General Fiction posted March 13, 2018 Chapters:  ...34 35 -36- 37... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Sorting out problems

A chapter in the book This Time - That Time 2

Mildred's Plan

by sandramitchell

I've put a link to the Synopsis of previous parts in my author's notes.

End of part 35

     ‘That’s it in a nutshell,’ I answered. ‘We’ve got ourselves two unsolvable problems.’ I sat up straight and picked up my cup after Mildred filled it.
     ‘I wouldn’t say that, oh Lordy no!’ she said, her eyes suddenly full of merriment as she turned from me to James. ‘I think we’s got ourselves the beginnin’ of a plan. Joe’s gonna ask Sir John fer some money….’

Part 36
     “What!’ James and I exclaimed in unison.
     I looked over at Mildred, my disbelief at her suggestion glaringly obvious by the tone of my voice. “I can’t see Joe going to the Manor and asking Sir John for money, however politely he asked, especially after what the man has done to him ... can you?”
     I couldn't see what Mildred was getting at, and nor could James, so it seemed, because he just stood there shaking his head. “Not a chance in hell," he replied decisively.
     Mildred laughed. “Oh Lordy, you two, if yeh could just see yer faces. Stop an’ think fer a minute. What does the silly man want more’n anythin’ in the world right now?”
     “To get shot of Francis,” James stated in his firm, authoritative voice.
     “And what does Joe want?”
     “Money, but more than that, he wants … to use James’ eloquent expression, to get shot of Sir John. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that by asking for money, though.” I had a picture of Joe standing in front of Sir John demanding money to buy the ingredients to make chocolate. The very idea made me chuckle. “Even if he had the courage to do such a thing, which I’m damned sure he hasn’t, why would Sir John give it to him?”
     “Because Joe’s got somethin’ t’ bargain with,” Mildred replied with that amused glint in her eyes we’d all come to love so much.
     I could tell she was really enjoying herself. I stole a look at James’ face to see if he was any the wiser, but he wasn’t. “Mildred! Will you stop teasing and tell us!”
     “It might take some persuadin’, but it would help ‘em both. Joe’ll tell Sir John him an’ Rosie’ll have Francis—”
      “Have Francis? What do you think Rosie will say to that? She knows nothing about him, and if she saw him, she’d probably freak out the same as Sir John and Joe did.”
     “Oh, Lordy, Miss Veronica, I knows all that. Joe’d have t’ talk t’ her first. You can help him with that. But, think on it, he could tell Sir John he’d have t’ pay Joe t’ bring the boy up.”
     We all fell silent, and I picked my cup up again to cradle it in my hands as I considered Mildred's idea. On the face of it, it was good, but I couldn’t for the life of me see Rosie reacting positively when she has encountered Francis’ red eyes and white hair.     
     James stood up and reached for the bread knife. “Anyone else want some more toast?”
     The sudden change of subject made me grin. I always knew when James was thinking, because he had to fiddle with something so as not to break his chain of thought. Putting more toast on was a task that didn't need much concentration.
    “Mmm, yes please, I would.” I turned to Mildred. “How about you?”
     “No, I’m okay, thanks, but I’ll make another cuppa—t' give me brain another boost.” She smiled as she stood up. “It’s not used t’ workin’ this hard.”
     When we were sitting back down, James put some butter on his toast and was about to reach for the marmalade when, with his butter knife suspended in mid-air, he opened his mouth to speak ... then shook his head yet again. "No, that won’t work,” he mumbled, without telling us what he’d been about to say.
     “Okay, just say Joe is willing to take Francis on, and manages by some miracle to persuade Rosie to go along with it. Don’t forget, no one apart from Sir John and Joe knows about Francis, apart from his nanny … we’d have to think of something to say to her as well. This gets more complicated whichever way we turn.”
     Mildred tapped her lips with her finger, then stopped as her brows shot up. “S’posin’ Joe moved away?”
     “Where would he go?”
      Mildred’s arms flew up in the air, her fingers splayed. “I dunno! I haven’t got all the answers!”
     I grinned at her. “Was that a little bit of a paddy coming out there, Mildred?”
     When she blushed, I cracked up laughing. James had a huge grin on his face, because neither of us had seen Mildred lose her rag before. I stood and went over to put my arm around her shoulders. “It’s getting to us all, Love. It’s just … well, it was so funny seeing you flip your lid!”
     She looked up at me with one of her crooked expressions, and that was all it took to send us both into fits of laughter.
     James rolled his eyes as he pushed his plate away, then picked up his cup of tea and drank it down. “I’ve got to love and leave you girls, as I’ve got to get to work. If I think of something that will help, we can talk it over this evening.” He stood up and came over and kissed me on my cheek. “Have a good day,” he called out  before blowing me a kiss and picking up his car keys.
     I went upstairs to sort the children out while Mildred cleared the breakfast table. I found Michael sitting on his bedroom floor playing with his Lego bricks, and Ann was putting her school jumper on. “Come on, you two, time to go.” I picked Michael up and carried him down the stairs to put his coat on before I strapped him in his pushchair.
     A few minutes later, Ann came running into the kitchen, struggling into her coat and dragging her satchel at the same time. “Come here, let me do that,” I said, relieving her of her satchel and then doing up her buttons.
    Half an hour later, after we had dropped Ann off at school and Michael at his play group, Mildred and I decided to take a stroll through the wood alongside the cottage. ‘It’s so peaceful here.” I sighed. “We should do this more often. Hark at the blackbirds, they’re in fine tune today. I just love our countryside and all the sights, scents and the sounds of all the wildlife. We are lucky to live here, aren’t we?”
     “Yes, hold on…. That’s a thrush singing now.” We stopped to listen for a while, enjoying the moment. "They’re all out singing today.” Mildred smiled, and then bent down to pick up a coin she’d spotted. ‘Ooh, look. Find a penny, pick it up, an’ all day long you’ll have good luck! Now that’s a good sign.” She held it between her fingers to show me.

