Wednesday 21st June 1978
Linda had just reached the top of her ladder when she heard her name being called. Whoever it was could wait, at least until she'd secured the bucket.
"Ho, Jenkins! We need to talk." Edward, while more down-to-earth than other peers Linda had met in her two years on the estate, still expected people to make time for him whether it suited them or not.
Leaving her bucket and cloth secure on their hook at the top, Linda climbed back down the ladder. She stopped on the bottom rung and turned around, putting her eyelevel more or less on a par with his. He hadn't coloured his hair for a while, she noticed; on balance, the sprinkling of grey made him look more, rather than less, roguish.
"Turned out dry again." She hoped he would take the hint, and not keep her from the window-cleaning for too long.
"Yes, the tourists will be out in force today. No rain to keep them at home, but not enough sun to entice them to the coast." In spite of the overcast skies, the sleeves of Edward's shirt were rolled up, showing off some of his extensive collection of tattoos, and three buttons were unfastened at his throat to reveal the St Christopher medallion around his neck and the edge of the black fox tattooed over his heart. He glanced back towards the hillside, beyond which Carsingthorpe Lodge would be awaiting the day's visitors. "Mother reports record coach-party bookings for the year so far. How's business here?"
"Steady." She wondered if there was any work for her up at the Lodge, or whether she'd be better off simply reminding Kate to send the wealthier and more art-inclined tourists her way, after they'd finished their explorations over there.
"Not too busy? Able to spare some time for me tomorrow? I'm sure Brigit could mind the fort here."
"What's tomorrow?" Linda was always suspicious of Edward's plans, put to her as a suggestion but already set in motion prior to the roping in of anyone else he expected to help.
"A rather interesting farm sale, with a few pieces you or I might want to pick up – at the right price." He took a cigar from his breast pocket and fiddled with it. "It's an early start, but I'll stand you breakfast before, and lunch afterwards."
"So, we're after art and antiques rather than machinery?" The last sale they'd visited, Edward had coerced her into bidding on a tractor, a baler, and a Hillman Super Imp, on the grounds that his showing interest would push the bidding up higher.
So what's Edward up to this time? Linda may have to wait through a few alternative explanations before he reveals his overall plan.
Full list of participants here. Go give them some comment-love.