When Alice Met Danny

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Authors: T A Williams
like. He would be pleased to know that you young ones are still interested after all these years.’
    They returned to the warmth of the kitchen. It had been chilly in the other room. With clear skies, the nights were still cold, although spring was bursting out all over.
    Alice went down to the King’s Arms for dinner. She told herself sternly that once she had got her own house, she would have to stop eating out. What was it she had said to Danny about slobbing out?
    She brought her iPad with her to the pub, anxious to carry on with her research. She ordered a mineral water and a salad.
Just because I’m in a pub, it doesn’t mean I can’t still have good, healthy food
, she told herself. She checked her e-mails, but there was just the invoice for the clean-up at number 23 Lyndhurst Avenue. As the surveyor had said, it was more than expected, but she had no regrets.
    The pub was crowded and she recognised a few of the faces around her from the previous times she had been there. There was no sign of the vicar or Daniel Tremayne, but a couple of young men gave her welcoming smiles. She began to feel a bit more cheerful. The fact that they were all ten or fifteen years younger than her gave her a lift. Maybe there was life in the old dog yet. Thought of the old dog made her think of Danny the Labrador. He really was a good dog. She was smiling at his memory when her iPad bleeped. It was an e-mail from Sally.
    Hi Alice
    I hope you don’t get this email until tomorrow because you are out with your handsome vicar tonight. Make sure you don’t tire him out too much. Tomorrow is his busiest day of the week, after all.
    If you do get this tonight, you have my sympathy. The man must be gay or an idiot to ignore you. Mind you, life on a vicar’s stipend isn’t going to be easy, so cast your net wider. Remember what they say about fish in the sea.
    XXX
    Sal
    Alice smiled as she read the message. She ordered a herbal tea and decided she had better set the record straight.
    Thanks for thinking of me, Sal, and, no, I’m not out with the vicar. Which is probably just as well as she is a very nice lady called Megan. My mystery man isn’t the vicar after all. He’s the local landowner and he’s very handsome. You never know, I might get a ride on his tractor yet.
    XXX
    Alice
    She debated for a minute whether to remove the tractor remark but, in the end, left it. Sally would only come out with it or something similar or smuttier otherwise. She pressed
Send
and found herself wondering how Daisy the cow was getting on.

Chapter 14
    Alice met the surveyor on Monday afternoon. She was greatly relieved upon entering the house to find the chemical smell almost gone. More importantly, the smell upstairs was far less noticeable than before. Nevertheless, Peter picked it up immediately.
    ‘I’m going to draw up a list of action I feel needs to be taken to render this place habitable. I think it would be wise to rip up the floorboards in both bedrooms and the bathroom and replace them. It won’t be a major expense and it will get rid of any lingering memories of the former owner.’ He caught her eye and they both grimaced.
    ‘And the ceilings down below?’ Alice knew the answer before he said it.
    ‘They’ll have to come down. The plaster in the dining room looks as if it’s only being held in place by the donkey’s breakfast.’
    ‘Donkey’s breakfast?’ This was a new one to Alice. He gave her a smile.
    ‘Sorry, the proper name is woodchip wallpaper. Builders always refer to it as donkey’s breakfast because it’s made up of wheat and chaff between two layers of paper. It’s gone out of fashion these days so if you replace the ceilings you won’t have to worry about stripping it off.’
    They walked around the house and decided to remove the back wall of the dining room and open it into the kitchen, making a good-sized kitchen diner. Upstairs Peter came up with the idea of splitting the big bedroom and creating a new,

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