit of walking briskly for
10 minutes a day
? Patients Know Best ? works
with the NHS to give you
access to your medical records
? Talking Point ? an online
community for anyone
affected by dementia
Health Bite
Tahini is a Middle Eastern paste made from
ground-up sesame seeds which is seeing an
explosion of popularity thanks to the everincreasing number of people turning
vegetarian and vegan.
It is a fantastic vegan source of calcium and
is high in vitamin E and B vitamins, as well as
being rich in the minerals phosphorus,
lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Importantly, tahini is a great source of
heart-healthy fats and amino acids, meaning
it can help regulate blood pressure and
cholesterol even for those who like a little
meat in their diet.
You?ll find jars in large supermarkets and
health food stores ? blend it with chickpeas
to make your own hummus, or use it to
create creamy and nutritious salad dressings.
We are unable to offer individual advice to readers. Please see your own GP if you have a medical problem.
HEALTH 19
Lifestyle
changes can
reduce your
risk
Sound Sleep Tip
If you?re prone to anxiety it
might be time to ditch the
lightweight feather duvet in
favour of heavier old-fashioned
blankets, because studies show
sleeping under a weighty cover at
night really can ease anxiety and
aid restful sleep.
It seems a heavy covering
provides a comforting, cocoonlike feeling that makes it easier to
fall asleep and stay asleep, and
studies show it has measurable
physiological effects, reducing
levels of the stress hormone
cortisol and increasing levels of
the sleep chemicals melatonin
and serotonin.
Heartbeat And Stroke
Our Health
Writer, Colleen
Shannon,
looks at ways
to protect
yourself.
O
VER a lifetime, one in six men
and one in five women will have
a stroke. The prospects for
recovery are much improved these
days, thanks to better awareness and
treatment.
However, stroke still claims
thousands of lives each year and
remains a leading cause of disability,
so anything we can do to help prevent
one is incredibly worthwhile.
Lifestyle changes like stopping
smoking, keeping a healthy weight and
watching alcohol intake are well-known
steps we can all take.
But many are unaware that it?s also
important to diagnose and manage a
condition called atrial fibrillation (AF),
which means an irregular heartbeat.
Having untreated AF makes your risk
of stroke five times higher.
To learn more about AF and stroke,
I went to Esmee Russell, Head of
Prevention and Campaigns at the
Stroke Association.
She explained that during a stroke,
the blood supply to part of the brain
is cut off.
It?s thought that AF is linked to
stroke because it can cause blood
clots to form in your heart. These clots
can travel through your blood vessels
to the brain, blocking the circulation
and causing a stroke.
For many people with AF, the first
sign might not show up until a routine
pulse check. If it?s irregular, you might
be sent for further tests.
When AF does cause symptoms,
these can include heart palpitations,
breathlessness, chest pain or fatigue.
Some conditions increase the chance
of developing AF. These include
coronary heart disease, damaged
heart valves, overactive thyroid gland,
high blood pressure, lung infections
and a blood clot in the lung.
Too much alcohol or caffeine, or
smoking, can also trigger an episode.
If you?ve been diagnosed with AF,
it?s important to agree a treatment
plan with your doctor. Blood-thinning
medicines (anti-coagulants), are
sometimes taken to prevent blood
clots. There are different types and
they may not be suitable for everyone,
so talk to your GP about the options.
Your doctor may also recommend
medication to regulate your heartbeat.
Different types work in different ways.
You may need to try a few before you
find the one that suits you best.
Effective treatment is also important
because strokes caused by AF are
often more severe, yet avoidable.
To prevent a stroke it?s vital to
manage other medical conditions well,
including high cholesterol, diabetes
and high blood pressure. It?s wise to
have your blood pressure and heart
rate checked regularly.
Always see your doctor if you?re
worried about AF.
You?ll find lots of information on the
Stroke Association website ?
www.stroke.org.uk ? or call the Stroke
Helpline on 0303 3033 100. n
First Aid
For Feet
If you are plagued by hammer
toes or painful corns and
calluses, it might be worth
slipping one of these small
rubber caps over the affected
toe to reduce friction and relieve
pressure.
The caps, which come in
different sizes, create a barrier
to stop shoes rubbing and so
should bring welcome relief.
Gelex All Gel Toe Cap is �49
from www.physioroom.com.
SHORT STORY BY MHAIRI GRANT 21
All Sewn Up!
Izzy had an exciting new idea.
Would Danny like it?
Illustration by Helen Welsh.
I
ZZY tilted her head up
to the sun and felt its
heat on her face.
She closed her eyes and
sang the theme tune
from the new Morecambe
and Wise show which was
proving to be a big hit.
?Bring me sunshine, in
your smile,? she sang,
because she thought she
was alone.
The words suited her
mood. It was spring and
Izzy loved the spring.
She was picking some
daffodils from her garden.
She would like to give them
to Danny, as yellow was his
favourite colour and he?d
often comment on the
flowers in the park. But
that would be too forward.
Danny maintained the
sewing machines at the
factory where she worked
and made her laugh.
For a moment she was
tempted. She could sneak
them on to his work bench
when he wasn?t looking, as
a thank-you for all his
positive comments and
making her working day a
pleasure.
?Your dolls are special,?
he often said, picking up
one of her cloth dolls. ?You
are a very talented lady,
Izzy Carter.?
Izzy was the head
machinist and took pride in
what she did.
She loved making the
dolls. They were a limited
range and only for more
experienced machinists.
She put her heart into
making them, and she gave
each one a personality.
Some of her dolls were
cute, others cheeky, or
winsome. Sometimes it
seemed to Izzy as if the
characters emerged of their
own accord.
Danny swore that he
could pick her dolls out
from those of the other two
machinists.
Izzy smiled. The very
thought of Danny, with his
ready smile and workroughened hands, was
what quickened her step to
work.
?Bring me fun, bring me
sunshine, bring me love!?
She flung her arms out
and stopped with a
flourish.
?What a caterwauling on
a beautiful morning.?
Izzy smiled.
?Good morning to you,
too, Ed.?
Ed was her next-door
neighbour. Newly retired,
he liked to think he was the
bane of her life, but in
reality he was a
sweetheart. But she went
along with the persona he
liked to portray.
?These are for Bella,? she
said, handing him a bunch
of daffodils for his wife.
He gave her a mock
glower.
?What is wrong with
giving me flowers??
?I wouldn?t like to
encourage you.?
?True. I prefer my
admirers younger.?
?Edward Barker!? Izzy
exclaimed. ?I?ll have you
know I?m only thirty-three!?
?That old? You?ll be going
to the pensioners? tea
dance next.?
?Not if I have to dance
with a grumpy old man, I
won?t.?
Ed cracked a smile. He
loved it when she answered
him back.
?You wouldn?t be able to
keep up with me.?
?I would stamp on your
toes,? she teased.
?Why bother, when you
can make one of your dolls
and stick pins in him??
?Now, there?s an idea!?
It was a Sunday, and all
day the off-the-cuff remark
settled in her head.
She worked in a small
family firm and often her
Set in
the
1960s
ideas on new product lines
were sought. So far all the
dolls had been female. But
there could be a male line
of dolls.
Izzy looked out at the
daffodils and thought of
Danny. For two years now
they had sat next to each
other in the canteen, given
each other lifts to work,
supported each other?s
ideas and shared laughs.
But it was only recently,
when Danny had been off
sick with the flu, that Izzy
realised there was a great
big Danny-shaped hole at
work and that the day had
lost its lustre.
It had been a revelation.
No, she was not going to
give him daffodils. Danny
had given no hint that he
saw her as anything other
than a friend, and she
didn?t want to ruin that
friendship.
Still, he could be the
inspiration for a new range
of dolls.
* * * *
?Are you coming to the
canteen??
At lunchtime Izzy looked
up from her sewing
machine to see Danny
standing there.
?Not today. I?ve got
permission to try out a new
doll and I?m playing around
with a few ideas.?
Danny made a move
towards her and she put
out a hand to stop him.
?It?s top secret!?
?Oh,? he said, stopping.
?Can I bring you anything
from the canteen??
?Yes, a tuna roll with ??
?? extra mayonnaise and
tomato. Coming up!?
Izzy watched him go. She
was breaking their routine
and she felt her stomach
doing a double flip.
He wasn?t conventionally
handsome, but his eyes
held a kindness in them,
and he had patience which
she could only aspire to. It
was this that she wanted to
capture in the doll.
It took a few rolls and
many discards before Izzy
was happy with the result.
But Danny wasn?t quite his
cheerful self.
It had been a few days
since she?d heard him sing
a silly song or joke with the
girls. Instead she was
aware of the anxious looks
he had cast her way.
?I promise you will be the
first to see the doll,? she?d
said on one of his forays
from the canteen.
That was yesterday, and
today she?d told him she?d
be eating in the canteen.
The doll was finished.
Izzy knew that
SERIES BY DELLA GALTON: PART 7 OF 30 23
Danny would realise he
was the inspiration for
its creation. After all, the
doll was wearing dungarees
and carried a spanner. But
would he realise she?d
stitched her love into the
doll?
Now, as they sat
together, Izzy was nervous.
Her heart was on a
marathon run and there
was a tremor to her hand
as she showed him the doll.
?The management
thought a male line of dolls
would be a good thing.?
Izzy couldn?t bring herself
to say that it had been her.
As she looked at the doll in
Danny?s hands, she thought
that he couldn?t possibly
see what this creation
meant to her.
?It?s special,? she blurted
out, then felt her body heat
up with embarrassment.
?But the management
might not like it.?
Danny looked at it
without commenting.
Izzy started to eat but
she could barely swallow.
Then he looked from the
doll to her.
?Do I look like that??
?Better, but I?m not
perfect. I tried to capture
your essence ? you know,
capable and patient.?
Shut up, Izzy?s mind
screamed. She would give
the game away.
She tried to think of
something funny to say but
came up short.
?I think management will
love it,? he said eventually.
?Do you??
?I really do,? he replied
and they both started to
eat, each preoccupied with
their own thoughts and
saying little.
The next day, as Izzy
approached her work
station, she stopped dead.
A bunch of daffodils lay
next to her machine.
Izzy picked up the card.
To a very special lady.
As you missed so many
lunches this week, would
you like dinner tonight to
make up for it? Danny.
Izzy looked up to see
Danny watching her. She
gave him a thumbs-up and
he blew her a kiss, then
danced a jig of delight.
?Idiot,? she mouthed with
a grin, and they both
dissolved into laughter. n
Busy
Bees
Suzy is hoping she and Josh will
have their first kiss . . .
I
T was the morning after
the party and Elizabeth
and Rita were in
Elizabeth?s kitchen.
?I don?t know about you,
but I thought things went
off well,? Rita said over
their second cup of tea.
?Do you think?? Elizabeth
frowned. ?I?m sorry about
your beautiful pudding
bowl. Who did bring that
dog, anyway??
Rita waved a hand.
?I?ve got plenty more.
Apparently it was your new
neighbour, Val, only she
didn?t bring it on purpose.?
Elizabeth raised her
eyebrows and Rita cleared
her throat.
?The dog?s a stray that
turned up a couple of days
ago. She?s looking after it
till someone claims it. She?d
left it in her kitchen but it
escaped through the cat
flap and followed her over.
She did apologise profusely
about the bowl. Nice lady,
isn?t she??
?Yes,? Elizabeth said. ?I
haven?t had much chance to
speak to her. That?s why I
invited her over.?
?She knows Arthur
Matlock. They used to be in
some archaeological club
together back in the
Sixties. Small world, isn?t
it? They were getting on
very well, I thought.?
?Were they?? Elizabeth
had hoped Arthur might
have a soft spot for Rita.
What with them both being
such good friends of hers, it
would have been lovely.
Not that Rita knew this,
of course.
?It?s a pity we didn?t get
to see much of the video,?
Rita continued, oblivious to
her friend?s matchmaking
schemes. ?What was that
all about??
?It was all about how
much fun allotments can
be,? Elizabeth said. ?I?m not
allowed to start a petition
against the proposed sale
to Village Lane Homes.?
She sighed.
?I don?t think there are
endangered sand lizards
over there, more?s the pity.
So I thought I?d come at it
from another angle.?
Rita smiled.
?I would expect nothing
less of you.?
?OK.? Elizabeth opened
another packet of biscuits.
?I thought that if we could
drum up interest in the
allotments then maybe
we?d have some leverage
with the council. We don?t
really want twenty-five
houses there, do we??
Rita frowned.
?I guess not,? she replied.
?I?ve just had a thought. It?s
a bit of long shot.?
?Don?t tell me you?re
thinking of making it into a
dog-walking field.?
?No.? Rita was thoughtful.
?Give me a few days. I need
to do some research.?
* * * *
?Your gran?s a character,
isn?t she?? Josh said to
Suzy as they walked hand
in hand along a bridle path
on Saturday morning.
?You?re glad you came to
her fish and chip supper??
she said, feeling a warm
glow that had nothing to
do with the sunshine.
??Course I am. You were
there.? He winked at her.
?You?re a smoothie, Josh
Bannister.?
?I mean it.? There was a
pause. ?What was that
video all about, though??
Suzy smiled.
?Gran?s trying to save the
allotments. The council
wants to sell them to a
developer.?
?Is that bad??
?I?m not sure. To be
honest, I?m not really sure
if Gran thinks it?s bad.
She?s always getting
involved in some protest or
another. Mum says it keeps
her going.
?Only trouble is, this
one?s a bit close to home.
My dad works for the
council, you see.?
?Ah,? Josh said.
?We?re quite close to the
allotments,? Suzy
murmured. ?I could show
you them, if you like??
A few minutes later Suzy
paused at the gate that
bordered the strip of land.
They leaned against the
gate. She was aware of
Josh?s arm lying alongside
hers against the cool metal.
The hand-holding was a
new development.
They hadn?t yet had their
first kiss.
Maybe that would
happen here, in the
sunshine. How romantic.
Josh was staring out over
the strip of land. He turned
to look at her.
?That?s odd,? he said.
It wasn?t the comment
she?d been hoping for.
?What?s odd??
?Someone?s been digging.
Can you see??
?Isn?t that what you?re
supposed to do on an
allotment??
?Yes, but not like that.? In
one swift movement Josh
vaulted over the gate.
Suzy followed him.
?Look.?
She saw what he meant.
There were several holes of
varying sizes in the
allotment nearest to where
they stood.
?Intriguing,? Josh said. ?I
wonder what?s going on??
More next week.
Puzzle It Out!
Word Ladder
ACROSS
1 Christian youth
organisation (4,7)
9 Keith Richards? rock
group (7,6)
10 Gary Barlow?s
band (4,4)
12 Star Trek robot played
by Brent Spiner (4)
14 Thunderbirds family (5)
15 Scottish city near Scone
Palace (5)
19 15th?century Peruvian
empire (4)
20 Surname of operatic
tenor Jos� (8)
22 Actress best known for
playing Bet Lynch in
Coronation Street (5,8)
24 Low blood pressure (11)
W O O L
DOWN
2 Creature such as
Hedwig in the Harry
Potter series (3)
3 Pain in the lower back,
hips and legs (8)
4 British commander in
the Crimea (6)
5 One of an ancient
Germanic race (4)
6 S Yorkshire town (9)
P A C K
F I S B
E
T
R
M
R U N
P
E A V A
D
M E D
E
G
R T
T R I
C A L I D I
U
U N
N
I E R Y OG
2
3
A N Y I
O I T E
E
T U B
E
F R A S
B B A R
E D I
C E R
W
B I A
A
EM R
N L Y
10
R OAM
S
W I S E
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
19
18
20
21
22
23
24
7 Greece?s largest
island (5)
8 Indian tea state (5)
11 Town in Fife (9)
13 Sea area west of Fair
Isle (8)
16 Spanish wine (5)
17 1920s Chicago
gangster (6)
18 Popular Vauxhall
car (5)
21 Surname of
Panic Room actor
Jared (4)
23 Internal force,
alongside the
id, postulated by
Freud (3)
Sudoku
Fill the grid with the numbers
1 to 9 so that each row,
column and 3x3 block
contains the numbers 1 to 9.
6
5
6
8
9
11
12
13
14
15
ACROSS
1 Shaped, developed ? Budgetary, monetary
2 Not many
3 Air passage near the septum ? Of greater
weight
5 Jet of fluid ? Shrivel ? Get out of bed
7 Corrected ? Wanderer, rambler
6
9
3
7
5
8
2
4
T I
U
4
7
1
F O R
I
E
NO S
O T I E
C S
K D
I
S P U I S E
U R T T
E N
D K
1
With the help of the Across clues only,
can you fit the pieces into their correct
positions in the grid?
O
A C
L A R D
L
W I L H U E R
I F EW T
S
S
E
E
Y E D L
H
M
Answers
on p87
Try our general knowledge crossword
Move from the word
at the top of the
ladder to the word
at the bottom using
the exact number of
rungs provided by
changing one letter
at a time (but not
the position of any
letter).
Pieceword
PUZZLES 25
9 Set foot on a ship ? Sagely
11 Smallest of the litter ? Accidentally
strike (your toe) ? Bone in the lower leg
13 Fatuous ? Rope on a flagpole
14 ___ and cry, public uproar
15 Dairy product in a pot ? Ragged
9
4
7 4 1 2
3
9
3
2 7
4
7
5
8
9
6 8
9
5
3
4 5 9 1
7
9
5
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd www.puzzler.com
BOOKS 27
The ?Friend?
recommends
Over the months ahead we?ll be looking
at new releases by our favourite authors.
This month, author Annie Murray
interviews Elaine Everest about her new
book, ?Wartime At Woolworths?.
Can you give us a
brief idea what the
new book is about?
Q
At
A ?Wartime
Woolworths? follows
Sarah, Maisie, Freda and
their boss, Betty, through
the dark days of 1943 and
1944. The girls do have
fun, but along the way they
face danger and say
goodbye to loved ones.
Woolworths, now sadly
gone, was a place that held
memories for most of us.
Can you share with
us any particular
Woolworths memories of
your own?
Q
My local Woolies was
the Erith branch that
readers know well from my
novels. This is where, as a
child, I would shop for
Christmas and birthday
presents with my pocket
money. Often I would visit
the store after my Saturday
morning ballroom dancing
lessons at Erith Dance
Studio ? the very place
Sarah and her chums would
A
go dancing during World
War II. When I was the
right age to have a
Saturday job I was
employed by Dartford
Woolworths after an
arithmetic test ? tills didn?t
add up in those days!
Will you be taking
your characters from
these successful stories
on further?
Q
There is one more
book, ?A Gift From
Woolworths?, due to be
published in November
2018 and that will be it for
now as I start an exciting
new series. Having recently
written the end of this book
I can confess to sobbing a
few tears, but promise that
my much-loved characters
will still have an exciting
time in that book and I
hope readers are happy
with my surprises.
A
Why did you decide
on this particular
type of story and subject
matter? And do you bring
much of your own
Q
We know you, our readers,
love a good story ? after all,
that?s why you read the
?Friend?! So we have
teamed up with Pan
Recommends Macmillan publishers and
WHSmith to bring you news of
some of the best fiction being
released, along with a coupon to buy the
books at a special discounted rate.
With new work from bestselling authors like
Liz Trenow, Joanna Courtney and Kate
Thompson, amongst others, we?ve had some
great choices over the last few months. All
you have to do is cut out this coupon and take
it along to your nearest WHSmith high street
store.
personal family history
into the stories?
?Gracie?s War? was my
first venture into
sagas because of a writing
competition. I?ve been a
saga fan since my teens
and the idea for a story set
in Slades Green where I
grew up started to bubble
away. Although it?s pure
fiction, I did stick to real
settings and events that
happened and found to my
delight that locals who
remembered those days
started to ask for more
books and took me to their
hearts. I had an idea for
another story set in the
town of my birth (Erith,
Kent) where my main
character needed to find a
job and that is how ?The
Woolworths Girls? was
born.
A
What is your
favourite non-writing
thing to do ? how do you
relax?
Q
A
I?m a great reader and
would love to catch up
on the contents of my
Kindle and the ?to be read?
pile by my bed. I also love
to follow the world of dog
showing as the canine
world is close to my heart
and has been since I
married in 1972. In those
days we bred and exhibited
Old English Sheepdogs as
well as owning Polish
Lowland Sheepdogs and
spent time working on
breed club committees to
maintain the health and
welfare of this lovely breed.
I?ve also judged a little and
enjoyed that, but with my
writing commitments we
only get to visit shows a
few times each year.
Join us again in our
June 16 issue when Kate
Thompson talks to Mary
Wood about her book
?The Street Orphans?.
ONLY �99 with this voucher in
Only �99 when you buy Wartime at Woolworths with this voucher. RRP �99 Valid from 16 05 2018 to 15 06 2018.
This voucher entitles the holder to one copy of Wartime at Woolworths by Elaine Everest ISBN 9781509843671 for �99 (RRP �99). Offer is subject to
availability and is redeemable at WHSmith High Street Stores only. Excludes Outlet Stores, WHSmith Online, ?Books by WHSmith? at Selfridges, Harrods,
Arnotts and Fenwicks stores, WHSmith ?Local? and all Travel Stores including those at airports, railways stations, motorway service stations, hospitals
and workplaces. Offer excludes Book Customer Orders, eBooks, Kobo eReaders, and book tokens. This voucher cannot be used in conjunction with
any other multi-buy, promotional voucher or discount card. Only one coupon can be redeemed per transaction and it must be surrendered upon use. No
cash alternative available. Photocopies not accepted and coupon is not transferable. WHSmith reserves the right to reject any coupon it deems, at its sole
discretion, to have been forged, defaced or otherwise tampered with.
28
About The
Hollow Ground
Set in
the
1870s
Illustration by Sailesh Thakrar.
The Story So Far
NAN VESSEY has
inherited Cross Lanes
Farm after her father?s
death. The farm has
become very run down,
and Nan resolves to
turn things around.
PIERS MERRIMAN
turns up at the farm
looking for work, and
Nan employs him to
work with farmhand
LOGAN BRASSEY and
shepherd NOAH
SKELLAND. Piers sells
the unused farm
machinery on Nan?s
farm and gets to work
draining the fields in
order to allow livestock
to return.
DANIEL HARRISON
and his father EDWIN
visit Cross Lanes one
day. In order to obtain
land to add to his
estate, Edwin hopes for
a marriage between his
son and Nan.
CHARLOTTE, Nan?s
cousin on her father?s
side, often visits Nan
without her parents?
knowledge, her father
having fallen out with
Nan?s father before he
died.
When Charlotte calls
on Nan one day, Nan
asks her if she
remembers seeing a
stranger at her father?s
funeral, whom she also
noticed that day at her
father?s grave.
Who is this woman
and how did she know
Nan?s father?
Why was the veiled woman acting
so strangely, Piers wondered . . .
Y
OU?VE seen this
woman before??
Piers asked
curiously.
?Yes, on several
occasions,? Nan told him.
Encouraged by his
interest, she went on.
?I noticed her at Papa?s
funeral. She kept in the
background then, slipping
away after the burial. Now,
she seems to come and go.
There can be no sign of her
for a while, then she
appears again by the
graveside.?
?And you?ve no idea who
she is??
?None whatsoever.?
?Strange,? Piers said.
They were standing by
the gate to the home field,
in which half a dozen newly
arrived Red Poll heifers
were tearing at the new
grass, their russet flanks
gleaming in the sunshine.
Hardy beasts that would
provide ample milk for the
dairy once they had calved,
and excellent beef cattle
into the bargain, the choice
had been Piers Merriman?s.
Nan had accepted it
without question.
?This was yesterday,? she
continued. ?I went to put
SERIAL BY PAMELA KAVANAGH: PART 3 OF 8
flowers on Papa?s resting
place and there she was.
She dresses in black and
wears a veil over her face.
?She?d brought wayside
blooms for the grave. Papa
had a special fondness for
them. He called them God?s
bounty.?
The subject of the
mourner had cropped up
quite by chance.
Nan had been
preoccupied, prompting a
query from Piers as to
whether something was
wrong, a sudden qualm
over his choice of cattle,
maybe. She had reassured
him that this was not so
and launched into what
was troubling her.
?God?s bounty. ?Tis a fair
way of putting it,? Piers
said, smiling.
?Papa was like that. If
something really moved
him he would give praise,
as with the hedgerow
flowers. It had me
wondering how she knew.?
?The lady clearly had
dealings with your sire.?
This had every appearance
of a delicate situation and
the remark was phrased
with care. ?Did you speak
with her??
Nan did not immediately
reply. The lines of verse her
papa quoted surfaced in
her mind.
Ah, how the echoes still
resound
About the hollow ground.
The words meant that
not all was as it seemed;
words that looked to have
taken on a deeper
significance.
Could this be a matter of
resounding echoes? Nan
felt suddenly at a loss.
She?d thought she had
known her papa. Now she
had cause to wonder.
?Miss Vessey??
Nan looked up into her
employee?s face. It
occurred to her, with a
nudge of disquiet, that
Piers was becoming her
confidant as well her
right-hand man. Perhaps
she should guard her
tongue.
?Forgive me,? she said. ?I
was lost in thought. I did
not speak with the woman.
She fled the moment she
heard the creak of the
gate. But enough of that.
Tell me, have you made
progress with the cottage??
?Aye. I?ve knocked up a
new back door; the other
was rat-nibbled and
rotting.? Piers took the hint
and lightened his tone. ??Tis
getting to be the snuggest
nest I?ve ever known!?
?Really?? Nan saw an
opportunity to delve into
the man?s past. ?What of
your former employment?
You are clearly accustomed
to taking command. Those
of your integrity are rarely
inadequately housed.?
?Aye, well. Happen.?
Nan saw the usual closed
look on the man?s face, the
shutters firmly down, and
tried a little coercion.
?How evasive you are,
Merriman. Is there nothing
you have to say about
yourself? What of family?
Have you no-one to call
your own??
?Not any more. My sire
perished in a quarrying
disaster along with my two
brothers when I was a lad
of ten. Mother lost heart
after that and didn?t last
long herself.?
?I?m sorry. Such tragedy
is hard for one so young.?
?It happens. Quarrying,
mining, a life at sea, even
farming ? they?re all risky
occupations. A man has to
earn a crust.?
?You were left all alone.
What did you do then??
?Got myself taken on as
crow-scarer at a local farm.
Slept on a pile of straw in a
corner of the barn and ate
my meals with the men. I?d
always had a hankering for
the land. It suited better
than quarrying.?
?Skills such as yours are
not acquired by staying in
one place,? Nan said,
pressing harder, but if she
was expecting more details
of Piers?s earlier life she
was to be disappointed.
He simply shrugged.
?Aye, well, it?s a matter of
survival. That reminds me.
There?s something I?ve
been meaning to speak of.
That stackyard yonder.?
Piers indicated the place,
a cobblestoned area
containing several round
hay ricks, flanked on two
sides by handsome
sandstone outbuildings and
a barn on the third.
Situated between the
timber-framed farmhouse
and the recently restored,
fast-flowing brook, the
stackyard had been built at
considerable expense by
the late Henry Vessey.
?It could be a problem.
The brook can only take so
much water. Should it burst
its banks during heavy rain
there?s a chance of
flooding, and any hay and
straw stacked here would
29
There was even talk of
re-establishing some of the
redundant staff to cope
with the increased
workload for the men.
The expanding farm was
nearing the crucial stage of
requiring a bailiff to
manage it, and Piers had
shown himself worthy of
the position.
Offering it to him, rather
?The stackyard is too close to the
house for comfort?
get a dousing.
?Stored fodder can ignite
as it dries out. This
stackyard is too close to
the house for comfort.?
Nan had a spurt of
annoyance. No-one else
had ever questioned her
papa?s integrity before and
Merriman had done so
from the start, albeit with
tact and diplomacy. This,
she felt, was taking one
liberty too many.
?The drainage problem
has been dealt with. The
stackyard has never before
succumbed to floods, so
why would it now??
?Because,? Piers replied
patiently, ?any surplus
water that was once taken
up by the fields is now
directed on to its correct
course, and the brook can
only take so much before it
overflows.?
?So what do you
propose? That we demolish
the entire lot and rebuild
on another site?? Nan
asked, her face set and
accusing.
It was obviously an
improbable solution and
Piers was silent.
Nan struggled to contain
her irritation. Thanks to
this man, the farm was
rising from the doldrums it
had been in.
Once more there were
sheep cropping the slopes,
cattle in the fields and a
swollen-bellied Gloucester
Old Spot sow occupying
one of the abandoned sties.
It was a start, and all
acquired from the proceeds
raised by selling off the
defunct equipment littered
the buildings and yards.
Before Nan?s eyes the
land was regaining its past
vigour, due to rigorous
drainage and cultivation.
than entering the process
of advertising and
interviews, with no
guarantee of success, was a
feasible proposition.
The trouble was that
whenever Nan was about
to broach the subject,
something would happen
to stop her, as it had a
moment ago.
