Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (46) Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (Part 04)
The rest of August was taken up with the arrangements for the Sharpington Day Parade which took place on the August
It was a major Charity event which raised tens of thousands of pounds every year much of which was collected by volunteers rattling tins along the route and traditionally the majority of volunteers took part in fancy dress and it
was that element of the Parade which made it so popular with visitors.
Gwen was the overall Chair but it was such a big event that there were a number of sub committees and for example Jayne Keeling chaired the Fundraising Committee.
So there were a lot of meetings and Gwen had to attend them all.
But despite being kept so busy she still had time to plan the party.
The Bank Holiday weather was beautiful and the
Parade was a great success but she was quite exhausted in the week that followed so she took a few days off to recharge her batteries before the Party which was on September 6th.
Wendy’s 18th birthday should have been a very significant one but because of her family situation she had barely
mentioned it to anyone and had no expectations.
Her mother was too hungover to know what month it
was let alone that it was her daughter’s special day.
The only reason Gwen knew at all was because Sabr
had opened a Post Office account for her and because of her mother’s alcohol dependency the pass book and her important documents were left with Gwen for safe keeping and among the papers was her birth certificate.
Gwen had organised a surprise party, complete with banners and balloons and guests.
Gwen had told Wendy that she wanted some help on Saturday tidying her garage which she said would take all afternoon at least.
Gwen had organised the surprise party, complete with banners and balloons and made sure the guests, David Goodman, Leslie Maher, Sabr Hemmings from the shop, landscape gardener Alison Williams and one other, Oliver Kingham who was David grandson, but no Dennis as he was away working.
All the guests were waiting in the lounge when there was a knock on the front door.
“Ok quiet everyone” Gwen said and went to open the door.
“Hello Wendy, right on time”
“Hi Gwen, shall I make a start?” she said and headed towards the garage door.
“No I thought we’d have a drink first” she said
Gwen stepped aside and let Wendy pass and then
And when Wendy pushed open the door she was greeted
by a rousing
There were lots of hugs and kisses of best wishes
and Wendy got very tearful.
“Ok sit down sweetie” Alison said “open your
“Presents?” Wendy said
“Yes, on the table” Gwen said
“They’re all for me?” she ask in disbelief and
tears filled her eyes again.
“This one first” Alison said and brushed her ginger
locks off her face as she knelt beside her.
Wendy couldn’t remember the last birthday present she had received and she wanted to savour the one Alison had given her so instead of ripping the paper off it so she carefully
pulled the tape off one piece at a time and she was concentrating so much that she had her tongue poking out the corner of her mouth and when she finally got to the contents, they were thermal long johns.
“Brilliant” she squealed and hugged Alison
“You’re going to need them in the winter sweetie”
After that first gift she was less patient and opened the rest of the presents in quick succession.
Leslie bought her a wrist watch, David, a pair of converse shoes, Gwen, an MP3 player and Sabr, a hoody.
And so as not to be left out Oliver gave her a box of Crazy Chocolatiers Truffles he bought in Sharpington that morning.
“Thank you” she said and they exchanged a lingering look.
Gwen was delighted with Wendy’s reaction and she sighed as she watched her sitting with Oliver as she admired her presents and they admired each other.
When it was time to go she put her old shoes and sweater in a carrier bag and quietly said to Gwen
“Can I leave my watch here for safe keeping?”
“Of course you can my dear” she replied
A great deal of hugs and kisses followed and then with tears in her eyes again she headed towards the door
“I’ll walk you home Wendy” Oliver said
“You don’t have to do that” she half-heartedly protested
“I know, but I want to” he insisted