Chapter 3

Written by: Joe Labrum

Just as quickly as the brilliant rays of the morning sun smothered in the unexpected thunder cell that passed overhead, the cloud vanished.  The weather in May is always as unpredictable as the ever-changing mood of an infant.   One minute it’s dark and blowing a gale. The next the sun is bright and not a cloud to be seen.  All of us villagers grew up here. We know that you don’t plan a fayre around the weather, you have it on May Day and the weather is what it is. 

 How fortunate for Grandma Brown that the downpour hit the same morning she had cleaned the ashes from her old cook stove and left then in a box on her back porch. While the old woman worked at her morning chores, the flames started to scorch the wall next to the back door. Then she heard the crackling as flames began climbing the clapboard siding toward the thatched roof. While we all thrashed around helpless, the sky opened up and saved her home from her own senility. Was it a miracle or a random turn of fortune that saved the Grandma’s cottage?  Or, was it simply, as I believe that the spirit of our village watches over us?

 I felt sorry for Jack Tindall and his poor dog as I strode back to the village square, but the warmth of the sun on my face lifted me. I smiled without intention as I caught sight of my happy neighbors bustling about making ready for company.  Once a year the town is a family working together to put on a festival to show the rest of the world how lucky we are to live here. Pride in our town shown everywhere you looked.

 “What kept you, Jack?” Rose call out as I opened the screen.

 “A wee bit of a problem at Grandma Brown’s to sort out; I’ll tell you about it after…” I picked up a box of pastries and started for the door.

 The ‘Rose Cottage’ pastry booth stood in the most sought after spot in the square. The Shapwick Fayre committee assigns stall locations on a lottery system and this year Rose won. They placed her on the edge of the green opposite the gazebo where a variety of bands will provide music for the fayre goers until late in the evening. The music attracts the crowd. And, nobody can resist a sausage roll or custard tart that has grown more famous with each year for a generation.

 Rose covered the table with a red and white checkered spread that hung to the ground in front while I stapled matching bunting across the top creating a festive looking archway to greet customers. Then Rose started laying out the pastries in neat rows. She stopped for a moment and gazed off to her left toward the Grange Brook stone bridge. Her expression changed to a look of recognition as she bolted upright knocking boxes of pastries to the ground.


Joseph Labrum, USA




Ooh I wonder what she saw. Great job of building atmosphere and drawing a wonderful visual of a village gathering. Great ambient piece. Thanks
Nice to see you back, Joe. The descriptive work is well thought out and comparing this with the chapters you wrote months ago, the difference shows. I particularly liked the first paragraph; it set the scene well. T thought maybe there could have been a little more dialogue but that's a personal POV and the lack of dialogue took nothing away from this. Great hook and I hope the next writer comes up with something that will set the village alight (excuse the pun)