Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (36) The Insomniac Muse (Part 02)
Alex had been walking back towards the cottage with his head down to protect his face from the slanting rain and was making slow progress on the woodland path in his totally unsuitable shoes.
When he eventually lifted his head up he didn’t recognise a single tree and he was completely disorientated and as he wasn’t that familiar with the woods in the first place he didn’t recognise anything.
So as the rain continued to fall and the mistiness showed no sign of clearing, he was starting to panic and thought he would wander the woods until exhaustion over took him and he died, such was a writers imagination.
Then he had a “Deliverance” moment and imagined he could hear banjo music and thought he would end up being brutalised by hillbillies.
His mind was about to go off on another scenario of doom when a voice behind him asked
“Are you alright?”
He turned around and saw a small figure of indeterminate age in a parka with a fur trimmed hood.
“I am embarrassed to say it but I appear to be lost” Alex said
The figure stepped forward and pushed the hood back from her face to reveal a young woman in her mid-twenties no more than five foot tall.
“You’re lost?” she asked in disbelief and smiled broadly
“Yes” he said even more embarrassed when he saw his saviour
“Where were you going?” She asked
“Honeysuckle Cottage” he replied
“Oh you’re the writer” she said
“Yes that’s right” he said “Alex Farrell”
“I’m Gloria Barber, and we’re neighbours”
“Are we?” he asked
“Yes” She replied “I live in Cherry Tree House, just along the lane from you”
“Well I am very pleased to meet you Gloria” Alex said
“Come on I’m going your way” She said and she walked with him all the way to the cottage, she wasn’t the chattiest person he had ever met but he rather liked her.
“Here you are, safe home” she said smiling.
“Thank you for rescuing me and for walking me home” he said “come in for a coffee”
“I can’t I have to be somewhere” she replied
“Another time perhaps” he suggested
“Yes” she replied and hurried off.
A few days later after he had been rescued he had to drive into Purplemere to do a more substantial shop to stock the cupboards as he had exhausted the meagre supplies he brought with him when he moved in, plus he needed some more appropriate footwear for the country if he was going to walk into Highfinch again.
When he drove away from Honeysuckle Cottage, Instead of going in the direction of Highfinch he drove the opposite way down the lane which would eventually take him to Lily Green and as he did he drove past Cherry Tree House, where his nearest neighbour lived.
It was roughly two miles from his cottage and despite being called a house it was very much a cottage though it was much bigger than his, and as he drove slowly by it he found that he was surprised to find himself disappointed that there was no sign of life.
Beyond Cherry Tree House were another three houses before the lane reached the Hollows road, one of which was the home of his landlady, or at least the woman he was renting the Cottage from, Kate McEwan, who right on cue came out of her front door and waved.
He slowed down and waved back and Alex was about to drive on when she flagged him down.
“How are you settling in?” Kate asked
“Fine” he replied “I’m just going into Purplemere to stock up on groceries”
“I won’t keep you then, but Pop in for tea on the way back” she said