Author Topic: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)  (Read 6253 times)

Offline loopylin

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A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« on: December 02, 2010, 06:01:29 PM »
Here is a simple tale for Christmas/ New Year and Valentines.

Colonel Geoffrey Maddocks heard the sound of a car approaching and wondered who his visito could be on this cold, rather blustery night. The sort that made you think of 'Wuthering Heights and the wind whistling over the moors. Looking out the Colonel saw his friend Dr. hugh Freeman. Geoffrey was glad that there was no black bag in his hand which meant it was a social call. When Mrs. Porter showed his friend in Geoffrey held out his hand. 'Hugh- lovely to see you What brings you here on such a cold evening?'
'I thought you might lke to beat me at chess again!'
'I certainly would. Drink?' As he said this he poured himself a large whiskey.
'No thanks. I'm on call later tonight. I know I said the occasional glass of whiskey is beneficial to your health Geoffrey but by the look of your glass when i came in it isn't your first tonight.'
'Oh take your invisible stethoscope off Hugh. Allow me a little pleasure in my life- don't worry yourself about me.' He downed the drink, looked at the decanter, shook his head a little and set his glass down. hugh had already set up the chess board.
'You make the first move' said Geoffrey. Usually he took his game very seriously planning each move with care and usually manage to outguess his old friend. Tonight he was feeling tired and uncharacteristically made some silly mistakes which enabled Hugh to win. 'Are you feeling alright Geoff? Your mind didn't seem to be on the game tonight.'
'I'm a little tired- that's all.'
'I hope you've not been overdoing things.'
'Of course not. Mrs Porter sees to that.'
'Well- I'll look in later in the week and check you over- in the meantime remember your three Rs- Rest, Relax and Refrain from too much alcohol and rich food.' Hugh picked up his hat and coat.
'And a Merry Christmas season to you too, doctor! Goodnight to you. You'll be glad to know I'll be staight off to bed now.'
If hugh had stayed five minutes longer he would have seen Geoffrey have another small whiskey. There was no way he was going to admit to hugh that he'd had a few twinges during the day. He hoped they'd pass as they usually did. Today was Advent Sunday. Christmas was but a few short weeks away. He resolved to enjoy himself with those he loved best and try to make it special for them- especially his niece, Dora. In his heart he doubted he'd celebrate another Christmas. Sighing he made his way to bed and slept dreamlessly.

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 06:30:23 PM »
sorry- meant to say this is a prequel to my 'One for Sorrow' story and is set several months after the follyfoot episode 'A Walk in the Woods'
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 11:05:13 PM »
December had brought with it to Yorkshire a spell of bitingly cold weather. Snow had fallen and frozen. The view from Dora's bedroom window was like a scene from a Christmas card.The lake had frozen and the trees were white. Pretty it certainly was- but nobody at Follyfoot farm, including Dora herself felt they wanted to spend time in freezing cold barns or stables but nevertheless the horses had to be cared for. Dora's reluctance to leave her bed was partly due to the fact that Steve was now sharing it with her. She went to sleep and woke up snuggled close beside him feeling warm, safe and loved. He was still asleep- she looked at the clock and decided they need not get up yet. A lock of his dark hair had strayed across his face and she longed to brush it back but as he had been doing more than his fair share of the outside work lately she didn't want to wake him too early. A few minutes more then she would wake him gently and they would share early morning kisses and caresses. She was so glad that he was not spending the winter in the loft. Ron had refused the offer to sleep there when road conditions were bad saying he'd prefer not to freeze to death. He preferred to arrive even later than normal and leaving early- he did not even want to sleep in the tiny boxroom or on the couch in the study unless it was unavoidable. Dora looked at Steve's handsome face, relaxed in sleep. Over these past few months they had both changed. They still had the occasional argument but it was over quickly and they enjoyed making up.Basking in Steve's love Dora had blossomed from girl into woman and he had learned to control his outbursts without losing his passion to stand up for something he believed to be right. Things had been difficult for a few weeks after Dora had lost Copper and walked through the woods trying to find him.She had convinced  herself that Steve had to leave Follyfoot. She had relented the next day when he had told her he needed her more than he had ever needed anyone before. Slugger had influenced her decision saying that he looked on Steve as the son he'd never had. Steve threw himself into his work leaving himself little time for leisure. He went to the farmhouse only for his meals and a bath two or three times a week. Dora tried hard to engage him in conversations at the table but he answered with as few words as possible without being downright rude. Because Dora felt uncomfortable doing it Slugger took Steve's early morning tea over. The first time he was sure that a look of disappointment briefly crossed Steve's face but after that he was always greeted with a cheery 'Morning Slugs'
Steve had taken to visiting Bill Chadwick at the start of each week to see how their horses were faring in his care. When he found that Marty, the charity horse was ill he knew he had to speak to Dora. Predictably he found her in Copper's stable. 'I need to tell you something, girl, 'he said.  Dora stiffened- was this it- was he going to say he was leaving after all?
'What is it? I'm busy.' she said more harshly than she'd meant to.
'It's Marty- he's ill.'
'Has Bill had the vet out to him?'
'Yes but there's not much he can do. I think you should got over there.' He bit his bottom lip then brushed his hand across his mouth. In a voice softer and gentler than he'd used to her in weeks he continued 'He's dying.'
Dora gave Copper a pat, thrust her hands in her pockets then walked towards the door. Turning to him she said 'Come with me, Steve.' He gave a small nod and followed her out to the landrover.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 11:44:32 PM »
'It's nearly lunch time, girl.I'll go tell Slugs not to make any for us.'  When he came back Steve had a couple of blankets. I'll drop you off then go pick up some sandwiches from the bakery.'
'I don't want any Steve'
'Now look- there's no telling how long we'll be there. We've got to keep our strength up.'  Slugger had arived with two flasks.
'He's right, girl. You gotta look after yourselves.' He looked from one to the other.'The both of yers.'
