The Silence Of The Knowing : Chapter lll .
The story continues but for those of you who haven't read the first two chapters the links are at the end of this hub.
They soon arrive at Wesley Market: Shona and Bruno jump down from the cart and stretch their limbs!!
Oh how Shona loved it here, she also loved fruit and veg, even though her parents told her that she was strange because children weren't meant to like these foods.
Bruno was put on a leash because as well as food and flowers there were also hens,ducks,chickens and other small animals for sale. If Bruno was allowed to roam free he would want to play with them all and they couldn't have that!!
Peggy also set up her stall and on it she arranged all her delicious looking fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Horace the horse was tethered to his usual nearby post with plenty of cold water and some oats to eat, so he was very happy and contented.
It wasn't long before people began to come over to buy some; Peggy’s stall was always popular!!
"Do you want to go into the barn to have a nosey?" she asked Shona. "You can leave Bruno with me!”
"Ok thanks!" came the happy reply and Shona skipped away in the direction of the barn.
Oh how she loved going in here!!
One of Shona's favourite places.
As Shona skipped into the barn she thought herself lucky to be here today and not with her parents in a silly Eisteddfod where you had to stay clean all day long and sit quiet as well.
Louise couldn't really like going there either, even though she said she did!!!
Hubert her father always so cruelly looked at her in disgust as he sniggered "You could never win all these prizes because you are too scruffy, stupid and silly!" "He also added “And you sing like a crow!”
Shona had heard it all so often that it didn't bother her anymore!!! As far as she was concerned he wasn’t her dad and she hated him!!
She hated him because of the awful things he said and did to her!!! He hit her where the bruises wouldn’t show, and the following few days her mother would give her a note to excuse her from P.E. at the local school she attended!
However even the pain he inflicted on her had dulled, and never seemed to hurt as much anymore. The only living being she totally trusted was Bruno her dog. He always stayed by her side and if he was around Hubert her father knew better than to touch her.
She also loved her sister Louise and was so proud of her musical, talent and wonderful singing voice. She had already won over fifty silver cups, chairs and medals for her talent; and it wasn’t her fault that Hubert treated her so badly. Louise hadn’t asked for any bad things to happen to her !!!
She pushed these thoughts to the back of her mind today; it was too nice a day to have horrible thoughts. Shona was so used to pushing them to the back of her mind and it was second nature by now!!
"Oh wow!!" Shona gasped as she entered the barn. She felt a lump in the back of her throat as she always did no matter how many times she'd visited there before!!
She looked around her at all the animals who wanted someone to buy them and give them a good caring home!!
She'd made a song up about all the animals in the big barn many months before and she knew the words off by heart.
“Oh how I love you all
So very very much.
It doesn't matter if you're big
It doesn't matter if you’re small!
Tra la la la la la la!! Tra la la la la la la!!
I wish I could take you home”
I would love you all so much.
I would buy all you rabbits
A big and awesome hutch.
Tra la la la la la!!! Tra la la la la la!!
If I had a very big house
I would buy you each and all!!
I would love you so much
You would feel ten feet tall.
Tra la la la la!!! Tra la la la la!!!
No-one would ever hit you
Or lock you up all day.
I and Bruno would love you
Forever come what may!!
Tra la la la la!! Tra la la la la!!”
Shona patted them all and was just about to return to Peggy when she heard a voice from behind her say;
"Well if it isn't one of the babes in the woods!!”
Shona turned round to see Lottie Thompson talking to her!!
She knew that everyone called Lottie a 'witch' or ‘Loony Lottie’ but Shona was not frightened of her!!
She often saw her from a distance when she took Bruno for a walk through the woods and Lottie always waved at her!!
"Do you want to come outside to see the animals there?" she asked Lottie who smiled one of the most beautiful smiles that Shona had ever seen, it changed her whole face and she looked really pretty!!
"You won't have a row for talking to me will you?" Lottie asked.
"No I'm here with Peggy from Cefn Ty'n Coed and she likes you!" Shona replied in her usual honest way.
