Downshire Diary

 

Downshire Diary – (01) Meeting Dorcas (Part 01)

He had always been a contented person and altogether happy with his lot, though not a wealthy person by any measurement he had everything he wanted and all was well in his world. He had a job that he enjoyed, and a family that he loved and got along well with and he lived in his own modest cottage in the pleasant Downshire village of Bushy Down. He thought he had everything a man could possibly want and he was content, that was, until a few weeks after his twenty ninth birthday when he met Dorcas Fox-Martin.

Downshire Diary – (01) Meeting Dorcas (Part 02)

Ben Overton parked his car in the street outside his Parents house and went inside. “Hey Ben” Helen said as he entered the kitchen “you got here safely then?” “Very funny” he countered

Downshire Diary – (01) Meeting Dorcas (Part 03)

Having plucked up the courage, at his Godsons Christening, to ask the stunningly beautiful Dorcas Fox-Martin out on a date and as he was bolstered by her positive response to such an extent he very foolishly neglected to cement the arrangement there and then and furthermore left the Christening party without securing either a firm date for their erm….. Date, or for that matter any contact details for her and it wasn’t until he got home that the full extent of his stupidity dawned on him.

Downshire Diary – (01) Meeting Dorcas (Part 04)

After a couple of fruitless hours of deliberation he still had no idea where to suggest that he and Dorcas should go on their first ate and then the phone rang. Ben took a deep breath and reluctantly picked up the receiver. “Hello” he said timidly “Ben?” a voice asked “Speaking” he replied “It’s Dorcas” she said

Downshire Diary – (01) Meeting Dorcas (Part 05)

It was about an hour’s drive to the Dancingdean Forest, but the time seemed to pass by very quickly as they chatted about something and nothing, always a good sign when there are no embarrassed silences. Once they arrived his trepidation deepened as he looked up and realized exactly how high 30 feet was. As if sensing his reservations Dorcas took hold of his arm. “Come on then” she said steering him in the direction of a large timber shack.

Downshire Diary – (02) Hiding In Plain Sight (Part 01)

The Pepperstock Hills National Park stretched from the bare, and often barren crags of Oxley Ridge in the North to the dense wooded southern slopes on the fringe of the Finchbottom Vale and from Quarry Hill, and the Pits in the West to Pepperstock Bay in the East.

Downshire Diary – (02) Hiding In Plain Sight (Part 02)

Peter was on top of a hill looking out across the valley and could make out the shimmering water on one of the old quarry pit lakes in the distance. He had no idea which of the lakes it was he was looking at as he’d lost his bearings a bit, after all he wasn’t really familiar enough with the area to find his way around without a map which of course he didn’t have in his pack, there were trails to follow but he hadn’t really been concentrating.

Downshire Diary – (02) Hiding In Plain Sight (Part 03)

Although Peter had ridiculed Sarah’s mode of dress, as they sat on a large flat block of stone in the fog, he would have confessed that she was more appropriately dressed than he was, at which point he shivered. “Do you have anything useful in your pack?” Sarah asked “It’s empty now I’m afraid” Peter replied “You did come well prepared” She said sarcastically

Downshire Diary – (02) Hiding In Plain Sight (Part 04)

Peter Nesbitt and Sarah Hallam sat amidst the ruins of Pepperstock Castle waiting for the mists to clear and were reluctant to depart, but by 4.15 they couldn’t really delay it any longer as watery sunshine was beginning to penetrate the remaining mist so Peter began handing the remnants of their impromptu picnic to Sarah which she packed neatly away.

Downshire Diary – (02) Hiding In Plain Sight (Part 05)

While Peter sat at The Pheasant in Quarry Hill while his stomach was doing somersaults Sarah was second guessing herself as she stood in front of the mirror wearing a little black dress. Her long brunette hair was down, instead of in a bun and her face was subtly made up. It had been a while since she had given herself the treatment and the face she was wearing was her third attempt to get it right.

Downshire Diary – (03) What is a Phlebotomist (Part 01)

Her full birth name was Hayley Harriet Hanson but that was before, at the tender age of 21, she made the regrettable decision to marry William Quimby. After her disastrous marriage ended though she chose to remain Harriet Quimby as she rather liked the name.

Downshire Diary – (03) What is a Phlebotomist (Part 02)

“You’re afraid of needles” she said “I wouldn’t say I was afraid” he responded defensively although in truth he was Trypanophobic. “What would you say then?” She asked “I am merely wary of them” he insisted. “Chicken” she said unsympathetically, she was well used to needle phobe’s and her easy manner and playful teasing would soon put him at his ease.

Downshire Diary – (03) What is a Phlebotomist (Part 03)

“So what was your medical for?” Harriet asked him as they walked through St Candida’s park “Blimey you’re even nosey when you’re off duty” Nathan responded “Yes” Harriet replied “So what’s it for?” “Oh I’m starting a new job next month so I decided I would get a full MOT before I started” he said “And what do you do?” she asked “I’m a University Professor” he said proudly

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 01)

Following Ben Overton and Dorcas Fox-Martin’s unusual first date back in June on the Tree Top Trail in Dancingdean Forest, Dorcas and he had spent a lot of time together on the full range of more conventional dates, country walks, museums, art galleries, pubs, restaurant’s, cinemas and bowling alleys.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 02)

After his sister exited the Express Way he and Dorcas stayed on and head for Pepperstock bay and the ferry terminal. Forty five minutes after parting company with Helen they rejoined the Expressway at the Pepperstock Bay end with Ben’s sister Abi and her husband on board and they were still making better time than his Mum and Dad.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 03)

After lunch as they had a couple of hours to kill, there was some debate as to how they should spend the time, but in the end they left the oldies and the baby to doze on the terrace and set off for a walk along the river on a route that the Overton’s had taken many times before.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 04)

The Overton’s and their respective partners hired 4 punts and divided up into their respective couples, and apart from punting being a tradition, so was the competiveness. And when the Overton clan took to the water the object of the exercise was not to get wet. They had all been in the river at one time or another over the years, some more than others, but when they were punting the winners were the ones who stayed dry.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 05)

After the family Overton had done battle on the River Willow they squelched their way back along the river bank to Chez Cush in high spirits. As they got closer to the house they could hear a happy chatter and the sound of glasses chinking. We walked around the side of the house towards the terrace and found the family gathered. “Oh goodness you’re all wet” Mum said “You’re worse than you were when you were children” “Aha the motley crew return” Uncle Herbert said jovially “Who won the Battle of the Willow?” “I did” Said Helen triumphantly as she squelched onto the terrace.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 06)

As the evening gave way to dusk all but the hardiest of the guests had moved into the marquee where shortly before the band started their set Ben’s kid brother Danny said he had an announcement to make and a murmur spread around the room in anticipation. “I would just like to make a short but significant announcement” he began and everyone was intrigued but Ben was reasonably sure it was not a marriage declaration as he knew Danny’s position on marriage very well indeed.

Downshire Diary – (04) Dating Dorcas (Part 07)

It was the next morning when he was getting ready for church that he made the decision. Because he had woken up that morning having had an epiphany. He quickly finished getting dressed and rushed downstairs and into the kitchen. “Where’s Dorcas?” he asked abruptly

Downshire Diary – (05) I’m Not a Nun! (Part 01)

It was dark and very cold as Dave McAteer sat on a bench in the garden of St Bernadette’s Covent Hospital in Abbeyvale, although in truth and furthermore it was snowing again. He was sitting there alone as he had just heard the news that his mother was dying and he was still somewhat in shock. It shouldn’t have been such a shock he had always known St B’s was more of a hospice, there were a number of wards for convalescents but mainly it was palliative care.

Downshire Diary – (05) I’m Not a Nun! (Part 02)

“I’m not a nun!” Elena shouted, “Why does everyone think I’m a nun?” “Sorry but you work in a convent hospital and you dress like a nun” he said in his defense. “I’m a nurse in a hospital, and this is my uniform” she said “No wonder, nobody ever asks me out, I can assure you that I’m not a nun!”

Downshire Diary – (06) Metropolitan Music Lover (Part 01)

Phlebotomist Harriet Quimby and Professor of music Nathan Robinson had been dating for close to six months and were getting very serious. To the untrained eye they seemed an odd couple, she a beautiful willowy health professional and him an unspectacular looking academic.

Downshire Diary – (06) Metropolitan Music Lover (Part 02)

Nathan had been away for three days lecturing on the question of whether Jazz had an effect on speakeasies or vice versa and Harriet was missing him terribly. She had been at his house all the time he had been away as she felt to lonely in her flat.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 01)

In the weeks following the great family gathering in Dulcet-on-Willow, to mark Uncle Herbert’s 60 th Birthday, Bens mother Eleanor was still in shock. The news of his proposal and subsequent engagement to Dorcas had taken her completely by surprise.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 02)

Dorcas had been spending a lot of time at Bens Cottage in Bushy Down and for the most part things went without a hitch but it wasn’t all plain...

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 03)

Ben had known John and his wife Carole for several years and they had always gotten on very well. When he first knew them they had two cats, Madeline and Emily, who were sisters, and they had them for several years but after Emily was killed on the road in the village Madeline ran away. They were both huge cat lovers so they decided they would get a rescued cat from an animal rescue center.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 04)

Since Ben Overton first met Dorcas Fox-Martin, at his parents’ house in Kiddingstone on the day when she almost ran him over on his way to his nephews christening, his life had been so different to the safe and comfortable existence he had known before.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 05)

In the week following the receipt of the invitation Ben had completely failed to pick up on her lack of enthusiasm about the invite to Gary’s but he had noticed that as they got closer to the night Dorcas seemed to be getting more and more withdrawn but being a man he didn’t think it was anything to worry about, not at first anyway.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 06)

His mate Gary was something of a figure of fun within their group, a fact to which he seemed completely oblivious. They had known him since infant school and they had always teased him. He was the type of kid who had a new hobby every week and this habit followed him all the way into adulthood.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 07)

Stix and Kylie were the first to arrive after Ben and Dorcas and her being drop dead gorgeous and Stix being a premier league letch he took to her straight away. There was a moment’s frostiness from Kylie but as soon as Dorcas gave her a wink and she realized Stix was being played she quickly warmed to her.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 08)

The Monday after their first weekend of officially living together was a normal workday for Ben but Dorcas had managed to book off a couple of days off work so she could unpack the last of her things and make herself at home. A lot of her making herself at home seemed to involve rearranging the cupboards and taking over the majority of the wardrobes.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 09)

Ben and Dorcas were in the car on our way to Finchbottom “Are you sure you don’t mind?” she asked “Of course” he said “I like your folks and I’m looking forward to a great Sunday lunch” “Oh” Dorcas said doubtfully “Good”

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 10)

In just a few short months Bens cozy little life had been completely turned upside down. From the moment Dorcas breezed into his life on a bright June day when she almost sent him into the afterlife from behind the wheel of her car. It was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him, and that changed everything in a heartbeat.