Chadwick's was only a ten minute drive away and Dora was out of the landrover as soon as Steve stopped the engine. Bill was outside. 'He's in here Dora.' Steve hasd followed her in with the flasks and blankets. She stood looking down at the sick horse for a moment before squattng down beside him, the inevitable tears already falling. Steve squeezed her shoulder. 'Will you stay with her for a few minutes Bill? I just want to fetch some food' Bill nodded. 'I don't think he's suffering much love. The vet would have put him to sleep if he thought he was.' 'He didn't have much of a life before he came to us you know. He would have died when Gyp had him if Steve hadn't known what to do.'
 'You're lucky to have him working for you.'
'Yes- I know.'
Steve was soon back. They knew where they could wash their hands and Steve managed to persuade Dora to go outside and have some food.' I nearly bought you a cream cake but I didn't think you'd want it.'
Afterwards as they sat together on the stable floor Dora said 'Why have you been avoiding me Steve?'
'I thought you needed space so you could decide if you did the right thing letting me stay. You know I don't want to go but if it's really what you want---'
'It's not Steve- what I want is my best friend back. I've so missed riding down to the lake, sitting by the fire drinking hot chocolate at bedtime, laughing over breakfast.'
'Yeah- well I've missed it too. I've especially missed you bringing my morning tea.'
'So can we be friends again?'
'Sure.'
Over the next few hours they talked a lot. Dora said she wished that Marty could have died at Follyfoot where the others could have popped in and out. Steve asked if that was why she'd wanted him with her and she said it was. When the sun went down it turned cool and they sat close together sharing the blankets. 'Fancy some Fish and Chips? It'll warm us up and I can get Bill to fill the flasks up.' 'Okay.'
Bill said he fancied Fish and Chips too and invited them in to eat with him. Dora was reluctant to leave Marty but she was cold and hungry and so agreed but was soon back by the horse's side. 'We'll be warmer if I put my arm round you' said Steve and as she made no protest he did so. They dozed for a few hours,  but around midnight Steve woke with a start. Marty's breathing was now very laboured. He woke Dora and not long afterwards the horse gave a sigh and breathed his last. Dora began to sob. Over the last few weeks the tension over Steve had built up inside her and now because there was something to cry over,she let go.
Steve held her and she was amazed to feel his tears on her face. Steve had been close to Marty and had won Gyp over. Not so very long ago Dora had said 'I thought you loved, but you hate. Now, feeling ashamed, she looked into his face. 'You loved him too didn't you.'
 'Yeah. Come on let's go home. I'll do the necessary in the morning.'
Back at the farm they stood together under the lightning tree. Steve kissed her forehead lightly. She put her hand up to touch his face but let it fall immediately. When he would have left her she said she didn't want to be alone so they retrieved the key , went indoors and into the office where the fire was burning low. Worn out with crying Dora fell asleep with her head on Steve's shoulder and for the first time in weeks Steve felt at peace.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 11:29:26 PM »
The next day both Dora and Steve were subdued at breakfast. Afterwards he made arrangements for Marty to be taken away. When he went outside to groom Alex Dora was in with her beloved Copper talking to him sbout how their friend Marty had died.
Steve didn't intrude but got on with his chores. He heard Ron arrive- late again and saw Slugger come out and talk to him and guessed he was telling him the news. He moved on to the next shed, Ron came over. 'Where's Dora?'
'She's in with Copper- let's leave her alone for a while, help me groom the others Ron.'
Over lunch both ron and Slugger made attempts to lighten the gloomy atmosphere. Dora was having none of it. Leaving her food untouched she fled from the table. Slugger made to go after her but Steve said 'Leave it Slugs- I'll go.'
'I dunno Slugs' said Ron. 'Any excuse to leave their grub! Perhaps I ought to go too!' Slugger gave him a withering look. Ron looked out of the window. 'Oi Oi- looks like golden boy's back in favour' he said pointing to where Dora and Steve stood under the lightning tree his arm draped lightly round her.' Shut it Ron!' said Slugger.
When Dora had calmed down Steve suggested that they take Copper and Alex out for a ride something they hadn't done for weeks.
Dora nodded. Once clear of the farm she let Copper have his head and Steve and Alex were left trailing in their wake. Finally Dora halted Copper and waited. 'Goodness girl- you got a wriggle on' Steve panted. 'Did you enjoy that?'
'Yes we did, didn't we boy?' Copper did his head nodding trick and they both laughed. 'It's good to be able to share things again-happiness as well as sadness.' said Steve. 'I dunno about you but that gallop has left me starving and I don't fancy Slugger's leftovers. Fancy a doughnut?' 'Yes with fresh cream and jam- let's go see Mr. Plum!'
After they had eaten Steve said 'er how do you fancy the pictures tomorrow? There's a film on at Tockwith empire set around  'The Grand National'  Taken by surprise Dora hesitated. 'It's ok if you don't want to.'
'I'd love to- we can go dutch if you like.'
'Tell you what- I'll pay for the film and you can pay for food afterwards.'
'Hot dog with onions and fries from the van outside!' she laughed and Steve said 'You're on!'
The next day they skipped the evening meal and went to the early evening showing of the film.There was a short comedy on first which they really enjoyed. The main feature did not have a strong plot but Dora was thrilled by the beautiful horses. At one point a horse fell at Beechers Brook and lay stunned. A vet examined it and shook his head. Dora gasped. Steve gave her a hug 'It's only a film girl' he said. He left his arm round her for the rest of the film and they left the cinema hand in hand walking to purchase hot dogs and coffee which they took back to the landrover to eat. Afterwards they wiped ketchup from each others faces. 'Tonight has been fun, Steve'
'Yeah- how about we go bowling next week?'
They got into the habit of going out on Saturday nights. Away from the farm they relaxed in each others company and when they got back they sat companionably by the fire drinking hot chocolate from their brown mugs and dunking marshmallows. It was cosy and warm and Steve found it hard to return to his loft. He would give her a chaste goodnight kiss on the forehead before he left but nothing more. There was a horse owners association ball coming up shortly- Dora always attended with her uncle and this year asked Steve to go too. 'Heavens no girl! Not amongst all those toffs. I don't have a decent suit and I can't even afford to hire one.' Dora was disappointed but said she understood. When the evening arrived and she was ready to go Steve gave a low whistle. 'You look a real picture, girl' said Slugger. Steve said one word- 'Beautiful!'
