The Ferryboat – Episode 26

IRIS kissed Angus goodnight and switched the bedside light off.

“See you in the morning.”

He had quite recovered his spirits by the time she’d got back, having shown Roberta his magic trick, eaten macaroni cheese and played Snap.

Now Iris sank into an armchair and smiled at her friend.

“He’s none the worse. It must have given him a fright, though. You’ve been amazing. Thank you. And Donnie.”

When Iris came out of the hospital, trying to give some thought to how she was going to get home again, there was Donnie waiting for her, sent by Roberta.

“Rubbish.” Roberta brushed her thanks aside. “Donnie can take you in to see her tomorrow.”

Iris blinked, trying not to cry.

“They said they needed to keep her in as a precaution, and do tests to check for swelling in her brain. I’ve phoned Mum and Dad. They’re going to be here tomorrow night.”

“All for a bit of wallpaper.”


Roberta pointed up to the corner of the room.

“The lining paper you put up and painted the other week? A bit had come unstuck and Lizzie climbed up to put it back. That ladder of yours was a health hazard. One of the steps broke.”

How the world could change in the blink of an eye.

Roberta stood up.

“Well, my dear. You know where I am. Just shout.”

“Oh.” Iris remembered. “That man. Jim. I don’t think he remembered that I’d asked him about using the hut he’s much nicer than I thought. I know you and Donnie and him don’t get on but ”

“He turned up trumps today.” Roberta sat down again. “Couldn’t have been more concerned about Lizzie and Angus. He was worried about this whole vandalism thing, I daresay. Took it out on Donnie that day. That foreman they have down there lazy and disorganised, by all accounts. I think it’s your friend Jim who’s really in charge.”

“Is he living in one of those caravans?” Iris asked. “I must go and thank him.”

“Just think about Lizzie and yourself for the moment,” Roberta advised, getting to her feet once more. “Hopefully you’ll have good news to tell him soon.”


One of the centre lightbulbs needs replacing in the dining-room,” Judy said to Tom as she whizzed past him, her arms full of bed linen.

“I could change the bulb. Granmar showed me how,” Louise said.

Judy turned back to exchange an amused look with Tom. Evidently Louise had been making herself useful at her gran’s.

“I’ll show you where I keep them,” Tom said.

Marilyn and Louise and Eddie had arrived the day before. Back in the B&B Louise had been a reluctant helping hand, but now she begged to be allowed to replenish the tea and coffee trays in the bedrooms and the toiletries in the en-suites. Judy was only too happy to let her.

She had a sudden thought.

“Be careful on the ladder, Louise,” she called. “Iris’s sister fell off one and got concussion.”

As she went upstairs to join Holly in making beds, she thought it was a pity that Louise couldn’t stay for the whole holidays and be proper paid help. Keep it in the family. But Louise had got herself a summer job in an art gallery owned by a friend of Marilyn’s.

Iris was doing as many hours as she could but it was difficult for her now that Angus was on school holidays and Lizzie was recuperating with their parents down south. Holly glowed with health and energy during the day but flopped in the evening. They really could do with more help if they could afford it; Tom and Judy herself were working insane hours. At least in the B&B they’d had time to themselves during the day. Here, it seemed, they were never off duty.

Amazingly, while other parts of the country were being constantly rained on, the west of Scotland was enjoying dry weather and glorious sunshine. It brought the tourists in droves. Tom had hastily put up wooden tables and benches so that they could cope with the numbers wanting bar suppers, and the

alfresco dining was proving popular.

“Morning, Mrs J.,” Eddie greeted her, as he came down from the attic bedroom.

“Hope you slept well, Eddie.” It was ten o’clock but Judy didn’t mean it sarcastically. She wasn’t sure how comfortable that Z-bed was and she knew that Eddie had sat up watching DVDs until very late last night. He was an owl, Louise said, while she was a lark, like Granmar.

“Great, yeah, thanks.” He gestured at the view through the landing window. “Hey, that bridge is amazing. Can you walk across it?”

“Not yet,” Judy said. “What are your plans for today? Maybe you and Louise could take a trip across the water on the ferry?”

“Cool. There’ll be a brilliant view of the bridge from the middle of the lake sorry, loch. I want to draw it.”

“Good. Corin will point you in the direction of cereal and toast,” Judy said. “Just help yourself.”

“Don’t worry about me,

Mrs J. I know you’re well busy.”

Judy looked at his loping figure heading for the kitchen. What a nice, sensible boy he was.

“Mum, wait for me.” Louise ran through the hall. “There’s a strange mark on the dining-room ceiling, as if a hole has been filled in. I want to see what it looks like in the room above.”

“Your father mentioned that. It’s the bedroom on the right.” Judy said. She stood aside to let Louise past. “I hope it’s not dry rot or something. That’s all we need.”


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