11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 29

Georgia arrived at Number 11 on Monday morning, worried. What had she been thinking of, offering to make a dress for Amy? A very fancy one at that. Like she hadn’t got enough to do!

She was trying to get her language lessons going. She had this place to look after. And there was all the work going on outside, too!

That last, though, was going well. Ewan was doing a grand job.

Leaving her bag in her own little office, she went outside to have a look…

“Sorry, did I scare you?”

Georgia was taken aback to find someone else out there. The woman was thin and lithe, in a tracksuit, with hair determinedly springing out of the various bands and slides which held it back. She was not a tenant of Number 11.

“I’m Ruth,” the woman said, reaching out to take Georgia’s hand. “A friend of Harrison’s. He isn’t here yet, but Brett let me in. I must say, I like what you’re doing out here!”

All the rubbish had now gone, a section of broken-down fence had been repaired, again by Ewan, and he was in the process of painting it a deep blue. That had been his idea and Georgia had been doubtful at first. But then she’d imagined it with tubs of nasturtiums and geraniums in front of it and had changed her mind.

“It’s coming on,” she agreed. Heartened by Ruth’s enthusiasm, she added, “When my grandad first passed the place on to me, I thought for a time about converting it into a house.”

Ruth’s reply was the same as everyone else’s.

“Oh, dear, I can’t see it as a domestic residence. Not at all.”

Georgia found Ruth easy to talk to and they chatted a while longer. Noting her tracksuit and learning that Ruth did a run every morning, she remarked that she herself had considered taking up jogging in order to improve her fitness level.

“Or maybe power walking would suit me! But I’m not sure I’d have the discipline to keep to a schedule.”

“I got into it very early,” Ruth said, explaining that when she was young she’d been regarded as a promising athlete. “But then I got injured, so that put paid to that.”

Georgia thought she could see regret in Ruth’s face, but no trace of self-pity.

When she nonetheless sympathised, Ruth just shrugged.

“Could have been worse. They were great at the hospital, which is partly why I’m here. I’m after sponsorship for a charity walk for them. Or maybe some of you would like to take part yourself and get your own sponsors?”

She broke off and Georgia noticed her face change. Harrison was standing in the doorway. Georgia understood that change of expression. Mel had been absolutely right, Ruth was crazy about him!

“Harrison is the other reason I’m here,” Ruth said, turning back to Georgia. “I’ve made an appointment for him for tomorrow with a friend of mine who’s a dentist. I’ll be coming to take him there myself. He hates dentists.”

“Men. Cowards, all of them!”

Georgia had been joking. But Ruth, when she replied, was serious.

“No, Georgia, Harrison’s a very brave man.”

The man himself was now coming out to them. When Ruth told him what she’d done he looked a trifle daunted, but didn’t object.

“I’m glad it’s tomorrow, though, because I’m particularly busy today.”

They both gave him enquiring looks, but he just said, “Hasn’t Mel mentioned anything to you?”


Before either of them could question him further, they were interrupted by the arrival of a couple of workmen and he took the opportunity to depart.

“I must go, too,” Ruth told her. “Nice to have met you, Georgia.”

The men had come to do the repairs to the top-floor office and to Brett’s ceiling. Georgia took them upstairs. On her way back down, looking out of one of the old property’s feature windows – this time an elegant arch shape – she spotted Mel on the street. She was speaking into her mobile phone and looked troubled, Georgia thought.

But before she could wonder further about this, Eloise came flying down the stairs, looking even more worked up than was usual for her.

“Those men! The tall one is an ex-boyfriend of mine. I’m casting horoscopes today, a job requiring the greatest concentration, and his aura will put me right off. It always did unsettle me. We were totally incompatible; that’s why I broke it off.” She went on a bit more about theirs being opposing zodiac signs. “So I cannot possibly work up there where he is.”

“Eloise!” Alex was coming along the corridor and had overheard. “Ann is away today. If the ground floor, right at the back, would be better for you, you’re welcome to use her little room, next to mine.”

It seemed this would be better and as Eloise went hurrying back upstairs to get her charts Georgia glanced back out of the window. Mel had finished her phone call and was getting into her van, along with Harrison.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.