A Time To Reap – Episode 06

A Time To Reap

It was half-past two and all Peggy’s work was done. She had a few hours before the evening chores and hadn’t seen Auntie Mamie for weeks.

In the bad weather it would be dangerous to cycle along the back road to the cottage Uncle Neil had inherited from an elderly cousin the year before he retired.

After 35 years of living on a remote farm, Auntie Mamie had hoped that, when they had to leave their tied house, they would rent one in Rosland village. Near folk, including Elizabeth and her family.

Mamie made the best of their new circumstances, transforming the hillside cottage from a bleak establishment into a warm and welcoming home that Peggy loved to visit.

There was neither time or money in her own house for what Alec called “frippery”, and she didn’t have Mamie’s knack of making a place pretty on a shoestring.

Of course, there were tasks she could do this afternoon – prepare the spare room for the American visitors, for one thing. But the thought of getting her aunt’s advice on the matter had propelled her on to her bicycle.

“I’m off to see Auntie Mamie!” she called from outside the tractor shed.

Alec came to the door. He tipped his cap back to scratch his greying curls.

“Mind yourself. There might have been rockfalls after the snow.”

“I will,” she promised.

At her aunt’s cottage, Peggy had Mamie and Neil’s full attention as she told them the contents of Hugh Mackay’s letter.

“He said he’s getting married in July to a girl called Donna and they want to spend their honeymoon in Scotland. He wondered if they could stay with us for a night or two – he’d love to see where his father grew up. It was a nice letter.”

“What did Alec say?”

“What does he ever say? Not much. But it affected him. The boys had to ask who Hugh and Jack were. They’re excited at the thought of having a cousin coming to stay.”

“I heard about Jack but I never met him,” Neil said. “Did Alec tell the boys why he left?”

Peggy shook her head.

“Only that Jack and their father hadn’t got on. I’ll have to put heaters in that spare room; it feels damp. And the wallpaper’s faded.”

“Why don’t we decorate?” Mamie suggested. “I have wallpaper samples from when I did our bedrooms here. I’d love to do your room, if you want me to.”

“Could you? It would make such a difference!”

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.