When Dottie moved into her cottage she had every intention of creating a beautiful garden. This immediately conflicted with her love of animals and only two flowerbeds were finished before "out of the blue" Hermione Goat arrived looking for a home. No sooner was she settled in then along wandered Dimitri Donkey.
Co-incidentally, at roughly the same time the local police arrested a loitering ne'er do well whose only possessions appeared to be two pieces of rope - both of which had been chewed through by creature or creatures unknown.
Meanwhile, back in the garden Dottie looked at her two new friends and said "I shall call you Her 'n Dim!!"
Her is busy eating the flower bed and in the foreground we have an overflowing dustbin, the bath tub and water pump. The gate is the third one in a short space of time. They keep getting eaten and Dottie is mystified.
Dim isn't saying anything.
Her 'n Dim quickly ate the flowers and Dottie,being practical,immediately abandoned the original plans and began to think how she might make it a haven for any passing creature who needed rest and refreshment Her privy and shed must stay along with her bird bath.Her small pond............... well, time would tell.The clothes line was necessary to hang her pantaloons and assorted bits and pieces....... She would need some sort of shelter for the goat and donkey..................... money would be a problem............... if word got around more creatures would come.................
If only she hadn't been made redundant from the local garden centre when she was 75 it would have helped.It seemed her hymn singing was unappreciated by staff and customers alike.Just recalling the adverse comments made her angry enough to burst forth,horribly off key, into four verses of Onward Christian Soldiers followed by And Shall it be. Both rousing numbers., they certainly roused Her 'n Dim who leapt over the fence and ran a long way into the adjoining field.casting nervous glances over their shoulders as they went. Eventually they came back and Her nipped a piece of Dottie's washing just for spite.
The field was once used for grazing but for a long time it had been left to nature and was just long grass,weeds and home for numerous rabbits, mice and birds.To listen to their various sounds morning noon and night was Dottie's idea of heaven on earth. .There was also a ramshackle old folly there which was in great need of attention. Oh! she would so love that field. Perhaps one day.............................
Dottie felt that a solution to her financial considerations would arrive and chanted her very own manta over and over again as she went upstairs to bed."Trust in the Lord, The Lord shall provide,Be patient in all things and a Stitch in time saves Nine". Where the stitch bit fitted in Dottie didn't know but it sounded fine to her.
The next morning Dottie woke with a feeling of expectation and kept bobbing in and out of her front door looking for the postman. When he did arrive he had an official looking letter for Dottie which she rudely snatched from his hand causing him to drop the rest of the bundle on the not too pristine path. Admonishing him for being clumsy Dottie firmly shut her front door and went to open her envelope. Initially it was not good news at all.On the contrary. Dottie's Uncle & Aunt (the Drippy Tapps as she affectionately thought of them) had been killed in a car crash. Dottie was the sole beneficiary.
For a little while Dottie thought about her Uncle & Aunt. Mrs & Mrs Claude Druckett. They were a nice couple. 98 & 101 respectively. Their nickname came about from the initials of their names Hilda Olive Timms and Claude O.L. Druckett. Hot & Cold!!! They didn't know Dottie thought of them as the Drippy Tapps which was just as well since they had clearly cared for her.
After half an hour of sombre reflection Dottie turned to more interesting matters such as how much money had been left to her and how long before it was hers. These questions were not due to personal greed but born out of the desire to see her animals comfortable and well fed..
The letter asked that she should contact one Thomas Ucktread as soon as possible, Head of Chambers at the local Solicitors. No sooner the word than the deed. Putting on her least grubby clothes she creakily mounted a bike similar in age to herself and wobbled down the road to learn how much she was to inherit.
Dottie's new venture
It was two hours later before Dottie returned and by the way her bike was weaving around she was either drunk or tremendously excited about something.
As she approached her gate she lifted her feet off the pedals and tried to
wave her legs around in the manner beloved of twelve years old showing off.
Unfortunately all that happened was that Dottie fell ignominiously on the
ground, put her hand in a lump of something best not thought about and
twisted the front wheel of the bike.
Lesser mortals might have cried or crashed around in temper but Dottie was
far too excited to let such small stuff dampen her spirits. Pushing open the
gate she yelled - 'Good News Dear Creatures. I have enough money now to care
for you always and perhaps, just perhaps, we might be able to expand into
field.'.................cheerfully giving all the animals extra food she
went inside to brew a large pot of delightfully weak tea. That made, she
opened a packet of biscuits and sat down to ponder on her changed
Two minutes later she shot up again,spilling tea across the table and
sending biscuits all over the floor. She could afford the field and she
had the 'phone number for the owners - better ring them at once.Trampling on
the biscuits and
singing loudly "Now is the hour for me to buy the field" , she followed the 'phone lead to her privy. ..............Now how did that get there?
