onsdag den 31. marts 2021

Birch Manor - Summer - Part 3

Continuing my tale. I wrote an outline long before the words came out. Actually I'm still using the words from the first Wednesdays of March. But some of the words were matching, others I was able to sneak in. I used the stricken ones. 
This week's prompts are:

1. Watchful
2. Laggard
3. Pudding
4. Mulberry
5. Bark
     AND / OR
1. Promenade
2. Vineyard
3. Allotment
4. Wisdom
5. Tenth
     Hilary is incredibly generous and also provided us with an extra set.
1. Life
2. Borrow
3. Wily
4. Ochre
5. Brook

Given us by Hilary Melton-Butcher and once again revealed at Elephant's Child.


In the train to Sweden Knud and Susan discussed their tactics. "We're going to Norway first. Why is that, actually? It seems like a detour to me," Knud said.
"Selfish reasons," Susan answered, "I so much want to find My. She was one of my best friends, after Heidi of course. And she's a wandsinger too, and a genius where potions are involved. She could be of immense help to us."
Knud nodded: "So the plan is: Travel to Oslo, visit Jan and Olav's wine and party shop. Hope that them and their wives really are the ones we're looking for. Give them 'the magic touch' and have them help us find My."
"You make it sound so easy," Susan said, "but yes. That's the plan."

Even the best of plans can go awry. And theirs did, but in the most wonderful of ways. On the long, long train journey from Helsingborg to Oslo, Susan and Knud agreed to splurge on a meal in the dining wagon. Some kind of train related jubilee was celebrated,. The train company had brushed off an old fashioned dining wagon, re-enacting some old train stories with the help of local train enthusiasts and re-enactment circle. While they ate what could only be described as a show off dinner with all edibles having the exact same colours of the train company, the dessert was even a pudding formed as their logo, but still very tasty. Susan sat watching the other diners. She noticed an elderly lady, sumptuously dressed in white robes with an ochre feather boa slung over her shoulders. Her dress looked like snowdrifts and cobwebs. And her husband was dressed to match in tuxedo and top hat. They had to belong to the re-enactment circle. The lady's hair, put in an artful do, was copper red.
Susan leaned towards Knud. "Don't look behind you. I think I'm dreaming, but that lady, the one from the re-enactment couple with the red hair and white dress. I am probably suffering from a bout of wishful thinking but she looks just like My would look 50 years older."
"I have to take a bio-break," Knud said. The small cabin was in the other end of the wagon, and he choose a route, that led him past the couples' table.
When he returned he nodded. "Could be. Why don't we buy them a drink. I think that's what people did in the roaring twenties."
Susan nodded and Knud went over to the couple: "You're a pleasure to look at," he said. "Can we buy you a drink?"
"Only if you take one too and come and sit here. We could do with some company."
Knud waved Susan over and they sat down. The lady was called My, and looked funnily at Knud and Susan when they stated their names. "I think I have heard of you before," she said.
"That sounds like an old cliché," Knud said, "only I was supposed to say it." They all laughed.
The man, who was not really My's husband, only from the same re-enactment circle. told them that he wanted nothing more than to get home. "I had a new grandchild, as I have told you earlier, My," he explained, "and the family is invited to meet him today. May I be excused?"
"By all means." My said.  "Those two can keep me company, you won't be unduly missed."
He arose, raised his hat and bowed to thee ladies. Then he kissed My's and Susan's hands and got off the train.
"He's a nice man, really." My said. "But this re-enactment is getting boring slowly. We've been dining here all week travelling from Oslo and back. I live in Oslo. Is that where you're going?"
"Yes We're going to Oslo. We're having a mini holiday before the family-invasion of summer." Knud explained. "Can you recommend a nice, but not too expensive place to stay?"
They talked about Oslo, the world, and their jobs. My was still working. She had a small shop selling second hand clothes, and augmented her meagre income with jobs as extras at the theatre and in movies. She also did re-enactment and sewed clothes for the circle. "When I retire, in three years time, I'm going to move back to the northern part of Norway, where I grew up and lived for long." Knud nodded to Susan. "My family and two of my three children still lives up there. My husband died many years ago, it was a stupid accident."
"I'm sorry." Susan said. Knud added his condolences as well.
"It's long ago," My said. "It does not hurt any more, but I still miss him of course. I'm getting older and a bit lonely in Oslo." 
"I wonder if you know a lot about fabrics, I found a strange skirt.while moving, and I'd love to know more about it."
"Let me have a look when we've gotten off the train," My said. "We'll arrive in Oslo in a few minutes, you really should go get your luggage."
"That's a deal." Susan said and followed Knud through the train, now swinging and swaying wildly from going over the switches.