Downshire Diary – (07) Living with Dorcas (Part 11)

Dorcas and Ben were going to Mrs. Brownlow’s house, just a few doors down from their cottage. She was a lovely lady, who sadly was having to give up her cottage and move into a sheltered housing scheme on the other side of the village, where pets of any kind were not permitted. Doris had a sweet little two year old tabby female called Pandora for whom she was looking for a good home and apparently they were it.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 01)

When the Mornington Estate exercised its option to purchase Mornington Field from the Ministry Of Defence, it also acquired all the buildings and infrastructure on the airfield itself as well as 29 houses in the village, formally used as quarters for military personnel. Plans were immediately drawn up to optimize the newly acquired assets the moment the property was formally handed over on the 1 st of June 2014.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 02)

32 year old Dentist Lianne Martin moved into number 2, Military Row with her younger sister Kirsty and her six year old niece Sasha on the 18 th of July. Lianne worked in Finchbottom for Downshire Denticare and divided her time between there and Mornington. After her sister Kirsty and her boyfriend split up she and her daughter moved in with Lianne but it was a bit cramped in her flat so when the opportunity of a house in Mornington presented itself she snapped it up.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 03)

The very moment that Jonathon Walters said “Hello Lianne” She took an instant dislike to him. He was everything that she was not, he was tall and she stood 4ft 10 in her socks, his hair was dark and luscious and hers was mousy and wayward, he had penetrating blue eyes while hers were grey and a bit squinty, he had a strong square jaw and a dimple, she had a pointy chin with a mole on it.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 04)

On her first day in Highfinch when she was desperately trying to avoid Jonathon, she ducked into St Martin’s church and got talking to the Curate, Jenna Lawton and although she was not a practicing Christian or even any kind of a Christian for that matter they became firm friends. And furthermore she made a good many friends in the village as she got close to her first anniversary in Highfinch, all of whom continued to tell her what a wonderful man Jonathon was.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 05)

About half an hour into her reflection her train of thought was broken by the telephone ringing and she cursed under her breath about the interruption before she answered it. “Hello” she said flatly “Hello Lianne, it’s Jenna” said the curate, although by then she was the de facto Vicar of St Martins while the Reverend Mortimer was recovering from a heart attack.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 06)

Lianne was sure that once the wine had flowed a little she might mellow towards him or alternatively slap him in the face with a Nan bread. They had an excellent curry and a liberal quantity of beer and wine was consumed, apart from Jade who was on call. The conversation ebbed and flowed and the overall atmosphere was very congenial and as the evening wore on the Trivial Pursuit appeared to universal acclaim.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 07)

Lianne awoke early in the darkness to the sound of the Beach Boys emanating from the clock radio, and she could just make out in the half light, a large hand reaching out from below the duvet and silencing it, but then something occurred to her. “I don’t have a clock radio” she thought so she tried desperately to figure out where the hell she was and who exactly the owner of the large hand was.

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 08)

They sat at the kitchen table and ate breakfast in silence, although in truth it was lunch time and eating a fried breakfast at that time of day he in his dressing gown and she in the clothes she wore the night before, was all very decadent. The silence was broken when there was a knock on the front door. “Who’s that?” Lianne asked with panic in her voice and a look on her face like a startled rabbit. “I don’t know” he replied “I’ll find out”

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 09)

When Lianne had joined him downstairs she waited nervously. “Ok Frank’s busy out the front” he called from the kitchen where he was looking through the window. “What now?” she asked as he walked towards her

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 10)

He walked casually around to the front of the building where Janita stood secateurs in hand. “Jonathon!” she said “What a lovely surprise” “Hello Janita” he said and kissed her cheek “What brings you here?” Janita asked “I’m just dropping this off for Lianne” he said indicating the bag he was holding “Is she about?”

Downshire Diary – (08) First Impressions (Part 11)

When the door to the vicarage eventually opened in response to their knocking the vicar stood before them looking like death warmed over. “Good God” Jonathon said “Heavens above” exclaimed Julia

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 02)

It was a typical lunch club with lots of wine consumed as they sat around and chattered about everything and anything. But as soon as Cressida got up and went to the loo Julia said urgently. “Ok you lot, I need help, as I haven’t got a clue what to get Cressie for her birthday. Cressida’s 40 th was only a few days away and Julia didn’t have a clue what to get her.

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 03)

“It’s definitely not here” Julia said as they stood in the middle of Aldridge Arcadia Antiques “They must have sold it” “Let’s ask someone” Vicki suggested “Maybe we’ve just missed it” They walked disconsolately to the counter and spoke to an elderly man with gold rimmed spectacles behind the counter and asked him about the figurine. “Oh yes I remember the piece you mean” he said “A beautiful lady”

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 04)

“Good Morning ladies” Mark said, although he was looking at Julia as he spoke “Hello” they both responded “I believe we are expected” Julia added

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 05)

It was a glorious day at the very end of September, unseasonably warm and the type of day that England was made for. There was a big do on at the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club to celebrate Cressida van Meeuwen’s 40 th birthday, Cressie was the club Captains ex-wife and she was a very popular character, much more than he was, and a truly likeable person, as a result of which most of the village were there and subsequently a good deal of alcohol was consumed and quite a lot of it by Julia and Vicki.

Downshire Diary – (09) Julia’s Treat (Part 06)

The dinner at the White Horse was a great success and the evening ended outside the pub with cheeks being kissed and nothing more than that. They all enjoyed the evening but the girls had hoped it was a date, date, but it turned out to be dinner with friends More Friday meals followed however, the Phoenix in Shallowfield, the Runcible Spoon in Purplemere, the Huntsman’s Lodge in Childean and the Old Mill Inn in Mornington.

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 02)

It was a typical lunch club with lots of wine consumed as they sat around and chattered about everything and anything. But as soon as Cressida got up and went to the loo Julia said urgently. “Ok you lot, I need help, as I haven’t got a clue what to get Cressie for her birthday. Cressida’s 40 th was only a few days away and Julia didn’t have a clue what to get her.

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 03)

t was a pleasant drive through the Vale in the September sunshine as they headed to the village of Bracingly and the search of an antique shop called Aldridge Arcadia. It was quite a large village, not as large as Highfinch, but nonetheless quite substantial. When they located the shop they were amazed at how big it was and once inside they spent an hour looking on every shelf and surface but couldn’t see anything like what was described to them by Petra.

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 04)

Julia and Vicki stood outside Aldridge Arcadia Antiques and paused to look at each other and they were both amazed that it was an even bigger shop than Bracingly. Chris was rearranging the Wedgewood in a large glass cabinet when the two women walked in and he almost dropped the piece of Green Jasper he was holding. “These two are not time wasters” he thought to himself

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 05)

She could see that Julia and the other Mr. Aldridge were deep in conversation so she browsed the shelves until her Mr. Aldridge returned with the package and they had to say their goodbyes which was a shame because they had enjoyed the little exchange and so reluctantly Vicki and Julia headed towards the door but before they left Vicki turned around and said

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 06)

Since taking the elegant ladies for lunch Chris had plenty of time to think about the time they spent together and more importantly the implications of their conversations. Ever since he first met her he had thought of little else and he was really looking forward to seeing her again.

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 07)

On the evening of Halloween a very excitable Vicki rang the doorbell of her friend Julia’s house and when the door opened she was greeted by her friend dressed as a witch but she was way too excited to comment. “You’ll never guess what’s happened” she said “No you are correct so you had better tell me quick before I hit you with a bucket” Julia replied “Chris just phoned and he’s taking me out for dinner” she said

Downshire Diary – (10) Victoria Falls (Part 08)

Victoria picked the twin girls up at five and Cressida couldn’t thank her enough for stepping in. Lisa and Julie were incredibly excited in that way that only eight-year-old girls can be. The firework display they were going to watch was in Mornington-By-Mere, and apart from the fireworks and the obligatory bonfire, there were also an assortment of amusements, darts, shooting galleries, play your cards right, hook a duck and hoopla. And the girls had been looking forward to them as much as fireworks themselves.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 02)

Farron Sutherland had admired Cressida van Meeuwen from afar for several years before he even really knew her, there was something about her that shone through, but he did nothing else than admire.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 03)

It was a glorious day at the very end of September, unseasonably warm and the type of day that England was made for. There was a big do on at the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club to celebrate Cressida van Meeuwen’s 40 th birthday, Cressie was the club Captains ex-wife and she was a very popular character, much more than he was, and a truly likeable person, as a result of which most of the village were there and subsequently a good deal of alcohol was consumed.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 04)

Farron Sutherland and his apprentice Joe Frank left Petra van Meeuwen in the lounge and went in search of her sister-in-law Cressida to wish her a Happy Birthday. He knew a lot of people at the club, some of them were friends and some merely customers but there seemed to be more who were strangers than not and some of them were snobby and standoffish.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 05)

Cressida put her arm through Farron’s and they walked into the club, and once inside the cool lounge they spotted the hostess, Petra, draped in a comfy chair deep in conversation with a very red faced Joe Frank, so they walked over and joined them. “Are you still tormenting the poor lad?” Farron asked and then she did something Cressida had never known her do, she blushed.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 06)

When Farron and Joe drove into the courtyard of Cressida home she was in high spirits “Let me see, let me see” she squealed and jumped up and down on the spot with excitement. “Just be patient” he said in a very fatherly way but it had little or no effect. He opened the shutter which was out of Cressida’s line of sight so she tried to get closer.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 07)

After her 40 th birthday and that wonderful drunken kiss which was so full of promise Cressida expected her life to really begin at 40 as the old adage stated but alas it never came to anything and every day she was reminded of that night and that kiss when she looked at the hand crafted writing desk he made for her and it reminded her of her special birthday and the delicious snog that ended it.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 08)

F arron was up at 4 am and had mixed feelings about the day, he was looking forward to being with Cressida all day, but it was a long way to go for a game of Golf. When Cressida first asked him about a St Andrews Golf Day he thought it was a round of Golf at St Andrews but it turned out to be a game of Golf on St Andrews day, although even that turned out to be false.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 09)

Tipton Twelve Trees Golf Club was in a beautiful location in the heart of the Northern Downshire Hills and the views from the clubhouse were outstanding and they guessed that around the course they would be truly breath-taking. “Oh look” Vicki said “a Red Kite”

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 10)

When Farron reached his ball he was about 50 yards ahead of Cressie and he found it was sitting up invitingly. Cressida played her shot first and put it just short of the green, just a chip and a putt away. Julia and Vicki played their shots and were also well placed. So with an unhindered path to the green Farron had a real eagle chance. He selected his club and addressed the ball and told himself “Just hit it straight”

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 11)

Cressida had hoped to spend a bit longer with Farron after the Golf, in order for her to make an impression on him away from the village but the weather appeared to have put paid to that scheme, So after a quick hot drink everyone made a move which was when Cressida decided to use the weather to her advantage.

