Monday 29 January 2018

Cousin John's Inheritance Chapters 8 and 9. Violet in trouble and Owen plans to make a charcoal gas producer.

3.      38 Baker Street. 1940.
‘Did you see Violet!’ Young Mary’s hand was at her mouth as if to prevent the outrage from escaping. ‘She was wearing trousers!’
Her sister Clarissa had indeed seen Violet wearing trousers and although she knew it was not the Brethren way, did understand that to drive a truck, wearing a long dress would make clutch, brake and accelerator pedals difficult to manipulate. ‘They were overalls.’ She corrected, and continued stirring flour on the way to becoming bread.
‘But, Clissy!’ Mary insisted, now beside her in kitchen. ‘Father saw her!’
Clarissa wiped her hands on her apron and pushed the kettle over the flame. ‘Mary, you run along now and get ready for school. I’ll have a talk to Father.’ She pushed Mary toward the door, but the child resisted.
‘But Clissy,’ she insisted. ‘If she dresses like a man, she will go to Hell! Deuteronomy 22.’
Clarissa laughed. ‘Not quite, Mary. Deuteronomy 22 is not quite that harsh. It is an abomination, but does not guarantee an eternity in hellfire.’
‘But it’s still bad.’ Mary insisted, ‘Violet’s sins will bring dishonour upon our house.’
Clarissa hugged her little sister and wondered at the wisdom of filling children’s heads with the language of retribution without the wisdom to assess its appropriate applications, then led her to her room. ‘Now, get dressed. The bus goes in fifteen minutes.’
Mary glanced at the big clock in the hallway then closed her door to dress.
The kettle was boiling when Clarissa returned to the kitchen so she made a pot of tea and carried it out to where her father sat in the sunroom reading his Bible.
‘Here you are, Father. Would you like some cake?’
Her father patted the arm of the easy chair, where his wife had spent so much time with him for so many years, knitting, crocheting and reading. ‘Sit a minute.’
She sat and began to pour tea but he stopped her with a raised hand. ‘No, leave that, I want to talk to you about Violet.’ He looked to the door where Mary was waving her hand in goodbye. ‘Bye Mary and mind you do not eat with heathens or the Lord might not find you on Judgement day.’
The happy smile faded as Mary contemplated another lunch time alone. She turned and left, the clack of the front door closing allowing him to turn back. ‘I heard what you said to Mary about Deuteronomy 22, and cannot agree with you. Did you ever see your mother wearing trousers? No. Did you ever see your sisters wearing trousers? No. Did you ever see any other women of the Meeting wearing trousers? No. So I don’t want you watering down the word of God. The directive is clear. Women are not to wear men’s clothing, no matter what you call. Is that clear to you?’
Clarissa was still frozen with the tea pot poised over his cup. Before speaking, she started to pour. ‘Did you also hear me say that as a truck driver perhaps she could wear overalls, which are not strictly speaking, trousers.’
He did not stop her pouring, but waited until she had added milk and handed the cup to him.
‘I think if you tried to make that distinction to our elders, you would be laughed at. Trousers are garments that cover the legs that are split into two, and that is what defines them, as against a single piece garment that covers the legs, like a dress or a skirt.’
She poured herself a cup while she considered his words. ‘Do you really think or Lord cares that much about what Violet wears while she is driving a truck, that he would see only an abomination?’
He drank half his tea before lowering the cup gently.
‘No, He would not. She is a good woman who has been led from the Lord’s path by her father. But, if she wears trousers she cannot live under my roof. I will tell her when she returns.’ He lifted his cup to his lips and sipped. ‘When is she coming back?’
Clarissa had put her cup back in its saucer and laced her fingers together to keep them quiet. ‘I have no idea. She is delivering something for her father, so she could be quite late and might even stay tonight with Marjorie.’
The old man’s face reddened. ‘But today is Saturday! I hope she doesn’t think she can come back here on the Sabbath dressed in men’s clothing! She will not enter this house!’
She sighed, drank her tea then collected cups, tea pot and milk jug onto the tray then stood. ‘Perhaps you should speak to Bill about her wearing trousers before you throw her onto the street.’
He picked up his Bible and opened it at the pages marked by a narrow purple ribbon. ‘I might do that. Where is he working, do you know?’
She paused in the doorway. ‘He’s working with Walter, but I don’t know where.’
He looked up from the passage he had been reading. ‘Now there’s a God fearing woman,’ he asserted. ‘You’d never see Nellie sporting herself in men’s trousers.’
As she turned to continue her path to the kitchen she mumbled, ‘There seems so much to fear from such a loving God!’
He heard what she had said and turned back to his book. ‘Yes indeed!’ he whispered and turned another page to more of what he knew by heart, still searching for the love and certainty he lost when his Mary died, now four years gone.

