Author Topic: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)  (Read 8974 times)

Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2010, 11:14:37 PM »
Steve went to answer it and wasn't surprised to hear the colonel's voice. Hazel had finished watching television and turned it off while Dora spoke to her uncle. When she went back into the kitchen Steve and Hazel were putting on their outdoor clothes. 'We need to tuck the horses up for the night and it's turned really cold again. Make sure you wrap up warm and watch your step- no more accidents!' When they got back indoors Slugger had put the kettle on and got out the Christmas cake that Mrs. Porter had made for them but it remained uncut because everyone was still too full up from lunch. 'I think I'll go back to bad. It's nice and warm there.' said Slugger. Dora and Steve exchanged glances. 'Sounds good to me' said Steve. 'He locked the door and Hazel was left downstairs to watch 'Top of the Pops'. Upstairs Dora and Steve finally opened the envelopes that the colonel had given them. They each received £100 cash. ' Your uncle is so good to us Dora.' 'Yes he is. He was rteally apologetic on the phone and said he hoped that our day had not been spoiled. Steve showed her the note he'd received with the money which told him he was not to use it to pay the remainder of the money he'd borrowed for the bracelet but was to carry on with the previous arrangement- he only had 6 weeks to go.' I really ought to open a bank account.' he said putting his money safely away. Dora took off her bracelet and looked at it admiringly. 'It's so lovely, Steve. Thank you darling.' When they were in bed she said 'You know I wanted to speak to uncle about something - actually it's why I wanted to go and see him the night of the accident.It's because I wanted to give you a special present too but I had to ask uncle first. He's given me permission- I want to officially make you my partner in Follyfoot.'
'Dora, love, are you sure that's what you want?'
'Yes I am. You've had some good ideas in the past and I've not been over enthusiastic even when I knew you were right. I suppose I liked being the boss but now our relationship's changed I want to consult you more- I want us to do things together.We've both said at different times we wanted that- hopefully now we both want it . '
'Yes- that is what I want too- we'll be boss lady and boss man!'
'Uncle has said that we will have to have Mr. Bricklebank draw up an agreement to safeguard my interests.'
'Of course- that's how it should be.'
'Oh Steve- I can't bear to think...' he silenced her with a kiss.
'Shhh- it's not going to happen. You're stuck with me!'
'We're stuck with each other.'
'Yeah. Now that your uncle has given us this money I'd like us to go away together for a long weekend- go late Friday afternoon and come back after breakfast on Monday.'
'Oh yes Steve Let's- I really enjoyed going to Marlingford. When can we go?'
'Valentine's day is on a Saturday-we could go then.'
'That's a good idea- we'd better book quickly.'
'I'll do that. I have an idea where to go- I'll surprise you!'
'This has been my best Christmas ever- except for rowing with uncle.'
'Mine too- and it's not over yet' he said drawing her into his embrace.
They woke around midnight feeling hungry. 'Fancy hot chocolate and Christmas cake?' asked Steve switching on the bedside lamp. She agreed and made to get up.' No you stay in the warm. I'll get it'
When he came back Dora sat up and put on her new bedjacket. He'd brought marshmallows as well as the cake and dunked one in the chocolate with a fork. He held it out to Dora to eat then licked the froth from her lips. After they had finished their midnight feast Steve got back into bed. 'Brrr- you're freezing' she said.'
'Well warm me up then.'
A few miles away Geoffrey Maddocks lay awake thinking. He was happy about Steve being made a partner in Follyfoot, happy that  things were okay again between him and his niece, happy that his affairs were mostly in order but there was one thing that only he and Bricklebank and one other person knew about which would take a bit of working out. He was not to know that the events of the next few weeks would bring things to a conclusion.

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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2010, 11:00:12 PM »
Boxing day brought with it a slight thaw which did not melt all the snow but made things improve enough to suggest going for a ride the next day. Steve thought it was a good idea and suggested they visit Derwent house to see how Agnes and Emily were getting along. The two sisters were delighted to see them and got out their uncut Christmas cake and shortbread to have with afternoon tea. 'How are Samson and Delilah'asked Dora. Agnes and Emily exchanged glances.
Emily said 'Well actually it's a good thing you came- you see our groom has said he really wants to retire as soon as wse can make other arrangements for the horses. We don't think we can afford anyone else and we really can't look after them ourselves so we were wondering if you would take them. We could pay you a little for their keep.'
'We're rather full at the moment' said Steve.
'We could manage when Brian's horses go back' suggested Dora.
'Yeah- another three weeks and he should be fit enough to take care of them. Can your groom manage till then?'
'I'm sure he can' said Emily. 'Perhaps you can come over and collect us to visit them sometimes.'
'Well- that's settled then' said Steve. 'We'll come and fetch them when we can.Now while I'm here I'll clear the snow from your path for you if you tell me where there's a shovel.'
'In Delilah's stable just inside the door.' said Agnes. Steve went outside and Agnes asked Dora how she and Steve were getting on. 'We're really happy' she replied. After he'd finished clearing the snow Steve went to see the horses and was not impressed by their condition. Picking up a brush he began working on Delilah's coat. The groom came in smelling of alcohol and Steve asked if he was okay. 'Pain in my joints- really gets me down. Drinking takes the edge off for a while. I have to get out of here before I seize up completely. Steve told him that the horses were going to Follyfoot in three weeks but the groom said he had already told the sisters he was leaving at the end of the month. Steve told him to go ahead with his plans, something would be worked out. He went to the door of the house and called Dora saying that he needed to speak to her. In the stables he told her about the conversation he'd just had and said he thought someone  should start coming over twice a day in the new year. Dora agreed and together they groomed the two horses. 'I'll come over with some fresh bedding tomorrow and give you a hand' Steve told the groom who raised his gin bottle in salute. 'On the way home Dora said 'Oh Steve- more work!'
