As it’s National Writing Day, my very good friend Stacey over at Unicornfairy suggested I take advantage of the day. I adore writing and I adore making up stories, I often make up back stories for people I see in the street, or animals. Anything is story worthy as far as I’m concerned. So today I am nervously sharing my first ever, properly written down, small story. I hope you like it.
Bet and the W.I.
Bet sighed and hitched her tights up over her knees where they had a habit of wrinkling up. Bet had thought that joining the local Women’s Institute in Norfolk would be fun, that it would get her out of the house and away from her family for a few hours. Unfortunately, as Brian – this week’s guest, talked about the not as fascinating as advertised ‘Life Cycle of a Snail’, Bet couldn’t help thinking that she could be catching up with correspondence and watching Fifteen to One.
Bet shifted restlessly in her rather uncomfortable chair and looked at her watch, it would be time for tea and cake, which just happened to be one of the reason’s she joined. Bet loved cake, especially a lemon drizzle. The one that Sheila made was particularly delightful.
Bet was nudged out of her thoughts of the merits of a good Victoria Sponge by Mavis.
“Tea?” she enquired.
As Bet stirred the far too weak tea around her cup, she glanced around at the other women, Brian had cornered Fiona and was talking about the virtues of snails in a country garden. Bet wandered over.
“Bet!” exclaimed Fiona gratefully “if you’ll excuse me Brian dear, I must talk to Bet about the upcoming cake competition”.
Bet and Fiona crossed the room and sat down.
“Are you baking next week?” Fiona enquired.
“Yes, I thought scones would make a nice change” said Bet, Fiona nodded.
“Well as long as they are better than Mrs Christie’s rock cakes, did you know that Mrs Allinson had to have a crown replaced after eating one?”.
A few weeks later Bet placed a tin of cranberry scones onto the trestle table. Alice Lowfield appeared at her side, Bet hated how she always silently appeared, smelling slightly of mothballs and old Chanel.
“Cranberry?” sneered Alice “rather risky don’t you think?”.
“Bitch” thought Bet whilst smiling through gritted teeth. “I just thought it would make a nice change replied Bet quietly.
“Well good luck” smiled Alice in what Bet was sure was a patronising manner. “I’m sure they’ll be lovely dear”.
Alice placed her famous Victoria Sponge delicately on the table, arranging a doily underneath.
“It’s Great-Grandmothers” said Alice pointing at the doily. “One should do these things properly don’t you think? It’s Royal Doulton” she added pointing at the plate. “Still”, she went on “your tin is lovely, Quality Street was it?”
Bet smiled “oh yes, it’s been in the family for months!”
Bet watched as Alice Lowfield haughtily walked away in her lemon yellow twin-set. Bet looked down at the rather shabby cardigan she was wearing, noticing it was covered in brown dog hairs. Alice wanted taking down a peg or two Bet thought,
Across the room, Mavis – the Chair, was clearing her throat. “Ladies” she called “the meeting and judging will begin soon”
Bet sat down as the ladies from a nearby W.I. introduced themselves. It was a bit of a tradition to invite another local group to judge their cakes. Not so healthy rivalry Bet supposed.
Whilst the cakes were being rigorously tested by a plump lady in a very purple hat, Bet listened to the Chair with half an ear.
Suddenly, there was a crash and commotion in the back room, where the cakes were. The ladies of the W.I. piled through the doorway to see what was going on. Bet moved carefully through the tweedy elbows and found Fiona.
“What’s going on?” Bet enquired in a whisper.
“It’s Mrs Lowfield’s Victoria sponge” replied Fiona “it’s full of dog hairs and the judge is allergic to dogs” Fiona paused and added, “and Kiwi fruit apparently”.
Bet peered into the room, Alice Lowfield was hysterical.
“I don’t even have a dog” she was screeching, clutching at the judge’s arm.
The purple hatted judge shook Alice off, “You should be ashamed” she said pointing at the half-eaten slice of cake on the floor. The judge pushed her napkin with her hastily spat out mouthful of Victoria Sponge in it into Alice’s hands.
“Dog hair in a cake? Maybe you should consider hiring a better cleaner” she hissed as she stamped out of the room, angry, red hives already starting to appear on her face. Alice slumped to the floor, clutching the sponge,
“Ladies, ladies” called the chair, hurrying over. “Maybe we should call it a day, let’s discuss this unfortunate incident next week when we’ve all calmed down”.
Bet smiled as she plucked another dog hair from her cardigan and watched it float to the floor. She collected her bag and after saying goodbye to Fiona, she pushed her way through the giggling, whispering and evidently very bitchy women of the W.I. she knew that Mrs Alice bloody Lowfield wouldn’t dare show her face for at least a few weeks. Bet picked up her tin of cranberry scones. “Phil will like these” she thought of her husband with a smile.
She walked outside and spotting Robert’s car parked across the road she wandered over and climbed onto the back seat. Pulling off her wig and glasses, she wondered for the hundredth time how none of those silly old ladies ever noticed.
“Been waiting long Robert?” she asked.
“No Ma’am” he replied.
“Good, get one back to the palace before anyone notices I’ve gone”.
Elizabeth sank back into the seat, tapping the tin on the seat beside her. What a good afternoon she’d had.