Hold Fast To Your Dreams – Episode 46

The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

The golden autumn sun gleamed down on the awnings of the tea tent and candy-floss stalls. Mrs Wiggan and Sarah were working at fever pitch, packing picnics into the dozens of luncheon baskets which Runciman had managed to hire from suppliers in the area.  

Beyond the racing track, the arc of the great wheel gleamed like a silver rainbow against the blue sky, the gondolas swinging, beckoning the fearless. 

Thea looked anxiously up and down the line of cars.  

“There he is! But where is his dad? Bertrand, you must find him!”  

She hadn’t forgotten what she’d told Davey Callow, all those months ago at Jenny and Ben’s wedding, though at the time neither of them had dreamed that the promised drive in her motor car would be as a racer. 

“Davey!” she called. 

He looked up, scanning the crowd. Spying her, he gave the car a final push to the starting line, and ran over to see her. 

“Why, even Mr Van Zyl never looked so dashing!” she exclaimed. “Thank heavens you said yes to taking his place.” 

“I hope I’ll do well, my lady. I’m very honoured.” 

“You’ll do splendidly. Why,  I could see you’re a natural when you first tried her out.  

“Remember what I told you: take the curves in three stages; turn in, feel the apex, and then out. Each curve is different – let it tell you when to brake.” 

“Davey!” Joe pushed through the crowd. 

“Dad! I didn’t think –” 

“Didn’t think what? Bless me, just look at you. You’d better get a move on – isn’t it all about to start? Good luck, my boy!” 

Davey grinned and left. 

Joe shook his head.  

“Seems like yesterday I was putting that lad up on a horse for the first time.” 

“You must be very proud of him, Mr Callow,” Thea said. “I hope Bert and I do as well with our little one.” 

The competitors pulled their helmets and goggles into place. Lady Farrington watched them, a grin lighting her face, and she looked up at her husband. 

“They look as if they’re in fancy dress, with those goggle masks. What with one thing and the other, it seems that Farrington House is in fancy dress today as well!” 

Lord Farrington cocked his head to one side.  

“It seems up to the job, doesn’t it? It’s a good, strong place. If it can hold its own with a racing track, a big wheel, and candy floss, it will survive anything.”  

He gazed across his domain, a look of pride and serenity spreading over his face.  

“Speaking of that big wheel,” he said, taking her hand, “later on, may I tempt you to join me in a ride?” 

Eleanor and Robert said goodbye to the last of the village guests who had flocked to Orchard End for what would long be remembered as the most festive occasion the people of Brackenbury had known.  

Although hints of yellow and crimson had begun to flicker amidst the greenery, and the apples had reddened in the orchard, the days were still balmy.  

Guests had lingered in the late afternoon sunlight, finishing the last of the sandwiches and cake and taking one last stroll round the garden, commenting on the surroundings. 

“Such glorious borders! And I love the way it all seems to be divided into little rooms, with those curved paths. Extraordinary how much has been done in such a short time.” 

“I think the gardener had some help.” 

“Really? I thought he was on his own – Bracken being frugal, you know.” 

“Well, I heard he sold some other property and has poured money into this house – inside and out. The gardener has at least one lad working for him.” 

“He looks awfully young to be a head gardener, but he certainly knows what he’s about. What do you suppose is going to be around the corner from the rose beds?” 

“I heard someone say he’s planning to build some sort of fountain . . .” 

Now only Lord and Lady Farrington, Hugh and Malaika remained. Eleanor had insisted they be invited as a way to put the incident of the mangled picture frame behind them. 

“We must invite them, Robert. After all, it’s not just a garden party – it’s a new beginning for us. We don’t want to start out our life here with the memory of that day hanging over us.” 

Robert had nodded. 

“And I have a feeling it might help to heal your feelings about your father,” she’d said gently.  

“It’s a way to build bridges, and also feels like forgiveness – in all directions. Let’s blow the dust away and start everything afresh.” 

“It does feel the right thing to do,” he’d agreed. “And don’t you think the painting looks much better in the new frame than in the old one? Good of the Farringtons to have it done for us so quickly.” 

“You know I never liked it, but somehow I feel better about it now. That animal looks friendlier, especially with the beautiful new wallpaper behind him.” 

“Would this be a good time for the ceremony?” Eleanor said now. “Let’s find Ben, and then we can decide on the spot.”  

It had been Robert’s idea to plant a rowan, the Tree of Life.  

“Hasn’t it been the most wonderful day!” Eleanor looked into his eyes, radiant with happiness. 

“It has. And, Lady Bracken, you have been the most exemplary hostess. Don’t know how you put up with me, but I thank my stars that you do. I love you, bobbed hair and all.”  

He ran a hand through her short locks and kissed her. 

Then, hand in hand, they meandered through the garden in search of Ben. 

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.