A light pattering of
unshod hooves heralded a
caller, and around the
corner of the house
appeared the unkempt
figure of the rat-catcher on
his pony, a trio of feisty
terriers frisking alongside.
Piers cleared his throat.
?Here?s Will Rowson. Not
before time, either. The
barns are alive with vermin.
If you?ll excuse me, ma?am,
I?ll go and have a word.?
?Very well,? Nan said
tersely, and Piers, affording
her a polite nod, beat a
retreat.
* * * *
Towards the end of the
week, Piers went to see a
neighbour at Bank House
Farm about the loan of a
Red Poll bull. He made the
transaction and set back,
taking a route that brought
him out by the church.
His attention was caught
by a slim figure bending
over one of the graves.
Black-clad, a gauzy veil
covering her face, she was
replacing the fading flowers
with fresh.
Piers stopped short, his
mind racing. Could this be
the unknown mourner Nan
Vessey had spoken of?
Needing to see if this was
the resting place in
question, and if so, if he
could learn any more
about the incumbent,
he decided to
31
investigate further.
For a big man, Piers
was remarkably light on his
feet. He entered the
churchyard through the
main gates and, avoiding
the gravel walk, cut across
the grass to where the
woman stood, a damp,
balled-up kerchief in her
gloved hand.
A glance at the
headstone verified that this
was the place he sought.
?Good day to you,? Piers
bid the woman.
She started, unaware of
his approach.
?You startled me, sir.?
?My apologies. The
name?s Merriman. I work
for Miss Vessey of Cross
Lanes Farm. I never knew
the late Henry Vessey. You
apparently do not have
that disadvantage.?
?I . . . no. Do excuse me,
sir. I have to go.?
?Please, ma?am, I?ll not
detain you long. Stay a
while.?
But the woman, darting
him a panicked glance from
beneath the veil, gathered
her skirts and sped away.
Piers watched her go. As
he had supposed when Nan
had mentioned the woman,
there was more to this than
met the eye.
The mystery surrounding
the demise, and now the
life, of Henry Vessey was
thickening. Why such
secrecy? Why had that
woman taken herself off,
instead of speaking about
the subject of her grief?
Piers threw a troubled
frown at the tall headstone
with its poignant epitaph,
shaking his head.
?What?s going on?? he
said aloud.
His only response was a
raucous squawking from a
scold of jays in the yews
close by. They rose, still
squabbling, and flew off,
leaving Piers standing
there alone.
A cloud moved over the
sun, throwing everywhere
into shadow, and a trickle
of what could have been
foreboding shivered down
his spine. It was time to go.
As Piers headed back to
the farm, the sun came out
again and his spirits lifted.
Things could be worse.
The dreams that had
plagued him nightly were
fading and he liked the
challenge of putting the
farm to rights.
He wondered if Nan
would do as she had
hinted, and grant him the
position of bailiff.
Heaven only knew, he
warranted it, with the
hours he put in, and the
wage would recoup some of
the money he?d ploughed
into making the ruin of a
cottage more habitable.
On the heels of this
thought came another. If it
should come about, would
he feel obliged to confide
the reason for leaving his
former employ, and all it
might entail?
She had a feisty core,
had Nan, Piers thought, a
smile crossing his face.
His admiration for the
mistress of Cross Lanes
knew no bounds. She was a
prime example of strength
in adversity. And she was
lovely, with her graceful
step, her calm gaze and
proud stance.
Piers checked his
thoughts sharply. Esteem
was one thing; the way his
pulse had quickened was
another.
Needing distraction, he
turned to what seldom
failed him and allowed the
sights, sounds and scents
of the countryside to enter
his soul.
Hedgerows frothing with
blossom, the piping of a
skylark somewhere in the
blue, the mingled smells of
sun-warmed earth and
green, fertile growth.
Soothed, he reached the
farm, where his restored
equilibrium was instantly
dashed. A high-wheeled
trap and pair of matching
bays stood on the gravelled
frontage of the house.
This was not the first
time Daniel Harrison had
called and Piers had been
struck with an instant
dislike of the man.
Now, resentment that
Harrison was at liberty to
venture where he could not
boiled up savagely,
threatening to overwhelm
him.
Riled, he struck out at a
clump of willow-herb in the
bank, and directing the
closed door of the house a
scathing glance, he
stomped to the farmyard in
search of the men.
Brassey and Skelland
would want to know the
outcome of his mission to
Bank House Farm. Keeping
to work matters was safer
all round.
* * * *
Daniel rose to his feet as
the maid showed Nan into
the parlour.
?Miss Vessey. I apologise
for the intrusion.?
?Not at all, Mr Harrison.
Mercy, you may go,? Nan
told the maid, who bobbed
a curtsey and departed.
Nan smiled.
?Do sit down. Will you
take some refreshment??
?Not for me, thank you. I
thought you might care to
come for a drive? The day
is fine. It?s a shame not to
take advantage of it. What
better than to enjoy the
occasion together??
?Oh, but . . .? Nan
paused.
She was in the process of
restoring order to the linen
closet. She wasn?t dressed
for an outing.
Yet, with Charlotte away
visiting relatives for the
week, Nan was missing her
company and the
stimulation of conversation.
Added to which, her
caller was right. The
sunshine streaming in
through the leaded
casement was enticing.
?Miss Vessey??
?Oh, please, do call me
by my given name,? she
said in a sudden fit of
exasperation at the rules of
polite society, and
immediately wondered if
she had been forward.
A smile lit Daniel?s face.
?Delighted. You shall be
Nan, and I, Daniel,? he
replied with such ease that
Nan?s mind was put at rest.
?Mayhap I can persuade
you to join me in that
drive??
Put like that, how could
she resist?
?Thank you, sir. I shall
need to make myself
presentable. Will you
excuse me while I attend to
it??
?There is no hurry,?
Daniel said with a gesture
of his hand. ?Take as long
as you must.?
Presently she appeared
again, changed into a gown
of rustling lavender silk,
the colour of which Daniel
thought became her better
than the deep black of
early mourning.
A light shawl about her
shoulders and a bonnet
over her hair completed
the picture, and Daniel felt
pleasure as he handed her
into the phaeton, its
dark-green bodywork and
chamfered wheels shining
in the sunlight.
The horses, a sparky
pair, threw up their heads
and pawed the ground
impatiently, eager to be
off, and Daniel checked
them with a word before
clambering up beside Nan.
A flick of the reins and
they were crunching over
the gravel and travelling on
down the rutted drive.
In a nearby field the men
were fixing a new gate and
looked up at the sound of
hooves. Skelland and
Brassey gave Nan a wave,
which she acknowledged
with an inclination of her
head.
The third of the trio,
Daniel noted, made no
such gesture, but stood still
and scowling, and Daniel
was conscious of the
brooding gaze still on them
when they reached the end
of the track.
Once on the lane he
whipped up the horses and
they were away. The bell
tower, blue-slated roof and
sandstone walls of All
Saints came into view.
A female figure was
weaving a path between
the gravestones, and at his
side Nan gave a swift
intake of breath. She
clutched at his arm.
?Daniel, could we stop a
moment, if you please??
He gave her a puzzled
glance.
?Are you unwell??
?No. There is someone
there I need to see.?
Daniel had no desire to
stop and allowed the trap
to travel on, the church
with its company of
guarding yews streaming
by in a haze of dull reds
and greens.
He caught a flashing
glance of an upturned
white face behind a veil,
and then they were past
and heading downhill
for Salter?s Lane, the
33
main highway to
Nantwich.
?Sir, I asked you to halt
the trap,? Nan cried.
?So you did,? Daniel
replied. ?The woman was
plainly up to no good,
skulking in the churchyard.
It may be wise to keep your
distance.?
Nan made no reply, but
sat silent and reproachful.
Aware of having struck a
raw spot, Daniel thought it
best to make amends.
He summoned his most
engaging smile.
?You are out of sorts with
me? Do I deserve a
thrashing for my ill-gotten
manner??
He was gratified to see
Nan?s expression change.
?No, I would not go as far
as that,? Nan replied.
?Ah, then we are friends
again,? Daniel replied,
relaxing.
He had come to woo, not
to annoy. Who would have
thought that the lady had
such an edge to her?
?Shall we take the road
through Brown Knowl
village? ?Tis a pretty route.?
The way was steep and
he slowed the horses to a
walk for the gradient.
As they went he turned
the conversation to the
farm and Nan?s plans for it,
suspecting this to be a
topic close to her heart.
She answered readily.
?I was in such a quandary
when I was left in charge.
Papa had tried arable with
no success, I fear. The men
are loyal, but lack the
vision required to right the
wrong. If it hadn?t been for
Merriman, I don?t know
what I would have done.?
?Merriman??
?He came along at
precisely the right moment,
requesting work. He was in
the fields with Brassey and
Skelland when we passed.
You may have noticed him.?
?Tall fellow, speaks with a
south Shropshire drawl?
He was in the feed
merchant?s at Tattenhall
when I called to settle
Papa?s bill of payment.
Surly character, I thought.?
?I wouldn?t say that.
Serious, perhaps, and
knowledgeable on farming
matters. He?s also good
with the men.?
?He had references??
Daniel asked.
?Not as such. I took him
at his word and have never
regretted it.
?Cross Lanes has
improved dramatically in
the time he has been with
us. We hope to take on
more staff before long,
which necessitates having
someone in charge.?
Daniel?s knowledge of
business matters was
limited, his interest even
less so, but he managed to
look engrossed.
?A bailiff, like Tom Dewes
at Vinewood?? he said. ?I
believe my father took him
on after he left your late
father?s employ. Papa
speaks highly of Dewes.?
?He seemed capable
enough, as I remember.
Merriman could be a
suitable replacement.?
?What?? The word was
barked out forcefully. ?A
man you know nothing of,
appearing like a vagrant at
your door? He could be a
crook! I should think very
seriously before offering
this fellow the position.?
With that, Daniel held his
tongue. He had not liked
the way the man appeared
to be worming his way into
the farm and, more to the
point, into the owner?s life.
He had sown the seeds of
doubt. Let that suffice for
now.
He shifted the talk to
other matters and the drive
continued amicably.
When they drew into the
forecourt at Cross Lanes,
Daniel was pleased to note
his companion looked less
strained than when they
had set off. His satisfaction
mounted when she agreed
to come out again.
He was altogether taken
with Nan Vessey. True, she
had a stubborn streak, but
that was added interest.
The idea of being master
of his own domain had
transformed his views on
matrimony. If he played his
cards right, he would have
Nan accepting his hand
before the summer?s end.
Daniel could hardly
believe the pleasure he felt
at the prospect.
* * * *
?Good trip out?? Mercy
asked her mistress with a
familiarity that was not lost
on Nan.
She was not averse to the
maid?s attitude. Given that
they were together for the
greater part of the time, a
direct approach was to be
expected.
There were occasions
when Mercy showed an
illuminating insight into
human nature that Nan?s
sheltered upbringing had
not equipped her for, and
which she found beneficial.
?Extremely,? Nan replied,
removing her bonnet.
She had entered the
kitchen to the homely smell
of freshly pressed linen.
While she was out Mercy
had made the most of the
fine weather and tackled
the laundry, which had
soon dried in the warm air.
The maid was now
engaged in running the
smoothing iron over a
stiffly starched petticoat.
Nan watched her,
reflective. It had been a
relief to get away from the
farm for a while, and she
had found Daniel?s
company agreeable.
There had been the
awkward moment over the
mourner in the churchyard,
but apart from that she
had no complaints.
He was widely travelled
and educated ? to her
mind, he was a veritable
man of the world.
Which brought her to
Daniel?s unfavourable
assessment of Piers.
?Am I right to trust him??
Nan murmured to herself.
Mercy looked up, her
face red with effort.
?Trust who, mistress?
Master Harrison??
?No, of course not.?
Mercy sniffed.
?I wunna blame you.
Him?s gentry. Or reckons to
be. They?re a jumped-up
lot, them Harrisons. He?s on
the make, if you ask me.?
?Which I haven?t,? Nan
said in swift reproof.
Seeing the girl recoil,
Nan softened.
?In fact, I was speaking of
Merriman.?
?Lor?, that?s a different
kettle o? fish altogether.
There?s a fellow I?d trust wi?
me own life!?
A nod to endorse her
statement, and Mercy
renewed her labours with
the smoothing iron.
Nan made her way up
the back stairs to change
her clothes, her mind still
occupied with Merriman.
Charlotte would be of the
same opinion as Mercy as
to his character, while
Daniel had the same
wariness as she over the
stranger in their midst.
For all his potential and
ability, Merriman was a
stranger, and Daniel?s
doubts had served to
increase her own
considerably.
* * * *
Piers was heading for the
Oak.
All that day, the memory
of Nan Vessey riding off
with Harrison in the trap
had been pure torment.
He was no drinker and
had reasons of his own for
avoiding places where
locals and travellers tended
to congregate. Even the
trips to the beast market at
Shrewsbury brought a
measure of unease.
Who might be there, on
the watch for a runaway
miscreant? For this was
how his name would
appear in some quarters.
Nonetheless, an hour or
so over a sup of ale
beckoned. Anything to
erase that mental picture
of Nan and Daniel Harrison
driving off together so
companionably.
The taproom of the Oak
was crowded and thick with
the fug of mucky boots and
stale tobacco smoke.
Piers elbowed his way to
the bar, acquired a tankard
of ale and looked around to
see who was present.
Over in a far corner,
Shepherd Skelland and
Logan Brassey were
putting the world to rights
with a bevy of other
smock-clad farm-workers.
They sent Piers a nod of
greeting, but did not
beckon him to join them.
Piers returned the nod
amicably. Becoming one of
the crowd never did come
easy. A fellow had to be
prepared to be an outsider
for as long as it took.
A movement behind him
brought his attention. He
looked round into a face he
did not know.
?Tom Dewes,? the
man introduced
35
himself. ?I were bailiff at
Cross Lanes a bit back. I
believe you?ve taken up
residence at the cottage.?
?Aye, that?s so.?
Piers was in no mood for
idle chat and was tempted
to give the fellow short
shrift, then decided against
it.
No man liked to drink
alone, and here was
someone who might throw
more light on the subject of
Henry Vessey.
?Piers Merriman,? he said
agreeably.
?How do, Merriman?
Settled in, have you??
?The cottage or the
farm??
?It amounts to the same,
dunna it? Best thing I ever
did, leaving Cross Lanes.?
?You weren?t happy??
?Happy enough. The wife
wunna, though. She found
it lonesome, stuck on her
own all day. She much
prefers it at Vinewood. The
gaffer, him?s built a terrace
of housing for staff. It suits
Aggie better.?
?Makes life more
acceptable all round, then,?
Piers said.
?You could say that. I
could see the way the wind
were blowing at Cross
Lanes. Workers getting laid
off, the farm going
downhill. He had some
fancy notions, Henry
Vessey.?
Dewes broke off, as if
regretting having gone so
far. Piers wondered if there
had been an altercation
between this man and his
employer.
?I were ready for a
change. When the offer of a
place at Vinewood came
along I took it. He inna a
bad boss, Edwin Harrison.
Knows how to look after his
workers, him does.?
Piers took in the fine cut
of the man?s coat and the
horse tethered outside, and
deduced that the bailiff was
not wrong in this respect.
Talk moved on to
subjects common to both
men: the effect the summer
drought might have on the
hay and corn harvest; the
rising cost of cattle and
horse fodder; the prospects
for farming in the future.
Their tankards emptied,
Piers spoke.
?About Henry Vessey??
?Aye?? Dewes was
cautious.
?He was known for his
good horsemanship. Did it
strike you as unusual that
he met with a fatal riding
accident??
?Why should it? ?Osses
will be ?osses. Happen the
animal was spooked and
threw the gaffer. Anyone
can take a toss. Vessey
were no more immune than
the next man.?
Tom Dewes would say no
more. Piers did his best to
encourage him to talk, with
no success. He made a bid
for retreat.
He was on his way out of
the inn when another man
entered, colliding with
Piers. He was short and
had a crooked, leathery
face. He made no attempt
at apology, and Piers
continued on his way.
What made him glance
back over his shoulder he
had no idea, but he saw
the man had made straight
for the person in whose
company Piers had just
spent the last hour.
Tom Dewes had propped
himself against the bar and
was passing the time of day
with the publican, and
looked none too pleased at
the intrusion.
The man?s presence
seemed significant and
Piers wondered who he
was. A groom, perhaps, by
his drabbet smock and
gabardine trousers.
On the cobbled
forecourts he paused
before heading back up the
steep, winding road to
Harthill. Far from restoring
his good humour, the
evening had turned out to
be a damp squib.
Should he cut his losses
? and with the chance of
promotion in the offing,
these could be considerable
? and move on?
No, he thought. He had
promised to set the farm to
rights and he would see it
through ? unless, of
course, a move was forced
upon him.
To be continued.
Love reading? Don?t miss the Daily Serial on
our website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
The
Farmer
& His
Wife
John Taylor
and Anne were
expecting a
VIP!
I
WAS reminded lately of
something that
happened a good long
time ago.
One Tuesday, not long
after Anne and I had set
up in farming, I was
standing at the auction
ring in Cupar when
someone tapped me on
the shoulder. It was the
laird, our landlord.
?John, tell Anne that
Joan will be coming to see
her soon.?
He walked on before I
could ask why, and when I
got back to the farm I told
Anne what he had said.
I was branded as
hopeless ? why hadn?t I
asked the laird when his
wife was coming, and the
reason for her visit?
?It?ll likely be about you
helping with one of the
stalls at the next WRI do,
dear,? I hazarded.
Anne?s main concern
was whether the laird?s
wife was likely to come to
the front door.
Why was she worried?
Well, we didn?t have a
stair carpet, so if our
visitor came to the front
door, she?d look right up a
bare wood stair.
Should we buy a carpet
which we couldn?t afford,
and get into debt, a thing
we hoped never to do?
We were in bed when I
got a dig in the ribs.
?John, let?s stain them.?
?Good idea,? I agreed
and turned over to sleep.
Next morning, I was
sent into Anstruther for a
tin of wood stain.
We started halfway. Anne
went downstairs and I went
up. How we laughed ? or at
least Anne did ? when we
realised I was stuck at the
top!
I suggested sliding down
the banister but Anne
refused to let me try. There
was one of those big knobs
at the bottom and she was
afraid I might injure myself!
Anne got a ladder and I
climbed down through a
bedroom window. How
we?ve laughed ever since
about it.
After all that, the laird?s
wife did not come to the
front door. Anne and I
milked our cows by hand in
those days. We were sitting
on our stools when a voice
called out, ?Hello, you two!?
There was the laird?s wife
at the byre door. She
picked up a stool, sat down
and chatted about a WRI
event.
The stairs are now
carpeted, but staining them
was one of those odd jobs
the like of which we all end
up doing from time to time.
And that one certainly
gave us a laugh! n
More
next
week
36
Potatoes
Pick Some
Jersey Royal
Brownies with
Peanut Butter
and Salted
Caramel
Course: Sweet treat
Makes:12 pieces
Enjoy delicious
Jersey Royal New
Potatoes in our
easy-to-make recipes.
Skill level: easy
275 g (9� oz) Jersey Royal
potatoes, scrubbed but left whole
75 g (2� oz) butter
75 g (2� oz) crunchy peanut
butter
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate,
chopped
200 g (7 oz) brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
110 g (3� oz) self-raising flour
40 g (1� oz) cocoa
25 g (1 oz) salted peanuts,
chopped roughly
To Serve: Jersey salted caramel
sauce.
1 Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the
potatoes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes
until tender. Drain and run under cold
water until cool enough to handle. Pull off
any loose bits of skin and then grate the
potatoes finely.
2 Line a 20 cm (8 in) square baking tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg. C., 350
deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
3 In a large saucepan, gently melt the
butter, peanut butter and chocolate,
stirring regularly to combine and stop
the chocolate catching on the bottom.
Remove from the heat.
4 In a bowl, beat the sugar and eggs
with an electric whisk for a few minutes
until they are thick. Fold in the chocolate
mixture until well combined, then gradually
fold in the grated potatoes. Sift over the
flour and cocoa and fold into the mix.
Spoon into the baking tray and scatter over
the peanuts. Bake for 20 minutes until just
cooked but still a little wobbly. Cool in the
pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a
wire rack. Cut into squares and serve with
the Jersey salted caramel sauce.
2018 marks
the 140th
anniversary of
Jersey Royal
potatoes, still grown
only on the island
of Jersey.
Recipes and images courtesy of Jersey Royal New Potatoes. For more
information and recipes, visit www.jerseyroyals.co.uk.
COOKERY
37
Jersey Royals, Sizzling
Scallops and Chorizo
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
3 tsp olive oil
225 g Jersey Royal
potatoes, sliced or cubed
2 spring onions, cut
diagonally
25 g chorizo, chopped
Serves: 2
6 scallops
25 g butter
� tsp lemon zest
2 sprigs thyme
Handful rocket
1 Heat 2 of the teaspoons of olive oil in a small frying-pan. Add the
potatoes and fry, turning regularly, for 7 to 8 minutes until just tender
and golden. Add the spring onions and chorizo and cook for a couple
of minutes until the chorizo has released its oil and the spring onions
are wilted. Remove from the pan, set aside and keep warm. Wipe out
the pan with kitchen paper.
2 Dry the scallops with kitchen paper and season to taste. Heat the
remaining oil in the pan until hot, add the
scallops and sear them for a minute until
just beginning to brown. Turn and cook
Jersey Royal
for a further 30 seconds. Remove
potatoes are a
from the heat, add the butter,
brilliant source of
lemon zest and thyme, allowing
vitamin
C, especially
the butter to melt and coat the
the skins: 100 g
scallops. Spear the scallops on to
(3� oz) of Jersey
skewers.
Royals provides you
3 Spoon the potato mixture
with 25% of your
on to 2 plates. Add the scallop
daily vitamin C
skewers, drizzle over the buttery
needs.
juices and scatter the rocket, then serve
immediately.
Sausage and Jersey Royal
Bake
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) Jersey
Royal new potatoes,
scrubbed (not peeled)
and cut in half
lengthways
8 large herb sausages
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion,
peeled and cut into 8
wedges
� red pepper, deseeded
and cut into quarters
1 yellow pepper,
deseeded and cut
Serves 4
into quarters
2 cloves garlic, chopped
finely
10 large sage leaves,
chopped roughly
200 g (7 oz) cherry
tomatoes
150 g (5� oz) asparagus
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
To Serve: crusty bread;
mustard.
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg. C., 400 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
2 Cook the Jersey Royals in a medium saucepan of salted water for 8 to 10 minutes until just tender.
3 Add the sausages to a large roasting tin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.
4 Drain the Jersey Royals and add to the roasting tin with the onion, peppers, garlic, sage and balsamic vinegar. Mix well together and roast for
25 minutes until vegetables are slightly caramelised around the edges, stirring occasionally.
5 Scatter over the tomatoes and asparagus, mix well and roast for a further 10 minutes until the sausages are golden and cooked through.
6 Serve hot with crusty bread and mustard.
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
Spring Vegetable Pizza
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strong
white flour, plus extra
for dusting
1 tsp easy-blend yeast
� tsp sugar
� tsp salt
For the Topping:
300 g (10� oz) Jersey
Royal potatoes, sliced
thinly
75 g (2� oz) asparagus
spears, trimmed
250 g (9 oz) ricotta
cheese
2 cloves smoked garlic
Serves 4
(or just use normal),
chopped finely
2 tbs olive oil, plus extra
for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
75 g (2� oz) mange tout,
sliced
75 g (2� oz) peas,
defrosted if frozen
100 g (3� oz) grated
mozzarella
15 g (� oz) Parmesan,
grated finely
50 g (1� oz) pea shoots
1 In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add
Mini Shepherd Pies with
Crushed Jersey Royals
Course: Main
Skill level: easy
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lamb
mince
1 sprig rosemary,
chopped finely
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stick celery, sliced
thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 x 400 g can cherry
tomatoes
1 tbs tomato pur閑
Serves: 4
2 tbs Worcestershire
sauce
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Jersey
Royal potatoes, scrubbed
but left whole
40 g (1� oz) butter,
melted
10 mint leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
To Serve: steamed spring
cabbage and asparagus.
1 Place the lamb mince in a large pan over a high heat, break it up
and, stirring occasionally, cook for 10 minutes until it browns. Add
the rosemary, onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for another 5
minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the tomatoes with
the tomato pur閑 and Worcester sauce. Rinse the tomato can with
around with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the pan. Bring up to
the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, place the Jersey Royal potatoes in a large pan of lightly
salted boiling water, bring back up to the boil and cook for 10 to 15
minutes until just tender. Drain. Crush roughly using the back of a
spoon. Stir in the butter, mint and some freshly ground pepper and
salt.
3 Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg. C., 350 deg. F., Gas Mark 6.
4 Divide the lamb mixture between 4 ovenproof dishes or make one
large pie, if preferred. Top with the crushed potatoes and bake for 20
to 30 minutes until golden or until the potatoes turn crispy. Serve with
steamed vegetables.
Next week: tasty recipes under
500 calories.
400 ml hand-hot water and mix into a dough. Tip the dough out on
to the work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Return to the bowl, cover loosely with a tea towel and leave to rise in
a warm place for 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
2 Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and simmer for
5 to 6 minutes until just soft. Add the asparagus for one minute, then
drain and refresh in cold water.
3 In a bowl, beat the ricotta with the garlic, olive oil and plenty of
freshly ground pepper and some salt.
4 Pre-heat the oven to 220 deg. C., 425 deg. F., Gas Mark 7. Dust
a couple of baking trays with a little flour.
5 Divide the dough into 4 and roll out or hand stretch as thinly as
you can. Spread with the ricotta mixture, top with the potato slices,
asparagus, mange tout and peas. Then scatter over the mozzarella
and Parmesan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden and the
base is crisp. Serve hot drizzled with extra olive oil and the pea shoots.
You can make
1 large, or 2 to 4
individual pizzas; just
divide the dough
accordingly. A large
one may take slightly
longer to cook.
For more delicious recipes visit our
website: www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk.
SHORT STORY BY TRACY BAINES 41
Decisions,
Decisions
Chloe found it hard to make
up her mind, and today was
no exception!
Illustration by iStock.
C
HLOE held up the
two dresses,
switching from one
to the other,
holding them
under her chin.
?Which one do you think?
White or red??
Hannah looked up from
the magazine she was
reading while stretched out
on her sister?s bed.
?Definitely white. You?ll
look like a faerie queen.?
Really? Chloe had been
certain that the red looked
better.
?I don?t want to look like
a fairy.?
Hannah flicked to
another page without
looking at Chloe.
?I don?t mean that kind of
fairy. I was thinking more
of Titania from ?A
Midsummer Night?s
Dream?. Floaty, ethereal.
?Besides, hardly anyone
else will be wearing white.
It will make you stand out.?
?But I?m not like you. I
don?t want to stand out.?
Hannah looked up at her
sister and grinned.
?Yes, you do. Secretly.?
Chloe held the white
dress on her outstretched
arm and looked at it again,
frowning.
She did want to stand
out, but only so that
special someone would
notice her.
Who that was she didn?t
know, not yet, but she was
never going to find anyone
sitting at her computer all
day, was she?
She hung the red dress
back in the wardrobe and
laid the white on the bed.
* * * *
It was hot in Della?s
garden and the barbecue
was getting into full swing.
Della had made so much
effort to hit just the right
note with the decor.
Bunting hung from the
trees, and she had
borrowed hay bales from a
local farmer to give an
authentic country flavour to
the gathering.
Glass lanterns were
dotted around the tables
and walls for when the light
faded. It all looked so
beautiful ? and yet all
Chloe wanted to do was
hide in the kitchen.
Hannah had been right,
hardly anyone else was
wearing white, and she
soon realised why ? BBQ
ribs and coronation chicken
wraps were not the easiest
of foods to eat.
Not that she was a messy
eater, but she was cautious
of other people?s
enthusiastic eating. She?d
avoided standing next to
anyone that looked
remotely a danger and
thought herself safe . . .
?Someone knocked my
arm. I?m so sorry,? Jake
apologised. ?Oh, no, your
beautiful dress!?
He reached for the
napkins and was about to
rub at the stain when,
embarrassed, he handed
them to Chloe.
?It was hardly your fault,?
she said, feeling everyone?s
attention on her. This
wasn?t what she?d wanted
at all. She was standing
out, but for all the wrong
reasons.
?It was an accident.?
Her face was burning and
all she wanted to do was
hide away. How her cheeks
would have clashed with
the red dress if she had
worn it.
Jake whisked her into the
kitchen to get some water
to dilute the stain and they
remained there for the rest
of the afternoon, chatting
quite easily to each other.
It wasn?t quite what she
had planned, but it seemed
to Chloe that she had met
someone special, after all.
He asked her out to
dinner.
So a few days later, there
she was again, getting
ready to go out and
wondering what to wear.
