Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Visit To My Uncle

On my way home from school I used to drop in for a visit to my aunt and uncle. I used to bike to and from school, and when I arrived at their house I would lean my bike up against the wall near the back door. They weren’t actually related, but they were always aunt and uncle to us children. Out of respect, I suppose. My aunt was a fussy woman, perpetually cleaning the house, constantly fussing about with a duster and polish, always lugging the ancient Hoover around, making you lift your feet up to vacuum and plumping up the cushions in the sofa and armchairs. She made the most delicious cakes and I could never resist when she offered me a slice of whatever she had been baking, particularly the Victoria sponges which were a favourite, full of strawberry jam and oozing cream which you had to wipe off your chin when you bit in to it. She aways wore an apron with a flowery design on it. I can never remember ever seeing her without it.

My aunt put the two old chipped mugs of tea on the tin tray and sent me outside and through the snow and ice to my uncle’s workshop at the bottom of the garden. It was a freezing cold  February afternoon and it took me all my effort to stay upright instead of slipping and sliding as I walked along the concrete path. It was snug and warm inside his little empire.  He sat by a small paraffin stove, huddled close to keep himself warm. The broken remains of a garden fork clamped into the vice as he was attempting to repair it. His calloused hands gripped the newly-fashioned handle and placed it in the groove of the fork. 

“Good to see you!” he said, patting me on the back. The pipe he smoked was clamped firmly in his mouth, the sweet rich aroma of the tobacco filling the air, the pale smoke curling up and drifted throughout the workshop. That smell brings back so many memories of happy times together. My aunt wouldn’t allow him to smoke the pipe in the house, but in his domain he could do as he pleased, without her interference.

“You’ve timed it well, young man. I needed a break.” I put the tray on the bench, having cleared a space amongst the litter of tools, broken implements, oddments of repaired clocks, chair-backs and other strange and wonderful things.

“You’ve bought the Rich Tea biscuits, I see!” he said, “my favourite!” He took a packet of sugar and shovelled umpteen scoops out into his mug. Too many, I’m sure, but that’s how he liked his tea, strong, sweet and hot.   He stirred it vigorously with the spoon and handed me my mug and we sat while we drank the hot brown liquid. The corners of his mouth creased up more than ever when he smiled.

The above is an assignment done as part of a Futurelearn free creative writing course.




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