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The Magic of the Earthstar and other stories

by Freda Gerrans


The Magic of the Earthstar and other stories

by

Freda Gerrans


I was born in 1949 in Farnborough. I lived for many years in Kent, but now live on the Yorkshire coast. Among my many hobbies are gardening, poultry-keeping and knitting. I very much hope you enjoy these stories that I found such a pleasure to write.

(C) 2018 copyright Freda Gerrans The content of this book may not be copied without the express permission in writing of the author Freda Gerrans. Not for resale


Contents The Magic of the Earthstar 1 First Impressions

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Over the Fence

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The Magic of the Earthstar

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Jenny stood on the front step with her mummy, saying goodbye to Daddy. After giving her mummy a great big hug and kiss her Daddy turned to Jenny and tugged playfully at her fair hair. ‘Come on my number one girl, give me a hug.’ And he bent down and swept her into his arms. ‘Bye, bye. I won’t be long this time. Only a few days,’ Turning to his wife, he winked mischievously. ‘I’m getting too old for this travelling around. I wish I was staying here with you. I’ll miss you. Take care.’ With that, he threw his case into the car. He got in the driving seat and drove slowly out of the drive. Jenny and her Mummy waved until he was out of sight and holding hands

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they walked back indoors. ‘Grannie phoned and asked if you’d like to help her in the garden as it’s Sunday. Would you like to?’ Jenny didn’t have to think over her answer. She loved going to Granny’s. ‘Great, I can pick you some of my Brussel’s sprouts and dig some leeks. Granny says my patch is growing good veggies,’ she informed her Mummy in her most grown up voice. Jenny really enjoyed helping her little Granny in the garden. Their hands and knees got very dirty, but Jenny knew her Mummy wouldn’t mind. Granny could tell her so much about all the plants and birds and even slugs and snails. ‘That silver line over the soil there is a naughty slug after my lettuces,’ she would say, or, ‘Aah, look at Bobby

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Robin, Jenny. Stay still and he will come very close.’ Jenny was thrilled to bits when the perky robin sat on the handle of Granny’s fork stuck in the ground. ‘He’s after the bugs and worms we’re digging up’ she told her. Jenny wasn’t to know that what she would find in the garden today would be magic. She and Granny were weeding what Granny called The Hypericum Terrace. Jenny remembered, in the summer it had been a mass of green leaves and yellow flowers. Now it was October and time to tidy it up for the winter, Granny had said. Although Jenny was ten and Granny much older than that, they were nearly the same height, so they were working at the same level when Granny parted the shrubby plants to pull at some grass. ‘Granny, what’s this? It looks like a funny bulb, but it’s

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fixed on top of the soil. Come and look.’ Granny leaned over to where Jenny was working and sure enough, although it was camouflaged, she saw the bulb. ‘My goodness Jenny, you’ve found a real treasure. That is an Earthstar.’ ‘An Earthstar! But Granny, it’s not a bit like a star. It hasn’t got points.’ Jenny argued. ‘This is the Earthstar egg, cherub. I read in a big book that inside the egg is a wish and when the wish comes true, the egg hatches into a star. Go on Jenny, have a wish. You found the egg.’ ‘Oh Granny! Can I wish on the wishing egg out loud? I want it to hear me. It’s a very special wish.’ ‘I don’t see why not. After all, it’s still your wish,’ answered Granny, smiling indulgently at her pretty, curlly-fairhaired grand-daughter.