One thing was certain, it
would be anything but
white.
?He likes you,? Hannah
had said. ?I know Jake.
He?s painfully shy and it
has given him the perfect
opportunity to ask you out.
He?d never pluck up
courage otherwise.?
Chloe wasn?t so sure.
* * * *
?White or red?? Jake was
scrutinising the wine menu.
?You choose,? she said.
?I?ll happily have a little of
whatever you?re drinking.?
He looked across at her,
his blue eyes intense.
?But I want you to have
what you would like. We
don?t need to share a
bottle. We can have a glass
each.?
Encouraged, she made
her choice and he ordered
a light, fruity white, the
perfect choice for their
meal.
In fact, the entire evening
was perfect and over far
too soon.
And when he took her to
her door and kissed her, it
was as if her whole body
had melted to nothing. She
never wanted it to end.
Hannah slipped into her
sister?s bedroom as soon
as she heard the door
close. Chloe flopped on to
the bed. It felt as though
she were floating on a
cloud.
?I?m so glad I went,
Hannah ? and I?m so glad I
didn?t wear white. I?ll never
wear white again.?
He brought her flowers
on their next date, neither
red nor white but a huge
bunch of sunflowers ? her
absolute favourite.
He knew instinctively
what she liked. Or had he
asked Hannah first?
It didn?t matter; if he
had asked it proved
he was thoughtful
42
and wanted to get her
what she liked, rather
than guessing and making
a mistake.
She would have done
exactly the same in his
shoes.
He liked the same books,
enjoyed the same movies,
the same music and bands.
When he proposed it was
the easiest decision she?d
ever made in her life.
* * * *
So here she was again,
choosing a white dress
when she had said she?d
never wear white again.
It should have been the
easiest choice in the world,
but she was already
beginning to feel the
pressure of too many
decisions.
?This one is divine,? her
mum said, holding out a
fluffy extravaganza.
Chloe pulled a face.
?I want simple, Mum.
That one?s more Hannah
than me.?
The assistant patiently
offered dress after dress
and before long Chloe was
exhausted. The dresses
were heavy and she hated
looking at herself over and
over again and being
disappointed.
The more she tried on,
the worse she felt.
?We might as well look at
the bridesmaids? dresses,
Chloe, while we?re here,?
her mum offered with
enthusiasm.
Chloe couldn?t bear it any
longer.
?I don?t want to, Mum.
I?ve had enough!?
She knew she sounded
like a spoiled brat, but she
couldn?t cope with one
more choice.
The assistant looked at
her sympathetically.
?Don?t worry, there?s no
rush. It?s important to take
your time. It?s such a big
decision ? one you?ll
remember for the rest of
your life.?
Chloe felt her heart drop
to her knees. She knew the
assistant was trying to
reassure her, but she
couldn?t have said anything
worse.
The full weight of all that
lay ahead dropped on to
her shoulders like a
boulder and she suddenly
felt weary and weak.
Any confidence she had
gained seem to slip away
as they left the shop.
Chloe and Jake had
already booked the church
and Broadstoke Manor
Hotel for after the
ceremony.
Those choices had been
so simple with Jake by her
side, but now things grew
ever more complicated.
The guest list got longer
by the day as each side
added to the numbers of
who they wanted to invite
and who had to be invited.
Chloe felt her stomach
clench with each decision
that had to be made ? and
remade. Would there ever
be an end to it all?
* * * *
Now the two of them
arrived at Broadstoke
Manor with her mum and
dad to fine tune the details.
What would they like for
the d閏or ? red and gold,
blue and white?
The flowers, the meals,
the dessert, the cake, how
much wine ? red or white
? or both?
Would they like
champagne for their guests
on arrival or Bucks Fizz?
The manager taking
down their instructions was
kind and efficient, making
suggestions and guiding
them through what was on
offer, but Chloe was
beginning to feel her head
swim. There were too many
voices, too many choices.
As they picked the day
apart in depth, tears
started to fall down Chloe?s
face.
?I don?t want to get
married,? she said quietly
and blundered out into the
garden, blinded by her
tears.
She was so tired and
confused. She found a
bench and sat on it,
trembling, afraid as to what
to do next.
Someone followed her;
she wasn?t sure who until
Jake sat beside her.
She felt empty and
shallow. How could she
hurt him like this? How
could she hurt her mum
and dad ? or his?
The confusion in her head
was intolerable.
He took her hand and
held it. His hands were
warm and strong and she
felt calmer, safer.
She waited for him to
speak. He would be angry
and hurt, wouldn?t he? And
if he wasn?t, perhaps he
was relieved that she?d
spoken out.
Maybe he didn?t love her
any more. She couldn?t
blame him; she didn?t feel
very lovable at that
moment.
Her tears exhausted, she
started to breathe more
calmly, more in rhythm
with Jake.
Eventually, she felt brave
enough to look at him and
when she did she knew in
an instant that she loved
him more at that moment
than she had ever loved
anyone in her entire life.
She took a deep breath.
?I love you so much,
Jake, I truly do, but I feel
like I?m drowning in
decisions. They all seem to
be so important and so
costly and I can?t bear to
let anyone down. And . . .?
She felt words tumble out
of her, a torrent of all the
jumbled feelings that had
been churning away inside.
He let her talk until she
felt empty of words, empty
of the struggle.
?This is our day, our
perfect day!?
He just smiled.
?Close your eyes, Chloe,
and imagine your perfect
wedding day. What would it
be like??
She did as he said and
immediately felt a smile
play on her lips as she
began to imagine the
excitement, the butterflies.
Hannah preening; her
mother fussing; her father?s
chest puffed out like a
peacock.
?I?ll be walking down the
aisle in my dress.?
She opened her eyes and
smiled at Jake.
?I can see it in my
imagination, but I can?t tell
you because it?s meant to
be a surprise.?
He gave her hand an
encouraging squeeze.
?Go on.?
?The bridesmaids will
follow, wearing the palest
of blue, the colour of the
sky when I first met you.
You?ll turn as I walk down
the aisle and you?ll look at
me and I?ll know you love
me.?
?After the ceremony??
?We?ll be driven to the
hotel. You?ll tell the driver
to take the long route so
that we can savour the
magical moment.?
She began to feel calmer,
the day revealing itself in
her imagination as she
began to see the joy in it.
?Who?ll be there, and
what will they look like??
She kept her eyes closed
and concentrated. For a
moment the picture was
blurred, but then she could
see smiling faces, family
and friends.
It was easy after that to
imagine the meal and the
wine and the cake, and as
she described them to Jake
tears fell again, but this
time they were happy
tears.
?I do want to marry you,
Jake.?
He pulled her close and
she let her head fall against
his chest. She could hear
his strong, steady
heartbeat.
?I know you do.?
He tilted her head and
leaned forward and kissed
her, and all her anxieties
seemed to disappear.
?Deep down you know
exactly what you want, but
you forget to listen to the
one person who can help.
You! You don?t need my
opinion, or anyone else?s
for that matter. You simply
need your own.?
They sat for a long time
in the garden,
concentrating on the kind
of wedding day they both
wanted before they went
back into the hotel.
She saw the concern in
her parents? faces and
realised they were only
trying to help, knowing that
she was always afraid of
making decisions.
But Jake was different.
Jake didn?t want to make
decisions for her; he
wanted to help her make
her own, and that was why
she loved him.
She knew that her life
would always be full of
decisions, but that the
most important decision
had already been made.
Saying yes to his
proposal was easy; saying
?I do? would be a breeze. n
44
Worth their
weight in
gold!
Wendy Glass
goes backstage
to meet the
stars of ?Fat
Friends The
Musical?.
W
HEN ?Fat
Friends?
burst on to
our TV
screens
almost twenty years ago,
the series was a hit.
Its warm, hilarious and
sometimes poignant
storylines had us hooked
? especially those of us
who?ve taken our shoes and
socks off in preparation for
a slimming club weigh-in,
cheered when a fellow
dieter reached their target
weight and celebrated the
loss of a pound or two with
a take-away!
?Everybody you meet is
on some kind of diet or
knows someone on a diet.?
So says the writer of ?Fat
Friends?, Kay Mellor OBE,
who is also responsible for
hit TV shows such as ?Band
Of Gold?, ?Playing The
Field? and ?Girl Friends?.
Together with Nicholas
Lloyd Webber, who is
Andrew?s Lloyd Webber?s
son, Kay has transformed
her much-loved television
drama into a smash hit
musical.
?Fat Friends The Musical?
is touring the UK at the
moment, finishing in
Blackpool in June, and
reunites the endearing
characters as they struggle
with the absurdities of
dieting, including attending
their local branch of Super
Slimmers.
The show revolves
around the impending
wedding of Kelly and Kevin.
Unbeknown to Kelly,
she?s put on a lot of weight
The Original ?Fat Friends?
Kay Mellor?s TV
series ?Fat Friends?
first appeared on
television in October
2000 and starred
Alison Steadman,
Sheridan Smith and
Lisa Riley ? and
launched the careers of
James Corden and
Ruth Jones.
?About once or twice
a week I get asked if
?Fat Friends? is going to
come back on
television,? Kay Mellor
says. ?I?m flattered that
people love the
characters and,
although ?Fat Friends?
had run its course on
television, I always
secretly thought it could
be a musical.?
Sam Bailey is Betty
south of the border.
since her engagement ? a
fact that becomes all too
obvious when she tries to
squeeze into her wedding
dress.
Kelly?s mum, Betty,
encourages her daughter to
lose weight, but Kelly?s
happy as she is ? until
slimming guru Julia
Fleshman offers to pay for
the wedding if Kelly can
walk down the aisle in her
dream dress . . .
?Fat Friends The Musical?
features a stellar cast
brimming with stars of
stage and screen ? and
even, at selected dates, a
sporting hero, with
cricketer Freddie Flintoff
making his stage debut as
Kevin.
Top Scottish entertainer
Elaine C. Smith is
appearing as Betty in the
Scottish leg of the tour,
which is currently
underway.
?The chance to work on a
musical based on a TV
series I loved was just too
good to miss,? Elaine says.
?And I?m a huge fan of Kay
Mellor. She has a real
understanding of the issues
around women and weight.
?As well as writing a
fabulous show packed with
humour, friendship and
love, Kay?s musical version
of ?Fat Friends? has a
serious side and also looks
at the lengths women will
go to in order to get
thinner.
Elaine C. Smith
can identify with
mum Betty.
REAL LIFE 45
?I adored the TV series?
?My character, Betty,
wants her daughters, Kelly
and Joanne, to be happy
? and is determined that
Kelly will wear her dream
wedding dress when she
marries her fianc�. In
addition, yo-yo dieter
Betty?s lost five stone while
working in the family?s fish
and chip shop and is
through to the finals of
Slimmer of the Year.
?There?s so much I relate
to in this show. After I had
my two daughters, I
couldn?t lose weight and
went along to a slimming
club.
?I received valuable
support there and also
became friends with some
of the other women who
attended every week.
?However, as I?ve got
older, I?ve realised it?s not
so much about dieting. It?s
about enjoying a healthy
diet, taking regular
exercise and adopting the
philosophy that ?We?re all
beautiful?, which is the
overriding message of ?Fat
Friends?.
Kevin Kennedy
is loving being
in the show.
?I can also relate to Betty
as a mum,? Elaine
continues, adding that
she?s now also a very proud
grandmother and has a
wonderful granddaughter
called Stella, named after
her mum.
Elaine laughs.
?One of my daughters is
getting married next year
so I know only too well all
the palaver involved in
organising a wedding.?
She shares the role with
former ?X-Factor? winner
Sam Bailey, who plays
Betty in the show?s
performances in England,
Ireland and Wales.
?I loved the show when it
was on ITV. There?s so
much to relate to in ?Fat
Friends?. So many people
have been on diets and to
slimming clubs and fitness
classes.?
Other well-known faces in
the show include West End
star Jodie Prenger, who
first came to our attention
when she won ?I?d Do
Anything?, BBC1?s search
for a new Nancy for
Cameron MacIntosh?s
revival of ?Oliver Twist?,
and Kevin Kennedy, who
played Curly Watts in
?Coronation Street? for
twenty years.
?In ?Fat Friends The
Musical? I play Fergus,
father of the heroine of the
piece, Kelly,? Kevin tells me
during a break from
rehearsals. ?Fergus is a
chip-shop owner with two
audiences really relate
to the story ? and so do
I. I remember going to a
slimming club and
thinking I?d done really
well as I?d lost three
pounds so I went out
and had fish and chips!?
Jodie Prenger plays an
outspoken northerner.
daughters and a wife. He
thinks he?s in charge but
actually, like most men,
he?s being steered in the
right direction by the
women in his life!?
However, Kevin has a
confession to make. Unlike
the rest of the cast and the
nine million or so viewers
who used to tune in to ?Fat
Friends? every week, he
didn?t watch the TV series.
?I think I was wrapped up
in ?Coronation Street? at
the time,? he says,
laughing. ?And I?ve never
been to a slimming club,
either!?
Kevin?s been on tour with
the show since it opened in
Leeds in December.
?The cast is like one big
family,? he says. ?I?m really
enjoying being in this show,
which has a fabulous cast,
a wonderful script and
great music. It?s no wonder
audiences love ?Fat Friends
The Musical?!? n
?Fat Friends The Musical? is on tour until
June 2 ? visit www.fatfriendsthemusical.com
for more information.
Jay Brooks.
Jay Brooks.
?Kelly, my ?Fat
Friends? character, is
an outspoken
northerner, which is a
good fit, actually!?
Jodie Prenger exclaims.
?She?s madly in love
with Kevin, her fianc�.
They live for each other
and it?s only when it
comes to her wedding
dress that it all goes a
bit wrong.
?I adored the TV
series ?Fat Friends?, but
I never dreamed when I
watched it on television
that one day l?d be
appearing in the
musical version.
?The show?s
SHORT STORY BY ANNIE HARRIS 47
Wallowing
That?s what
Helen?s husband
was doing, and
it had to stop!
Illustration by Ruth Blair.
H
ELEN made a pot
of tea, cut a slice
of Will?s favourite
lemon drizzle
cake, got out his
favourite mug from the
kitchen cupboard and filled
it.
She went through to the
front room.
?Here you are.? She set
the mug down beside her
husband.
?Thanks, love.? Absently,
he took a bite of cake but
did not turn his eyes from
the TV.
She also looked at the
screen, where a middleaged couple were being
shown round an apartment.
As she watched, they
stepped out on to a
balcony with a view of
orange groves. In the
distance was a sea so blue
it could only be the
Mediterranean.
?Is that Marbella??
?Yes.?
She sighed nostalgically.
?We had a lovely couple
of winters there a few years
ago, didn?t we? All that sun
after a freezing January.
Bliss.?
?Hmm.?
?How about going again
next month?? she
suggested. ?Maybe we
could book that same
apartment we had in that
quiet square, just round
the corner from that nice
little bar where they did
those really good full
English breakfasts.
?So,? she continued,
?what do you think??
?What??
?About us going next
month. I?m sure we could
get a late booking.?
?Oh, no.? He finally
roused himself. ?I don?t
think so, Helen. All that
hassle at the airports ?
getting there while it?s still
dark, queuing at check-in
then security. No, we?re
better off here.?
He turned his eyes back
to the screen.
Helen stood looking
down at him, biting her lip,
then made one final effort.
?It?s such a lovely
afternoon, I?m going for a
walk. The wild snowdrops
should be out by the
stream in the wood. Want
to come??
?No. It?s ?Antiques
Roadshow? next. You enjoy
your walk, love.?
Without another word,
she left the room and lifted
out her fleece from the hall
cupboard.
She went out through the
back door, then stopped to
admire the purple winter
pansies with which she had
planted up the line of patio
pots. They should be really
pretty when the pink tulips
joined them.
But they were the only
bright spot in the whole
garden.
The lawn would soon
need mowing ? it should
have had a final mow back
in the autumn, but that was
when the blow fell.
Bindweed was romping
across the herbaceous
border, and beyond that
was the veg patch, which
had always been Will?s
pride and joy.
It was now smothered in
weeds.
Helen stood still as tears
came to her eyes at the
sudden, sharp memory of a
young Will brimming with
enthusiasm, buying his
garden tools and first
packets of seeds when
they?d moved in here
nearly forty years earlier.
Fiercely brushing away
the tears, she roused
herself and walked on
through the small orchard
they had planted together
with plum and apple trees,
one of which still held the
remnant of the rope swing
he?d put up for their
daughter, Kate.
Beyond that was a high
hedge and a rickety gate
which grated on its hinges
as she pushed it open.
Finally she came to what
Will grandly called his
potting shed.
It was much bigger than
your usual garden shed, for
it had been put up in the
early days of the last war
to serve as an engineering
unit, making small parts for
fighter planes.
She rubbed the grime off
one of the windows and
peered in.
Will only used part of the
building, but there was the
bench where he mixed his
potting compost, there
were those tools, and the
bamboo canes, all ready
for the runner beans that
he had decided not to plant
this year.
?Too much bother, love,?
he?d said. ?We can afford to
buy our veg.?
The snowdrops were
flowering by the stream.
Helen jammed her hands in
her fleece pockets and
gazed down at them, their
fragile white bells waving
defiantly at the cold wind
which ruffled them.
So beautiful, yet so frail.
She and Will always took
this walk at this time of
year ? a pilgrimage,
almost, she?d once thought
fancifully ? to glimpse what
he called the first signs of
spring.
?Winter?s on the run,
love,? he?d say. ?It?ll soon
be time to start
bringing the veg
48
seeds on.?
At the memory the
tears threatened again,
and this time she couldn?t
stop them. As she slumped
down on the rustic bench,
her whole body was racked
with sobs.
She didn?t know how long
she sat there until she
became aware of someone
sitting beside her and
taking her gently by the
hand.
Through her tears she
saw that it was Penny
Rankin, a friend who lived
at the far end of the village.
?S-sorry.? Helen managed
a watery smile.
?Don?t worry.? The
woman?s gaze was warm
with sympathy. ?Do you
want to talk about it? Have
you had some bad news??
?No, not really. It?s ?
well . . .? Her voice tailed
away, but then she went
on. ?It?s Will.?
?Ah.?
?Oh, Penny, I just don?t
know what to do. Ever
since Ellison?s Engineering
closed down he won?t do
anything except watch TV
all day.?
When she began to cry
again, Penny held her
close.
?Helen, I know just how
you feel. Sam?s just the
same, except with him it?s
Sudokus morning, noon
and night. He says they
keep his brain alive, but it?s
his body I?m worried about.
He only moves from his
armchair when the next
meal?s put on the table.?
?Really??
?Believe me, I?ve shed
many a silent tear into my
pillow.? Penny frowned and
shook her head. ?You
know, I begin to think all
the men in the village who
were put out of work are in
the same boat. You know
my neighbour, Jean
Walters??
?Yes, of course. I started
infants school here with her
husband, Ron. He?s lived in
the village all his life.?
?Well, not for much
longer if he has his way,?
Penny said sadly.
?Oh??
?He?s so fed up that he?s
threatening to move to
London. He says there are
plenty of jobs down there
for the likes of him.?
?London?? Helen was
horrified. ?But he?d hate it
there!?
?Try telling him that.
Poor Jean?s nearly out of
her mind with worry. These
men . . .? Penny sighed. ?I
think they?ve all been
bottling up their feelings,
thinking that it?s a sign of
weakness to own up to how
low they are.
?It?s a man thing, I
suppose ? they have to be
macho, at least on the
outside.?
?Yes, I think you?re right.?
Helen nodded. ?When I had
that health scare a few
years back, Will, bless him,
couldn?t do enough for me
? waited on me hand and
foot. But the one thing he
couldn?t do was talk about
it.
?He seemed to think that
would only make matters
worse, while I really needed
to share my worries with
people who understood.?
?And that?s where your
women friends came in,
you mean??
?Yes. In fact, if it hadn?t
been for you and my other
friends who gave me such
support ? well, I don?t
know what might have
happened.?
Penny nodded.
?But this time we?re
being just like the men,
clamming up, putting on a
brave face in case anything
else seems like disloyalty,?
she said.
?Yes, you?ve hit the nail
on the head, Penny. But
what can we do about it??
?Well, something?s got to
be done, or we?ll all sink
into such a pit of
depression we?ll never get
out of it.?
Penny was lost in thought
for a moment.
?Let?s call a special
meeting for all us
redundant wives. That new
coffee bar in town looks
good and they?ve got a
back room that?s set aside
for small groups.
?I think our youth club
meets there every Friday
night, and I?m sure they?d
let us use it one afternoon
when they?re a bit quiet,?
she continued. ?Can you
make Thursday??
?Yes.? Helen smiled for
the first time.
Penny, always so
efficient, so forthright, was
lifting her spirits already.
?Will won?t even ask
where I?m going,? she
admitted. ?He?ll just be
glad to have me out of the
house for a couple of
hours, not nagging him to
get out of his armchair.?
?Right. I?ll text everyone
or ring them. Thursday it
is.?
* * * *
Helen looked round the
tables, where cups of tea
and coffee were being
poured and plates of cakes
passed around.
So far everyone had been
quiet, almost subdued, as if
they weren?t quite sure
what was expected of
them, but as they settled
Penny lightly tapped a
teaspoon on her cup and
launched into her prepared
speech.
?Right, ladies, I think
maybe you can guess why
we?re here. If you look
around, you?ll see we?ve all
got something in common
? husbands who can?t come
to terms with losing their
jobs.?
?That?s certainly right in
my case,? one woman put
in. ?My Bill keeps saying
he?s on the scrap heap.
?Since Ellison?s closed
he?s lost all his get up and
go. He?s even given up
wood turning, which he?s
loved ever since we were
married. Now he says he?ll
never use his lathe again.?
There was a sympathetic
murmur.
?It?s true. He?s even
asked our Julie to sell it on
eBay for him,? the woman
added.
?But Connie,? Helen
began, ?I can?t believe it.
You remember that Noah?s
Ark he made for Kate? She
loved it and now Vickie?s
got it ? it?s a family
heirloom.?
Connie shrugged
despondently.
?It?s the same with my
Jake,? another woman said.
?He?s been in the church
choir since he was a lad,
but now he?s left. He told
the vicar he was too old!
It?s all I can do to get him
to go to church at all these
days.?
?And they?re both like my
Steve, I expect,? a third
woman added. ?He won?t
accept there?s anything
wrong with him, and when I
suggest he goes to the
doctor he flies off the
handle. He says the doctor
can?t produce jobs out of
thin air.?
?So it looks as if I was
right.? Penny broke into
the nods of agreement.
?We all do have this same
problem. But the question
is, what are we going to do
about it??
There was a long silence,
but at last another woman,
who had held back from
the discussion so far,
tentatively put up her
hand.
?Yes, Brenda??
?Well, I don?t know if it
would work in our village,?
she began, ?but I was
reading this article in a
magazine about Men?s
Sheds.?
?Men?s Sheds?
Whatever?s that?? Helen
asked.
?Well, they started in
Australia, where a lot of
men like to think they?re so
tough that they can?t talk
about their worries and do
something about them.
They bottle them up and as
a result they become
depressed.?
?So what do they do in
these sheds of theirs??
Penny enquired.
?Well, it?s taking matters
into their own hands,
really. They?re called
Shedders and there?s even
a Men?s Shed Association.
I?ve looked it up online.
?Anyway, they form
self-help groups, doing all
sorts of things ? taking up
their hobbies again, finding
new interests, doing things
for the community, and
above all sharing their
worries, knowing that
they?re among friends.?
?That sounds a really
great idea,? Penny said
enthusiastically. ?The only
trouble is ? where?s the
shed? Our garden shed?s
hardly big enough for the
wheelbarrow.?
?Yes.? Brenda was
gaining in confidence now.
?From what it says on their
website, they don?t just
meet in sheds. It can be the
back room of a pub, a
disused office.
Anywhere, really.?
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50
?The Royal Oak would
have been ideal,? Connie
commented. ?They had
that room to hire really
cheaply, but they?ve closed
it now. And the village
hall?s busy all the time with
yoga and Zumba classes
and the mothers and tots
afternoons.?
?Hmm.? Penny?s brow
was furrowed. ?What we
need is something
exclusively for the men to
use. But what??
?Well, as to that,? Helen
said, smiling broadly, ?I
might just have the
answer.?
* * * *
Helen opened the door,
slipped inside, then stood
looking around her.
The sun was streaming
through the newly cleaned
windows and the place felt
snug.
When they had begun
work in late February the
room was cold, but now, on
this May morning, it was
warm.
For next winter they had
been promised the
redundant night storage
heaters from the village
hall when it was renovated
? always supposing the
shed was still up and
running by then.
And surely it would be.
The transformation the
women ? they?d dubbed
themselves the Life After
Ellison?s Group ? had
achieved was amazing.
Somehow it had all been
kept secret, even from Will.
She had been relieved that
he hadn?t moved from the
front room and certainly
hadn?t ventured the length
of their garden.
The other men hadn?t
suspected anything, either.
They had just been relieved
to be left in peace without
the constant haranguing
Don?t Miss Out!
your local newsagent
to order this
magazine
they?d been subjected to.
The women had even
hidden the fact that they?d
managed to get a large
enough grant from a local
charity to buy second-hand
furniture from the
warehouse which had
recently opened in the
disused mill by the canal.
They had bought old but
colourful rugs, easy chairs
with bright throws to
disguise the worn patches,
and a couple of low coffee
tables, brought back to life
with polish and a lot of
elbow grease.
There was a pile of
jigsaws on one and a chess
set on the other. In the
corner was Bill?s lathe,
which they had smuggled
out, together with some
seasoned wood temptingly
displayed.
Mr Stephens, the vicar,
as well as wangling the
grant for them, had
donated his old computer
as the diocese had just
given him a new one for the
church office.
Finally, mugs, tea, coffee
and biscuits stood beside
the kettle by the sink.
The whole place looked
very welcoming, with the
walls distempered in soft
apricot by Jean?s two
grandsons, who?d been let
into the secret.
From outside in the lane
she heard voices
approaching.
?Please let it be a
success,? she said out loud,
then went to open the
gate.
The group of women
were waiting with their
husbands, some looking
grumpy, some bemused.
?Good morning,
everyone,? she called
brightly. ?Come on in.?
She threw open the gate.
?What have you lot been
up to then, Helen?? one of
the men asked suspiciously.
?Oh, you?ll see, Roger,?
she replied.
As they shuffled past her,
she clapped her hand to
her mouth.
?Good grief, I?ve forgotten
Will!?
He was slumped in front
of the TV as usual, but she
walked over to it and
switched it off.
?What are you doing??
He frowned. ?I?m watching
?A Place In The Country?. I
want to see what house
they choose.?
?Not today you?re not,?
Helen said firmly. ?On your
feet. I?ve got something to
show you.
?Please?? she pleaded
when he protested again. ?I
really need you to do this
for me.?
They walked down the
garden, with Will dragging
his heels and muttering
under his breath, to where
the other women were
standing by the open shed
door.
?What are you lot doing
in my potting shed?? he
demanded, only half joking.
Behind him, Helen
winked then gave him a
little push.
?In you go, love.?
Then she firmly closed
the door and the friends
exchanged high-fives of
triumph.
* * * *
Helen walked quietly
down the garden. The lawn
was newly mown, the edges
trimmed and the borders
weed-free.
In the veg plot, the
runner beans were showing
next to neat lines of baby
salad plants, and she
nodded in satisfaction.
Yes, she thought, the Will
of old was back again.
But it wasn?t only that he
was gardening again. The
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previous evening they had
both poured over the
winter sun brochures he?d
picked up from the travel
agent, drawing up a
shortlist of places to stay.
Maybe they could decide
tonight and book it in the
morning.
In the garden, he?d
enlisted the help of Arthur
? not another Ellison?s
casualty, but an old friend
who?d fallen into a deep
depression since he?d
moved into the retirement
complex and lost his
garden.
Two of the other men had
almost dragged him here,
and he was looking better
by the day.
Screened by a pink
climbing rose, she peered
through the nearest
window.
Will and Alf were playing
chess, Bill was working at
his lathe, along with
Brenda?s husband, who
she?d heard wanted to
make a train set for his
grandson.
Several others were bent
over a sheet of diagrams.
They were the ones
designing the rustic picnic
tables for the wood.
?We?ve got so much out
of the community, we must
put something back,? one
of them had said.
Above all, floating out to
her came laughter and a
steady hum of voices. The
men were talking.
Will glanced up as Alf
made his next move, and
caught sight of Helen at the
window behind him.
A smile broke over his
face.
?Thanks, love,? he
mouthed, and she felt her
answering smile reach out
to him.
Then, humming happily,
she crept away.
Job done. n
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Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms ...................... First Name ........................................
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Inside next week?s issue
Our cover feature:
Neil McAllister visits
Abersoch, a beautiful
stretch of the
North Wales coast
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SHORT STORY BY EIRIN THOMPSON 53
The Trolley
Dash
Shyness had held me back
all my life, but from now on
things would be different . . .