He disappeared into the study and came back with a white corsage which he handed to her.' Steve- thank you- it's lovely. Pin it on for me.' He did so and they smiled at each other. The colonel arrived in a taxi nd spirited her away. Steve looked morose- supposing some young, rich, handsome young man was there and stole her heart. He had been playing dominoes with Slugger and as he made an impatient movement with his arm they were knocked to the floor. 'Ere watch wot yer doing son' said Slugger.
'Sorry Slugs- I'm not in the mood!'
It'll be okay Steve- you'll see.' Slugger had caught the look on Steve's face as dora walked out of the door. When she came back she was surprised to see him asleep in the chair, his book open on the floor beside him. She shook him gently.
What are you still doing up?'
'Er- I just wanted to see that you got back safely. Meet anyone interesting?'
'No not really.'
'Was Lord Beck there?'
'Yes- with his girlfriend- Lady Florinda Huntley. I was introduced to her. Fraightfully boring- what? as his lordship would say.'
'Did you dance?'
'No Steve. See my corsage isn't even crushed.' she unpinned it and fetched a jam jar to put it in. 'I spent most of the evening talking to uncle and his friends. Be a pet and make me a hot chocolate, I'm just going to get out of this dress.' When she came back downstairs in her fleecy dressing gown Steve pointed to her drink. 'I'd best be off.Goodnight.' he said pecking her cheek.
'But aren't you having one?' Steve had reached the door. He turned round. 'No thanks. I had one earlier.' This was a lie. What Steve really wanted to do was give her a proper kiss but instead he hurried away to his loft. Dora watched from the window until his light came on then sighed and took her drink upstairs with her wondering if they would ever share a proper kiss.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 11:01:33 PM »
The next day the colonel arrived and Dora said she wanted to talk about Steve's birthday which was only a few weeks away.She wanted to make it special for him and had been thinking about what he'd said about not having a decent suit. She knew that charity shops often had good quality clothes at very reasonable prices and decided to try those. Her uncle said he intended to buy Steve a secondhand car so he didn't have to borrow the farm vehicles or the sports car. 'Not that I mind of course- but it will give him some independence. Ron will have to drive me round and between you you'll need to get all the information for the insurance.
Steve wondered why the colonel asked Ron to drive him into town rather than Steve himself and why Dora and her uncle cloiseted themselves in the study and were vague about what they had talked about then Dora casually mentioned his birthday and what he was doing to celebrate. 'Well auntie has asked me over the day after for Sunday lunch and high tea- will you come too?'
'I'd love to meet her at last.' She had wanted to go to his gran's funeral with him a few months back but Steve knew he was going to get upset and didn't want her to see. 'Uncle's suggested we all go to 'The Wheatsheaf- they do a very reasonably priced menu and he said he'd pay. '
'I've never had any kind of celebration before- let's do it!' Everything was arranged. Dora was excited. She'd spent her entire month's clothes allowance from her parents on Steve and she had managed to pick up two suits, three shirts and matching ties and two sweatshirts from a charity shop in Harrogate. The owner told her that the man they'd come from had lost weight and got rid of a whole wardrobe. The shirts and ties had never been worn and were still in their packets and the items had only arrived the day before.
Steve was completely overwhelmed by his gifts. Slugger bought socks as he said he was darning the darns on Steve's old pairs.Steve had saved up and bought himselg a new pair of black shoes. There were gifts from Ron, Anna and Callie and Hazel too. Mrs Porter made a cake but from Kathy, Steve's mum there was not so much as a card and he hadn't expected anything different. When Dora saw him all dressed up she caught her breath. He looked so handsome. She ran up to her room and came back with a small box which she handed to him. 'I was saving these for Christmas but they'll finish off your outfit perfectly. Steve opened the box and found matching tie pin and cuff links with a horses head design. He fumbled trying to put them on having never owned any before. Dora put them on for him and he gave her hands a gentle squeeze when she'd finished. The colonel came in a taxi to pick Them up. Ron was already in the car, Dora sat in between him and Steve. During the evening the smile didn't leave Steve's face, he draped his arm lightly across Dora's shoulders. At the end of the evening he thanked everyone for making his day so special. When he said goodnight to Dora he brushed her lips softly with his. 'See you tomorrow-thanks to your uncle we can go in my very own car!'
The next day when they were about halfway to his aunt's Steve pulled over into a layby and stopped the car.
'What's wrong?' asked Dora.
'Nothing- I'd justlike to claim those kisses you put on my card yesterday-okay?' Dora nodded expecting to receive the normal light kisses he'd been giving her lately but aftr the first gentle brush he deepened the kiss and her lips parted of their own accord. Dora had never been kissed like that before and she didn't want these wonderful moments to end. When he drew away he looked at her with smiling eyes.'Dora- over these last few weeks we've got our special relationship back and moved on. Now I want to introduce you to my aunt as my girl- not just my friend and  boss.'
'Oh Steve- yes, I'd like that. I was so stupid all those weeks ago. I need you so much.'
'I wish I could afford to take you to posh restaurants now I can look smart but pub meals or eating in at the Chinese are about all I can manage.'