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 12)

Cressida opened the car door and Farron said commandingly “Just hold on a minute Cressida van Meeuwen” “What?” she replied meekly “What’s going on?” he asked “What do you mean?” she responded innocently

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 13)

“You are worthy” Cressida said crossly “You always have been, you just needed a change of scene to show you that” “So was that why you suggested the golf day?” he asked “Yes” Cressida replied “it was the only way I could think of to get us out of Highfinch and be together”

Downshire Diary – (11) Strategy for Love (Part 14)

Later as Cressida and Farron sat drinking coffee and liqueurs he asked her “So are you pleased with the outcome of your scheming?” “Oh yes” she said “pleased and surprised” “Surprised?” he queried “Yes I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m surprised how conniving I’ve been”

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 01)

Ben and Dorcas had been living together for just over a month and he found it difficult to remember the time he lived alone. It had been a bit of whirlwind romance and in just a few short months Bens cosy little life had been completely turned upside down.

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 02)

They had decided on a city break somewhere in Europe. “How about….” he pondered he knew she had been to the usual places, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels etc. so he cast his net a bit further. “Berlin” he suggested “Berlin?” she repeated “Oooh I haven’t been there”

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 03)

On Friday the weather was very English and it bucketed down with rain so they decided to make use of the Hotel facilities for the day and they began their holiday proper on Saturday morning after an early breakfast and they crammed in a lot on their first day out and about.

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 04)

“I suppose that’s the price we have to pay” Ben said “if we want to get married and have the big wedding” “But I don’t want to” she retorted “You don’t want to get married?” he asked with alarm “Of course I want to marry you hon” she said reassuringly “But I don’t want a big wedding” Dorcas said “I just want me and you” and then she kissed him

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 05)

Despite Pastor Morgan informing them that he couldn’t help Ben and Dorcas went on to explain why they had come to the decision that they had and the pressures of the big family wedding that had built and built and finally led them to take the course of action they were proposing.

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 06)

On Saturday morning they were up early and got downstairs for breakfast as soon as they started serving and all the time they were there breakfasting Dorcas kept fidgeting and looking at her watch or fiddling with her phone and she hardly ate a thing in fact Ben ate most of hers as well.

Downshire Diary – (12) Marrying Dorcas (Part 07)

Gary and Ben left the hotel at 11.30am in one of the two cabs Christophe had secured on their behalf and made their way to St Georges Church in Westend. When they walked in to the Church it was as he expected, largely empty. Pastor Morgan and his wife Clair were standing by the altar, and there was an elderly man, who he presumed was the organist as he was seated at the organ, other than that there was only Gary and the groom.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 01)

Steve Berry had always had a distinct dislike for Christmas, in fact he hated everything about it, despite all the jollity and faux fun because unlike many of his Christmas mad friends he had no happy Christmas memories to anesthetise him against the season.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 02)

Steve was in the Pig and Whistle, not exactly a real shit hole of a pub but not the most attractive or ambient but more importantly the only pub in town guaranteed not to play Christmas stuff because the landlord Phil hated the season almost as much as Steve did. It was his last night out before his Christmas exile and it was his intention to get totally shitfaced as he had almost three weeks to recover.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 03)

Steve Berry woke up the morning after he met The Girl in the Red Dress, with his face stuck to the mock leather of a bench seat and when he painfully...

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 04)

Over the week and a half that followed Steve’s press ganging by Holly, the Christmas Angel, between his first shift and Christmas Eve, Holly had done her level best to elicit the full details of why it was that Steve hated Christmas and everything about it quite so much.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 05)

With it being Christmas Eve they knew it was going to be busy in the pub that day so in addition to Holly and Steve there were barmaids Clare and Petra and in the kitchen were Stefano and Ausra.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 06)

Holly disappeared upstairs for half an hour and when she came back down she had changed outfits again. She wore a different red Dress but this time it had white trim and a much more daring neckline But instead of the customary stripy tights on her lovely legs she was wearing black tights with holly motifs, which Steve thought was very appropriate as he watched her as he wiped down the tables in readiness for the next wave of festive punters.

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 07)

Holly had walked to the door with Debbie to see her off and wished her a Happy Christmas again and then stared out the window for a long time as she watched Debbie get underway. When she returned to the bar she said “You’d better get off as well Steve” “No I’ll stay a bit longer” he replied “This might be your last chance” she said “it’s coming down like billy-o” “That’s ok” he said “I can always kip in the lounge bar again if it comes to that”

Downshire Diary – (13) The Girl in the Red Dress (Part 08)

“Not everyone was raised by Mary Poppins” Steve said facetiously “That’s not very fare” Holly said hurtfully “And I suppose you think my Christmases were happy?” she asked forcefully but Steve merely snorted

Downshire Diary – (14) The Girl in the Christmas Dress (Part 01)

Steve Berry had always had a distinct dislike for Christmas, in fact he hated everything about it, despite all the jollity and faux fun because unlike many of his Christmas mad friends he had no happy Christmas memories to anesthetise him against the season.

Downshire Diary – (14) The Girl in the Christmas Dress (Part 02)

It was as a result of them being snowed in at the Pig and Whistle on Christmas Eve which led to Steve Berry celebrating his first ever Christmas at the age of 30 and why he was sitting at the bar nursing a cup of coffee in the clothes he had been wearing the night before.

Downshire Diary – (14) The Girl in the Christmas Dress (Part 03)

Steve Berry had just reached the point where he could safely leave the kitchen and get showered and shaved when Holly reappeared and he was stopped in his tracks. She looked stunning, her mousy hair, washed and styled was adorned with Christmas slides and she was wearing a white wool dress decorated with poinsettias.

Downshire Diary – (14) The Girl in the Christmas Dress (Part 04)

As soon as the Queens speech was over Holly switched off the TV “What now?” he asked “Now we sit and talk” She replied “You mean “talk”” Steve said “Yes” “Do we have to” He said “It’s been such a lovely day” “How are we supposed to learn about each other if we don’t talk?”

Downshire Diary – (14) The Girl in the Christmas Dress (Part 05)

When Steve returned to the lounge Holly was sitting on the sofa with a Christmas present on her lap and she was smiling broadly. “Happy Christmas” she said as she handed him the gift “What’s this?” he asked “Well open it and find out” Holly answered

Downshire Diary – (15) The Girl in the Green Dress (Part 01)

Steve Berry had always had a distinct dislike for Christmas, in fact he hated everything about it, despite all the jollity and faux fun because unlike many of his Christmas mad friends he had no happy Christmas memories to anesthetise him against the season.

Downshire Diary – (15) The Girl in the Green Dress (Part 02)

Despite his initial misgivings Steve had thoroughly enjoyed working with Holly at the Pig and whistle and he was still uncertain quite how she managed to affect that, but affect it she did and during the ten days he spent working for her, she had turned his life upside down and it culminated at closing time on Christmas Eve as the church bells at St Mary’s chimed midnight, with him wishing her a Merry Christmas and kissing her.

Downshire Diary – (15) The Girl in the Green Dress (Part 03)

A good New Year’s Eve was absolutely vital for Holly so with that in mind she and Steve had to spend most of the afternoon at the Cash and Carry stocking up on vital supplies. “Right that’s the lot Hon” she said “Are you sure that’s enough?” Steve asked facetiously

Downshire Diary – (15) The Girl in the Green Dress (Part 04)

So they all sat together drinking their tea and coffee and laughing at the exploits of one or two of the more enthusiastic punters but very soon there was only Holly and Steve left “Do you want another tea?” he asked “I’d rather have a proper drink” she replied “You could join me if you’re staying over” He nodded and went behind the bar and returned shortly with two glasses of wine and as they sat together drinking she said “My feet are so sore”

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martin’s.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 02)

Joe Frank loaded the dining set onto the van and then drove to the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club to pick up Farron where he had been attending the Friday Lunch club which had evolved over time from a loose collection of members of the Club, which didn’t include Joe. Not that he minded and it wasn’t as if he could play golf anyway and he wasn’t much of a socializer, although he did have friends in the village.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 03)

Cressida’s 40 th was only a few days away and Julia didn’t have a clue what to get her. “I need help too” Vicki admitted but the next five minutes consisted of everyone else at the table relating the nature of their gift.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 04)

Petra was 26 years old and was staying with her sister-in-law Cressida and her twin girls. She had divorced her brother Clifford two years earlier and she thought he was a total idiot for letting Cressie slip through his fingers. She thought Cressida was brilliant and like everyone else she was a little bit in love with her, and she definitely had no sympathy for her brother.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 05)

In the six days between their first meeting and the following Sunday they didn’t see each other, not to talk to anyway, they had caught glimpses of each other around the village but nothing more than that until a glorious Sunday at the very end of September, an unseasonably warm day and the type of day that England was made for.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 06)

Joe Frank and his boss Farron Sutherland left Petra van Meeuwen in the lounge and went in search of her sister-in-law Cressida to wish her a Happy Birthday. Because Cressida was such a popular character, the party was very well attended and he knew a lot of people that were there.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 07)

Joe Frank watched on from a safe distance as Petra van Meeuwen directed traffic and commanded her black skirted and white bloused minions to great effect until he was joined by his friend Jonathon Walters who said “She’s lovely isn’t she?” “Yes she is” Joe agreed “So what are you doing out here” Jonathon asked

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 08)

Cressida van Meeuwen, the birthday girl, and the man she wanted to be her beau, Farron Sutherland, joined Petra and Joe on the comfy chairs and Petra ordered a large pot of tea and then they were joined in dribs and drabs by other members of the Friday Lunch club, Julia Thomas and Vicki Paulding were the first to join followed in quick succession by local dentists Jonathan Walters and his new girlfriend Lianne Martin and then TV presenter Nick Faulkner who accompanied Jenna Lawton the de facto Vicar of St Martins and the impromptu tea party lasted for an hour before people started to drift away.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 09)

Cressida loved Art Deco and in the two years since her divorce she had gradually transformed her home from the blandness of mass produced Scandinavian imported furniture chosen by her ex-husband, whose favourite colour was beige, to an Art Deco paradise.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 10)

“It is lovely” Petra said as Farron and Cressida hugged beside the Writing Desk. “Gorgeous” Joe said and Petra turned to look at him and realized he had been looking at her when he said it and blushed deeply and to cover her embarrassed she said to her sister-in-law “Shall we take it inside?” which broke up the prolonged hug. “Oh yes good idea” Cressida said wanting to do anything but relinquish her hold on Farron.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 11)

Joe woke up on the morning after he kissed Petra with very mixed feelings, his overwhelming emotion was of being thrilled, then there was the disbelief that it had actually happened and when he finally accepted the fact that it had actually happened he was confused about why the most beautiful bubbly outgoing girl was interested in an ordinary shy and retiring gawky cabinet maker, and an apprentice at that.