 Eusebia’s Diary, August 5, 1941.
‘Eric got up at 4 o’clock to get away for deliveries and still have time to order a gas producer (charcoal).
‘I reckon I can make one of those.’
Owen Turnbull was poring over drawings recently arrived from the government with an accompanying letter that exhorted all that could, to reduce their consumption of petrol to an absolute minimum, with the warning that future supplies could not be guaranteed, even for essential occupations like transport and farming.
His father, Erwin Wilberforce Turnbull was a horse man, and had already ‘dusted off’ old horse-drawn machinery that had been rusting away at the edges of paddocks since the purchase of their first kerosene powered Fordson tractor, with its steel spiked wheels and cranky oil-bath clutch.
But Owen was an inventor and mechanical wunderkinder. He embraced mechanisation with the simple argument that “tractors don’t eat grass when they’re in the shed”.
But tractors were not his only foray into the wonders of mechanisation. An old T model Ford motor had been sourced from a wrecking yard and “done up”, to drive a long shaft of flat belt pulleys that powered a row of small tools and implements. Ranged along a rough hewn bench were grinders, a drill press, a grain grister and, with a change of belts, a chaff cutter and a circular saw. “Henry”, as the old four cylinder side-valve motor was known, was controlled by a governor that kept his revs within required bounds. The radiator that had kept him cool when he was on wheels was not used, but rather, he was connected by hoses and galvanised water pipes to a 44 gallon drum of water that bubbled away happily at exactly 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a sledge, he had mounted a similarly sourced Maxwell engine to drive a centrifugal pump that was used for irrigation and water transfer wherever it was needed on the mixed crop, chicken and dairy farm.
Now with extensive citrus and apple orchards, hand drawn water of his father’s day would no longer suffice, so Owen’s investigation of alternative sources of fuel for the farm’s multiple petrol and kerosene engines had moved from “urgent” to “vital” as the war prevented tankers of crude making the perilous journey across the Pacific.
But through the grapevine, he had heard that engines running on charcoal gas suffered excessive wear from charcoal dust and sand pollutants cbeing sucked into cylinders to chew into rings and bores, then to bypass worn rings and enter sump oil and grind away at big ends and main bearings, not to mention cam shafts, timing gears and chains.
He turned a drawing toward his father. ‘What this system needs is a hookah,’ he said, nodding to encourage his father for support.
But Irwin’s understanding of the drawings now before his eyes was only marginally greater than his grasp of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. He pushed the papers back to his son. ‘If you reckon you can make one, how long will it take, and how much?’
Owen pushed the papers together and stood to place them on top of the old Harmonium. ‘Don’t know. I’ll think about it.’
Eusebia watched as her elder son walked to the door and wondered what was to become of them all if he was called up. Both girls had gone to the city, then married, leaving the farm and their parents in the care of her two boys. She was still relatively young, under fifty, but Irwin was well past sixty and no longer confident he could still control the horses he so loved.
Father followed Owen out to help with the cream separator and to wash up after milking, that had been completed before breakfast then to drive the cows, now fed, back to pasture. The early start had left much of the day free until afternoon, when the three of them would again need to milk the herd by hand and drive the cows to the high paddock to overnight.
She watched through the fly screen door as Rowdy stirred himself from his place in the sun and trotted after them to the milking shed, where he would curl up again on a pile of pollard sacks in the sun beside the cattle feed trough that had been fashioned from a hollow log, split in two longitudinally, the two halves now butted end to end with the free ends plugged by sheets of galvanised iron, beaten to shape and secured by nails.
She made herself another pot of tea and fetched her writing pad, pen and ink. “Dear Ella,” she began and filled a page with her schoolteacher handwriting that expressed her anxiety at the war and possible call up of either or both of her sons.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Cousin John's Inheritance,chapters 6 and 7. Violet's father in trouble again and Marjoriie pregnant (again).

