Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (27) Christmas in Highfinch (Part 01)
Christmas was just around the corner for the inhabitants of Highfinch which nestled on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills where the Lily Green Hollows Golf Club separated the village from the Hamlet of Lily Green, which made up the parish of St Martins Church.
It was the first time for quite a few years that Jenna Lawton had approached the season with a boyfriend, although calling him a boyfriend was pushing it a bit as he was almost forty, but then she wasn’t exactly a girl at 37.
It was also the first time she had approached it as a Vicar.
Another significant difference was something that also hadn’t happened for quite a few years and that was she would be spending it with her baby brother.
Brian Lawton 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.
Brian had led a rather rudderless existence since leaving the Army in the previous January, until mid-October when he made one of his infrequent phone calls to touch base with his sister who was at the time the de facto Vicar of St Martins in Highfinch while the Reverend Mortimer was recovering from a heart attack.
Everything that subsequently followed began with a simple question on the innocent phone call.
“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.
However once Brian arrived to comfort his older sister he never left as she suggested he stay with her permanently at the Vicarage and he agreed and also suggested he might find work at the Golf Course.
In truth Jenna had no doubts whatsoever that they would welcome him with open arms at the Golf Club because the manager of Lily Green Hollows, David Pike, was on the parish council and she had already broached the subject with him and used her influence.
But Brian was not the only newcomer to Highfinch and the Vicarage that year because two weeks after he took up residence he and Jenna were joined by the 30 year old replacement Curate, Rosie Coulter and Jenna and Rosie took to each other from the first moment they met.
But even with, Nick Faulkner, the man she loved, at her side, and her brother Brian on hand for support and an eager young Curate to help with her with the burden she was not looking forward to Christmas with as much enthusiasm as she had in past years.
Because that particular year she saw the normally joyous event of the Christmas church calendar as nothing more than tiresome obstacles that had to be overcome.