The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 01

“I don’t know why I joined the group in the first place.” Val closed her sketch pad and put it into the satchel with the rest of her artwork. “It was you who persuaded me in the first place – I’ve never been any good at it.”

“This is only the third Wednesday,” Betty replied. “Neither of us can be a Picasso in three lessons.”

“You were always top of the class at school.”

“Well, Peter John is a brilliant artist and I’m so glad he decided to teach a class at the community centre. It’ll do us good to have an interest,” Betty said as she filled the kettle at the sink.

“He said you showed promise.”

“Your sunflower was bright. He said you had a unique style,” Betty countered.

“That could mean anything.”

“Are you taking sugar today?” Betty smiled.

“Yes. I need the energy. I’ve got to go home and work out where the light’s coming from.” Val sighed.

“I’m sure we’ll soon get the hang of it.”

Betty Silk and Val Freeman had been school friends. Both now widowed, they lived only a few doors from one another.

Their husbands had been good friends and Betty and Val shared happy memories with their children growing up around them. Now there were grandchildren.

The art class would be good for them both, Betty thought. New skills, new friends to meet.

If Val didn’t enjoy it there were other things the community centre had to offer. She could learn French, crochet, join the reading group or the Knitwits knitting group.

“I’m off.” Val got up from her chair and put her art satchel over her shoulder. “Thanks for the tea. I’ll call you when I’ve ruined the sunflower – or not.”

“It’ll be fine. Once you can work on it on your own it’ll turn out beautiful.”

“You’re kind, Betty, but some hopes. I’ll try anyway.” Val sighed.

“Attagirl!” Betty patted her friend’s arm. “And I’ll finish my sketch of the bowl of apples.”

“See you soon and we’ll compare.” Val smiled.

*  *  *  *

“The flower is lovely.” Betty sighed. “But . . .”

“But what?”

“Why has the vase two shadows?”

“It hasn’t,” Val argued.

“Yes, it has. Look, here and here.” Betty pointed.

“It’s a mark on the paper.”

“It isn’t. And where’s the light coming from?”

“From the left,” was the reply. “Look, you can see the light on the ladybird.”

“The ladybird is nice,” Betty said comfortingly.

“No, it’s you who’s being nice.” Val sighed. “I’ll make the other shadow into a bowl or something. Mr John may not notice.”

“He will.” Betty poured the tea.

“I think I’ll chuck it in and do something else.”

“What would that be?” Betty bit into a biscuit.

“Photography?” Val brightened. “I wouldn’t need sketch pad or paints, I’d just point the camera and click. Sunflowers, ladybirds, the lot!”

“You’ve still got to know where the light’s coming from, Val. And that camera the children gave you for Christmas? You haven’t even touched it yet.”

“I’ll soon get the hang of it. Everything’s digital now, no film to develop. Easy. I could go in for the Countryfile Calendar Competition.” Val put two spoons of sugar in her tea and stirred vigorously. “After the lesson I’ll tell Mr John I’m going to try something else.”

“The class is this afternoon. We’ll see what Mr John says. Don’t fret, Val, we’re all beginners.”

“Some of us are more beginners than others,” Val replied.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.