Today I have an excerpt for the book Alice by K.L Loveley.
A home where they could build on their marriage and forge good relationships with extended family.
Indeed, the house lived up to their very expectations. That was, until the day the rain water had started to seep under the foundations of the house, seeping into the floors and rising up the walls, ruining the plaster and the floors of their beautiful home. Their hallway and downstairs cloakroom were damaged from the rising water resulting in the supporting joists and battens becoming severely damaged. Thankfully the kitchen had been spared from damage, which was a blessing. The kitchen was Alice’s pride and joy. It had cost all of her savings, which she felt was worth the expense as it made up the difference of investment she had made when they purchased the house.
This was an important issue for her in the long term as she wanted to be recognised as having equal share in the house. Between them, Robin and herself had carefully planned the design of the kitchen employing a project manager and a reliable company to install. They chose solid French oak wood, which was in a natural state with the knots of the wood visible, giving a rustic country look which was reinforced by the addition of pewter handles, an authentic range cooker and the electrical appliances integrated behind the oak panel doors. The pièce de résistance, her favourite piece of furniture, was the large dresser which stood in the dining area of the large kitchen. The dresser, with its two glass cabinets and open shelves, was where Alice displayed her prized collection of antique tureens, jugs and plates. In the illuminated glass cabinets she displayed her collection of fine crystal-ware, most of which were wedding gifts from family, and the exquisite champagne flutes herself and Robin had purchased during a memorable holiday with their friends when they visited Prague for a long weekend. Alice just adored collecting antique objects, she had a special interest in ceramics and occasionally Robin and herself would visit a local auction house and bid for something special. Robin was also interested in collectables. He particularly had an interest in clocks; with an ambition to one day own a grandfather clock. Robin already had a place marked out in the lounge he deemed suitable. They already owned a Westminster chime mantel clock that Robin had purchased from a local antiques fair which stood pride of place on an oak mantel table in the lounge. Their home was a good mix of old and new that blended together well, giving an eclectic feel to the home.
Alice entered the kitchen looking around with a deep feeling of satisfaction. She loved this room. The wintry sun shone through the kitchen window reflecting on the pine kitchen table and chairs, which had been strategically placed there to allow for the penetration of maximum light during the winter months and the bright sunshine in summer, thus giving a welcome feel to the dining area. The large bowl of fruit in the centre of the table was piled high with fresh fruit which Robin had kindly purchased on his way home from work on Friday. Robin always took on the mammoth task of the family shop, which, with six adults to provide food and drink for, was an extremely expensive shopping bill. It was one of the many bones of contention building up and festering inside Alice, eating away, waiting to erupt any day now.
She glanced at the fruit bowl, making a mental note to use some of the apples in the red cabbage dish she was planning to serve with the roast turkey and accompaniments around half past two when they would be joined by her mum and Robin’s dad. The sweet and sour red cabbage dish was one of her favourite vegetable dishes to compliment white meat and pork. Her first mother in law was of German origin and had taught her to cook some traditional German dishes. Alice herself had lived in Germany for a number of years which had been an interesting and most enjoyable experience, one which she truly appreciated, as having the opportunity to live in a different country was an experience that she felt had enhanced her life.
Sometimes Alice would reflect on her years spent in the black forest in Bavaria. She was young then and a new bride with so many hopes and inspirations. A smile forced its way into her face as she remembered her first few weeks in the village. Having a limited knowledge of the language, they ate only pork chops and potatoes for the first week as she had purchased far too many of each. The conversion to metric values was something she had needed to learn along with an improved knowledge of the language. That first bag of potatoes she had carried home from the small grocery shop had been huge and extremely heavy. The grocer must have thought she was quite insane, reflected Alice.
Even now , each Christmas, she prepared a traditional German plate full to the brim with fruit, nuts, biscuits, gingerbreads and chocolates. And she felt that some traditions should be passed on. Alice hoped the Christmas plate would remain as part of her future grandchildren’s traditional Christmas. She filled the kettle while gazing through the kitchen window, which overlooked the back garden. Alice never tired of admiring the view from this window. Throughout the changing seasons the garden mesmerised her. The resilience of nature as the first snowdrops pushed up through the hard permafrost of the land; the beauty of spring when colour burst into the garden as the many daffodils, tulips and narcissi – which she planted the first autumn after they had bought the house – nodded their heads in the early spring breeze. During the summer months the garden continued to be a blaze of colour from the array of petunia, lobelia, marigold and nasturtium which Alice lovingly planted in the borders. There was an abundance of urns and tubs scattered around the patio area, which they had laid with paving stones imported from India. In these she planted red, white and pink geraniums, reminding her of faraway Mediterranean holidays which she had shared with her family and with Robin.