'Yeah but it'll be easier now Hazel's on the mend. ron'll have to take his turn at Derwent House though.'
The next day Dora and Steve drove over in the landrover with supplies. Calling in at the house they found the sisters in tears.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2010, 11:35:05 PM »
'Hey- what's wrong?' said Steve putting his arm round Agnes while Dora comforted Emily.
'He's gone- the groom's gone.' said Agnes. 'Fed the horses this morning then said he was off. He knew Steve was coming today-said let him see to the horses from now on. I'm so sorry. We didn't mean this to happen.'
'It's okay- we'll manage.' said Dora and they went outside to see to the horses.
' Trust me to make things worse' said Steve.
'It's not your fault!'
'We'll just have to make the best of it.As they worked Dora said
'Do you remember that day when we brought Delilah back here?'
'Yeah- it was the day I told you gaps are bridgeable but some take longer than others. We've bridged our gap now and so have Agnes and Emily.'
'I'm so glad you said Samson and Delilah can come to us when Brian's horses go back. The old Steve wouldn't have given in so easily.'
'The old Steve hadn't found his way in life. He was vulnerable and selfish and ----'
'You were never selfish-even then you always did more for me than any employer could expect.'
'Anyway- you know I've got a soft spot for Agnes and Emily.' he patted Samson. 'Gotta keep you and your lady happy haven't we mate?'
Once again they were treated to tea and cake and as they were getting ready to leave Steve said 'Now you're not to go and try to do anything in the stables. It's too cold for you out there. Someone will be over in the mornong.'
'Do you think you could get us some shopping tomorrow too? He used to see to that for us.'
No problem- we need groceries too.' said Dora.
'Try not to worry.' said Steve giving each of the old ladies a kiss on the cheek. Outside he said 'Race you back to Follyfoot' just as he had before.
Ron actually arrived on his bike fairly early next day, Steve was outside with the landrover. 'Dora and i are going over to Derwent house to look after Samson and Delilah. You help Hazel while we're gone, then on your way home tonight you can do the evening chores for Agnes and Emily. Their groom's left them in the lurch.We'll be bringing the horses here when Brian's have gone- meanwhile we're caring for them at the Derwents.'
'Blimey- I haven't had me bacon and eggs yt and you're on my case already!'
'Well hurry up! We had our breakfast ages ago.'
'You on an efficiency drive then Steve?'
'Wouldn't be much good with you as an employee.'
'You don't employ me- Dora does. Just because you're sharing a bed with her don't mean you can order me about. I was here before both of you-mate.' he said jabbing Steve in the chest. Dora had come out during the conversation and said
'Actually Ron Steve is going to be a partner in follyfoot as soon as the legalities can be sorted out.' Ron looked from one to the other and lit a cigarette coughing as usual as he took a puff.Slugger had heard the bike and came outside.
'Ron- if you want any breakfast put that fag out and get in here.'
Ron made a rude remark quietlt to himself then said aloud 'Too many bloomin chiefs and not enough injuns round 'ere these days!'
'If you don't like it son- you know what you can do!'
'Yeah- maybe I'll surprise you all one day and take meself off to pastures new.' He look down at the plate of conjealed food that Slugger set before him'' Go somewhere they don't try and poison yer wiv the food!' Ron's bad moodpersisted all day. Hazel tried in vain to snap him out of it as they worked side by side, Slugger gave him a big slice of Christmas cake with his morning tea and Dora brought hot sausage rolls in for lunch with cherry pie for dessert but Ron still scowled and grunted when spoken to. Steve knew Dora was upset so he sought Ron out before he left. 'Come on mate- snap out of it. No-one really wants you to leave you know.'
'Not even you?'
'Especially not me! You're my best mate and I'd miss you badly if you left. So would the others. I'll try not to be too bossy- and remember, I'll never ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself.' Ron grinned but kept his rather crude thoughts to himself.
'Now go work your boyish charm on two old ladies and two horses but before you do go say cheerio to Slugger and the girls.'
Ron laughed his first real laugh of the day. 'Right you are-boss!'

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2010, 11:58:23 PM »
The weather stayed cold until the end of the year.On New Years Eve it improved and the temperature rose above freezing. There was a New Years Eve party on at the village hall which had a licence for the night and a bar provided by 'The Wheatsheaf' Everyone from Follyfoot went- Callie and Anna too. The girls enjoyed dancing watched by some of the boys from the youth club they sometimes attended. Ron enjoyed flirting with all the unattached girls including Wendy who had come with her parents and wore a rather bored expression. When Dora went to the ladies Wendy sought out Steve.
'Hi- I see you and Dora are an item-finally.'
'Yes and I hear you've got a rich new boyfriend.Where is he tonight?'
'Oh he's history- I'm on the loose again.' As she said that Dora reappeared and Steve quickly put his arm round her.
'Hi Wendy- how's Tammy?'
'Fine- I'm looking for an indoor arena to train in. I've been having some lessons out at Sam Lockwood's place but he's selling up and moving away. Apparently Chip's coming back and he may open indoor facilities. How's your uncle doing? By all accounts that was a nasty attack he had a while back.'
'He has good and bad days. Steve suggested when this ends just after midnight we should call on him as first footers but he said he'd be in bed.'
