The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 85

Peartree Cottage was enjoying a rare spell of tranquillity. Kirsty sighed with contentment as she wielded the flat iron, breathing in the scent of Josh’s freshly ironed shirts. The back door of the cottage was open and the drowsy sounds of summer floated in. In the oven of the big range sat the fruitcake Kirsty would ice and bring to Constance, together with home-made jam and a big basket of fruit. While her brother and his wife always protested at the lavishness of the gifts whenever Kirsty and Josh visited, there was satisfaction in their obvious enjoyment in consuming them.Kirsty felt alarm gnaw at the corners of her mind. Peartree Cottage was quiet for the first time in days too quiet! Where were Niall and Rory? She glanced out of the back door. Josh had set his easel up in the little orchard, but he wasn’t painting. As he caught Kirsty’s glance, he pointed at one of their twin sons sitting on the grass, examining something held in cupped hands. The sun shone on his mop of red-gold curls. Josh reached for a sketch pad . . .As Kirsty turned back into the kitchen, a little hand appeared through the open window and a scone was deftly removed from the wire rack. Kirsty threw up the window.“Niall Glenavon, that’s stealin’!” she said severely, trying to keep a straight face. “And ye were supposed to be pickin’ rasps for me. Where are they?”A little face smeared liberally with raspberry juice provided part of the answer. Niall grinned engagingly at his mother, his freckled face shining with pleasure.“I like scones, Mam . . . an’ I like rasps, too!” Before Kirsty had time to launch into one of her tirades he added, “Rory ate some rasps, an’ all. Then he found a ladybird, so he went away an’ left me!”“I did not, Mam!” Rory had abandoned his study of the ladybird and pushed his twin, making him drop his ill-gotten scone. The two then tussled each other to the ground in an effort to gain the precious morsel. Josh abandoned his sketch pad and seized his two sons by the scruffs of the neck.“Right, you two, inside! Dirty hands, dirty knees, and just look at those shirts! A good scrub, that’s what you two need. Soap and water! Come with me.”As Kirsty folded away her ironing, she smiled to herself. Her pleasant, agreeable husband was the one who wielded the firm hand with their sons. Just as well, she reflected. Her twin redheads were only a few months older than their cousin Marianne, but were already famous for their exploits. As she heard the sound of running water and yelps of protest as Josh administered a good scrubbing to Rory and Niall, she chuckled as she thought of little Marianne. Last time there had been a visit to Avondale House, Adam’s daughter had taken herself off to her grandmama’s in disgust at her cousins’ behaviour.“They’re very noisy,” she had told her father. “And there are two of them!” she’d added resentfully.****Curled up on Josh’s lap, Kirsty gave a sigh of sheer contentment. The lamps were glowing and Josh had lit the fire in the front room against the slight chill of the evening.“I love this part of the day. The quiet.”Josh gave her a little squeeze.“Boys will be boys, and if they’re a bit wild it’s because there are two of them. Once Miss Scrimgeour gets her hands on them in the village schoolroom, they’ll start mending their ways.”“She’ll never be able to tell them apart,” Kirsty predicted. “So they’ll just carry on blamin’ each other for bits of mischief!”Josh chuckled.“Do you think that we should tell her to count their freckles? Niall has more than Rory!”There was a companionable silence for a while, broken only by the crackle of the fire.“My father suggested that they go down to the Gourock house for a holiday this summer. Letty agreed. And we could go to Paris maybe see Adam’s painting.”“Aye, Gourock would be good for the boys. And Faither would keep them in order.” Kirsty giggled at the thought. “As for the paintin’, I’m no’ so sure, Josh. Adam’s keener that we should see the painting of Constance.”Josh smiled to himself. “We’re taking it to Glasgow. I’ve persuaded him to hang it in the gallery beside his other work. It’s not for sale, though, just for exhibition.”Kirsty grinned.“If the boys go to Gourock, we could stay here ourselves for a wee while. It would be like it was when we were first married!”“Much better than Paris.” He beamed. His wife gave him a swift hug.“That’s settled, then.”


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