Illustration by Helen Welsh.
E
VEN when I was a
little girl, I found it
hard to fit in.
?Stuck Up Sue? the
other kids called
me, because I never did
head-stands against the
school yard wall and my
books were backed in
expensive wallpaper.
The truth was, I would
have loved to be more
popular, but I didn?t know
how.
I wasn?t snobbish, I was
just shy, with a mum who
happened to save her
pennies for nice things for
the house ? like special
wallpaper.
As I grew older, I made
friends with one or two
other quiet girls who, like
me, avoided the discos and
trips to the cinema. We
were happier at each
other?s houses talking
about books.
It can?t have surprised
anyone that on leaving
school I got a job in the
library, a sanctuary in a
demanding world.
I became friendly with
Angela, my boss, who
recommended American
novelists I hadn?t heard of.
?You have a lovely,
genteel manner with the
readers,? she told me. ?I
know the days of
whispering in libraries are
going, Sue, but I?d prefer
we stayed calm and at least
relatively quiet ? I rather
cherish us being a place
apart.?
?You don?t think I come
across as . . . haughty??
?Just because you speak
well? Don?t ever change ?
that?s my advice.?
We?ve been firm friends
for three decades now.
I was never bold enough
to break away and move to
a new town, and I guessed
my shyness would only
follow me.
But life wasn?t bad. I had
my little home exactly the
way I wanted it and shared
it with Lucy, my cat.
I visited my parents every
Sunday and each summer I
spent two weeks in Greece,
staying with my pen-pal,
Alessandro.
Every December he
visited me for one night
after doing his Christmas
shopping in London.
?Come back with me to
Greece for Christmas!? he
always urged, and
sometimes I thought
maybe I would.
But I never did.
I also did yoga. No-one
talked during yoga, so I
didn?t feel awkward.
* * * *
Now summer was
approaching, and I would
soon be thinking of all
things Greek.
First, though, my town
was having a community
festival.
The planning meetings
had been held in the
library. There was to be a
parade of floats to launch
the event, a tea dance, a
disco and a Mr and Mrs
Competition for couples
who?d been together for
years.
If Alessandro and I had
been husband and wife,
instead of just pen-pals for
twenty-five years, we would
have been celebrating our
silver wedding anniversary
this summer.
There would be
competitions, including a
draw for a supermarket
voucher. The value of the
voucher was top secret, but
everyone talked about
what they?d buy if they
won.
?First thing I?d go for is a
leg of lamb,? Mum said.
?Then I?d buy a bunch of
fresh mint and make my
own sauce.?
?I?d buy a slab of
chocolate.? Dad had a
sweet tooth. ?And a big
bunch of flowers for your
mother.?
Alessandro always put
fresh flowers in my
bedroom when I stayed.
Angela said she?d fill her
freezer so she wouldn?t
have to do any ?real?
cooking for a month.
Everyone who came in to
change their books was
talking about it, but no-one
asked me what I?d buy.
Did they think I was too
prim to gamble on getting
a winning ticket?
In fact, I did have a
ticket. It was tucked in my
jewellery box at home
alongside Alessandro?s
charm bracelet, with its 24
charms, and his letter
asking me to come and live
with him.
* * * *
The community festival
went brilliantly.
Everyone had put a huge
effort into their floats, all
on the theme of traditional
tales.
The Scouts did Hansel
and Gretel, the Brownies
and Guides did Little Red
Riding Hood, the butcher
and his staff dressed up as
the Three Little Pigs and
the hairdressers presented
a lavishly tressed Rapunzel.
The disco in the Scout
Hall was popular, and the
church sexton and his wife
brought the house down
with the secrets of their
thirty-year marriage in the
Mr and Mrs Competition,
winning themselves dinner
for two.
Tonight it seemed the
entire town had
gathered outside the
54
supermarket to hear the
winner of the big draw
revealed.
The mayor gave a
speech, then dug into a
barrel and drew out a
ticket stub. He opened it.
?The winner is Suzanne
Park!? the mayor
announced. ?Many
congratulations, Suzanne!
Come on up.?
Me? My hands started to
shake.
I felt a nudge behind me.
It was a girl I was at school
with.
?It?s you!? she shrieked.
?Go on, Sue! You?ve won!?
She sounded really happy
for me.
I bumbled through the
crowd and reached the
podium.
The supermarket
manager asked me for
identification and I
produced my driving
licence.
Then he took the
microphone from the
mayor, congratulated me
and announced there
would be no voucher.
No voucher? The crowd
groaned and I wondered
what I?d done wrong. Did
the manager think I?d
cheated?
?There will be no
voucher,? the manager
said, ?because we can do
better than that. Suzanne?s
prize is a three-minute
trolley dash ? a chance to
grab anything she wants off
our shelves. Let?s see how
she does!?
so much better?
?Right, Suzanne. Let?s set
you up with a trolley.?
?It?s happening now??
?Of course. Have a think
about your strategy while
we get as many folk as we
can inside the store.?
But I couldn?t think at all.
I wished I hadn?t won. I
wished Angela had won the
prize. She would make
straight for the freezers.
Even Mum would have
had a plan.
That?s when I had my
idea.
* * * *
I stood at the entrance
while the crowd poured
past. I was inundated with
good wishes as people
passed by.
Suddenly the manager
was giving me instructions,
explaining that I couldn?t
put any two identical items
in my trolley, and pointing
to a huge digital clock.
The crowd was counting
down excitedly from 10.
?Go!? came the shout and
I lurched forward.
Apples. Mrs Smith had
said she would buy a big
bag of Braeburns. Into the
trolley they went.
The little girl who liked
books about bears said
strawberries were her
favourite. I grabbed the
biggest punnet.
The meat fridge. Out
came Mum?s leg of lamb, a
silverside roast for Mr
Dixon and an organic
chicken for the tall girl who
How could I possibly run round a
supermarket?
Oh, no! Just as I couldn?t
do head-stands up against
the school yard wall forty
years ago, because people
might see me fall and
would certainly see my
underwear, I couldn?t dash
round a supermarket now
for fear of similar
humiliation.
What if I skidded, or
slipped and fell? What if I
crashed the trolley into the
shelves and brought
groceries down upon my
head?
What if everybody was
watching, thinking the prize
was wasted on Stuck Up
Sue, when they could do it
always wore leggings and a
beanie.
In the library I had
listened to everybody
chatting about what they
would buy. This was my
chance to get something
for as many people as
possible.
But I had to be quick. I
glanced up at the clock.
Twenty seconds gone
already. The folk were
whooping and crying out.
I gave the trolley an
almighty shove and skidded
along with it.
Using my whole arm now,
instead of my hand, I
scooped down a clatter of
herbs and spices for Julie,
who was always in the
library borrowing cookery
books.
I grabbed spaghetti and
sauce for the Blake twins,
who?d said bolognese was
their favourite, and a
massive pizza for their busy
mum, who?d said at least
that was quick.
Thinking of our book
group, I snatched dozens of
packets of biscuits, then
The crowd gave a huge
cheer.
I took the microphone
from him.
?I?d like to say thank you
very much for my prize, but
I can?t eat and drink all of
this on my own.
?So I?m on a mission,
tomorrow, to try to match
up all these goods with the
people who wanted them.
Any left-overs will be
available from the library
I picked things I?d heard people
say they would choose
looked at the clock and
found I?d used up my first
minute.
Remembering Angela, I
dashed to the freezer aisle
and pulled out all kinds of
fish and frozen vegetables.
I thought of our story-time
session for toddlers and
added some milk iced
lollies.
I turned to my audience.
?What else do you need??
?Nappies!? a man
shouted. ?The smallest
ones!?
I dashed to the baby aisle
and tugged a pack down
from the display.
?Put them underneath!? a
woman advised. ?They?ll
take up too much room!?
?Get coffee and tea!
They?re really expensive!?
someone else called, and I
did.
?And some Earl Grey, for
me,? Alessandro?s voice
said softly in my head.
I hadn?t forgotten about
him.
* * * *
The last minute went in a
blur. The trolley was
getting very full and it was
harder and harder to find
useful items that would fit.
At one point, flying round
a corner, I lost my footing
and fell to the ground.
People stepped out of
the crowd and picked me
up and no-one said they
weren?t allowed to.
?Keep going!? came the
cries. ?Don?t stop!?
When the klaxon
sounded I was red and
panting. The manager met
me with the microphone.
?Suzanne, you?ve been an
absolute star. A good sport
? and a canny shopper.?
the next day.
?Now, who needed
nappies??
A young man waved, and
the crowd passed the
packet over their heads
until they reached him.
The manager took back
the microphone, asked for
one last cheer for Suzanne
and I waved and then did
something I should have
done forty years ago.
I took off my cardigan,
folded it and set it on the
ground against the wall,
took a deep breath and did
a head-stand.
After a shocked second of
silence and a titter of
laughter, the crowd gave a
round of applause.
I didn?t get down. I can
do a head-stand for a long
time.
I thought about what I
would say in my next e-mail
to Alessandro.
I?d tell him I was sending
him some of his favourite
Earl Grey tea, of course,
and I might even tell him
how I?d won it.
And I?d say that I was
looking forward to our two
weeks in the summer, but
that I?d thought it over and
no, I couldn?t stay
permanently.
I?d miss Mum and Dad
and Lucy, but I?d also miss
my whole town. It?s my
home. I?ve lived here all my
life. I belong here.
The trolley dash had
been a revelation. I was no
longer that lonely girl ? I
was capable of more and,
seemingly, had the goodwill
of my whole community.
It was time for a fresh
start, but perhaps I didn?t
have to go to another
country to find it. n
Walkies!
Walkies is a fun and quirky
design depicting dog characters
and their owners.
The soft grey tones will complement most colourways and there are
flashes of cherry red and apple green for a bit of extra colour.
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From
oNLY
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Made from 100% cotton with a PVC coating, this shopping
bag has plenty of room for daily essentials, and is also
exceptionally practical ? simply wipe with a damp cloth to
keep pristine. The bag has a magnetic clasp for closing and
an inner zipped pocket for security. Measures approximately
12? x 15? x 6?. PF0WK �.50
This cotton apron will have you looking beautifully
stylish in the kitchen. Measures: 27� x 37�
approximately. PF0W1 �.50
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OnLine: www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
NATURE
Reluctant
travellers
The tawny owl is the size of
a pigeon, with a round head
and body. Its feathering is
brown, with a ring of darker
brown round the eyes. They?re
widespread in England,
Scotland and Wales but not
found in Ireland. Because they
don?t like flying over water,
they are absent from many of
our islands, including the Isle
of Man and Isle of Wight, as
well as the Outer Hebrides,
Orkney and Shetland.
57
All About
Owls
Malcolm D. Welshman finds
out about the tawny friends
in his neighbourhood.
Owl
superstitions
We have been fascinated
by owls for millennia. In
France there?s a cave carving
of one dating back 30,000
years. In various cultures, the
owl has been seen as a
harbinger of death. Apaches
in North America believed
that you didn?t have long to
live if you dreamed of one,
while witches in Ancient
Rome were thought to be
able to turn into owls and
then suck the blood from
babies that were asleep.
Super powers
Only males make the familiar
?hu-hoohoo?; the females? call is a
?kewick?. It?s easy to imitate a tawny
owl by blowing through cupped
hands, and males will often respond.
They mate for life, and a pair usually
sits together on a branch close to a
tree trunk during the day. Adult
tawnies drive their youngsters out of
their territories after the breeding
season. As a result, nearly two-thirds
of youngsters die in their first year.
Young
owls are still
dependent
on their
parents for
two or three
months after
they leave
the nest.
What?s on the
menu?
In woodland areas, small
birds form 10% of their diet
with the rest consisting of
rats, rabbits, moles, shrews,
bats, mice and voles. Among
the unlikely birds eaten are
adult mallard ducks and
kittiwakes. Fish and lizards
are also known to have
been consumed. Having
swooped on a mouse, the
owl swallows it whole and
the indigestible bits ? the
bones, fur claws and teeth
? are packed together and
regurgitated as a pellet.
iStock.
Who?s hoo?
They have incredible
hearing and can detect a
mouse nibbling grass when
flying way above it. Their two
ears are in different positions
on either side of the head,
with the left one higher up
and the right one larger. This
enables them to hear ten
times better than us.
Their eyesight is also 100
times better than ours and
they can spot a mouse in a
light level equivalent to a
solitary candle in a football
stadium.
58
All Change At
Dawson?s Dairies
Despite all the odds, the
family had pulled together and
won through . . .
Illustration by Mandy Dixon.
I
N the light of day it was
obvious that the mangled
packaging and labelling
line would not be
functional any time soon.
The real damage hadn?t
been caused by the
explosion itself but by
water, from both the
ruptured tanks and the fire
brigade?s hoses when they
tackled the blaze.
The conveyer belts where
the huge blocks of cheese
were cut, weighed,
packaged and labelled
were not only sodden, but
covered in a film of dust.
The area would need to be
deep-cleaned, sterilised
and completely rewired.
Thankfully Jack had been
able to obtain emergency
generators to keep the
huge storage refrigerators
operating. But the cheese
they contained wasn?t
going anywhere soon.
What?s more, they held a
mountain of cheese. The
team had been running
extra shifts to meet two big
new orders for the pasta
company and the
supermarket chain.
Everyone had been so
excited by the new
contracts, which would see
the Dawson?s brand on the
shelves of a major
supermarket, and Dawson?s
cheese credited as one of
the premium quality
ingredients in the Lobster
Mac Cheese from Posh
Pasta.
Both deals had been
negotiated on a trial basis.
Now it looked as if the
trial was over before it had
begun. The cutting wheels
at the head of the conveyor
belt were covered in soot.
On a separate belt, the
huge industrial graters lay
silent.
Every part of the process
was designed to operate
with a minimum of
intervention. The computer
screens which monitored
and recorded progress,
automatically tracking
orders, would have to be
replaced.
Last night Jack had
reckoned it would be at
least a month before they
were back up and running.
Allison could tell from her
dad?s face that he thought
Jack was being optimistic.
She had to get on the
phone and start the
dispiriting process of
passing on the bad news.
The sooner she gave her
customers notice that she
had to cancel their orders,
the quicker they?d be able
to arrange an alternative
supplier.
Would they come back to
Dawson?s? Would the
business lose not only the
new orders, but some of
their established
customers, too?
Allison slumped against
the conveyor belt,
overwhelmed. This could
be the end of the business.
Of all their hopes, dreams.
and plans. More
importantly, all those jobs
the community relied on.
Jobs! She?d have to call
all the staff . . .
?Allison??
Startled, she looked up
to see one of the longestserving of Dawson?s staff
standing in the doorway.
?Hi, Joy. I?m so sorry, I
haven?t had a chance to call
anyone.? Allison forced a
smile as she picked her way
across the debris. ?As you
can see, we won?t be open
for business for a while.?
?I heard.? Joy looked
around her. ?The news
spread round the village so
we came to see what we
could do to help.?
?We?? Bewildered, she
followed Joy out into the
car park.
SERIAL BY JOSEPHINE ALLEN: PART 6 OF 6
It looked like the entire
factory staff and half of the
village were in front of her.
?Thank you,? she said to
Joy, her voice barely more
than a whisper.
She cleared her throat
and turned to face them.
?Thank you so much,
everyone, for turning up. It
means so much. But I?m
afraid there?s nothing to be
done at the moment.?
?Rubbish!?
?The place will need
clearing up, at the very
least.?
?We?ve got those orders
to get out.?
?Where there?s a will
there?s a way.?
Allison listened as her
employees and friends
muttered among
themselves.
She had to put them
straight, make them see
how impossible it was. Just
as Jack and her dad had
made her face reality.
But looking at their
determined faces, her old
rebellious nature stirred.
For goodness? sake,
people had been making
and selling cheese for
centuries, long before they
had automated cutting and
packaging equipment!
OK, they hadn?t made
cheese on the industrial
scale that Dawson?s did,
but still, there had to be a
way. Even if it meant
working round the clock.
Defiance settled in
Allison as she considered.
A human production line,
working round the clock?
Yes, they could do it.
She wasn?t sure where;
that was the first of many
obstacles to be overcome.
But Dawson?s Dairy wasn?t
going to go down!
She clapped her hands.
?Ladies and gentlemen,
you are absolutely right.
We have to find a way to
get these orders out.
?If you give me a few
hours, I?m sure I?ll come up
with a plan. The fire
brigade have declared the
building safe, so we could
make a start on clearing up
the mess. If anyone wants
to volunteer, that is??
?Leave it to me,? Joy said.
?Apart from Jack Ashton, I
reckon I know more about
the workings of that factory
floor than anyone. Even
your dad.?
Joy winked at her.
?You?d best go home and
change, love. Those
pyjamas are very fetching
but not quite appropriate
for convening an
emergency management
meeting, assuming that?s
what you?re going to do?
?Right, you lot,? she
added, turning to the
crowd. ?It?s all hands
literally to the pumps!?
* * * *
Having showered and
changed, Allison chaired
the crisis meeting later that
morning in the caf�.
?Can?t be done,? Jack
said when she outlined her
idea. ?Your heart?s in the
right place, Allison, but it
will never work.?
?But as Allison pointed
out,? Akbar said, setting
his untouched chocolate
digestive aside, ?if we let
our suppliers down, there?s
a chance the business will
go under. They?d be
sympathetic, but there?s no
room for sentiment in
business. Especially in the
current economic climate.?
Sally refilled their mugs.
?Then it?s quite simple.
By hook or by crook those
orders have to be fulfilled.
We need lateral thinking
and a positive attitude, not
defeatist talk.?
She folded her arms.
?Sorry, Allison, if I?ve
overstepped the mark.?
?Don?t apologise, I
couldn?t have put it better
myself,? Allison said,
casting Jack a rueful look.
?We?ve already wasted
too much time going round
the houses,? Akbar
declared. ?What we need is
action. Right, Sally??
?Right, Akbar,? Sally
agreed, grinning. ?Where
do we start??
?With a task list.? He
pulled out a notebook.
?What needs to be done, in
what order. Well??
Allison, Akbar and Sally
gazed expectantly at Jack.
?You?re serious!? He
shook his head. ?We?ll
never . . .? Then a reluctant
smile lightened his craggy
countenance. ?OK, OK.
Positive thinking.
?The first thing we need
is a sterile area in order to
comply with food hygiene
regulations.?
?Joy is heading up a
cleaning task force,? Allison
announced. ?We could get
the current packaging area
cleared and thoroughly
sterilised. If we moved
aside the kit, replacing the
belts with trestle tables, is
that feasible??
?We could use the tables
from the canteen for a
59
production line,? Allison
repeated. ?We?ll work
twenty-four hours a day, in
three shifts. By my
reckoning, that means we
can satisfy every order,
with only a few days?
slippage. I?m sure our
customers will cut us a tiny
bit of slack, given the
circumstances.?
?But it?s impossible. All
those machines ? not that I
Could they possibly pull this off,
Allison wondered
start,? Sally said. ?I?m sure
we could borrow more from
the school. We could cover
them in plastic sheeting.?
?Plastic sheeting,? Akbar
muttered. ?I?m starting
another list of supplies.?
?How many people do
you reckon are helping out
already, Allison? If we got
them to bring friends,
family, work in shifts, I?m
sure we could create a
workable environment in
? what, a couple of days??
Sally pursed her lips.
?Leave that with me. I?ll
liaise with Joy.?
?Right, but that?s just the
start. We?re going to have
to rig up a whole manual
production line, from
cutting and weighing to
labelling and packing.? Jack
scratched his head. ?We
could package the cheese
with clingfilm. The labels
will stick just as well.?
?One lorryload of
clingfilm, ?Akbar repeated.
Allison grinned.
?You?re on a roll, Jack.
What else??
?What about the grated
cheese? I can?t think of a
solution to that.?
?I can!? Sally said
triumphantly. ?We?ll set up
a grating section, getting
people to bring in their
food processors. The
volume isn?t huge, so it?s
just about achievable.?
Jack?s shoulders shook.
?A grating section. I?ve
heard it all now.?
* * * *
?You?re going to do
what?? Jennifer squawked.
Her face, which Allison
was looking at on her
laptop via Skype, was a
picture.
?Set up a manual
know much about them,
but surely it can?t be
accomplished by hand??
?We have a plan,? Allison
said, waving one of her
many print-outs at the
screen. ?The clean-up is
already underway. Akbar?s
on logistics. Jack is coordinating the processes
that will need to be set up.
Dad and Lillias are sorting
out the catering.?
?Catering??
?Soup, sandwiches. Tea
and coffee. Cake. Can?t
expect volunteers to work
on an empty stomach.?
?Volunteers??
?Every single member of
staff has stepped up with a
lot of their families and
friends. Gareth?s called in
favours from the farming
community. And I was
wondering if you might . . .?
Jennifer laughed.
?Of course I?ll come, no
question. But, Allie, do you
really think this will work???
?It will, because it must.?
Her sister grinned.
?Listen to you. You sound
so like Dad. Have you
spoken to Kat and Jo yet??
?Not yet. I feel terrible
asking any of you to come
back; you?ve only just left.?
?Just think how terrible
they?d feel if you didn?t ask.
We?re in this together,
Allison, remember??
?I know. Thank you.?
?Why don?t you let me
get in touch with them?
You must have a million
other things on your plate.?
?Thank you. That would
be brilliant.?
?I?ll be with you by
tomorrow afternoon at the
latest. I just have a few
things to juggle. I?ll bring
Angus with me,
obviously.?
For many years, the stories of John and Anne
Taylor and their life on the area of Fife known
as the Riggin have been a mainstay of
?The People?s Friend? magazine.
FROM
ONLY
�99
Now, join John and Anne for the third
instalment of these much-loved tales
accompanied by the original watercolour
illustrations created by Dundee artist
Douglas Phillips.
The Proof Of
The Pudding
November,
It has been ready since
ed to sample
but I am finally allow
the great delicacy!
like??
a ton of hen feathers looks
ID you ever find out what she dished out her delicious
as
day evening
Anne came out with this
a reminder of one Wednes
Christmas pudding. It was
the ton of feathers
in November . . .
when Anne mentioned
It was about seven o?clock d the daft question was a pile of
for the first time. What prompte
on her scales.
you have
breadcrumbs rising high
there! Keep going, darling,
?John, there?s only six ounces
ten more to weigh.?
D
nights, when it
to be one of those daft
I knew then it was going
...
least before we got to bed
the spirit
would be one o?clock at
on with something when
Anne?s a great one for getting
making the Christmas pud.
moves her. And that includes Anne?s ideas are best executed in the
that
menial tasks.
the
The spirit seems to insist
with
help
to
e
has someon
evening. It?s then that she out pans, wash up or put away. Not to
get
Read, fetch, carry, weigh,
the sink a good wash.?
mention, ?Oh, darling, give he could float away down the sink, but he
?Someone? often wishes
to his paper!
obeys before going back
the spirit first spoke.
Anne said out
We were having tea when
a Christmas pudding tonight,?
?John, help me to make
the tea.
I agreed. Our first
of the blue as she poured
to go anywhere else, so
had
I couldn?t find an excuse
er which recipe book she
rememb
couldn?t
Anne
Farmers.
problem was that
out the one from the Young
used last year. She got
for Christmas pudding!?
?John, there?s no recipe
and I checked.
fifty-eight.? I
She handed me the book
page
on
see,
?
plum pudding
?There is, but it?s called
isn?t a plum in it!?
a plum pudding? There
peered. ?Why is it called
the ingredients!? I was told. e to read out
?Just for that, you can read
why she wanted someon pudding.
As soon as I started, I realised
Christmas ?
went into a plum ? not
that
pieces
and
bits
the
all!
There were 21 things in
ng. I want to make two.?
?Right, you double everythi of breadcrumbs first.?
?OK. We?ll do sixteen ounces have done was to put a loaf on the
should
put it on her
Looking back, what we
Anne cut it up and then
didn?t.
we
But
it.
scales and weigh
isn?t big, so Anne was
accurate, scales. The dish
g four more,
old-fashioned, but very
it into a bowl, then weighin
weighing four ounces, puttingthe heat was growing that she came out
as
etc. It all took time. It was
be forgotten:
with the phrase, never to
hen feathers looks like.?
?I wonder what a ton of
of breadcrumbs.
d and weighed 16 ounces mixed . . .
Eventually, we crumble
and
and then we mixed . . .
We assembled the rest
at night!
o?clock
eleven
was
it
down at two to
By then
stove, John. Will you come
?I?ll just put them on the
of water??
see they haven?t run out
n until the
I gave her a look.
operatio
ing
simmer
and
boiling
Anne agreed to leave the
crawled into bed.
midnight before I finally
next day, but it was still
What is my verdict?
I?ve sampled the result.
Now it?s Christmas, and
all the trouble! n
worth
well
and
?
s
Deliciou
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61
?Talking of Angus . . .?
On the screen,
Jennifer visibly winced.
?If what you?re asking is if
I?ve been in contact with
Kyle, yes, I have.?
?And??
?I?ve arranged to meet up
with him next week. It?s not
the kind of discussion you
can have over the phone. It
needs to be face-to-face.
?Katrina probably thinks
I should take Angus along.
That one look at his son,
and Kyle will fall in love
with him. But . . .?
?You?re worried that
would be tantamount to
emotional blackmail.?
?Exactly. Do you think I?m
right, Allie? I feel sick to
the pit of my stomach just
thinking about it.?
?Oh, Jen, don?t ask me
that. There isn?t any right
or wrong. You just have to
go with your instincts. I?m
sorry. I wish I could be
more help.?
?It?s enough, just knowing
you are in my corner,?
Jennifer said with a smile.
?Right back at you.?
Allison blew her sister a
kiss. ?See you tomorrow.?
* * * *
Ten days later, Sally
clambered up on top of a
packing case and rang the
cowbell vigorously.
?Break time. Down tools.
Food is on the table,
people.?
The busy production line
came to a halt, and the
workers streamed out,
chatting and laughing, to
replenish their energy from
the vast array of food being
dispensed from the
Portakabin in the car park,
the factory canteen having
been commandeered as a
despatch area.
The large marquee which
usually protected home
baking and allotment
vegetables at the local
agricultural show was set
up as a makeshift diningroom in the field behind.
The group photo which
Jack had taken for the
website, of everyone sitting
in hats, gloves and scarves
on the assortment of
deckchairs and patio
furniture, had found its way
into the local paper, then
one of the nationals, and
had gone viral.
?It?s trending on Twitter,?
Akbar had informed Jack.
Say Cheese! Hard Graft
Pays Off For Local Firm
had resulted in a host of
other pieces, all praising
the workers? determination
and Dunkirk spirit.
In the process it had
generated not only a lot of
publicity but also a good
number of sales enquiries.
?Talk about triumph in
the face of adversity,? Jack
commented. ?To think that
I said it couldn?t be done.?
?Allison knew better.?
Akbar eyed the tea plate in
front of him with relish.
?Tiramisu cake today,
Courtesy of Gareth?s mum.
I?ll be sorry to go back to
Penguins and KitKats.?
?You should talk to Sally.
Have her persuade Mrs
Baliol to bake for the
canteen.?
?Too late,? Akbar said
glumly. ?Sally has already
talked to Mrs Baliol. She?s
going to bake all right, not
for us poor workers,
though, but for the caf�.
?What?s more, Sally has
also asked if she?ll consider
knitting some of those
jumpers of hers to sell in
the shop. You know the one
that Gareth wears with his
kilt in our latest publicity
shot? Apparently people
have been e-mailing,
wanting to know where
they can get one.
?He?s become a bit of a
fashion icon, by all
accounts. You couldn?t
make it up!?
Jack chuckled.
?Have you seen the
proofs for the calendar that
Jennifer organised? That
shot of Gareth with the two
lambs ? I don?t even know
where they got hold of
lambs at this time of year.?
?I prefer the group shot
of the management team,?
Akbar said, wiping tiramisu
from his mouth.
?That tie of yours
certainly stands out. It?s
the only thing that can be
seen from space apart from
the Great Wall of China.?
Jack pushed his chair
back and stood up. He
checked his watch.
?Sally will be clanging her
bell in a minute. Time to
get back to work.?
?We?re on target, you
know,? Akbar said, waving
his clipboard. ?It is nothing
short of a miracle, but by
the end of this week, we?ll
have fulfilled every single
one of our orders.?
* * * *
?It?s amazing,? Katrina
said to Joanne. ?By the end
of the week they?ll have
fulfilled every single one of
those orders.
?Wait, I?m putting you on
speaker. I?m making tablet.
Or trying to, at least. I
should invest in a sugar
thermometer. What were
you saying??
On the other end of the
phone, sitting in the large
conservatory which served
as her office during the
mild winter months of
southern France, with its
views out over the
vineyard, Joanne shook her
head, smiling to herself.
?I was saying that I can?t
believe the difference in
Allison. Talk about a chip
off the old block.?
