Echoes From The Past – Episode 01

So will you be free to go?” Holly’s mother sounded almost desperate. Her request had been garbled to say the least, so Holly had to ask her to repeat herself.

“Go where?”

“To Stirling. To look after Aunt Bea. I’ve just said –”

“Mum, you’re not making much sense. What’s wrong with Aunt Bea?”

“At the moment, nothing. She’s coping perfectly well. But she has to go into hospital to have her hip replaced. She’s very bright and breezy about it, and says she’ll be fine. She says Angela will be there.”

“Who’s Angela?”

“Angela helps in the house, and she’s really great. But she’s got her own family to look after. She can’t be on hand all the time. Whatever Bea thinks, she’ll need somebody with her when she comes out. Can you do it?”

“Me?” Holly’s exclamation was an indication of surprise rather than reluctance.

“I know it’s a lot to ask.” Holly’s mother sounded flustered. “I’ve offered to look after her here, but she won’t hear of it. I could have found her a room, but I can’t leave the B and B. This is the Lake District, after all. We’re fully booked, and your father can’t possibly manage on his own.” She sighed. “I don’t know who else to ask.”

Holly thought swiftly. There was indeed no-one else to ask. Her brother was currently resident in New Zealand, which was significantly further away from Stirling than the Lake District. And all her cousins were busy family people. She was the obvious person to step in.

“You could work in Aunt Bea’s house, couldn’t you?” her mother pleaded. “I know it’s not ideal, but –”

“OK, Mum,” Holly said. “I hear what you’re saying. Just give me a minute to check my commitments. I’ll call you back.”

It really didn’t take her long at all. She reviewed her current situation, living in her own small cottage surrounded by her sewing equipment, which was eminently portable. She had just finished her last commission, which meant she had a little time to research ideas for new patchworks – time she could easily share with her great-aunt. Not only that, but she was ready for a change.

She had been unsettled ever since Simon had intimated to her that if she didn’t abandon her country retreat and come with him to the capital, their relationship was under threat. Holly did not respond well to blackmail. So Simon went, and since then he had not so much as sent an e-mail. The relationship was clearly over. Holly was surprised at how little she minded.

Beatrice Seagrave, on the other hand, was one of her favourite relatives. Bea was her father’s aunt, who lived in Stirling, where Holly’s father had grown up. A Cumbrian lass had lured him south, where he set up his own family. Bea stayed on in Stirling, and was now the only family member still there. She was ancient, tough as old boots, with a sharp tongue and a fine sense of the ridiculous. She had lived independently all her adult life, and now she needed just a little help. Of course Holly would go.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!