Blackberry Lane – Episode 23

AS she boarded the train, Jeanie clutched her handbag to her. It contained her precious tickets: a return for her, but more importantly a single each for Russ and Marty.

They were coming home. She watched the scenery as it sped by. This route had become very familiar to her over the last five years, but she supposed she’d not be seeing so much of it from now on.

Of course she would still make the trip occasionally. Ted and Kate had become friends, and she imagined the boys would want to visit the farm from time to time.

That was for the future, though. Right now, all she could think about was getting them home.

The first place she’d take them would be the common. It had been dreadfully churned up by all the troop vehicles last year, but had recovered now and was looking as lovely as ever.

She’d pack up sandwiches, and they could sit and munch them with the scent of gorse all around, just as they used to do.

Lost in her daydream, she realised suddenly that they were nearly at the station. Wake up, she told herself. You mustn’t miss your stop today of all days!

Stepping from the train, she could see dear old Amos waiting patiently. What a character he was, she thought. He never seemed to age. Not like Ted and Kate had.

But then their losing Ken had been terrible – a thing no parent ever got over. All the way along the road, Jeanie rattled on to Amos excitedly. The fact that he had little to say was lost on her.


The old farmhouse stood bathed in summer sunshine, and she felt a surge of affection for it. It had truly been a refuge intimes of trouble.

The scent of Kate’s roses wafted to greet her as she hurried to the door.

Kate was, as ever, at the range. The two women hugged, and Jeanie planted a fond kiss on Kate’s cheek.

“How are you?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m well.”

“You look it.” Jeanie laughed happily.

“You’ve a nice bit of colour in your cheeks. It’s good to see.”

“Oh, have I?” Kate smiled uneasily, and her flush deepened.

“Shall I pop my case in the usual room?” Jeanie asked.

“Oh, yes.” Kate wiped her hands on her apron and watched Jeanie’s retreating figure.

This was going to be harder than she’d imagined! She hoped Ted would arrive soon to offer some moral support.

Sitting down over a cup of tea, Kate and Jeanie talked of the day peace had been declared.

“Even though the weather was miserable that morning, we still all turned out in the rain,” Jeanie said.

“It was no better here,” Kate recalled. “And when the sun came out in the afternoon the crowds really began to gather. It was so thrilling in the evening to see lights switched on! Everybody was dancing in the street.”

“And did you dance?” Kate asked.

“I think I did,” she confessed. “I was just so happy. I do remember a man came up to me and hugged and kissed me.” She chuckled. “He was a sailor; I’d never met him before, and I never will again – at least I hope I won’t!”

They were both laughing heartily as Ted entered the kitchen.

“Hello, there. What’s the joke?”

Jeanie got up and hugged him.

“I was just telling Kate about my romantic encounter on victory day.”

“What – you found a young man?”

“Goodness, no!” she replied. “Last thing on my mind.”

She couldn’t help noticing that Ted and Kate looked a bit uneasy suddenly.

“What is it?” she said. “Is something the matter?”

Not sure how to begin, or who should speak first, it was Kate who finally spoke.

“The thing is, Jeanie, we want to talk to you.”

“Nothing wrong, is there?” Jeanie asked, her voice sharp with concern. “The boys are all right?”

“The boys are fine,” Kate assured her hurriedly, “but that is what we want to talk about.”

She looked up at Ted, willing him to take over.

He took a deep breath, and rather like someone making a speech, recited the words he’d been rehearsing.

“We’d like you to leave the boys here, with us, on the farm.”

Jeanie looked frankly perplexed.

“What? For how long?” she asked, presuming he was simply talking about a delay of a few days.

“For good,” Ted said. “We’d like them to stay here for keeps. We want to adopt them, so the farm can be theirs one day.”

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!