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Jenny reached out and touched the rough skin of the egg. With her blue eyes tightly shut she said, ’I wish Daddy would come home to stay forever.’ Granny felt the tears well up in her bespeckled eyes. Poor little Jenny. She knew she must miss her dad, but she hadn’t realised how much. It was true, her son was away a lot. He had a very good job which he enjoyed, but he had to travel abroad a lot and leave Jenny and her Mummy at home. ‘That’s a very big wish for a little egg, cherub.’ ‘Yes, I know Granny. I wished it for Mummy too.’ Jenny answered unselfishly. Yes, thought Granny, I do believe your Mummy would approve of your wish, then out loud, ‘Come on, we must get this job finished before Mummy comes for you,’ said Granny, bustling on, hoping to keep

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Jenny’s mind off the wish she almost knew wouldn’t come true. When her daughter-in-law came to pick Jenny up, Granny was relieved when the magic egg wasn’t mentioned. Perhaps Jenny has forgotten she thought, but deep in her heart, she knew she hadn’t. Back at home, Jenny’s Mummy surveyed her daughter’s hands and knees. ‘Jenny my dear, you’re a mess. Come on, let’s clean you up and get ready for tea. Daddy is coming home tomorrow instead of Thursday. That’s nice, isn’t it? He says he has a surprise for us’ Jenny’s face lit up. ‘Hooray! Can I wear my best frock, and will you brush my hair ‘till it shines? I want to surprise him too.’ ‘Of course I will my love. Off you go and wash now.’

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Mummy smiled, clapping her hands at Jenny, who bounded off to the bathroom, giggling. ‘You won’t surprise him as much as I will when I tell him my bit of news,’ she sighed to herself, holding her tummy with both hands, ‘Will she, little one?’ Tomorrow couldn’t come quick enough for Jenny. She was glad it was a school-day to make the time pass faster. Her mummy had ironed her posh frock and found a pretty ribbon for Jenny’s hair. ‘Jenny, you’re as pretty as a picture. Yes, I think Daddy will be suitably surprised. I’ve baked a big chocolate cake so let’s go and lay the table. Shall we have a candle in the silver candlestick?’ ‘Oh yes, can I light it?’ As Jenny was reaching for her Mummy’s box of matches there was a rattle at the front door. Quick, that was

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Daddy’s key going into the lock. Both mother and daughter smoothed down their frocks, bobbed their hair and rushed to greet Daddy. ‘My, what a greeting from the two most beautiful girls in the world,’ he laughed, as he swung Jenny off her feet. She had the same crinkly smile and laughing blue eyes as her father and Jenny’s Mum’s heart stood still for a moment as she watched them. Then it was her turn. Oh, how she missed his cuddles. Please hug me forever, David, she wished as she rushed into his open arms. ‘David, I’m glad you’re home,’ she whispered, then held out one hand to Jenny and the other to David and led them into the sitting room. ‘Let’s share our news over a cup of tea and a big slice of chocolate cake, shall we?’ ‘We don’t need tea, I’ve got a special bottle of sparkling

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grape juice to celebrate with,’ laughed Daddy. ‘To celebrate?’ asked Mummy, thinking, surely he doesn’t know my news? ‘Yes, celebrate. I’ve been promoted. Old Parsons has retired and I’ve been chosen to take his place.’ ‘Oh, David. Well done. I know you deserve it. I’m so pleased for you.’ Mummy said sincerely. ‘I’ll get the corkscrew and some glasses.’ She had to get away for a minute to compose herself. She was afraid. David would be away even more, with extra responsibilities. ‘Sit down love, that’s not the best news.’ David grinned, touching her hand. ‘The best news is, I won’t have to travel anymore. I’ll have an office in town.’ Tears trickled down Jenny’s Mummy’s cheeks. ‘David,’ she whispered, gulping, ‘David, I’m pregnant.

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We are going to have a baby.’ Jenny, who until then had sat and listened quietly to her parents, bounced up and down and yelled. ‘Whoopee!’ not knowing what piece of news thrilled her most. Daddy was staying at home forever and she was to have a baby brother. It couldn’t be a sister because she was Daddy’s number one girl. ‘The magic egg worked!’ ‘Whatever are you talking about?’ laughed Daddy, ‘A magic egg. Where?’ ‘Can we go to Granny’s now and tell her the news? I’ve got something to show you. Please, Please,‘ pleaded Jenny. She wanted to see if the magic egg had hatched like Granny said it would. ‘Granny might not be in lovey. If it’s that important to you I’ll phone and see, shall I?’

