A Time To Reap – Episode 36

A Time To Reap

Peggy leaned her bike against the shop wall whose window bore a poster for the agricultural show. She saw that Nancy had one customer, Isa Robertson. Peggy didn’t want to go in while Isa was there.

She lingered outside until Isa emerged.

“Morning, Isa.”

If Peggy had hoped that she’d get away with merely a greeting she was to be disappointed. Isa came over.

“Your Americans gone? I heard Alec put them to work. A slave-driver, like his father before him, by all accounts.”

Even Alec’s father would have been pushed to get Donna working on the farm! Peggy smiled at the thought of those red-tipped hands stacking hay or mucking out the byre. But the work Hugh had done, he had performed happily and at his own insistence.

There was no point in arguing with the woman, Peggy decided.

“Excuse me, the slave-driver has given me some time off this morning.”

She walked past Isa and, once inside the shop, closed the door loudly behind her.

Standing at the post office counter, she dived straight in before Nancy could start a leisurely chat.

“I’d like a form to get a provisional driving licence.”

“Colin taking his test soon?” Nancy made no move to get the form. “Your boys have been driving in the field for years, haven’t they? Going to make it official?”

For a moment Peggy was tempted to agree. It would be hardly a lie at all. She could let Nancy think the form was for Colin – he would be seventeen on his next birthday, after all.

But Nancy was one of her longest-standing friends and although she liked knowing what was going on, she could also be relied on to keep a secret.

“It’s for me. Don’t say anything, Nance, please. Auntie Mamie’s going to give me lessons. Alec knows nothing about it.”

“Well! That’s a surprise.” As Nancy reached behind her for the form the door jangled open. “It’ll be one in the eye for that man of yours when you tell him you’ve passed your test.”

Peggy turned round to see who’d come in.

Isa! How much had she overheard?

“Did I leave my umbrella in here?” Isa asked, looking from one to the other.

Nancy handed Peggy the form.

“Tell Colin good luck from me,” she said, giving Peggy a tiny wink. “Isa, I haven’t seen any umbrellas.”

Isa left, grumbling under her breath.

“Umbrella, my foot,” Nancy said. “There’s not been a cloud in the sky for two days. An excuse to overhear us, if you ask me.”

Peggy pushed the form to the bottom of her shopping bag.

“Can I get the licence sent here, care of the post office?” she asked. “Otherwise Alec might see it.”

“‘What a tangled web we weave,’” Nancy quoted. “Of course you can. And I can’t think who’d be a more patient teacher than Mamie.”

“I hope I don’t try her patience too much.”

Peggy sighed.

She actually hoped that she wasn’t going to have second thoughts about the whole thing.

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.