The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 14

The gallery was indeed open and they spent a happy hour studying art.

“I could never aspire to that.” Val gazed up at an oversized picture of a full-blown rose.

“Just concentrate on your sunflower, Val. Small pictures are just as important,” Betty said.

“I’ll stick to my photos,” was the reply.

The smaller galleries were inspiring, too, with a chance to speak to the artists. They each bought a canvas bag with ST IVES SOCIETY OF ARTISTS printed on them.

“They’ll be handy to keep our art stuff in,” Betty said.

After all that inspiration it was mundane but necessary to buy groceries, newspapers and a magazine or two.

Clouds began to gather and it looked like rain so they decided to return to the cottage.

When they got back to Tangara it was to find Kit waiting outside, sitting in one of the deckchairs.

“Hello, you two. I figured you were out shopping. I came to tell you we’re singing shanties at the Crab and Mermaid tonight. If you’d like to come along we’d be pleased to see you.

“We get quite a crowd when the landlord chalks us up on the board outside.”

“Of course we’ll come,” they replied in unison.

“Seven-thirty, we begin.” Kit smiled. “Maybe you’d like to eat there. I could phone and book you a table, if you like, you not having a telephone here.”

“What a grand idea,” Betty said. “If you can book us for seven o’clock that would be very kind of you.”

“No problem.” Kit stood up. “The landlord cooks good fish and chips – big portions, too. I can recommend that.

“I must get back to the shop now, it’s nearly time to lock up. Then I’m off to Aircut’s for a quick rehearsal. See you later.”

“Wonderful!” Val exclaimed after he left. “No cooking tonight.”

“We’ll stow our groceries away and find something to wear,” Betty said. “We don’t need posh frocks.”

“Just something with a loose waistband.” Val laughed. “Those fish and chips sound very filling.”

* * * *

“This is the pub that we called into to get directions to Tangara.” Betty pulled into the car park of the small hostelry. It was nearly full.

“Lucky Kit booked a table for us,” she observed.

“Betty.” Val nudged her friend’s arm.

“What?” Betty took the keys out of the ignition.

“There’s a horse in one of the parking bays.” Val pointed. “A very big horse.”

“My word, so there is,” Betty exclaimed. “It must belong to one of the locals.”

“He seems quite contented. He’s tethered to a post and he’s eating the grass along the edge.”

“Well,” Betty said. “That won’t do him any harm. By the way, he’s a she.”

They laughed as they made their way to the door of the Crab and Mermaid.

“Good evening, ladies,” the landlord greeted them. “You managed to find Tangara, then?”

“Yes, thank you.” Betty smiled. “And we found a group of very talented shantymen, too.”

“So I’ve heard. Now, I have a table for you right near the action.” He guided them to a spot near what appeared to be a temporary stage. “You’ll see all the fun from here.”

He took their order.

“It has to be fish and chips,” Betty said. “They’ve come highly recommended.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” the landlord replied. “I’d guess that was Kit, eh?”

“You’re absolutely right.”

“What would you like to drink? Wine?” His pencil was poised above the little notepad.

“Just water, please,” Val said.

“Two glasses of good old Adam’s Ale, eh?” he said as he wrote it down.

“With ice, please.” Betty smiled.

He went away through the swing-door at the back of the bar which, judging from the enticing smells coming through, obviously led to the kitchen.

The message about the shanty men on the board outside the pub had worked its magic for the room was full to bursting with people talking and laughing together.

One was sitting in a corner by a window saying little to his two companions at the same table.

“Betty!” Val whispered.

“What?” Betty answered.

“That man in the corner over there, the one with the very blond hair? He’s the surfer we saw earlier today. I’m sure he is.”

Betty took a quick glance.

“You’re right, Val. He must be staying near here.”

“You were absolutely right, Betty, he does seem more mature than an average student, close up,” Val replied.

“Don’t stare, Val!” Betty said under her breath.

“I can’t help it,” Val replied. “He’s right in my sight line.”

“Then concentrate on your dinner – here it comes.” Betty smiled up at the girl bearing two plates of fish and chips.

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.