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Have a Cuppa with Shirley (or Martin)

Hurry up and come inside. You’re letting the cold wind in. Brrr. Easter Week and the cold's playing merry hell with my arthritis. Well, go on then, sit down. No use waiting on ceremony with me. You’re not the blessed Queen, are you? Not that she’d get much of a welcome out of me today either.

If that no good grandson of mine was close enough I’d kick him all the way back to his auntie’s in Cornwall, I would. You know he’s been hanging around here lately. Isn’t it nice, I thought. Such a considerate lad, coming to see his Gran and Granddad so often. A bit too often, really, for a young man. It isn’t good for him to be spending so much time around the old folks, I says to myself. But still, it warmed my heart, it did.

But though I’m an old fool, I’m not blind. I got to thinking that he wasn’t actually visiting us much. Oh, sure enough, he was here, is here, as a matter of fact, but not in the kitchen, not in the garden, if you take my meaning. He’s been staying overnight in the big house. Didn’t want to put me to extra work, he says, though he knows as well as anybody that no matter where he stays I have to make up the bed and tidy the room. Well, yesterday he came clean, he did. Confessed that he’s taken a fancy to Emma, has been coming ‘round to see her, and plans to come up most weekends to be with her. Nearly broke Martin’s heart.

Now I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a nice girl, but Emma? She’s been nothing but trouble since the day she set foot in this house, and now she’s gone and stolen my own family right out from under my nose. Next thing you know he’ll be helping her with this family history business, doing some snooping of his own. And poor Frank!  The man is wasting away, lovesick before her very eyes, and she doesn't give a damn! Well it’s not right, I tell you. Not right at all. And I don’t intend to stand quietly by and let her ruin all our lives and who knows what else. I’m going to put a stop to things. I’ve decided, haven't I? One of these days you’re going to hear…Oh, there’s the blessed kettle.

Well, since you’re here, you might as well have a cuppa. Lord knows I need one, but I've got to go to another one of his Lordships bloody meetings. Worse than that lot in the village with their Village Elder nonsense. Anyway, be a love and put the tea cosy over the pot and I'll have a cup when I get back. It's not a good cup of tea unless you can stand a spoon in it I  always say. And shut the door behind you as you go…

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