Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (15) Art and Loneliness (Part 10)
On Saturday she slept late, which was very unusual for her and she had awoken with a most disagreeable headache.
She sat up and took a couple of tablets and flicked on the kettle.
As she waited for it to boil she looked at her phone and noticed there were three text messages all from an unknown number.
The first, time stamped at 2.45am, simply said “Thank you”
The second, timed at 7.45am, said “I had a great time last night”
And the third, two hours later, said “I have packed a picnic, I will pick you up at noon, bring your paints, there’s a castle”
Sally looked at her watch 11.30
“Shit” she exclaimed and leapt up and rushed into the bathroom and turned on the shower, when she had a sudden thought.
She went back to the bed and picked up her phone and replied to his last text.
“Ok, see outside at 12”
Sally had been standing outside the Hotel for about 30 seconds when a green Landrover Discovery pulled up.
Ben got out and walked around, he took Sally’s things and helped her into the passenger seat.
“Thank you” she said as he settled her in
“All set?” Ben asked when he was back behind the wheel.
“Yes” she said “Where are we going, you mentioned a castle”
“Pepperstock” he replied “but I may have oversold the Castle a bit”
“Yes, it used to be a Castle but its only ruins now” he said
“Even better” Sally said amicably
Sally supposed that Pepperstock Castle must have been an imposing sight up on its hill overlooking the eastern end of the Vale.
Now it was just a collection of ruins, which could still be clearly identified as having once been a Castle.
It made for a very interesting subject for a water colourist and Sally enjoyed it very much.
She also enjoyed Ben’s amiable company and his picnic
“You put together a very nice picnic Mr Noble” she said
“Even without the wine”
Ben had omitted to include the wine and Sally had teased him about it.
As they were packing up at the end of the day Sally said
“I’m going to Church in the morning and I thought you might like to accompany me as I’m a stranger in the parish”
“Oh I don’t think so” he replied
“Well you didn’t think you could go to the Vicarage but you did and furthermore you enjoyed every minute”
“That was different” he said stubbornly
“How so?” Sally asked
“Because I wasn’t angry with Donald and Caroline” he replied “And I wanted to see them again, but I had been pushing them away for so long that I didn’t know how to approach them, But God is a different thing altogether and he and I are not on speaking terms and with him I’m still very angry”
“I know your faith has been tested” Sally said softly
“But don’t you think my faith isn’t tested every time I see a young child taken before their time? But that’s what life is all about, being tested”
Ben was silently staring into space as Sally continued
“The people of the parish didn’t take Mary away and they are the people who want to see you again, go to Church to see them, show them they still have a friend”
“I don’t know” he said
“I’ll be there with you” Sally assured him