Sydney the wood pigeon.

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Chapter 3

She decided to get started with the cleaning, as there was plenty to be done.

At about one o’ clock there was a knock at the door,she opened it, it was Jonathan with Lunch.She welcomed him in , feeling glad she had cleaned the kitchen as the first job. There was a solid wood table with a tiled top in the Kitchen, Jonathan set out their lunch on that. He had thought of everything, even a flask of coffee and serviettes, not to mention the bottle of wine.

“Thank you so much for all this, it has saved me such a lot of time.” said Mary when they had finished. “You are more than welcome, Mary, I have enjoyed the company, I don’t like eating alone.Now I must get back to work, will I see you this evening for dinner.?” “ Oh, yes , I will come back in a few hours and get showered , I don’t want to overdo it on the first day. By the way, I saw you occupied with a couple of policemen this morning, nothing bad , I hope?” “No not too bad, there have been a few burglaries lately in the village, they were investigating.”

Johnathan gathered the remains of their lunch and went back to the B&B.

Mary was soon on the phone to the D.I.Y. people, getting an appointment with the architect and the landscape gardener. She had quite a big sum of money left over from the sale of her London flat, the cottage had cost less than half of the price of the flat, so she decided to do things properly and get expert advice.She managed to get appointments with both the gardener and the architect for the next day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

She finished unloading her belongings from the car and stacked them all in the garage.She would tackle them after she had bought some furniture.She inspected the whole cottage, checking the furniture that had been left , jotting down in her notebook what could be kept and what should go .On top of a chest of drawers she found a few pieces of jewellery that must have been forgotten by mistake, she didn’t think they were valuable but just the same she jotted down a memo to call the ex proprietor and ask him.

It was late afternoon by the time she decided to down tools and stop working. She was exhausted and decided it was better not to overdo it.

She stopped at the D.I.Y. center and went straight to reception.She added a few more articles to her order and asked them to deliver the next day, on her way out she picked up one of the stores directory books where they advertised every article they sold, from the smallest nail to a fully fitted kitchen.

When she arrived at the B&B she noticed that the two policemen were standing in reception.

She went up to her room, it had been fully serviced and the tea and coffee baskets had been replenished.She noticed that the door to the balcony was slightly open, she went over and closed it as the chill of the evening was beginning to creep in.

First of all she put the kettle on and relaxed with a nice cup of tea, she needed that. After having a nice long shower she slumped into the big comfy armchair wrapped up in a big soft bath sheet . Her muscles and bones ached from the fatigue of the day . “come on Mary, snap out of it.” she said aloud to herself. She stood up and stretched her arms up high as far as she could, inhaling as she did so, then lowered her arms slowly, exhaling, she repeated the exercise three more times. “Good, that’s better.” She did a few more of her PhysioTherapy exercises and then got dressed for dinner.

She wore a pretty pink chiffon top and a grey silk flowing skirt that she had made herself, following a tutorial on youtube . Satisfied with the result she went to pick up the earrings she had left on the dresser but she only found one. Certain of where she had put them, she looked to see if the earring had fallen on the floor. She wondered if it might have been stolen by whoever it was stealing in the village.She decided to have a word with Jonathan.

She looked at the clock, 19.30 , dinner time! She was very hungry and was looking forward to dinner.

The restaurant was buzzing with people, most of them were sales agents, she looked around to find an empty table, Jonathan came to her rescue, “Mary,” he called “ over here by the window, I reserved the table for you.” “How kind of you to do that, Jonathan, you are spoiling me.” She smiled , he grinned back “ Got to be nice to my new neighbour.” They both laughed.

She sat down and looked at the menu, Pasta with pesto, her favourite, she could make a fantastic pesto sauce, she told Johnathan this as she ordered her dinner and promised him a jar once she was settled into the cottage. She told him about the missing earring and he said he would report it, she thought it was strange that the thief had only taken one earring.

After dinner she stayed talking to Johnathan in the little restaurant. Jonathan opened another bottle of white wine. Jonathan told her his wife had died five years ago and he had carried on running the B&B alone but found it was beginning to get hard by himself and was thinking of selling up and retiring. Mary told him she was also a widow. Her husband had died four years ago. Shortly after, she had been diagnosed with Parkinsons’ Disease, she told him how at first she had been devastated, worried she would become a burden to her son and his wife, they had enough to do with the new baby, without having to look after her.

She had made a decision , she would sell the town flat and move to the country, she knew there were lots of programmes for research into the illness in that part of the country and she wanted to be a part of that.She told him how she had made her son agree to send her to a care home if she became too ill to cope by herself. She had put the cottage in the name of her son so there would be no problems when the time came for her to move out.

