Tales from the Welsh Marches

This little piece has an unusual origin.  Our little writing group was asked to select a book from the third shelf of a book case, fifth book from the left. On opening it to page 105, we were asked to select line 10.  I got ‘… a really unexpected twist, that… shame it couldn’t have lasted…’ from Harry Potter and the  Goblet of Fire.

‘a really unexpected twist, that… shame it couldn’t have lasted…’

by Wilma Hayes

Evan was a surprise. Angela looked at him in a sort of wonder. A cousin, Berties’s son. The uncle that her father refused to talk about had a son and now here with the Australian Air Force. Doing his bit for King and country. It made her heart warm to think that this amazing family of nations could be so kind in Britain’s hour of need. And a pilot in a smart blue uniform. It was so nice he had come to meet his cousins.

Rose came in with the tea tray and they all spent the next few hours catching up.  First of all, they hadn’t known he existed, but the stories of his father and their life in Australia were colourful and full of detail. The description of their huge ranch – he called it a station – were vivid and full of romantic horse riding and sheep and unique people. Not all of them convicts he was quick to tell them. He’d come to make amends he said. His father had been an unforgiving man and had told him very little about his English roots.

Evan wanted to know as much about English life as they could tell him. It was wonderful, he said, to see how life was lived in the Garden of England he’d heard about at school. They had a lovely afternoon and then said he would have to return to his base at Croydon.

He was profuse in his thanks as the young women drove him to the station and he was chivalrous in saying good bye in a lovely Aussie accent that charmed them both.

They were both stunned into silence on the way home, but each hoped he would be safe and able to visit them again. There was such a part of their lives missing - that they hadn’t known about before, and so much they still wanted to know.

Evan visited several times over the summer and they took tea or lunch in the garden or walked around the lake. The weather was fine for late summer but on his latest visit they had found it necessary to get into the air raid shelter. Evan watched the aerial fight with interest and great enthusiasm.  He told them what was happening, which planes belonged to who and of course who was winning. He described the Submarine Spitfires, and the Hawker Hurricanes, the Messerschmitt Bf 109Es, the Heinkels. When the dog fight was over, Rose made Evan comfortable in the sun room and asked Angela to help her with making the tea. ‘You know what we have to do,’ she said.

As the Police Wolseley drove away, Rose said, ‘He really should have known his Supermarine Spitfires from his Submarine Spitfires, shouldn’t he?’

‘And his 109Es from his 109Fs,’ her sister added.

Rose laughed. ‘That aircraft recognition training was great fun, wasn’t it?’

Angela sighed. ‘And Evan was too, shame it couldn’t have lasted.’

(The exercise was fun and the possibilities are endless!!!)

Wilma Hayes