Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (36) The Insomniac Muse (Part 05)
It was Halloween and that time of the day when in his home town there would be a constant stream of expectant children knocking on the door.
But due to the remoteness of the cottage and the foulest weather he had seen for many a day, he wasn’t expecting even one.
So imagine his surprise when there was indeed a knock at his front door.
He opened the door not knowing what to expect on the other side of it and the sight that greeted him was as fearful a sight as you could imagine on any Halloween night.
It was a drowned rat, caked in mud, and looking very sorry for itself.
“Hello Gloria” he said “what on earth are you doing out in this?”
“It wasn’t this bad when I left home” she replied
She looked like she had been on maneuvers with the SAS in the wilds of Herefordshire.
“Come in, come in” he said “what on earth happened?”
“Don’t laugh” she said “but I fell in a ditch”
“My God you are actually squelching” he said “get your coat and boots off”
And while she followed his instructions he left her and went to get a towel and when he came back she was walking towards the warmth of the fire and she was still audibly squelching.
She stood in front of the fire in her squelchy socks and shivered which was Alex’s signal to go upstairs and start the bath running, then he put fresh towels on the rail and went downstairs again.
“Right you need to get out of those wet things” he said in a fatherly tone
“I’ll be fine I just need to warm up a bit” she said
“Well you won’t warm up if you’re wearing wet clothes” he said “so do as you’re told, the bath is running”
Gloria tried to protest but he wouldn’t let her and then followed the squelching girl up the stairs.
“Throw your wet things on to the landing and I’ll put a change of clothes in the spare room for you”
“Ok Mr Farrell” she said like she was addressing a teacher.
He went downstairs again and turned his attention back to his dinner.
Alex tended to only cook from scratch once a week but he always made more than he needed and the extra would be frozen and ready to use whenever.
On that particular day he was cooking lamb stew, he gave it a stir and went to the airing cupboard in the spare room and looked for something that would be suitable for Gloria to wear.
It wasn’t easy choosing from a selection of clothes made for a six foot tall fifteen stone man and find something that would do for a tiny girl barely 5 foot tall and less than seven stone soaking wet.
The only thing he could find was a rugby shirt that was a bit long even on him so it would be like a dress on her and a pair of football sock that would reach her thighs.
He lay them on the bed and picked up the pile of wet clothes and carried them down stairs with him.
Once downstairs he set up the clothes drier in front of the fire and draped her things over it and almost immediately steam started to emanate from her socks.
Her boots were already on the hearth and her coat was draped over the back of a chair.