Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (15) Art and Loneliness (Part 08)
On Friday morning she repeated the pattern and set off from the Coachman’s Arms Hotel straight after breakfast, stooping once again at the General Store where she bought her lunch and striding purposely on along the lane and passed the Farmhouse and was set up in meadow by 10 o’clock.
Sally was sure she noticed a curtain twitch as she passed the house but if it was Ben Noble he didn’t make himself known to her.
It was a little cooler in the meadow that morning than it had been the previous two days with a refreshing breeze blowing off the water.
As on her previous visits the time passed very quickly and it was when she was cleaning her brushes in preparation of stopping for her sandwich that she was disturbed by a voice from behind her.
Sally turned around sharply and saw Ben Noble standing a few yards away holding a picnic basket.
“Oh hello” she replied “What have you got there?”
“Lunch” he replied and sat down beside her and opened up the hamper.
Sally was quite surprised to see him in the meadow in the first place but was even more surprised to see him not behaving in a curmudgeonly manor and wearing a pleasant expression as he served the lunch.
Afterwards with all the food consumed and as they were on their last glass of wine Sally said
“Thank you so much Ben that was a most pleasant lunch, and very pleasant company”
“You sound surprised” he said sharply
“Well yes” she replied “But pleasantly so”
Sally was a little light headed as they walked back up the lane and when they got to the house she said
“I’m having dinner at the Vicarage tonight”
“Oh yes” he said suspiciously
“I’d like you to join me” Sally said
“Definitely not” he snapped
“Its high time” she said and he shook his head
“What do you think Mary would say? If she could see you hiding yourself away, wallowing in self-pity, being angry with the world and everyone in it”
“What do you know about it” he said angrily “You didn’t even know her”
“Am I wrong then?” Sally asked
“Why can’t you just leave me alone to deal with it in my own way?” he shouted and rushed towards the house
“Because your way is rubbish” she shouted after him
After he went inside and slammed the front door Sally was really angry with herself for being so pushy, it was the wine she supposed.
On the way back to the Hotel she mulled over their conversation and wondered if she couldn’t have handled it differently.
When she reached the Coachman’s she went up to her room and lay on the bed and thanks to the half bottle of wine she drank promptly fell asleep and slept for the rest of the afternoon.
When she awoke she ran herself a bath and prepared for a long relaxing soak.
“What did it matter anyway” she thought to herself as she lay immersed in the bubbly water “I’ll be gone in a day or two and back on my sojourn”
But a few moments later she said out loud
“Well it matters because I like the miserable old git”