Lottie didn't want to say that she had seen them through the hedge when she was on her way to the market. She thought it might frighten Shona and that's the last thing she wanted to happen!
"Oh look at these! “The little girl said running over to some beautiful baby rabbits. By their side an adult rabbit also need a good home?
"Have you got rabbits?" Lottie asked.
"Oh no I wouldn't be allowed another pet only Bruno, because the vicar's wife bought him over they couldn't look after him anymore and Father wanted to make out that he was a kind man in front of her." Was the reply from the little girl?
"Now he says it's the best thing he ever did because they hardly ever see me anymore!" Shona added in her usual matter of fact way!! “Because I am always out with him over the fields and everywhere.”
Lottie had heard snippets of people's conversations and knew how nasty the family was to the girl . However she had an inkling that the cruelty probably went much further than what people knew. No it wasn’t just inkling; she knew that the abuse was far worst.
"I wish someone would buy this rabbit!" said Shona, "These little ones will be bought straight away but no-one ever wants an older one!"
"You are so right my girl!" agreed Lottie "So it's just as well that I was looking for an older rabbit isn't it?”
"What do you mean that you are going to buy her?" Shona gasped
"Yes I used to have a rabbit many years ago now!" Lottie's face looked a little sad now thought Shona.
"I will have to see if there is someone here who can carry the hutch back to my home for me though because I walked here." she added.
"You can have a lift back with us, there's plenty of room on the horse and cart!" Shona said and Lottie thought she was such a sweetheart!!!
"I think we'd better ask your friend Peggy first!" added Lottie doubtfully, not certain about this.
However Shona was right, Peggy didn't mind in the least, she'd never believed the nonsense stories about Lottie being a witch and neither did her parents.
Her father had said that he'd heard that Lottie had been through tragic times and she had become a bit of a recluse preferring the company of the woodland animals to people.
So after Peggy had sold all her produce they loaded the cart with Shona; Bruno; the rabbit hutch, Lottie and her new rabbit in its box.
Bruno was amazed by this new friend and even though being a Beagle he was supposed to chase rabbits something told him it would be wrong to chase this one!! !!
So he sat next to Lottie and the rabbit on the way home.
"You are a kind person," Shona told her. “Because if you weren't Bruno wouldn't go near you!”
Shona knew this for sure because her dog wouldn't go near her parents.
Lottie smiled that beautiful smile that lit up her whole face once more!!
Peggy secretly smiled to herself having witnessed a great friendship starting here, and she couldn't wait to tell her parents!!
"Do you enjoy living in a caravan???’ the girl asked Lottie.
"Yes I do very much and my humble abode is called 'The Haven.'
“You can drop me off here if you want!" Lottie offered as they approached the lane leading to her home.
But Peggy wouldn't have it "No we'll take you all the way there that hutch is very heavy and you've got the rabbit as well!”
Shona was so glad because she wanted to see Lottie’s caravan.
"Have you thought of a name for her?" Shona asked of the rabbit.
Lottie looked a little shy as she asked "Would you like to choose a name for her Shona?”
"Oh yes please!" was the instant reply. "Could we call her Matilda?”
"Of course you can, Matilda it is then!”
At this moment Peggy gently pulled Horace to a halt.
"Do you want us to help you?" the little girl had to offer.
"If you would like to!" replied Lottie smiling.
"You look really beautiful when you smile!" "You should do it more often!" was Shona’s forthright comment.
Lottie laughed and again Shona thought her laugh was beautiful and not in the least like a witch's cackling!! She didn't want to tell her this though so she gave her a hug instead; Lottie gave her a huge hug in return but not before Peggy saw a sad little tear trickling down the older woman’s cheek.
"Would you like to carry Matilda down to the kitchen for me?" Lottie asked the little girl, and in that instant a black and white collie threw himself excitedly at Lottie his beloved mistress. In the next instant he spotted Bruno and they both begun to run circles round each other!!
"I think you've found a friend Laddie!" laughed Lottie!!
In the next breath all three burst out laughing!!
