Ava was an infamous day dreamer; she hardly recollected any of the tedious car journey. She had a fascinating ability to completely switch off her active mind like a flickering light switch, as if she was pulling down shutters over her intelligent brain. For Ava it was a defense mechanism she had used for many a year in times of trouble and hardship. When the bitching at school had become all too much for her, Ava would use this technique to block the cruel comments. It infuriated her teachers. She shuddered momentarily, recollecting one parent’s evening 6 years ago.
“Ava is a promising pupil with great potential but she lets her mind wander into a daydream!” Her exasperated German teacher had commented in her ever so slightly broken English. Frau Schmitt was a scrawny woman of Austrian heritage who looked like she was verging on suffering from anorexia, with garishly dyed red hair. She was bizarre character with black thick rimmed glasses she was not afraid to praise her favourite pupils. Ava was not one of them, although potentially could have been.
“Good morning my darlings” was her sickening morning greeting. She used to pace unnervingly across the front of the class and glared at each individual to make sure that they were paying full attention. Then came the dreaded question. “Ava please can you repeat what I just said?” She demanded, peeping over the tops of her glasses at her. Ava swallowed , slowly shaking her head nervously. “We were discussing German pro-nouns, that’s all I remember. ” She honestly confessed. Frau Schmitt wrung her hands in frustration and sighed through her gleaming white teeth, whistling ever so slightly.
“Not paying attention in my lesson again Ava? We passed that topic a good 15 minutes ago! This is really not good enough. If this continues I shall have to speak to the head of department.”
Ava was mortified. It wasn’t done intentionally, it just happened and she couldn’t quite understand why. Alas, Ava’s overactive imagination had taken her places that she did not even know existed and some of which were favourite places of hers. She could not block out the memory of Stour Head, a magical National Trust property tucked away in Wiltshire. She had spent many a happy summer sat in the divine grounds, admiring the beautiful wildlife and exploring the exquisite grottoes.
Oh god my mind is wandering again! Ava snapped out of the delightful memory, her eyes were cast upon the gloomy fog which was so thick that it was impossible to see your own hand were you to put it directly in front of your face.
“Auntie Olive can you put the heating on please? It’s so cold in here.”
Ava’s Auntie nodded in agreement and turned the dial-up on the heater. It buzzed and a gust of warm air quickly circulated through the vehicle making all the difference. Olive’s gloved hand pressed the radio on in attempt to catch the 1pm news. As always it held tales of doom and gloom. She sighed and turned the channel over, Rod Stewart. Not ideal but far better than the misery on the other channel his recognisable husky voice filled the car and a smile spread to Ava’s lips as her Aunt began to sing along rather more enthusiastically than expected.
“Stop laughing. I will never deny my love for Rod Stewart!” Olive chucked in her burly rosy-cheeked way. It was true, she had posters of him plastered across a corner of her room like a love-sick yearning teenager, not to mention the vast collection of his records, which were stacked on a bizarre angle like The Leaning Tower of Pisa in the corner of their living room.
“Don’t roll your eyes! I love Rod. ” Olive beamed.
“What about poor Uncle Paul?!” Ava exclaimed dramatically with a cheeky glint in her eye.
“Oh he’s alright I suppose.” Olive grinned. “I am yet to have an argument with my dear Rod.”
“That’s because he doesn’t even know you exist!”
“He will one day! Mark my words.”
“I’ll take your word for it Auntie Olive.”
“No on a serious note, I do love your Uncle Paul more of course. Talking of lovers, are you looking forward to seeing Oscar?”
“Yes of course!” Ava exclaimed enthusiastically. “I’m looking forward to seeing both my boys.” She smiled. “Although they might need whipping into shape again.” She grinned. “They will make fine house husbands one day. I have them well-trained!”
“I have no doubt of it. No dirt goes un noticed when you are about. You are the queen of clean. I’ve really valued your help again this summer, thank you.”
It was true, Ava was a very selfless young woman spending the majority of her precious summer holidays attending to the many jobs on her Aunt and Uncle’s small farm, from mucking out the horses to tidying and gutting the house from top to bottom, if it needed to be done Ava willingly completed the task. Upon helping to gut the loft one day, Ava found a dust covered unusual item that she had never seen before. Automatically she picked up the inscribed piece of wood and quickly hid it under her jumper. Her Aunt and Uncle wouldn’t miss it surely?
To be continued….