Copyright © 2011 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Special xiv Centennial edition, with free throwaway plot and characters.
New improved edition with the magic ingredient male cow poo.
Buy while stocks and pillory last. Special discount for bulk purchasers and callers with guns.
I’d barely got home from speaking with Sister Maria about my concerns for Billie when the phone rang.
“Charlie?” asked a male voice.
“Sorry, you must have the wrong number, there’s no Charlie here,” as I said this a cold shiver ran through me.
“Don’t hang up — sorry I can’t remember what you call yourself these days. Lady something isn’t it?”
“Who is this?” I wasn’t far from slamming the phone down.
“It’s your Uncle Arthur.”
“Yes?” I said while thinking, what does he want?
“Look, I know you and Doreen didn’t exactly hit it off...”
“You could say that as the understatement of the twenty first century.”
“Look, she’s seriously ill.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” actually I didn’t give a toss, but I tried not to upset him, he sounded as if he was having difficulties coping.
“Thank you. I don’t know quite how to phrase this, she’s asking to see you as her only neph–um–niece.”
“What’s the matter with her?”
“She has kidney disease–which has caused her kidneys to fail. She could die–I’m so worried, Char–sorry, I can’t remember your name.”
“Yes, of course, Catherine, could you come and see her before she dies?”
Just what I needed–not–a trip to Swindon.
“If I do, I’ll have to bring my baby with me and also Stella’s little one–I’m breast feeding both of them.” That should shut him up for a moment.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that, it sounded like you said you were breast feeding a baby?”
“I am, but there’s two of them.”
“But you’re a bo–um–not equipped to do that–are you?”
“Yes I am.”
“Oh–the things they can do these days–your baby, did you say?”
“Yes, my baby.”
“Congratulations–we–um didn’t–um think, I mean know you were pregnant.”
“It’s not as if we’re a close family, Uncle Arthur.”
“No, I suppose not–could you come and see her?”
“Is that really a good idea, if I scared the life out of her last time we met, how’s seeing her going to help?”
“I don’t know–um–Catherine, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. Look can I call you back–I’ve just got in from the school run.”
“Yes, taking my girls to school.”
“How many children have you got?”
“Seven, I think at the last count–they won’t sit still, so counting is difficult.”
“Seven? Good lord–how doyou cope?”
“Goodness–yes, I can see why you’ll have to call me back.”
“Exactly, I’ll need to speak with my hubby, see if he can come home early to help in my absence.”
“I see. Are you really Lady something or other, or is that just a wind up?”
“Well, I’m married to a man who’s called Lord Simon Cameron.”
“Yes, but that’s just one of those civil partner things isn’t it?”
“No, that’s not allowable between a man and a woman at the moment, so we settled for a normal wedding.” He must be reeling from all this, poor chap–but I’m enjoying it.
“Not allowed between a man and woman, but you’re...”
“A boy with boobs who’s breastfeeding her baby.”
“I’m sorry, this is difficult to take in.”
“But you met Simon a while back, remember you called when you were in Southsea.”
“Of course we did, and you were Catherine, yes–no, I don’t really remember.”
“I’ll call you back, Uncle Arthur.”
“I’m going to the hospital this afternoon.”
“I’ll call back very soon, promise.”
“Okay then, Char–I mean Catherine–this is all too much for me.”
“Yes, I can appreciate that. Take care, I’ll call you back as soon as I can.”
“Who was that?” asked Stella as I staggered into the kitchen.
“My Uncle Arthur. You may remember they came by a while ago, they were at my Dad’s funeral.”
“Oh, what did he want?” she asked.
“My Auntie Doreen is very poorly with kidney failure.”
“Oh, you going to blue light her?”
“I don’t know–I hadn’t got that far. I think I need a cuppa and think.”
“Where does she live?”
“Oh, the land of roundabouts.”
“Yep, you can get dizzy simply by driving round the place.”
“You’d better express some for these two, if you’re going off for the day.”
“I thought that if you came with me, we could take the little suckers with us.”
“Dunno–you sure that’s a good idea?”
“All of it.”
“Probably not, but it’s the best I can do.”
“What about the other kids?”
“Shit, I was supposed to call Stephanie about Billie–it’ll have to be tomorrow now.”
“What’s wrong with Billie?”
“She was talking with a very deep depression yesterday, sounded almost suicidal.”
