Keep It In The Family – Episode 02

Rosie’s parents had always been what she thought of as a great couple, plainly as much in love now as when they were newlyweds, yet not afraid to have a good old argument when they disagreed about something.It was one of the things that could fool people about Joyce. Small-boned and slim, she looked quite delicate, but she was one of the toughest people Rosie knew, and had been at Martin’s side every step of the way as they built up the family’s haulage firm from a one-truck operation to the successful enterprise Willson’s was today. With 20 lorries on the road, the company had reached a size Martin was happy with, especially in the current economy, when rising costs squeezed profit margins to the limit.Joyce had stepped back as first Rosie and then Adam arrived, though their two grandmothers had taken over a lot of their care so that Joyce could return to the business as soon as they were at school.It was when Sarah arrived that things had changed. The baby of the family, Sarah had come along unexpectedly, when Adam was still at school doing A-levels and Rosie, three years older, was working her way through art college.“Our wonderful surprise!” her dad called her, and there was no disputing that the whole family had doted on the child her entire life. Now, at the age of twenty-one, Sarah was studying marketing at college, and by all accounts doing rather well.But Sarah’s arrival had signalled an end to Joyce’s involvement in the business, though it had come at a price. The firm had been going through a difficult patch, and couldn’t afford to hire someone to fill the role that Joyce had fulfilled for Martin. With Rosie about to graduate from art college, the solution had seemed obvious, and she had immediately abandoned her plans to become an art teacher and taken her mother’s place as Martin’s right-hand woman.She had been there ever since. If she occasionally thought wistfully of the art career that might have been, she could honestly say that she had enjoyed every moment of her alternative career. Her father was fair and honest, and she loved the hurly-burly of the office and the banter of the yard.Rosie hadn’t realised how far her thoughts had drifted until she became aware of Alan nudging her gently.“You’re miles away, love! Your dad was just saying we need to find Adam and Freya so we can have a proper family photograph taken. Have you seen them?”Rosie looked around vaguely.“Um, they were chatting to . . . oh, there they are. Adam, Freya come on over!” she called, and watched them thread their way through the crowd towards her.After getting good A-level results at school, Adam had gone to business college with a view to joining their father in Willson’s, but barely six months into the course he had dropped out, to take off back-packing around the world.Naturally their father had been disappointed, but in his typical forthright manner had told them straight.“Let the lad get it out of his system. Adam will come round when he’s ready.”Although Martin had always had faith that Adam would change his mind, and had probably expected Adam’s travels to last no more than a year, in fact he had finally returned home only relatively recently with a young wife in tow! Their parents had, unsurprisingly, been shocked by that, but had opened their hearts to his bride, Freya, an English girl he had met while they were both doing voluntary work in Nepal.


Freya was unlike their own family, which Rosie liked to think of as pretty down to earth. Freya seemed to be in a perpetual dream, spending her days at their cottage home creating colourful stitched collages to sell as wall art from a stall at the crafts mart in town.Rosie shook her head wryly. Anyone might have guessed Adam would end up with someone flaky, like that, but there was no disputing that they were happy.“What’s up, sis?” Adam grinned as he neared them, Freya close behind him.“Photo call,” Rosie told him, and laughed as he groaned.“Oh, lovely!” Freya chipped in. “I’ve got some terrific hand-made frames on the stall at the moment one of my friends makes them. We can have the picture enlarged and framed as another gift.”Sarah’s eyes lit up.“Will the stall be open tomorrow? I could come and have a browse, and help choose one.”“Sure. We’ll be at the mart from ten onwards, I should think. Come at lunchtime I’ll find someone to keep an eye on things and we can pop into Adam’s caf for a sandwich and a cup of tea.”The couple had been back from Nepal for just over a year now, and Adam worked part-time in a wholefood co-operative’s coffee shop in town.“Is that us all here?” Rosie, always the family organiser, corralled them into a smiling group, with her own two children hastily grabbed in passing and kneeling at the front.“Say cheese!” the photographer cried. Everyone obligingly smiled, and the happy family moment was captured for ever.


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