Author Topic: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write  (Read 16383 times)

Offline Pen.

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2011, 06:22:09 PM »
Dora sipped tentatively at the lager and lime Mr. Bendiger had mistakenly bought her instead of the lemonade and lime she had asked for.  He and her Uncle were deep in discussions about Council planning processes and how they could be being abused by Douglas Bent and his cronies.  Marion had allowed Mr. Bendiger to make some phone calls from the back room of the pub and he had come back announcing that it looked as though Minnie Foley was as much a victim of this plan as they were.  Apparently Bent had no intention of actually letting her buy Follyfoot, he was using her, like a conjurer would, to divert everyone's attention away from what was happening elsewhere.  

Dora was only half listening now because she was sure she'd already heard the only truly important things they were going to say.  Now they were talking - really slowly - about how they were going to do something  - really slowly - to stop whoever Bent was actually working for taking Follyfoot away from her.  

Despite her Uncle's usually comforting presence Dora felt so alone.  She longed for the time when she could automatically turn to Steve if she wanted to go against her Uncle's plans.  Oh he would huff and puff but he'd always helped her in the end.  But Steve wasn't on her side any more and she couldn't - no, wouldn't- ask him for anything.

Still every fibre of Dora's being was straining to rush out of the door and start doing something - anything - to stop this all from happening.  When she'd said as much Uncle had patted her hand in his kindly way and tried to reassure her that they had it under control but Dora couldn't stand this apparent inactivity.    She had to do something! 
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Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2011, 11:11:11 PM »
She pushed the glass of lager away from her and asked Mr Bendiger if Wendy was at home.  He told her she was and asked why she wanted to know.  "Oh, I thought I'd just go and catch up with her." Dora said with a smile.  "I haven't seen her for ages."  She left the pub leaving the men staring after her.  The Colonel was frowning after his niece.  What was she up to, he thought, she doesn't even like Wendy.  Dora made her way to the taxi rank and climbed into the front cab.  She would try and get some information out of Wendy - it shouldn't be difficult as Wendy wasn't that bright and usually sang like a canary after a couple of drinks.  Dora asked the taxi driver to stop at an off licence before travelling on to the Bendiger's house.


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Offline loopylin

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2011, 11:47:12 PM »
'Well Geoffrey- I'd best be getting along too. Got to pick the wife up from her Women's Institute meeting. I'll do a bit more investigating tomorrow.' said Bendiger. The colonel was just about to leave when  Ron who'd been drinking with some of his mates on the other side of the bar came over  'Hello Colonel- I thought Dora was with you.Gone to the little girl's room has she?'
'No- she's gone to see a friend- Wendy Bendiger as a matter of fact.'
Ron laughed. 'Well, she could find something she hadn't bargained for!'
'What do you mean- you know something don't you. Is Dora heading for trouble? I'd better go after her!'
'Ere colonel- wait for me' Ron said rubbing his hands with glee. This he just had to see.
Wendy had gone to the bathroom and emerged in a baby doll nightdress and short nylon dressing gown. Steve had fallen asleep on her bed and she lay down beside him again, pushed her foot under the blanket and began rubbing it against his leg. She heard a car approaching- must be her parents back- oh well they were pretty broad minded and daddy had always liked Steve. Minnie Foley got out of the taxi and began hammering on the Bendiger's door. Dora arrived next. 'What the hell are you doing here?' she asked Minnie.
Wendy looked out of the window and seeing the two outside opened it and called out 'What do you want?' Minnie continued hammering on the door. The Bendiger's arrived closely followed by the colonel and Ron. The noise woke Steve who seeing Wendy's state of undress went to drape the blanket around her quite forgetting he was not wearing any trousers. From down below came angry shouts. Mr and Mrs Bendiger made for their front door. Dora began to attack Minnie Foley, the colonel struggled to restrain her and Ron Stryker looked up at Wendy's window and began to sing 'There may be trouble ahead.....
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Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2011, 01:05:19 PM »
The usually quiet village Police Station had never been so busy.  The sergeant shouted "QUIET!" at the top of his voice and everybody stopped talking.  "At last, now will you all find a seat and wait for me to call your name."  Wendy and Steve sat together with blankets around their shoulders, covering their modesty.  Minnie Foley was opposite them, her new hairdo completely ruined after Dora's attack on her.  Dora was sulking in the corner, sitting next to her Uncle who was extremely shocked and embarrassed by the whole situation.  Mr and Mrs Bendiger sat glaring at their daughter and Ron was trying to plead with another constable that he had nothing to do with it.  After a long wait the sergeant took them all through to the cells.  "Now, I'm sorry but I'm going to have to lock you in here whilst I interview you all."  The Colonel was astounded "I believe I'm entitled to a phone call officer and I demand you let me make it now."  Then everybody started shouting that they wanted their call until the sergeant shouted again "LISTEN!  Constable Bradley will make sure you all get your telephone calls but until then your're nicked and if you don't shut up I'll throw away the key." 