'Well let's hope the new year will bring better health for him. I'd better go- we're leaving shortly to see the old year out with friends but I promised Mr. Plum's son a dance.'
Suddenly there was a disturbance in a corner of the hall. Some of the youth club boys were fighting and girls were eggng them on.Lisa Pilkington was crying and Callie was dragging a protesting Hazel away.Slugger. Steve. Ron and several others soon broke the fight up. Callie whispered something to Anna who shepherded Hazel over to Dora. 'This young madam's been putting ideas into the boy's heads and setting them against one another.'
'Hazel-what's the meaning of this?'
'It was just a bit of fun. I was just trying to liven things up a bit!'
'Lisa doesn't look like she's having fun' said Steve.
'She's a wimp. Daddy's little princess.' One of the boys pointed an accusing finger at Hazel.
'She started it! Properly got it in for Lisa she has.'
'I think we'd better leave' said Steve and Dora nodded. They said goodnight to Cakkie and Anna and propelled a sullen Hazel towards the door, She turned and stuck her tongue out at Callie. Slugger, who had been following saw and admonished her.
When they got home Hazel's mood changed and she looked crestfallen apologising for the way she had behaved, 'That wasn't like you Hazel- is anything wrong?' asked Dora. Hazel went over to the rubbish bin, pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to her. Steve looked over her shoulder. It was a letter from Mr. Donnelly saying he'd heard from her probation officer how well Hazel was doing at Follyfoot. He said his wife was seriously ill and asked Hazel if she would visit as he now missed his 'little princess.' It's an Olive branch' said Dora. 'You ought to go.'
'Well I wont!!' Hazel stamped her foot, snatched the letter back and tore it into little pieces.
'Well if you don't want to go we can't force you but it might be a good idea to write back.'said Dora.' Please don't let this make you go back to behaving badly again. I can certainly see why you picked on Lisa but you're going to have to apologise to her.''Turn over a new leaf for a new year' said Slugger. 'I'm going to bed' said Hazel.
It was 11.30pm. At midnight Dora, Steve and Slugger shared a new year toast and a group hug. Steve kissed Dora under the wilting mistletoe in the hall. As they stood ogether they little realised the changes the new year would bring.



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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2011, 11:57:03 PM »
Now that the new year had begun and the weather had improved there was a lot of catching up to be done.Steve and Dora worked particularly hard taking as many of the horses out for rides as possible and working up healthy appetites which demanded more than Slugger's offerings. Often they opted for fish and chips or bar meals. Slugger was often left just catering for himself as Hazel had begun making an omelette or a toasted sandwich for her evening meal. Anna had given her a recipe book which she sat and looked at for hours. Then she offered to cook for Slugger and when Dora and Steve were at home they too sampled her efforts. Of course the appetising smells which wafted in his direction awakened Ron's interest and he too ate Hazel's meals. Dora asked if she would like to go to night school or even one day a week to learn catering and as she showed a great deal of enthusiasm they promised to see what could be arranged for her.
The colonel now visited the farm when Steve or Slugger fetched him and that was not often. He telephoned Mr. Bricklebank to sort out the partnership agreement between Dora and Steve and also asked him to call to discuss his own affairs. He told Steve that when he and Dora went away for the weekend they were to take the sportscar. They were both looking forward to their outing and Dora had several sessions sorting through clothes she had brought from home but never worn and trying them on. Steve would lie on the bed looking at her. ' You do realise it's not a five star hotel we're going to' he said as she removed yet another dress and put on the reject pile. 'I know- but I want to look nice for you.'
'You don't need posh clothes to do that- anyway there's three weeks to go yet.'
'Well every time I try on an outfit and you're in the room we end up on the bed when I take it off'
'That's right- we do' said Steve pulling her down beside him.'
The next day they collected Samson and Delilah as Brian's horses had gone back home. They promised Agnes and Emily they would take great care of the horses and would keep them up to date with their progress. Later as they rode on Copper and alex they heard a cry for help. 'It's coming from Mrs. Oldcastle's property.' said Steve and they rode towards the sound. She was lying in the field nearest to Follyfoot. 'Help me please. I slipped in the mud and fell awkwardly. I can't seem to move.' Steve took his jacket off and laid it carefully over her. 'Go back to the farm Dora, ring the ambulance and bring some blankets. She set off at once and Steve squatted down beside the old lady. 'I know you're uncomfortable but if I try and move you it might make things worse.' What are you doing out here in the cold anyway?'
'I had to feed Jasper.'
'Haven't you got any family who could do it for you?'
'No- they emigrated after my husband died. There was a bit of a family row and we don't correspond much. They've all got their lives to lead- can't be doing with an old woman.
'Have you been doing this all winter in the snow and ice?'
'Well yes of course- there's no-one else.'
'You should have asked us. It's a wonder you haven't fallen before now.'
'I was going to ask if you'd take Jasper- but he's my last link with my husband and I've been putting it off.'
She winced with pain and her face turned white. Steve took her hands in his and was relieved when Dora came galloping up with the blankets. Gently they eased one underneath her and folded a second to make a pillow. They doubled over the third and tucked it round her after Steve had reclaimed his jacket. 'I would have brought something to drink but ambulance control said not to give her anything.They're sending an ambulance straight away but it will only be able to go as far as the bungalow.'
'Is it locked up Mrs Oldcastle' asked Steve.
