Dream Boat

A fam­ily makes a de­ci­sion in Em Barnard’s ob­ser­vant com­plete story set on the Nor­folk Broads.

The People's Friend Special - - CONTENTS -

An in­spir­ing story by Em Barnard

The Broads cruiser was al­most like one of the fam­ily. But the fam­ily was chang­ing . . .

TESS stepped out of the bun­ga­low she and her fam­ily were view­ing and walked across the neat rear lawn to the river’s edge. Across it, a land­scape of trees, fields and cat­tle graz­ing stretched to the hori­zon un­der a wide blue sky.

She dropped her gaze to the river. This Satur­day the Nor­folk Broads wa­ter­ways were sparkling. Folk waved to her from cruis­ers chug­ging past and she waved back, though she was un­able to share their de­light.

Min­utes be­fore, her joy about this house be­ing ex­actly what she wanted had sunk like a stone.

“It’s too big. It’s five bed­rooms, Tess,” Tony had re­minded her. “We’d have to sell the Mirabel to af­ford it.”

“We can’t sell the boat, Dad!” Zac and Ben swung round from their ex­plo­ration of the fur­nished lounge. Their sis­ter, Lucy, was still wan­der­ing other rooms.

“The other one was more in our price range,” Tony went on, “and it had river frontage, with a cut to moor the Mirabel.” Tess frowned. “It only had three bed­rooms, same as we have now.” “I could build on to it, Tess.” “Mean­time, I could bunk down on the boat,” Zac added. “I’ll likely be at uni, any­way, by the time we move.”

That was when Tess had glared at Zac and left, leav­ing Tony to dis­ap­point the agent . . .

She turned from the river’s edge to look back at the house. Cream-painted over peb­ble dash, it was de­pend­able, its firm-rooted, hard lines al­ready soft­en­ing un­der climb­ing roses and hon­ey­suck­les.

It would al­ways be bright and wel­com­ing, even in win­ter when dark skies rolled over. The neat gar­den which en­cir­cled it was lawn, with a sur­round of shrubs backed by es­tab­lished trees. The only wooden con­struc­tion was on the back lawn – a pretty sum­mer­house.

Tess went to sit in it now. As its warmth wrapped around her she closed her eyes and re­mem­bered her child­hood. She’d grown up in a house be­side an in­land river with quiet fields sur­round­ing it.

Aged eigh­teen, while walk­ing the dog along the river­side, she be­came aware of a hand­some guy, mus­cles strain­ing as he scraped the hull of a 30-foot wooden boat boast­ing sails and en­gine. It had been left to Tony by his grandad.

They’d spent many of their court­ing days on it but had then sold it for a de­posit on their first home, where they still lived. They had raised three kids there.

Then, five years ago while on hol­i­day here, they’d bought a wooden Broads cruiser, the Mirabel. It was win­tered in the boat­yard be­long­ing to Jim, from whom they rented their hol­i­day cot­tage. Last sum­mer Tony had rushed into the gar­den to find her.

“Guess what! Next spring Jim will be advertising for guys to join his yard. What do you think? I’m fed up with fit­ting kitchens; this would be more sat­is­fy­ing. And you love the river, Tess.” She blinked. “It’s not that sim­ple, Tony. The kids need to have a say. There’s school to con­sider.”

“But this job doesn’t start till next Septem­ber. Zac will prob­a­bly be at univer­sity and it fits in with Ben’s GCSEs. Lucy will have plenty of time to set­tle in be­fore she has ex­ams.” Tess con­sid­ered. “If Jim isn’t advertising the posts un­til next Easter, I sug­gest we keep it to our­selves till af­ter Christ­mas. It’s not just you and me tak­ing a chance, Tony. We’re a fam­ily.” He nod­ded, un­der­stand­ing. On a dis­mal Sun­day af­ter­noon in Jan­uary, the kids were called into the lounge.

“How do you feel about mov­ing to the Nor­folk Broads?” Tony be­gan.

“Why?” Zac asked.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.