Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (78) It Happened One Christmas (Part 01)
Sharpington-by-Sea is a traditional seaside resort complete with a Victorian Pier, seafront hotels, crazy golf, the Palladium ballroom, well maintained gardens, promenade, theatre and illuminations, all the usual things to have a great time by the seaside, as well as amusement arcades and of course the Sharpington Fun Park.
The Fun Park was the first purpose built amusement park to open in Britain, which had an assortment of rides, like the Rotor and the Wild Mouse, The Cyclone and the Morehouse Galloper, all very tame compared to 21st century roller coasters, but still fun.
It was also a popular resort for retirees and boasted a number of static caravan parks and one of them was the Whitecliff Hill Caravan Park which overlooked the town.
Kirsty Wishaw was petite and had beautiful straw coloured hair and at 27 years old she worked as the manager of the onsite Stephenson’s general store.
Stephenson’s had supermarkets and convenience stores all over Downshire.
Kirsty was a resident of Sharpington and had worked at the shop since she was at school.
Of course she had help in the shop in the form of a small group of part timers whom she knew she could trust which she needed because she had other demands on her time, namely her terminally ill mother who she had to care for, so the last thing she needed was another distraction which on one day in the middle of October came in the form of Phil Spurgeon.
Her eyes were drawn to him the moment he entered the shop, he was tall and slim with thick brown curly hair just long enough to cover his collar, with brown eyes and a toothy smile which lit up the whole shop.
Phil was a couple of years older that Kirsty and he was a writer who lived in one of the caravans on the far side of the park.
He was in the shop for about ten minutes and she caught him sneaking a look in her direction but when he eventually went to the counter with a basket full of essentials she was serving someone else, which she later thought was for the best really, she didn’t have time for such distractions, even very good looking ones.
So she did her best to ignore him which was difficult because he was gorgeous but she convinced herself it really was for the best.
Phil would have heartily agreed with her, he was finding writing his novel difficult enough as it was without the added complication of losing his heart to the lovely girl with the corn coloured hair.
He was an accountant by profession but after his marriage ended he decided he was going to give up his job and write a novel before life passed him by.
Phil’s neighbours up at Whitecliff Hill Caravan Park were the Taylor family, who unlike Phil had not chosen to be there because when they least expected it, life slapped them in the face and then it kicked them when they were on the ground.
The slap came when Michelle Taylor was diagnosed with breast cancer in January the previous year and needed surgery followed by chemo.
Her husband Martyn was a self-employed builder at the time with plenty of steady work and was able to increase his hours to cover for the shortfall.
Then came the first kick, at the end of February when Martyn was in a car crash and broke his leg.
In June there was another kick, when he needed surgery on his leg after he got an infection, but most painful kick came in October, when with bills going unpaid and Martyn still on crutches and Michelle unable to work for several months because of the surgery and two courses of chemo and with mounting debts and their savings long gone and no money for the mortgage they lost the house.