'Yes- I've got the key in my pocket'
'Well if you can get to it okay I think Dora should go there and pack you a bag in case you have to stay in overnight. She can tell them where you are too.' The old lady managed to get her key and Dora rode off once more. Steve kept talking to Mrs Oldcastle worried that she was suffering from shock- he also feared he knew what was wrong with her. It seemed lke hours until he heard the ambulance approaching the bungalow. 'Wont be long now and you'll be in the warm being looked after' he said but the old lady had lapsed into unconsciousness.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2011, 11:30:52 PM »
Dora had just locked the bungalow when the ambulance turned up and handed Mrs. Oldcastle's bag to the attendant. She had told Dora where to find her clean nightclothes , handbag,and her tablets. 'You won't get the ambulance any nearer than this' said Dora' 'Follow me'She and Copper walked slowly so the two men could keep up. The old lady stirred as the ambulancemen checked her over as best they could.'It's a good thing you didn't try to move her. She'll probably need an xray.'
We'll go fetch the landrover and meet you at the hospital' said Steve giving the old hand a final squeeze.'Thankyou' she said weakly as she was borne away on the stretcher.'I'll hang on to your key for now' called Dora. She retrieved their blankets and took them back to the farm. Steve fetched Jasper who was now shivering. He mounted Alex and led the older horse. 'Give this old boy a good rub down and some food' he told Ron. 'And he'd best have a blanket
When they arrived in A and E at the hospital they were told that Mrs. Oldcastle was in the Xray department so they sat down to wait. As she was wheeled past them into a cubicle they stood up to let her know they were there. A good while later a nurse came to find them. 'I'm afraid Mrs. Oldcastle has a broken hip. She'll be going up to the ward soon. You can have a few minutes with her if you like. She's not too uncomfortable as we've sedated her.. She led them to a cubicle where the old lady lay looking clean and tidy in a hospital nightdress and covered with a blanket.Her hanbag was on the locker beside her. 'Shall I put your key in your bag?' asked Dora. 'Could you keep it- have an eye to my place and feed the cats? The milk and papers will need to be cancelled for a while- they come from the Co-op'
'Would you like us to let your family know?'
'No- they won't want to be bothered to come to England to see a silly old fool who's broken her hip. They know there's nothing for them in my will. I made that clear when they left.'
'We'll come and see you won't we Steve?'
'Of course- we'll ring first to make sur you can have visitors.'
'Steve dear- i hope you don't mind but I've put you down as my next of kin- said you were a nephew. So now you had better call me auntie Jane.' Steve was a little bemused but he said 'Yeah- okay. The nurse came back then. 'i'm afraid you'll have to leae now. They're ready for Mrs. Oldcastle on Orchid Ward- Orthopaedics.'
Steve bent to kiss the wrinkled cheek. 'Bye Auntie Jane'
'Bye love- take care. I'll see you soon.'
'Well' said dora. you seem to have gained another auntie!
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2011, 11:20:01 PM »
They telephoned Slugger to say that they wouldn't be home for lunch, did the cancellations for Jane and went to the bakery for two filled rolls and cream cakes which they washed down with cans of cola.'You've got cream all round your mouth' said Steve as Dora sat back with a satisfied smile on her face. She took out her hanky to deal with it but Steve got there first licking it from her lips and then kissing her. She snuggled against him. 'It's nice to have a bit of time to ourselves.'
'Yeah- and I wish we didn't have to work this afternoon but the jobs wont do themselves and Ron is sure to be skiving.'
'Okay- but drive slowly. I'm too full to do any work yet. '
'The sooner we start, the sooner we finish' he said disentangling himself from her embrace with a final kiss.
Later Steve phoned the hospital and was told that his aunt would be having surgery on her hip the next day so she would not be allowed any visitors.' We'd best go over to the bungalow after work to make sure everything's okay and feed the cats.'
A chorus of miaows greeted them as they entered the bungalow and they found the cat food easily as the animals were sniffing at the cupboard door. They checked the fridge and fruit bowl for inedible food. Steve said he'd go and shut the doors other than the kitchen and lounge to keep the cats out. Dora put items of dirty laundry including bedlinen in the modern washing machine and set it going. She then found clean linen  and nightwear in the airing cupboard and waited for Steve to help her re-make the bed ready for Jane's return. They were really surprised at the size of the bungalow. There was an en suite bathroom in Jane's room, three other bedrooms, second bathroom, kitchen, utility room, lounge, dining room, study and a beautiful library come music room with a large array of books and a grand piano. There was also a patio with pond and a large garden beyond. 'Look at these wonderful books' said Steve. All the classics were there Dickens, Hardy, Jane Austen, The Brontes, John Buchan, reference books, poetry and all of Shakespeare's plays in separate volumes. He shut the door reluctantly. Now replete, the cats stalked into the lounge and curled up on their beds. As they left Steve said 'I think I'm going to enjoy visiting auntie Jane when she comes home.'
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2011, 10:15:41 PM »
The next day when they visited Jane she was surprisingly cheerful and asked about Jasper and her cats. |They took fruit and Steve went to buy her squash and a magazine from the hospital shop.While he was gone Dora asked whether they should bring her in a book from the library.'Bless you dear- they all belonged to my late husband. I only read magazines and the newspaper.'
'Steve loves books- do you think he can borrow some?' When he came back Jane said Steve could borrow as many as he liked and keep those he really liked. 'But I couldn't' said Steve. 'Some of them could be valuable- your family would not be pleased to be denied their inheritance.'
'Stuff and nonsense-what do they care. You'd be doing your old auntie a favour. Speaking of which can you collect my pension if I sign my book?' Steve nodded and she took it from her handbag.