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Offline Pen.

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2011, 05:56:18 PM »
The Sergeant split them up between four cells.  Steve sat in the corner of the one he was sharing with Ron and tried to ignore him but Ron wasn't easily put off.

"Blimey mate!  I never knew you had it in you!  I always thought you were right gormless when it came to birds, but two in one day, I'm impressed!  Dora, now, she might see it a little differently!"
Ron grinned as Steve shot him a warning look,
"Can't say I get what they see in you" Ron went on "But it's obvious what you look for in a bird in't it?"
Steve glared at him. "Shut it Ron, I'm not in the mood"
"I mean, Wendy and Minnie Foley don't have much in common do they?" Ron went on "Let me see... ...oh yeah, they do both have big...bank balances!"

Fortunately for Ron the blanket slowed Steve down as he launched himself across the cell, but he still managed to get one good punch in before the Police opened the door and separated them.

"Right Sunshine" the Sergeant who had Steve by the back of his shirt collar moved him out of the cell. "From what I can gather your name seems to keep cropping up, and from the state of you I can see why Mr. Bendiger's not too happy.  Let's see what you've got to say for yourself shall we before I decide whether or not to charge you with that little assault?"

Steve allowed himself to be guided along the corridor towards an interview room.  Just as he was about to go in the next door along opened and Dora came out.  She stopped and looked Steve directly in the eyes. 
"If I lose Follyfoot" she said coldly, "I'll never forgive you!"


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Offline Jane

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2011, 07:07:26 PM »
Slugger looked at the clock. Where the devil was everyone? He stirred the stew which was rapidly turning into a glutinous mess. They should have been home hours ago he thought. The phone rang and he quickly made his way to the hall and picked up the receiver.

“Colonel! Where…..” he started to say but was interrupted by a torrent of words. He listened intently and nodded. “Right Colonel, right away” he answered and thoughtfully put the receiver down. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard! Just as he was putting his coat on there was a quiet knock at the door.

“Oh gawd blimey now what!” he thought as he opened the kitchen door. Gavin pushed his way in and collapsed on the floor in floods of tears.

Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2011, 01:49:52 PM »
Slugger comforted the boy as he told Slugger how he had seen his mother and the others being taken away in a police car.  "Don't you worry youngin. I'm going off right now to sort fings out.  Why don't you 'elp Hazel to muck out the 'orses.  You can do Bobby - he'll like that."  Gavin sniffed loudly and nodded.  "Yes, Mr Slugger, I'd like that." he said.  Slugger called Hazel over and she took Gavin by the hand and led him to Bobby's stall.

Slugger drove to the Colonel's house.  Mrs Porter opened the door with a worried look on her face.  Slugger told her what the Colonel had said and Mrs Porter went into his study.  She took time to sift through the mountain of papers on his desk until she found what she was looking for.  Slugger was waiting for her in the Land Rover and they wasted no time in getting to the Police Station. 

After about an hour Mrs Porter and Slugger, with the help of the letter from Lady Beck which acted as a character reference for the Colonel,  finally convinced the police to release him.  The Colonel was very relieved.  The police also released Mr and Mrs Bendiger.  She was sobbing to her husband "They actually thought our lovely home was a brothel!" she cried.  "Now dear, I think you're exaggerating - they didn't actually say that did they?" said Mr Bendiger calmly.  "No, but that's what they were inferring... and what does that make us?" she blurted, bursting into tears again and blowing her nose noisily into her handkerchief.  Mr Bendiger put his arm around his wife and glared once more at his daughter who had now been released from her cell.  "I'll deal with you when you get home." he said angrily.  Wendy bowed her head and followed them out of the Police Station. Next to appear from the direction of the cells was Ron, overjoyed that he had at last talked them into believing that he was innocent in all of this and was 'only passing' when he had heard all the commotion. 