To my dear readers. What you are seeing is the first draft as she is writ. If you see any anomaly, please comment. If it is boring in parts (or the whole) please let me know. 
Particularly for my overseas readers, it any terms need explaining for you to understand the meaning, please say so.
 Also, if you are enjoying this little sojourn into the past, I would be overjoyed if you say so.

3  Fairfield 1937.

‘Hello Mum! Put the kettle on.’
Martha rushed to the back door to hug her daughter. Flour from her apron rubbed off onto Violet’s navy skirt.
‘Oh Vi, how are you?’ Violet brushed the flour away as she kissed Martha on the cheek. He mother watched her hand brushing, then her eyes rested on her stomach. ‘You’re not pregnant are you?’ She flushed then gabbled on. ‘Not that I don’t want a grandchild, you know I do. How’s Hovee?’
‘If you mean my husband, he’s well and the old man’s good too.’
‘How’s he taking the loss?’
‘That’s the thing with them, Mum. They seem happy that she’s with God and Jesus in Heaven. Of course they miss her, and she was lovely. I seem to be the only one who cries for her.’
‘Strange people aren’t they!’
‘Yes, they are, but they’re mostly happy in a serious sort of way.’
Martha took her arm. ‘Let’s have a cuppa.’
She led violet to the kitchen and pushed her toward the ice chest. ‘We have fresh milk today.’
‘Good. I don’t like condensed in tea. Where’s Dad? Has he got a job?’
Martha was spooning leaves into a teapot. She stopped and fixed Violet with her serious stare. ‘No, he’s in court today.’
Violet sighed then smiled back at her mother. ‘What’s he done this time?’
Martha carried the tea pot to the stove and poured boiling water over the leaves. ‘Driving with someone else’s number plates. He says he found them on the side of the road.’
‘What, both plates?’
‘Yes, both of them, and he put them on his truck.’
Violet laughed, despite her mother’s serious face, as she continued. ‘He was pulled over by the sergeant because those very same number plates had been reported stolen just over a week ago.’
‘No!’ she exclaimed. ‘He pinched someone’s number plates? Oh sweet Jesus! Did he really?’
‘He says not, but you know what he’s like: one law for the proletariat and a different law for him. He might even go to jail this time.’
‘Then what will you do for money?’
‘Young George works part time as a barman at the Cabramatta Hotel now, so that brings in a bit, well, what he doesn’t drink himself. Margaret has a part-time job at the grocer’s and brings home food that can’t be sold, you know, stuff in broken packages, fruit with spots.’
Martha lifted two cups and saucers from a shelf, placing them either side of the table, poured milk into a small jug which she covered with a delicate, crocheted cover, held in place by tiny seashells sewed into the edges. ‘The chooks are laying, so we have eggs. Young Louis looks after them, He’s a good boy.’
The tea pot was now at the centre of the table, a woollen cosy with a red pom-pom adding a jaunty touch to an otherwise drab room.
‘How’s things with you?’ She poured tea for them both, barely taking her eyes off her daughter’s face.
‘I’m a bit worn out, catching the tram to Burwood then the train to the hospital every day. I’m hoping Bill gets a real job soon. We want a baby.’
Martha smiled. ‘If you’re anything like me, you’ll fall every time you do it!’ She laughed, embarrassing herself. ‘I mean there were times when we didn’t.’ Now she was laughing harder, even more embarrassed.
‘Don’t worry about it Mum,’ Violet laughed. ‘There’s no chance of that. We’ve been trying for nearly two years and believe you me, Bill is insatiable.’
Martha sighed and took Violet’s hand. ‘You poor girl. George can’t get it up anymore. Too much beer, I reckon. I’ll be glad when he stops bothering me altogether.’
Violet squeezed her mother’s hand. ‘Poor Mum. It must be hard.’ Her eyes opened in surprise at what she had said. She laughed. ‘Sorry Mum, you know what I mean. No, I love it that Bill is always ready for me. I just adore making love with him.’
Martha was blushing as she poured more tea. ‘I just hope that never stops then.’ She looked up as she replaced the teapot. ‘Does Hovee know you’re here?’
‘No, Mum. I’m forbidden from coming here since Mother Ray died.’
‘Why’s that? She seemed to support you coming to see me.’
Violet sat back, tears filling her eyes. ‘She left a huge hole in the household. And some of them somehow connect me with her death. It’s horrible.’
‘Who? Why would they blame you?’
‘It’s not all of them, not the men except for old Hovee, just the two older women, the more devout ones. They always seem determined to make a connection between anything that happens to a sin someone has committed. Like… it’s the idea of revenge. Someone sins and God’s wrath descends.’
‘That’s horrible. Is it Clarissa?’
‘No, Mum, Clarissa is an angel and Mary is a ball of fun. They are like sisters to me. I love them both and I know they love me.’
‘So it’s coming from the old man then.’
‘Some of it, but he’s not consistent. Sometimes he just doesn’t talk to me but on many occasions he has said I am good for his son. No, it’s the mainly the other two girls I think. Anyway, I can handle it. Don’t worry.’