On the way out they met Dora's uncle on his way to visit Jane. 'I didn't know you knew Mrs Oldcastle well' said Dora.
'Oh yes- we go back a long way. She and her husband, Martha Carne and her husband and I used to have dinner quite often. In fact the two husbands were officers in the same regiment as I was. ' The colonel had arrived in a taxi and Steve arranged to pick him up in half an hour. After dropping him off Dora and Steve went to feed the cats and Steve chose several Sherlock Holmes books to read. 'This really is a gorgeous bungalow Steve.'
'Yeah- and rather big for auntie Jane all by herself. Perhaps if she needs a bit of help when she comes home we could move in for a while. It's only a few minutes walk through the woods to Follyfoot.'
'Well, we'll just have to see how things go.' said Dora. She loved the farmhouse but she and Steve did not have much privacy
whereas here....'Come on girl-time we were home.'
Back at his cottage Geoffrey thought about his visit to Jane and their conversation. She had asked him to contact Mr Bricklebank the solicitor to go and see her. He had telephoned as soon as he got home and had a few words about his own affairs. Then he sat at his desk and began writing letters.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2011, 11:28:27 PM »
Steve or Dora went to the bungalow each day to feed the cats and most evenings one or both of them would visit Jane. They found out that her family consisted of a son and daughter who had both emigrated to Australia with their families shortly after her husband died. He had lost quite a bit of money speculating on the stock exchange and had left considerable debts. In order to pay them Jane had sold her bungalow and land privately in a deal which allowed her to live in the property for the rest of her life. When all debts were paid she gave her two children a not inconsiderable sum each to help them start a new life but made it clear that as the household bills would eat into her remaining capital there was unlikely to be much left when she died. This had been partially responsible for the breakdown in relations between them. They had not wanted her to sell the bungalow but take out a loan against it - given what had happened to her husband she had refused. Sensibly she had pre-paid for her own funeral. She did not want to give up her house completely and move to a smaller place because the house held lasting memories of her third son, a brilliant musician and the owner ogf the piano they'd seen. He had died of leukaemia just before his 18th birthday and his photo still stood on his piano together with a family group taken when the children were all young.The stool still had some of his music in it. Then there was Jasper- the last living link with her husband who needed his field and stable. Her one big regret she told them was losing contact with the grandchildren who had all been too young to be involved in the family feud when they'd left and by now would probably have their own children. 'Perhaps when you get home we can make enquiries for you to see if they can be traced.' said Steve and Dora had nodded vigorously. 'There's no point. If I know Roger and Natalie and their spouses they will have poisoned their young minds. There's nothing much left in the bank-not enough to bring them back when I'm gone anyway.'
'Maybe not money but there's a house full of memories and photographs- lots of treasures we could help you to write about and send photographs too. ' Jane closed her eyes and an expression which was of pain- mental or physical- they didn't know which.
'Please Steve-leave it. You're both very kind, kinder than my own flesh and blood ever were. Just leave things as they are - it's much too painful. ' She turned away. Steve pressed her hand and bent over to kiss her. Then he and Dora walked away, Steve with his head bowed. He had experienced the pain of being rejected by his mother so was well placed to understand Jane's feelings. They sat in silence in the car for a few moments for Steve to control his mixed emotions. 'You did your best, Steve.'
'Yeah' he said punching the steering wheel before driving home. A few days later when they went to feed Jasper they found the old horse had died. 'Blazes!' said Steve brushing his hand across his mouth. 'How on earth am I going to tell Jane?' She actually seemed to take the news quite well saying that like her Jasper had had a good life but when the ward was quiet that night she wept for her old friend.
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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2011, 03:00:49 PM »
i am on holiday monday-friday next week. will post episode for Valentine's day when i get back.

Later that week a rather ancient looking motor home drove up to the gates and a young man got out.
Steve had just come into the yard and greeted him. 'Can we help you?'
'I'm looking for somewhere to park this up so I can travel up to Leeds university when I have lectures. I was hoping to find somewhere I can do part time work instead of paying pitch fee.'
'Do you know anything about horses?'
'Yes. My family have a farm in Norfolk. My sister used to be quite a good show jumper before she married and there are still horses on the farm. This old thing used to belong to the family. They haven't used it lately but we got it patched up enough to get me here. I've got a scooter in the back. I'm not intending to use this on the road. ' 'Well I'll need to consult the boss -Dora and the others but we could certainly do with some extra help around here.' It was time for morning tea break and everyone was gathered in the farmhouse when Steve entered with the young man. 'How about you introduce yourself' said Steve, 'then we can see if we can help you.'
'My name's Ben Mitchell. I'm 19 and did my A levels last year and have been accepted at Leeds University to study accountancy and law. I elected not to start studying until this September as I wanted to travel a bit. I arrived home a few weeks before Christmas and did temporary shop work until the end of January when the sales finished. I thought I'd try and fix myself up round here and get to know the area before all the new students arrive.' He then explained about the motor home and his experience with horses. All the time he was speaking Hazel did not take her eyes from him.
'How did you find us Ben?' asked  Dora. 'Well I stayed at a pub in Harrogate last night and got talking to one of the barmaids. She mentioned she vaguely knows some people who work at Follyfoot- a place where they rescue and care for horses.'
'That'd be the 'Rose and Crown' then ' said Steve remembering Hazel's accident before Christmas.