"That's it." said the sergeant at last.  "I'm afraid the other three will have to stay for more questionning."  The Colonel tried to plead his niece's innocence but Dora's attack on Minnie was not looked on as innocent in the eyes of the police and she would have to spend the night in the cells.  Minnie was going to be released shortly, after her interview.  "What about Steve?" the Colonel asked.  "Oh him!  We've checks to do on him before we let him go.  He's a record you know."  "What's that got to do with anything - he served his time and did his punishment.  He's a good lad."  The sergeant was not impressed by the Colonel's words and told him to leave now before he locked him up again. 

Slugger dropped Mrs Porter and the Colonel home and then drove back to Follyfoot with Ron. 


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Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2011, 02:01:11 PM »
Ron was feeling so smug.  Cor!  Wot a laff.  Even the Colonel was arrested he thought to himself, grinning from ear to ear.  Slugger stared hard at him.  "I know that look." he said angrily.  "You've got summit to do wiv all this aint ya?"  Ron just grinned at him.  Slugger said "I'm gonna go and find Gavin and tell him is muvver's probably ome by now and you stay here till I get back.  D'you hear me."  "Yeh, don't worry Sluggs, I'll be ere. I'll make ya a cuppa coffee while I'm waiting."  Slugger didn't trust him at all at this very moment but he could keep until he'd had a word with the youngster.

As soon as the Colonel reached home he was on the telephone and several calls later ensured that Dora had the best solicitor on her case.  The solicitor was going straight to the Police Station to get her bail.  He told the Colonel that there shouldn't be any problems with that.  The Colonel also wanted reprieve for Steve but the solicitor wasn't so sure about him.  "He has a police record and I've known their checks to take all night." he said.  "I'm not sure he'll be released until tomorrow."  The Colonel sighed.  The poor lad has to carry that load on his shoulders for the rest of his life it seems. he thought sadly to himself.  "Well, do your best won't you." he told the solicitor and then hung up.  Mrs Porter poured him a tot of brandy.  "Did you see Marion?" she asked the Colonel.  In all the uproar the Colonel had forgotten about the troubles with Follyfoot.  He told Mrs Porter all about it, glad that she was there so he could get it off his chest.  She understood more than anybody why Follyfoot meant so much to him and why he would do anything to keep it.

Steve sat on the uncomfortable wooden seat in his cell.  He could hear Dora fidgeting around in her cell although she hadn't spoken to him since her threat earlier that evening.  He knew it was useless trying to talk to her anyway.  She wouldn't listen - she never did. She always did things her way whatever the consequences.  Well, perhaps now she would learn her lesson.

After what seemed a lifetime the sergeant came to his cell and opened the door.  "Mr Ross, you're free to go." he said, most disappointedly.  He held the door open while a surprised Steve stood up, stretched his body and then walked out into the somewhat fresher air of the entrance vestibule.  There, waiting by the sergeant's desk was Mr Bent.  It took Steve a few minutes to register.  He wasn't expecting Bent.  Bent bowed as Steve walked over to him.  "Mrs Foley asked me to help you.  She hasn't given up on you.  The car's outside.  I'll take you to her."  Steve smiled, shrugged his shoulders and followed like a lamb...... a lamb to the slaughter.   


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Offline Pen.

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2011, 12:26:24 AM »
Minnie cradled a gin and tonic as she waited in the hotel bar for Steve.  She had arrived back to a message telling her that Gavin was safe at Follyfoot and was staying the night there. Brian had gone to bed so she was free to relax and think through the day's events.

After the sudden end to their lunchtime together Minnie had been pleasantly surprised when Steve had phoned her and asked if he could come and stay at the Hotel.  What had happened to change his plans was still a mystery to her but, along with whatever was going on with that shameless blonde, it could wait.  What had struck her in the Police station was how totally estranged from Dora he had seemed so it looked as though he would still be happy to work for her and Gavin.  She chuckled to herself as she realised it wouldn't take much paint to rename the farm  "Foleyfoot".