4Booralla Road, September 1940.

Little Eleanor ran into the kitchen when she heard voices, frilled pillow under her arm, big blue eyes excited.
Violet lifted her to be kissed on the cheek then sat her on her knee to continue the cuddle. She sniffed the child’s bright ginger hair then squeezed her again. She tried not to show her envy as she noted Marjorie’s awkward gait.
‘When are you due?’
Marjorie looked down at her swollen body and sighed. ‘October, I think and it’s a girl.’
‘How do you know it’s a girl?’
She carefully lowered herself into a pale green spindle backed chair that made up a set of four that Stafford had bought for one pound from Harry’s second hand timber yard in Smithfield Road, along with the matching table.
‘She is higher than Ford, more like Eleanor was but she doesn’t kick as much. Got to be a girl.’
Violet smiled then kissed Eleanor’s hair. ‘I’d settle for either… or both.’
‘I think you’re too stressed to conceive.’ Marjorie suggested. ‘I’ve seen it before; women who are highly strung, then something happens to change things and Presto! They’re pregnant.’
‘Yes, it’s a bit awkward there.’ She broke off a piece of sponge cake Marjorie had retrieved from the Coolgardie safe, and popped it into the child’s mouth then took a bite from the remainder. ‘Bill doesn’t have permanent work and I leave early every day for the hospital, so I’m tired when I get home and he isn’t. Clissy’s wonderful, but I’d really like to get away from the judgement.’
‘What’re they saying?’
‘Nothing to my face, but I’m sure they’ve said something to Bill about Mother Ray’s death and the behaviour of my family being connected.’
Marjorie laughed and stood to make the tea, her back to violet. She was still laughing. ‘I know it’s not funny to you, to read about your dad and that woman at Smithfield. Let’s hope they don’t get the “The Biz” down there!’
‘Oh, I’m sure they know. The Fairfield Brethren read the Fairfield papers no doubt… and theirs is a small world.’
‘I thought it was really funny. I can imagine George rushing to the aid of a damsel in distress, so long as it wasn’t your mother.’
‘Yes, poor Mum. She suffers the embarrassment… and there’s the fines. It’s hard enough for her to put food on the table without the embarrassment of Dad being drunk or having our name in the papers so much.’
‘It’s just your dad though, isn’t it? Is George Junior behaving?’
‘No, he’s been caught driving without a licence, again, and this time he had dodgy number plates as well!’
‘How awful for your mum. How would you like to live here?’
Violet’s attention was suddenly drawn away from Eleanor to stare at Marjorie. She had come to ask that very thing. But now she was afraid she might have pushed her sister-in-law into making the offer.
‘Are you sure? Is… are your bedrooms ready? Where will you put the new bub?’
‘She’ll be in with us for a while, but then she can sleep in with Eleanor. She’d love a baby sister. We’re totally out of the shed now, so if you and Bill wanted to move in, I’d love to have you closer.’
‘It would be a lot easier here than being cramped up in that house, but what do you think Stafford would say to that? I get the impression he’s glad to be away from the Baker Street mob. He doesn’t go there much.’
Marjorie poured water into the tea pot and refilled the kettle.
‘He doesn’t go anywhere much. He works five and a half days at Chartres in Liverpool Street, has to ride his bike to Cabramatta station to get the train, then spends every other waking moment working on this house. He would like to go to the meeting every Sunday, but there just isn’t time.’
‘What does his father have to say about that?’
We don’t have a phone, so they don’t bother us much.’
‘How do you think Staff would react to Bill starting a business here?’
‘What sort of business? Have you and Bill been planning on coming here all along?’
Violet looked away, through the open back door where a big melaleuca dominated the skyline but there was no help there. Marjorie had returned to the table with the tea pot, her eyes on Violet who seemed to be contemplating the demise of the many flies attached to the helix of sticky paper hanging from the ceiling, entrapped by their lack of acuity.
‘No, she replied, eyes back on Marjorie’s, her heart racing. ‘We had hoped to get a place where Bill could establish a poultry farm but it was me, just now, that thought that this might be a good place to start.’
“Hovee might not like the idea of moving here,” she thought, “but it was not Hovee that was the target of innuendo, it was she.” She needed to have a plan to get him away from his father and that house.
‘No, he’s been talking about getting our own place but there’s no money even for a deposit and Staff’s not doing much with the land. What do you think? We could work out a deal that paid you something as well.’
Marjorie poured tea for both of them then sat back to engage her newest sister-in-law. She smiled. ‘Yes, I would like you to be closer. I can’t have close friends that are not in the Meeting. There are no other Brethren around here, so I feel very much alone sometimes.’ She glanced over her shoulder toward the neighbour’s house. ‘Ruth Brazel is nice, but if I invited her for a cuppa and the Brethren found out, I would be ostracised by everyone.’
‘Where will you send Fordie to school?’
‘He’s at school. Kindie.’
‘Oh yes! I had noticed he wasn’t here. Where did you send him?’
‘Canley Vale.’
Eleanor was bored with talk about her brother and was wriggling to be put down. Violet lowered her to the floor and watched as she ran outside, then looked back at Marjorie.
‘Why not St John’s Park, it’s closer.’
‘Staff didn’t want him mixing with the local kids, the Italians and reffo’s.’
‘No, you wouldn’t want that.’