'Yes- that's right. She knew you were somewhere near Tockwith so I asked at the garage on the main road and one of the blokes knows the guy with the Tiger that's parked outside. '
'Yeah- that's me mate Thommo ' said Ron. Steve made eye contact with Dora and she gave a small nod. 'What do you say folks-shall we let Ben stay?' Everyone was in agreement. Dora said 'Well Ben- you can park up free and we can offer you your meals in exchange for helping us out when you can but I'm afraid we won't be able to pay you.'
'That's okay- I'll be getting a grant and my parents will send me pocket money as i need it. I'll work for you as much as I can during the day but i may need to find paid work in the evenings until term starts then all my time will be taken up with lectures, study and my work here.' 'Ron- show Ben where he can park out the back then as you have something in common perhaps you'd like to show him round. 'Sure- oh and Slugs me old mate- if there's not enough lunch to go round Ben can have my share.'
'Oh that's so nice of you Ron!' said Ben. Ron laughed. 'You aint tasted Slugger's nosh yet!' 'Giddoutofit!'
said Slugger hitting Ron with a tea towel. No-one noticed Hazel give a secret smile to herself as she went back to work.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2011, 11:33:05 PM »
When the time came for Dora and Steve's weekend away Jane was still in hospital so they made arrangements for Anna, who knew the old lady to keep an eye on the bungalow and feed the cats. They felt happier about leaving the horses now that Ben was around. He and the colonel had taken to each other on sight and Geoffrey was happy to give his approval for Ben to stay. Before handing Anna the key on Thursday Dora and Steve went over to the bungalow to re-stock the cat food cupboard and take a final look around. Dora picked up the photograph of Daniel. 'You know Steve, he looks a bit like you.'
'Well he had dark hair and brown eyes but his face is a different shape.'
'Mmm but it could be why Jane has taken a liking to you.'
'She's seen me before.'
Yeah but not close to and you've not spoken to her much and to name you as her next of kin seems a bit strange.'
'Dora- have you changed the music on the piano?'
'No- why would I?'
'That's strange. I'm sure the last time we were here the music on the piano was 'Moonlight Sonata'- now it's Clair de Lune'
'Don't be silly Steve. That's not possible- you've just got one moon tune muddled up in your head with another.' Steve shrugged. 'I'll have to see if Jane remembers.' They had walked through the woods to the bungalow and as they walked back the moon was shining through the trees and casting it's reflection in the lake. It was quiet and peaceful and they stopped and stood with their arms round each other drinking in the atmosphere. 'Ah that's so nice' said Steve and the music just adds the final touch. He began humming softly. Dora shivered. 'Steve- that's 'Clair de lune' isn't it. ' What made you start to hum it.' 'Well someone must have a radio on nearby and it's such a still night that the sound of piano music is carrying to us- can't you hear it?' Dora listened and yes, she definitely could hear  a piano. 'Steve- it sounds like it's coming from the direction of the bungalow.' 'Don't be daft. It'll be Radio 4 coming from one of the houses nearby.' 'Let's go home' I need to finish my packing ready for tomorrow. Are you going to call in on Jane?' 'Yes- for a few minutes after supper and I'll drop the key off at Anna's on the way back.
When he returned from the hospital Steve was in a thoughtful mood but at first he kept his thoughts to himself. Later Dora asked him what was on his mind. 'When I went into Jane's ward she was sitting up and smiling. I asked her why she was so happy and she said that she'd been thinking about Daniel because it 's his birthday. She'd fallen asleep and when she woke up she could hear a piano playing one of Daniel's favourite songs. It was around 5 o'clock she said.' 'Don't tell me- the tune she heard was 'Clair de lune.' 'Yes- and it would have been about that time when we heard that radio but according to sister the ward television was on and all the others were watching a comedy programme and laughing loudly. She was sure that Jane, who is a bit hard of hearing anyway wouldn't have heard a radio over the noise. She won't have her radio headset on because she can hear a high pitched whistle. I asked Jane if she knew what music was on the piano. She says she changes it every month. In January when she came in it was definitely 'Moonlight Sonata' If she'd been there at the beginning of February she would have changed it to 'Clair de Lune.' It was the last piece Daniel played before he died and what's more Jane says that on the day her husband died she had changed the music to ' Fur Elys' and she swears that she could hear Daniel's piano playing it as her family brought her back to the bungalow after her husband died in hospital. None of the others heard anything.'
'I don't know if I want to go in the library again.' said Dora. 'I'm going upstairs- come with me.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2011, 10:06:31 PM »
When they were having breakfast next day Dora said'Friday 13th and we're going away after work!'
'I'm not superstitious are you? ' said Steve. 'No' she replied crossing her fingers. Slugger picked the  colonel up after lunch and he announced he'd come to see them off. They worked till mid afternoon then Dora went up to change. The colonel called Steve into the office and pressed some notes into his hand waving away his protests that he had already given them money for Christmas and paid for Dora's car repairs. 'Look Steve-you both work hard and now you've done a lot for Jane Oldcastle. I want to see you both enjoying yourself while I'm still around. I know you've already booked dinner at the hotel tomorrow. This will pay for other meals and treats so you don't have to resort to fast food. Look after Dora,  Steve. Spoil her. I thought she looked a  little peaky when I arrived this afternoon. On impulse, instead of shaking the colonel's hand Steve gave him a man hug then went to get ready and load the sportscar. Before they left Dora embraced her uncle and Slugger and gave Ron a peck on the cheek.
Steve could not help driving past Jane's bungalow, slowing down, looking and listening but there was nothing unusual.