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Jenny crossed her fingers as her Mummy dialled Granny’s number. ‘Hello, it’s only me. Are you receiving visitors? Jenny’s desperate for us to come round. Yes, while it’s still light. Something about a magic egg. See you soon then, bye.’ Granny was waiting at her front door when Jenny and her Mummy and Daddy drew up in the car. Jenny fell out of the car in her haste to tell Granny. ‘Granny, granny I want to show Mummy and Daddy the egg. The wish has come true and Mummy’s going to have a baby too!’ Granny looked from one happy face to another and sighed a big, contented sigh. Skipping ahead, Jenny led the joyous family party to the Hypericum terrace. Parting the damp plants carefully Jenny gasped to see the Earthstar had hatched. Eight points

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had turned outwards and downwards onto the earth and nestled in the centre was a small round cushion with a hole in the middle. ‘Granny, what’s that for?’ Jenny asked, pointing to the cushion. ‘When raindrops fall on the soft cushion skin, some Earthstar seeds are puffed out for the wind to take and plant somewhere else, for a wishing egg to grow for someone else cherub. Press it very gently and see what happens.’ Jenny carefully pushed at the cushion and brown powder puffed out. ‘Oh, that made me jump’ she cried, quickly pulling her fingers away, and the garden rang with happy laughter.

The End

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First Impressions

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A few years ago when Ellie was at the ‘making plans stage’ of her life, she’d informed her mother in no uncertain terms ‘When I’m grown up I’m going to marry a handsome rich man with a big house and live happily ever after.’ So what was she doing, at twenty-four years old, in this crummy old pub with a boring bloke who, during their fourmonth courtship, insisted on talking at great length about his prowess at golf. With his dark curly hair and deep blue eyes, he was, she consoled herself, quite good-looking and that’s what first drew her to him. But as she soon found out, handsomeness is only skin deep. Sipping her sweet sherry her brown eyes glazed over

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as she watched his lips move and her numbed mind formed pictures of life with the man of her dreams. Her long auburn hair flows in the breeze as her little red sports car speeds easily between two brick pillars, each sporting a fire-spitting dragon, and around the tarmac drive. The gardener raises a hand as she passes the generous herbaceous border lining one side of the drive to the big front door of the country-style house. She glides expertly to a halt behind a gleaming blue Bentley and knows her husband is home. What will he look like, she ponders, as she finishes her sherry. Cupping her chin in her hands, she thinks back to her other disastrous relationships. Terry, her first love. The one she thought was forever. She’d gone steady with him and his old convertible Morris Minor which he tinkered with constantly for two long years. Then, seemingly out of the blue he was engaged, married and a father almost before his brief

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farewell had sunk in. After Terry, there was dishy Den, whom she had met on a blind date with her friend Sue. Sue was convinced she was on the shelf if she didn’t have at least two blokes at her beck and call and thought Ellie must feel the same. Den had turned out to be a very keen dustman and Ellie hadn’t really wanted a run-down of the interesting things people throw away, every time she saw him, so he ended up on the rubbish heap. As for ‘where have you been all my lift’ Nigel, what a weed he turned out to be. His mother insisted on vetting his every move and his move in her direction was frowned upon. Goodbye Nigel. Now there was this bloke. Golf. Golf. Golf. She had to admit it had been interesting at first, but this was the umpteenth repeat of his hole-in-one and she’d had enough.

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Putting her empty glass on the table, Ellie rose to her feet, placed her hands flat on the table and said forcefully, ‘I am going to change my life. Goodbye!’ With that, she picked up her bag and left him in midsentence. She almost laughed out loud when she turned to wave goodbye and saw the look of utter astonishment on his face. The cool evening breeze danced across Ellies’s face and brought her back down to earth. Now she had to walk home in the dark on her own. I’ll take big steps so I sound like a man, she thought. as she took a deep breath and turned the corner from the pub, aptly named ‘The Empty Arms’. The next few minutes were a nightmare. From out of nowhere a hand grabbed her shoulder bag and pulled at it. Instinctively she held on tightly with both hands, to no avail.

