The Ferryboat – Episode 30

ANGUS looked at Sandy’s bowl of mussels with wide-eyed interest before turning his attention to his own plate piled high with a burger and chips.

Iris exchanged a smiling glance with Sandy.

Plans for the evening had changed. Just as Sandy arrived, another car stopped at Iris’s gate. Angus’s friend had got back from school feeling sick, apparently, and, as he hadn’t improved, his mum had driven Angus home.

Iris offered to cook something for Sandy but he wouldn’t hear of it, declaring that Angus deserved a night out, too, and tomorrow wasn’t a school day.

In Oban they’d walked up to McCaig’s Tower and now they were sitting in a restaurant with a wonderful view over the bay.

Iris wondered what Sandy had meant by a “catch-up”. If he wanted to look back at the summer of their brief romance and how it ended, then obviously, with Angus there, that wasn’t going to happen.

Besotted with Fin as she’d been, Iris was afraid, with hindsight, that she hadn’t let Sandy down as gently as she might.

But they were just teenagers then their relationship probably didn’t mean anything to Sandy now other than part of growing up.

And Iris didn’t want to talk about that time and her subsequent marriage to Fin anyway. Sometimes it seemed like a dream, or as if it had happened to someone else.

So she smiled brightly and updated Sandy on Lorn news, and he told them about where he lived in Zurich and about climbing in the Alps whenever he got the chance.

When Angus finished eating he went to look out of the picture window at the boats.

There must be a girl in Sandy’s life, Iris thought. Just because he hasn’t mentioned one doesn’t mean . . . Surely it shouldn’t be difficult to ask her childhood friend if he was seeing someone? But somehow it was.

“Why don’t you and Angus come out for a holiday?” Sandy interrupted her thoughts. “I have a spare room in my lonely bachelor flat! There’s lots to do and the music college has great concerts.”

So there was the answer to the question she hadn’t asked.

“Well, I ” She concentrated on eating the last mouthful of salad, playing for time.

“Look, no strings attached, if that’s what you’re thinking,” he said, touching her arm briefly. “We’re old friends, aren’t we? You could do with a break. And I’d like your company, and Angus’s.”

“Can I think about it? It wouldn’t be until the end of the season.”

“Of course. The offer will stay open.” He grinned at her. “Now, do you think Angus would like some ice-cream?”


There were times when Tom wished himself back in Harpenden and the B&B. He wondered if Judy felt the same but didn’t want to say that maybe they’d bitten off more than they could chew.

They’d been so busy since they moved north the eight months seemed to have gone by in a blur of hard physical work punctuated by sleep.

Ideally they would have taken on another pair of hands but Tom was doing his best to cut their costs as much he possiblly could.

So he felt almost guilty when he found himself in town with an hour to kill while the garage sorted out a problem with the car. He only hoped it wouldn’t take longer than promised. The repair couldn’t be delayed they couldn’t do without the car but the timing was bad. Corin was having a much-needed evening off and he and Holly were on their way to Glasgow to meet up with old friends. He’d delegated tonight’s dinner, adjusting his menu for one that was less complicated, but Tom knew Judy was rather nervous about being left in charge.

Tom wished Judy and he could have some time off together. She was looking so tired with work and also because of worrying if Marilyn would be lonely when Louise went away to university. Personally, Tom thought she’d be just fine. She had so many friends and interests, but in Judy’s eyes that didn’t make up for the family being so far away.

If Judy were here now, Tom thought, they would stroll along looking in all the caf windows, choosing one to sit down in and have a cup of tea and talk about anything but work. But there was just himself and, try as he might to avoid it, all he could think about was the hotel.


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