The lure of an evening of prize bingo meant that St Margaret’s Parish Hall was just about full. What was a surprise was the presence of Dr Andrew Shelley sitting opposite Cassie and Jess.
Cassie leaned forward.
“Have you actually played this before, Andrew?”
“No, but if we’re going to live on Skerrabost we need to be part of the community,” he said firmly.
“I’ll show you how to play, Daddy.”
“Thank you, Jess. If they call out one of my numbers, do I shout ‘Bingo’?”
“No, silly. But don’t worry. It’s dead easy.”
“Very easy, darling,” Cassie corrected Jess.
Andrew smiled at Cassie.
“It’s nice being here together, among people we know and genuinely like – kind, guileless people.”
He looked around the room with a feeling of contentment.
“Excuse me, Doctor.”
Andrew looked up. At his elbow was a small, bespectacled man in a Fair Isle sweater. He had a carrier bag in his hand. He placed the bag on the table and smiled at Cassie and Jess.
“We’ve not met, Doctor, for I’m in good health, thanks be to God. My name’s Billy McGee and I’d be grateful to you, Doctor Shelley, for your opinion on this bottle of . . .”
“Pea pod wine?” Andrew finished the sentence for him. “Certainly, Mr McGee. I’m becoming something of an expert after Mr Hector Finmore introduced me to it.”
“Ah, so Hector’s been after influencing you, Doctor? Well, Hector’s a decent enough fella, in his own way, and he can produce a decent pea pod.”
He smiled benignly.
“But you’ll find, Doctor Shelley, there’s no comparison, no comparison. And when it comes to judging, well, old Doctor Rosen knew a thing or two.”
He tapped the side of his nose with his finger.
“I’ll leave you now. And good luck with the numbers.”
He slipped away.
Cassie was smiling at her husband.
“The Flower and Produce Show?”
He grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
“If one is expected to be a pillar of the community, so be it.”
Cassie had noticed a change in Andrew over the last few days. He’d told her he had had to deal with a difficult birth, and that things had turned out well. Had that been a turning point?
He’d been especially tender towards her, the occasional touch of his hand on her arm, a kiss on the neck as she stood peeling vegetables.
Was Skerrabost weaving its magic?