Ready for work
Tommy woke having had a rather bad night’s sleep, tossing and turning dreaming of giant worms coming down the chimney. It was daylight and he was keen to get over to Esmeralda’s and start the clear up operation. After a good stretch he was dressed and downstairs in a flash. He suddenly remembered as well that he needed a rope and mustn’t forget it before he leaves.
“Thought I heard a movement up stairs,” Tommy’s gran said with a laugh as he came into the kitchen. “There’s one thing about you, Tommy Wilkes, if you’ve got something interesting waiting, you’re up like a shot; if it’s a school day I have to near drag you out of bed sometimes. Then again I was the same when I was your age so don’t feel too bad about it, she said smiling.
“Gran, do you think we have an old clothes line anywhere, before I forget?”
“Err…yes I do believe there’s one hanging up in the outside garden shed if I’m not mistaken but it’s a bit frayed in parts,” she went on. “What the devil do you want that for? Anyway get yourself washed and I’ll have a cup of tea ready for you, plenty of time to do things after you’ve had your breakfast.”
It wasn’t long before he was back again, looking like a new pin, as his gran would say.
“There we go, Tommy,” she said passing him a cup of tea as he came back. “Your breakfast will only be ten minutes; I thought we’d have egg- on- toast today for a change, if you toast the bread I’ll get two eggs ready, I’ve cut the slices of bread. They’re on a plate on the table.”
Tommy took the brass ‘Toasting Fork’ from where it hung at the side of the fireplace and pushed a round of bread onto the fork end. He held it at arm’s length so the bread was close to the fire which was burning nicely. He watched it get brown. When one side was toasted, he took it off and turned it round to do the other side. All together he toasted four rounds of bread which were thickly cut.
In the meantime his gran had put the eggs in a saucepan of water near to the top of the fire where they simmered away nicely
“By gum, Tommy, I do love the smell of fresh toast,” his gran said, buttering the first round which melted quickly on the hot toast. “Finish the others and I’ll take the eggs off, they’re nearly done now.”
She took a spoon and scooped each egg out of the hot water and into an egg cup for each of them.
They both sat at the table, Tommy took his egg out of the egg cup, tapping it with the back of his spoon before peeling the shell off and placing the egg on the toast.
“That’s lucky, Tommy, you’ve got a double yoked egg there; you may be in for a good day today, my lad,” she said taking the shell off of her own egg.
“Well I hope so, Gran, because we’ve got a lot to do to try and clear that cave- in at Esmeralda’s I can tell you.”
“Ah, you’ll manage it, you’re only young yet, it’s us old folks who have trouble now and again to do things that we used to find easy at one time.”
After finishing his breakfast and having a second cup of tea, Tommy was more than keen to get going. He was half way to the garden shed to get the rope before his gran had cleared the breakfast pots away.
I don’t know, always in a rush that lad is, never a second to loose, he makes me dizzy at times, she laughed to herself, putting the pots in the sink.
Tommy took the old clothes line off of the nail where it hung behind the shed door. He examined it for wear and it was good enough for what he wanted it for. He decided to cut a length off with a pair of garden shears, he didn’t need it all.
That should do the job, he thought going back into the house. “I’m ready for the off then Gran, must get going,” he said slipping an old coat on.
“Oh, time waits for no man,” she replied giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Watch what you’re doing then and don’t get hurting yourself trying to do everything at once. If you take your time you’ll get things done far quicker than you think. There’s an old Chinese proverb, ‘The candle that burn’s so bright, lasts half as long’. It’s something I’ve always remembered and tried to stick by.” She walked to the front door with him. “You’re sure now that you don’t want to take any sandwiches with you; it’s a long day you know?”
“No, its okay, Gran; Esmeralda said she’ll take care of seeing that we get something to eat.”
His gran stood at the door, arms folded, with a grin on her face, he doesn’t like to be kissed, but he got one all the same.
She watched him as he left, the rope slung over one shoulder; he was certainly growing up she thought and the difference it had made to him since meeting up with Esmeralda was nothing short of a miracle, being able to walk and such like.
Tommy carried on through the forest with confidence; he was getting to know the route to Esmeralda’s cottage pretty well by now… the odd fallen tree… area’s where the sun got through the overhead canopy lighting up a group of beech trees. These all made for a sign that he was on the right path.
As he got nearer to the cottage, he noticed that he wasn’t alone after all. The magpie had been following him for some time, hopping from tree to tree as he made his way along. As he reached the edge of the forest, with the cottage in sight, he watched as it flew ahead of him landing on the roof.
He didn’t have to knock on the door; it opened as he got nearer.
“Hi, Tommy. Thought I’d send the magpie to check on you just to be sure you were ok, glad you could make it today, hope you’re gran’s alright about you coming.”
Saber was on the doorstep now, not wishing to miss anything as usual.
“Oh… gran’s okay about it; in fact she’s more worried about how you were after falling in the hole yesterday. I explained everything and she wishes you well.”
“That’s very nice of her, if it’s possible I’d like to meet her sometime and we could have a good chat about the old times.”
“Oh, she’d love that I know she would, she doesn’t get to meet a lot of people, I suppose she’s like you really, happy with her own company…. not forgetting myself of course.”
Esmeralda smiled as the pair entered the cottage to discuss how they were to set about clearing the soil out of the hole and investigate the strange door that had appeared. Saber followed them inside.