The Parting Of The Ways

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The Farmhand

Julie's alarm clock went off at six o'clock the next morning, and Julie didn't sleep in.

She brushed her hair into two neat plaits and tied them off with some ribbons that Athene had made out of scrap material. Athene truly didn't let anything go to waste.

She then pulled on a green and blue striped rugby jersey, and a new pair of denim dungarees.

She came down to breakfast, where her parents were already eating.

'Dear Lord Julie!' exclaimed Mrs Fforbes Hamilton, 'you look like a farmhand!'

'She looks perfect Priss,' said Mr Fforbes Hamilton.

'You'll always be my little Jewel, whether you're in lace and petticoats, or denim flannels.'

'Thanks Daddy,' blushed Julie.

Mr Fforbes Hamilton had always called Julie his Jewel ever since she was a little girl.

'Well eat up darling, we've got a long day. We need to drive around all the farms today so you can see just how much land we've got to deal with.'

'Can't wait!' beamed Julie.

'Roger's getting here at seven.'

'Who's Roger?' asked Julie.

'The new farmhand, he's eighteen and he's just finished two years at agriculture college. I think he's from Newcastle or something.'

'What's he doing all the way down here then?' asked Mrs Fforbes Hamilton.

'Don't they have farms up North? What about his family?'

'From his interview last week, I don't think he's got any family. He's boarding with an old lady in the village.'

'We ready to go then Daddy?'

'Oh I forgot something, just a tick.'

Mr Fforbes Hamilton went through to his office and came back with a shoebox.

'You have no idea how hard those were to find, I've had them for years just in case you decided you wanted to go into farming. I always hoped you might.'

Julie opened the box, and found a pair of dark purple wellies.

'I would have got pink, but I couldn't find any.'

'Oh Daddy they're perfect!'

'Best get a move on then, got a long day.'

Julie pulled on her wellies, and went out of the house to wait for her Dad.

There was a young man who didn't look more than eighteen, and he was leaning against the garden wall. He had a thick head of jet black curly hair, and beetle black eyes.

He was dressed like any other farmhand, jeans and a t-shirt. But there was something about this dark mysterious young man that intrigued Julie.

'Good morning,' said Julie.

'Morning,' he said in a slightly bored tone, kicking the gravel with his wellie boot.

'You get any idea when the governors gonna pole up?'

'I'm sorry what?' asked Julie.

'The governor, the boss.'

'Oh Mr Fforbes Hamilton, well it's not seven o'clock yet, there's still a few minutes.'

'Oh right,' nodded the man, 'i don't have a watch on me.'

'I'm Roger by the way,' he said offering a strong hand.

'Julie,' she said shaking his hand.

'You new too?'

'In a manner of speaking?'

'What the Hell does that mean?' he laughed.

'It is my first day on the job, but I'm hardly new round here. Mr Fforbes Hamilton, or Mr FB as most people call him, is my Dad.'

'Bloody Hell,' he muttered, 'Bloody Hell.'

'I'm sorry,' he chuckled, 'I didn't know you were the Governors daughter. What are you doing getting your hands dirty farming?'

'I don't have a brother, and someone has to take over when Daddy retires. If not me then who else?'

'You know, you've got a point you know,' he smirked.

'You two kids ready?' asked Mr Fforbes Hamilton.

'Reporting for duty sir!' said Roger giving him a brief salute.

'I like that,' he chuckled, 'come on you two, let's get the old girl loaded.'

Julie and Roger helped him load all the kit in the truck. They were visiting all the farms today, there was about twenty in total, and quite a few of them had equipment or things that needed dropping off.

'There's only one passenger seat, so at least one of you's going to have to go in the back.'

'I would suggest Rock Paper Scissors,' said Roger, 'but you're a lady, and should ride in the truck.'

'No,' laughed Julie, 'I want to go in the back with you.'

'You two hold on tight then,' said Mr Fforbes Hamilton as he started up the truck.

Julie and Roger got comfortable in the back of the truck and Mr Fforbes Hamilton drove them around the farms.

Mr Fforbes Hamilton explained how everything worked as they drove around, and Roger was impressed at all the new technology the farm had.

He even came up with ideas for how to improve the farms as they walked around, and Mr Fforbes Hamilton listened with interest.

At the end of a very long day, they were all very muddy as they drove home. Julie and Roger were chatting in the back of the truck as they drove home.

'Why are you settling in Sussex then? I thought there was a lot of farms in Durham or somewhere?'

'Oh there are,' nodded Roger, 'but I don't got no family see. I was brought up by my uncle, he died about a year back.'

'We lived in Sunderland, and it was alright, but I always loved it when we went to the countryside on a day out.'

'The main reason why i'm settling down here though?'

'Hmm?'

'It's warmer,' laughed Roger.

'Sunderland's fucking freezing!'

'I like you,' laughed Julie, 'you're different from all the other boys I've ever met.'

'Why,' asked Roger, 'what are the others like?'

'Well Mark's my best friend and is moving to Hollywood in a year, he's got a film contract.'

Roger whistled appreciatively.

'And then Anthony, his twin brother is the brains in the outfit, he wants to go to Oxford in a year.'

'And then there's Harry, he wants to go into the army.'

'Well that's a mixed bunch alright,' said Roger.

'And your nothing like any of them,' said Julie.


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