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The bag was viciously snatched from her grasp and she was sent crashing to the ground. She was momentarily stunned and lay where she fell. In the distance she heard the drum of running footsteps, then nothing. As she pushed herself into a sitting position the staccato sound of fast walking footsteps coming towards her alerted her survival instincts. Once again, anxiously struggling to her feet, Ellie felt a firm hand on her shoulder and a man’s voice advised her to stay still a minute or two to get her breath. ‘We don’t want you falling over again, do we?’ At first she thought it was her attacker back, but she realised he wouldn’t bother to come back to see if she was alright. He’d got what he wanted. ‘I’m okay now,’ she muttered, feeling herself for lumps and bumps. ‘Oh, no, my bag, I’ve been mugged. So much for changing my life.’ By now, a bit confused himself, her good

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Samaritan shook his head. ‘Mugged! Bag! Changing your life! You must have banged your head quite hard,’ he said, honest concern in his voice. Ellie, in a sitting position, looked up at her rescuer. Only seeing him in the lamplight she guessed him to be slightly older than herself and with his fair hair and soft brown eyes he reminded her of the golden retriever her family had had when she was young. Chuckling to herself, she said ‘I’d like to be a fly on the wall when he opens my bag to see what lovely booty he’s got. It’s full of my mum’s hair rollers. I was only carrying it for show. ‘I think I’d better get you home,’ He grinned. ‘My car is over the road. After helping her to her feet, he offered her his arm. ‘Here, lean on me. No bones broken at least.’ Although Ellie didn’t need support she leaned heavily

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on his arm whilst thinking, the fact that he had a car was a good start on the trail of a rich husband and a country house. Until she saw the car that is. An old, well used yellow landrover was parked under the next lamp post. A quick sideways glance at his attire and the general directions in which they were heading confirmed her suspicions. She saw a pair of torn jeans and a well-worn wax jacket. Expensive at one time, but past its sell-by date now. Oh well, at least she wouldn’t have to walk home alone in the dark, she thought as she fought to open the passenger door of the land-rover. ‘Hey, hang on, I’ll open it. It’s a bit stiff. Oh dear, I’ll brush that hay off the seat. Sorry, my collie rolled in the hay before she jumped in this afternoon. Ellie smiled weakly. ‘It’s okay, I’m not in my Sunday best.’ ‘You still look a bit pale. There’s a café down the road,

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let’s go and get you a hot, strong cup of sweet tea, shall we?’ ‘That’s very kind, but……’ ‘No buts, in you get,’ he ordered. ‘I was only going to say I’d prefer coffee, she laughed while thinking she might as well make an evening of it and start her new life tomorrow. As they sat opposite each other in the brightly lit café Ellie offered her rescuer her right hand. I think we’d better introduce ourselves. My name is Ellie. I live at home with my mum and dad and my rotten sister. No, I don’t mean that. She’s alright when she’s not pinching my tights or makeup.’ He gripped her hand firmly and she could feel the rough, working man’s skin on his palm. ‘Hello Ellie. I’m Bob. I live alone and also have a sister but she’s an angel. She never pinches my tights or my makeup though she has used my car quite often.