?I know, she?s so like
Dad.?
?And Mum,? Joanne said.
?The perfect combination.
She won?t forget that she
has a life away from
Dawson?s.?
?Not with Gorgeous
Gareth to keep her
straight. Do you think he?ll
propose soon??
?By Christmas, is what I
bet Jean-Luc. But, for once,
I?m not on to talk about
either the business or our
baby sister. I?m much more
concerned about . . .?
?Jen? Me, too. It?s over a
week since she saw Kyle,
and not a word from him.
Yesterday, she said that
she understood it was a lot
to take in, and he was
entitled to take his time to
come to terms with it. You
know our Jennifer, rational
and logical.?
?And terrified
underneath, but never will
admit it,? Joanne said
softly. ?I wish I was there,
though I don?t imagine
there?s much I could do.?
?Nor me. And Allie?s the
same. We all feel so
blooming helpless. What do
you think, Jo? How do you
think it will it pan out??
Joanne pursed her lips.
Outside, her husband was
inspecting the rows of vines
which had been pruned
back to encourage next
season?s growth.
?Jean-Luc thinks that
silence is a good sign. He
says that if Kyle really
didn?t want anything to do
with Angus he?d have said
so straight away.?
?I hadn?t thought of that.?
Katrina?s voice brightened.
?Do you think I should
mention that to Jennifer??
?I?m sure that?s one of
many things Jen has
consoled herself with.
Life-changing decisions
can?t be rushed,? Joanne
said. ?Everyone?s different,
everyone adjusts in
different ways.?
?Like you and Jean-Luc,
you mean? To the ? the
baby situation??
?That?s exactly what I
meant. Don?t be so worried
about mentioning it, Kat.?
?Sorry, it?s just that I
don?t like to remind you.?
?I?ll always be sad, but
I?ve come to terms with it
now, honestly. Talking to
my sisters has helped.
Jean-Luc says he?s seen a
huge difference in me.?
Joanne waved at her
husband as he looked up
from his work, signalling
that it was time for coffee.
?I didn?t realise I?d been
so down.?
Kat chuckled.
?Now you?ve got your
va-va-voom back, just like
that French car.?
?I?ll take that as a
compliment. I think.?
?I?ve got to go. This
tablet?s coming to the boil
and I?m never sure if it
should bubble or simmer
or what. You?ll let me know
if you hear from Jen, no
matter what the result??
?Jennifer promised she?d
let us all know, one way or
the other.?
* * * *
Standing at the entrance
of the factory floor, Allison
rang the bell with gusto.
?That?s the last order
gone, everyone. A big well
done and an enormous
thank you to one and all!?
Cheers broke out, and
many sighs of relief, too.
Allison beamed.
?As you know, we?re
closing down now for three
weeks while the new
production line is
installed. But before
62
you all go home for a
hard-earned rest, I?d like
you to join me out in the
marquee for a little
celebration.?
There were more cheers,
and Allison?s hand was
shaken and her back
patted many times as
everyone filed out.
The tent was already
overflowing with people
from the other shifts, the
temporary workers that
Jack had employed, and as
many family and friends as
could be squeezed in.
Allison watched, her
heart full to bursting as
glasses and plastic cups
were filled with orange
juice, with tea, but mostly
with the vin mousseux
which Joanne had shipped
over in copious quantities
from the vineyard.
?To Dawson?s Dairies,
and to our amazing,
wonderful staff,? Jack said.
?We did it!?
A cheer resounded,
followed by another round
of applause. Allison
watched as everyone
toasted Jack and Sally and
Akbar, Joy and Lillias.
She didn?t notice her dad
arrive until he put his arm
around her, pushing her
forward.
?A final toast,? Peter
said, beaming. ?To my
wonderful daughter Allison,
and to Joanne, Jennifer
and Katrina, who couldn?t
be with us today, sadly.
The Four Seasons.?
Allison had no idea she
was crying until Gareth
appeared and hugged her.
?I hope these are happy
tears.?
?I couldn?t be happier.?
?I?m hoping you?re wrong
about that.?
Smiling down at her in a
way that made her heart
flip flop, he steered her
outside.
?I know this isn?t the
most romantic setting in
the world but now this
crisis is finally over, I can?t
wait any longer.?
Allison suddenly felt as if
she couldn?t breathe.
?What for??
They were in the car
park. The sky was gunboatgrey, and the rain which
had been threatening all
morning about to descend.
It was freezing cold, and
Allison didn?t have a coat,
but she was lit from inside
as Gareth went down on
one knee and produced the
most perfect diamond ring
she had ever seen.
?Marry me, Allison.
Please.?
She threw herself into his
arms, nearly toppling them
both over.
?Yes, yes, yes!?
Behind them, she was
dimly aware that they had
an audience, but she didn?t
care, because her husbandto-be was kissing her.
It took some moments
before she realised that the
persistent thrum was not
her heart, but her mobile.
Pulling it from her
pocket, she frowned at the
screen.
?Jennifer,? she said to
Gareth. ?I?m so sorry, but I
have to take this.?
?Allison!? Her sister?s
voice was tearful. ?Allie,
Kyle just called.?
* * * *
?Can you believe it?s been
just over a year since I had
my little scare?? Peter
asked Lillias. ?Talk about
life-changing!
?Not that I would claim
any responsibility for all
this, mind you,? he added
with a sweep of his hand. ?I
barely recognise the old
place.?
?No more do I,? Lillias
said, surveying the crowded
caf� where they had
bagged the last table for
their morning juice.
After the explosion and
the positive publicity which
had been generated as a
result of the community
rallying round to save the
day, orders at Dawson?s
had taken off.
Allison and the rest of
the Dawson?s co-operative
had been able to expand
the business up, down and
sideways, as Jack put it,
not only increasing
production of the
traditional cheese, but also
the artisan ones, and
opening a restaurant
extension in the shop and
caf� building.
Dawson?s were regulars
at farmers? markets all over
the country, and three of
their cheeses had won
national awards.
To top it all, the winner
of this year?s ?Great British
Menu? had cooked his
winning dish using
Dawson?s goat?s curd.
The TV cameras had
filmed the goats at Gareth?s
farm as part of the opening
sequence of the final,
generating yet more
publicity.
?At this rate,? Lillias said,
waving to Sally, ?Allison will
be talking about opening a
second production unit.
She told me yesterday that
they?ve actually started
selling Dawson?s cheese in
Joanne?s local 閜icerie.
?Imagine, us selling
cheese to the French.?
Peter chuckled.
?You?ll have to add a new
chapter to your book now
Dawson?s is rewriting
history.?
?Your face, when I
showed you the proof copy
of my manuscript.?
Lillias shook her head.
?You were so sure I was
writing a pot boiler.?
?That?s what you led me
to believe.?
?I did not! I distinctly
remember, in the juice bar
one morning, denying that I
was writing anything racy.?
?Not racy, as I recall you
said, but cheesy.?
Peter laughed heartily.
?You couldn?t get more
cheesy. ?A History Of
British Cheese?, to be
precise. I had no idea.?
?I?m sorry it wasn?t
something more exciting.?
?It?s a best-seller!?
?Yes, it?s number one on
Amazon UK?s list of ? now,
let me get this right. Books.
Non-fiction.? Lillias counted
off on her fingers.
?Food and Drink.
Ingredients. Cheese.
History. It?s number one of
three.?
?Still number one,
though. Just like you, as far
as I?m concerned.?
Peter took her hand.
?They?re expecting us
back at the house soon for
my birthday party. I don?t
know if you?ve got me a
present or not, but . . .?
?You know perfectly well
I?ve got you that new gel
saddle you wanted.?
?Well, I had to come up
with something off the top
of my head when you
asked, but it wasn?t the gift
I really wanted.?
He looked around at the
crowded caf�.
?Maybe I should wait.?
Lillias?s mouth had gone
dry. Butterflies beat wildly
in her tummy.
?Peter Dawson,? she said,
her voice sounding every
bit as wobbly as she felt,
?don?t you think you?ve
waited long enough??
* * * *
Allison stood at the top
of the steps, smiling as she
gazed out at the happy
scene in the garden.
Dad hadn?t moved out
yet; he was still trying to
decide where he wanted to
live. But in the short time
since the purchase was
completed, Jennifer and
Kyle had already
transformed the house and
garden.
And they had
transformed themselves in
the process, she thought,
watching Kyle bouncing
about wildly on the
trampoline with Angus.
Not that she?d known
what Kyle was like before
he appeared that day, just
before the caf� opened
with the new refrigeration
units, but judging from
what Jen said, he?d been
very much the independent
commitment-phobe.
Hard to believe, the way
he was with Angus. Skyping
every night to tell him a
story when he was away on
business, doing more than
his share of the nursery run
when he was here.
And he?d relocated,
working from home here in
Meldalloch whenever he
could.
?Look at the pair of
them,? Jennifer said,
handing Allison a mug of
herbal tea.
?I guess Kyle is making
up for lost time.?
Allison took a sip of the
tea and made a face.
?You?ve no idea how
much I wish this was
coffee.?
?Not as much as you wish
it was wine, I?ll bet,?
Jennifer said, grinning.
?Only five more months of
abstinence to go.?
?Four and a bit, please.?
Allison put her hand on the
tiny mound of her tummy.
?I feel enormous already.?
?Well, that?s what
63
happens when you are
expecting twins.?
?Gareth says Kyle isn?t
the only one making up for
lost time.?
Allison shook her head.
?I mean, you know how
keen we both were to start
a family as soon as we got
married, but two instead of
one! Just as well they?ll
have three aunties to take
a turn at babysitting
duties.?
?I doubt Gareth will be
satisfied with two. He told
Kyle he wanted, and I
quote, ?a house-full of
children?, apparently.?
Jennifer chuckled. ?I
wonder how that translates
into numbers??
?Probably five! Which
suits me fine. The more the
merrier. I know, you never
thought the day would
come when I would utter
those words. Well, neither
did I!
?What about you and
Kyle? Any plans in that
direction??
?Goodness, he?s only just
getting used to the idea of
being a father. Anyway,
what will be will be. I?ve
already got more than I
ever dreamed of having.?
Jennifer waved at her
husband and son as they
bounded down from the
trampoline, giving way to
Katrina?s boys, before
making for the table of
juice and cake which had
been set up on the patio.
?Actually,? she said,
turning back to Allison with
a sheepish look, ?he has
said it would be nice for
Angus to have a little
brother or sister.?
?Jen! Are you . . .??
?No, no, not yet, but,
well, I?m not getting any
younger. Now don?t say
anything to . . .?
?Joanne?? The voice
made them both jump
guiltily. ?Or Super Auntie,
as I prefer to be known.?
Joanne punched Jennifer
gently on the arm.
?You don?t have to tiptoe
around me. I?m fed up
telling you. I get to do the
fun stuff with your kids and
then swan off, leaving the
nappy-changing and
nose-blowing to you.
Sounds like a good deal to
me.
?And I?ve actually got a
bit of news of my own to
share. Come inside and I?ll
spill the beans.?
Joanne led Allison and
Jennifer into the kitchen,
where Katrina was carefully
pouring three glasses of
bubbly.
?Only fruit juice for you,
Allison, I?m afraid,? she
said, handing them round.
?Go on, then, Joanne, tell
them.?
?I?ve written a book in a
completely different genre
and it?s been accepted. It
could open up a whole new
writing career for me. Not
a romance, but one for
kids, called ?The
Adventures Of Super
Auntie?. It will be out in
time for Christmas.?
?Wow! You kept that
quiet!? Allison exclaimed.
?Congratulations!?
?Amazing, Jo. Well done.?
?Cheers, Jo. Here?s to you
becoming the next J.K.
Rowling.?
?I?ll settle for being the
first Joanne Dawson.?
?Well, I call this good
timing, don?t you?? Their
father and Lillias appeared
in the doorway.
?I take it Joanne has
shared the news of her
book?? Lillias asked. ?Since
we share an agent now,
you know we authors keep
up with one another. Not
that I?m comparing my
minuscule sales to yours,
Jo.? She raised the glass
which Katrina handed to
her.
?Congratulations. Here?s
hoping Super Auntie takes
off. I assume she does fly??
?Goodness, yes. She has
a cape and everything.?
Peter cleared his throat.
?Since we?re all together,
it?s as good a time as any
to share our own news.
Lillias and I plan to get
married.?
There was a stunned
silence.
?Somebody say
something, for goodness?
sake, and put us out of our
misery,? Peter said
nervously.
Allison, Jennifer, Joanne
and Katrina all spoke in
unison.
?It?s about time!? they
cried, before bursting into
laughter.
The End.
On
Reflection
From the
manse window
By Rev. Barbara Mosse.
B
OOKS, and the
stories they contain,
have fascinated me
from my earliest years.
Our parents read to my
sister and me each
evening, and took out a
subscription to ?Sunny
Stories? ? does anyone
else remember this?
I loved it! Its pages were
packed with stories of
huge interest to me aged
six ? ?Gordon The Goat?,
?Tales From Tanglewood
Cottage?, ?Marvel The
Amazing Magician? and
many more.
As I grew older I came
to realise that stories did
far more than simply
entertain. When I was
going through a difficult or
painful time, I could learn
from the way the
characters in the books I
was reading dealt with
their own problems.
If they could manage
and find a way through,
then perhaps I could, too.
Since the dawn of time,
human beings have told
stories. Sometimes big
ones: in the Bible the
book of Genesis gives two
poetic accounts of the
origins of the human race;
and in the book of Exodus
the story of God?s
deliverance of the people
of Israel from slavery in
Egypt became the story to
which the people always
returned for reassurance
in later times of difficulty.
But it?s not only nations
that draw encouragement
from their life stories.
Have you noticed, in
recent years, an explosion
of interest in memoirs?
Maybe it?s an interest
that develops as we grow
older, but more and more
of us are valuing our own
life stories, remembering
and recording them as a
means of reminding us
who we are and where we
have come from.
Our roots are essential
to our sense of identity.
A few years ago I had
the opportunity to visit
another part of the world,
and to spend some time
with some of the First
Nation people there.
Here was a people who
had not forgotten the
power of the story ? their
story, told and retold
through myth and legend,
artwork and poetry.
It was clear that, despite
the outrages and injustices
inflicted on them by the
so-called ?civilised? nations,
their sense of identity was
strong and their outlook
on life inspirational.
Stories also deal with the
small details in our
everyday world. In the New
Testament, we find that
Jesus is a genius at telling
this kind of story.
We know them by the
term ?parable?, and Jesus
told them all the time, to
his disciples, and to the
crowds who continually
followed him around.
And he told these short
stories about the love of
God using images that
would have been familiar
to everyone: the seed
growing in the soil, the
birds of the air, making
bread with yeast . . .
What is your own story?
Have you thought of
exploring it? If you do it
will be an exciting journey
because your story is
unique ? there is nobody
else like you! n
Next week: Rev. Ian W.F.
Hamilton considers the
value of sermons.
64
The urge
to create
another
painting is
always there
Kieron Williamson talks about
growing up as an art prodigy
ahead of an appearance at the
Chelsea Flower Show.
K
IERON
WILLIAMSON?S
first painting sold
for a phenomenal
�,000 when
he was just six years old,
and he?s become
something of a celebrity,
dubbed the ?mini Monet?.
Kieron?s work has been
secured for many
prestigious private
collections, including
those owned by royalty,
and his work has been in
high demand ever since.
The wait for Kieron?s
next piece is almost over
as he has announced his
next project. He will be
appearing at the RHS
Chelsea Flower Show as
part of a new partnership
with Hillier, the most
successful exhibitor in the
history of the show.
Now fifteen, Kieron?s
talent only continues to
grow, and critics consider
his technique as advanced
as artists much older than
him. Ahead of his Chelsea
appearance, we caught up
with him for a chat.
Kieron?s paintings have taken
the art world by storm.
Q
A
How did you learn to
paint?
I enjoyed listening to
other artists who freely
offered their tips and
techniques. I was invited to
attend watercolour classes
with artist Brian Ryder
when I was six years old. I
also did three classes
learning oils.
I attended pastel classes
with artist Tony Garner
when I was seven. I
remember running around
the Methodist church in
Holt during tea breaks,
while the other students
drank coffee!
I didn?t see age as a
boundary; thankfully
neither did the other artists
or students. I?ve painted
with lots of artists on
location. Barbara Hawkins
? an artist from Port Isaac
? enjoys painting trips out
when we?re in Cornwall.
We don?t talk much while
we?re painting, but enjoying
the opportunity to paint
alongside someone is great,
and we usually treat
ourselves to a meal
afterwards, too.
Q
Do you remember
that reaction to your
work first appearing in
public?
Ten-year-old Kieron
painting on the
Norfolk Broads.
A
Oh, gosh, yes. It was
after a local newspaper
report when people came
Rex Features.
REAL LIFE 65
Rex Features.
Kieron on location
in Salthouse on the
north Norfolk coast.
A masterpiece at
only six years old!
to the gallery to see my
display. We never expected
that sort of reaction or
expected to sell my work. It
was a shock, but luckily the
feedback was good!
Q
A
Does it still feel
strange to be famous?
I don?t really think of
myself as being famous,
just really fortunate to be
able to spend time doing
what I love. From an early
age, though, I?ve always
wanted my work to hang in
galleries and museums.
Some media and advertising
requests have been out of
my comfort zone, so we just
do the things that feel
comfortable.
Q
A
How did it change
your life?
Initially it had an impact
on Mum and Dad, who
were stressed out by it. I
think I enjoyed the
attention! I can?t remember.
The nicest thing about it
all is meeting people from
all over the world who
come to the Picturecraft
Gallery in Holt to watch me
paint during my
exhibitions. They e-mail me
a lot, too, which is nice.
So many people, of all
ages, have said that I?ve
inspired them to pick up
their brushes again.
The Picturecraft Gallery
has supported me right
from the beginning, as well
as Carol Ann Pennington,
who hosted my first
window display. It?s been
wonderful to keep that
relationship going. They
all help me to stay
grounded.
inspired me to paint when I
was five so we still try to go
there every year. Cattle,
early morning mist, sunrises
and sunsets are always
good subjects, whatever the
location.
What inspires you to
paint something ?
light? A certain scene?
Composition?
Q
Q
A
A
All of those things,
really ? it might be the
smell of cattle, too! You
usually smell them before
you see them. Light is
important. Sometimes you
can break a few rules on
composition if the light or
subject is worth it.
Q
Q
A
A
Where are you
favourite places to
paint?
Parr?s Farm, Knapton,
with the Puncher
brothers. I love barns and
farmyard subjects.
A trip to Cornwall first
Kieron at his 2017
exhibition at the
Picturecraft Gallery.
visual stimulation of the
countryside or coastline,
they just don?t paint it!
People also ask if my
sister paints, too ? this
really annoys her! Billie-Jo
is now fourteen; she makes
and sells jewellery and is
teaching me to play the
ukulele. So we?re very
different, but she?s creative,
too.
What question do
people most often ask
you?
?Where does my talent
come from?? There isn?t
another artist in the family,
so people struggle to
understand or explain it.
We?ve given up trying to
understand it. Mum and
Dad have always collected
artwork so I?ve grown up
with it. They appreciate the
When not learning or
painting, what do you
enjoy doing?
I?m a Leeds United
supporter. I enjoy
playing football at the park
with friends, and we have
two Norwich terrier puppies
that take up a lot of my
time at the moment. I enjoy
swimming, cycling and
researching other artists
through auction catalogues.
Q
A
Do you enjoy it as
much as you ever did?
I really love painting. I
think it?s something I?ll
always have to do. From
the moment I wake up to
when I go to bed, the urge
to create another painting
is always there. Whether
people will continue to
enjoy my work as much is
another question! n
After the Chelsea Flower Show finishes, Kieron?s
pieces will be auctioned online to raise money for
Hillier?s charity partner, the Wessex Cancer Trust.
George Hillier, who is one of the fifth generation
of Hillier family members to be involved in the
business, said, ?Here at Hillier we pride ourselves on
inspiring future generations, so our partnership with
Kieron is perfect synergy. His work is astounding for
an artist of any age, yet alone for a fifteen-year-old.
We?re incredibly excited to be working with him and
can?t wait to see his artwork of our ?Stihl Inspiration?
garden.?
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place from
Tuesday, May 22 to Saturday, May 26.
66
Get Away From It All
Exclusive! Great
Enjoy a fun-filled
Christmas 4-night break
at Warner?s Nidd Hall
Hotel, Harrogate, with
?The People?s Friend?
Value
from just
�9
per person
? November 5-9, 2018
Half-board
menu included
in the price
Dear Friends,
I?m thrilled to invite you all to take a festive short break with the
?Friend? at beautiful Nidd Hall Hotel in Yorkshire. Having enjoyed a stay
with Warner before, I know you?ll be guaranteed a warm welcome.
Why not join me and other members of the ?Friend? team for an
unforgettable, tailor-made holiday just for you? Over the five days there
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including tea and a chat with me. It?s a great opportunity to make friends
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BREAKFASTS:
With a choice of full
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buffets, or dishes cooked
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Your room awaits . . .
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STANDARD ROOM
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EVENING MEALS:
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SIGNATURE ROOM
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amenities of a Standard
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menu, toiletries selection
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With The ?Friend?
67
As a guest of the ?Friend?
you will be treated to . . .
Monday Evening
? Private welcome drinks
? A ?Friend? goody bag
? Meet and greet with
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Tuesday
? Craft session run by
the ?Friend? team
where you will make
Christmas decorations
? Exclusive tour of the
gardens led by one of
Nidd Hall?s expert
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? Travel writer
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Wednesday
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Please reserve your
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Use of our Fresh-Air Fitness
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The Great and
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Warner Hotel Guests ?
3 Tapas dishes
per person are
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Warner have rebranded the Terrace
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It?s the perfect place to enjoy some
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Enjoy our amazing live entertainment every night
Warner are renowned for their fantastic live entertainment.
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68
my garden
Notes from
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
Time To Plant
Beetroot.
I?ve just watched a
video by ?no-dig? expert
Charles Dowding on
beetroot seeds. He
plants them in seed
trays, rather than into
the soil. Because
beetroot is a round
root, he says it won?t
mind being transplanted
carefully. He plants
three to four seeds per
seed hole and grows
them on together
because ?beetroot likes
company?. He harvests
the biggest beetroot
first and leaves the
others to grow on. I will
definitely try this.
Alexandra
Campbell packs
her sunhat and
water and
heads off to the
garden shows.
T
HE garden show
season has started.
Of course, RHS
Chelsea Flower
Show (May 22-26)
is the most exciting in
terms of trends, celebrities
and TV coverage. But
other, smaller shows can be
just as inspiring for our own
gardens.
Tackling the major
garden shows, such as RHS
Chelsea, RHS Chatsworth
(June 6-10) or the
Gardening Scotland Festival
(June 1-3), needs a planned
approach.
One friend of mine says
he gets to the show early,
marches to the other side,
then works his way back to
the entrance. That way he
is clear of crowds for at
least half the time.
It?s important, of course,
to have comfortable shoes.
I?d also recommend a
backpack or case if you are
planning to do any
shopping.
Lugging lots of stuff
around in a bag is bad for
your back and tiring. It also
means you can add a
sunhat, sunscreen, a bottle
of water, and perhaps a
snack. Many shows don?t
have enough places to sit
down or to eat and drink.
I?ve just come back from
the Ascot Garden Show,
which is England?s newest
garden show. As well as
very good food-and-drink
provision and lots of plant
stalls, it had six show
gardens and six student
show gardens ? all
charming.
Show gardens are good
for spotting new garden
trends. Judging by the
show gardens at Ascot,
today?s trend is the garden
as an outdoor dining-room.
This is probably because
the dining-room ? as a
separate room in its own
right ? has pretty much
disappeared from houses
now. But even the smallest
courtyard can be a
wonderful place to eat.
Of course, we have to
contend with the weather,
but today?s firepits and
gazebos make it more of an
any-weather option.
GARDENING 69
Which
Disposable
Gloves For
The Garden?
Cut Evergreen
Hedges
I often cut evergreen
hedges when they look
shaggy, rather than at an
approved time. But May
is considered a good
time, except for box,
which should now be
trimmed in the winter to
minimise box blight.
We?re using the G-Tech
HT05-Plus cordless hedge
trimmer. I find it very
light and easy to use. But
it?s for woody stems less
than 12mm thick.
There?s a lot of innovation
in garden screens at the
moment. You can have
screens of corten steel,
brick or wood, but the key
is that you can see through
them to some extent.
There is either a pattern
cut in them, slats, upright
poles or some other form of
gap. It?s a nice way of
dividing up a garden
without blocking out light,
and it deceives the eye into
thinking there might be
much more garden on the
other side.
I particularly liked all the
soft planting at Ascot. The
furniture and pergolas/
gazebos looked modern ?
think square edges and
hard materials like corten
steel. But the planting was
quite traditional and I think
that?s a lovely combination.
To make your garden
look very 2018, add one
strong sculptural plant in
the middle of the soft
mounds of flowers.
Consider tree ferns, dwarf
fan palms, cordylines and
more. If you live in a very
cold area, check the
hardiness before buying,
but there should still be
I use disposable gloves
(as used in hospitals) for
light gardening, such as
potting on seedlings. You
can choose latex, nitrile
or vinyl disposable gloves.
Vinyl are cheapest but the
least comfortable. Latex
is very comfortable unless
you have a latex allergy,
and is the only one that
biodegrades. Nitrile is the
most expensive and also
very comfortable.
Be Safe
some good choices.
Multi-stemmed trees
have been fashionable for a
while now, and there were
several in the Ascot Garden
Show gardens. They have
an elegant shape and a
naturalistic look.
Above all, trees add
height and structure to a
small garden. Show
gardens are certainly small.
We can never expect our
gardens to look like show
gardens in terms of the
planting, because plants
have been cosseted and
prinked to be perfect for
just one week. But the
principles of the show
garden are very useful, and
one of these is that they
demonstrate the
importance of having height
in small gardens.
A pergola, a gazebo and/
or a tree will all make a big
difference to a small space.
Look at the elements that
provide height when you
next look at a show garden
for inspiration.
Find out about RHS
Shows at www.rhs.org.uk/
flowershows and Gardening
Scotland at www.
gardeningscotland.com n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
Gardening is good for you ? unless you have an
accident. A professional gardener friend got sepsis
as a result of ignoring pruning scratches.
She?s fine now, but implores everyone to take
care when pruning. Wear long sleeves and strong
gauntlet-style gloves. If you do get scratched, clean
and protect it. Gardeners also need protection from
tetanus. If you?ve had five tetanus injections in your
life, you should be protected, but if you?re in any
doubt, ask your GP surgery about a booster.
Make sure that any electrical equipment you use
in the garden has a circuit breaker so it will switch
off if there?s an accident. Guard ponds so that small
children can?t fall in.
Above all ? be careful about barbecues! I speak
from experience, as my husband burned down my
mother?s garden shed by putting a disposable
barbecue into the adjacent rubbish bin. It seemed
to be out, and he?d doused it in water, but it sprang
to life in the bin. There was a loud ?whoosh? as the
shed windows were blown in.
If you are getting your standard barbecue out this
month, check that nothing is broken. Always
position it away from anything that could catch fire
(e.g. pergola, eaves, shed). And never, ever use an
accelerant. If you?re not confident of your barbecuelighting abilities, use firelighters, but never petrol
or any other liquid.
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
Q
My friend was telling me about a
documentary she saw that featured the
potoo, a bird that lives in South America that
becomes almost hidden, its camouflage is so
good. I?ve never heard of this bird and wonder
what it looks like?
Mrs L.M., Perth.
A
Although there are many birds with plumage
which perfectly blends into their surroundings,
the potoo is indeed a master of camouflage. There
are seven species of potoo and the birds are
nocturnal. When resting in the daytime among the
trees, its feathers blend so well with the bark that
it actually looks like a broken-off branch of a tree.
They lay single eggs which can usually be found in a nook of a branch as they don?t
make nests. Both the male and female of the species take turns at incubating the
egg and looking after the young.
Q
Is it true that red kidney beans are
poisonous?
Miss M.M., Dorset.
A
Red kidney beans do contain a toxin
in their raw state. When cooked at a
high temperature this toxin is killed.
Follow packet instructions carefully, such
as soaking prior to boiling, and be aware
that cooking in a slow cooker may not be
a high enough temperature to deal with
the toxin in the kidney beans. In fact,
undercooked red kidney beans are more
dangerous than raw. Tinned red kidney
beans have already been cooked.
Q
We would like to know how old
Judith Keppel is, and also Chris
and Kevin, who make up part of the
?Eggheads? team.
Mrs S.M., Rugby.
A
This TV show, which started back
in 2003, remains just as popular
today. Judith is seventy-five, Chris
Hughes is seventy and Kevin Ashman
is fifty-eight years old. All three
Eggheads have been with the show
from the beginning. It was originally
hosted by Dermot Murnaghan and is
now chaired by Jeremy Vine.
