The Village Gossip
‘I can’t believe anyone would do this!’
‘Well, they have…..50 of my prize sheep, including my prize ram Pedro….rustled in one night. Can’t really believe it myself. Never mind, chances of catching them are pretty good’
‘How’s that Dad, no clues. They’ll be long gone by now’
‘well…you see son…….I was approached by the local Agricultural college to test something new. It’s a harmless spray to sheep but once on human skin, within 48hrs it apparently causes really bad itching for a couple of days. then turns their skin bright pink. I think there’s a good chance we’ll find them, or at least the police will.
In the meantime, there was mucho excitement down in the village. It had been known for months that Dr Matthews, the village doctor, was nearing retirement. What wasn’t so clear, was, who would replace him. Unlike in the past, the Village Council had not been involved in vetting the new incumbent. Nerves were fraught. The head of the Council, Camilla Tarquin-Knowles, who’s family owned a 3 storey Georgian House on the outskirts of the village, was forthright in her views……
‘He or she has a lot to live up to if they are even to come close to filling Dr Matthews’ shoes. I mean, the last one they sent when Dr Matthews was on holiday, he couldn’t even speak the english language!’
‘You mean Dr McTaggart from Thurso?’
‘Yes, I mean that red haired, hirsute, rude, mad highlander. I could not understand one syllable he came out with. Just a bag of indecipherable noise. I’ve just had a horrible thought, what if he’s applied and got the job permanently. Oh, i feel faint…….get me a seat, a cushion and some sparkling water’
‘Well, our new doctor is due to arrive at the surgery an about an hours time. So, we’ll find out one way or another.’
At the local pub, temperatures were also rising. It was customary whenever the pub door opened, the entire congregation turned to view, vet, comment on, then forget the incoming act. On this occasion, however, the next act on stage was Ginny, the horsey lady from Ginnys’ equestrian centre. As she strode in wearing her usual, higher than the average leather riding boots and the tightest jodhpurs on Planet Earth, she could induce a man to sweat before she’d even come into view.
Old Tom and Bill, retired local farmers, looked up from sipping their beer. As Ginny clip clopped her way to the bar, the years seem to drop from Tom and Bills’ old eyes as they hypnotically followed Ginnys’ jodhpurs to the bar.
‘Hi everyone, how are we all on this sunshiney day today?
She turned deliberately round towards Tom and Bill, giving her thigh an overtly pensioner attention grabbing slight thwack with her riding crop, causing Tom to spray his beer over the table.
‘Hi Tom, Bill. How are we today?’
The now red faced ex-farmers dipped their caps, swiftly returning to their beer and Racing Post.
‘The usual Ginny?’
‘Yes Paul, a large on on the rocks please. I’ve been going hard at it all morning.’
Old Toms’ Racing post was now beer stained and soaking wet …….
Ginny soon had her usual besotted entourage of young men around her, goggle eyed, agog, as she relayed her mornings outdoor equestrian activities. She wouldn’t have to buy one more drink before closing time. 🙂
‘Rumour has it Old Jock won’t be winning First Prize Ram at the Agricultural show for the 21st year in a row……I heard he was rustled last night’
*chortling round the bar*
‘Nothing, Ginny, rumour has it, it was rustlers from Wales…..they’ll be long gone by now. It’s a shame for Old Jock, as he was looking forward to breaking the record but, hey, it’ll give someone else a chance, won’t it. That can’t be a bad thing eh?’
‘No, i suppose not. I also hear rumours our new doctor is arriving today. Anyone hear who it is?’
‘I’m sworn to secrecy, but my cousins wife’s sisters man works at the Health Board. He says it’s a young man with a fancy sports car’
Ginny’s interest perked up.
‘I believe so. He’s coming here for a bit of peace and quiet’
Ginny’s eyes lit up. Maybe things would be less boring round here after all.
Luke Gabriel M.D. stared at the cows crossing the road in front of his Morgan. What had he done? He’d made the classic ‘I must get away from it all’ leap, after his year long relationship with Laura had disintegrated. She was pretty, a graduate from Cambridge with a first and her father was a judge. What was there not to like. Everything had been fine until she moved in. On the first day she’d replaced all his cooking utensils with her own. On day 2 his sock drawer had been colour coded alphabetically. On Day 3 she’d produced a shopping list, not only in alphabetical order, but by food type, colour, shape and country of origin. It wasn’t long before he’d get home to the flat only to find lists which indicated the evenings activities. What time they would start, what time they would finish and the order in which they would be carried out.
