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- October 30, 2011 at 3:38 am #373831
I do love the old English Cottage.
Mary stood at the front gate, which opened onto a crazy paved pathway leading to the front door of the little thatched cottage. She let her eyes follow the path and noticed the Periwinkle and Catnip growing in between the cracks of the paving. Both gave off a heady scent when trodden on, but Mary felt that the little plants never deserved such rough treatment just so that someone could smell their perfume. Even as a child she never ever trod on them but hop scotched her way to the front door.
She let her eyes wonder over the cottage garden. “Spring seems to bring out the best in the flowers,” she said to herself. “Even better that the summer months”. Pansies, Holly Hock, Sweet Scented Stock and the blue of Cornflower plants were all out in profusion, giving the garden and cottage a picture book look. “It really is a pretty cottage” she thought “I shall miss it when I leave but John has to be in Africa ready to start his new job next month”.
John and Mary had lived in the cottage for six years after he came out of the army with a good pension, which had enabled them to buy the cottage. He had taken up his old job as an architect with a local firm in the town of Tadcaster. Previously they had been posted wherever the army had sent them. John had been a Major in the R.A.S.C over seeing the construction of new military buildings and bridges. Mary had been content with her life but was pleased when he retired and they had bought the cottage. John was the sort of man that got on with all he met and was soon accepted by the local villagers. It was different with Mary, she had always been a quiet person, much preferring to go out into the countryside and paint whatever scene took her fancy, but butterflies seemed to favour her desire to paint, and the cottage walls were festooned with her paintings of the delicate creatures.
Mary walked up the pathway, unlocked the Dutch door, which some previous owner of the cottage had decided to put in, and walked into the familiar living room with its domesticity enfolding her. On impulse she went upstairs where she had her room in which she finished her paintings. She took a small easel and a case of sketching pencils and canvas from the table near the large north-facing window, made her way downstairs and out into the garden, along the path and out into the field that lay on the other side of the lane. Setting up her easel she looked at the cottage “How many times have I painted you” She said with affection. “One last time, just once more”. She took out her sketching pencil and began to draw the fine lines on the canvas.
It took Mary a week to finish the painting. John had concluded all of his work he was contracted to do, now he and Mary could spend some time together before they made the move to Africa. The cottage had been sold to a nice elderly couple who “Needed some fresh air in their lungs” the new owners has said. They were happy to let Mary and John stay on until it was time for them to leave. “How are you coming along with your painting?” as john one morning at breakfast. “It’s finished,” said Mary. “May I see it?” asked her husband. Mary took the painting from behind the chair where she had put it to show John later. He looked at it “Its beautiful, your best ever of the cottage, but you have left the For Sale Vacant Possession sign in the painting” “Not quite ” she said “Look closer” he did and saw that the sign now read Butterfly Cottage. He smiled “Perfect” he said.
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