'I don't mind' He kissed her again lingeringly and held her close for a few minutes before driving off. The visit to Milly went well. She and Dora took to each other on sight. It was Steve's first visit since his grandmother's death but the little bungalow was as dear to him as ever. Milly gave him a card and apologised for not having bought a present. Steve told her that he had been thoroughtly spolied the day before and the lovely lunch and high tea she gave them was all he needed. He and Dora promised to visit again soon and take her out. On the way home they stopped again to share more tender kisses and both went to bed feeling that everything was right with their worlds. From then on they went out at least twice a week often for a drive to one of the nearby towns where they would park and walk round and having a drink in a coffee bar. They would delay returning home till slugger and Hazel were in bed so that their goodnight kisses would not be interrupted. The colonel thoroughly approved of their relationship. Steve was the kind of son he wished he'd had.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 10:55:14 PM »
In September there was a horse show at Marlingford, about 5o miles away. The colonel had some friends there and often stayed there and visited the event. They were allowed some free tickets as they often provided accommodation for the competitiors. The colonel thought that it would be a good idea for Steve and Dora to spend some time away from the farm so he arranged for them to stay with Marjorie and Tom Blake and have free tickets for the three day show. He would keep a close eye on Follyfoot and make sure Ron did not skive or sneak off early. The first event was at 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon so Doraand Steve would leave after the morning chores were done. The colonel's friends did not provide food for their guests so he gave Steve money to cover it. Dora and Steve were now finding it hard to part at night so he suggested they buy condoms so that they would not be caught out. He told Dora this did not mean he was taking her for granted and she agreed readily to the purchase. Marjorie Drake greeted them warmly and gave them their tickets.' The showground is only ten minutes walk away and there's plenty of catering outlets there if you need to eat before the first event. Now I'll show you where you'll be sleeping. I've had such a job fitting everyone in this year as the event has become so popular but I always leave room in case Geoffrey wants to stay. ' She led the way upstairs and opened the door. 'I'll leave you to settle in. You can't miss the showground, just follow the yellow signs. I don't expect I'll see much of you. Have a good Stay. ' 'Thanks' said Steve closing the door after her. 'Oh mate!' he said as he stared at the double bed in the middle of the room. 'I'd better go see if I can sleep in the stable.'
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 12:05:25 AM »
'Don't be daft, Steve. We can manage. We've spent the night together before.'
'Yeah- in a stable and on a sofa- not in a bed!'
'We can share a bed without- you know.'
'Dora- I'm only human!'
'Did you bring any protection?'
'Yes but-'
'It'll be okay Steve'
'I dunno Dora- let's just see how things go.'
They unpacked and made their way to the showground. There were several people they knew there and Steve found out that some of the grooms were sleeping with the horses. 'Don't even think about it!' said Dora. After the days events finished they fetched the car and drove to a pub in a nearby village which they had been told did good bar meals. They chose chicken and chips in a basket followed by apple pie and custard. Steve was very quiet. Dora took his hand in hers. 'What's wrong Steve. I thought you wanted us to take the next step- otherwise why buy the condoms in the first place?'
'I want our first time to be special- this seems to have been forced on us. It's certainly not that I don't want you sweetheart- you know I do.'
'Steve- we're away from the farm and the others- what better opportunity could we have. It willbe special because you're special to me and you make me feel special.'
'Okay- let's go back to Marjories and see how we feel. ' Before they got into the car she put her arms round his neck and kissed him tenderly. 'I do love you' he whispered softly. 'And I'm not just saying that because it's what you want to hear.'
Back in their room Steve helped her off with her coat and hung it behind the door, took off his own jacket and hung it there too. When he turned round Dora had removed her jumper and was stepping out of her jeans. Steve caught his breath at the sight of her standing in brief black lacey underwear. Swiftly he gathered her into his arms and hugged her to him. She made to remove his jumper but he stayed her hands capturing both between his. 'Are you sure this is what you want? You are so beautiful that I know I want to make love to you but I love you enough to hold back and sleep in the chair.'
'And I love you too much to let you Steve Ross.' she said reclaiming her hands so she could continue to undress him.
Steve, acutely aware that this was her first experience of loving was very gentle with her on that first night but she responded to him with a passion that surprised and delighted him. They gave and received pleasure in equal measure and on their last morning at Marlingford she begged him not to return to his loft as she had grown so used to waking up beside him. Steve assured her he had no intention of leaving her to sleep alone. He insisted that they tell the colonel before anyone else as his was the opinion that mattered most to them. On the way home they stopped off in Tockwith and bought a bolt for he bedroom door.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2010, 11:48:00 PM »
After work on Monday Steve drove Dora over to the colonel's to explain the situation He was feeling somewhat nervous but the colonel received their news with a twinkle in his eye. 'Perhaps I'm not as surprised by your news as you might think. You see I knew that Marjorie only had one room left and I thought the two of you needed a little nudge. ' Dora blushed prettily and Steve found his hand being firmly shaken by the colonel. 'I'm very pleased for you both- now let's hope this is the end of all the stupid bickering between you. No more sulking or not talking to each other. I hope you'll be up front with Slugger- any problem with anyone refer them to me!'
Now a couple of months had passed and Dora thought about her uncle's words. She and Steve still didn't agree about everything but now they talked things over usually towards the end of the day when the others were in bed and Dora was sitting on his lap in the armchair. Steve finally stirred and Dora finally  stroked the hair back from his face. He opened his eyes and smiled at her as she kissed him.
'Morning sweetheart- have you been awake long?'
'About half an hour'
'You should have woken me'
'You needed your sleep. You've been working too hard as usual.'
'Please boss lady- can I have a reward? She kissed him hungrily, the passion between them mounted and they made love. Their days nearly always began and ended the same way. 'I love you my beautiful boss lady.'
'And I love you too.'
'It's still early- shall I make us a cuppa.'
'Mmmnn that'd be lovely.'
Steve put his dressing gown on and went over to the window. 'It's been snowing again. I bet Ron won't make it in today!'
He was proved right. They told Slugger not to come out in the cold as his arthritis worsened in the cold damp weather. Mucking out and feeding the horses took them a long time as their hands and feet were really cold. They left Hazel to finish off and took Copper and Alex out for a ride returning quickly as a fresh snowstorm arrived. Over lunch Steve said to Slugger that they'd better go and fetch some supplies because there was a real danger of getting snowed in. Slugger said he was going nowhere but made a list of their needs. 'I'll come' said Dora.
'No love- stay in the warm- I'll manage by myself'
'Please Steve- I want to be with you.' She was already putting on her outdoor clothes .
'You look like Eskimo Nell' said Steve when they were ready to drive off. He kissed her nose which was about all of her face he could see. They went into Tockwith and when they had finished shopping Dora said 'Do you think we can risk going for a hot chocolate?'
'Well things haven't got any worse since we got here and it will warm us up!' said Steve ushering her into their favourite cafe.
As they sat drinking the owner, who knew them quite well went to speak to them.
'Did you know Brian Knights has had a fall and broken his leg? He slipped on the ice.'
'Oh no! 'said Dora. 'He lives alone- who'll look after the horses?' She looked appealingly at Steve.
'Well they won't send him home in this weather with no-one to look after him so something'll have to be sorted.' said Mr. Seaton.