Wikimedia.
iStock.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
Meghan Markle isn?t the first actress
to marry into a Royal Family. Grace
Kelly became a princess when she
married Prince Rainier III of Monaco,
while Rita Hayworth married Prince Aly
Khan, the son of the Aga Khan III. When
Jamie Lee Curtis?s husband, Christopher
Guest, inherited a barony, she became a
member of the British nobility, and
hopefully, Zsa Zsa Gabor finally found
her Prince Charming when she married
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, her ninth
and final husband.
10,000
pearls were sewn
into Princess Diana?s
wedding dress.
300 lbs
? the weight of
Queen Victoria and
Prince Albert?s main
wedding cake.
100,000,000
books have been
donated by Dolly
Parton?s Imagination
Library to children
all over the world.
65 years
ago this week, 617
Squadron launched
its ?Dambuster? attack
on Germany?s Ruhr
Valley.
1/3
of those in
the eighteen
to twentythree-year-old age
group are unsure
how to open a car
bonnet.
Gorgeous
Guernsey Lilies
Guernsey lilies (Nerines) are a must-have for adding
a splash of pink to your autumn garden and planting
these now will result in a magnificent floral display
during September and October, just as
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With wavy re-curved petals in striking coral
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glossy, strap-shaped foliage develops in
the spring and will form impressive clumps
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HALF PRICE
NERINE
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SAVE �
Height 45-60cm and spread 35cm.
Prefers well-drained soil in full sun.
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Nerine Bowdenii 5
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Nerine Stefani 5
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Silver
Stunning In
Our overtop is worked in a
soft, silky yarn for added
comfort and comes in six sizes.
DIATE
INTERME
KNITTING 73
74
across 45 (47, 49, 51, 53,
55) sts of back neck, cast
on 10 sts at end of needle
holding sts ? 65 (67, 69, 71,
73, 75) sts.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off evenly in rib.
MEASUREMENTS
To fit sizes: 76/81 cm
(30/32 ins), 86/91 (34/36),
97/102 (38/40), 107/112
(42/44), 117/122 (46/48),
127/132 (50/52).
Actual size: 84 cm (33 ins)
94 (37), 104 (41), 114 (45),
124 (49), 134 (53).
Length: 57 cm (22� ins),
58 (23), 59 (23�), 60
(23�), 61 (24�),
62 (24�).
TO COMPLETE
MATERIALS
4 (4, 5, 5, 5, 6) 100-gram
balls of Rico Design
Creative Silky Touch DK
(shade 008). One pair
each 3.25 mm (No. 10)
and 4 mm (No. 8) knitting
needles; note the 3rd to
6th sizes may require a
circular needle or an extra
needle to work the yoke.
2 buttons from Duttons
for Buttons, tel: 01423
502092, e-mail: michelle@
duttonsforbuttons.co.uk.
If you have difficulty finding
the yarn locally, you can
order direct from The Wool
Factory.
Website: www.
thewoolfactoryonline.com.
Telephone: 01507 466838.
TENSION
22 sts and 28 rows to
10 cm measured over st-st
using 4 mm needles.
ABBREVIATIONS
Alt ? alternate;
dec ? decrease; K ? knit;
P ? purl; rep ? repeat;
st(s) ? stitch(es);
st-st ? (stocking-stitch)
knit 1 row, purl 1 row;
tog ? together.
Important Note
Directions are given for six
sizes. Figures in brackets
refer to the five larger sizes.
Figures in square brackets
[ ] refer to all sizes and
are worked the number of
times stated.
When writing to us with
your queries, you must
enclose an SAE if you would
like a reply.
FRONT
With 3.25 mm needles and
thumb method, cast on 89
(99, 111, 121, 133, 143) sts.
1st (right side row) ? [P1,
K1] to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K1, [P1, K1] to
end.
Repeat these 2 rib rows
until work measures 19 cm,
ending after a 2nd row, and
increasing 1 st at each end
of last row ? 91 (101, 113,
123, 135, 145) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles
and beginning with a knit
row, work in st-st until work
measures 38 cm from caston edge, ending after a purl
row.
Shape sleeves ? Work
6 rows increasing 1 st at
each end of every row ? 103
(113, 125, 135, 147,
157) sts.
Place a marker at centre of
last row.
Beginning with a purl row,
work 4 rows in reverse st-st.
Work yoke pattern:
1st (right side) row ? K1,
now knit to end wrapping
yarn round needle twice for
every stitch.
2nd row ? Knit firmly
working once only into
double loops made on
previous row.
3rd row ? Knit.
4th row ? P1, purl to end
wrapping yarn round needle
twice for every stitch.
5th row ? Purl firmly
working once only into
the double loops made on
previous row.
6th - 8th row ? Beginning
with a knit row, work 3 rows
in reverse st-st.
Rep 1st to 8th rows 3 times
more.
Change to st-st and
beginning with a knit row
for right side, work a few
rows straight until work
measures 13 (13, 14, 15,
15, 16) cm from marker,
ending after a purl row.
Shape neck ? K34 (38, 43,
47, 52, 56), turn.
Continue on these sts for
left half of neck.
Decrease 1 st at neck edge
on next 5 rows ? 29 (33, 38,
42, 47, 51) sts.
Work straight until front
measures 4 (5, 5, 5, 6,
6) cm from start of neck
shaping, ending at sleeve
edge.
Shape shoulder ? Cast off
5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts loosely at
beginning of next and the
following 4 alt rows ? 4 (8,
8, 7, 7, 11) sts.
Work 1 row straight. Cast off.
With right side facing, slip
next 35 (37, 39, 41, 43,
45) sts (centre sts) on a
stitch-holder and leave.
Neatly rejoin yarn to
remaining 34 (38, 43, 47,
52, 56) sts and knit to end
of row.
Complete right half of neck
to match left half.
BACK
Omitting neck shaping, work
as front to shoulder shaping,
ending after a purl row.
Shape shoulders ? Cast off
5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts loosely at
beginning of next 10 rows,
then 4 (8, 8, 7, 7, 11) sts at
beginning of next 2 rows.
Break off yarn.
Back neckband ? Change
to 3.25 mm needles and
cast on 10 sts.
Using the same needle and
with right side facing, knit
Front neckband ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and
knit 17 (17, 20, 20, 22,
22) sts evenly down left side
of front neck, knit across 35
(37, 39, 41, 43, 45) sts on
stitch-holder, finally pick up
and knit 17 (17, 20, 20, 22,
22) sts evenly up right side
of front neck ? 69 (71, 79,
81, 87, 89) sts.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off in rib working very
firmly around front corners.
Join shoulders.
Sleeve borders ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and
knit 83 (87, 93, 97, 101,
107) sts evenly along a
sleeve edge.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off evenly in rib.
To Make Up ? Join side
seams and edges of sleeve
borders.
Sew down inner edge of the
10 cast-on stitch groups of
back neckband to the pickup row of front neckband.
Sew on buttons. n
Next week:
knit golfer Nessie!
REAL LIFE 75
Wait
While You
Alex Corlett is fascinated by the
thought that goes into queuing . . .
iStock.
F
ROM our first day in
the playground, we
learn how to queue.
Waiting in line is
something most of us
do well, though all of us
have strong feelings about
the etiquette of queuing.
It?s OK to hold a place for
a loved one, but not for a
group of friends; there are
unspoken rules about how
much personal space you
give, and if the queue is
disorganised, like at a bar,
a good citizen keeps an eye
out for who arrived before
them and points staff in
their direction should they
get attention first.
When thinking about how
many rules we already know
about them, it?s no surprise
that a lot of thought has
been put into queues by the
businesses whose
assistance you?re waiting
for.
It?s worth it
in the end!
Everywhere from airports
to supermarkets, the
number of people is
growing and the lines are
expanding, so what can we
do to try to make the
experience more pleasant?
The first tactic is the type
of queue itself. Even places
with several staff members
try to go for what?s called
the ?serpentine? queue.
This is to avoid what often
happens in supermarkets,
where you pick a line (often
with some thought), then
find that the ones around
you are moving faster.
A single line will be
longer, but fairness is
guaranteed ? first come,
first served! It?s also faster
? a recent study found it?s
up to three times quicker.
Supermarkets address
this by having a dedicated
member of staff directing
you towards the shortest
queue, or even opening a
new till for you.
Psychologists have
declared that ?unoccupied
time feels longer than
occupied time?. Walking
through town to a shop will
feel quicker than standing
in the queue inside, even if
they last exactly the same
amount of time.
Places where the lines
can reach epic proportions
? like theme parks ? will
distract you as you wait
with video, sound or other
things to get involved with.
Houston Airport used to
receive complaints about
queues, when the arrival
gates and baggage reclaim
area were close to the
disembarked airplane.
Passengers would get
straight off the plane and
into a wait.
By moving the arrival
gates and baggage reclaim
farther away, they did
nothing to decrease the
waiting time, but gave a
sense of progress by having
people move more to get to
these points. They were
doing something instead of
nothing, and the complaints
stopped completely!
It?s the reason why there
are mirrors around lifts in
hotels and office blocks
? you can be doing
something, like checking
your hair, while you wait.
Can you be doing
anything useful while you?re
queuing? Whether it?s
browsing a menu, starting
paperwork at a bank or
having a long conveyor belt
so you can unpack your
shopping, even if you?re two
customers away from the
till, people like to be active.
Keeping busy keeps us
happy!
It?s rare to call a company
nowadays and get straight
through. While you?re
waiting on the phone, more
often than not you?ll be told
how long it is you have to
wait or what number you
are in the queue.
At Disney theme parks,
when you go to a ride,
sometimes you?ll be given a
plastic card by a member of
staff when you join the
queue and have it taken
from you by a member of
staff as you board the ride
? this is how they measure
the time the queue is taking.
Amongst businesses, it?s
considered good practice to
overstate the waiting time
expected, so you?re pleased
when it?s shorter. That?s not
as manipulative as it sounds,
either. In a lot of industries,
it makes sense to allow
room for the unexpected!
Next time you?re in a
queue, look at what?s being
done to make things easier.
The more competition there
is for our business, the more
companies take it seriously.
If all else fails, make sure
you?ve got a book handy! n
SHORT STORY BY WENDY CLARKE 79
The Little Things
I worked all the
hours I could for
my family, but
was that really
enough?
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
H
ELLO, David.?
My mother-in-law
kisses my cheek
warmly. ?To what
do we owe this
pleasure??
?It hasn?t been that long,
Lily,? I say with a smile.
?Long enough for Simon
to grow a beard and the
conservatory to be built.?
There?s a twinkle in her
eye, but I can?t help feeling
guilty.
?Actually, I came to ask
you a favour. Is Simon in??
?He?s in there.? A sound
of banging is coming from
the living-room. ?Goodness
knows what he?s doing.
Why don?t you keep him
company while I make
tea??
?Great, but I can?t stay
long. I?m on my way to
meet some clients in town
at the new Italian. I came
straight from work.?
Lily frowns.
?Haven?t you been home
yet??
?I didn?t have time. I only
called in here because it
was on my way. Work?s
mad at the moment.? I
laugh, but Lily says
nothing, then goes into the
kitchen and fills up the
kettle.
?I?ll see what Simon?s up
to, then,? I say to her back.
He?s on his hands and
knees in the middle of the
floor, surrounded by pieces
of wood.
?This looks interesting.?
Simon puts down the
piece he?s holding.
?It?s a doll?s-house ? well,
it will be. I thought I?d
make it for Tamsin for her
birthday.? He sits back on
his haunches. ?By the time
I thought of making one
for Lauren she was too
old.?
Lauren?s my wife and her
dad dotes on her . . . and
our children, of course.
?I?d have made one for
Tamsin, but . . .?
We both laugh. I?m not
known for my practical
skills and I?m never home
long enough even to find
the toolbox.
I take off my suit jacket
and perch on the settee,
watching Simon slot one
wall panel into another
and drizzle some glue
down the seam.
?I?d like to do this sort of
thing, but by the weekend
I?m shattered. Maybe when
I retire.?
Simon looks at me.
?What, in thirty or
thirty-five years? You make
time for what?s important,
David.?
Lily arrives with a tray of
tea. She hands me a mug.
?How are those
granddaughters of ours? It
feels like an age since we
saw little Lexi, but it was
only last Sunday.?
I realise, with a shock,
that that was the last time
I saw our baby, too.
I leave the house before
the children are awake and
they?re often in bed by the
time I come home.
?She?s great,? I say
quickly.
Simon smiles.
?That second tooth come
through yet??
?I?m not sure. I don?t
think so.?
If Lexi had been having
teething problems, I?d have
known about it. It?s always
quiet when the alarm
wakes me at six.
Lily turns to her
husband.
?It has. It came through
the day after we saw her.
Lauren told me yesterday.
Poor little mite can?t settle
with those sore gums.?
I shift on the settee, but
luckily my in-laws don?t
notice my discomfort.
I tell myself I can?t be
expected to keep track of
teeth and sleeping
patterns as well as plan for
meetings and remember
clients? names.
It?s Lily?s turn to ask the
questions.
?Did Tamsin get made
class monitor like she
wanted??
Class monitor? This is
news to me.
?I?m not really . . .?
Simon speaks first.
?She certainly did.
Lauren phoned earlier.
Sorry, I forgot to tell you.
You must be so proud of
your daughter, David.?
?Yes. Yes, of course I
am.?
Lily takes a sip of her
tea.
?Anyway, what was it you
wanted to ask us? You said
you needed a favour.?
I rub my hands on the
knees of my suit trousers.
?I?ve a business trip to
Brussels in a couple of
weeks and I wondered
whether you?d be able to
help out a bit while I?m
away. Lauren doesn?t like
to ask.?
?We?d love to. The trip?s
absolutely necessary, is
it??
As he speaks, Simon
glances at a photograph
on the mantelpiece.
Lauren, aged seven, is
sitting in a wheelbarrow
with Simon holding
the handles. Both are
80
grinning at the camera.
?I wouldn?t be going if it
wasn?t necessary.?
?No, of course not.?
Simon picks up the
photograph. ?It?s just that
children need their fathers,
too.?
My hackles rise.
?Everything I do is for
Lauren and the girls!?
Lily puts a gentle hand
on my arm.
?We know that, David.
That?s not what he meant.?
Simon looks at me.
?I just wish I could have
had some of those early
years back. Children grow
up so quickly.?
?But you do so much for
your grandchildren. You
briefcase from the chair
and checking he had
everything he needed.
Beside her on the table
was the booklet she?d
made for her homework.
She?d drawn a hedgehog
on the cover and inside
were pictures of some
things she?d found in her
garden: a butterfly, a snail
and a yellow flower she
didn?t know the name of.
When her dad came
down she?d show it to him.
It was always well after her
bedtime when he came
home, but now would be
just as good.
?Have you seen my
wallet?? Lauren could hear
him on the stairs.
?I learned a lot about what I?d
been missing out on?
put me to shame.?
Simon sighs.
?I know, but I wasn?t
always there for Lauren at
that age.?
?No? She never said.?
?She did once.? He
chuckles. ?I?ll you a story, if
you have time to hear it??
I look at my watch.
?Ten minutes.?
Simon nods.
?That?s all it will take . . .?
* * * *
The cereal gave a
satisfying crackle as Lauren
poured milk over it. She
put her ear to the bowl and
listened.
?Don?t play with your
food, Lauren,? her mum
said. ?It?s bad table
manners.?
?I?m not playing, I?m
listening.?
Lily hid a smile.
?You know very well what
I mean. Eat up, then go
and get yourself dressed
and ready for school.?
Above them, Lauren
could hear her dad?s
footfall on the landing. She
pictured him in front of the
wardrobe mirror, knotting
his tie and combing his
hair.
Soon, he would hurry
down the stairs, shirt
neatly pressed and shoes
shiny, and plant a kiss on
the top of her head.
?Be good for your
teacher, Munchkin,? he?d
say, picking up his
Her mum looked up from
pouring a cup of tea.
?It?s on the side. Drink
this before you go.?
?Haven?t time.?
He was in the kitchen
now, handsome in his grey
suit and navy tie.
?I?ve a meeting at nine.
Gosh, is that the time??
He picked up his
briefcase.
?Cheerio. Have a good
day at school, Lauren.?
And he was gone, the
front door slamming
behind him.
Lauren heard the rev of
the car engine and the
crunch of the wheels on
the driveway. Her eyes
swam. For the first time
ever, her dad hadn?t kissed
her goodbye.
Fighting back the tears,
she went upstairs to get
dressed.
As she pulled her jumper
over her head, she
imagined her dad driving
in his car. He?d be looking
at his watch and tutting at
the traffic.
The phone in the hall
was ringing and she ran to
the top of the stairs.
?Can I answer it,
Mummy??
?Yes, but make sure you
ask who it is.?
Running downstairs, she
picked up the phone and
knew the voice straight
away.
?It?s Dad!?
Her heart soared. He
was going to say he was
sorry for not having kissed
her goodbye.
?Can you ask Mum if I
left my project folder
there?? he asked instead.
?Your project folder??
From the kitchen her
mum shook her head.
?No. It?s not here.?
?OK, better dash. Bye,
sweetheart.?
Lauren waited for the
disappointment to recede,
but it didn?t. Without
saying goodbye, she put
down the phone.
It rang again almost
immediately.
?Lauren?? She could hear
the sound of his office in
the background. ?Is
anything the matter??
The words came out hot
and fast.
?Yes. You didn?t kiss me
goodbye.?
There was a pause.
?Are you sure??
?Yes.? Her voice cracked.
How could he not
remember?
?I?m sorry, Munchkin. I
was worried I?d be late for
my meeting. I didn?t think.?
Lauren bit back the
tears, trying to be grown
up.
?It doesn?t matter.?
But it did. It mattered a
lot.
?Bye, Dad.? She put
down the phone.
?Was that all Dad
wanted?? Her mum was in
the doorway.
Lauren bit her lip.
?Yes, that?s all.?
?We?d better think about
going, then. Cleaned your
teeth??
Lauren shook her head.
?Shake a leg, then, or
we?ll be late too.?
When Lauren came back
down, her mum picked up
her homework and held it
out to her.
?Don?t forget this. Mrs
Carter will want to see it.?
Lauren shoved it into her
satchel, not caring if it
creased. She didn?t care
what her teacher thought
of it. It wasn?t her she?d
wanted to show it to.
As they walked along the
road, Lauren?s feet scuffed
the pavement and her
shoulders slumped.
?Are you OK, darling?
You?re awfully quiet.?
?I?m fine.?
Lauren stared at the
pavement as she walked
and only looked up when
she heard the roar of an
engine. The car slowed to
a halt on the other side of
the road.
?It?s your dad!? her mum
said in surprise.
He jumped out of the car
and crossed the road.
Bending down, he pulled
Lauren to him and planted
a big kiss on her cheek.
?How could I forget
something so important??
Lauren put her arms
round his neck, beaming
happily.
?I?ve got something to
show you ? my
homework.?
Unbuckling her satchel,
Lauren took out her
booklet and held it out for
him to see.
?It?s all the things I found
in the garden. My teacher
says we can add things to
it.?
?I?d better make sure I
get home early to help
you, hadn?t I??
?You mean it, Dad??
?Of course.?
* * * *
Simon looks at me.
?My daughter and I
made lots of discoveries
that day. We found slugs
and plenty of caterpillars,
but most importantly, I
learned a lot about myself
and what I?d been missing
out on.?
I nod.
?What made you leave
work and come all the way
home that morning??
?You?re a father. I?ll let
you work that one out for
yourself, David.?
I think of my two little
girls. They mean
everything to me.
A quick look at my watch
shows me it?s seven thirty.
I?ll give the clients a ring
and tell them I?ve been
held up.
With a bit of luck, I?ll be
able to get back home in
time to kiss Tamsin
goodnight.
Simon is right. Fifty
years from now, no-one
will remember that I was
late for a meeting.
But my little girl will
always remember that her
dad drove home just to
kiss her goodnight. n
point
CHAT 81
Talking
K
Is there more pressure on us to stay young?
EEP young and
beautiful.? Women
have been hearing
that since the song
from the film
?Roman Scandals? became
popular in 1933. And
there?s no denying that it?s
harder these days to be
happy with our natural
looks, especially as the
years pass and little
blemishes and wrinkles
start to appear in the
mirror.
Cosmetics used to be the
weapon of choice in the
battle against time, and
very good they are, too.
Now, in addition, we have
Botox, fillers, implants,
dermal peels, toothwhitening and numerous
other treatments all
promising to hold back the
years. None of these are
cheap, and some are
invasive.
While Botox is a
prescription treatment,
anyone can legally inject
cosmetic fillers. The British
Association of Aesthetic
Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS),
the charity dedicated to
safety and education in
aesthetic surgery, has
CW
I would never have
Botox or fillers.
Be thankful what
Mother Nature
dealt you and you
won?t have any
side effects.
AA Grow old
gracefully.
called for all such treatment
to be performed in sterile
clinical settings by persons
medically trained in facial
anatomy with appropriate
qualifications, to minimise
risks of complications. It
also recommended that
fillers become prescriptiononly treatments.
Beauty therapists are
highly skilled at what they
do and perform a great
service in helping to make
their clients feel good
about themselves. Maybe,
though, it is safer to leave
treatments involving
needles and scalpels to
medical settings.
But isn?t it a sorry
reflection on our times that
some people feel they need
drastic anti-ageing
treatments at all? Is the
appearance of a few
wrinkles really so bad?
Perhaps it?s time to recall
a new (old) song: Ray
Stevens had a point in
1970 when he sang the
words, ?Everybody?s
beautiful, in their own
way . . .? n
?People compare themselves more readily?
Dr Naveen Cavale of the British
Association of Aesthetic Plastic
Surgeons, said: ?I?m not
convinced the pressures are any
worse than they ever have been.
I think what?s happened more
recently is that we?re presenting
ourselves more publicly and
permanently. With social media,
photographs, the internet ?
people compare themselves to
each other more readily.?
?I?m a believer in beauty from within?
istock
Here?s what
you said on
the ?Friend?
Facebook page
Audrey Patterson, ?My Weekly?
Beauty Editor, said: ?Personally
I?m not a fan of Botox and fillers
? although I?ll try just about
anything else in the way of
rejuvenating lotions and potions.
Regular facials and a good
skincare regime keep skin
youthful, but I?m a believer in
beauty from within; exercise
and a healthy diet work
wonders.?
You can join in the chat every day. Pop in and say hello at
www.facebook.com/PeoplesFriendMagazine
HC
I am what I am
and if I can put up
with me then so
can everyone else.
AC
I wouldn?t have
Botox or lip
fillers, although I
did try acrylic
nails and it has
taken 15 months
for my natural
nails to recover.
Never again.
DJ
I would! Why not?
LD My hairdresser
(my wife) cuts my
hair and trims my
beard. Then she
makes me a cup
of tea! (Or I
make her a
cuppa!) No Botox
required.
AM I don?t want
anything like lip
fillers or Botox in
my body. Have
seen quite a few
people who look
good for a little
while then it all
goes wrong and
they end up
looking hideous.
82
Puzzle It Out!
Kriss Kross
How long will it take you to correctly fit the
words relating to ballet into the grid?
4 letters
6 letters
BEND
CURTSY
JUMP
DANCER
LIFT
SPLITS
PLIE
TIGHTS
POSE
PUZZLES 83
7 letters
SPIN
BOLSHOI
5 letters
COSTUME
GLIDE
LEOTARD
MUSIC
POSTURE
B E N D
ODILE
PASSE
TWIRL
Solutions
2
3
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7
8
9
10
11
1
2
3
4
Fish eggs (3)
Additional (4)
Juliet?s lover (5)
Marilyn _, Hollywood
star (6)
5 Black water?bird (7)
6 Endocrine substances (8)
7 Situated near the
coast (7)
8 Large, long?legged
wading birds (6)
9 Sharpens (5)
10 Organ for smelling (4)
11 Single unit (3)
Brick Trick
ROE
MOR E
ROMEO
MONROE
MOORH E N
HORMON E S
ON S HOR E
H E RON S
HON E S
NOS E
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1
Kriss Kross
POS T UR E
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Enter the answers to the clues in the bricks in the wall.
Every word is an anagram of its neighbours, plus or
minus a letter.
T
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P L I E
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G L I D
A
S P I N
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Brick Trick
All puzzles � Puzzler Media Ltd ?
www.puzzler.com
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NOTICEBOARD
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
George, Mike
and Jim are
staking out the
allotments,
waiting to catch
the intruder . . .
iStock.
W
HY do I have
the broken
chair?? Mike
huffed.
?Because you
were last to arrive,? George
reasoned.
?First come, first served.?
Jim smiled, making himself
as comfortable as possible
in the green plastic garden
chair at George?s allotment.
Mike did his best to sit in
the chair without it
collapsing.
?What?s the plan for
tonight?s stakeout?? Mike
asked once his chair had
stopped wobbling.
George delved into his
rucksack and brought out a
flask of coffee that Mary
had prepared. It was
followed by three plastic
cups.
?We wait,? George said.
?We?ll sit and wait to see if
we can catch whoever
smashed up my allotment
the other week. That?s if he
returns, of course.?
Jim and Mike took the
plastic cups as George filled
them up with hot coffee.
?I took the liberty of
bringing this from the pub,?
Jim said, brandishing a
85
Riverside
bottle of brandy. ?I thought
it might keep us warm
through the night.?
?Great idea!? George
said, holding his cup out for
Jim to drop a splash of
brandy in.
The men raised their
plastic cups to one another.
?A toast!? Jim said. ?To
catching the crook.?
?Cheers!? George replied.
Mike stood.
?I?m going on
manoeuvres,? he declared.
?I can?t sit on that chair. I?ll
make sure there?s no-one
doing anything they
shouldn?t.?
Once Mike had left the
greenhouse, Jim and
George settled into their
chairs and Jim topped up
their coffee cups with
another splash of brandy.
Just when an amiable
silence had settled over
them, their peace was
shattered by Mike running
back towards them.
?He?s over there!? Mike
panted, pointing towards
the front of the allotment
site. ?I heard some scuffling
about in the trees. There?s
definitely someone there.?
George jumped up.
?Come on! We?re going to
nab him!?
As they neared the front
of the allotments the sound
of breaking glass made
them stop in their tracks. It
was followed by an eerie
yelp, then hissing, too.
?He?s breaking into a
greenhouse!? George
whispered. ?Follow me!?
With George leading the
way, Jim and Mike walked
in the direction of the
breaking glass. They found
glass on the ground as two
broken greenhouse panels
lay smashed on the soil.
The men stood looking at
the damage, trying to work
out where the culprit could
have gone. Just then, a
flash of brown caught
George?s eye from under a
tree at the side of the plot.
?Look!? he whispered to
Jim and Mike.
They turned their heads
to see a large fox cowering
under the tree, her eyes
locked on George?s. Beside
her were four cubs, small
and furry, scurrying for
safety behind their mum.
?Well, I think we?ve got
our thieves,? Jim stated.
He made a move towards
the fox, but as soon as he
did she scarpered through
a hole under the fence,
taking her babies with her.
George, Mike and Jim
headed slowly back to
George?s greenhouse.
?How do you reckon the
foxes smashed the glass,
George?? Mike asked.
?Fighting, most likely,?
George replied. ?Foxes are
territorial. If one of them
has made the allotments
their home, then they?re
going to fight to defend it.
?They?re lovely animals,
though. I?ve got a lot of
respect for them. Mind you,
they can?t continue to live
here. I?ll have to have a
word with the council and
see if we can get that hole
blocked up.?
Back at the greenhouse,
George and Jim took up
position in their chairs,
leaving Mike to wobble in
the broken one again.
?Well, that?s our mystery
solved.? George sighed.
?And the night?s young,
too,? Mike added. ?I was
looking forward to staying
out all night with you two,
having a good chat and
watching the stars.?
Jim brought out the
bottle of brandy again.
?Well, I?m not ready to go
home yet. Would anyone
like a top-up??
* * * *
The next morning
dawned bright and sunny,
but as soon as Mary awoke
she knew that something
was wrong. George?s side of
the bed was empty.
?The stakeout must have
gone on all night,? she told
Ruby on the phone after
breakfast. ?George?s not
answering his phone.?
?I haven?t heard from Jim,
either,? Ruby replied.
?Carol?s been on the phone
saying she?s not seen hide
nor hair of Mike.?
Later that morning,
Mary, Ruby and Carol met
and walked up to the
allotment together. Inside
George?s greenhouse, fast
asleep on plastic chairs,
they found George and Jim,
with an empty brandy
bottle at their feet.
Lying on the ground next
to a broken chair was Mike,
snoring heavily. The women
looked at each other.
?It?s a shame to disturb
them.? Mary smiled.
?Come on, girls,? Ruby
said, tapping her watch.
?It?s coffee and cake time.?
?The Old Engine Room??
Mary replied, slipping her
arm through Ruby?s.