Downshire Diary – (16) When Opposites Attract (Part 12)

On Thursday while Farron was offering Joe a partnership over a quiet drink in the Old Mill Inn in Mornington, Petra was dressed in a smart suit and sitting alone in the lounge of the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club waiting to have a meeting with David Pike.

Downshire Diary – (17) Healing Hands (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (17) Healing Hands (Part 02)

The Taliban may have been responsible for taking his legs but Paul Russell’s other problems were of his own making. It was no wonder his mother was so exasperated as his self-esteem had been blown away along with his legs in fact it was less than zero as he never ventured out of his room and he hid from the world.

Downshire Diary – (17) Healing Hands (Part 03)

They spent the half an hour after his disclosure that he would miss her if she stopped seeing him, chatting it through and she said she wouldn’t go through with her threat to hand his case on to Eileen on condition that he engaged with her and started to wear his prosthetic’s.

Downshire Diary – (17) Healing Hands (Part 04)

One day her schedule was lighter than usual so she was expecting a prolonged visit with Paul, as she walked along the path to white Rose Cottage a couple were just leaving the house next door and as was her habit she smiled and said “Good morning”

Downshire Diary – (17) Healing Hands (Part 05)

It was on the 1 st of July and although her schedule was very heavy in the morning she would make sure she got her full allotted time with Sgt Russell, but it was with a little sadness that she approached the Russell’s Cottage for the final time.

Downshire Diary – (18) Juliana the Muse (Part 01)

His name was Owen Carrington and he was a writer and he was sitting in front of his laptop staring at an open page in Word headed “An Untitled Screenplay by Owen Carrington” below it was one other word “The” followed by a space and the pulsing cursor irritatingly waiting for more, but if he were to give it more, it would, like some crazed addict, just keep demanding more and more words, he knew it would never be satisfied.

Downshire Diary – (18) Juliana the Muse (Part 02)

Owen’s Uncle Glyn died on New Year’s Day and left him his Cottage and a small cash sum more than enough to keep him going for a few more years. He left it to him because he felt they were kindred spirits, he wanted to be a writer himself but his father made him get a proper job, Owen really liked him and he was a great story teller, and it was his Uncles colourful tales that helped him when he was writing his novels.

Downshire Diary – (18) Juliana the Muse (Part 03)

Owen left the Green Oak after finishing his pint, he would have had a second but it was too noisy so he set off for a walk around the village and headed towards the Church of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal and then he spent another two hours strolling around the environs of Denmead and found himself back in Normandie woods hot, tired and still lacking inspiration.

Downshire Diary – (18) Juliana the Muse (Part 04)

“Well that was an interesting day” he said as he climbed into his bed and as he drifted off to sleep he reran the most interesting aspects of the day through his head, namely the goodnight kiss with Juliana in which she had said she wanted to be his girlfriend. He began his sojourn that morning searching for a muse and by the time the day as ended he had found her and she was so much more to him than a muse.

Downshire Diary – (19) The Girl in the Easter Dress (Part 01)

It was fast approaching Easter, another significant event in the calendar that held no fond memories for him. Steve Berry had grown up with a dislike for all family orientated occasion, New Years, Easter, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and especially Christmas with all its nauseating jollity and faux fun. Unlike most of the people he knew he had no happy memories to anesthetise him against those occasions.

Downshire Diary – (19) The Girl in the Easter Dress (Part 02)

The Pig and Whistle had once been the Abbeyvale Railway Hotel, at least up until the second world war when the Station was bombed out of existence by the Luftwaffe. In the post war years when the much of Abbeyvale was rebuilt a new station was also built, but it was inexplicably sited a mile away from its Hotel. The Hotel was then sold off in 1948, after the railway network and infrastructure was nationalized and renamed the Pig and Whistle.

Downshire Diary – (19) The Girl in the Easter Dress (Part 03)

Holly had worked in hospitality since she was at college and of all the things she had learned the one that stood out for her was not to put all your eggs in one basket. You had to diversify yes, but equally you shouldn’t try to be all things to all men.

Downshire Diary – (19) The Girl in the Easter Dress (Part 04)

It was midway through March when Holly and Steve sat down to catch their collective breaths one evening on the patio in the pub garden. “You know what’s next?” Holly said “Another drink” Steve said hopefully “The garden” she said bleakly

Downshire Diary – (19) The Girl in the Easter Dress (Part 05)

Holly and Steve knew that the improvements to the beer garden would bring in great rewards with summer just around the corner. It wasn’t quite an uninterrupted view of the river Trott, as they thought it expedient to have a small wicket fence put up to separate the garden from the running water and thus prevent small children venturing to close and being washed away.

Downshire Diary – (20) The Girl at the Corner Shop (Part 01)

The village of Brocklington was on the River Brooke about six miles downstream from Sharping St Mary in the Finchbottom Vale which was nestled comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.

Downshire Diary – (20) The Girl at the Corner Shop (Part 02)

Sam Townsend really fancied Adele Young, who worked at the corner shop and he always flirted outrageously with her but he hadn’t been able to use that to his advantage and ask her out, he always entered the shop with the intention of asking her out but she was so seldom alone, and when she was his courage failed him.

Downshire Diary – (20) The Girl at the Corner Shop (Part 03)

It was Saturday morning and July had arrived and furthermore it had delivered to the folk of Downshire a very hot day, the hottest day of the year that far in fact. It was Sam’s day off from work and his sister Ruth had arranged for them to take her two daughters swimming in Purplemere, which was always great fun.

Downshire Diary – (21) The Big and the Beautiful (Part 01)

Owen Carrington’s star was definitely in the ascendency after the success of his first Romantic novel “The Maiden Muse” but the change in the fortunes of his writing career were not universally well received, his publisher liked it, his new agent loved it, the bank manager was ecstatic about it but his mother was disappointed by it because she thought it was a bit girlie.

Downshire Diary – (21) The Big and the Beautiful (Part 02)

It was the first week in June when Owen found himself sitting in the reception at Bramstock, Goodman, Crossfield and Bushe, the firm of Solicitors handling his late Uncles estate. He wasn’t there for anything specific it just happened that he was up in Abbottsford for the day.

Downshire Diary – (21) The Big and the Beautiful (Part 03)

He was sitting at the bar at The Black Heart Hotel, drinking a large Whisky and Soda and doing a spot of people watching, an occupational hazard for writers, but the bar was so empty that he exhausted that exercise in less than five minutes.

Downshire Diary – (21) The Big and the Beautiful (Part 04)

When Dawn left her house she was running late for a parish council meeting and wasn’t watching where she was going when she bumped heavily into another pedestrian and they both fell to the ground, her victim on their back and her on top of them and when she was lying there nose to nose the smell of their aftershave was delicious and when he used his phone as a torch she got a glimpsed of the gorgeous smelling casualty she was suitably enamored with his look that she kissed him and was delighted to find he was a damn good kisser.

Downshire Diary – (21) The Big and the Beautiful (Part 05)

As Juliana approached Owens house she made a quick diversion and called at Dawn’s house first so they could go to Owens together and when Juliana and Dawn left the house they were both made up to the nines.

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 01)

Jade Flowers stood barely five feet tall and was slender and small and the afternoon sun shone on her shoulder length blonde hair. She was a Doctor, and a very pretty Doctor at that, though that alone hadn’t been sufficient to change her marital status in her first 34 years, but despite that she was very experienced and well respected in the village of Highfinch where she practiced.

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 02)

On that fateful day however her trip was curtailed when just ahead of her a school girl was hit by a car, it wasn’t the drivers fault, the girl just stepped out, distracted by her mobile phone, and bang she was flying through the air. Jade was two cars behind the one that hit the girl, a red Espace, and she immediately got out of her car and ran to assist, phoning for an ambulance as she did so.

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 03)

In the Emergency Department she spoke to the Sister in charge who informed her that the girl had gone straight upstairs for emergency surgery but was now in the intensive care unit. So Jade thanked her and went upstairs to the ICU.

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 04)

“The school isn’t sending anyone” Ms Hardacre responded with surprise. “Why not?” Jade responded “It’s not our responsibility” Hardacre replied “That’s a disgraceful attitude” Jade said angrily “She is one of your charges, she is your responsibility, whatever happened to “in loco parentis”“

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 05)

Jade went to the hospital chapel to see the chaplain but she was told he was already performing the last rights on an elderly patient. So she left a message for Reverend John Stadius and then Jade decided she could not let Clarissa end her life alone so she volunteered to sit at her bedside until the end.

Downshire Diary – (22) Duty of Care (Part 06)

So it appeared to Jade that she had failed Clarissa because she didn’t have any wealthy or powerful friends of her own to employ. But she only thought that because she wasn’t fully appraised of the facts.

Downshire Diary – (23) Meeting the Molesworth’s (Part 01)

Owen Carrington’s star was definitely in the ascendency after the success of his first Romantic novel “The Maiden Muse” but the change in the fortunes of his writing career were not the thing that was preoccupying him that morning.

Downshire Diary – (23) Meeting the Molesworth’s (Part 02)

Catherine was a bit of a chubster when she was a teen, but that wasn’t why he didn’t take advantage of her, he wasn’t that shallow, she was a cute girl, no, he rejected her advances because she was only a child and he was all but a man.

Downshire Diary – (23) Meeting the Molesworth’s (Part 03)

It was about an hour into his trek when he realized he was hopelessly lost and blundering about in the woods and he was wishing he’d accepted the lift. The woods were getting thicker and thicker and darker and darker and he was starting to get despondent when he saw a glimmer of light though the trees.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 01)

It was a beautiful June evening when Neil Etherington and his colleague Jonathon Hardman were sat by the river in the beer garden of the Mulberry Tree in the village of Brocklington, which was about six miles downstream of the River Deighton discussing the upcoming weekend.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 02)

When Neil Etherington arrived a few minutes late at the Abbottsford Regents Hotel for a meeting with Sam Barraclough, he was totally unprepared for who it was that was waiting to greet him in reception, the whippet wielding Yorkshireman he was expecting, because of the name, turned out to be a very pretty young woman by the name of Samantha, who was a petite young blonde, and was stunningly beautiful, that would teach him to jump to conclusions or indeed to Judge a book by its cover.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 03)

Samantha pushed open the meeting room door and held it open for Neil to enter. “Thank you” he said and once again their eyes met and they held each other’s gaze a moment to long and once more they both blushed again.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 04)

Samantha Barraclough was approaching her 28 th birthday and was a project consultant for the family business, Barraclough Ventures and the project that Samantha’s company was heading up was the regeneration of the former Industrial Power House of the county, Northchapel.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 05)

Sam and Neil went back to the meeting room and got back to business, and she recapped all the salient points while he tried his best not to be distracted by her beauty, which wasn’t easy. Alas all too soon their business meeting was at a close “We will have to arrange another meeting in a couple of weeks”

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 06)

Because he had had too much to drink Neil left his car in the Regents Hotel car park and he stopped at the first fast food that he came to which happened to be a an Emperor Burger Bar and ordered the biggest one he could see on the menu with fries.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 07)

When Downshire declared on 225 for 7 and the umpires called lunch Neil and Jonathon joined the throng to use either the facilities or one of the many food and refreshment outlets. While Jonathon queued for two pints of Mornington Special, Neil joined a separate queue for sandwiches and crisps.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 08)

She was delighted to have trodden on his toe and instigated a prolonged conversation and then after successfully giving her number to Neil by the door to the executive boxes Samantha was feeling very pleased with herself and immediately told her best friend Isabelle Decoene.