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Cousin John's Inheritance. Chapters 4 and 5. Violet and Hovee marry.

34.     Drummoyne 1936.

‘Where’s the booze? A man can’t be expected to celebrate a wedding without booze!’ George Dupond senior had clearly partaken of plenty before he gave his daughter away. His beery breath had wafted over the wedding party, much to the embarrassment of Violet and disgust of Hovee. But he did manage to remain standing long enough to witness kissing of the bride and to follow them outside where Martha joined him, holding him as steady as her strength would allow.
‘Shh! George, these people are teetotalers. They won’t be having beer to celebrate. You’ll be lucky to be allowed in for a cup of tea!’
She dragged him to the truck that was their transport and George’s source of income, when he wasn’t in court resulting from his numerous misdemeanours.
He climbed behind the wheel while Martha organised George Junior, Margaret and Louis onto the table top and Alan into the cab, to sit in the middle of its bench seat.
‘Do you want George Junior to drive? You’re a bit under the weather.’
‘Under the weather!’ he snarled. ‘You don’t know what under the weather is!’ He moved the gear stick to “neutral” and pressed the starter. It whirred until it began to slow. ‘Jesus Christ! Don’t say the bloody battery’s flat!’
Martha looked out to see if any of the Rays had heard the language. It seemed they hadn’t, being already on their way in more modern cars that started first go. But she could not let the opportunity pass. ‘George!’ she exclaimed. ‘They’ll hear you!’
‘Let the bastards. See if I care what those bloody wowsers think.’ He tried the starter again and it caught. He rammed the gearbox into first and jerked ahead. ‘Anyway, I can drive pissed better than bloody George can drive sober. I practice driving pissed.’ He laughed as he changed into second gear with a crunch of protesting cogs and accelerated, swinging onto the main road with squeals of fear and delight wafting in from children clinging to the loadboard.

