The topic for next week’s writing group (the one on Thursday, not the one on Friday for which I have already managed to write something) is ‘Regeneration. What a toughie! I’m totally out of ideas so have returned to some characters I wrote about before, Martin who has a hardware store, his wife Annette and his twin brother Phil. This is as far as I’ve got:
There had been an awful lot of begatting – or was it begetting? Martin looked gloomily at his charts, crikey, did they have to be quite so fecund? Take Octavia, for example, her name might give you a clue, youngest sister of Una, Twain, Trinity, Cearthrú, Quinta, Sextus, Septima… Ridiculous, eight children? Martin mentally apologised to his forbears, it wasn’t their fault, getting married in 1815 wasn’t a time when planning a family was possible, apart from the obvious solution. Martin had stalked – in a genealogical sense, Octavia and her siblings, and fortunately – although not from their point of view. Apart from Ultimus, Martin’s direct ancestor, Una had never married, Twain emigrated to Canada where the cause of his death was simply noted as ‘Bear‘, Trinity became a nun and her brother Cearthrú a priest (it was impossible now to discover why they had both converted from their family’s Quaker faith) Quinta, like her oldest sister remained a spinster and lived next door to Una, and although Sextus and Septima had married (not to each other, obviously) none of their offspring survived.
“Martin! I’ve called you three times, dinner is ready!” Annette was cross and he remembered they were eating early because it was her poker night. She’d stated playing at the Otter in Oxhope and he was quite happy to drive her there, then pick her up later. She deserved a bit of fun, and in his heart of hearts he knew she put up with a lot from him.
“Sorry, Annette, I’ll eat super-quickly so you’re not late!”
And she, dear soul that she was, apologised for being snappy and said she had plenty of time, and he remarked that he could tell she’d made his favourite, steak and kidney pie, plenty of kidney, he could smell her beautiful pastry, and the savoury gravy.
They sat opposite each other in the kitchen, and he told her about his research, and the annoyingly large family he’d had to follow up.
“Well, Martin, you’re lucky you have a name like Spindlethorpe, there can’t be many of them, only you and Philip.”
Martin’s enjoyment of his dinner dissolved, the mention of his brother was like a great grey cloud on a sunny day. He reined in his annoyance.
“There may only be him and me now, but the Spindlethorpes were remarkably inclined to have more children than they could afford.”
Annette concentrated on her meal, any conversation about Martin’s twin, who now lived opposite them, would only end up annoying both of them, infuriating them equally but for different reasons.
Here’s a link to the previous story about Martin, Annette and Philip: