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.
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.
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.
His death came as a great shock as it was sudden though not unsurprising given his health.
So that was how he found himself living in a lovely Victorian Cottage in the quaint Downshire Village of Denmead.
It was a very tranquil place though not without its distractions.
From his study he could look out through the open French windows and across the expanse of lawn to a stand of ancient woodland, there was no fence to separate garden and wood the two just merged.
And on the other side of the wood was the hub of the village, the Green Oak, everyone seemed to go there at some point, either for a drink, the restaurant or the coffee suite.
Owen’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.
But it wasn’t just his writing career that was climbing high, so was his love life thanks to his muse and lover, Juliana Molesworth, who had brought his writers block to an end, but his muse was in her third year at the University of Downshire where she studied English at Abbottsford.
On the last weekend of the half term break when she was at home he met up with Juliana and her parents outside the Church of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal.
After the service, they thanked the Vicar “for a marvelous sermon” and said their goodbyes before they walked the short distance to the Green Oak and had a marvelous Sunday lunch, which was so good that a constitutional was necessary to walk it off.
It was a pleasant enough afternoon for it, very sunny but with a chill wind, so they opted for the west forest which would give them the benefit of the sun but shield them from the worst of wind.
They walked the woodland for over an hour and when they reached a cross roads, the route to the Molesworth’s house lay straight ahead and the path to Owen’s house was to the left so they said their goodbyes and Juliana and he made their way back to Owens cottage where they would make love.