Downshire Diary – (24) Never Judge a Book (Part 09)

“Was that him?” Isabelle asked “the one you’ve been bending my ear about all weekend” “Yes that’s him” Sam said proudly “He’s a bit ordinary” Izzy said and Samantha frowned “His friend was alright though”

Downshire Diary – (25) The Girl in the White Silk Dress (Part 01)

When Steve Berry proposed to Holly Davis in the Pig and Whistle in Abbeyvale on Easter Sunday, in front of a packed pub to great acclaim it set off an unstoppable chain of events which consumed not just Steve and Holly but everyone around them as well.

Downshire Diary – (25) The Girl in the White Silk Dress (Part 02)

After Holly and Steve had offered the bedsitters to the staff they were left with one unoccupied room that they could rent out for extra revenue. But then Steph suggested “Save it for when we get a chef”

Downshire Diary – (25) The Girl in the White Silk Dress (Part 03)

Having returned the wedding dress to its box and safely hidden it from Steve’s prying eyes her thought returned to the day itself. The wedding breakfast was problematic as the cooks were also the Groom and Best man and the waitresses were the bridesmaids.

Downshire Diary – (25) The Girl in the White Silk Dress (Part 04)

Saturday arrived and Holly got ready at the pub while Steve dressed at the Hotel which would serve as his abode for his last night as a single man and his first as a married one, albeit in a different room for the nuptials. The morning was very relaxed, he took a leisurely bath and performed his ablutions, but by lunch time when Steph arrived with his suit and shoes etc. the nerves had set in and the joke he made to Holly about not turning up was suddenly ringing hollow, as he though “What if she doesn’t turn up?”

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 02)

When Lorraine Weaving took over as practice manager of the Highfinch Surgery she quickly made new friends as she made her mark in her quiet and unassuming way and Lorraine was well liked by staff and patients alike and she firmly believed she had found her niche.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 03)

The Annual Finchbottom Vale Health Care Summer Ball was for health employees of the Vale and its environs and that year it was being held at the Clayton Manor Hotel in the village of Clayton. It was always a grand affair, Dinner jackets and evening dresses were compulsory and tickets were always in great demand.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 04)

After dancing with Captain Loosemore at the Summer Ball she had been able to think of little else. As the practice manager she was kept very busy but still her mind wandered so she was dreading the August Bank Holiday weekend so she spent the three days in her little house doing chores. It had been eight weeks since she had danced the night away with her Captain and she still hadn’t heard from him.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 05)

Lorraine’s head was in a spin after finally getting word from Captain Loosemore. It was strange the effect of not hearing from him for so long had had on her, after all she had only met him twice, once briefly at the surgery and a second time at the Summer Ball. Yet he had filled her thoughts every day since the Ball.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 06)

Lorraine was still nervous when she arrived in Purplemere on the evening of their date and despite her best efforts she was about half an hour early, which gave her half an hour in which to conceive of a thousand and one scenarios in which the evening could go horribly wrong.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 07)

Following their meal in Purplemere, there were further dates over the next few months and they always went the same way, they would have an immensely enjoyable evening ending with a kiss either by her car or on the doorstep of her house.

Downshire Diary – (26) Captain of her Heart (Part 08)

The kissing on the sofa progressed very satisfactorily and she was getting increasingly hot, and increasingly impatient. Their lips parted and Peter looked deeply into her eyes and said “I want you” “Thank you God” Lorraine screamed in her head, but out loud she just said “I want you too”

Downshire Diary – (27) The Stationary Cupboard Incident (Part 01)

Anthony Flood had known Fiona Fortson for a little over six months, she was in his sister Jane’s bible study group, which was held at his house every two or three weeks. At the time of their first meeting she was 34 and he was 12 years her senior. Fiona stood a towering 4 feet 11 in her stocking feet and when he saw her face with those large saucer eyes and a warm mesmerizing smile it was a pivotal moment for him.

Downshire Diary – (27) The Stationary Cupboard Incident (Part 02)

The stationary cupboard incident occurred on one of his rare Sunday Service appearances, for although Anthony was a Christian he was not one of its finest examples, when it came to the Sunday worship particularly because he worked at Hanratty’s Department Store in the Abbottsford’s Phoenix shopping Centre.

Downshire Diary – (27) The Stationary Cupboard Incident (Part 03)

Once inside the stationary cupboard he looked at the shelving and had to admit that even he couldn’t reach the top shelf without the use of the steps. “Let me go up the steps” he suggested gallantly after examining the rickety contraption “No I’d better go” she said, “If I fall you can catch me”

Downshire Diary – (28) Mother’s Day Treat (Part 01)

Anna Harwood and her daughter Clare lived in the village of Clarence which was a mile or so from Purplemere. She was 55 years old, pale skinned, strawberry blonde, turning to silver, five foot nothing tall and whippet thin and her daughter was just a younger version of her mother. Her husband David had died the year before and as they only had one child there was only the two of them.

Downshire Diary – (28) Mother’s Day Treat (Part 02)

Anna and Clare Harwood were greeted in reception by a very attractive specimen of a man and Anna could see Clare perk up. He was over six feet tall, lean and muscular, very good looking and well groomed, he was manicured and pedicured, toned, tanned and smelt like a perfume counter. Naturally Anna marked him down as gay.

Downshire Diary – (28) Mother’s Day Treat (Part 03)

The collision between the Harwood’s and Roger Greven and his nephew Phil Grice resulted in Clare falling into a planter and Roger lying flat on his back with Anna on top of him nose to nose. Phil Grice was the only one left standing and unsure who he should help first.

Downshire Diary – (28) Mother’s Day Treat (Part 04)

During the remainder of their first day and all of the next, despite their best efforts, they didn’t see Roger or his nephew. But they had a great time using the facilities and enjoyed the full range of what was on offer, fitness classes, gym, rock sauna, infra-red sauna, aroma steam room, ice fountain, drench showers, Jacuzzi, a Romanesque pool, Reflexology, Raki, facials, scalp massage, hand massage, Manicure and Pedicure you name it they had it.

Downshire Diary – (29) The Girl in the Maternity Dress (Part 01)

It was Christmas Eve and it was understandably busy as Steve Berry stood behind the bar drying glasses and he watched his wife Holly as she walked around the lounge bar talking to the customers as was her usual habit.

Downshire Diary – (29) The Girl in the Maternity Dress (Part 02)

Simon Clarke had been working at the Granite Hill Country House Hotel where the Berry’s were staying for their honeymoon as a sous chef for an arrogant sadistic bully. Now he was a Chef in his own right and Steve and Stephanos had grown as cooks under him. So the reputation of the Pig and Whistles restaurant contributed greatly to the busyness on Christmas Eve.

Downshire Diary – (30) The Captain’s Bride (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (30) The Captain’s Bride (Part 02)

The first of many dates for Lorraine and Peter was in Purplemere but it wasn’t until after a carefully planned supper at her house in Highfinch that they made love for the first time And as they lay panting in the afterglow Lorraine said breathlessly. “Oh Peter, I love you”

Downshire Diary – (31) She’ll be Wearing Pink Pyjamas (Part 01)

Anthony Flood was approaching his 44th birthday and had never felt so young and vital as he had since the episode when had kissed Fiona Fortson in the stationary cupboard, or more precisely she had kissed him.

Downshire Diary – (31) She’ll be Wearing Pink Pyjamas (Part 02)

Fiona had a wonderful work ethic, which was something else he admired her for and she held down three part time jobs. Monday to Wednesday she worked at Abbotts Gardens Centre, Thursdays and Fridays she worked Dustbusters domestic cleaning services and at weekends she worked in the café and bookshop at St Joseph’s church, which was situated on the edge of the town centre.

Downshire Diary – (31) She’ll be Wearing Pink Pyjamas (Part 03)

As soon as Jane had left he went upstairs and showered and shaved. Then he got in his car and drove the six miles to the small block of flats where Fiona lived He walked up to the first floor and rang the bell and a few minutes later it was opened by Judith Small the flat mate.

Downshire Diary – (32) Mother’s Day Duty (Part 01)

Clare Harwood and her mother Anna lived in the village of Clarence which was a mile or so from Purplemere. She was 27 years old, pale skinned, strawberry blonde, five foot nothing tall and whippet thin and her mother was just an older version of her daughter.

Downshire Diary – (32) Mother’s Day Duty (Part 02)

Clare and Anna were greeted in reception by a very attractive specimen of a man and Clare’s spirits rose. He was over six feet tall, lean and muscular, very good looking and well groomed, he was manicured and pedicured, toned, tanned and smelt like a perfume counter.

Downshire Diary – (32) Mother’s Day Duty (Part 03)

The collision between the Harwood’s and Roger Greven and his nephew Phil Grice resulted in Clare falling into a planter and Roger lying flat on his back with Anna on top of him nose to nose. Phil Grice was the only one left standing and unsure who he should help first.

Downshire Diary – (32) Mother’s Day Duty (Part 04)

During the remainder of their first day and all of the next, despite their best efforts, they didn’t see Roger or his nephew. But they had a great time using the facilities and enjoyed the full range of what was on offer, fitness classes, gym, rock sauna, infra-red sauna, aroma steam room, ice fountain, drench showers, Jacuzzi, a Romanesque pool, Reflexology, Raki, facials, scalp massage, hand massage, Manicure and Pedicure you name it they had it.

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 01)

It was a beautiful June evening when Jonathon Hardman and his colleague Neil Etherington were sat by the river in the beer garden of the Mulberry Tree in the village of Brocklington, which was about six miles downstream of the River Deighton discussing the upcoming weekend.

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 02)

It was Friday morning and another glorious June day as John set off from the village it was an hour and a half drive from Brocklington to Abbottsford even on a good day and that Saturday morning was apparently a very good day and he arrived at the Black Heart Hotel bang on time to find Neil was still in the restaurant and it was 9 o’clock.

