I had no idea what a wonderful day it was going to be. The village rooster woke me at five-thirty and in turn the terrible twins started their early morning duet just to make sure we were all awake on this, the best day of the year. First Jessie, the black Labrador at Jack Tindell’s garage, and then Butch, the long haired terrier at the other end of the winding main street; at Margaret’s garden store next to Old grandma Brown’s cottage.
The smell of bacon and eggs rose from the kitchen downstairs to encourage a faster shave. I have to say, my wife Rose is a wonderful cook and my good health – and indeed my expanding waist – is all due to her. That morning, she had been busy fussing around in the kitchen, baking sausage rolls and lots of custard tarts for the bakery stall we were going to set up on the green.
Shapwick, my little village, celebrates May Day every year. We all dress up as peasants, farmers, and landed gentry from the 17th century. There are just over two hundred of us nowadays; used to be a lot more but what with the farms hereabouts taking on less labour and the youngsters going to the city for better jobs, the number of villagers has shrunk over the years. Despite this, our community has never lost its old world charm and Mayday is when we welcome visitors from all around to enjoy a look back in time at an English country village.
Rose’s cheeks were red with the heat of the kitchen. Dressed already in her costume of blue and white striped dress and huge white apron, she was taking the last of the rolls out of the oven as I entered the kitchen.
“There be plenty here, Jack, and no mistake,” she enthused, pushing strands of silver hair out of her eyes. “And you mind you don’t start eating the rolls. They be for visitors and children.” She waggled a finger at me, her full lips parting in a wide grin.
My breakfast finished, I slipped the old country workers’ smock over my shoulders, stuck a straw hat on and gave Rose a smacking kiss on the lips. I had to be at the vicarage by seven o’clock to help Vicar Johnson take chairs and tables to the fayre. Rose waved me off, reminding me to return quickly to help with the food.
Excited, I left ‘Rose Cottage’ and headed off, whistling. The sky was blue, and strong rays of sunshine filtered through the beech lining the lane, casting long shadows across the golden cornfield beyond.
As I strode across ‘Grange Brook’ stone bridge, I heard a cry. I stopped – and there it was again. I could smell smoke too, and saw a faint black smudge rise above the trees.
The next cry made me catch my breath - Grandma Brown. With thumping heart, I raced for the thatched cottage.
Raymond Stone (MT)
Writers are:1. Annette Connor 2. Ken Burns 3. Joe Labrum 4. Griffin 5. Ray Stone 6. Dannyo77 7. Iliena Bosu 8.Priya S 9.Bruce Howat 10. Suraya