Steve knew what Dora was thinking. 'Okay- we'll go and see to them and contact Brian tomorrow to see if he wants us to take them back to Follyfoot. Could you do us a favour Mr. Seaton and ring Slugger to let him know where we're going?'
'Aye lad and you can put your money away- chocolate's on me. Brian's a good friend but I can't help cos i'm scared of horses.'
Steve and Dora found four horses out in the field. They led them to the stables and attended to their needs, one horse wouldn't settle.'What's wrong fella?' asked Steve. The horse neighed and tossed it's head.
'Steve- Brian has five horses- one must still be out there.'
'Of course- the grey mare's not here. You stay here- no arguments- I'll go look for her. ' Dora stared out of the door and saw that Steve had fetched the torch from the landrover. Luckily it had not begun to freeze yet. Steve returned ten minutes later with the horse. 'There was a break in the fence- she'd strayed onto the verge.'
'Lucky you found her- she could have hurt herself or caused an accident.'
We'll have to sort her out quickly and get home- the roads will be really bad soon. I'll have to come and fix the fence tomorrow.'
Their journey back took three times as long as normal. Slugger was pacing the floor.' I was worried sick about yer. Sit down and eat yer stew afore it's ruined!' Steve and Dora exchanged amused glances. The stew was no better than normal but it warmed them up and Slugger was pleased to see clean plates for a change. Afterwards they curled up together on the armchair.
'I know it's still two weeks away but I reckon we're going to have a white Christmas' said Steve.

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 11:20:20 PM »
Next day Dora phoned the hospital and was allowed to speak to Brian and re-assure him that his horses would be taken care of at Follyfoot. Then she rang the colonel and said that Mrs. Porter should not go shopping because of the weather and that she and Steve would get anything they needed. Ron arrived unexpectedly early fter getting a lift from his father.
'Right Ron, 'said Steve 'we have to double up some of the horses as we've got to make room for Brian Knight's five.'
'Yer- I heard he was in hospital.'
'You help Dora and Hazel with them. I've got to mend a fence over at his place. I'll take the horse box and bring one back with me.You can fetch the others later while Dora and I do some shopping for the colonel.'
'Blimey- you're making me work hard today. I'm sorry I came now.'
'I suppose you thought you'd get paid for sitting indoors drinking tea and reading your comic- well tough mate- I can't do it all.'
Later after Steve returned from fence repairing Dora told Slugger not to prepare lunch for them as Mrs. Porter would probably feed them. Slugger produced yet another shopping list. Steve looked down at the items on it. 'I wsh I could make porridge'
'We could get some of the instant stuff.'
'Yeah- it'd give us a better start to the day than burnt bacon and eggs!'
Mrs. Porter had prepared homemade soup and they bought fresh crusty bread at the bakery.
' There's a steak and kidney pie you can take home for tea. I put in extra vegetables to make the meat stretch to two pies'
'Thanks Mrs. P- you're a gem!'
'Least I can do Steve when you've done all this shopping for me.'
They didn't tell Ron about the pie. Steve took him home mid-afternoon as the weather had turned icy cold again. He ferried him back and forth to work over the next few days as with 5 extra horses to see to they needed his help.There was a brief let up in the bad weather but a week before Christmas it came back with a vengeance.
Dora and Hazel both fancied a shopping expedition to Harrogate. Steve took them and went to spend some time with his aunt Milly arranging to meet them for a late pub lunch. He was ten minutes late arriving as the pub car park was full and he had a problem finding somewhere close. When he went in there was no sign of Dora and Hazel. He went to the bar and wondered about ordering a drink. The barmaid knew him slightly. 'You're Steve aren't you?'
'Yeah that's right- I was supposed to be meeting my girlfrien here but....'
'She was in here about 15 minutes ago- in a bit of a state she was, asked us to call an ambulance because as they were coming across the car park the girl with her slipped. She tried to save her but they both ended up on the ground. The ambulance took them both off to the general.'
Steve made for the door calling thanks as he went. He knew where the hospital was and drove there as quickly as he could. Dora was sitting in A and E . 'Oh Steve' she said 'I'm so glad you're here!'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 11:42:25 PM »
.Are you okay love- where's Hazel?'
'They've taken her to Xray. Steve- I fell on top of her! She's cut her face and could have a broken arm. I'm alright-just a bit shaken up.'
'Do you want a coffee or anything? There's a machine by the entrance.'
'I could do with a drink but from what I've heard chocolate's the only thing worth drinking out of those machines.'
I could do with something to eat too but we'd better see how Hazel is before we do anything about food.' As they sat drinking their chocolate Hazel was wheeled past them into a cubicle.A nurse came by a few minutes later and said that Hazel's cut needed a few stitches but she had not broken her arm but dislocated her shoulder. 'We'll have to keep her here for a while after we've treated her. It's lucky her tetanus shots were up to date.She's a bit shocked and gave her head quite a knock I suggest you go to the cafe across the road for something to eat. It'll be at least a couple of hours before we'll see about her being discharged. They did as she suggested. The food at the cafe was one up from a greasy spoon but still compared favourably with Slugger's offering. After they'd eaten they phoned to tell him the news then went for a breath of fresh air treading carefully where patches of ice lay. In the end it was almost six o'clock before they left Harrogate. Hazel had been given some sandwiches and they had a list of things to watch out for in case delayed concussion occurred.
'Well- that's two accidents caused by bad weather- there's sure to be a third' said Dora.
'You're impossible girl!' laughed Steve.
A couple of days later they had one of those days when little things got blown up out of all proportion and they got on each others nerves because the extreme cold meant they were indoors more than usual.Ron's father picked him up quite early in the afternoon when there was quite a lot of work that had to be done for the horses. 'That's just typical of Ron' growled Steve. Hazel is not allowed to do anything much at the moment and he slopes off at the earliest opportunity.'
'Well- he needs to get home safely- and it's saved you having to drive him later.'
'I'm perfectly willing to go but it really would be better if he stayed here.'
'You've been really tough on him today Steve- cracked the whip whenever he paused for breath.'
'Yeah because I had a feeling he'd manage to wangle it so he could leave early. You're too soft with him- it's not fair on either of us if he doesn't pull his weight when he is here.'