?Where else?? Ruby
smiled in return.
More next week.
86
The Hours Flew By!
This is a photograph of my
friend Margaret (on the left) and
me, meeting up recently at Lake
Tarawera, New Zealand.
She was my bridesmaid in
1957 and it was great to spend
time with her and also enjoy a
quiet time reading the latest
?Friend? Special, which I took with
me. That, along with the weekly
magazine, certainly helped pass
the time on the long flight to New
Zealand via Singapore.
Ms Y.C., Yeovil.
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.
Seated For
Breakfast
Here?s a picture of our
cat, Lillie. She is only 10
months old but has a great
spirit and is very active.
When she is taking time
out, Lillie likes to sit on a
cane chair near the
refrigerator. She does that
each morning to make sure
we don?t miss out on
feeding her breakfast!
Lillie even enjoys coming
for walks with me.
R.G., New Zealand.
Star Letter
I was so thrilled to see Aberfeldy
on the cover of ?The People?s
Friend? some weeks back.
I was born in Aberfeldy in 1929
and only left when I went to train
as a children?s nurse in a
Barnardo?s home in Auchterarder,
later being transferred south
when I met my husband.
I was delighted to return to the
area when my husband worked at
the Hydro at Tummel Bridge. My
family and I then moved back
down south in 1957, but always
enjoyed holidays ?back home?.
I?ve enjoyed recent visits to
Aberfeldy with my family, and the
picture here shows me beside
General Wade?s Bridge with my
daughter Anne, granddaughter Teresa and
great-grandson George. The other picture is
with my daughters Heather and Mary and
granddaughter Jessica. I never tire of the
beautiful scenery.
Mrs D.G., Kent.
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.
Special
Ceremony
I read with interest the
letter by Mrs E.N. of
Montrose about her very
special marriage ceremony.
My husband and I also
had an unusual marriage.
Our original was a civil
ceremony, and though a
happy one, it felt like
something was missing.
Many years later, when on
holiday in Ireland, we spent
a day in Knock in County
Mayo and visited the
Basilica.
We also visited the
bookshop. On seeing a
priest we asked if he would
bless our marriage.
Without hesitation he
agreed and everyone in the
shop stood around us while
the blessing took place.
That day made a lovely
holiday more special than
ever.
Mrs J.F., Cannock.
YOUR LETTERS 87
A poem
just for
you!
The Bride?s Bouquet
The bride is a vision of loveliness ?
Her face, her smile, her veil, her dress,
And in her hands a jewelled array
Of flowers in that bright bouquet.
A tender rose of golden hue,
Forget-me-nots for something blue,
Pink velvet petals of love and of truth,
Freesias and daisies and sweet buds of youth.
An abundance of joy, an abundance of pleasure,
A new life ahead, full of moments to treasure.
Blossoming dreams, all drawn together,
And tied in a white silk bow of for ever.
Linda Brown.
iStock.
Popular Pattern
In The Swing
Of Things
SOLUTIONS
This is Lola, whose
parents are my grandson
Luke and his partner
Toni-Leigh.
Although just nine
months old in this picture,
she is thoroughly enjoying
being in the swing. Lola is
coming on great and is
able to crawl to the sofa
and pull herself up to
standing position. I?m
guessing it won?t be long
before she?s walking.
Mrs C.R., Workington.
Crossword
Puzzle
BOY S BR I GAD E
Solutions
C W C
A O O A
RO L L I NGS T ON E S
from page 25 E
A
L
H
C
S
Word Ladder
One answer is:
Wool, Wood,
Word, Work, Pork,
Park, Pack.
T AK
E
I
T R
R
K
I NC
O A
J U L
A
D
H Y
Worth A Visit
E T
I
AC
A
A
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I E
T
PO
HA
N
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C
CA
P
GO
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T E
T
P
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B
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I
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E
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D A T A
S M
R T H
E
A
E RA S
T
Y E AR
G A
I ON
I was thrilled to see
Dunfermline Abbey on
the cover of a recent
edition of the magazine
and to read Willie
Shand?s article.
Having visited the
wonderful new Carnegie
Library and Galleries last
summer, I would
thoroughly recommend
readers pop in for a visit,
too. There is a caf� with
stunning views over the
landscaped garden to
Dunfermline Abbey.
Mrs B.R., Glasgow.
Pieceword
F ORME
I
E
G
NOS T R
E
C
E
S P UR T
T
E
E D I T
W
E
EMBA
B
E
L
RUN T
A
D
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I D I O T
N
N
I
YOGUR
D
F I S
F EW M
I L
H E A V
O A M
W I L T
R
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P
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ROAM
S
RK W I S E
I
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S T UB
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B
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L AN Y
HU E
E
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F RA
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A L
U
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C
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N
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I
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I really liked the pattern
for the dinosaur cardigan.
I made it for my grandson
Noah who loves dinosaurs
and he was over the moon
with it. It?s among his
favourite things to wear.
Mrs B.R., Milton
Keynes.
?Friend?
Recommended
A friend recently bought
me a copy of ?The People?s
Friend? and I just had to
put pen to paper to say
how much I enjoyed your
publication.
Most other magazines
focus on TV stars and
gossip, so I?ll definitely be
sticking to reading the
?Friend? from now on.
Ms M.E.B., Essex.
Sudoku
9
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write to the Readers Editor at The People?s Friend, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 1DD.
ficult or
painful time, I could learn
from the way the
characters in the books I
was reading dealt with
their own problems.
If they could manage
and find a way through,
then perhaps I could, too.
Since the dawn of time,
human beings have told
stories. Sometimes big
ones: in the Bible the
book of Genesis gives two
poetic accounts of the
origins of the human race;
and in the book of Exodus
the story of God?s
deliverance of the people
of Israel from slavery in
Egypt became the story to
which the people always
returned for reassurance
in later times of difficulty.
But it?s not only nations
that draw encouragement
from their life stories.
Have you noticed, in
recent years, an explosion
of interest in memoirs?
Maybe it?s an interest
that develops as we grow
older, but more and more
of us are valuing our own
life stories, remembering
and recording them as a
means of reminding us
who we are and where we
have come from.
Our roots are essential
to our sense of identity.
A few years ago I had
the opportunity to visit
another part of the world,
and to spend some time
with some of the First
Nation people there.
Here was a people who
had not forgotten the
power of the story ? their
story, told and retold
through myth and legend,
artwork and poetry.
It was clear that, despite
the outrages and injustices
inflicted on them by the
so-called ?civilised? nations,
their sense of identity was
strong and their outlook
on life inspirational.
Stories also deal with the
small details in our
everyday world. In the New
Testament, we find that
Jesus is a genius at telling
this kind of story.
We know them by the
term ?parable?, and Jesus
told them all the time, to
his disciples, and to the
crowds who continually
followed him around.
And he told these short
stories about the love of
God using images that
would have been familiar
to everyone: the seed
growing in the soil, the
birds of the air, making
bread with yeast . . .
What is your own story?
Have you thought of
exploring it? If you do it
will be an exciting journey
because your story is
unique ? there is nobody
else like you! n
Next week: Rev. Ian W.F.
Hamilton considers the
value of sermons.
64
The urge
to create
another
painting is
always there
Kieron Williamson talks about
growing up as an art prodigy
ahead of an appearance at the
Chelsea Flower Show.
K
IERON
WILLIAMSON?S
first painting sold
for a phenomenal
�,000 when
he was just six years old,
and he?s become
something of a celebrity,
dubbed the ?mini Monet?.
Kieron?s work has been
secured for many
prestigious private
collections, including
those owned by royalty,
and his work has been in
high demand ever since.
The wait for Kieron?s
next piece is almost over
as he has announced his
next project. He will be
appearing at the RHS
Chelsea Flower Show as
part of a new partnership
with Hillier, the most
successful exhibitor in the
history of the show.
Now fifteen, Kieron?s
talent only continues to
grow, and critics consider
his technique as advanced
as artists much older than
him. Ahead of his Chelsea
appearance, we caught up
with him for a chat.
Kieron?s paintings have taken
the art world by storm.
Q
A
How did you learn to
paint?
I enjoyed listening to
other artists who freely
offered their tips and
techniques. I was invited to
attend watercolour classes
with artist Brian Ryder
when I was six years old. I
also did three classes
learning oils.
I attended pastel classes
with artist Tony Garner
when I was seven. I
remember running around
the Methodist church in
Holt during tea breaks,
while the other students
drank coffee!
I didn?t see age as a
boundary; thankfully
neither did the other artists
or students. I?ve painted
with lots of artists on
location. Barbara Hawkins
? an artist from Port Isaac
? enjoys painting trips out
when we?re in Cornwall.
We don?t talk much while
we?re painting, but enjoying
the opportunity to paint
alongside someone is great,
and we usually treat
ourselves to a meal
afterwards, too.
Q
Do you remember
that reaction to your
work first appearing in
public?
Ten-year-old Kieron
painting on the
Norfolk Broads.
A
Oh, gosh, yes. It was
after a local newspaper
report when people came
Rex Features.
REAL LIFE 65
Rex Features.
Kieron on location
in Salthouse on the
north Norfolk coast.
A masterpiece at
only six years old!
to the gallery to see my
display. We never expected
that sort of reaction or
expected to sell my work. It
was a shock, but luckily the
feedback was good!
Q
A
Does it still feel
strange to be famous?
I don?t really think of
myself as being famous,
just really fortunate to be
able to spend time doing
what I love. From an early
age, though, I?ve always
wanted my work to hang in
galleries and museums.
Some media and advertising
requests have been out of
my comfort zone, so we just
do the things that feel
comfortable.
Q
A
How did it change
your life?
Initially it had an impact
on Mum and Dad, who
were stressed out by it. I
think I enjoyed the
attention! I can?t remember.
The nicest thing about it
all is meeting people from
all over the world who
come to the Picturecraft
Gallery in Holt to watch me
paint during my
exhibitions. They e-mail me
a lot, too, which is nice.
So many people, of all
ages, have said that I?ve
inspired them to pick up
their brushes again.
The Picturecraft Gallery
has supported me right
from the beginning, as well
as Carol Ann Pennington,
who hosted my first
window display. It?s been
wonderful to keep that
relationship going. They
all help me to stay
grounded.
inspired me to paint when I
was five so we still try to go
there every year. Cattle,
early morning mist, sunrises
and sunsets are always
good subjects, whatever the
location.
What inspires you to
paint something ?
light? A certain scene?
Composition?
Q
Q
A
A
All of those things,
really ? it might be the
smell of cattle, too! You
usually smell them before
you see them. Light is
important. Sometimes you
can break a few rules on
composition if the light or
subject is worth it.
Q
Q
A
A
Where are you
favourite places to
paint?
Parr?s Farm, Knapton,
with the Puncher
brothers. I love barns and
farmyard subjects.
A trip to Cornwall first
Kieron at his 2017
exhibition at the
Picturecraft Gallery.
visual stimulation of the
countryside or coastline,
they just don?t paint it!
People also ask if my
sister paints, too ? this
really annoys her! Billie-Jo
is now fourteen; she makes
and sells jewellery and is
teaching me to play the
ukulele. So we?re very
different, but she?s creative,
too.
What question do
people most often ask
you?
?Where does my talent
come from?? There isn?t
another artist in the family,
so people struggle to
understand or explain it.
We?ve given up trying to
understand it. Mum and
Dad have always collected
artwork so I?ve grown up
with it. They appreciate the
When not learning or
painting, what do you
enjoy doing?
I?m a Leeds United
supporter. I enjoy
playing football at the park
with friends, and we have
two Norwich terrier puppies
that take up a lot of my
time at the moment. I enjoy
swimming, cycling and
researching other artists
through auction catalogues.
Q
A
Do you enjoy it as
much as you ever did?
I really love painting. I
think it?s something I?ll
always have to do. From
the moment I wake up to
when I go to bed, the urge
to create another painting
is always there. Whether
people will continue to
enjoy my work as much is
another question! n
After the Chelsea Flower Show finishes, Kieron?s
pieces will be auctioned online to raise money for
Hillier?s charity partner, the Wessex Cancer Trust.
George Hillier, who is one of the fifth generation
of Hillier family members to be involved in the
business, said, ?Here at Hillier we pride ourselves on
inspiring future generations, so our partnership with
Kieron is perfect synergy. His work is astounding for
an artist of any age, yet alone for a fifteen-year-old.
We?re incredibly excited to be working with him and
can?t wait to see his artwork of our ?Stihl Inspiration?
garden.?
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place from
Tuesday, May 22 to Saturday, May 26.
66
Get Away From It All
Exclusive! Great
Enjoy a fun-filled
Christmas 4-night break
at Warner?s Nidd Hall
Hotel, Harrogate, with
?The People?s Friend?
Value
from just
�9
per person
? November 5-9, 2018
Half-board
menu included
in the price
Dear Friends,
I?m thrilled to invite you all to take a festive short break with the
?Friend? at beautiful Nidd Hall Hotel in Yorkshire. Having enjoyed a stay
with Warner before, I know you?ll be guaranteed a warm welcome.
Why not join me and other members of the ?Friend? team for an
unforgettable, tailor-made holiday just for you? Over the five days there
will be a host of ?Friend?-themed activities for you to take part in,
including tea and a chat with me. It?s a great opportunity to make friends
with other ?Friend? readers. I?m looking forward to meeting you!
BREAKFASTS:
With a choice of full
English and continental
buffets, or dishes cooked
to order, breakfast will set
you up for a fun-filled day
ahead.
Angela Gilchrist, Editor.
Your room awaits . . .
Relax in style in one of Nidd Hall?s comfortable, well-equipped
bedrooms, with en suite bathrooms and lots of thoughtful touches.
STANDARD ROOM
Fantastic-value Standard
rooms are a real home from
home with TV, tea and coffee
making facilities, biscuits
replenished daily, comfy
chairs and reading lights,
hairdryer, iron and ironing
From board, telephone and safe.
�9
Limited
single rooms
available
without
supplement
EVENING MEALS:
Choose from the carvery,
extensive buffet or Nidd
Hall?s menu of delicious
dishes served straight to
your table. Make sure you
leave room for dessert!
SIGNATURE ROOM
For added luxury, treat
yourself to a Signature
room, which has all the
amenities of a Standard
room and includes a pillow
menu, toiletries selection
and a complimentary
From bottle of wine.
�9
Offer subject to availability, new bookings only, applies to groups of under 19 and can be withdrawn without prior notice. Prices correct at time of printing, prices quoted are per person.
Additional � supplement per night for single occupancy rooms, note first 7 rooms to be booked will not incur this charge. *Minimum of 16 guests required for the Harrogate trip (transport
only, not a guided tour). Please advise on booking if you would like to go on the Harrogate coach trip. Holidays booked less than 10 weeks ahead of holiday start date must be paid in full at
booking. Calls cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02). Bookings must be made by 29/06/2018. Warner hotels are over 21s only. Full terms and conditions for Warner
Leisure Hotel breaks can be found at www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk (Bourne Leisure Holidays trading as Warner Leisure Hotels is a company registered in England and Wales, company
number 01854900, registered office 1 Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL).
With The ?Friend?
67
As a guest of the ?Friend?
you will be treated to . . .
Monday Evening
? Private welcome drinks
? A ?Friend? goody bag
? Meet and greet with
the ?Friend? team
Tuesday
? Craft session run by
the ?Friend? team
where you will make
Christmas decorations
? Exclusive tour of the
gardens led by one of
Nidd Hall?s expert
gardeners
? Travel writer
Neil McAllister talks
about 30 years of
writing for the ?Friend?
Wednesday
? Coach trip to
Harrogate (leave
10 a.m. return 2 p.m.)
Please reserve your
space when you book*
? Talk from the ?Friend?
team on the history of
?The People?s Friend?
Thursday
? Another craft session
run by the ?Friend?
team where you will
make more Christmas
decorations
? Tea and a chat with
the ?Friend? Editor
Brand New!
It?s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day,
Boxing Day and New Year?s Eve
all rolled into one. And the most
wonderful thing is, when your
break is over, you?ll still have
Christmas to look forward to.
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
Use of our Fresh-Air Fitness
Indoor heated swimming pool
Fully equipped fitness studio
Ice cold plunge pool
Steam room and sauna
Hot spa pool
Aqua fit sessions
Free Wi-Fi in public areas
Air-rifle shooting
Archery
Nordic Walking
Bowls
The Great and
Small Yorkshire
Tapas Restaurant.
Warner Hotel Guests ?
3 Tapas dishes
per person are
included.
Warner have rebranded the Terrace
restaurant as the Great and Small
Yorkshire Tapas Restaurant, with a
new menu and locally sourced food.
It?s the perfect place to enjoy some
Yorkshire Tapas.
Enjoy our amazing live entertainment every night
Warner are renowned for their fantastic live entertainment.
Let Victor Michael take you on a musical journey from shows and movies from
past to present day. Also enjoy Jamie Sutherland, a fresh and original comedian.
To book call 0330 102 9952 or email
groups@warnerleisurehotels.co.uk
Please quote: ?The People?s Friend?
Lines open Monday - Friday 9am-5.30pm
68
my garden
Notes from
Photographs by Alexandra Campbell and iStock.
Time To Plant
Beetroot.
I?ve just watched a
video by ?no-dig? expert
Charles Dowding on
beetroot seeds. He
plants them in seed
trays, rather than into
the soil. Because
beetroot is a round
root, he says it won?t
mind being transplanted
carefully. He plants
three to four seeds per
seed hole and grows
them on together
because ?beetroot likes
company?. He harvests
the biggest beetroot
first and leaves the
others to grow on. I will
definitely try this.
Alexandra
Campbell packs
her sunhat and
water and
heads off to the
garden shows.
T
HE garden show
season has started.
Of course, RHS
Chelsea Flower
Show (May 22-26)
is the most exciting in
terms of trends, celebrities
and TV coverage. But
other, smaller shows can be
just as inspiring for our own
gardens.
Tackling the major
garden shows, such as RHS
Chelsea, RHS Chatsworth
(June 6-10) or the
Gardening Scotland Festival
(June 1-3), needs a planned
approach.
One friend of mine says
he gets to the show early,
marches to the other side,
then works his way back to
the entrance. That way he
is clear of crowds for at
least half the time.
It?s important, of course,
to have comfortable shoes.
I?d also recommend a
backpack or case if you are
planning to do any
shopping.
Lugging lots of stuff
around in a bag is bad for
your back and tiring. It also
means you can add a
sunhat, sunscreen, a bottle
of water, and perhaps a
snack. Many shows don?t
have enough places to sit
down or to eat and drink.
I?ve just come back from
the Ascot Garden Show,
which is England?s newest
garden show. As well as
very good food-and-drink
provision and lots of plant
stalls, it had six show
gardens and six student
show gardens ? all
charming.
Show gardens are good
for spotting new garden
trends. Judging by the
show gardens at Ascot,
today?s trend is the garden
as an outdoor dining-room.
This is probably because
the dining-room ? as a
separate room in its own
right ? has pretty much
disappeared from houses
now. But even the smallest
courtyard can be a
wonderful place to eat.
Of course, we have to
contend with the weather,
but today?s firepits and
gazebos make it more of an
any-weather option.
GARDENING 69
Which
Disposable
Gloves For
The Garden?
Cut Evergreen
Hedges
I often cut evergreen
hedges when they look
shaggy, rather than at an
approved time. But May
is considered a good
time, except for box,
which should now be
trimmed in the winter to
minimise box blight.
We?re using the G-Tech
HT05-Plus cordless hedge
trimmer. I find it very
light and easy to use. But
it?s for woody stems less
than 12mm thick.
There?s a lot of innovation
in garden screens at the
moment. You can have
screens of corten steel,
brick or wood, but the key
is that you can see through
them to some extent.
There is either a pattern
cut in them, slats, upright
poles or some other form of
gap. It?s a nice way of
dividing up a garden
without blocking out light,
and it deceives the eye into
thinking there might be
much more garden on the
other side.
I particularly liked all the
soft planting at Ascot. The
furniture and pergolas/
gazebos looked modern ?
think square edges and
hard materials like corten
steel. But the planting was
quite traditional and I think
that?s a lovely combination.
To make your garden
look very 2018, add one
strong sculptural plant in
the middle of the soft
mounds of flowers.
Consider tree ferns, dwarf
fan palms, cordylines and
more. If you live in a very
cold area, check the
hardiness before buying,
but there should still be
I use disposable gloves
(as used in hospitals) for
light gardening, such as
potting on seedlings. You
can choose latex, nitrile
or vinyl disposable gloves.
Vinyl are cheapest but the
least comfortable. Latex
is very comfortable unless
you have a latex allergy,
and is the only one that
biodegrades. Nitrile is the
most expensive and also
very comfortable.
Be Safe
some good choices.
Multi-stemmed trees
have been fashionable for a
while now, and there were
several in the Ascot Garden
Show gardens. They have
an elegant shape and a
naturalistic look.
Above all, trees add
height and structure to a
small garden. Show
gardens are certainly small.
We can never expect our
gardens to look like show
gardens in terms of the
planting, because plants
have been cosseted and
prinked to be perfect for
just one week. But the
principles of the show
garden are very useful, and
one of these is that they
demonstrate the
importance of having height
in small gardens.
A pergola, a gazebo and/
or a tree will all make a big
difference to a small space.
Look at the elements that
provide height when you
next look at a show garden
for inspiration.
Find out about RHS
Shows at www.rhs.org.uk/
flowershows and Gardening
Scotland at www.
gardeningscotland.com n
Visit Alexandra?s blog online at
www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk.
Gardening is good for you ? unless you have an
accident. A professional gardener friend got sepsis
as a result of ignoring pruning scratches.
She?s fine now, but implores everyone to take
care when pruning. Wear long sleeves and strong
gauntlet-style gloves. If you do get scratched, clean
and protect it. Gardeners also need protection from
tetanus. If you?ve had five tetanus injections in your
life, you should be protected, but if you?re in any
doubt, ask your GP surgery about a booster.
Make sure that any electrical equipment you use
in the garden has a circuit breaker so it will switch
off if there?s an accident. Guard ponds so that small
children can?t fall in.
Above all ? be careful about barbecues! I speak
from experience, as my husband burned down my
mother?s garden shed by putting a disposable
barbecue into the adjacent rubbish bin. It seemed
to be out, and he?d doused it in water, but it sprang
to life in the bin. There was a loud ?whoosh? as the
shed windows were blown in.
If you are getting your standard barbecue out this
month, check that nothing is broken. Always
position it away from anything that could catch fire
(e.g. pergola, eaves, shed). And never, ever use an
accelerant. If you?re not confident of your barbecuelighting abilities, use firelighters, but never petrol
or any other liquid.
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
Q
My friend was telling me about a
documentary she saw that featured the
potoo, a bird that lives in South America that
becomes almost hidden, its camouflage is so
good. I?ve never heard of this bird and wonder
what it looks like?
Mrs L.M., Perth.
A
Although there are many birds with plumage
which perfectly blends into their surroundings,
the potoo is indeed a master of camouflage. There
are seven species of potoo and the birds are
nocturnal. When resting in the daytime among the
trees, its feathers blend so well with the bark that
it actually looks like a broken-off branch of a tree.
They lay single eggs which can usually be found in a nook of a branch as they don?t
make nests. Both the male and female of the species take turns at incubating the
egg and looking after the young.
Q
Is it true that red kidney beans are
poisonous?
Miss M.M., Dorset.
A
Red kidney beans do contain a toxin
in their raw state. When cooked at a
high temperature this toxin is killed.
Follow packet instructions carefully, such
as soaking prior to boiling, and be aware
that cooking in a slow cooker may not be
a high enough temperature to deal with
the toxin in the kidney beans. In fact,
undercooked red kidney beans are more
dangerous than raw. Tinned red kidney
beans have already been cooked.
Q
We would like to know how old
Judith Keppel is, and also Chris
and Kevin, who make up part of the
?Eggheads? team.
Mrs S.M., Rugby.
A
This TV show, which started back
in 2003, remains just as popular
today. Judith is seventy-five, Chris
Hughes is seventy and Kevin Ashman
is fifty-eight years old. All three
Eggheads have been with the show
from the beginning. It was originally
hosted by Dermot Murnaghan and is
now chaired by Jeremy Vine.
Wikimedia.
iStock.
Something we didn?t
know last week...
*Please do not send an SAE as we cannot give personal replies.
Meghan Markle isn?t the first actress
to marry into a Royal Family. Grace
Kelly became a princess when she
married Prince Rainier III of Monaco,
while Rita Hayworth married Prince Aly
Khan, the son of the Aga Khan III. When
Jamie Lee Curtis?s husband, Christopher
Guest, inherited a barony, she became a
member of the British nobility, and
hopefully, Zsa Zsa Gabor finally found
her Prince Charming when she married
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, her ninth
and final husband.
10,000
pearls were sewn
into Princess Diana?s
wedding dress.
300 lbs
? the weight of
Queen Victoria and
Prince Albert?s main
wedding cake.
100,000,000
books have been
donated by Dolly
Parton?s Imagination
Library to children
all over the world.
65 years
ago this week, 617
Squadron launched
its ?Dambuster? attack
on Germany?s Ruhr
Valley.
1/3
of those in
the eighteen
to twentythree-year-old age
group are unsure
how to open a car
bonnet.
Gorgeous
Guernsey Lilies
Guernsey lilies (Nerines) are a must-have for adding
a splash of pink to your autumn garden and planting
these now will result in a magnificent floral display
during September and October, just as
everything else seems to become lifeless
and dull.
LIMITED
AVAILABILITY
- ONLY WHILE
STOCKS LAST
With wavy re-curved petals in striking coral
pinks and whites, Nerines will provide a
stunning display of flowers every year if
undisturbed and can be used to add height
and drama to any border or pot. Their
glossy, strap-shaped foliage develops in
the spring and will form impressive clumps
over time.
HALF PRICE
NERINE
COLLECTION
Supplied as top-quality 12/14cm bulbs
with immediate dispatch (subject to
availability), at the optimum time to plant.
Nerine Bowdenii
Nerine Stefani
Nerine Bianca Perla
Nerine Isabel
SAVE �
Height 45-60cm and spread 35cm.
Prefers well-drained soil in full sun.
Name ....................................................................................................................
Address .................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
........................................................................... Postcode ..................................
Telephone .............................................................................................................
E-mail Address .....................................................................................................
ITEM
CODE
PRICE
Nerine Bowdenii 5
ROPF18-19BNA5
�.00
Nerine Stefani 5
ROPF18-19BNB5
�.00
Nerine Bianca Perla 5
ROPF18-19BNC5
�.00
Nerine Isabel 5
ROPF18-19BND5
�.00
Ultimate Award Winning
Nerine Collection 20
(5 of each)
ROPF18-19BNM20 �.00
QTY
TOTAL
HALF PRICE SAVE �
P&P
�95
Total Cost Of Order
�
I enclose a cheque for � ............................ made payable to Hayloft Plants Ltd.
(Please write your name and address on the back) or charge my
Visa / Mastercard / Maestro (delete as necessary)
Card No ........................................................................................................................
Start Date ......... /......... Expiry Date ......... /......... Issue No ??..? (Maestro only)
Cardholder?s Signature ...............................................................................................
Name on Card ..............................................................................................................
CV2 - Security Code (3 digits on reverse) ..................................................................................................
All plants will be dispatched within 14 days. All orders will receive an order acknowledgement with approximate
delivery date. Offer closes 31/07/2018. All items are subject to availability and we reserve the right to send
suitable substitutes or, for paid items, offer a refund. Offer available to UK addresses only. Reader Offers cannot
be used in conjunction with any other promotions or discounts. Your contract is with Hayloft, a company wholly
independent of ?The People?s Friend?.
DC Thomson & Co Ltd, its group companies and its partner businesses would like to contact you about new
products, services and offers we think may be of interest to you. If you?d like to hear from us by post, please tick
or email, please tick here . From time to time, carefully chosen partner businesses would like to
here
contact you with relevant offers. If you?d like to hear from partner businesses for this purpose please tick here
. Offer closes 31.07.18, while stocks last.
ROPF18
CALL:
01386 426 245 quoting ROPF18
Please have your credit/decit card details to hand. Lines open 9am - 8pm
(weekdays) 9am - 6pm (weekends). Calls cost 7p/min plus your telephone
providers access charge.
BY POST: Send coupon with credit card details or a cheque/postal order
payable to Hayloft Plants Ltd. to: ?The People?s Friend?
Nerines Offer ROPF18, PO BOX 2020, Pershore, WR10 9BP.
ONLINE: www.hayloft-plants.co.uk/ROPF.html
Silver
Stunning In
Our overtop is worked in a
soft, silky yarn for added
comfort and comes in six sizes.
DIATE
INTERME
KNITTING 73
74
across 45 (47, 49, 51, 53,
55) sts of back neck, cast
on 10 sts at end of needle
holding sts ? 65 (67, 69, 71,
73, 75) sts.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off evenly in rib.
