Tuesday, April 09, 2013

For Emma.

Linda grew up in a small town - well, you could hardly call it a town. It was perhaps more of a village - called Flintock. She lived with her mother who was a cheerful, uncomplaining soul. The sort who always had something for pudding in the oven. Her shape reflected this. Her father had run away to sea before Linda made it to primary school. This was why her mother always ate pudding. And why Linda never ate pudding.

She had a quiet and studious childhood. She obediently trotted along to school - and Sunday school. She was never the brightest or the prettiest or the wittiest. But she was never the runt of the pack either. She had friends who loved her for dependability. She would always find something nice to say about people. The one thing she couldn't tolerate was unruliness.

She went off to university in East Anglia and studied Tourism and Hospitality. She dreamed about running a B&B. She joined a choir, attended a knitting group and had a small group of friends who would get together on a Friday night and drink an abstemious glass or two of Mateus Rose and feel very debonair.

She fell into going out with a friend of a friend from the Friday night debauchery. Harold was studious, dependable, never late. The sort of man her mother would love. He wanted to become a librarian. And what do you know? He did become a librarian. They finished university, Linda wanted to be near her mother so she moved with Harold back to Flintock, had a quiet registry office ceremony to make their co-habitation respectable and settled into a compact semi on the New Estate.

Harold was busy being a librarian and she couldn't see how they could run a B&B if he was out all day so she picked up a copy of the Flintock Times and answered a job ad for a Community Liaison Officer for Kennet and Avon County Council.

On interview day, she was mildly alarmed to see seventeen other twin-setted ladies with tied-up hair and severe looking make-up. But luckily for her, Linda's glowing references from the Church social committee and the President of the Knitting Group - with whom Linda had ended up as secretary - tipped the balance and she became a salaried woman.

Seventeen years passed. Linda acquired no children, Harold acquired a part-time job at the local bowling club that meant he was out at weekends too and Linda found her now senior position at the Council increasingly trying.

Then one day, three years ago, she found herself in Salisbury Magistrates' Court.

To be continued....


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