'Steve- he's our friend!'
'Damn good job for him. Now- i'll have to get a move on and do his chores as well as mine before the frost gets any worse.'
'I'll help.'
'No you won't. It's much too cold-go indoors.' When he went indoors hoping for a hot bath to warm him he found that dora had beaten him to it and emerged from the bathroom with her hair wrapped in a towel. 'I hope you haven't used all the hot water.'
Dora looked sheepish.' Sorry- I didn't think you'd be in yet.'
'Shall I go back outside for a while and freeze on the inside as well as outside?'
'Don't be silly-of course not. Have a cup of tea, I'm going to dry my hair.' Slugger was busy peeling potatoes so Steve had to make the tea. Hazel had one too and managed to spill it over the local weekly paper which Steve hadn't read yet.
'Oh for heaven's sake be more careful' he said doing his best to mop it up.
'I'm sorry.' said Hazel.
'Yeah- everyone's said that a lot today.' He flung the cloth in the direction of the sink but it missed and landed on the draining board where clean crockery was waiting to be put away. 'Blast it!' he said. Hazel fled upstairs and he heard her talking to Dora on the landing as he made sure everything was clean again.Dora came down in a huff.
'Did you have to upset Hazel? You know the accident left her shaken up. She couldn't help wetting your precious 'Examiner'
Steve let out a deep sigh, clenched his fist tight but said nothing.
Supper was burnt sausages,sloppy mash, watery cabbage and lumpy gravy. The atmosphere was very strained and no-one spoke. Slugger shook his head and tutted looking from the pale wan face of Hazel to the angry looking Dora and somewhat pensive Steve. Afterwards Dora felt desperate for different company and decided to go and visit her uncle. Steve, now regretting his treatment of Hazel was putting up some shelves in her bedroom which he'd been promising to do for weeks. He said if Dora waited half an hour he'd take her. Slugger once again refused to go out in the freezing cold.
Her parents had sent money for her to buy her own car when she unexpectedly passed her test the first time. She had not found lessons easy. Ron reckoned she must have bribed the examiner while Steve said it was the swet smile which always won him over that had done the trick. Now she picked up her coat and car keys and said 'It's okay, I don't need either of you. I'll drive myself!! She stormed out of the house, got into the car and drove off. Slugger was worried and called up to Steve who had heard the engine and weas on his way down. They both knew that when Dora got mad so did her driving.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 11:45:51 PM »
He pulled on his leather jacket, ran to the landrover, jumped in and set off after Dora. The colonel's cottage was only a few miles away but the road became treacherous in bad weather dora was driving too fast for the conditions and her small car was not the best vehicle to be travelling in. An animal ran out in front of her and in trying to avoid it she ran off the road narrowly missing a tree but ending up in a hedge instead. She was really shaken up- if she'd hit the tree....Steve arrived only moments later and had her into the landrover with a blanket tucked round her as quick as a flash. He switched off her engine then got into the back of the landrover with her. She was sobbing and trembling like a leaf. Steve was beside himself and feeling guilty that he had not driven her to her uncle's when she asked. He took her in his strong arms and cuddled her close whispering re-assuring words until she calmed down sufficiently for him to climb into the front seat and drive back to the farm.
Slugger opened the door as soon as he heard the vehicle draw up. Steve helped her out, swung her up in his arms, carried her indoors and deposited her, complete with blanket on the sofa in the study where Slugger had built up the fire. Relief washed over him. 'Make her a cup of strong sweet tea Slugs- I'll go tow the car in before anyone sees it. He caressed Dora's tear stained face.
'I'll be back soon, girl.' he promised. She caught his hand.
'Take care, Steve.' All the time he was gone she sat staring into t
he fire. Slugger handed her the tea and she knew he was speaking to her but did not hear what he said. She kept seeing the tree looming ahead of her and feeling the impact as she hit the hedge. When Steve got back he had tea too but refused the brandy Slugger offered him as did Dora. He went and sat down beside her and she rested her head on his shoulder. 'Please Steve- I don't want to talk about it yet.'
'Okay- but when you're ready it will help. Did you hurt yourself at all?'
'No- just my pride! Why did I open my big mouth about accidents coming in threes!'
'Oh Dora- it was just a co-incidence, that's all.'
'Do you want some good news?'
'Yes- what is it?'
'Because of the bad weather Mrs. Porter is not going away to her daughter's for Christmas- so uncle's invited us all over for lunch.'
'That'll be good. give Slugger and our digestive systems a rest. My mouth's watering already! Do you want to go over and see them tomorrow?'
'No- I think I'll leave it for a couple of days- and I don't want to tell uncle about the accident yet.'
'Okay'
Later in bed they talked about how the day had been and finally Dora spoke about the accident and how silly she had been.
'What was it you were trying to avoid?' asked Steve.
'It was quite big- I think it may have been a deer.'
'Well you could have done more damage if you'd hit it and you'd have been just as upset, probably more. I'll have a good look at the car in the morning.'
'I don't think I want to drive again for a while.'
'We'll see.'
'Oh Steve- i'm not going to be able to sleep tonight I'm sure.'
'Let's see if we can do something about that' he said and began to kiss her tenderly. She woke several times during the night and every time Steve soothed her back to sleep with his lovemaking. In the morning they apologised to each other for the unkind things of the day before. 'I love you so much ,Steve.' she said 'And I love you more every day.'
'Even when I get in a bad mood?'
'Yeah- even then.' The tears began to fall again. 'Hey come on- none of that. Everythings okay. Let me show you again how much I love you.' Afterwards they drifted back to sleep. The alarm woke Steve but Dora slept on. He got up, dressed and went downstairs. The snow was several inches deep. Slugger was already up. 'How is she this morning?'
'She'll be okay. I'm going to make a start there's no way Ron'll get here today unless I pick him up.'
Dora was quiet over breakfast. After they had finished attending to the horses Steve looked at her car and shook his head. 'Can't do anything with that until the weather clears up.'
'My poor little car' she said and began to cry.