This was a new chapter of her life, the Autumn, and she was going to fend off the winter for as long as possible. Her consultant had told her to keep busy and to get a social life, learn new hobbies, and that is just what she intended to do.

Jonathan took her hand in his, “ I would love to help you with the social part of your journey if you will let me. I know we have only just met but I feel as though I have known you all my life , I am very lonely and I could do with a friend and some social life.” “Yes,” she replied looking straight into his eyes, “I would like that very much.”

They sat chatting for a little while longer then decided to say goodnight.

Tick tick, tick tick, Mary woke up with a start. “It must be Sydney again.” She got out of bed and looked at the clock , six a.m. “ That bird is going to have to change his breakfast habits if we are to get along.” she said. She got the bag of bird food and went to the balcony. Sure enough, there he was , chucking the stones against the window. “ ok, ok,” said Mary “ I guess you are hungry. There you are.” she said, throwing a handful of nuts and seeds on the floor. “Buon appetito.” He waddled over and started gobbling up the bird food. Mary noticed he wasn’t actually eating the food, but he was filling his pouch with it. As soon as the pouch was full he flew away. “Maybe he has little ones to feed , hmmm maybe He is a She.” She smiled as she saw Sydney returning, this time with company. Two magnificent Magpies landed on the balcony railings, then jumped down to the balcony, gobbled up the food and filled their pouches then flew away. “ Well , I wonder if the magpies have anything to do with the missing jewellery.” She decided to check it out on the computer. Ten minutes later , now fully informed on the life of magpies, she decided it couldn’t be them stealing the jewellery. She laughed at having thought this possible, “old wives tales.” she said to herself.It clearly said they were not interested in shiny objects, as was commonly believed.Thinking about the magpies reminded her to call the ex proprietor of the cottage. He answered straight away, but said the pieces of jewellery didn’t belong to his mother and was unable to help her on the matter.Mary decided to show the pieces of jewellery to Jonathan. She found a small plastic bag to wrap them in and put them in her pocket. She glanced at the clock , eight thirty , “ time for breakfast at last , I am really hungry now. ”

There were only a few people in the restaurant , Johnathan waved to her from across the room, he signaled that he had reserved the seat by the window for her, she was grateful for that , she could soak up the morning sun streaming through . It was a glorious sunny day. Jonathan walked over to the table, “good morning, Mary,” he said, “I hope you slept well.” “Yes, thank you Jonathan, I went out like light.” she smiled.He took her order for breakfast and went to the kitchen. Mary wondered how he was managing, it couldn’t be easy to keep up the high standard she had encountered in the B&B so far. Everything was perfect, spotlessly clean , and the food was delicious, it would be a shame if he had to sell, he obviously ran the B&B with much pride and love.

When he came back with the food she showed him the pieces of jewellery. She laughed and told him about the magpies, he thought that was really funny, he had also believed in the myth that magpies were thieves.He took the jewellery and said he would give it to the policemen , they were coming over later for free coffee.

Mary wished Jonathan a good day and went to her car.

She drove the short distance to the cottage and parked outside the gate.As she got out of the car she saw a wood pigeon fly into the garden, surely Sydney hadn’t followed her? “Don’t be silly, they all look alike.” She laughed. “They will be coming to take me into confinement if I carry on like this !” she said to herself. “First you talk to it and feed it and give it a name, now you think it’s following you!” Laughing to herself she walked down the path to the cottage door. The door was unlocked! Mary was sure she had locked the door, however, she had been very tired the evening before, she might have forgotten to lock it. She hoped this wasn’t a sign of beginning to lose her memory. She pushed the door open and went cautiously inside. There was the same flurry of wings as a bird flew out of the window. It startled her. She sat down to get her breath back, “don’t start getting hallucinations,” she told herself, “it’s too early, too much to do.” She knew that at some point of the illness she could get hallucinations, even see imaginary people and animals.By taking part in all the research programs she was learning a lot about the Parkinsons’ Disease.She knew it was progressive and could only get worse unless they found a cure. She thought about all the young doctors that dedicated their lives to looking for a cure and was so grateful to them. “ I have faith in them, maybe they won’t find a cure in my lifetime but I am sure they will eventually.” She sat at the table thinking of this when there was a knock at the door.

It was the architect, a very pretty young lady in her thirties. She had stunning black hair and startling blue eyes and a very trim figure.Mary guessed she probably went jogging every day.

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