Lottie couldn't remember having so much fun in a long time and it was all due to this enchanting little girl and her new found friend Peggy.
The two women carried the rabbit hutch down and Shona carried Matilda into the kitchen...
The kitchen was warm, clean and so homely and it was what was in the far corner that corner caught Shona's eye. "Oh Lottie these are beautiful!!”
In a large roomy cage in the corner of the kitchen was a crow with its wing in a splint.
On the floor in another large cage was a little hedgehog which was obviously injured as well.
"These two were nearly dying when I found them!" Lottie explained and then added "I used to be a veterinary nurse once a few years ago, now I use my training to help injured animals here in the woods! “She pointed to a typewriter in the corner of the kitchen and explained further "I also write animal stories, maybe I could show you some one day ?" she offered Peggy and Shona.
Shona looked up questioningly at her older friend who replied "Well if it's alright with you we'll call over one day next week!”
"Oh that would be lovely I'll look forward to seeing you!" Lottie smiled her beautiful warm smile once more.
Peggy, Bruno and Shona climbed into the cart and Horace set off at a relaxed pace. Time seemed to stay still in the woods.
Lottie watched them go and felt the numbness of the past few years begin to disappear a little!!
She settled her patients in the animal hospital of hers for the night and sat in front of her typewriter with Laddie at her feet.
Maybe the happiness in her stories would become reality slowly from now on.
Her inner being told her that it would happen slowly but surely that was enough for her to be getting on with.
Peggy dropped Debra and Bruno off outside their house but not before offering for Shona to stay at theirs that night.
Shona however shook her head "Thanks but I will be in trouble if I'm not in my bed when they get in!”
Peggy hugged the little girl to her before she climbed up into the cart, and nudged Horace into a slow trot.
Shona waved till they were out of sight, and then turned to Bruno "Well it's just you and me then cariad!”
She filled his dish with dog food and made herself two ham sandwiches and a glass of milk to wash them down.
She then snuggled down in her bed with Bruno snoring gently by her, they were both so tired after the hectic day they'd had.
They were soon asleep and Shona dreamt of an angel looking after injured animals in the woods.
The sun shone in through the gap in the curtains as Lottie was waking up!! She remembered the happenings of the day before and this brought an instant smile to her face!! However the happiness was tinged with sadness as she thought of how neglected Shona really was. It wasn't right and she did not understand how anyone could treat their own child in this way, oh life was so cruel!!
She pushed her feet into her cozy slippers and pulled on her bright yellow dressing gown!!
First task was to put the kettle on; Lottie drank tea all day long.
Then it was a quick check on Darkie the crow and Hattie Hedgehog before going out into the porch to see how Matilda the rabbit was enjoying her new home. Lottie couldn’t believe her eyes when she stepped into the porch!
Laddie was lying on his huge bed and snuggled up to him also fast asleep was Matilda, oh Lottie knew that Laddie must have opened the hutch door with his teeth and him and the rabbit had now become very good friends.
Animals would never cease to amaze her, their innocence and uncomplicated natures were so refreshing and they didn't play mind games those humans so often did.
She filled her old red tea-pot up with the boiling water from the kettle and left it brew for a little while.
She opened the curtains in her sunny yellow living room, this being her favorite colour, the colour of sunshine.
She had been determined to keep the colours in her home the colour of beautiful sunshine.
She poured herself a cup of tea and quickly tidied the kitchen which just like the living room was also painted that brilliant shade of yellow like sunshine as well.
Lottie then headed back to her tidy but plain bedroom to make her bed.
Her bathroom and toilet were white and after cleaning the sink and bath she walked across to another door.
This one she opened and looked in quickly at the sun laden beauty but she did not enter, she simply pulled the door closed and sighed an almost a heartfelt shudder.
However with a mental shake and determined look she pulled on her boots ready to take Laddie out for his morning walk!! However when she called him he did not appear and as she walked into the porch he looked from her to Matilda.
"Oh you daft dog!" she smiled at him "We can't take Matilda w.................she faltered here before going into a nearby drawer and pulling out a small harness and lead which she fitted on to Matilda.