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 03)

Samantha Barraclough was in one of the executive boxes, as was Isabelle and when Sam returned to the box she couldn’t wait to tell her best friend Isabelle Decoene that she had given Neil her number.

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 04)

“Was that him?” Isabelle asked “the one you’ve been bending my ear about all weekend” “Yes that’s him” Sam said proudly “He’s a bit ordinary” Izzy said and Samantha frowned “His friend was alright though”

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 05)

The love that bloomed between Samantha Barraclough and Neil Etherington in Abbottsford in June went from strength to strength and as their closest friends Jonathon Hardman and Isabelle Decoene assumed that they would see each other on a regular basis.

Downshire Diary – (33) The Slow Burn (Part 06)

Despite it being her birthday Isabelle hadn’t been her normal sparky self that day, the first thing that brought her down was that she still hadn’t managed to hook up with Jonathon Hardman and the second thing was that she didn’t have him or any other significant other in her life. However she had enjoyed the evening immensely and had not been given any time to think, the next day would be a different matter.

Downshire Diary – (34) Moonlighting (Part 01)

Sharon Black was a pretty nurse with straw coloured hair, and despite the fact that she was almost six feet tall, she looked like a breadth of wind might blow her away. But she was a very strong character and full of self-confidence, but it hadn’t always been that way because when she was a young girl she lived in the village of Bracefield in the Finchbottom Vale and she was painfully shy.

Downshire Diary – (34) Moonlighting (Part 02)

Sharon Black crept slowly and quietly down the stairs from her patient Nuria Booth’s room so as not to disturb Mr Booth. She tip toed her way down the staircase until she was startled by a sound, which made her stop and then after listening intently for a full minute she then carried on.

Downshire Diary – (34) Moonlighting (Part 03)

Although Sharon Black had grown very fond of Michael Booth in the months that she had been nursing his terminally ill wife, and flattered though she was when she caught him ogling her legs, she had far too much professional integrity to act on her feelings.

Downshire Diary – (34) Moonlighting (Part 04)

“Hello Michael” Sharon said pushing the study door open “trouble sleeping again?” “I’m afraid so” he said “I was just getting a drink” she replied “Would you like one?” “No I’m fine” he said “I’m just going to read for a bit”

Downshire Diary – (34) Moonlighting (Part 05)

Sharon continued in palliative care at the Winston Churchill Hospital as well as moonlighting for the agency but all the while Michael wasn’t far from her thoughts but it wasn’t until more than three months after the funeral that she heard from him again.

Downshire Diary – (35) An Unexpected Visitor (Part 01)

Clare Harwood and her mother Anna lived in the village of Clarence which was a mile or so from Purplemere. She was 27 years old, pale skinned, strawberry blonde, five foot nothing tall and whippet thin and her mother was just an older version of her daughter.

Downshire Diary – (35) An Unexpected Visitor (Part 02)

After Clare had dusted, vacuumed, washed, mopped and polished, and bedding was washed as was every curtain. So by Friday lunchtime the whole house was gleaming and as she admired her handiwork she was wearing a smug look of satisfaction.

Downshire Diary – (36) At the Church Weekend (Part 01)

It was springtime and the sap was rising and so were Anthony Flood’s spirits. He and his sister Jane were driving through the countryside of the Finchbottom Vale to the Dancingdean Spa Hotel in Childean for a church weekend.

Downshire Diary – (36) At the Church Weekend (Part 02)

Anthony and his sister Jane checked into the Hotel just after 4pm on Thursday afternoon and they were the first of their party to arrive. It was a nice place, well equipped, something for everyone, swimming pool, golf course, spa treatments, gym, sauna and country walks.

Downshire Diary – (36) At the Church Weekend (Part 03)

It was late afternoon when Anthony and Fiona returned and he parked in the most private part of the car park where he could kiss her goodbye with no on lookers and then he drove her to the quietest entrance so she could slip into the Hotel relatively unnoticed.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 01)

The Finchbottom Vale nestles comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north and those who were lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns and at the eastern end of the Vale were the Dulcets which were a collection of villages and hamlets comprising of Dulcet Meadow, Dulcet-on-Willow, Dulcet Green and Dulcet-on-Brooke, to name but a few, and of course Dulcet St Mary which was where the chair of the Sharpington Day Parade Fundraising Committee, Jayne Keeling, lived.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 02)

If her affair with Kenny went on too long, she wasn’t at all sure that his vital and sustained attention wouldn’t shag her into an early grave. Plus, the fact she was no teenager anymore and getting ready for a date that would end with her being stripped naked and well and truly ravished took a lot longer than it used to do.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 03)

The Vale was once a great wetland that centuries earlier stretched from Mornington in the East to Childean in the west and from Shallowfield in the south to Purplemere in the north.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 04)

It was a warm summer Saturday afternoon a few days after the accident when Wendy knocked on his door.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 05)

Robin thought that the sex with Wendy was amazing and it made his toes curl, she was supple, agile and pliable in fact she was really quite exceptionally bendy, he even called her bendy Wendy, and she had near inexhaustible stamina.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 06)

There had been no one else after her toy boy, her dreams of having someone to cuddle had not come to fruition. So Jayne Keeling lived alone in her large detached Georgian country cottage in a well-heeled leafy corner of the village of Dulcet St Mary.

Downshire Diary – (37) Age Appropriate (Part 07)

So Jayne and Robin, at the age of 59 and 64 respectively, finally both got their wish answered and they had their first date a week later which presented them both with more concerns.

Downshire Diary – (38) The Girl in the Red Lingerie (Part 01)

Sharpington-by-Sea is a traditional seaside resort complete with a Victorian Pier, seafront hotels, crazy golf, The Palladium ballroom, well maintained gardens, promenade, theatre and illuminations, all the usual things to have a great time by the seaside, as well as amusement arcades and of course the Sharpington Fun Park.

Downshire Diary – (38) The Girl in the Red Lingerie (Part 02)

The group arrived at the Whitecliff Hill Caravan Park late on Friday night in the pouring rain and they were all exhausted, in fact they only had the energy for a quick drink and then turned in early.

Downshire Diary – (38) The Girl in the Red Lingerie (Part 03)

He sat down on the opposite end of the bench so he was looking straight at her and he was very grateful. The reason for that was that Samantha was in a state of undress apart from matching red silk bra and pants and a pair of red lace topped stockings, matching suspender belt and a wry smile on her lovely face.

Downshire Diary – (38) The Girl in the Red Lingerie (Part 04)

“So it was actually my knickers you thought were gorgeous” she said Mark hesitated before answering, he could have just agreed with her and simply laughed the whole thing off, because if he told the truth then the genie would be out of the bottle and he wouldn’t be able to unsay it. “That’s not true” he replied deciding to bite the bullet

Downshire Diary – (38) The Girl in the Red Lingerie (Part 05)

When Mark had closed the door and walked down the steps he found Lorraine was waiting for him around the corner. “Did you know Waldo did a runner last night?” she asked “Yes” he replied “So?” Lorraine asked “So what?”

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 01)

The Finchbottom Vale is nestled comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 02)

Over the six months his despicable half-brother Andy and the lust of his life Louise were going out together Dave’s feelings for her deepened and that situation would doubtless have continued indefinitely but for the fact that his arsehole half-brother decided to play away with some skanky tart from behind the bar at the Crown and Anchor.

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 03)

It was Good Friday and they were up early and Mark’s mum Nicole made them doorstep bacon butties for breakfast to give them a head start. Nicole had poured herself a bath and they were just waiting for Scarlet to finish in the shower so they could turn the water off and drain the system down before they could crack on.

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 04)

They worked really hard on the extension and so he didn’t get to see the illusive Louise Spry again until two days later on the afternoon of Easter Sunday. They had taken a break from their labours and were sitting on the patio drinking tea and enjoying some of Nicole’s delicious fruit cake

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 05)

“I know you did” she said very definitely “But how did you know?” he asked “Because I saw you do it” she said with a smile “Oh” “Yes I looked down over the bannisters and your hands were in my bag, but I didn’t see exactly what you were doing” she said “I thought perhaps you were looking for my fags”

Downshire Diary – (39) The Plumber’s Tale (Part 06)

As Louise sat on Dave’s lap in the kitchen of her parents’ house the kissing became increasingly passionate and soon moved on to another level and both of them tried to get in each other’s clothing with a more than modest amount of success. But just when things were really hotting up he slipped out from beneath her, and then she plopped down hard on the chair. “No don’t stop” she said

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 01)

The village of Brocklington was on the River Brooke about six miles downstream from Sharping St Mary in the Finchbottom Vale which was nestled comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 02)

Glyn Tucker was the newly appointed Deputy Head Teacher of St Cuthbert’s School, which was only the second school he had taught at in the whole of his professional life.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 03)

His last day at his old school was the 19 th July and on the 20 th Glyn Tucker moved to Brocklington, and he quickly settled into village life and on his first day he took a walk to the local hostelry to have a pint of Mornington Ale at the Mulberry Tree and that was when he saw her.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 04)

Although he didn’t technically start at the school until September he volunteered to help out for two or three days a week as and when he was needed and that evening he was back at the Mulberry Tree. He decided to go in earlier in the evening in the hope that it wasn’t too busy and he might get to engage Ruth in conversation and so he walked in and walked straight up to the bar and she wasn’t there because it was her night off. But he didn’t know that so he had a pint and went home.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 05)

At the end of the day, with everything from the old house moved Glyn took Danny to the Mulberry Tree for a pint but it was really busy by the time they got there so apart from admiring her legs and exchanging a smile or two it was a fruitless visit.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 06)

On Friday morning Glyn Tucker was on duty at the Holiday Club and was there about half an hour before Sam dropped Olivia and Cecily off and he spent the whole morning looking forward to seeing Ruth again, when he was taking her out for dinner that evening.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 07)

Once Glyn realised that Sam and Ruth were not husband and wife but were brother and sister he was desperate to find Ruth and try to redeem the situation. The last time they spoke he was quite brusque because he thought she was a married woman. They were supposed to be having dinner together but he brushed her off and he was afraid he may have burned his bridges with her.

Downshire Diary – (40) In an English Country Garden (Part 08)

He could see Ruth immediately as he walked in, she was on the deck lying on a sun lounger wearing a pink bikini. She had her back to him and was lying on her side reading a magazine and her eight year old twin daughters were jumping in and out and splashing around in a paddling pool on the lawned area of the garden as he entered

Downshire Diary – (41) Laundry Day (Part 01)

It was a perfect early spring morning in the village and the breeze stirred the tree tops and the birds sang to the sun. And the birds weren’t the only early risers, Charlotte Kay was lying in bed, warm and cosy beneath the duvet, as the birds twittered in the trees and the early morning light tried to penetrate into her bed room.

Downshire Diary – (41) Laundry Day (Part 02)

The reason he walked into the room she was in wearing only a towel was because Charlotte was sleeping in the spare room which also housed the laundry basket and the reason he entered without knocking was that he didn’t know Charlotte was there.