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Ellie gave a rich, throaty chuckle. ‘Lucky you. Hello Bob. Thank you for coming to my rescue.’ Conversation came easily between them and the next hour flew by. She told Bob about her job in the library and her various interests. He raised his eyebrows slightly when she told him why she was walking home in the dark.He told her of his horse and his sheep and how his workaholic collie dog Judy handled the sheep and still itched to work even though at present she had six puppies. Ellie had to admit she found Bob charming and very good company. In fact, she thought to herself, I could fall for him in a big way, if only…….’ ‘Oh well,’ she said aloud, pushing her empty mug to the middle of the table. ‘Thank you for the coffee. I mustn’t take up any more of your time. Thanks again for helping me. I can manage to walk home from here, it’s only a short walk down

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the road.’ ‘Come now Ellie, at least give me the pleasure of escorting you to your door. That way I will know you are safe.’ The sitting room light was still on when Bob and Ellie arrived at her front gate. ‘My mum and dad are still watching the tele, I expect,’ she said as they strolled down the garden path. Bob stopped, turned to face her and reached down to take both of her hands in his. ‘Ellie, I’d like to see you again,’ he said quietly. ‘Any chance?’ Ellie hesitated. Rich husband. New life. No worries. These thoughts raced through her mind countered by a yellow land-rover, torn jeans and puppies. As if reading her mind, he squeezed her hands. ‘I can

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look smart you know. We worked late tonight sorting out the sheep for tupping, so I gave my shepherd a lift home. I’m afraid I couldn’t use the Merc because my darling sister has borrowed it to impress her latest beau. I suspect at this very moment they are nestled on my shag-pile rug in front of the log-fire drinking my sherry and lemonade out of my tall purple glasses. He grinned mischievously. ‘Ellie looked into his big brown eyes. She had already made up her mind. ‘Bob,’ she grinned, her hands still in his. ‘I’d love to see you again.’ The End

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Over The Fence

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‘There you are, you’ll feel better now I’ve put that stake in for you. You were a bit droopy weren’t you?’ Janice stepped back and surveyed her handiwork. Yes, the delphiniums looked much happier with their delicate sky blue heads in the air. ‘Now, you roses need dead-heading before I go and make a fuss of the lavender bush.’ As Janice set to work on the roses she heard a big lorry come to a halt outside her front gate. She hurried indoors to peep out of the front window. ‘Well, I’m blowed,’ she whispered to herself, ‘someone is moving in next door.’ The house next door had been on the market for some considerable time and Janice was becoming concerned

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about the garden. Weeds were abundant and were trying to invade her garden by sneaking under the fence or wafting their fairy-light seeds over the top. She wasn’t one to fuss, but it would be pleasant to see some sort of order over the fence. ‘Oh well, I can’t stand here nosing out of the window all afternoon. Harry needs fixing to the fence.’ With this resolution in mind, she retraced her steps to the back garden. ‘Harry, you are going mad again, clambering up that fence as you always have done.’ She sank to her knees and went closer to Harry. ‘Oh Harry, I miss you. Why did you go away so soon?’ Janice had known Harry was ill when she married him, but that hadn’t made any difference. She had loved him for his optimistic outlook on life and his ability to live life as fully as

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he could. The garden had been his great passion. She and Harry had spent many happy hours together on their knees, with their hands in the soil, giggling over the names they thought the plants should have. The oriental clematis had been the last plant he had planted in the garden. ‘My favourite clematis, and I’ve got one at last. I’ll plant it here for you my darling Janice.’ Now, when she came home from work to an empty house, she found consolation in the garden. The loneliness wasn’t so great among her flowers. She awoke with a start from her reverie to the sound of something crashing to the ground next door. ’Oh dear, there goes some furniture’ she mumbled to herself. Slowly raising herself upright Janice decided it was time for a cup of tea and a piece of the chocolate fudge cake

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she’d made the evening before. She was filling the kettle at the kitchen sink when the front doorbell rang. ‘Now who can that be? I’m not expecting anyone.’ With the kettle still in her hand, she trotted down the hall and opened the door. A pretty flowered jug was thrust forward and a hesitant male voice said ‘Hello. I’m… er… moving in next door and wondered if perhaps I could borrow some milk. It’s the only thing I forgot to get. Janice smiled at the tall man in front of her. She guessed he was a year or two older than her fifty two years, as a thick peppering of grey hair shone in his short black wavy hair. Kindly blue eyes twinkled at her over the proffered jug ‘Of course you can. Come in a minute. I’ve got a spare

