Life With Mabel: Part Thirteen

This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 761 words.

She had to admit, Reg had chosen well. The house was at the end of a small terrace, with room at the side for the motorbike, and a small front garden that had a painted wooden fence. Inside, the steep stairs led up from the hallway to the two bedrooms, and the bathroom that would once have been a smaller third bedroom. Because the conversion was very recent, the bath, toilet, and basin all looked brand new, and there was a gas Ascot to run hot water into the bath too. The seller had left the curtains and rugs behind, included in the price.

At the back, the old outside toilet was still there, and there was a little garden running down two strips separated by a path. The most amazing thing to Mabel was that over the back wall she could see no other houses. Close to the edge of the town, all she could see were trees. The lady next door came out to speak to her over the fence. “Hello, I’m Winnie. Would you like to come in for a cup of tea? You must have had a long journey”. They soon found out that Winnie was single, and had lived there with her old dad before he died. She was probably about twenty years older than them, as she seemed quite old-fashioned.

Mabel took to her immediately. There was a warmth about her.

Because the furniture wasn’t arriving until Monday afternoon, Reg had booked them in to a pub in the town for bed and breakfast. He had arranged to take Monday off, to get it all sorted while Mabel was at work. Winnie wouldn’t hear of it. “No need, no need at all. I have plenty of room, you can stay with me and save your money. Reg, why don’t you walk down and cancel the booking, tell them your plans have changed?” Mabel nodded at her husband, and he agreed to do that.

Winnie was very chatty. She said she worked as a nurse at the County Hospital, the main one in the town. “I do the Out-Patient clinic mostly now, just daytimes. But I worked shifts on the wards for years before that”. Mabel asked her if she was married. “No, never had time for that. Mum died when I was still at school, and I looked after my dad until he went. This must be a change for you from London, but I reckon you will like it here. It’s a friendly little town, and you will soon get to know everyone, working at Woolworth’s”.

Reg was gone for quite a while. When he got back, he was grinning. “They were nice as pie about cancelling. I had a couple of pints while I was there, and met some of the lads. One of them works on the railway too, but not where I will be. He’s a guard on the trains”. Winnie stood up. “How about a nice rabbit pie for dinner? It won’t take me long to get it ready, and I’ve got a lovely cabbage to go with it”. Mabel offered to help, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Reg looked tired. He wasn’t much of a drinker, and it had been a long day.

He had dozed off when Winnie came in from the kitchen. “Leave him, he’s okay. You can help me make up the bed in your room. It used to be mum and dad’s room, but the mattress is still good, and we can give the pillows a good plumping. Once we’ve done that, dinner will be almost ready and we can wake him up”. Her third room had also been converted to a bathroom, but longer ago. Everything in the house was spick and span, and Winnie was dressed very smartly, with immaculate hair and make-up. As they made up the bed, Mabel felt like she had always known her. They talked easily, and then sat on the bed as Mabel told her about what had happened to little Denise.

Holding her hand, Winnie was kind.

“That’s all in the past now, you have to look forward to a new life. I am so pleased you bought the house next door, as I think we are going to be firm friends, dear Mabel”.

There was something about the tone of her voice, and the way she was holding her hand. Mabel had only heard about women like that, and had never met one.

But she had to admit, she liked the feeling it gave her.

34 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Thirteen

  1. (1) The rugs and curtains were given to the Prices for free.
    (2) Did Winnie ever sneak over the fence to go pooh-pooh in the old toilet?
    (3) When Mabel asked her neighbor about all the trees, Winnie smiled and said, “Honey, that’s the Hundred Acre Wood.”
    (4) Winnie liked to chat, but it was bearable.
    (5) Do they sell worthless wool at Woolworth’s? (And will Mabel sell things at a sheep Price?)
    (6) Winnie hopped off the sofa and asked, “How about a nice Rabbit pie for dinner? Or would you rather have Piglet pickled pork, Owl’s hot wings, or skewered Kanga tail?”
    (7) Mabel felt like she’d always known Winnie. Maybe it was because she’d grown up reading stories by A. A. Milne.

    Liked by 1 person

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