"Do you really think it's her?" Knud asked.
"Called My, from Northern Norway, Check; three years my junior, check; red hair, check; a penchant for snowwhite, cobwebby fabrics, check. Could be a coincidence a matter of mistake. But if it is, we'll just leave her alone after tonight. Even if I've come to like her. She is a nice person. But more subdued than I remember her. Then again, life seems to have been rough on her."
"Let's just try." Knud agreed.

They met with My outside the turnstiles. "Should we go to my shop, or do you want a coffee, I know a place near where the prices are OK, and the coffee not too terrible."
"Coffee, please," Knud and Susan said at the same time.
"Coffee it is," My said.
"Let me take your luggage," Knud said. "Those heels does nothing for your walk."
Like a real lady, My gave him the suitcase, adding: "But it's not really heavy, it only contains my everyday clothes and shoes. I normally change on the train. Now I'll do so in the coffee shop instead, as you suspect these are impractical." She said pointing at her shoes.
Over the coffee Susan showed My her skirt.
"It reminds me of something," My said hesitantly. "I feel happy looking at it. But I am almost afraid to touch it. How come?"
"Happiness can't be bad, can it?" Susan asked, pity and compassion colouring her voice.
My touched the skirt. The transition was not as marked as it had been with Fiona or the others, she did not faint or cry out, she just suddenly smiled, the most warming, happy smile Susan had seen in years. "Susan and Knud, she said. Now I remember you!"
"About time!" Knud said wryly, making them all laugh like teenage girls.
"And you married? How long have you known ... I mean how long ... oh bother." My stopped.
"I found this suitcase in late April, when we packed everything prior to moving," Susan began, talking slowly, giving My time to re-orient while taking in what she told. "When I touched the skirt -  it actually is my old skirt - my memories from Unicorn Farm returned. I then did the same to Knud, only using Helge's pants. We have found Martine, and Fiona so far, and of course Heidi and her family. Her father is dead, but her mother, Sandra, is still very much alive. We know that Marit, Jan, Olav and Monica all live here in Oslo. And Hilde is a nurse in Tromsø."
"And we're on our way to them. We're planning a reunion. And maybe to give them their past back as well," Knud said, still taking care not to mention magic in the crammed coffee shop.
"Let's go to my shop." My said. "I think I have something there that would interest you."
The shop was nothing special. Off the main street in a come down part of town. "It's not much," My said, "I bought it with the meagre allotment left over when my husband died. After all it's mine and it have served me well. But now I think it's time to say good bye."
She unlocked the door and showed them to the back of the shop. "I have an old book here. I have kept it for years, actually ever since I can recall. I thought it was fake, but now I'm not so sure. She found the book. An old tome, called 'The Magic Properties of Seaweeds, an Introduction'. She touched it, and it shook faintly.
"It's the real stuff." Susan said. "That's the one Martine spoke off. Dear My could we ask you a big, big favour. Come to Denmark, Not right away, but late June, early July. We need you, your potion-brewing skills and so on. We have ordered brooms, fabric for skirts and trousers, oh. lots of things. We need to magick them as well. We need someone good at potions and it won't hurt if said person was good at flying a broom as well."
"Because you sure were not!" My exclaimed. "Oops sorry. I am not quite over the chock as yet."
"What more is, you're right." Knud said. "And Martine can only do so much. She's old, 80 years, and a cripple. Fiona is busy with husband - not a wizard by the way - and many small grands."
"We're planning a school along the lines as Unicorn Farm. We'd like you to take Täthi's old job as potions master."
"But," My began.
"Yes?" Susan said.
"My family? A wand? My shop? Money for the tickets? A million things, really," My said, still with a happy smile despite her misgivings.
"You would actually be closer to your family once we got some portals up and running. Tage and Lis know how! And you're a wand-singer. Even a better one than me, as far as I remember. I could do it, so can you! Did you not plan on selling your shop? Liquidation sales and selling the place itself should be doable. You do not have to have it all done by July. An agent could sell it for you. And of course we would pay your fare to the school. Who would not pay for such an excellent teacher?"
"I need some more coffee," My said.
"Show me the kitchen," Knud said. "I'm a master brewer - of coffee - you do the potions, please." Again peals of laughter filled the room.
"Oh," My said holding her sides. "I have not laughed this much in years."
"It's good for you," Susan said, aping the words and tone of Thora, and of course bringing on even more laughter.
Over Knud's excellent coffee they agreed to a new plan. My would seek out Olav and Jan, whom she knew a little from some of her re-enactment ventures. She had never seen their wives, Marit and Monica, but of course she now remembered them from the time on the Farm. She was certain that Jan and Olav were the ones they were looking for.
"Now my memories have returned, I am certain," she said, "I have often wondered if I knew those two and from where. But I have met a lot of people during shows, and in the shop, so I stopped wondering after some time. Now I know. It is them!"
Susan and Knud nodded. "We're fairly certain as well," Knud said, "But still prudence is akin to wisdom, so do be careful."
"I will take care.," My said smiling, looking much more like the girl they both remembered. "First, I'll sing myself a wand. Then I'll accustom myself to doing magic once more, and then, when I feel confident, Then I'll go to the shop. Not before. I'm certain I will be able to recognise Monica, even after all these years," My said, "and maybe Marit, I'll be watchful. Don't you fear."
"I trust you!" Susan said, and Knud nodded.