Now as she earnestly looked out of the window there was a light scattering of frost and a ray of weak winter sunlight creeping through the clouds, adding a glisten to the tiny drops of water on the stone bird table that her parents had made for her fortieth birthday. She breathed a deep sigh, remembering the two other gardens the bird table had enhanced. For three years it had stood majestically in the small back garden of the house she had shared with her first husband. The house where her children were born, the little garden where they had played as children. The garden had also been home to Anne Marie’s pet rabbit Snuggles. What a good life Snuggles had, thought Alice. She was allowed to freely roam the garden from dawn to dusk, going into her cosy hutch every evening, following a simple prompt from Anne Marie. Consequently, Snuggles lived to a ripe old age. A little smile crept over Alice’s face as she remembered the mounds of rabbit mess she regularly swept from the patio area.
Following the divorce, Alice was intent on saving enough money to move up the property ladder and into a detached house, which she eventually achieved by working in her full time position in addition to working as a supply nurse to provide weekend hospital cover. The bird table went with her, providing a free lift to a perky little frog which had sat in the bowl and much to Alice’s surprise jumped out at her as the table was lifted out of the removal van. However, within a year of achieving her ambition, Alice was on the move again, this time with Robin and into their first home together. Consequently, once again the table went with her, but minus the frog that time. Her love of gardening she had inherited from her father, who kept an allotment in addition to the small garden that surrounded their family home. There was always a supply of fresh vegetables and soft fruits such as blackcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries to be shared amongst the family.
When Ann Marie was a small child she loved to spend time with her granddaddy in the allotment and as she grew up her love of the land had continued. Both Alice and her brother were keen gardeners, a very useful interest to have inherited. Looking out of the window , her attention was drawn to the garden swing, as a light breeze set it gently rocking. It was covered in debris from the conifers and would need a good clean before the summer arrived. She looked up towards the conifers, hoping to catch sight of the other robin in her life; the little bird with its proud red chest and friendly attitude. That morning, there was no sign of her favourite little bird. Perhaps she might see him later, while she drank her mid-morning coffee in the conservatory that backed onto the garden, giving tremendous views and a very useful place to store her more tender plants away from the winter frosts.
There was a time when she had hoped to have a greenhouse, but perhaps now wasn’t the time to be dreaming of such additions to the garden. Staring out of the window, Alice was lost with her thoughts, troubled by what she knew she must discuss with her husband. The sooner she did, the sooner the heavy burden of stress hopefully would begin to ease and release the tension she felt throughout her body. Her troubling thoughts were overridden by the sound of a click from the kettle, signalling the water was boiled. If only my problems would evaporate into the air like the steam from the kettle, thought Alice as she made herself a coffee. The lovely aroma as the hot water hit the granules relaxed her a little, allowing Alice to concentrate on the task in hand.
Robin preferred tea in the morning, so while the tea was brewing Alice sipped the freshly made coffee. The best drink of the day was always the very first one following a restless night’s sleep. Alice carefully carried the mugs up the stairs, each one balanced on a saucer, which always amused Robin. He said she was the only woman he knew who was so fastidious as to use a saucer with a mug. Just one of the many things which made Alice different. And Robin and Alice were certainly different from each other in many ways. Fundamentally, they had different views and opinions. Alice tended to have a positive outlook in life, always looking for the good in a person or situation. Mathew, on a number of occasions, said his mum would have made a good defence lawyer and would probably have found something good to say about the Kray twins. Robin tended to be more negative and pessimistic, and probably more realistic than his wife. Very apt with quips, Robin could also be unashamedly sarcastic which Alice found difficult to cope with at times.
While Alice enjoyed continued learning and trying new activities, Robin was content to watch the television or go to the local pub. He preferred going to working men’s clubs where he could enjoy a game of bingo and watch live entertainment. Of course, Alice joined her husband on these occasions, enjoying the entertainment herself but not the bingo or the meat raffles, which she found most amusing when the prize of a pack of sausages was won.
If this sounds like the sort of book you would enjoy you can purchase it here.
Thanks for reading.
The Stationery Geekette x