The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 64

Kirsty rose early that Saturday morning and rushed through her usual tasks. Breakfast dishes washed, she set a lunch tray for Miss Downie before walking to Mrs Dinnimont’s. There, Josh usually washed up after breakfast, but he seemed to have left in a hurry on that particular morning, so Kirsty tidied up the kitchen and set another lunch tray, this time for Mrs Dinnimont.“Meet me at the corner of the street,” Josh had told her.She had been puzzled by that.“I have a surprise for you,” he’d added.Puzzlement gave way to excitement.“Wrap up warm,” had been his parting shot.All was revealed when Josh met her at the bottom of the street and pulled her eagerly round the corner. There, ready with engine running, stood the Arrol.“I’ve been learning to drive!” He grinned. “I started when you were in Paris. And today, milady, you are being taken on a special outing.”With a courtly bow, he handed her into the passenger seat.“I’ve stowed away rugs and a hamper, so we’re well prepared.”He pulled on gauntlets and tugged his cap further down over his eyes.“Is it no’ a wee bit chilly for a picnic, Josh?” Kirsty’s common sense came to the fore, but her remark was swept away by the wind as Josh accelerated.She was secretly delighted to have Josh all to herself. Every weekend since her return from Paris, he had been absent, telling her that he was finding new locations for autumn paintings.Mirren and Thomas had enjoyed several extra visits from a rather lost Kirsty on those weekends!Despite his inexperience, Josh drove well, and soon Kirsty was enjoying a stately progress through the streets of Glasgow, with numerous waves and the odd shouted greeting from passers-by. As they left the greyness of the city and took a country road which seemed familiar, she realised that they were on the way to the village they had visited earlier in the summer.She tugged Josh’s sleeve and signalled her delight. He stopped the car at the spot where they’d sat under a great tree, where he had put his mother’s ring on her finger.Now, she took it from its secret place on the chain she wore round her neck, and Josh placed it on her finger all over again, sealing his little ceremony with a lingering kiss.“You must wear your ring today, Kirsty, love,” he said. “For this is a very special day.”Kirsty’s heart beat just a little faster after that. All this secrecy! She grew warm with anticipation.As they entered the village, the old lady who had given them tea and scones on their last visit treated them to a wave as she stood on her doorstep. A couple of workmen, carrying buckets and a ladder, lifted their caps in salute. Despite the appearance of a motor car in their village street, none of them seemed surprised.The place was as beautiful as ever. Fields, stripped of their harvests, still shone gold in the warm autumn light, and the trees sheltering the little houses were decked out in bronzes and crimsons. Josh drove on, slowing as he left the village and coming to a stop outside the cottage they had explored on that summer day. At first, Kirsty didn’t recognise it. Gone was the tumbledown wall, the tangled overgrown garden, the shabby paint on door and windows. The wall had been repaired and the garden almost manicured to perfection. The cottage boasted shining, lime-washed walls and a freshly painted green door with brass knocker. A plume of smoke rose lazily from one of its chimneys.


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