Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 37 – Winters Last Hurrah
In the early hours of Mothering Sunday morning Jack was gently shaken awake.
“You have to go darling,” Kayleigh said and kissed his neck
“What? Ok” he said
She had reluctantly woken him early in the morning so he could sneak back to his house before the household were up and about.
So it was on a dark Sunday morning in March after a lingering goodbye kiss in the kitchen that he slipped out the back door.
Jack exited her garden via the side gate and quietly opened his own kitchen door and found the house was in total darkness so he sat in Katie’s chair and went out like a light.
However he didn’t sleep for long as he was woken by the nurse at 7.45.
After she had left Jack took Katie a cup of tea and she said he could go back to bed if he wanted as Marion was going to get her up for the day.
He was grateful for the suggestion but he didn’t bother though, instead he settled for a long leisurely shower instead.
After showering and dressing for the day he decided that as they had guests and as he was up so early anyway he would set about preparing a roast dinner.
As they had company he served dinner in the dining room, a rare treat as he had only used that room on a handful of occasions since he’d lived in the house.
Along with the roast pork he even made Yorkshire puddings, which he normally had great success with but on this occasion, much to his embarrassment and Katie’s amusement, they came out more like Yorkshire biscuits.
Later when the nurse came and asked her what she had eaten that day she delighted in stating “Roast Pork and Yorkshire biscuits”
And then she fell about laughing.
Jack thought it was lovely to see her in such high spirits’ even if the joke was at his expense, it was well worth it.
It turned out to be a beautiful spring afternoon, the warmest day of the year thus far by some distance so after lunch Katie sat on the patio while he cleared away the lunch things and Bob and Marion went out to explore the village.
When he had put away the last of the dishes Jack made a drink and went out to join Katie on the patio.
As he put her mug on the table she took hold of his hand and said
“I know I’ve said it a lot but, thank you Jack, you’ve made me so happy”
“It was worth it just to see your face” he said and kissed her forehead.
As he sat down he added
“We just have to find the other one to complete the coven”
“You are so cheeky” she said and laughed
The warm spring interlude continued for the next few days but as the week went on it proved to be a false dawn and the cold weather returned with a vengeance and before the following weekend was out so did the snow.
With Marion and Bob in the house and the routine with the nurses running like clockwork he found himself with a bit of time on his hands.
His first thought was a night away somewhere with Kayleigh but Carl was still very poorly so that was a non-starter.
So after speaking to the girls and making sure they were comfortable with it he decided to pay some attention to his day job, namely the Waterside Club, so he locked himself away in his study for most of Monday and waded through all the emails that had accumulated.
The week passed by quite routinely and without incident apart from the excitement surrounding Kayleigh’s first appearance at White Rose Cottage for more than two weeks.
Katie was delighted to see her best friend and proudly introduced her to her sister.
Marion was going to stay in the UK for a couple more weeks, at least, but on Friday Bob had to fly back to the states so Jack drove them to the airport while Kayleigh looked after Katie.
It was a bitterly cold day but compared to Alaska, Bob and Marion thought it was quite pleasant.
He dropped Bob and Marion at departures and did circuits around the block for the next twenty minutes while they went inside and said their goodbyes and Marion was in tears when she got back in the car and Jack had to comfort her, which was never his strong suit and they eventually got back to the village mid-afternoon.
Having spent time alone with her on Friday, Katie suggested he take Kayleigh out for the day on Sunday to cheer her up a bit, take her out of herself, so on Sunday after church he left Marion looking after her sister and drove out of the village just as it had started to snow.
They had no planned destination other than to get out of Turnoak and find somewhere to eat lunch, so as they reached the Finchbottom Road they made a conscious decision to turn left and head towards the “Granges” which were a collection of villages and hamlets comprising of West, East, Upper and Lower Grange and Grangemount, Grange Forest and Grange itself but they had no particular destination where they were going to head to as neither of them had been to the Granges before.
So they chose Grangemount village and The Old Bell Inn, in particular because Kayleigh’s tummy grumbled.
“The Old Bell Inn it is then” he said and they both laughed
It was bitterly cold as they got out of the car and the snow began to fall hard and fast as they approached the Inn.
Once inside the old Tudor Inn they found a cosy welcoming fire burning in the hearth and a bar full of customers.
They enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and the meal was excellent, it was only pub grub, but it was excellent pub grub, but most of all they enjoyed just being together.
In fact they were so absorbed by each other that they didn’t realize the other customers had been slowly drifting away until there were only five remaining, including them.
After Jack had settled the bill and Kayleigh wrapped up against the cold they stepped out into the carpark and it was obvious that the disappearing customers weren’t the only thing they hadn’t noticed,
“Oh dear” they exclaimed
The snow which began to fall hard as they arrived had clearly continued to fall and it was laying quite thick.
“Well I think we’re in for an interesting journey” Jack said
“Is it safe?” she asked
“We’ll soon find out” he retorted “Come on”
Jack took her hand and they started to walk gingerly across the carpark just as a car drove hesitantly towards them and when the new arrival pulled up alongside them the driver wound down the window and said.
“If you’re thinking of leaving, I’d think again”
“Is it bad?” Jack asked
“There is a tree down on the Finchbottom Road and the only other road out of Grangemount is up a 1 in 4 hill” he said and the man wound his window back up, so Jack and Kayleigh looked at each other and did a U-turn and headed back to the welcoming fireside of the Inn.
Fortunately they had stopped for lunch at an Inn and not just a pub so they went to the reception and managed to secure their last room.
At first glance Jack thought the room was a bit small and dingy but then they had been a bit spoilt with the hotel they stayed at in Sharpington so he chastised himself for being such a snob, Kayleigh on the other hand was just happy that they had a room together.
Jack sat on the bed and while Kayleigh was in the bathroom he phoned home to tell Katie and Marion they were snowed in, in Grangemount.
Katie said she suspected as much as the nurse was having to stay at the house, as she couldn’t get out of the village, that put his mind at rest so he said goodnight and promised to be back as soon as possible the next morning.
It was a lively evening in the bar as Kayleigh and Jack were not the only stranded guests and even some of the staff were stranded and were going to be sleeping in the bar that night.
As a result of the convivial atmosphere some drink was taken, quite a lot in fact but not enough for them to turn their noses up at bacon and eggs the next morning.
They got away from Grangemount just after 10.30 and had a cautious yet picturesque journey home.
When they returned to Turnoak he dropped Kayleigh outside her house, partly because she wanted to get up to the hospital as soon as possible and assuage her guilt for enjoying every second she was away from him by spending the rest of the day with her husband, the other reason she didn’t want to go to Jacks was that she didn’t really want to be seen in polite company wearing the previous days underwear, so she got out and gave a “cheerio” and a wave, they’d said a very adequate good bye back at the hotel.