"Good evening Mrs. Foley, I trust you have recovered from the earlier unfortunate  events". Mr. Bent broke into her thoughts.  Steve was hovering uncertainly in the background.  He looked exhausted and the police doctor had applied  a couple of small dressings to the cuts on his face although Minnie realised with some relief that he was at least wearing jeans now instead of that awful blanket .  She patted a stool as a sign for him to sit down and dismissed Mr. Bent with a few words of thanks.

Despite the nature of their earlier meeting she couldn't help mothering Steve a little. It seemed what he most needed at the moment, and until she had confronted the issue of the possible girlfriend it was probably a safer route.  There would be plenty of time for more soon enough if her plans worked out.

Steve started trying to apologise but she cut him short saying "You can tell me tomorrow.  Right now you look like you need a hot bath and a good night's sleep." She produced a room key from her bag.  "I've booked you into room 214" she said, pressing the key into his hand.  "Now, off you go."

Steve looked at the key and smiled briefly then standing up he bent and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek.  "Thanks," he said "and for what it's worth, I'm really sorry I didn't stay at lunchtime."
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Offline Jane

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2011, 11:27:08 AM »
As the Colonel drove up to the gates of Follyfoot, Dora stared out of the window at the yard and stables. She glanced up at the lightning tree and sighed deeply.

The Colonel glanced at her. “Very silly behaviour on your part Dora don’t you think? he said referring to her attack on Minnie.

Dora sighed again. “I don’t understand Steve, Uncle. I just don’t! How could he, with that woman of all people! ”

“That woman, as you call her, is having a pretty rough time of it.” replied the Colonel quietly.

“Oh really? After winning all that money? Just think what I could do to this place if I’d won it. New stables, never worrying how to pay the next feed bill….oh I think she’s fallen on her feet that one!” Dora said spitefully as she got out and slammed the car door. She wandered over to Bobby’s stable and watched him as he contentedly munched on his hay.

“This is what Follyfoot is all about Uncle” she said turning her tear- stained face to him. “Look how Bobby has improved since Gavin has been looking after him. Steve would have had him put down so he could house his new girlfriend’s posh horses!”

“Come on Dora that isn’t fair. You know Steve wouldn’t have done that. I think you’re judging Minnie a bit harshly too. Think of how her life has been with that god-fearing husband of hers. No bed of roses that’s for sure. Is it any wonder the money has gone to her head?”

“I won’t listen to this Uncle, I won’t!

The Colonel watched her run into the kitchen in floods of tears. It was his turn to sigh deeply.

Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2011, 01:09:04 PM »
Slugger sighed too when he saw Dora curled in the chair by the fire, sobbing into the crook of her arm.  He knelt down beside her and put his arm around her shoulders.  "There, there, what's all this then?" he asked kindly.  Dora sniffed loudly and then looked up at him with a tear-stained face.  "Slugger, everything's going wrong.  No matter what decision I make - or have made - it never seems to be the right one.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  I wish uncle had never given me the farm."  "Now, now, that's not like you.  Where's your fighting spirit gone?" said Slugger.  "I'm not sure I can fight anymore.  He's hurt me so badly."  Slugger shook his head.  So that was it.  It was Steve she was thinking about.  He should have known.  He stood up and put the kettle on.  "I'll make you a nice cuppa tea gal and then you can tell me all about it."  Dora shook her head "I don't want one Slugger.  All I want is for things to be as they were... when we were all happy.  D'you remember my birthday on the raft in the lake, when I got Copper?"  Slugger smiled and nodded.  "That's how I want it to be again.  No complications or worries.  Why, oh why, did everything have to change Slugger?"  She sobbed loudly and ran up the stairs to her bedroom. 


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Offline Jane

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2011, 02:39:33 PM »
“Really Wendy, we are most disappointed in you!” Mr Bendiger stood with his back to the fire and arms folded tightly across his chest. Mrs Bendiger was perched stiffly on the edge of an armchair and twisted a soggy handkerchief round and around in her fingers. She sniffed loudly. “I’ll never be able to hold my head up in polite society again. I’ve already had cancelations for our dinner party next week.”

“Oh do stop going on about it, the pair of you! Why you are bothered about what your fuddy- duddy friends think I don’t know” she shouted.

“Wendy! That’s enough of your cheek!” warned her father.

