"Hullo, Jock," said Effie, ignoring the other two.
"Hullo. What can I do for you?"
"I've got some paintings and would like your opinion. Can you come up
and see them?"
"I'm just about to get back to work," said Jock, getting to his feet.
"Thanks for the company, ladies."
Effie followed him, practically running to keep up with his long
strides. "What about this evening?" she panted.
"Oh, all right," said Jock. "I'll be up at six. I'm meeting friends
She gave him directions and then asked, "What friends?"
"Run along, Effie. I'll see you later."
For the rest of that day, Effie scrubbed and dusted until her cottage
was shining. She took a bath in the brown peaty water that always came
out of the taps and then dressed in a white wool dress and black velvet
jacket. For the first time in her life, she wished she had some make-up.
She had never worn any before, claiming it blocked up the pores.
Then she sat by the window. At five minutes past six, she was
beginning to despair when she saw his car bumping and lurching over the
heathery track that led to her cottage.
She flung open the door and stood beaming a welcome.
Jock ducked his head and followed her in. "Now, where are these
paintings of yours?" he said.
"I thought you might like a glass of whisky first."
"I'm pressed for time."
Effie had laid out a selection of her small framed paintings on the
table. "Here they are," she said.
He picked one up and took it to the window and held it up to the
light. "I'm surprised you can do anything in here," he said. "There
isn't enough light."
The painting was of a thrush sitting on a branch of berries. The red
of the berries glowed.
"This is exquisite," said Jock. "You're very good indeed."
Effie blushed with pleasure.
Jock appeared to have relaxed. He admired painting after painting and
then her pieces of pottery. "Do you have an agent?" he asked. "These are
much too good just to be shown in Patel's and the gift shop."
"No, I don't have one."
"My agent, Betty, will be here soon on holiday. I'll bring her along,
if you like."
"Oh, Jock, that would be marvellous." She had moved so close to him
she was practically leaning against his side.
He felt uneasy. "I've got to go, but I'll let you know when Betty
Jock made for the door. "Where are you having dinner?" asked Effie.
"The Tommel Castle Hotel. Bye."
He walked out to his car. He stopped for a moment and breathed in
deep lungfuls of air. Then he got in and drove off.
Jock was not meeting anyone for dinner. But he decided to treat himself
to dinner at the hotel.
He entered the dining room. A beautiful blonde approached him and
said, "Have you come for dinner?"
"We've one table left," said the vision. "Thank goodness the tourists
"You're a very glamorous maître d'," commented Jock.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...