1700hrs Luke arrives home
1705hrs Luke wash hands
1710hrs Luke peels spuds
1750hrs Lolo arrives home
1900-2000hrs Channel 4 news
2100hrs BBC4 documentary on Picasso
The last straw was finding a list. A list of his friends in red ink on an innocuous looking piece of paper, in a handbag, In alphabetical order, or it might have been the order he’d noticed his friends disappearing by the week. The names had been stroked out one by one, roughly……..no……SPECIFICALLY…….in the order his friends had stopped coming round.
So, having at least passed his medical exams, spent 24/7 working in casualty departments, he’d taken his beloved and heavily debted, Morgan sports car, his cutlery, and his list of ex friends, and applied for a job as many miles away from psycho Laura as possible, only to find himself staring at cows on a country road in the middle of nowhere. LochTae would be the perfect quiet hideaway to develop his medical career, rekindle his ties with his long lost friends by inviting them for weekends to his new country cottage, and the opportunity to stay away from women for as long as possible……….
‘Callum! what are you doing? Scratching away there like a dog wi fleas!’
‘Feeling a bit itchy that’s all’
‘You’ve not been near that Roberta Snodgrass again have you? I told you to keep away from her.
‘NO…I’ve not been near ‘that Roberta Snodgrass”
‘Good, from what I’ve heard you’ll be the only one in the village!!!…..Maybe if you’d shower once in a while you wouldn’t be itchy!………….Right, I’m off down to the practice to meet my new boss’
‘Yes… our new doctor is arriving at 2pm. The staff are going down to meet him for the first time. I’m actually quite a bit excited’
Miss Pearson of Fallows Cottage was just arriving at the Village Shop when the Reverend Van Der Gelt appeared through the shop door.
‘Morning Miss Pearson……what a beautiful day. May I say how lovely you look in that dress’
Miss Pearson knew her normally pale complexion would now be the same red colour as the shop sign above her head. Hiding her feelings for Reverend was one of life’s daily challenges and, each day she sat the exam she failed.
‘Thank you Reverend’
‘Listen, don’t keep calling me Reverend. It’s so formal. You can call me Cis.’
She stared into his Belgian brown pools of handsomeness, lost in a world where he whisked her off to a land of 12% volume beers and frites beyond imagination.
‘Are you alright Miss Pearson?
‘Oh sorry….. I was away in another world there’
‘I’m taking a walk down to the practice to meet our new doctor. Would you like to walk with me?’
‘Why not……Cis….that would be nice’
The Reverend, like a man from a chivalrous age long gone took Miss Pearsons arm and they strolled off together enveloped in the warmth of a glorious Sunday afternoon.
‘Here he comes! Here he comes!’
After finally escaping from the cow traffic jam, Luke turned into his new place of work, where a small crowd of people had gathered. Given there was only a Practice nurse, a cleaner and two receptionists, he’d worked out it might not only be staff who’d come along to meet him.
‘Hello, Dr Gabriel. Welcome to LochTae’
The Reverend Van Der Gelt strode forward and offered a strong handshake.
‘Thank You. I’m Luke. Lovely day isn’t it’
The Reverend turned round to find all five women behind him, staring. If there was one thing Luke underplayed or perhaps didn’t even realise, was how good looking he was. A chiselled jawline film stars would die for, bronze skin an Australian surfer would have been proud of, and a sweeping waft of dark silken hair. Add his 6ft 2 inches, his sparkling blue eyes, smart suit and the sports car, he had basically already managed to do what most men fail to do in a lifetime, and leave five women speechless.
‘Oh my…….Oh my oh my oh my…… jackpot!! ‘ whispered Camilla Tarquin-Knowles.
Despite the Reverends presence even Miss Pearson had become light headed at the sight which met her. He was Darcy, Hugh Grant, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and George Clooney all wrapped up in one medical phenomenon.
‘Hi, I’m Luke…pleased to meet you’
‘This is Anne’ interjected the Reverend. ‘She’s not good with names, even her own sometimes……she’s your cleaning staff…..this is Miss Pearson from Fallow Cottage….. Lucy and Marjorie from reception and last…but not least…. Camilla Tarquin-Knowles, head of the Village Council……… I’m sure they will all regain their voices at some point in the near future’
Just then, Callum, Anne’s son came screaming round the corner.
‘What’s wrong Callum……….you’re bright pink!!!!…….what on earth?’ shouted his Mum.
‘My arms, my hands….. they’re itching, itching…..can’t stop……CAN’T STOP!!!!’
Reverend Van der Gelt turned to Luke……..
‘I think you have your first patient Doctor Gabriel…..’
Episode One of ‘The Village Gossip’ was written by David Linden. You can find me on Twitter @qosfc1919 © Dodo Productions 2015