“I know that Foley woman is up to something with Steve and Bent” Wendy mused “I’m going to find out what’s going on!”

“Don’t you go interfering. Haven’t you done enough damage for one day?” But he was talking to himself as Wendy disappeared from the room.

“Really, that girl! said Mrs Bendiger and sniffed loudly again.

Offline Loopy

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2011, 01:02:09 PM »
Steve was woken the next morning by a knock on the door.  He felt refreshed and after putting the hotel dressing gown on, opened the door.  "Breakfast sir.  Mrs Foley asks if she may join you?"  Steve looked presently surprised as the waiter pushed the trolley into his room.  He was very hungry and whatever was under the large silver lid of the salver was smelling awfully good.  "Tell Mrs Foley I'd be delighted." he said.  The waiter nodded his head and left the room.  Steve pushed the trolley over to the table.  He put the orange juice and large bottle of champagne (Minnie adored Bucks Fizz) on the table and placed the coffee pot and toast next to them.  Then he peeped under the lid of the salver.  There was smoked salmon with scrambled egg and beautifully cooked bacon, just how Steve liked it.  At that moment, he thought of Slugger.  Why did the same food look so different when Slugger cooked it.  He laughed to himself and he felt a pang of sadness that he was not at the farm but then there was a tap on the door so Steve pushed Follyfoot to the back of his mind once more and answered.  Minnie was also in a hotel dressing gown and she smiled brightly when she saw Steve in his.  "Well, great minds think alike." she laughed.  Steve laughed with her and they sat down to breakfast at the table, enjoying each other's company and getting to know one another a bit better.

Dora looked bleary eyed when she sat down at the table for breakfast.  She had spent a restless night, dreams waking her from what little sleep she did get.  Slugger looked at her.  "What time d'you call this.  Nuffin's been started out there." he said pointing to the stables.  Dora frowned.  "Hasn't Steve done any work?" she queried bad temperedly.  Slugger didn't know how to break it to her so he decided just to blurt it out quickly as he was slapping the eggs and bacon onto her plate."  He's not ere - his bed's not been slept in either." 
 

   


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Offline loopylin

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2011, 02:59:36 PM »
Hazel came in as Slugger was speaking. 'Steve's gone. He's taken his things and told me to tell you not to think too badly of him Slugger.' Dora flung down her knife and fork.
'Gone has he- well good riddance. I need you to put a lock on the door to the loft Slugger. When Minnie Foley's little plan fails and he gets fed up with being a toy boy he might think he can sneak back and sleep there. Well he can forget that idea. If I never see his face again that's fine by me. Come on Hazel there's extra work for us to do now.'
Later that afternoon tired and miserable Dora let herself into the barn and climbed up to the loft. The pillow still smelt of his aftershave and one of the jumpers he'd worn had fallen un-noticed on the floor. Dora stretched out on the bed hugging the jumper and began to sob again 'Oh Steve- why have you done this to me. Why make me regret I let you stay here?' Then she stood up, searched about for any other things he'd left behind and took everything including the bedding outside. She went well away from the stables fetched a can of petrol and doused everything. Then she struck a match and watched as they burned the jumper contorting strangely as it was gradually consumed. 'There's an end to it!' she said and went to wash the smell of petrol and smoke from her body and hair throwing her clothes into a plastic sack. She would dispose of those too.
Wendy had had a busy afternoon. She had been to Bent's office. She knew the young clerk there from get togethers of the legal profession staff and families. Bent had never attended but his staff had. ' Jeremy- I was just passing and wondered if you'd like to have dinner with me tonight?' He was surprised and flattered, Wendy had always looked down her nose at him before. 'Er- thanks Wendy. I'd love to.' With the arrangements made she said craftily.
'Oh I could murder a cup of coffee but I don't fancy drinking on my own.'
'I'll soon make you one- Mr. Bent says I make a mean cup of coffee. We've got chocolate biscuits too.Take a seat and I'll be back before you know it.'
'No need to rush' said Wendy and when he'd gone she lost no time in going through to Bent's office.
Minnie and Steve were enjoying dinner together. The boys had eaten earlier and gone upstairs. 'Now Steve- who was that pretty girl you were with last night. Is she your girlfriend?'
'Not now we did go out a few times but that's all in the past. She nearly ran me over while I was waiting for the taxi you sent and took me back to her place to tidy up. She doesn't mean anything to me.' At that moment Wendy herself walked into the restaurant and seeing Steve went and kissed him. 'Glad to see you're none the worse for last night darling' she said ignoring Minnie completely. She stood up as the waiter indicated a table nearby.
She thought it was good that she would be able to eavesdrop on their conversation and then after they'd left she could pump Jeremy for information using the small snippet she'd managed to pick up from a letter on Bent's desk but she'd need to be subtle and use her feminine wiles. No problem- Wendy was an expert!
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Offline Rob