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pint in the fridge.’ Walking briskly down the hall, she found herself patting her hair and adjusting her skirt. ‘Don’t be such an old fool,’ she scolded herself, ‘just because a good-looking man is at this moment in your hall. His wife probably sent him round to have a look at the neighbours. It’s a wonder she didn’t come herself. ‘It’s full cream’ she informed him, waving the bottle. ‘I hope you’re not on a diet.’ ‘Never needed to,’ he grinned back, ‘too active.’ This time, minus the kettle but plus the pint of milk, Janice walked briskly back up the hall again. ‘As we are going to be neighbours perhaps you and your wife would like to pop over one afternoon for a ‘getting to know you’ cup of tea and a slice of cake. Making cakes is one thing I am good at.’

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For an instant Janice saw a glimpse of sadness cloud his wonderful blue eyes. ‘Thank you so much, I would like that very much. I’m afraid I will be alone. My wife, Julia, died five years ago. Janice recognised, in his voice, the same ‘and I miss her’ she felt over losing Harry. Harry had been gone over five years too. ‘I am sorry, I didn’t mean to….Oh, I don’t know, I lost my Harry a while back too. It leaves you a bit lonely doesn’t it?’ ‘Yes. Thanks for the milk. I must get back. I promised the moving men a cup of tea.’ Leaving her with a brief smile he hurried up the garden path and out of the gate. Janice blinked at the sudden change of atmosphere, shrugged her shoulders and closed the front door. Perhaps he doesn’t like talking about her, she thought.

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The roll of green garden string was waiting on the kitchen table for Janice to pick up, ready to fix Harry to the fence. This she did. ‘Harry, you’ll never guess. That was our new neighbour and he came round to borrow some milk. His wife is dead you know and he hurried away when I said “it’s lonely when you lose someone”. Never mind, I can still pretend you are here when I talk to you. .There you are. Cling to that string and you’ll soon be draped over the fence and drooping with a mass of yellow lanterns.’ Janice pushed herself to her feet, brushed off her knees and walked thoughtfully indoors. It was a week later as she was counting Harry’s flower buds, she noticed a young man next door, making a start on the overgrown garden. Blue eyes, as she’d taken to calling him when she gave Harry her daily news, was obviously keen to get his garden in order.

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‘That’s good Harry. Next door’s garden is being sorted out. I’d better mention I’d rather you weren’t trimmed.’ ‘Hello, she called, ‘Quite a job you’ve got there’ ‘Hi,’ the young man smiled as he straightened up. ‘Yes, it is. Mr Netherecott is going to do a bit at the weekends, so it shouldn’t be too bad.’ Janice couldn’t help but grin. Nethercott. Yes, I like it, she thought. ‘I only want to ask you not to trim back my oriental clematis. I know he’s a bit rampant, but he makes a wonderful sight in full bloom.’ ‘I’ve been asked not to touch the plant over the fence. I think that must be it.’ With that, he bent over his efficient, man-sized fork again. Later that evening, as Janice was heavily into reading

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her whodunnit, the ringing of the doorbell made her jump and her book fell to the floor. ‘Damn, I’ve lost my page,’ she muttered as she took off her glasses before answering the door. She was pleasantly surprised to find herself looking into those lovely blue eyes again. ‘Hello. I thought it was about time I returned your pint of milk.’ ‘That’s very kind of you. There was no need. Would you like a cup of tea? I was just going to make myself one. Come in. The sitting room is on the left. I won’t be long.’ True to her word tea and a cut and come again cake were soon on a tray and whisked into the sitting room. ‘Help yourself to sugar. Oh dear, I’m sorry, Lucy has found your lap. Come on Lucy…’ ‘No, no. It’s alright. I’m rather fond of cats. I may have a

