One Summer In France – Episode 60

Two days later Suzette walked along the country road leading towards the garden centre, intent on buying a plant for Libby’s birthday. Hopefully Pascal would be at work and he’d be able to advise her on which plant would thrive in Libby’s garden. She’d not seen him since the night she’d introduced him to Malik and he’d left so abruptly. She needed to talk to him, to tell him she was no longer at a crossroads in her life. The road she would take in the future had been decided.

The garden centre was far bigger than Suzette expected and busy with people wandering around under the huge glass roof that covered a vast area with hundreds of different plants under its protective covering. Seven huge poly-tunnels were placed around the land with gardeners tending plants and advising people on their choices.


She turned and smiled at Pascal, who was regarding her quizzically.

“Have you come to see me?”

“Yes, and I also need help in choosing something for Libby’s birthday,” Suzette said.

“We’ll do that first, then. Tree? Shrub? Smaller plants?”

“I’ve always adored magnolia trees,” Suzette said. “I think one in the auberge garden would look beautiful.”

“Bon. Magnolias are down the far end,” Pascal said. “Follow me.”

It took some time to reach the tree and shrub section as several customers stopped Pascal to ask his advice, which he gave with his usual calm and courteous manner. Suzette watched while he was talking and realised how completely at home he was here, his shyness forgotten as he explained how different plants needed certain things from the soil. How and when to prune an orchard was another question he answered expertly before they reached the tree section.

“You love your work, don’t you?” she said as another happy customer wandered away.

Pascal nodded.

“Up until now it’s been my life. Right, here are the magnolias.” He stood and carefully looked at the trees in their pots. “Ah, this one is perfect!” He pulled one forward. “Big enough to flower next year and small enough to have some growing to do before pruning.”

“Can you deliver it for me?” Suzette asked.

“Of course. Right, that’s Libby’s present taken care of, so now we talk,” Pascal said. “We’ll go to my cabin. We won’t be disturbed there.”



Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.