“Oh, so which one is your priority? Billie or Auntie Do?”
“I’ll see if Simon can get home a bit early, he could help with Billie until we got back.”
“Simon? Does he know which one is Billie?”
“That was very catty, Stella, your brother is actually quite a good parent when he wants to be.”
“Want, being the operative word,” said Stella dismissing her brother.
“I’ll call him.” I did just that and he agreed to come home early to help Jenny.
When I told Jenny, she shrugged–“I expect we’ll manage.”
“Are you sure?” I felt very guilty.
“Yeah, Tom will be here too, so between us–besides, Danny is very good with Billie, and Julie will be home just after six.”
“Okay, I’ll call Uncle Arthur and say we’re on our way.” I returned his call and agreed we’d come up right away.
It wasn’t quite like that, we had to sort a whole pile of things for the babies, then sort out baby seats and so on. After this we had to sort the babies–feed and change them–we got off an hour later.
We made good progress and stopped between Salisbury and Marlborough for a snack before continuing onto Swindon. There we went to see Uncle Arthur and he was in a state.
I left Stella with the babies at my aunt and uncle’s house then took Uncle Arthur to the new hospital, The Great Western Hospital.
“Who’s this?” asked Auntie Doreen.
“Your–um–niece–um–Cha–I mean, Catherine,” spluttered my uncle.
“Do we have a niece?” she challenged him, “I thought it was a scrawny nephew, but then he always looked more like a girl than a boy. You’re not my nephew are you?”
“No, Auntie Doreen, I’m your niece.”
“Are you sure, girl?”
“She’s got a baby,” explained Uncle Arthur, making everything as clear as mud.
“Yes, but she could be the father,” accused Doreen.
“She’s come a long way, Do, an remember, she’s Lady Catherine.”
“Oh lord, I feel awful.” With that she closed her eyes and died–well she would have done if I hadn’t been there. Instead I took her hand, sent Uncle A for the nurse and spoke to my aunt.
“Look here, you can’t die just yet you silly old cow, so listen carefully–I know you can hear me. Look for the blue light, it’ll appear like a blue sun–follow it, and don’t disappoint me, because the alternative you will not like–I promise.”
I flooded her with blue light–how can I do that for people I don’t even like very much–the Hyacinth Bucket of the family–and poor Uncle A even looks a bit like the bloke who plays her husband.
The kidneys were quite badly damaged, the nephrons and glomerulus were in a bit of a state and I’d just about sorted them when the nurse arrived with Uncle Arthur.
“Hello, Mrs Porter–can you hear me?” she said loudly at the same time shaking her arm.
“Of course I can hear you, I’m not deaf, just resting my eyes.”
The nurse gave Uncle A a real glare before she walked stiffly away.
“We thought you’d gone, thank God you didn’t. I don’t know what I’d do without you, Do,” Uncle A was virtually in tears.
“You’d have to go and live with your favourite niece, wouldn’t you?” she threw back at him. Now I realised why I had to be there. I also knew she’d make a full recovery which she certainly shouldn’t have done, but no one twigged I’d been involved–except perhaps Auntie Do, who I swore to secrecy–threatening her with a total relapse which would take months of agony to kill her. It was pure male cow poo, but she didn’t know that.
I left my aunt and uncle at the hospital and drove back to Stella and the babies.
“The strangest thing has happened,” she said.
“No, don’t be silly, Cathy, I mean about me–I started gushing full cream about twenty minutes ago. I’ve fed them both and I’m still dripping.”
I began to laugh, had Trish been doing anything I wondered or was it just her milk came through, or even did the blue light fix her while I was doing Auntie Do? I suppose we’ll never know–Stella doesn’t.
We had just loaded everything and two babies in the car when my mobile rang.
“What’s the problem, Jenny?”
“Did you take Billie to school this morning?”
“Of course, I even saw the headmistress about her, why?”
“She wasn’t there when I went to collect them and the others didn’t see her at lunch.”
A cold shiver ran up my spine and settled in the pit of my stomach. “We’re on our way, have you called the police?”
“Yes, nothing so far.”
I chucked my Blackberry into my bag and jumped into the car.
“What’s up?” asked Stella.
“Oh no,” she gasped, “What are you going to do?”
“Get home asap,” I said slamming my foot to the floor leaving tyre marks behind us.
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