Under An Island Sun – Episode 30

The main characters from the story

“Hilary’s been keeping me up to date on that. I’m glad she’s found someone to brighten her life, and that she’s recovered after the accident,” Mum said, when Mairi assured her that Antonio had a heart of gold.

“I wonder when she’ll bring him to visit us.”

Now that the main rush of lambing was over, she had more time for tea breaks by the Aga and chats with Dad while Mum was at work, as well as looking out for likely jobs for herself.

She’d already seen a promising one on the Lancashire coast, not so far away from home. It all helped to take her mind off a certain someone.

Philippe had texted her just once, replying to her message.

He would have left the island by now, and was no doubt back at Nicole’s heel like a trained poodle whenever she called.

It was only when Mairi told herself that he’d probably never be of much use on a farm in the Lakes, anyway, that she realised she’d been picturing him in her home environment.

Even now, in unguarded moments, she still sometimes imagined his enigmatic smile at the sight of dry-stone walls, and his steady silence as they would stand together on the fells, just as they had stood taking in the view over Cofete.

Well, that wasn’t going to happen, was it? There was no point in entertaining such foolish notions.

She was back on Cumbrian soil, weather and all, where she belonged and with people who might not be glamorous, but who kept their feet firmly on the ground.

If Philippe wanted chic, he could have chic, and good luck to him.

At least Mairi, unlike Nicole, wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.

Graham, on the other hand, had stayed in touch, sending her a postcard from Rhodes, and texting daft photos of himself in various locations.

She’d sent him photos of lambs and the fells and agreed they must meet up for a drink when he next visited his family’s home in the Yorkshire Dales.

“He seems a nice lad,” Dad commented, seeing her glance towards the postcard, still propped up on the shelf over the Aga, now. “Any spark?”

Mairi shook her head.

“Sorry, but no.” She looked at the clock. It was already mid-morning.

“I’d better go out to the barn and check the feed. I’ll look the lambs over while I’m at it.”

She pulled on her mud-caked boots, woolly hat and warm jacket, and headed out with Jess at her heels.

As she walked across the farmyard to the barn, she noticed a white car had pulled up at the far end of the track, probably belonging to a tourist lost among the lanes.

Several ewes looked up from their pens as she entered the barn. Some of the nearest came to greet her, to be rewarded with a pat. She’d always felt at home with the sheep.

The feed all seemed in good condition, smelled right and should last even if bad weather held the grass back from growing.

The ewes and lambs all seemed comfortable, too.

Hopefully it shouldn’t be long before they were outside, feeling the sun on their backs.

The day they were released into the fields was always one of her favourites in the farming year.

Happy that everything was in order, Mairi started back towards the house, shoulders hunched against the cold.

She stopped when she noticed the car was still there.

As she watched, it started crawling along the track, carefully steering around the dips and potholes before it stopped a few yards away.

And so did her heart when the door opened and the driver got out.

Mairi stood rooted to the spot as Philippe walked towards her, his grey-green eyes looking directly into hers so that she forgot everything else.

“You came,” she said, when she found her voice.

“I did. Nicole and I are finished. I told her to go the day I got your message, when I realised what had happened.”

“That was weeks ago.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I had a lot to think about, and you had other things on your mind. But once I’d finished, I couldn’t stay away.”

The next thing Mairi knew, they had their arms around each other as tightly as if neither of them ever wanted to let go again.

She wasn’t sure how long they’d kissed, oblivious to the cold, when she had a sense of something moving behind the kitchen window, curiosity no doubt getting the better of her dad.

Jess gave an impatient whine.

“Come on,” Mairi said. “Let’s go inside.”

The End.

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.