The Dupond family arrived at 38 Baker Street after all the other guests, and were confronted by Violet and Hovee at the front door.
Young Mary had been waiting and led the children through to where scones, cakes, sandwiches and lamingtons had been arranged in the sunroom, while Violet blocked her father’s way. ‘Dad, you’ve been drinking and if you embarrass me in there, I will never speak to you again.’
Martha began to sob as she held her husband’s arm.
Hovee stood with his new wife, his faced hard and fists clenched by his side. George took in the threatening stance and leered.
‘So you think you could take me on, do you? That’ll be the day.’ He laughed and leant forward to push Hovee in the chest. Hovee stood his ground but did not move his hands.
‘This is our wedding day and I want it to be a happy one but this is my father’s house where we have been given a home so…’
‘So what?’ George had stepped back but appeared to be still angry.
‘We don’t allow strong drink in this house, so if you have any on you, I’d like you to leave it in the truck.’
‘In the bloody truck? There’s no booze in the truck or I’d have my own party in the flamin’ truck and bugger you lot.’
Martha was now crying openly. Violet closed the door and stood in front of it, blocking his way. ‘Dad! Leave now. You will not ruin my wedding day.’ She turned to her mother then hugged her. ‘Sorry Mum, I can’t let him in there. They’ll never forgive me.’ She turned to Hovee. ‘Tell George to get the rest of them together. They’re going home.’
Hovee disappeared into the house while her father glared at her.
‘You’re not my daughter.’ He spat at her feet then turned, pulling Martha with him down the three porch steps. On the last step he stumbled and was held up by Martha. He shook off her hands and pushed her ahead. ‘I don’t need your bloody help. Get in the truck!’
Her siblings stared wide eyed at Violet as they pushed past and ran down the steps. Margaret stopped and hugged Violet.
‘Happy marriage Sis.’ She said. Then with a wave, joined the rest of them clambering aboard.
Hands clasped, they watched as the truck lumbered up the hill toward Liverpool Road. When it had left for Fairfield they re-entered the house. ‘I feel terrible about that. Poor Mum, she’ll cop it when they get home.’
He stopped her and lifted her chin to kiss her softly then led her along the hall to the party.
‘Where’s Mr and Mrs Dupond?’
Mary junior seemed oblivious to Violet’s remorse, but her mother was quick to leave her duties at the big tea pot and hug her, then with a soft ‘there, there’, lead her into the kitchen for a chat.

4.     38 Baker Street 1937.

Mary Steadman Ray lay on her death bed. The heart attack that brought her down was no surprise to her family at Four Mile Creek, where Hovee and Violet had driven in the old Rugby for a two weeks honeymoon.
A heart attack had killed Mary’s father and his father before him, but the girls seemed to have escaped the scourge until now.
Violet sat at her bedside holding Mary’s soft small hand and gently murmured a hymn she had learned at school. ‘Abide with me, fast falls the eventide…’ she sang, listening to laboured breathing. All the others were asleep, or at least in bed.
She had taken over the vigil from Clarissa at midnight and she would sit here until the men were up about six. She smiled, as she pictured herself helping Clissy get their breakfasts of oatmeal and eggs with sausage, then cut their lunches while they ate.
They had work now, renovating a cottage for one of the churchmen but that would end in a few weeks and they would have to again rely on the garden and the fowls for most of their sustenance.
She took Mary’s pulse. It was weak and fluttering. She sighed and stood to look out over the dark street in time to see a ragged man stagger along clutching a wine bottle against his chest.
She sighed and mumbled the words that had become her prayer of thanks. ‘Oh Lord, thank you for a loving man who does not smoke nor drink!’
A low moan drew her back to the bed. She lifted one limp wrist and finding no pulse, flicked her stethoscope into her ears and listened. Nothing.
Death was not new to Violet, but she sat heavily and then buried her face in the old woman’s breast. ‘I love you Mumma Ray,’ she whispered and lifted her head to stand and pull the white sheet up to cover Mary’s face.
Outside the room, she walked to the kitchen to fire up the old gas range and move a full kettle onto the burner, then sat to let this moment be hers. The history of this family was etched into the old deal table where, at its peak, ten people ate, argued, laughed and cried. Gouges, where bored children picked with fingernails and some with knife ends told of their immaturity. Spills of a lifetime created a wider mosaic. Her finger traced those before her and she cried for the loss of this brave, warm woman who had taken her in as her own and counseled her in the ways of their two flawed men, who in their own way were sober, hard working and brave.
Old Mary gave her the greatest gift. She taught her how to forgive, even her own father. Mary convinced her she needed to do that so as not deny Martha, her mother who suffered for her love, the occasional presence of all her children and potentially grandchildren.
She sobbed again with the thought that she had not yet conceived. It was not through want of trying. Hovee was a considerate and gentle lover and although fearful at first, now shared with her the desire for a child. Remembering the old lady’s words that: ‘God will bless you soon enough, young lady. Don’t be too keen to bring children into these hard times.’
Violet smiled as she recalled the smells and emotion of love making and counted her blessings.
At last she was ready and stood to wake the family as the kettle began to hum.
There would be a lot of tea drunk today.