Downshire Diary – (41) Laundry Day (Part 03)

Charlotte watched as Jonathon stood across the room in the half light, his upper body still damp from the shower, and a towel wrapped around the lower. He was standing sorting laundry into baskets of light and dark and as he held a pair of pink knickers she recognised them as her own and blushed deeply.

Downshire Diary – (41) Laundry Day (Part 04)

As he stood there looking at her he knew she had lied about the paper, he could always tell when she fibbed, he just wasn’t sure why, he hoped she hadn’t had a falling out with Katie.

Downshire Diary – (41) Laundry Day (Part 05)

So they left Pangmere and he drove her to Dulcet-on-Brooke where they ate lunch at The Waterside Inn. But there were awkward silences as the two of them battled with the internal struggle on whether to take a chance, expose themselves and risk rejection even if the reward could be their hearts desire.

Downshire Diary – (42) Just Being Neighbourly (Part 01)

The Finchbottom Vale nestles comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north and those who were lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns and at the eastern end of the Vale were the Dulcets which were a collection of villages and hamlets comprising of Dulcet Meadow, Dulcet-on-Willow, Dulcet St Mary and Dulcet-on-Brooke, to name but a few, and of course Dulcet Green which was where Scott Strong lived in a detached house with his wife of 25 years, Mary.

Downshire Diary – (42) Just Being Neighbourly (Part 02)

Although freelance architect Scott Strong worked from home at least 3 days a week he seldom spent more than a couple of hours a day actually working and this less than productive work ethic enabled him to spend more time doing what he loved to do, reading, listening to music, watching films and making sure the gardeners did a proper job, in fact pretty much anything that wasn’t actually working.

Downshire Diary – (42) Just Being Neighbourly (Part 03)

The summer was well underway when one day after he had achieved his meagre work target he walked out into the garden and over the fence he saw Pauline dancing on the patio with a large glass of wine in her hand.

Downshire Diary – (42) Just Being Neighbourly (Part 04)

The combination of too much wine and too much sun played a part in proceeding once again and she passed out. Scott quickly reached out and prevented her falling to the floor and then scooped her up and carried her inside out of the hot sun.

Downshire Diary – (43) Mystery Girl (Part 03)

Roberto continued to appraise the mouse who seemed quite pleased with herself that she had lured his attention away from “legs” and that the blonde had thrown in the towel, in fact she took on an air of aloofness on recognizing her success in stealing his attentions, so he and the mouse spent the next forty minutes exchanging glances, in between admiring the wonderful scenery, his of curiosity with a hint of lechery, and hers of coquettishness, in fact they continued until they were approaching Purplemere.

Downshire Diary – (44) Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed (Part 01)

The village of Clarence is in the Finchbottom Vale, which was nestled comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.

Downshire Diary – (44) Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed (Part 02)

Unlike the ultra-self-confident Louise, her best friend Lorraine was painfully shy. Lou was self-assured and pretty and she knew it whereas Loz was not only shy but socially awkward and full of self-doubt, although she was just as pretty as her friend but had no idea of the fact.

Downshire Diary – (44) Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed (Part 03)

It was a beautiful July day and Lorraine was approaching the end of Old Farm Lane, which led to the back of her house, when she saw Gary coming the other way.

Downshire Diary – (45) Misconception (Part 01)

The Finchbottom Vale, which was nestled comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, is those who are lucky enough to live there, thought of as the rose between two thorns.

Downshire Diary – (45) Misconception (Part 02)

But apart from being a contract cleaner Dave Maslen was also a first class flirt, and his skin head was often his way in, because it was obviously not shaven, so inquisitive girls often asked him how he lost his hair and when they did he knew he was in with a chance so he really enjoyed flirting.

Downshire Diary – (45) Misconception (Part 03)

She walked into the Vale Farm Pizza House and was greeted by Roberto Obertelli, Roberto and his sister in law Annette owned the franchise and were also her landlords. “Pricilla” he said flamboyantly and kissed her cheeks “How are you?”

Downshire Diary – (46) A Bridge too Far (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the North and it’s in leafy Great Trotwood where our story begins.

Downshire Diary – (46) A Bridge too Far (Part 02)

It was time for the Trotwood Manor garden party again and all the usual faces were there with the conspicuous exception of Derek, so not for the first time Kevin was Emma’s escort and they mingled and circulated and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.

Downshire Diary – (46) A Bridge too Far (Part 03)

Recent events in the wider world had provided Kevin with a wealth of material for his blog and he had managed to produce around two months’ worth of content for his blog. Which was one of the reasons he thought it was time to end his self-imposed exile, the other one being Emma’s return from Greece the day before. He stepped out into the sunlight to find the postman, Frank Worthing, walking up the path. “Morning Mr. Riddett” He said “So you’re not dead then”

Downshire Diary – (46) A Bridge too Far (Part 04)

“Because I really enjoyed it, because it was so special, because it was the most electrifying kiss I’ve ever had” Emma paused then continued “And because I had dreamed of that moment for a full year”

Downshire Diary – (46) A Bridge too Far (Part 05)

After Emma left Kevin she drove away from the village but she didn’t go home by the usual route, instead she drove up to Trotwood Manor and parked the car and then walked towards the Manor and paused before crossing the bridge over the culvert and turned to look across the lake and she was back in the moment of that electrifying kiss with the man she loved and she started to cry.

Downshire Diary – (47) The Muse of Love (Part 01)

Owen Carrington’s Uncle Glyn died on New Year’s Day and left him his Cottage and a small cash sum, more than enough to keep him going for a few more years.

Downshire Diary – (47) The Muse of Love (Part 02)

Owen left home bright and early so he could touch base with Juliana, who he hadn’t seen for 10 days, since she went away with her family to Greece. She was working all weekend, at the Green Oak because she had missed quite a few shift while she was away, so it would just be a quick hello then he would see her properly on Monday when they would have a proper hello.

Downshire Diary – (47) The Muse of Love (Part 03)

Owen stood at the bar for another ten minutes and still hadn’t been served when Suddenly Juliana was stood next to him. “Hi honey” he said “Shouldn’t you be serving?”

Downshire Diary – (48) The Captain’s Love (Part 01)

The village of Highfinch sits just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separates the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, and the combination of those two and Kingfisherbridge made up the parish of St Martins.

Downshire Diary – (48) The Captain’s Love (Part 02)

The first of many dates for Lorraine and Peter was in Purplemere but it wasn’t until after a carefully planned supper at her house in Highfinch that they made love for the first time

Downshire Diary – (48) The Captain’s Love (Part 03)

But the amount of tears shed on the day of her daughter’s wedding were surpassed tenfold on the day Lorraine told her mother she was pregnant. It was just under a year after the wedding and they were on the verge of their first anniversary and over the following months the slender five foot seven athletically built girl grew and grew.

Downshire Diary – (49) The Illusive Muse (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins in the East, or more precisely, 20 miles inland from Sharpington-By-Sea, equidistant between Finchbottom and Pepperstock Green, in the sprawling village of Denmead.

Downshire Diary – (49) The Illusive Muse (Part 02)

Owen left home bright and early so he could touch base with Juliana, who he hadn’t seen for 10 days, since she went away with her family to Greece.

Downshire Diary – (49) The Illusive Muse (Part 03)

Owen stood at the bar for another ten minutes and still hadn’t been served when Suddenly Juliana was stood next to him. “Hi honey” he said “Shouldn’t you be serving?”

Downshire Diary – (50) On the Night of the Lord Lieutenant’s Summer Ball (Part 01)

Neil Etherington was an average man approaching his thirtieth birthday not that he was a bad looking man, he wasn’t, but he wasn’t stunning, sexy or buff, he was strictly middling but his girlfriend Samantha Barraclough was anything but,

Downshire Diary – (50) On the Night of the Lord Lieutenant’s Summer Ball (Part 02)

Although she had suggested they create a world their own there were still some events that she was required to attend as a representative of the company, such as the Lord Lieutenant’s Summer Ball which was why he was at home alone in Brocklington on Saturday night.

Downshire Diary – (51) Heatherlands – Doctor in the House (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins slightly further south equidistant between Nettlefield and the Oxley’s, in the beautiful village of Heathervale.

Downshire Diary – (51) Heatherlands – Doctor in the House (Part 02)

Clarisse had been married to Edward Lowe, who had been an eminent surgeon in Downshire, he had also been twenty years older when he married her and he had two children from his first marriage, Josie being the oldest.

Downshire Diary – (51) Heatherlands – Doctor in the House (Part 03)

Clarisse lived in the village of Heathervale in a six bedroom converted farmhouse that was originally her marital home which she now shared with her stepdaughter Josie and although she was a lonely widow she was blessed because she and Josie had a very close relationship.

Downshire Diary – (51) Heatherlands – Doctor in the House (Part 04)

Clarisse returned after about twenty minutes with the drinks and Chris gave her a good appraising look as she walked in, as had become his habit, but this time she was wearing a different outfit,

Downshire Diary – (52) The Sensual Seminar

Paul Ager sat in the Beaumont Room at the Worsted Viper Hotel in Purplemere wearing his name badge bearing the name Paul J Ager.

Downshire Diary – (53) The Student Muse (Part 01)

Owen Carrington’s Uncle Glyn died on New Year’s Day and left him his Cottage and a small cash sum, more than enough to keep him going for a few more years.

Downshire Diary – (53) The Student Muse (Part 02)

It had been a most unproductive Friday and he was not in the best of moods. He had been on the phone all morning, not one of his favourite activities, firstly he had a very long winded call from his agent about a literary dinner in Nettlefield, which was only a few days away, he thought he should attend as he had been nominated in two categories, having initially decided just to ignore it as it was in Nettlefield.

Downshire Diary – (53) The Student Muse (Part 03)

The fact they were an hour late leaving didn’t hamper them in any way, in fact because the traffic was lighter than they were expecting they got to the house only ten minutes later than they had originally planned.

Downshire Diary – (54) After the Lord Lieutenant’s Summer Ball

He pinched himself at the start of everyday, especially the ones on which he woke up beside her, just to check he wasn’t dreaming.

Downshire Diary – (60) A Christmas Tradition (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton but our story begins considerably further south in the former industrial power house of Northchapel where the Hayward clan were gathered for Christmas, with the exception of Christina Hayhoe but plans were afoot in that regard.

Downshire Diary – (60) A Christmas Tradition (Part 02)

Jack parked the car on the drive and knocked on the door and when Christina opened it she looked the same as usual with her fine brunette hair scraped back off her face giving her a severe “Croydon facelift” appearance.

Downshire Diary – (60) A Christmas Tradition (Part 03)

Christina was still the same monosyllabic woman as before at least that was the case until she opened the first of several bottles of wine and then she didn’t stop talking.