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Re: Foley's Fortune - a new fanfic for everyone to write
« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2011, 06:20:59 PM »
After she had made the bonfire of Steve's bedding - and almost extinguished it by crying - Dora walked back to the stables. If anything could cheer her up it would be a ride on Copper. She saddled him and set off down the hill to the lake. Here everything was beautiful and just as it always had been. She could imagine the raft floating on the lake and Ron opening her birthday champagne as if it had only been yesterday.

After a short stop by the lake, Dora remounted and continued to the hill on the opposite side. But here she saw something strange. The approach to the large field opposite, where a few straggling bushes were all that remained of a former hawthorn hedge, was blocked by a new barbed-wire fence. It must have been put there yesterday, while they had all been away from the farm. Puzzled, Dora followed the edge of the fence on Copper. There was a single gate, but it was tall, strong, padlocked and festooned with barbed wire. A large notice read 'Private Property - Tresspassers will be Prosecuted'. What on earth could be happening? She'd always ridden over those fields as if they were part of Follyfoot. Perhaps old Ned Micklethwaite, the farmer, and his wife Cathy, had been having problems with thieves or vandals. But it seemed strange that they hadn't discussed building the fence with Dora first.

There was no alternative but to follow the bridleway to the left-hand side of the copse and then join the main road through Wike back to the village, but Dora hated taking the horses this way. She arrived back at the farm exhausted and angry. Slugger was in the kitchen when she returned.

"Hey, Slugs!" she started, "Do you know what's happening at Gallows Farm? There's a big new fence all around it!"

"I don't know nuffin' 'bout that, Miss. Why don't you give old Ned a ring?"

"Good idea, Slugs!"

As Dora made her way to the Colonel's study, where the telephone was situated, she fervently hoped that there was a simple reason behind the new fence. Perhaps the elderly couple just wanted to feel a little more secure in their old age. She had to admit that Follyfoot occasionally attracted the wrong sort of visitors - thinking especially of the time the Nightriders had attacked the farm and set loose all the horses.

She picked up the phone and dialled the number. A woman's voice answered.

"Hello, is that Cathy? It's Dora from Follyfoot here."

"Yes, love, it's me. What can I do for you?"

"Well - it's that awful new fence you've put around your land. Why didn't you tell me about it?"

"Oh - that. I'm sorry, lass, but it was almost as big a shock to me as well. You see, we don't own the land, we're just tenant farmers. And Ned's getting on a bit - it's time we started drawing our pensions. Our daughter, Mary, she's married to an estate agent in Otley and they've got three bairns now. And our son Roger - he never wanted to carry on with the farm. He's working in London with the Civil Service."

Dora wished Cathy would get to the point. "But what about the fence?"

"I was just comin' to that, love. Well, my Ned and I went to see the landlord t'other day. He's that Councillor Earnshaw. Not as nice as his Dad what used to own the land, if you ask me. Anyhow, when we told him we wanted to quit at the end of the year, he couldn't have been nicer. He said that if we got out within two weeks he'd give us £200. Now, that's real generosity. So we're off at the end of next week. The cows have all gone to market, and we're having a sale at the weekend to get rid of all the bits and pieces - you might like to come along!"

"And what's Councillor Earnshaw going to do with the land?"

"I dunno, but he sent his men over today and they put up this big new fence. But it doesn't bother me. Our Mary's found us a nice little bungalow in Otley, and I can look after the bairns while she goes out to work. I'll miss you and the Colonel though. And Ron, Slugger and that nice dark-haired young man - now, what's his name?"

"S-steve" stammered Dora.

"That's right. Well, lass, you give them all my best wishes for the future. Now I've got to get on with my packing and sorting out the things to take to Otley!"

People who don't like cats were probably mice in an earlier life.