Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (23) Another Highfinch Curate (Part 01)
Since leaving the Army in January, Brian Lawton had been coasting along without any real purpose or goal that was until mid-October when he made one of his infrequent phone calls to touch base with his sister Jenna who was the de facto Vicar of St Martins in Highfinch while the Reverend Mortimer was recovering from a heart attack.
The village of Highfinch sat just on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills and Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separated the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, which made up her parish.
“So how are you sis?” he asked jovially and she burst into tears.
Unable to get any sense out of her over the phone he said
“Ok I’m on my way”
Fortunately he wasn’t a million miles away as he and another ex-soldier were doing some security work in Sharpington and it was his day off.
Brian was 33 years old and had been medically discharged from the Downshire Light Infantry due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan when he lost most of his left foot.
It was a severe blow to him as Soldiering was the only thing he had ever wanted to do and he suspected he wasn’t equipped for much else.
But one thing he definitely could do was be there for his big sister.
He pulled up outside the Vicarage and immediately decamped and ran as best he could up the path and when she opened the door she wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed into his shoulder.
When he had consoled her she told him that she had fallen head of heels in love with a recent incumbent to the village, Nick Faulkner.
“What? “the” Nick Faulkner, the sports presenter?” he said
“Yes” she replied with her head in her hands
“And what?” she asked
“And does he feel the same?” Brian asked
“I don’t know”
“Well, have you told him how you feel?”
“Of course not” she said with alarm
“So what have you done about it?” he asked
“We had lunch together, twice, although one of those was in a group” she explained “and he invited me out to dinner”
“Yes” she replied
“So what’s the problem?” Brian asked her
“He’s doing the Rugby World Cup coverage and won’t be back until next month”
“Ok now I understand”
The World Cup ran from the 18th of September until the 31st of October so he could easily understand why she would be missing him.
“Well it’s only two weeks away now” he said
“Yes but that’s not the problem” she said and began crying again.
When he had calmed her down she went on to explain that she had been summoned to Abbottsford to see the Bishop the following day.
“Did he say what it was about?” he asked
“No, but it will be about Reverend Mortimer” Jenna said
“He’s going to replace him and transfer me to another parish”
“You don’t know that” Brian said reassuringly
“What else could it be?” she asked
“You’re just thinking of the worst case scenario” he pointed out
“That doesn’t mean it won’t happen” she retorted
“Nick is going to return to Highfinch and I will have been transferred to Carlisle or Skegness” she said bitterly
“You really have it bad don’t you?” he said and hugged his sister
“What am I going to do?” she sobbed
“Would you like me to go with you tomorrow?” he asked
“Yes and I can stay for a few days?” he said
“That would be lovely” she said and kissed him
“I can help you pack” he said and for the first time since he arrived she laughed