The hotel he had chosen was an hour's drive away and near enough to Milly so that they could visit her on Sunday. There was no problem about a table for dinner at 7pm which gave them enough time to shower and change yet again. Steve suggested they share the shower and Dora agreed happily. Afterwards he said it was the nicest shower he'd ever had. Dora, wrapped in one of the hotel's luxurious towels reached up and whispered words of love in his ear. As she did so the towel slipped off and Steve appraised her body saying 'I swear you're getting even more beautiful.' She took his towel from him and nibbled his ear. 'You're just perfect.' Reluctantly Steve stepped away from her and began to reach for his clothes. She stretched out her hand to stop him but he kissed it and whispered huskily  'Later sweetheart.' When they were dressed he said in a posh accent 'Well your ladyship- does your stable boy pass muster?' and when she repied ' Aye lad- yer do an all!' he laughed and hugged her.
They both did the evening meal full justice and afterwards relaxed in the lounge with coffee and mints. A young man went over to the piano and began to play. When the first few bars of Clair de Lune had been played Steve looked at Dora then silently took her by the hand and led her to their room. They had a television there and Steve switched it on to listen to the news while  they  undressed and hung up their clothes. 'This is a good idea.' he said. 'We could have one in our bedroom and then if we wanted to watch something we could be all snug and warm in bed.'
'Is that what you want to do now Steve- watch television in bed?'
'No way.' He looked at her and said 'Are you okay love? You look tired and your uncle said he thought you looked peaky this afternoon. ' For just a moment Dora paused then nodded. 'I'm fine, but you're right I do feel tired.'
'Do you want to sleep now?'
'No, I don't want to waste a moment of our time together. Make love to me Steve.' He needed no second invitation but began kissing her tenderly, stroking her bare skin and telling her how much he loved her. When she lay deliciously drowsy beside him he switched off the light and was content to listen to her regular breathing and hold her as she slept until at length sleep claimed him too. The bed was warm and comfortable and when Steve woke and looked at his watch he was surprised to see that it was 7.30am. He kissed Dora and said 'Come on sleepyhead- time to get ready for breakfast- oh and 'Happy Valentine's Day'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2011, 11:46:13 PM »
When they returned to their room the bed had been made and looked very inviting. Resisting the temptation to lie down again they put on warm closed and walked to the nearby village where there was a ruined abbey and castle. After walking round they were pleased to find a coffee stall open. Steve thought about his mother now back helping Bert on his tea stall in Liverpool. The coffee was hot and strong. Steve bought Dora's favourite blackcurrant snack biscuits to go with it and she soon devoured hers. 'Hungry love?'
'Mmmn- must be the air here.Let's start back now- it's turning cold. ' They decided to drive into Sedge for lunch then visit the cinema. In the cafe Dora surprised Steve because for the third time that day she had milk in her coffee when normally she took it black. She finished her baguette before him and Steve asked if she wanted anything else but she shook her head. They watched a double bill of Carry On films and laughed their was through the afternoon. Giving the ice cream a miss they opted instead for coffee and Dora's favourite cream cake afterwards, Then they window shopped daydreaming about what they would buy if they had a lot of money. When they arrived back at the hotel Steve unlocked the door and stepped back to let Dora enter first. On the coffee table was a basket containing a mixture of white and deep red roses with a honey coloured bear sitting alongsode it. He sported a red bow and held a bag of red covered chocolate hearts between his paws. Tied to the bag was a small heart shaped card on which was the message 'Dora, I will love you forever- Steve followed by rows of kisses.
'Oh darling- thank you, what a lovely surprise,'
'I've got another one for you later.' She went to her bag and produced a romantic card. 'I haven't bought you a present.' she said. Steve smiled at the words in the card and took her in his arms. 'I've got everything I need right here' he said. >22<
Dora told him she had something to tell him later. The restaurant was decorated with pink and blue heart shaped balloons. Every table had a candle and fresh flowers  and all the ladies were given pink carnation buttonholes while the men had white carnations. A violinist went from table to table playing romantic songs and a photographer followed him taking pictures of anyone who wanted. Dora was convinced that Seve was going to propose and the setting was just perfect. When before their sweet arrived he produced a small jewellers box she waited for his question but what he said was 'Aren't you going to open it?'  Dora did so and discovered a delicate gold charm in the shape of a horse head framed by a horseshoe. Steve pointed to the cuff links and tie pin with a similar design which Dora had given him for his birthday. 'When I saw this charm I thought it was a perfect match. '  'It's beautiful Steve- thankyou- and you're right- it is a perfect match. Throughout the rest of the evening Dora seemed far away and although she'd only had a small white wine with her meal she genuinely had a headache when they went upstairs. Steve gently massaged her neck and shoulders and trailed kisses down the length of her spine. 'What did you want to tell me?'
Dora sought unsuccessfully for the right words. 'Er uncle is thinking about selling off most of his horses.'
'Yeah he told me- but he's keeping a couple back that he wants us to exercise.'