Believe it or not the rabbit walked better than any dog on the lead and Laddie walked along so proud he was like 'a dog with two tails!’
'Oh yes!' Lottie thought to herself “another little gem for the latest book I'm writing!”
From just outside her house Shona could see the beautiful view overlooking Abernant, the beautiful little sea-side town where she lived.
However she and Bruno were heading for the 'Commins' which consisted of a beautiful walk in the other direction and through dense woodland.
Having reached the end of the trees, the girl and the dog proceeded through a small but rather overgrown common and along the riverside until they reached a small pond. This pond was full of frog spawn which Debra collected in her jam jar and then put them into a small tank in her bedroom. She also collected river weed which the tadpoles would eat when they hatched from the spawn along with a little raw meat.
Having filled her jar they proceeded back the way they came and Shona let herself into an empty house again.
There was a note on the table which read;
'WE ARE TAKING LOUISE TO HER SINGING LESSONS AND WE'VE LEFT WASHING UP AND HOOVERING FOR YOU TO DO.'
It was written in her father's usual scrawl but Shona didn't mind, she was just glad that she had the house to herself once more. It had been about 11 pm before they had arrived home the night before and were gone again.
She quickly finished her chores and then went into her sparse bedroom. Up on the top of the old bulky wardrobe was a small fish tank which the little girl filled with the water from her jar plus rain water which was in a large tub out in the back garden.
She then gently poured in the frog spawn and weeds before replacing the lid which had air vents slotted across it.
She fed the tadpoles on ‘water weed’ or small pieces of raw meat hanging into the tank attached to a piece of string so she could remove it before it started rotting.
She loved doing this every year and as the tadpoles grew their back legs would appear and their tails would disappear, this was when Shona would lower the water level and put large stones in so that the almost would-be frogs could stay out of the water to breathe in the air.
Then near to this point she would take them back to the pond by the river.
The next morning ................
Maes –Yr-Awel was basking in sunshine but the warmth and beauty did not reach one little girl at all!!
Poor Shona lay on her bed sobbing her poor little heart out!! Bruno cuddled up to her and her tears were soaking into his head and ears, he broke his doggie heart when his young mistress got this upset!!
He was more sensitive than so many adults and he laid his head on his paws looking at the remnants of broken glass in the bin by the bedroom door.
She had forgotten to pull her bedroom curtains to hide the fish tank with the tadpoles in and her father had seen them.
"What are these disgusting things doing here you stupid girl!!" he shouted at poor Shona.
In the next instant he grabbed the tank and threw all the contents down the toilet, before flushing it.
He came storming back into Shona's room and threw the tank into the bin by her door!! It shattered into a hundred pieces before her father sniggered at her saying;
"Serve you right stupid, it’s your fault that those disgusting things will die down in the sewers now!”
"Ha ha ha!! " his awful laugh sounded almost deranged and Shona held on to Bruno for all she was worth because she had never heard him growl so menacing before!!
"You're lucky 'stupid' that the vicar's wife gave you that daft mutt or he would end up in the sewers as well!!" was the awful man's next remark to poor Shona.
She was so used to his nasty comments that they didn't hurt her anymore but the tadpoles were dead now and it was her fault; she should have left them in the pond.
He went storming off to the garden and Gladys popped her head round the door saying to the poor poor girl in a strange and almost hissing voice
"Now look what you've done!" "You've made your father cross again!”
That's all poor Shona had in her bedroom was a bed with ripped sheets and blankets; plus a big clumsy battered wardrobe and tatty brown curtains.
As if being able to read her daughter’s mind Gladys hissed at her in that demented tone of hers;
“If you weren't so ugly and stupid you'd have a nicer bedroom”
However Shona did not even look up or reply...
The sad little girl was in survival mode and this mode had taken her into a blank passage where nothing hurt and nothing usually made her cry anymore!!
The only reason she was crying now was because she felt so guilty about the tadpoles’ fate. “‘If I had left the tadpoles where they were, they would still be alive!!’She mentally beat herself up over this!!!
