A Time To Reap – Episode 23

A Time To Reap

Alec had done his own kind of redecorating in anticipation of the visitors, Peggy observed as she washed the breakfast dishes – although he would never admit it.

The tools and pieces of machinery that usually littered the farmyard had been tidied against the barn wall and the yard had actually been swept.

The weather was doing its bit, too. Today’s glorious sunshine was due to last for the rest of the week.

Alec and the boys had just left the house, to spend the day stacking hay in the field by the road.

It would be the perfect sight to greet Hugh and Donna this afternoon.

Their postcard from London had said that they would get the train to Glasgow, where they would hire a car and arrive at the farm about three o’clock.

The pantry was well-stocked. For tonight’s meal there would be eggs from their own hens and lettuce from the garden.

She’d cooked a big ham and made a special rhubarb tart with orange rind in the pastry from a recipe in this week’s “Scottish Farmer”.

She would put the living-room to rights and make pancakes to eat, nice and fresh, with a welcoming cup of tea.

And she’d change into her best frock, put on powder and lipstick, and try to do something with her hair.

The back door banged open. Alec stormed into the kitchen and grabbed the car keys from their hook.

“What’s happening? Where are you going?” Peggy dried her hands and stared at him.

“That fool of a boy Colin left the ignition on overnight. Tractor won’t start. I’ll have to go into town for a part.”

Peggy looked at the clock and made a quick calculation. They’d be in town at nine – maybe the hairdresser could see her.

There would be no time for a trim, but perhaps her hair could be pinned up, with some of that spray stuff to keep it in place.

She tore off the pinny she wore in the mornings and smoothed down her old summer dress.

“I’ll come with you.”

In the car, as they arrived in town, she risked a glance at Alec. His expression was still thunderous.

If they’d had a phone he could have called someone from the garage to come up, Peggy thought. But that was an old argument, to be rehashed another day.

“Are the boys carrying on by themselves with the hay?”

“Yup, not going to waste this weather. Where did you say you wanted to go?”

“Castle Street, the hairdresser’s. Shall I come to the garage afterwards?” Peggy reached for the handle.

Alec nodded.

“Don’t be more than twenty minutes. Wait.”

He held out his arm to stop her closing the door.

“Peg, you’re not getting it cut, are you?”

“Of course not, you old silly.”

Peggy was smiling as she walked off. Alec had loved her long hair since their courting days.

Twenty years on, she would really like to get it cut and permed, but as long as Alec remembered her as the girl she’d once been, she knew she never would.

She looked at herself in the mirror 15 minutes later and saw that the hairdresser had done a grand job in the time allotted.

As she came out of the salon a car came to a sudden stop beside her.

“Peggy, you’re in town early this morning!”

It was Elizabeth.

“Alec had to come in to the garage.” Peggy patted her hair. “I took the chance to get a ‘do’”.

“That’s where I’m going. Hop in.”

Peggy climbed gratefully into the passenger seat. Now she wouldn’t be late.

“Is it today that Alec’s nephew is coming?” Elizabeth asked.

“They’re due about three,” Peggy said, admiring the confident way Elizabeth drove, one hand on the wheel. “I’m nervous about it. I’ve never met any Americans before.”

“I’m sure they won’t be much different from ourselves.” Elizabeth laughed. “And Hugh’s half a Mackay, after all.”

“Well, maybe it will be all right. They’re here until the weekend – will you be able to come up and give me moral support?”

“I’ll try. Saturday probably,” Elizabeth promised. “There’s something I want to talk over with Alec. Rodney Shaw stuff.”

“Is he still making life difficult for you?”

Elizabeth stopped in the garage forecourt.

“Yes, but I’m used to him. Here we are, Peggy.”

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.