'Oh I didn't know you knew' Dora said huffily. Although the gold charm was beautiful and she loved Steve's gentle ministrations she couldn't bring herself to say the words she really wanted to and it was hard not to feel disappointment. There was a chance if she told him now the weekend might be spoiled. He had finished his massaging treatment and as they lay side by side Dora's heart ached with love, She draped herself over Steve. 'My headache's gone now ' she said beginning to run her hands down his body. >34<
 >75< >78< >78< >78< >74<
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2011, 10:07:07 PM »
They spent a happy Sunday with Milly. She was a wonderful cook and Dora said she wished Milly could come and stay with them and pass on some of her skills to Slugger. They showed her the photographs they'd taken on Steve's birthday and when they'd visited her the next day. She in turn produced some old photograph albums to show them. There were several of Steve as a baby. 'Would you like one of these? I've got a few loose ones in the drawer.'  Dora nodded entusiatically and Milly produced several of him at various stages until the time he was left at the orphanage by his mother. There were several of the two sisters growing up and a few of Kathy and Steve's dad. Milly gave him one of them on their wedding day. It hadn't seemed important before but now Steve felt he wanted a few keepsakes. At the end of one album was a picture of a smiling Milly and a handsome young man. She had her hair fashionably cut and was looking pretty in a floral summer dress. Milly sighed. 'That were the day I got engaged to my Brian. He was your dad's best friend Steve even though he were a bit older. They worked together down the mine when they were nobbut lads.'
'Was he killed at the same time?'
'Nay-   They were sending some young men down the mines instead of them being sent as soldiers but my Bri wanted out of the pit so he joined the army. He were killed at Dunkirk. '
Steve gave her a hug. 'I'm sorry auntie. You must get very lonely now gran's gone.' We'll try snd visit you more often. Next time I'll bring my car and take you to Follyfoot for the day to see the horses- if you'd like to.'
'Ee I would luv, I don't get out much.'
Back at the hotel as they were packing to go home Steve said 'I wonder if I could persuade auntie Jane to put Milly up for a little while. I'm sure they'd get along.'
' Good idea- I'm sure she would. It's been lovely to have this time together.'
'We'll do it again soon.' For the first time since she'd been sharing a bed with Steve Dora had one of her realistic nightmares and woke crying,to be instantly cuddled by Steve and told she was okay and soothed  back to sleep. In the morning all she could remember was seeing a solitary bird with a black and white tail wheeling round the lake at Follyfoot and being woken from sleep by the shrill sound of the telephone. When they got back home she was quiet and withdrawn and Steve thought that the dream was still playing on her mind. Anna had dropped Jane's key off after feeding the cats that morning. 'How about we go for a ride this afternoon and stop off at Jane's on the way. I want to pick up another couple of books. Later on I'll pick up her pension and call in and see her. I don't know about you but I don't think I want any lunch after that huge breakfast we polished off.' Dora agreed.
Steve hoped being out in the fresh air on her beloved Copper would make Dora come out of her reverie but it didn't. 'Come on love- it was just a dream.'
'It's not just that Steve.'
'What is it then? Tell me.'
'I promise I will soon but I'm not quite ready yet,'
'Are you coming in to see Jane?'
'I will but just for a little while as there's some shopping I need to do.'
'Okay- do you want to go and visit your uncle afterwards then go to 'The Wheatsheaf' for a basket meal?'  'That would be nice. I don't feel like Slugger's cooking tonight. We've been spoiled this weekend.' 'Well Hazel's starting her cookery course at night school soon so maybe she'll be trying out her skills on us.'
Jane was pleased to see them and hear about their weekend. She told Steve she had left all the books in the library to him in her will. 'Oh but some of them are probably valuable. Your family won't be pleased about you leaving them to a virtual stranger.'
They know my situation. They won't be expecting anything so they won't be disappointed. I'm leaving money for you to take care of my cats when I'm gone.'
'That won't be for ages yet- you may outlive them. ' Jane fixed him with her green eyes.
'I doubt that very much. Now that Jasper's gone so is my last link with my husband. I got the cats after he died you know.' Dora had already gone off to do her shopping so didn't hear that conversation In her present state Steve was glad she also missed what followed. Jane sat up in bed. 'My Daniel's
here. Can you see him Steve?' He looked round the ward but no-one resembling Daniel was there.
'Er no, where is he?' 'Why standing right at the foot of the bed. He says in a few days time he's going to come and play for me. Handel's Largo. His dad has told him we had it at our wedding.I daresay he'll practise at the bungalow.' Steve was at a loss for words. He wouldn't tell Dora and perhaps it would be better if he went to feed the cats by himself. He knew he would have to look on the piano to see what music was there.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: A Wintry Follyfoot Tale by Loopy Lin (Norfolk Dumpling)
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2011, 05:26:46 PM »
Dora's uncle was glad they had enjoyed their weekend and asked after Jane. 'You've mad quite an impression on her you know.She's been very lonely with her family all gone abroad. They don't really keep in touch except for a card on birthdays and Christmas. Martha Carne pops in occasionally and I did until I was ill.' Mrs Porter brought in a tray of tea. Asthey were eating later Steve and Dora said they didn't want anything to eat but Dora helped herself to a piece of Turkish delight. As she left the room the housekeeper smiled a little smile to herself.
Later over their meal Steve told dora some of his conversation with Jane leaving out the weird bits.
'I had a word with the ward sister who says she's progressing well but I dunno whether Jane thinks so. you should have seen the look she gave me Dora.' She didn't say anything seemingly interested in her chicken and chips. She cleared every scrap and had blackcurrant cheesecake for dessert. Steve contented himself with creme brulee.
When they got home Steve checked the horses while dora unpacked. Before they went to bed she got out a packet of digestive biscuits and ate several with her hot chocolate. Steve woke earlier than usual the next day and Dora was not beside him. When 10 minutes had passed ansd she had not returned he put on his dressing gown and went in search of her. The bathroom door was locked and he could hear her being sick. when she came out looking white and washed out he gently steered her back to bed. 'Did you eat something that didn't agree with you yeaterday or do you think you've picked up a bug?' Dora took a deep breath and knew that she had to tell him the truth.
'I think I'm pregnant. I've missed two months.'
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