Dottie wondered. Never mind,
'Forward be our Watchword. Hearts and voices sing' All those years at Chapel
had left Dottie with a sound knowledge of hymns and Biblical quotes. 'Seek
and ye shall find' said Dottie loudly and perused the papers again that
Ucktread's had given her.
The field and folly belonged to a Reggie & Barb. Flower-Pott who lived in the
hamlet of Long Blinking. It wasn't far away and had a rumoured "oddness" about it. 'About time I had some real excitement in my life' said Dottie and
rang Long Blinking 789. The call was answered in such loud tones Dottie
almost dropped the 'phone 'HELLO HELLO - REGGIE FLOWER-POTT HERE.......WHO'S
Dottie replied in kind 'IT'S DOTTIE CLATWORTHY HERE.I WANT TO BUY YOUR FIELD
'YOU WANT MY SISTER' REGGIE ROARED BACK. 'HOLD ON'
Dottie took a slug of radish & beanshoot cordial and waited while Reggie
sought his sister. She heard him quite distinctly booming 'SOME OLD BAT WANTS
TO BUY THE FIELD AND FOLLY, . MUST BE BONKERS'.
Dottie began to doubt the wisdom of the 'phone
At that moment a gentle, kindly voice said 'Hello, I'm Barb. Flower-Pott. I
understand from my brother that you might be interested in buying our field
along with the folly. I think it would save a lot of time if we were to meet
and see what agreement we can come to. Would you like to do that?
'Yes I would' said Dottie 'but my bike is broken..........do you want to
come to me?'
'I think you should meet us in our own surrounding first'
replied Barb. 'We will come and fetch you if you will give me directions. It
won't be any bother'.
'Does that brother of yours always bellow at folks?' asked Dottie rudely 'I'm
afraid he does' said Barb 'but there is no need for you to be so rude. He is
deaf as a post and twice as useless but he is still, to me, my little
brother. So there! I don't want any unpleasantness or I shall not sell you
the field no matter what you offer'.
'Oh alright then have it your way. I
can be ready as soon as I have attended to the animals. Do I need to bring
anything with me?'
'No,just wear stout shoes.See you soon.Byeeeeeeeeeeee'
Glory Be! muttered Dottie. They sound a right couple to me. Clearly mad as
snakes. One deaf and one daft - probably away with the fairies most of the
time......but never mind.........if I can get the field............
Putting on her stoutest shoes,thickest stockings,ancient print dress and a
cow gown Dottie told her creatures of her plans and proceeded to her gate.
'Humph' snorted Dottie ' no sign of the Flower-Potts - typical.'.Musing in
this vein a few more moments she was started to hear cries of Tally Ho - coupled with loud guffaws
and shrieks of mirth.
A booming voice proclaimed 'NEARLY THERE BARB. LET'S
SEE WHAT THE MAD OLD CRONE LOOKS LIKE'.
The few minutes that followed Reggie's remark almost defy
Barb was first round the corner - she was on roller
skates pulling behind her a length of thick rope.......holding the other end
of this was Reggie. He too was on skates. Both were dressed in yellow and
purple long sleeved sweaters, green trousers and berets with bells on. So
surprised was Barb when she saw Dottie that she let go of the rope and ran
into Dottie's fence............ Reggie with no one pulling him crashed also
into the fence but because his arms were waving wildly he also banged into
Dottie who landed on top of the dustbin which fell to the ground spilling a
depressing amount of animal bedding and some of Dottie's dismal attempts at
There was silence for at least a minute. The animals were
startled. Reggie & Barb looked guiltily at each other and then at Dottie
spreadeagled on the floor. The gate had broken off its hinges and was lying
across Dottie's stomach. Her winter weight long johns, splashed with who
knows what, were tantalisingly on display and a strange wheezing noise was
coming from her.
It began to get louder and louder until a ghastly cackle burst from
Dottie........ and then another and another....cackle,wheeze,cackle cackle,
wheeze went Dottie rolling on the floor and trying to get up. 'you two really
are' ... wheeze wheeze 'the most ridiculous'.. cackle wheeze 'people I have
ever seen' gasped Dotttie. 'I thought I was going to dislike you but how can
I when you look so ridiculous and go around hanging on to bits of rope'? And
off she went again into a prolonged coughing and laughing turn.
Realizing that Dottie was uninjured, Reggie & Barb sorted themselves out and
Reggie boomed 'WHAT SHALL WE DO NOW THEN ?' 'Well' said Dottie, still
wiping tears of mirth from her eyes 'let's have a cup of prune and hyacynth
cordial. It helps a lot in a crisis'. 'BET IT DOESN'T' boomed Reggie and Barb
said gently that she 'would love to try some. Thank you so much'. 'May as
well sit in the field and look at the folly while we drink it' said Dottie.