The good-looking vicar and the gas fitter’s mate

Just very occasionally I do use something which actually happened to me, a little incident and weave it into one of my stories. Aislin, the main character in my novel ‘Loving Judah’ is nothing like me except she is a teacher. Her life falls apart when her beloved step-son first of all goes missing and then is found dead in Kashmir. The impact on his father, Pete, Aislin’s husband, drives him to the edge of a breakdown and he blames her for, in his mind, ‘encouraging Judah to go‘. They have been renovating their home, an old house in Yorkshire, and Pete seems to take revenge on the house by ripping out all the wiring, tearing up the floor boards, taking off the internal doors, disconnecting the gas – and then after the funeral, takes to his bed and won’t speak to her.

Aislin’s best friend Sandi who lives in America arrives to help; she manages to get Pete out of bed and to their surprise when the local vicar gets in touch, Pete decides he wants to see him.

This has never happened to me, but in the following scene, when Aislin and Sandi reminisce about their past, some of the incidents have a faint connection to the truth! I do have to say, that although there was a club called Ray’s Place in Manchester when I was a student there, it isn’t where I’m thinking of – that was in the Conti, a totally different venue!

“Mmm a career vicar, if you ask me,” said Sandi, writing something on her pad. “You know what I mean, he’s too good-looking and intelligent to be in the ministry for any other reason than to become a bishop before he’s forty.”
“Do you know him?” asked Aislin, surprised. She did not know Sandi had caught sight of him, When she had rung the vicar, she had directed him to the back door.
“I was looking at him get off his motor bike. It was the studious way he pretended he wasn’t aware of people watching him, of people nudging each other and saying, see that young chap on the bike, the good-looking one, he’s our vicar!”
“Which people?” Aislin had never seen anyone pass along the narrow lane.
“Well, there weren’t any actual people, not here, I don’t mean,” Sandi ripped off one sheet then another and passed the blank one to Aislin. “List your priorities – for the house I mean, but you can write any other priorities down as well.”
“Well, he seemed o.k., the vicar,” Aislin sat next to Sandi on the settee.
“You mean he gave you a look as if to say, if you weren’t married and I wasn’t a vicar…” Sandi nudged her.
Aislin had to laugh. “I get those sort of looks so infrequently, let me have a little day-dream.”
Sandi patted her hand and agreed with her. “Its odd isn’t it. When you meet a guy now, or not even meet him, just pass a guy in the street, his eyes drift over you as if you’re invisible. Ten – not even ten, five, two years ago there was always that look, a sort of weighing up, a sort of, yeah, she’s o.k.”
“Speak for yourself!” Aislin laughed ruefully.
“You know what I mean. I’m not a woman any more. I’m a middle aged woman, I’ve become invisible,” Sandi seemed amused but aggrieved.
“Oh Sandi that just is not true for you – you’ve got that something, And you’ll still have it when you’re ninety. I’ve always been invisible to 99% of men. You see a guy you fancy, you hook him and reel him in like a fish. Do you remember that time when we went to that awful club, what was it called – ‘Ray’s Place’ – and you ended up with that gas fitter – Vic, was he? He was really good-looking, a bit like John Travolta without the lips. I ended up with his spotty mate, except I didn’t because I went home in a huff?”
“How do you remember all these things, I don’t remember a gas fitter called Vic,” Sandy laughed. “Anyway, enough of John Travolta with or without lips. Priorities.”

If you haven’t read ‘Loving Judah’ – here is a link, and I would be so grateful if you left a comment on my Amazon page!!

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