'S** the bl**** car- I could have lost you. What would I do without my beautiful boss lady?' he said cuddling her close and kissing her. 'I've got to take Hazel to have her stitches out today- I think you'd better come to get you used to being in a car again.Let's go get some tea first, it's freezing out here. It's definitely going to be a 'White Christmas.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2010, 11:51:31 PM »
Steve's prediction came true. As they settled the horses on 23rd December snow began falling again, They ran inside to escape the blizzard which continued for most of the evening and left behind several inches of snow. Dora spemt ages just watching it fall and resisted any attempts to draw the curtain and shut it out. A real Christmas tree stood in the corner waiting to be decorated. Steve busied himself testing the lights and putting them on, then he fixed a string up and hung the Christmas cards from it. Dora reluctantly tore herself away from the window and helped Steve decorate the tree. 'There- all ready for the presents to go under.'
she said. As they drank their bedtime chocolate her eyelids began to droop and the mug almost slipped out of her hand.'Come on sleepyhead-time for bed.' Smiling she took his hand and they went upstairs. It was past eleven o'clock and they were on the verge of sleep when there was a frantic knocking on the door. 'What the blazes?' said Steve hastily putting on his dressing gown and going to the window opening it slightly and letting in the cold night air. A man's voice called 'Can you help me please? My car's broken down about half a mile away. My girlfriend is pregnant and getting pains. I need to get her somewhere warm.' 'I'll be down in a few minutes' said Steve shutting the window and pulling on his clothes. Slugger, who had heard the banging beat him downstairs and opened the door to a young man who had the look of a gypsy. Steve wasted no time on pleasantries but grabbed his coat and keys and hurried out to the landrover followed by their visitor. Dora, now fully dressed again came dowstairs and put the kettle on while Slugger made up the fire in the study. Steve followed the younger man's directions. 'Thanks Steve. We were on our way to rejoin tina's parents for Christmas- we've been with my folks for the last few days. Tina said you would help.'
'Tina! I wondered how you knew my name! You must be Pedro.'
'No-my name's Patrick. I met up with Tina's group at a gypsy gathering about a year ago. We got on really well so I stayed with them and we've been together for most of that time.' They had arrived at the stricken car and together got Tina into the landrover and back to the farm. 'Tina!' cried Dora going forward to give the younger girl a hug as a contraction overtook her and she gasped. They settled her on the study couch and Dora rubbed her hands to help to get her warm. Slugger hovered with a cup of tea. Tina took it and sipped gratefully then as another contraction came on put the cup down and gripped Dora's hand. 'Blimey'
said Slugger. 'Best call an ambulance quick- that was only just about five minutes since the last one. I just hope the ambulance can make it through the snow- we aint got nuffink for a baby here.' Steve was already on the phone snapping out details prompted by Patrick who then went to hold Tina's hand. It seemed like an eternity before they heard the wail of the ambulance siren and emergency staff rushed in shooing everyone out so they could assess the patient. They decided not to try and move tina in case the baby was born on the way but quickly made ready for it's delivery. Pat and Dora were allowed back into the room, Slugger and Steve paced about and drank tea. 'She's hardly more than a kid herself.' said Steve.
'Romany ways are different to ours Steve. She'll be okay.' Not long afterwards they heard a lusty wail and Dora came out to say that baby Joseph and Tina were both fine. Slugger made more tea then as dawn began to break on Christmas Eve the crew prepared to take the young family to hospital. Dora got to hold Joseph for a few moments. Steve looked on wondering whether they too would be parents one day. A small smile crept over his face as she handed the baby back. Afterwards he helped Slugger wash up and Dora went back upstairs. Slugger had seen the look on Steve's face. 'Don't you go getting any ideas in yer 'ead son. We got enough to do wiv the 'orses. Don't need no younguns round 'ere. '
'No- well not for a while yet anyway.' said Steve.
He went to pick Ron up next day and together they tinkered with Patrick's car and managed to get it started and back to the farm. Wouldn't trust it to get very far under it's own steam' said ron and Steve agreed. Later on after receiving a phone call from Patrick Steve and Ron hitched up a tow rope from the landrover to the car. Dora, Ron and Steve got in and they took Ron home then followed Patrick's directions to the gypsy camp around 30 miles away. Everyone was relieved that Tina and Pat were safe and overjoyed that Joseph had been born. Later in the hospital foyer there were hugs and kisses a plenty. The proud grandparents had gone to pick up their family and Steve and Dora hads gone to see them off. 'We'll be having a wedding and a naming ceremony soon' said Tina's father. We'll make sure we're near enough for all our friends here to be able to come.'
Back home Steve said 'That was a fitting start to Christmas. 'Mmmn' said Dora thoughtfully. She didn't tell Steve what Tina's gran had said as she looked into the tealeaves when they were given tea by the gypsies. 'This time next year- you'll have a babe of your own.' She knew Steve would dismiss it as an old woman's tale but Dora wasn't so sure.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2010, 11:55:55 PM »
Steve was awake really early on Christmas morning. He left Dora sleeping soundly and crept downstairs in his dressing gown. As always Slugger had beaten him to it. 'Morning Slugs- Happy Christmas!'
'Blimey wot you doing up at the crack?'
'I'm making breakfast for Dora and me- I'll do some for you too if you want. No bacon and eggs for us today-it'll spoil our appetite for lunch. Mrs Porter told me she's making pigs in blankets to go with the turkey.'
'Oh yeah- wos them then?'
'Strips of bacon wrapped round sausages and baked in the oven'
'Wot you havin' then?'
Muesli, toast, honey, orange juice and our usual tea and coffee- want some?'
'Nah. I still want me fry up. Hazel'll probably just have her usual toast and marmalade.'
Steve took the finished tray, decorated with a sprig of mistletoe upstairs and put it on the table which slid over the bed. He kissed Dora awake. 'Merry Christmas love.'
'Heaven's you're an early bird. '
'I thought we'd have our breakfast before the horses today. Fuel us up against the cold and give us more time to work up an appetite.' Dora spread honey on some toast and tasyed it.
'Yum- that's delicious. Where did it come from?'
'Slugger's riding class. We did well on Saturday- honey, butter, eggs, cheese, jars of pickled onions and red cabbage, an apple pie and a fresh plucked chicken.'
