A Time To Reap – Episode 45

A Time To Reap

Peggy crossed the tent to gloat at the produce table. First prize for her raspberry jam, and a second for her rhubarb and ginger!

“Well done, my dear.”

She turned to see her auntie Mamie.

“That’s the wild rasps Alec found for me,” Peggy said. “They were really big and juicy. Have you had tea? I was about to.”

She looked over to the table where she’d left Tibbie and Donna. Elizabeth was just walking away, having left her girls with them.

“Tibbie and Donna,” Mamie whispered. “How are they getting on?”

“In mutual bewilderment, I think,” Peggy whispered back. “Look, the table beside them is free.”

Libby and Flora smiled at their granny Mamie but their attention was on Donna. With her blonde hair, crimson lips and fingernails, and her pink frock with its wide skirt, she was like one of their dolls come to life, Peggy thought. They sat gazing in mute adoration.

Peggy and Mamie parked themselves at the adjacent table and waved to attract the attention of Nancy, from the village shop, who was acting as waitress.

“I’ve got such a lot to tell you,” Peggy said, as cups of tea and a plate of sandwiches and cakes were brought over to them.

“Everything all right?” Mamie glanced at Tibbie, perhaps wondering if they should include her. But she’d got out her knitting – a large brown sock – and was concentrating on counting stitches.

“No. We had awful news in the post.” Peggy bit gloomily into a ham sandwich. “An invitation to the gillies’ ball!”

Mamie laughed in relief.

“That’s not awful, Peg! How lovely.”

“It’s not. Lady Annabel wants Alec to play the fiddle so she had to ask me as well. What will I wear? Has Elizabeth been invited?”

“I expect so, she usually is,” Mamie said. “But she hasn’t gone – you know, since Matthew.”

Peggy frowned.

“Selfish beast, I am. I never thought. Well, Alec runs a mile from social occasions but he can hardly say no to this one, so I’ll have to put up with it.”

“It will be fine,” Mamie said. “You know Alec’s happy with a fiddle in his hand. And I think Crys will be up around then – maybe she could help you with clothes and things?”

“Oh, would she?” Peggy said thankfully. “That’s one load off my mind, then.”

“What else is on your mind, dear?”

Her niece heaved a sigh.

“I told you Colin seems dead set on finding work on a ranch in California? Now I think Davy’s for leaving, too.”

“For America?”

“No, but bad enough. Inverness maybe, or Aberdeen. I found a scrap torn from the ‘Press & Journal’ in his room. It was an advertisement about joining the police!”

“Goodness! What does Alec say about that?”

“I haven’t dared tell him. And I haven’t said anything to Davy himself. He’s not mentioned it to you and Neil, has he?”

“Not to me,” Mamie said, “and Neil hasn’t said anything. It’s probably a passing fancy, Peg, you know what youngsters are like.” She lowered her voice. “All set for your first driving lesson next week?”

Peggy gave a mock groan that she turned into a cough when she saw the noise had caught Tibbie’s attention.

“As much as I’ll ever be.” She raised her voice. “Tibbie swept the board as usual in the knitting and sewing, Auntie Mamie.”

Tibbie sniffed but a smile twitched at the corner of her mouth.

“I think I’ll go and admire the handicrafts then, if you’ve finished your tea, Peg,” Mamie said, standing up. “Goodness, what’s happening here?”

Donna had a pretty little bag in front of her, its contents spread out on the table. Lipstick, rouge, powder, and other pots and tubes Peggy didn’t recognise.

She was pretending to make up the girls, dabbing her fingers gently over their eyes and cheeks. That was nice of her. Even wriggly Flora kept perfectly still.

It was a pity the visitors would be gone by the time of the gillies’ ball, Peggy thought, moving her seat to squeeze in beside Tibbie. Perhaps Donna would have given Peggy a make-up lesson!

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.