She lay there for almost half an hour before hearing her father's car start up and drive off, she slipped on her tatty trainers and scruffy shorts and t-shirt.
Her mother's rocking chair rocked back and fro ‘Creak!! Creak!!
Her mother was sat in the porch on her old rocking chair where she usually spent most of her time when at home ,or in her bed lost in her own little world and that's all Shona could hear was the ‘Creak!! Creak!! Creak! Creak!
She walked over to an antique writing desk and pulled down the flap door. Inside there were many little drawers, she opened the far one and there glistened many old pocket watches, with long chains attached to them.
These belonged to Hubert her father and she knew that they cost a lot of money, so she picked out the biggest and the shiniest before quietly closing the drawer and pushing up the flap door.
She went outside into the sunshine but hardly noticed what the weather was doing; she went up the steps and out into the road.
The other side of the road was quite a high hedge and on the other side of the hedge was a large field full of Friesian Cows belonging to the farmer who lived on the farm called' Goitre' which was just up the road.
Bruno had followed her out and looked up at her as if asking her what she was up to so she knelt down and whispered in his ear "I know how much these watches mean to ‘HIM’ so I am going to throw this one; the biggest and shiniest of all; over the hedge and into the field there !"" "Ha ha he'll never find it!" she told Bruno triumphantly.
The dog wagged his tail as if in total understanding with his beloved young mistress and best friend.
Shona smiled as she took another quick look at the expensive watch in her hands and was just about to throw it into the field full of cows, when at that precise moment she heard Gladys’s voice approaching so she quickly pushed the watch out of sight into the deep pockets of her shorts instead for the time being.
"It's no wonder you have got any friends to go and play with!" Gladys spitefully retorted to her young daughter
"Look how awfully scruffy you look!!" “You cause so much trouble you silly child!!””
"I haven't got time to talk to you now." she replied to her mother’s ramblings. "I am going to make breakfast for me and Bruno then we will be out walking all day long!”
Dog and child went back into the kitchen to make food for them while Gladys skipped back to her rocking chair.
Shona could hear her mother's rocking chair's ‘Creak! Creak! Creak! Creak!' She knew there was no point letting her know where she was going because whenever she was rocking back and forward in that chair she was always in a world of her own !! Sometimes smiling to herself or throwing her head back and laughing loudly at what no-one knew!!
Shona was used to her and carried on around her as if she wasn't there!!
She put away their breakfast dishes and grabbing Bruno's lead; girl and dog went walking down the road and in Shona's pocket lay the watch which she had momentarily forgotten about!
She was still feeling very upset about the tadpole episode and as soon as they entered Blue Bell Woods she sat in a clearing while Bruno happily sniffed the different smells that he loved to find!!
Shona started humming the tune of a little song that she knew off by heart and it wasn't long before she had broken into full song.
“Nature's magic's here
To me it does send
So much love
My broken heart does mend
I love the birds
I love the trees.
I love butterflies
As well as honey bees.
I love the squirrel
She makes me smile.
The forest is magic
And lasts for a mile.
When I go home
To lay down my head.
I dream of the forest
Right there in my bed.
Sometimes I hurt
Sometimes I cry.
Nature’s magic helps
To always get me by.
As I say tonight
My thank you prayer.
I will ask our God
To keep you in his care.”
There was a movement in the bushes up above Shona and she turned round quickly, just in time to see Lottie walking towards her with Laddie at her heel. Bruno was so pleased to see his new friend and both dogs were playing chase and catch me now, they were so excited. !!
The links to the first two chapters.
- The Silence Of The Knowing.
The first in a series of life in a Welsh village back in the 60s and 70s.
- The Silence Of The Knowing : Chapter II
I must apologise for taking so long to publish Chapter ll in this story . Here is the link to the first chapter as many of you will have forgotten the story I am sure. The Silence Of The Knowing. Anyway I hope you enjoy. eddy The...
Join me next time for Chapter IV as more mysteries unravel in The Silence of The Knowing !!!
© 2015 Eiddwen