'Good thing we got them those Follyfoot Tee shirts then.'
'Yeah- they loved 'em. You look good in yours too!' After they'd finished their breakfast Dora looked at the clock.
'Gosh Steve it's still early.'
'I know' he said pushing the table away and taking off his dressing gown. Smiling down at her he reached out and took off the cardigan she'd put on when she'd sat up. 'You're my best Christmas present ever- and I don't need you gift wrapped'
'I think you said on the day after your birthday that I was your best birthday present.'
'And so you were. and you'll be my Valentine and Easter Bunny- you're so beautiful.'
Half an hour later they were awakened from the doze they'd fallen into by the shrill tone of the alarm clock.Dora turned it off.
'Shurrup' she said sleepily snuggling back into Steve's arms 'Boss lady's having a Christmas lie in with her man.'
'Naughty boss lady- chores still have to be done Christmas or not.'He said tapping her bottom lightly and getting out of bed.
'Oh bother!' she said looking at his naked form as he reached for his clothes. They dressed hurriedly and were soon outside greeting their four footed friends. Hazel had recoverd sufficiently to help with feeding and Slugger helped with mucking out and despite the cold they worked hard to finish their chores. Steve stroked Alex's nose. 'No ride today fella- sorry. Maybe tomorrow eh?' He felt something cold on the back of his neck and turned to see a giggling Dora aim another snowball at him which landed harmlessly on his jacket, 'Right!' he said picking up a handful of snow himself and approaching Dora with it. She squealed and turned to run to the farmhouse. Her feet slipped and she landed awkwardly in the snow. Steve discarded the snowball and went to help her up. 'You okay love?'
'Yes I think so' she said but winced a little when she put her weight on her left ankle. Steve helped her indoors, sat her down and removed her boots and socks. He examined her ankle and gave it a massage. 'Here put it on the stool for a bit. I'll go get you some dry socks.' As she put them on she recalled Steve sitting with his foot on the same stool when he'd been caught in the trap. 'I don't think I've done anything much to it.'
'Good- we've had quite enough accidents lately!' Slugger made tea and Hazel handed round the shortbread then distributed the presents from under the tree. She was thrilled with her new riding hat. She'd bought Dora a book on horse ailments and a pen for Slugger and Steve. Slugger received a new pullover from Dora and Steve and gave everyone new woollen mittens he'd made.
From dora Steve received a new electric razor and he presented her with a beautiful soft lacey see through bedjacket to replace the old cardigan she currently wore. Later they drove to the colonel's where ron, resplendant in a new purple shirt was already enjoying a beer. Lunch was delicious but over the meal Ron, unaware that the colonel didn't yet know about it brought up the subject of Dora's accident. 'Why the devil didn't you tell me?' he exclaimed. Leaving his pudding unfinished he rose from the table and went to his study. 'When you two have finished your meal and helped with the washing up I want to see you.'
'Dear,dear, dear' said Ron.'It's suddenly turned cold in here.'
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2010, 11:49:49 PM »
Mrs. Porter allowed them to help with clearing the table and washing up. They had bought her a plant and some chocolates and she was delighted. 'I don't get many presents at my age.' she said, The colonel had given them all envelopes telling them to open them when they got home but Hazel couldn't resist opening hers which contained £10. She was really excited and asked the others if they had money too. 'You mind yer business young Hazel' said Slugger and looking at Dora and Steve he said 'You two best get off and see the colonel. Reluctantly they went and had an uncomfortable few minutes. Dora he told that she should have known better than to drive off on her own when she had no experience of icy weather and Steve he told off for not taking better care of her. He really laid it on thick and they both felt like naughty schoolchildren. They apologised. 'I should think so too. Now you get that car thoroughly overhauled and repaired and send me the bill.'
'But Colonel- I'm sure Ron and-'
'That's enough Steve-you'll do as I say!'
'Yes colonel.'
'Right- well you'd best be off home now- it looks like it's going to snow again ' As they took their leave he added 'Drive carefully.'
When they'd left the room Colonel Maddocks sat back in his chair, closed his eyes and sighed. He'd spoiled the day for himself Dora and Steve when he'd really wanted everyone to enjoy being tofether. He hadn't thanked them properly for his new hat and muffler and the bottle of his favourite whisky. He resolved to phone Dora later and smooth things over. He poured himself a drink and settled back to rest.
Steve followed Ron home to make sure he arrived safely. 'No excuse for you to be late now' he said to Ron as they parted. His gift from him and Dora was a new alarm clock. Slugger laughed. 'See you bright and early on Monday'
'Yeah!'
Back at the farm Slugger went for a nap and Hazel went to watch a film in the study. Steve sat in the armchair in the living room reading the new paperback Ron had bought him while Dora sat at his feet leafing through her book. After a while Steve was aware that she had put down her book and was staring into the fire. Slipping down beside her he saw her face was wet with tears and instantly knew why.He dried her eyes then helped her to her feet and sat her down on his lap. It was very rare that Dora's uncle had harsh words for her and usually they were soon forgotten he knew that today's exchange had hurt her.
'Come on sweetheart- the colonel worries about you. He didn't mean to upset you. We should have told him about the accident earlier ourselves which would have been better than Ron blurting it out like that!'
'You didn't deserve the tongue lashing he gave you Steve. It was all my fault.'
'no- I should have taken you when you asked. Don't you worry- I've survived a lot worse tellings off than that! Look- I wasn't going to give you this till much later but it might help to cheer you up. I've got another present for you here.' He handed her a beautifully gift wrapped box. Inside was a beautiful gold charm bracelet with a spinning 'I love you charm' already attached and a heart with their names engraved on it.' Steve- it's lovely. It must have cost the earth.'
'Well- I've been saving up but I had to borrow a bit from the colonel. I've nearly finished paying him back.I wanted to get you something really special.'
'How are you managing to pay uncle back? You don't have much spare money from your wages.'
'I've stopped buying myself a new book every payday.'
'Oh Steve, no! You love your books.'
'Not as much as I love you. Anyway- I've joined the library so I get to read as many books as I used to for free.'
' I really wanted to speak to uncle about something today but it will have to wait now.' It was at that moment that the telephone rang

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