Downshire Diary – (64) The Demerera Girl

Tony Ritson was the manager of Nettlefield Furniture Palace and was fast approaching his fortieth birthday and as he approached that milestone, he had lost his heart to his new assistant manager Shona Sarai, who was his junior in more than one respect because apart from being his assistant she was also 12 years younger than him.

Downshire Diary – (93) On Drake’s Farm

He tried to drive daintily through the potholed unmade road but failed miserably, but despite the hard going he eventually emerged into what looked like a poorly maintained Industrial Estate but was actually a ram shackled farm.

Downshire Diary – (94) Christmas in 1962 (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story takes place in the southern town off Abbottsford which was the biggest in Downshire, its administrative capital and the seat of the Downshire government.

Downshire Diary – (94) Christmas in 1962 (Part 02)

Luke ached from the cold and huddled deeper into his duffel coat as a black cab sped by, full of drunken revelers, its windows steamed up. The Christmas lights twinkled from the windows in Castle View Road, and he looked up to his own darkened window of his tiny attic apartment high above.

Downshire Diary – (96) Tears fall like Snowflakes

It was early morning on Christmas Eve in Abbottsford and just as dawn was breaking snowflakes started to softly fall. Downshire’s metropolis was a noisy city, all hustle and bustle, where at Christmas it always tended to rain.

Downshire Diary – (98) Snowstorm in Springwater (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins further south at the most southerly fringe of the Pepperstock Hills National Park.

Downshire Diary – (98) Snowstorm in Springwater (Part 02)

As she looked from the garage door out to the street, along the 40 foot length drive covered by a foot of virgin snow, Cheryl sighed and asked herself “Where on earth do I begin?”

Downshire Diary – (99) The Tomboy Chorister

Danny was going to a Christmas Concert at Abbottsford Cathedral which was well attended as usual and when he when inside he saw the wonder of a manger scene, it looked so very life like and real, and there was a good reason for that, because it was. In fact it was a wonderful scene and captured the mood perfectly as “Ave Maria” played softly in the background.

Downshire Diary – (55) Heatherlands – Doctor on Call (Part 01)

When Chris Palmer moved to Nettlefield from Purplemere following a very acrimonious divorce he had sworn off women for good.

Downshire Diary – (55) Heatherlands – Doctor on Call (Part 02)

As a bi-product of the loving relationship between Chris and Clarisse, she scrapped the “No Fraternizing policy” which meant that the surgical gloves were off in regard to work place relationships which was just what the doctor ordered for 34 year old Linda Bowles who had the hots for one of the clerical staff, Peter Butler.

Downshire Diary – (55) Heatherlands – Doctor on Call (Part 03)

When singleton, Linda Bowles, first joined the Heatherlands District Health Centre, she was hoping it would be the last time she would be the newbie. She had spent the previous three years as a locum, drifting in and out of various surgeries in the four corners of Downshire as well as the bit in between.

Downshire Diary – (55) Heatherlands – Doctor on Call (Part 04)

By the autumn she was getting a little despondent so when in in November she was invited to a dinner party at Clarisse Lowe’s house she took her chance, when she got her alone to confide in her that she really fancied Peter.

Downshire Diary – (55) Heatherlands – Doctor on Call (Part 05)

Unfortunately, on the day of the party Linda was on call until midnight and therefore couldn’t indulge herself in the pursuit of Peter Butler.

Downshire Diary – (56) The Banks Wood Maiden (Part 01)

Andy Parish was born and raised on Nettle Green Farm which nestled on the lower slopes of the Tipton Hills in the lee of the Town of Nettlefield. He was a tall lean man with a well-toned physique and a weathered complexion born out of a lifetime spent in the open air.

Downshire Diary – (56) The Banks Wood Maiden (Part 02)

“Toni Henderson” he said “Ah so you do remember me” she said with a giggle “How could I forget” Andy said

Downshire Diary – (56) The Banks Wood Maiden (Part 03)

Toni worked for the forestry and managed the local woodland but they didn’t have control of it all, there was still about 10 percent of the local Woodlands in private ownership mainly on the Tipton side of the area and Nettle Green Farm had about 5 acres which had been badly neglected over the previous ten years of the farms decline.

Downshire Diary – (57) The Distraught Muse (Part 01)

Owen Carrington’s Uncle Glyn died on New Year’s Day and left him his Cottage and a small cash sum, more than enough to keep him going for a few more years.

Downshire Diary – (57) The Distraught Muse (Part 02)

But all the normally enjoyable pastimes that would ordinarily keep him entertained didn’t distract him for the time Juliana was away at University, but he poured all his love and longing into his second novel instead.

Downshire Diary – (57) The Distraught Muse (Part 03)

Juliana had worked her socks off all summer at the Green Oak pub in order to earn enough to enable her not to need to get another job in Abbottsford.

Downshire Diary – (57) The Distraught Muse (Part 04

That evening he drove through the rain with the gifts in black sacks to keep them dry, and he arrived at the Molesworth household at the allotted time and was met by Greg who was standing by the open garage door.

Downshire Diary – (58) Their First Holiday (Part 01)

Neil Etherington was an average man approaching his thirtieth birthday not that he was a bad looking man, he wasn’t, but he wasn’t stunning, sexy or buff, he was strictly middling but his girlfriend

Downshire Diary – (58) Their First Holiday (Part 02)

It was a pleasant morning as Neil Etherington stood waiting outside his Brocklington cottage for Samantha to arrive and he looked at the sky and hoped it would stay fine. It was warmer than it had been over the previous week, with the skies a mainly blue expanse, broken only by the occasional passing cloud of fluffy white.

Downshire Diary – (58) Their First Holiday (Part 03)

Where they were precisely was in a carpark beside The Downshire Navigation, part of the canal network which ran between Nettlefield in the north, down through Millmoor and the Oakhams to Northchapel, Abbeyvale and then to its most southerly point, Abbottsford, where it again headed north, this time to Childean, Purplemere and Finchbottom where it joined the River Finch.

Downshire Diary – (59) Heatherlands – Doctor in Clover (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins slightly further south equidistant between Nettlefield and the Oxley’s, in the beautiful village of Heathervale.

Downshire Diary – (59) Heatherlands – Doctor in Clover (Part 02)

As a bi-product of the loving relationship she began with Chris, Clarisse scrapped the “No Fraternizing policy” which meant that the surgical gloves were off in regard to work place relationships which was just what the doctor ordered for a lot of the staff, but for doctors

Downshire Diary – (61) The Distressed Muse (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins in the East, or more precisely, 20 miles inland from Sharpington-By-Sea, equidistant between Finchbottom and Pepperstock Green, in the sprawling village of Denmead.

Downshire Diary – (61) The Distressed Muse (Part 02)

During the periods in the afterglow when feelings and emotions were expressed, souls were bared and hearts unburdened, and Owen pledged his love to her again, and then they did some serious talking and one of the things they discussed was her work load at University.

Downshire Diary – (61) The Distressed Muse (Part 03)

Owen thought Greg was in a slightly better frame of mind when he left him and so was he as he finished in the Post Office but as he was leaving his phone bleated at him informing him that he had a text so he fished it out of his pocket and he saw it was from Juliana.

Downshire Diary – (62) House Warming (Part 01)

Neil Etherington was an average man approaching his thirtieth birthday not that he was a bad looking man, he wasn’t, but he wasn’t stunning, sexy or buff, he was strictly middling but his girlfriend

Downshire Diary – (62) House Warming (Part 02)

However as perfect as that solution was it didn’t solve the problem of where they should set up home. Samantha was from Tipton in the north of the county but when she fell in love with Neil she also fell in love with the Finchbottom Vale so they considered buying a house in the area and they almost bought one in Forestdean but it fell through at the last minute.

Downshire Diary – (63) Heatherlands – Doctor in Conference (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park,

Downshire Diary – (63) Heatherlands – Doctor in Conference (Part 02)

As a bi-product of the loving relationship she began with Chris, Clarisse scrapped the “No Fraternizing policy” which meant that the surgical gloves were off in regard to work place relationships which was just what the doctor ordered for a lot of the staff, but for doctors

Downshire Diary – (65) Propositioning the Muse (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins in the East, or more precisely, 20 miles inland from Sharpington-By-Sea, equidistant between Finchbottom and Pepperstock Green, in the sprawling village of Denmead.

Downshire Diary – (65) Propositioning the Muse (Part 02)

Owen Carrington’s muse and lover Juliana Molesworth, was in her third year at the University of Downshire where she studied English at Abbottsford.

Downshire Diary – (66) Nanook of the North (Part 01)

Neil Etherington was an average man approaching his thirtieth birthday not that he was a bad looking man, he wasn’t, but he wasn’t stunning, sexy or buff, he was strictly middling but his girlfriend

Downshire Diary – (66) Nanook of the North (Part 02)

Her house was up in Tipton, although she was rarely in it as she spent more time living in hotels than she did her house so it had never felt like home to her, but she thought it might if she had someone to share it with but Neil had a nice cottage in Brocklington and that would also be lovely so when he replied.

Downshire Diary – (66) Nanook of the North (Part 03)

“Samantha?” he said, “What are you doing here?” “I didn’t want to miss your birthday” she replied through her scarf. “You could have had an accident” he said crossly and took off her fur hat and kissed her forehead as she un-wrapped the scarf from around her neck.

Downshire Diary – (67) Heatherlands – While the Doctor’s Away (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins slightly further south equidistant between Nettlefield and the Oxley’s, in the beautiful village of Heathervale.

Downshire Diary – (67) Heatherlands – While the Doctor’s Away (Part 02)

And as a bi-product of the loving relationship between her and Chris, Clarisse scrapped the “No Fraternizing policy” which meant that the surgical gloves were off in regard to work place relationships which was just what the doctor ordered for 35 year old practice nurse, Josie Minter, a skinny blonde girl who was the step daughter of Senior partner Clarisse Lowe.

Downshire Diary – (67) Heatherlands – While the Doctor’s Away (Part 03)

Although Darren returned from his mission of mercy ten minutes after he had to leave her on the dancefloor the pace of the musical offerings had changed and there was no return to the dancing. However there was quite an extended period of flirty conversation and a rather clumsy form of goodnight kiss and the promise of a future meal or trip to the cinema.

Downshire Diary – (69) Making Plans with the Muse (Part 01)

Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the north but our story begins in the East, or more precisely, 20 miles inland from Sharpington-By-Sea, equidistant between Finchbottom and Pepperstock Green, in the sprawling village of Denmead.

Downshire Diary – (69) Making Plans with the Muse (Part 02)

Since the day of the proposal they hadn’t really had a chance to talk much about the engagement and setting a date for the wedding, Owen had publishing deadlines and Juliana was busy with assignments that needed to be in by Christmas, so the opportunity hadn’t arisen.