"And we go North." Knud said. "We'll have to find Hilde. She was good all round."
"More than good," Susan said. "I still remember her beating me by three tenths that first year. I was so bitter, It all changed after the Easter fire of course. We became if not best of friends, then at least close afterwards."
"Same goes for me and Monica," My admitted. "Her father was some high faluting nincompoop, at least to my eyes, and I was poor, and the youngest. But after that Fire jumping everything took a turn for the better. We'll have to implement that as well on your school. "
"Our school, Susan said. "We're in this together now, and we trust you."

12 kommentarer:

  1. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
    When I see the name My though I immediately think of the Moomin family - a series I also love. And reread every year.

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Thank you!
      Oh yes, little My, well that's a not uncommon nordic name ;) I like the Moomins as well.

      Slet
  2. Hi Mother Owl - lovely to read ... and I can see the landscape and the way they live and think ... it's really a delight to read as one can imagine so much. Gorgeous story - thank you ... all the best - Hilary

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Thank you. I love writing, and comments like these makes it worth while. Thanks for the Words.

      Slet
  3. It's a joy to watch them pull all of this together. Of course, there will be challenges, but i am looking forward to how these will be overcome.

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Thank you - I just hope to live up to your expectations. First a long addition to "Mary and Allan and the end of the World" have to come out of my head. Then I return to Unicorn Farm, promise!

      Slet
  4. I enjoyed this very much, but now I have to go back and read the previous one, I think I missed it last week.

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Thank you. I try to number the chapters in a logical way, and you can always find the whole story at my dedicated Unicorn Farm Blog.

      Slet
  5. Is 'bio-break' a bathroom break? I don't think I've heard of this term before.

    "...I am not quite over the chock as yet." 'Chock' or 'shock'?

    "Susan said, aping the words and tone of Thora..." Aping? Applying, maybe? Aping seems correct but I guess I'm too much into using more direct words.

    The gangs are almost back together. What mischief will come when they are in the same place? We'll see.

    Have a lovely day.

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Yes bio-break is a trip to the bathroom. It's gamers' lingo, and I thought common knowledge (I play World of Warcraft online).
      Shock - thanks!
      Aping means imitating ... Isn't this standard English?

      And yes, we will surely see what they are up to. I hope for good words once I finish this bout of "Mary and Allan" tale.

      Slet
  6. What a spectacular imagination you have. I love this story (and of course I love that you named a protagonist "Susan"! ;-) Great way to weave in the words. I have written serial fiction in the past using the Words for Wednesday challenge, and I love the way it directs my writing. Looking forward to reading more here.

    SvarSlet
    Svar
    1. Thank you. Susan was my alias in high school ;) I too love the challenge of using those words, even if there's sometimes too many words in my mind. If you like to read all of the story, the tab "Unicorn Farm" at the top takes you to a blog dedicated to Susan's story.

      Slet