Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (01) Soft Lips and Sensible Shoes (Part 03)
Annest Anderton was a thirty two year old spinster who had lived her whole life in the parish of St Johns in Purplemere.
She was brought up to be a miracle child by her mother who was 44 when she fell pregnant and her father was ten years older than her, and both her parents doted on their miracle all her life.
But as often happens to an only child born to middle-aged parents she ended up caring for them when infirmity struck.
First her father with Parkinson’s and then her mother with dementia.
She was 28 when, within weeks of each other, she lost both parents and she was all alone, by which time the world had moved on and left her behind.
In the 5 years since her parents deaths she had made herself a very busy person, she worked four days a week as an administrator at St John’s Church in Purplemere, which was a large Victorian building in the town center, on Fridays she volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau also in the town center and on Saturdays she ran the church bookshop.
On Sunday’s she spent most of the day at church either worshiping or helping out in some capacity, Sunday school, serving drinks or setting up.
And in the evening’s she had recently become involved with Thelma Haycock’s committees.
So in fact she was an exceptionally busy person and the reason for her busyness was that she was lonely excruciatingly lonely.
And she thought that if she kept herself busy she wouldn’t have the time to notice her loneliness.
It didn’t work of course but she did it anyway.
She had hoped to make some friends among the committee members but the majority of the people on Thelma’s committees were not people of faith with the exception of the parish council and church event committees and those of a secular disposition seemed to resent her because of her faith.
Mainly they disliked her because she made them look bad, because she actually did what she promise to do.
Thelma was pleasant enough with her and her husband Geoff was always nice and she chatted with some of the members but she hadn’t made any friendships that extended beyond the meetings.
Some of the women were actually quite unpleasant to her and one in particular, Marisa Loock, was a bully.
She was a big unit from Holland build like a shot putter and had the personality of a storm trooper.
Geoff Haycock answered the door to Annest as he often did and they exchanged smiles and pleasantries as normal.
And then Geoff watched Annest as she went down the hall and then there was an increase in the volume of the murmurs as she went in.
Geoff was on his way to the kitchen to get his coffee when there was another knock, so he turned around and opened it and Lisa Gumbrell, a sour faced middle-aged woman pushed past him.
“And a heartfelt good evening to you too” Geoff said
And the woman just snorted in response.
He followed her down the hall as she walked into the lounge and he looked in and saw Annest seated nearest the door and she glanced in his direction and smiled.
He was returning her smile as Marisa Loock turned and said
“Anne! Anne! Let Lisa sit there”
“Annest” she retorted politely
“What?” The storm trooper barked
“Annest” she repeated “My name is Annest”
“Whatever, you need to move to let Lisa sit there”
Annest looked around her and asked
“Where will I sit?”
“Somewhere else” Marisa growled
Geoff was stood in the threshold of the door and had heard the exchange
“You old cow” he wanted to say but instead he said
“Stay there Annest, I’ll get another chair for the late comer”