     “Let’s hope it works, then….”

The hour leading up to the children’s teatime was total bedlam, followed by fifteen minutes quiet as they ate their spaghetti hoops with toasted bread fingers, and one of Mildred’s fairy cakes. Later, chaos reigned again with more fun and games in the bathroom. By the time James came home he had the pleasure of two, clean, tired-out children to read to before they snuggled down to sleep.

     Finally, with our dinner out the way, we were able to relax in the sitting room. Mildred sat drinking her tea, while James and I had our after-dinner brandy.

     “So, have you had any more thoughts on Joe?” James asked, putting his glass down on the coffee table.
    “Not really,” I replied. “Have you?”
        “Actually, yes, I have. The more I thought of your idea, Mildred, about Joe and his family moving away, the more I liked it.… It was the only logical conclusion considering the complications of Francis becoming a member of his family in a small community where everyone knows them. But the problem is, where can they go? Does he have any relatives away from Cornwall?”

     “Not that I know of.” I frowned, trying to recall all our conversations. I shook my head. “No, he’s never mentioned anyone to me.”

     Mildred pursed her lips. “Where was it that Joe got the stuff for his chocolate? Didn’t you tell us it were Rosie’s mum that sent it? Where from?”

     After her words sank in, I nearly spilt my brandy as I remembered my conversation with Joe before he was abducted by Sir John's thugs.

     “Bristol!” I almost yelled it out. “That would be perfect, especially as Jacob eventually moves there before he dies.”

     We sat there looking pleased with ourselves.  A solution had come a little closer. It needed lots of thought, but it had  potential.

     “Now we have to think about Francis’ eyes. He would still create a lot of fear and prejudice. It’s not as if Joe could keep him hidden until they changed from red to blue … if they ever do, that is.” With his elbow on the arm of the sofa, James rested his chin on his hand, his expression thoughtful. “When I go back to work tomorrow, I’ll use our computer to do a bit of research. I might get some answers there. If not, we’ll work something out.”

     I nodded. “Good idea. Of course, all this planning and working out ways to help Joe is dependent on two factors. First of all, there's no guarantee that I’ll be sent back again, and secondly, he and Rosie have to agree to take Francis. This whole saga has been about that child and his dubious future. I just have to hope I'll get the chance to make the suggestions that will change everyone's lives for the better….”

Veronica Russell – time traveller.
Dr James Russell – married to Veronica.
Ann Russell –  Veronica and James’s five-year-old daughter with paranormal gifts.
Michael Russell – Veronica and James’s three-year-old son.
Mildred – Veronica’s closest friend and adopted grandmother to the children.
Daveth Hammett – ten-year-old boy from 1846.
Elowen Hammett – five-year-old sister of Daveth
Joe Hammett –  Daveth’s father who disappeared through a time portal
Rosie Hammett – Joe’s wife.
Sir John – Lord of the manor.
Gwendolyn – Sir John’s sister, now deceased.
Francis – Albino child of Gwendolyne.
Jacob Argall – Albino.
Meg – Francis’ nanny and carer.


Synopsis of Book 2

Synopsis of Book 1
To clear up the confusion of 'eating' tea in England, I thought it might be a good idea to explain it. In the UK, 'tea-time', is a meal. The same as 'dinner- time' and 'breakfast'
It's only recently that we stopped having our main meal at midday, which was followed by tea between 4pm and 6pm. Now that more mothers are working, the main meal tends to be in the evening. Children who go to school and have school dinners at midday still come home and have their tea at about 5pm, consisting of a sandwich, cake and a drink, not necessarily a cup of tea, but mostly a cold drink. If you ever come to England and someone asks you what you want for tea, they are asking what you want to eat! lol.

Thank you for reading my story. This is written in UK English. If you see any errors, I would be so grateful if you let me know! :)
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2018. sandramitchell All rights reserved. Registered copyright with FanStory.
sandramitchell has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.