The Last Days of Summer: 2013 365 Challenge #280

Crushing apples

Crushing apples

Yesterday we had one of those bonus summer days that sneaks out in autumn and takes you by surprise.

After an exhausting six hours with friends at the Farm on Saturday, hubbie and I wanted to curl up with a cuppa and a good book. Unfortunately, such weekend activities are not really open to us any longer.

Instead we went to my parents’ house and I cooked up bacon and pancakes for brunch. Then the men shook apples down from the big tree in the garden that I climbed as a child, and the grandkids collected them all.

Then they assisted Grandpa in his job crushing them to make cider, while Mummy read her book. Bliss. I’m really enjoying my foray back into comfort-reading, and I’m even managing to ignore the typos and excessive use of adverbs!

Some blackberry picking and a game of ping pong in the sunshine later and it was an idyllic day. Back home I let the kids cover the patio in sand-mud pies while I made blackberry and apple crumble and custard. I was asleep on the sofa by 9pm (I’m fighting off a cold) happy in the knowledge that we’d eked the last out of the summer.

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Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:

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“I do understand, Claire, I really do. But you have to see it from my perspective.”

The tired resignation in Conor’s voice made Claire’s mouth go dry. She could imagine him running a hand through his hair and trying not to yell at her. She gripped the phone tightly and waited for him to tell her she no longer had a job.

With an exhalation of breath, Conor spoke into the silence. “How long do you need?”

Claire felt a flicker of hope. “Psych Liaison says she needs monitoring for several weeks if they’re going to let her go home. If Jeff takes anymore time off he’s going to lose his job.” She tried to keep her voice matter of fact.

“What about your job, Claire? Isn’t that important.”

The hope died with the cut of his voice, and something inside her broke. “You don’t get it,” she burst out. “This is my fault. If I’d been a better friend she wouldn’t be in this mess. I have to fix it.”

Another pause followed her words and she braced herself for the consequences. When he spoke again, however, Conor’s voice sounded speculative.

“Maybe what she needs is a holiday? A road trip round Cornwall with her best friend would do her the world of good, don’t you think?”

His words broke into the fog of Claire’s mind and dispersed it like a ray of sunshine. “The PLAN lady didn’t say anything about her having to stay home in bed. I think they want to see her on a regular basis…”

“Then they can Skype or call her, or she can go to a local hospital. It’s June, Claire. What better way to find a reason to live than visiting the most beautiful places the country has to offer, in the summer? You’ll have to book ahead if there are two of you staying in the hostels, and you should probably take a tent for the nights you can’t get a bed. But it should be fun, yes?”

“Maybe you’re right, “Claire said eventually. “I’ll have a chat with her and Jeff.”

“You do that.” Conor’s voice became business like again. “Don’t take too long, I can only stall for so much time and I’m running out of excuses.”

Claire inhaled, then blurted out ,“Thank you. I do really appreciate what you’ve done for me. I don’t know why but I’m grateful.”

“I’ll tell you why, because you have the skills and experience to get the job done. Don’t let me down.”

Claire swallowed. The curt business tone unnerved her, reminding her that Conor was her employer not a friend.

“I won’t,” she said, before hanging up the phone. She hoped she was right.

***

2 thoughts on “The Last Days of Summer: 2013 365 Challenge #280

  1. Sounded delish, so I checked out the recipe on the link (aninexactescience). Turns out My Mom, Aunts, and Grandma all made this, and taught me as a child. Except we called it “Apple Brown Betty”
    BTW, there was a ‘pingback’ to you on the link at the end of the blog, did you see it?

    • Glad the post brought back baking memories and thank you so much for the heads up to the comment under my pingback – it didn’t come through on my reader and I really hate for anyone to think I’m being rude and not responding.

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