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look around for one myself. Mmmm, this cake is good. It’s years since I had homemade cake. Julia always made cakes.’ ‘Yes, Harry loved my cakes. I still make them, but rarely manage to eat a whole one before its eat-me-up date. The birds do well around here. I do believe my Piracantha berries are left alone a little longer in the garden. I see you are having your garden sorted out.’ ‘Yes a young man from town is helping me. He’ll do the general clearing up and I’ll follow with plants and compost. The conversation was very relaxed in Janice’s little sitting room. Lucy was purring and so, almost, was Janice. It wasn’t until he clattered his cup back in the saucer and started to rise to go home, thanking her for her hospitality that she realised they didn’t even know each others’ names. ‘I’m dreadfully sorry, I should have introduced myself,’

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her visitor apologised as he offered her his hand. ‘John, John Nethercott.’ A tingle ran up her arm. Not only was his name cuddly. Much to her embarrassment she felt herself blush at her thoughts. ‘Janice, Janice Rand’ she offered back, noting he still had hold of her hand. ‘Well Janice, thanks again,’ and she felt a friendly brush of warm lips on her flaming cheek, ‘You just come round and try a glass of my homemade wine. Perhaps you could give me some gardening tips. Bye ‘till then.’ Turning thoughtfully away from the front door as she closed it behind John Nethercott, Janice returned to the sitting room. He must have thought she was daft, making a stupid teenage fool of herself. She had to talk to someone. Harry. .Harry would help to talk to Harry. She didn’t know

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why, but she put her glasses on to talk to Harry. Perhaps, she thought it would help her see more clearly. The sky was breathtaking and the air warm as she knelt down. ‘How wonderful it all is Harry,’ she whispered. ‘John Nethercott the man from next door came round for a cup of tea. I like him Harry. I like him a lot. You don’t mind do you? It doesn’t mean I’ll ever forget you. I’ll never forget you Harry.’ A little tear trickled down her cheek and she gently brushed it away as she stood straight, sniffed and decided it was bedtime for her. She noticed the lights were still on next door as she ambled up the garden path. Early the next morning as she was standing by her car, searching for her keys in her chaotic handbag, a florist shop van stopped by her drive. Having found her keys she took no further notice until a voice beside her said ‘Janice Rand?’ She spun round to see a presentable young lady

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addressing her. ‘Yes, I’m Janice Rand.’ ‘Oh good. A plant and a card for you.’ Intrigued, Janice read the card. Thank you for the tea and delicious cake, John. PS I thought you’d prefer a bunch of flowers with roots on. She peered into the open-topped bag and there, to her delight was an exquisite miniature rose in full bloom. Janice glanced over to the house next door but saw no sign of life. Thank you John, she thought, then had to give herself a good shake and get off to work. The evening was pleasantly warm as Janice planted the miniature rose in the garden. ‘There you are, little rose. A good slosh of water for you and the rest for Harry. Your flowers are nearly out now Harry. The little rose I’ve just planted was a thank you present from

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John next door. She’s pretty isn’t she?’ The phone rang later that evening and the whodunnit was slammed shut again. ‘Hello, yes, it is. Oh! Hello John. Thank you for the rose. It is beautiful, but there was no need. Tonight? Well, no I’m not busy. Okay. Half an hour then.’ Janice was blushing furiously again. She had a date! She had a date! What should she wear? Crumbs! Half an hour later a pensive but excited Janice, was dressed in her light blue shirtwaister, nervously opening the front door. ‘Janice, you look lovely. Thank you for saying yes.’ John offered his hand, which she eagerly took as she pulled the door shut. Harry knew she was going out because he was the first person she told.

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The End

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The Magic of the Earthstar  

A collection of short stories by Freda Gerrans. Freda was born in 1949 in Farnborough. She lived for many years in Kent, but now lives on th...

The Magic of the Earthstar  

A collection of short stories by Freda Gerrans. Freda was born in 1949 in Farnborough. She lived for many years in Kent, but now lives on th...

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