MEASUREMENTS
To fit sizes: 76/81 cm
(30/32 ins), 86/91 (34/36),
97/102 (38/40), 107/112
(42/44), 117/122 (46/48),
127/132 (50/52).
Actual size: 84 cm (33 ins)
94 (37), 104 (41), 114 (45),
124 (49), 134 (53).
Length: 57 cm (22� ins),
58 (23), 59 (23�), 60
(23�), 61 (24�),
62 (24�).
TO COMPLETE
MATERIALS
4 (4, 5, 5, 5, 6) 100-gram
balls of Rico Design
Creative Silky Touch DK
(shade 008). One pair
each 3.25 mm (No. 10)
and 4 mm (No. 8) knitting
needles; note the 3rd to
6th sizes may require a
circular needle or an extra
needle to work the yoke.
2 buttons from Duttons
for Buttons, tel: 01423
502092, e-mail: michelle@
duttonsforbuttons.co.uk.
If you have difficulty finding
the yarn locally, you can
order direct from The Wool
Factory.
Website: www.
thewoolfactoryonline.com.
Telephone: 01507 466838.
TENSION
22 sts and 28 rows to
10 cm measured over st-st
using 4 mm needles.
ABBREVIATIONS
Alt ? alternate;
dec ? decrease; K ? knit;
P ? purl; rep ? repeat;
st(s) ? stitch(es);
st-st ? (stocking-stitch)
knit 1 row, purl 1 row;
tog ? together.
Important Note
Directions are given for six
sizes. Figures in brackets
refer to the five larger sizes.
Figures in square brackets
[ ] refer to all sizes and
are worked the number of
times stated.
When writing to us with
your queries, you must
enclose an SAE if you would
like a reply.
FRONT
With 3.25 mm needles and
thumb method, cast on 89
(99, 111, 121, 133, 143) sts.
1st (right side row) ? [P1,
K1] to last st, K1.
2nd row ? K1, [P1, K1] to
end.
Repeat these 2 rib rows
until work measures 19 cm,
ending after a 2nd row, and
increasing 1 st at each end
of last row ? 91 (101, 113,
123, 135, 145) sts.
Change to 4 mm needles
and beginning with a knit
row, work in st-st until work
measures 38 cm from caston edge, ending after a purl
row.
Shape sleeves ? Work
6 rows increasing 1 st at
each end of every row ? 103
(113, 125, 135, 147,
157) sts.
Place a marker at centre of
last row.
Beginning with a purl row,
work 4 rows in reverse st-st.
Work yoke pattern:
1st (right side) row ? K1,
now knit to end wrapping
yarn round needle twice for
every stitch.
2nd row ? Knit firmly
working once only into
double loops made on
previous row.
3rd row ? Knit.
4th row ? P1, purl to end
wrapping yarn round needle
twice for every stitch.
5th row ? Purl firmly
working once only into
the double loops made on
previous row.
6th - 8th row ? Beginning
with a knit row, work 3 rows
in reverse st-st.
Rep 1st to 8th rows 3 times
more.
Change to st-st and
beginning with a knit row
for right side, work a few
rows straight until work
measures 13 (13, 14, 15,
15, 16) cm from marker,
ending after a purl row.
Shape neck ? K34 (38, 43,
47, 52, 56), turn.
Continue on these sts for
left half of neck.
Decrease 1 st at neck edge
on next 5 rows ? 29 (33, 38,
42, 47, 51) sts.
Work straight until front
measures 4 (5, 5, 5, 6,
6) cm from start of neck
shaping, ending at sleeve
edge.
Shape shoulder ? Cast off
5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts loosely at
beginning of next and the
following 4 alt rows ? 4 (8,
8, 7, 7, 11) sts.
Work 1 row straight. Cast off.
With right side facing, slip
next 35 (37, 39, 41, 43,
45) sts (centre sts) on a
stitch-holder and leave.
Neatly rejoin yarn to
remaining 34 (38, 43, 47,
52, 56) sts and knit to end
of row.
Complete right half of neck
to match left half.
BACK
Omitting neck shaping, work
as front to shoulder shaping,
ending after a purl row.
Shape shoulders ? Cast off
5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts loosely at
beginning of next 10 rows,
then 4 (8, 8, 7, 7, 11) sts at
beginning of next 2 rows.
Break off yarn.
Back neckband ? Change
to 3.25 mm needles and
cast on 10 sts.
Using the same needle and
with right side facing, knit
Front neckband ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and
knit 17 (17, 20, 20, 22,
22) sts evenly down left side
of front neck, knit across 35
(37, 39, 41, 43, 45) sts on
stitch-holder, finally pick up
and knit 17 (17, 20, 20, 22,
22) sts evenly up right side
of front neck ? 69 (71, 79,
81, 87, 89) sts.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off in rib working very
firmly around front corners.
Join shoulders.
Sleeve borders ? With
3.25 mm needles and right
side facing, pick up and
knit 83 (87, 93, 97, 101,
107) sts evenly along a
sleeve edge.
Beginning with a 2nd row,
work 10 rows in rib as given
for front.
Cast off evenly in rib.
To Make Up ? Join side
seams and edges of sleeve
borders.
Sew down inner edge of the
10 cast-on stitch groups of
back neckband to the pickup row of front neckband.
Sew on buttons. n
Next week:
knit golfer Nessie!
REAL LIFE 75
Wait
While You
Alex Corlett is fascinated by the
thought that goes into queuing . . .
iStock.
F
ROM our first day in
the playground, we
learn how to queue.
Waiting in line is
something most of us
do well, though all of us
have strong feelings about
the etiquette of queuing.
It?s OK to hold a place for
a loved one, but not for a
group of friends; there are
unspoken rules about how
much personal space you
give, and if the queue is
disorganised, like at a bar,
a good citizen keeps an eye
out for who arrived before
them and points staff in
their direction should they
get attention first.
When thinking about how
many rules we already know
about them, it?s no surprise
that a lot of thought has
been put into queues by the
businesses whose
assistance you?re waiting
for.
It?s worth it
in the end!
Everywhere from airports
to supermarkets, the
number of people is
growing and the lines are
expanding, so what can we
do to try to make the
experience more pleasant?
The first tactic is the type
of queue itself. Even places
with several staff members
try to go for what?s called
the ?serpentine? queue.
This is to avoid what often
happens in supermarkets,
where you pick a line (often
with some thought), then
find that the ones around
you are moving faster.
A single line will be
longer, but fairness is
guaranteed ? first come,
first served! It?s also faster
? a recent study found it?s
up to three times quicker.
Supermarkets address
this by having a dedicated
member of staff directing
you towards the shortest
queue, or even opening a
new till for you.
Psychologists have
declared that ?unoccupied
time feels longer than
occupied time?. Walking
through town to a shop will
feel quicker than standing
in the queue inside, even if
they last exactly the same
amount of time.
Places where the lines
can reach epic proportions
? like theme parks ? will
distract you as you wait
with video, sound or other
things to get involved with.
Houston Airport used to
receive complaints about
queues, when the arrival
gates and baggage reclaim
area were close to the
disembarked airplane.
Passengers would get
straight off the plane and
into a wait.
By moving the arrival
gates and baggage reclaim
farther away, they did
nothing to decrease the
waiting time, but gave a
sense of progress by having
people move more to get to
these points. They were
doing something instead of
nothing, and the complaints
stopped completely!
It?s the reason why there
are mirrors around lifts in
hotels and office blocks
? you can be doing
something, like checking
your hair, while you wait.
Can you be doing
anything useful while you?re
queuing? Whether it?s
browsing a menu, starting
paperwork at a bank or
having a long conveyor belt
so you can unpack your
shopping, even if you?re two
customers away from the
till, people like to be active.
Keeping busy keeps us
happy!
It?s rare to call a company
nowadays and get straight
through. While you?re
waiting on the phone, more
often than not you?ll be told
how long it is you have to
wait or what number you
are in the queue.
At Disney theme parks,
when you go to a ride,
sometimes you?ll be given a
plastic card by a member of
staff when you join the
queue and have it taken
from you by a member of
staff as you board the ride
? this is how they measure
the time the queue is taking.
Amongst businesses, it?s
considered good practice to
overstate the waiting time
expected, so you?re pleased
when it?s shorter. That?s not
as manipulative as it sounds,
either. In a lot of industries,
it makes sense to allow
room for the unexpected!
Next time you?re in a
queue, look at what?s being
done to make things easier.
The more competition there
is for our business, the more
companies take it seriously.
If all else fails, make sure
you?ve got a book handy! n
SHORT STORY BY WENDY CLARKE 79
The Little Things
I worked all the
hours I could for
my family, but
was that really
enough?
Illustration by Jim Dewar.
H
ELLO, David.?
My mother-in-law
kisses my cheek
warmly. ?To what
do we owe this
pleasure??
?It hasn?t been that long,
Lily,? I say with a smile.
?Long enough for Simon
to grow a beard and the
conservatory to be built.?
There?s a twinkle in her
eye, but I can?t help feeling
guilty.
?Actually, I came to ask
you a favour. Is Simon in??
?He?s in there.? A sound
of banging is coming from
the living-room. ?Goodness
knows what he?s doing.
Why don?t you keep him
company while I make
tea??
?Great, but I can?t stay
long. I?m on my way to
meet some clients in town
at the new Italian. I came
straight from work.?
Lily frowns.
?Haven?t you been home
yet??
?I didn?t have time. I only
called in here because it
was on my way. Work?s
mad at the moment.? I
laugh, but Lily says
nothing, then goes into the
kitchen and fills up the
kettle.
?I?ll see what Simon?s up
to, then,? I say to her back.
He?s on his hands and
knees in the middle of the
floor, surrounded by pieces
of wood.
?This looks interesting.?
Simon puts down the
piece he?s holding.
?It?s a doll?s-house ? well,
it will be. I thought I?d
make it for Tamsin for her
birthday.? He sits back on
his haunches. ?By the time
I thought of making one
for Lauren she was too
old.?
Lauren?s my wife and her
dad dotes on her . . . and
our children, of course.
?I?d have made one for
Tamsin, but . . .?
We both laugh. I?m not
known for my practical
skills and I?m never home
long enough even to find
the toolbox.
I take off my suit jacket
and perch on the settee,
watching Simon slot one
wall panel into another
and drizzle some glue
down the seam.
?I?d like to do this sort of
thing, but by the weekend
I?m shattered. Maybe when
I retire.?
Simon looks at me.
?What, in thirty or
thirty-five years? You make
time for what?s important,
David.?
Lily arrives with a tray of
tea. She hands me a mug.
?How are those
granddaughters of ours? It
feels like an age since we
saw little Lexi, but it was
only last Sunday.?
I realise, with a shock,
that that was the last time
I saw our baby, too.
I leave the house before
the children are awake and
they?re often in bed by the
time I come home.
?She?s great,? I say
quickly.
Simon smiles.
?That second tooth come
through yet??
?I?m not sure. I don?t
think so.?
If Lexi had been having
teething problems, I?d have
known about it. It?s always
quiet when the alarm
wakes me at six.
Lily turns to her
husband.
?It has. It came through
the day after we saw her.
Lauren told me yesterday.
Poor little mite can?t settle
with those sore gums.?
I shift on the settee, but
luckily my in-laws don?t
notice my discomfort.
I tell myself I can?t be
expected to keep track of
teeth and sleeping
patterns as well as plan for
meetings and remember
clients? names.
It?s Lily?s turn to ask the
questions.
?Did Tamsin get made
class monitor like she
wanted??
Class monitor? This is
news to me.
?I?m not really . . .?
Simon speaks first.
?She certainly did.
Lauren phoned earlier.
Sorry, I forgot to tell you.
You must be so proud of
your daughter, David.?
?Yes. Yes, of course I
am.?
Lily takes a sip of her
tea.
?Anyway, what was it you
wanted to ask us? You said
you needed a favour.?
I rub my hands on the
knees of my suit trousers.
?I?ve a business trip to
Brussels in a couple of
weeks and I wondered
whether you?d be able to
help out a bit while I?m
away. Lauren doesn?t like
to ask.?
?We?d love to. The trip?s
absolutely necessary, is
it??
As he speaks, Simon
glances at a photograph
on the mantelpiece.
Lauren, aged seven, is
sitting in a wheelbarrow
with Simon holding
the handles. Both are
80
grinning at the camera.
?I wouldn?t be going if it
wasn?t necessary.?
?No, of course not.?
Simon picks up the
photograph. ?It?s just that
children need their fathers,
too.?
My hackles rise.
?Everything I do is for
Lauren and the girls!?
Lily puts a gentle hand
on my arm.
?We know that, David.
That?s not what he meant.?
Simon looks at me.
?I just wish I could have
had some of those early
years back. Children grow
up so quickly.?
?But you do so much for
your grandchildren. You
briefcase from the chair
and checking he had
everything he needed.
Beside her on the table
was the booklet she?d
made for her homework.
She?d drawn a hedgehog
on the cover and inside
were pictures of some
things she?d found in her
garden: a butterfly, a snail
and a yellow flower she
didn?t know the name of.
When her dad came
down she?d show it to him.
It was always well after her
bedtime when he came
home, but now would be
just as good.
?Have you seen my
wallet?? Lauren could hear
him on the stairs.
?I learned a lot about what I?d
been missing out on?
put me to shame.?
Simon sighs.
?I know, but I wasn?t
always there for Lauren at
that age.?
?No? She never said.?
?She did once.? He
chuckles. ?I?ll you a story, if
you have time to hear it??
I look at my watch.
?Ten minutes.?
Simon nods.
?That?s all it will take . . .?
* * * *
The cereal gave a
satisfying crackle as Lauren
poured milk over it. She
put her ear to the bowl and
listened.
?Don?t play with your
food, Lauren,? her mum
said. ?It?s bad table
manners.?
?I?m not playing, I?m
listening.?
Lily hid a smile.
?You know very well what
I mean. Eat up, then go
and get yourself dressed
and ready for school.?
Above them, Lauren
could hear her dad?s
footfall on the landing. She
pictured him in front of the
wardrobe mirror, knotting
his tie and combing his
hair.
Soon, he would hurry
down the stairs, shirt
neatly pressed and shoes
shiny, and plant a kiss on
the top of her head.
?Be good for your
teacher, Munchkin,? he?d
say, picking up his
Her mum looked up from
pouring a cup of tea.
?It?s on the side. Drink
this before you go.?
?Haven?t time.?
He was in the kitchen
now, handsome in his grey
suit and navy tie.
?I?ve a meeting at nine.
Gosh, is that the time??
He picked up his
briefcase.
?Cheerio. Have a good
day at school, Lauren.?
And he was gone, the
front door slamming
behind him.
Lauren heard the rev of
the car engine and the
crunch of the wheels on
the driveway. Her eyes
swam. For the first time
ever, her dad hadn?t kissed
her goodbye.
Fighting back the tears,
she went upstairs to get
dressed.
As she pulled her jumper
over her head, she
imagined her dad driving
in his car. He?d be looking
at his watch and tutting at
the traffic.
The phone in the hall
was ringing and she ran to
the top of the stairs.
?Can I answer it,
Mummy??
?Yes, but make sure you
ask who it is.?
Running downstairs, she
picked up the phone and
knew the voice straight
away.
?It?s Dad!?
Her heart soared. He
was going to say he was
sorry for not having kissed
her goodbye.
?Can you ask Mum if I
left my project folder
there?? he asked instead.
?Your project folder??
From the kitchen her
mum shook her head.
?No. It?s not here.?
?OK, better dash. Bye,
sweetheart.?
Lauren waited for the
disappointment to recede,
but it didn?t. Without
saying goodbye, she put
down the phone.
It rang again almost
immediately.
?Lauren?? She could hear
the sound of his office in
the background. ?Is
anything the matter??
The words came out hot
and fast.
?Yes. You didn?t kiss me
goodbye.?
There was a pause.
?Are you sure??
?Yes.? Her voice cracked.
How could he not
remember?
?I?m sorry, Munchkin. I
was worried I?d be late for
my meeting. I didn?t think.?
Lauren bit back the
tears, trying to be grown
up.
?It doesn?t matter.?
But it did. It mattered a
lot.
?Bye, Dad.? She put
down the phone.
?Was that all Dad
wanted?? Her mum was in
the doorway.
Lauren bit her lip.
?Yes, that?s all.?
?We?d better think about
going, then. Cleaned your
teeth??
Lauren shook her head.
?Shake a leg, then, or
we?ll be late too.?
When Lauren came back
down, her mum picked up
her homework and held it
out to her.
?Don?t forget this. Mrs
Carter will want to see it.?
Lauren shoved it into her
satchel, not caring if it
creased. She didn?t care
what her teacher thought
of it. It wasn?t her she?d
wanted to show it to.
As they walked along the
road, Lauren?s feet scuffed
the pavement and her
shoulders slumped.
?Are you OK, darling?
You?re awfully quiet.?
?I?m fine.?
Lauren stared at the
pavement as she walked
and only looked up when
she heard the roar of an
engine. The car slowed to
a halt on the other side of
the road.
?It?s your dad!? her mum
said in surprise.
He jumped out of the car
and crossed the road.
Bending down, he pulled
Lauren to him and planted
a big kiss on her cheek.
?How could I forget
something so important??
Lauren put her arms
round his neck, beaming
happily.
?I?ve got something to
show you ? my
homework.?
Unbuckling her satchel,
Lauren took out her
booklet and held it out for
him to see.
?It?s all the things I found
in the garden. My teacher
says we can add things to
it.?
?I?d better make sure I
get home early to help
you, hadn?t I??
?You mean it, Dad??
?Of course.?
* * * *
Simon looks at me.
?My daughter and I
made lots of discoveries
that day. We found slugs
and plenty of caterpillars,
but most importantly, I
learned a lot about myself
and what I?d been missing
out on.?
I nod.
?What made you leave
work and come all the way
home that morning??
?You?re a father. I?ll let
you work that one out for
yourself, David.?
I think of my two little
girls. They mean
everything to me.
A quick look at my watch
shows me it?s seven thirty.
I?ll give the clients a ring
and tell them I?ve been
held up.
With a bit of luck, I?ll be
able to get back home in
time to kiss Tamsin
goodnight.
Simon is right. Fifty
years from now, no-one
will remember that I was
late for a meeting.
But my little girl will
always remember that her
dad drove home just to
kiss her goodnight. n
point
CHAT 81
Talking
K
Is there more pressure on us to stay young?
EEP young and
beautiful.? Women
have been hearing
that since the song
from the film
?Roman Scandals? became
popular in 1933. And
there?s no denying that it?s
harder these days to be
happy with our natural
looks, especially as the
years pass and little
blemishes and wrinkles
start to appear in the
mirror.
Cosmetics used to be the
weapon of choice in the
battle against time, and
very good they are, too.
Now, in addition, we have
Botox, fillers, implants,
dermal peels, toothwhitening and numerous
other treatments all
promising to hold back the
years. None of these are
cheap, and some are
invasive.
While Botox is a
prescription treatment,
anyone can legally inject
cosmetic fillers. The British
Association of Aesthetic
Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS),
the charity dedicated to
safety and education in
aesthetic surgery, has
CW
I would never have
Botox or fillers.
Be thankful what
Mother Nature
dealt you and you
won?t have any
side effects.
AA Grow old
gracefully.
called for all such treatment
to be performed in sterile
clinical settings by persons
medically trained in facial
anatomy with appropriate
qualifications, to minimise
risks of complications. It
also recommended that
fillers become prescriptiononly treatments.
Beauty therapists are
highly skilled at what they
do and perform a great
service in helping to make
their clients feel good
about themselves. Maybe,
though, it is safer to leave
treatments involving
needles and scalpels to
medical settings.
But isn?t it a sorry
reflection on our times that
some people feel they need
drastic anti-ageing
treatments at all? Is the
appearance of a few
wrinkles really so bad?
Perhaps it?s time to recall
a new (old) song: Ray
Stevens had a point in
1970 when he sang the
words, ?Everybody?s
beautiful, in their own
way . . .? n
?People compare themselves more readily?
Dr Naveen Cavale of the British
Association of Aesthetic Plastic
Surgeons, said: ?I?m not
convinced the pressures are any
worse than they ever have been.
I think what?s happened more
recently is that we?re presenting
ourselves more publicly and
permanently. With social media,
photographs, the internet ?
people compare themselves to
each other more readily.?
?I?m a believer in beauty from within?
istock
Here?s what
you said on
the ?Friend?
Facebook page
Audrey Patterson, ?My Weekly?
Beauty Editor, said: ?Personally
I?m not a fan of Botox and fillers
? although I?ll try just about
anything else in the way of
rejuvenating lotions and potions.
Regular facials and a good
skincare regime keep skin
youthful, but I?m a believer in
beauty from within; exercise
and a healthy diet work
wonders.?
You can join in the chat every day. Pop in and say hello at
www.facebook.com/PeoplesFriendMagazine
HC
I am what I am
and if I can put up
with me then so
can everyone else.
AC
I wouldn?t have
Botox or lip
fillers, although I
did try acrylic
nails and it has
taken 15 months
for my natural
nails to recover.
Never again.
DJ
I would! Why not?
LD My hairdresser
(my wife) cuts my
hair and trims my
beard. Then she
makes me a cup
of tea! (Or I
make her a
cuppa!) No Botox
required.
AM I don?t want
anything like lip
fillers or Botox in
my body. Have
seen quite a few
people who look
good for a little
while then it all
goes wrong and
they end up
looking hideous.
82
Puzzle It Out!
Kriss Kross
How long will it take you to correctly fit the
words relating to ballet into the grid?
4 letters
6 letters
BEND
CURTSY
JUMP
DANCER
LIFT
SPLITS
PLIE
TIGHTS
POSE
PUZZLES 83
7 letters
SPIN
BOLSHOI
5 letters
COSTUME
GLIDE
LEOTARD
MUSIC
POSTURE
B E N D
ODILE
PASSE
TWIRL
Solutions
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
1
2
3
4
Fish eggs (3)
Additional (4)
Juliet?s lover (5)
Marilyn _, Hollywood
star (6)
5 Black water?bird (7)
6 Endocrine substances (8)
7 Situated near the
coast (7)
8 Large, long?legged
wading birds (6)
9 Sharpens (5)
10 Organ for smelling (4)
11 Single unit (3)
Brick Trick
ROE
MOR E
ROMEO
MONROE
MOORH E N
HORMON E S
ON S HOR E
H E RON S
HON E S
NOS E
ON E
1
Kriss Kross
POS T UR E
A
P
B
S
L I F T
O
S
I
L
E
T I GH T S
S
H
O
O
C
I
ND
J UMP
I
R
L EO T ARD
ME
S
Y
Enter the answers to the clues in the bricks in the wall.
Every word is an anagram of its neighbours, plus or
minus a letter.
T
W
P L I E
R
G L I D
A
S P I N
M
C
U
B E
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E
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NOTICEBOARD
SOAP BY GLENDA YOUNG
OUR
WEEKLY
SOAP
George, Mike
and Jim are
staking out the
allotments,
waiting to catch
the intruder . . .
iStock.
W
HY do I have
the broken
chair?? Mike
huffed.
?Because you
were last to arrive,? George
reasoned.
?First come, first served.?
Jim smiled, making himself
as comfortable as possible
in the green plastic garden
chair at George?s allotment.
Mike did his best to sit in
the chair without it
collapsing.
?What?s the plan for
tonight?s stakeout?? Mike
asked once his chair had
stopped wobbling.
George delved into his
rucksack and brought out a
flask of coffee that Mary
had prepared. It was
followed by three plastic
cups.
?We wait,? George said.
?We?ll sit and wait to see if
we can catch whoever
smashed up my allotment
the other week. That?s if he
returns, of course.?
Jim and Mike took the
plastic cups as George filled
them up with hot coffee.
?I took the liberty of
bringing this from the pub,?
Jim said, brandishing a
85
Riverside
bottle of brandy. ?I thought
it might keep us warm
through the night.?
?Great idea!? George
said, holding his cup out for
Jim to drop a splash of
brandy in.
The men raised their
plastic cups to one another.
?A toast!? Jim said. ?To
catching the crook.?
?Cheers!? George replied.
Mike stood.
?I?m going on
manoeuvres,? he declared.
?I can?t sit on that chair. I?ll
make sure there?s no-one
doing anything they
shouldn?t.?
Once Mike had left the
greenhouse, Jim and
George settled into their
chairs and Jim topped up
their coffee cups with
another splash of brandy.
Just when an amiable
silence had settled over
them, their peace was
shattered by Mike running
back towards them.
?He?s over there!? Mike
panted, pointing towards
the front of the allotment
site. ?I heard some scuffling
about in the trees. There?s
definitely someone there.?
George jumped up.
?Come on! We?re going to
nab him!?
As they neared the front
of the allotments the sound
of breaking glass made
them stop in their tracks. It
was followed by an eerie
yelp, then hissing, too.
?He?s breaking into a
greenhouse!? George
whispered. ?Follow me!?
With George leading the
way, Jim and Mike walked
in the direction of the
breaking glass. They found
glass on the ground as two
broken greenhouse panels
lay smashed on the soil.
The men stood looking at
the damage, trying to work
out where the culprit could
have gone. Just then, a
flash of brown caught
George?s eye from under a
tree at the side of the plot.
?Look!? he whispered to
Jim and Mike.
They turned their heads
to see a large fox cowering
under the tree, her eyes
locked on George?s. Beside
her were four cubs, small
and furry, scurrying for
safety behind their mum.
?Well, I think we?ve got
our thieves,? Jim stated.
He made a move towards
the fox, but as soon as he
did she scarpered through
a hole under the fence,
taking her babies with her.
George, Mike and Jim
headed slowly back to
George?s greenhouse.
?How do you reckon the
foxes smashed the glass,
George?? Mike asked.
?Fighting, most likely,?
George replied. ?Foxes are
territorial. If one of them
has made the allotments
their home, then they?re
going to fight to defend it.
?They?re lovely animals,
though. I?ve got a lot of
respect for them. Mind you,
they can?t continue to live
here. I?ll have to have a
word with the council and
see if we can get that hole
blocked up.?
Back at the greenhouse,
George and Jim took up
position in their chairs,
leaving Mike to wobble in
the broken one again.
?Well, that?s our mystery
solved.? George sighed.
?And the night?s young,
too,? Mike added. ?I was
looking forward to staying
out all night with you two,
having a good chat and
watching the stars.?
Jim brought out the
bottle of brandy again.
?Well, I?m not ready to go
home yet. Would anyone
like a top-up??
* * * *
The next morning
dawned bright and sunny,
but as soon as Mary awoke
she knew that something
was wrong. George?s side of
the bed was empty.
?The stakeout must have
gone on all night,? she told
Ruby on the phone after
breakfast. ?George?s not
answering his phone.?
?I haven?t heard from Jim,
either,? Ruby replied.
?Carol?s been on the phone
saying she?s not seen hide
nor hair of Mike.?
Later that morning,
Mary, Ruby and Carol met
and walked up to the
allotment together. Inside
George?s greenhouse, fast
asleep on plastic chairs,
they found George and Jim,
with an empty brandy
bottle at their feet.
Lying on the ground next
to a broken chair was Mike,
snoring heavily. The women
looked at each other.
?It?s a shame to disturb
them.? Mary smiled.
?Come on, girls,? Ruby
said, tapping her watch.
?It?s coffee and cake time.?
?The Old Engine Room??
Mary replied, slipping her
arm through Ruby?s.
?Where else?? Ruby
smiled in return.
More next week.
86
The Hours Flew By!
This is a photograph of my
friend Margaret (on the left) and
me, meeting up recently at Lake
Tarawera, New Zealand.
She was my bridesmaid in
1957 and it was great to spend
time with her and also enjoy a
quiet time reading the latest
?Friend? Special, which I took with
me. That, along with the weekly
magazine, certainly helped pass
the time on the long flight to New
Zealand via Singapore.
Ms Y.C., Yeovil.
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.
Seated For
Breakfast
Here?s a picture of our
cat, Lillie. She is only 10
months old but has a great
spirit and is very active.
When she is taking time
out, Lillie likes to sit on a
cane chair near the
refrigerator. She does that
each morning to make sure
we don?t miss out on
feeding her breakfast!
Lillie even enjoys coming
for walks with me.
R.G., New Zealand.
Star Letter
I was so thrilled to see Aberfeldy
on the cover of ?The People?s
Friend? some weeks back.
I was born in Aberfeldy in 1929
and only left when I went to train
as a children?s nurse in a
Barnardo?s home in Auchterarder,
later being transferred south
when I met my husband.
I was delighted to return to the
area when my husband worked at
the Hydro at Tummel Bridge. My
family and I then moved back
down south in 1957, but always
enjoyed holidays ?back home?.
I?ve enjoyed recent visits to
Aberfeldy with my family, and the
picture here shows me beside
General Wade?s Bridge with my
daughter Anne, granddaughter Teresa and
great-grandson George. The oth
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