Before I start I should really tell you a bit about our village. If you are used to planned gridiron building then our village will be a shock to you. People have lived here and hereabouts for at least a couple of thousand years. There was a Roman camp nearby, and there are carvings in rocks that are much older than that.
What I am saying is that the village was not organised, it had just happened. Most people only see it from the main road, lined as it is with shops, houses and a couple of pubs.
However behind those buildings is a hotch potch of buildings of all shapes sizes orientations and states of repair. What were houses have become sheds or ruins or businesses. Barns have become houses. Gardens have been built on. Old buildings have been robbed of their stone and their footprints have become gardens. There’s a network of lanes, paths, alleys, ginnels, and short cuts that most people only partially know.
For instance, just behind the Running Fox, my usual pub, there’s the old stables from when the Fox had been a coaching inn, now converted into stores and toilets. Most people, and that used to include me, don’t know that there is a snicket behind the stables that leads to …
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Life was not great. I had only a couple of months to go before I retired, and my job was grim. The youngsters in the office got all the training and new equipment. I was left to do the dull old boring essential stuff – of which there was a lot. My boss specialised in finding fault with what I did. I knew how things were done, and how they had been done for years. He thought he knew and spent his time writing manuals and checklists which were just wrong and a total waste of time. But he kept ranting that I was supposed to work “By the Book”. Roll on those eight weeks.
My wife had her job. She was a care worker, and somehow, while our kids were at home she found it best to work permanent nights, and this had continued. We hardly saw each other, and did not have much to say to each other when we did. How would things be when we were spending more time together again?
My Boss had been worse than usual. I got home to see my wife leaving for her work. There was nothing interesting on the television. I felt miserable. I decided I wanted a drink. I put on a light overcoat, locked the house and slouched my way down the hill to the main road. At least the weather was good. In the village shop I bought a half bottle of whisky and a newspaper. It was quite warm out, and I decided to go to go to the pub for a beer. I thought of having a meal there, but I realised I wasn’t really that hungry.
I bought a pint. Saw a table in the corner, slid onto the end of the bench against the wall and opened my paper. The evening, and my beer slipped and sipped away.
“Excuse me lovey, are you getting another beer?”
I don’t think I had been asleep, but I had not been aware of the lady coming to sit beside me.
I looked at my beer glass, and it was empty.
“Yes, I think I will.”
“Well could you just stick another gin into there for me?”
“Yes, of course. Large or small?”
“Oooh, a large one if you would.”
I took her glass and mine up to the bar. The barman looked puzzled when he saw the gin glass, but said nothing. I paid for the drinks and turned to see that someone else has seated themselves at my table.
“Over here lovey.”
The lady was standing by the back door waving my newspaper.
“Lets go and sit outside,” she suggested.
I followed her out into what had been the stable yard. A couple of old tables and a few chairs were scattered about.
I gave her her drink. I thought that she might offer to pay for it, but she said nothing but “Ta.”.
Swallows where wheeling and screeching above our heads. Pigeons were cooing. A cat stalked out of a store room and hunted its way towards the kitchen door.
We sipped. My newspaper lay between us on the table.
“Look at me lovey,” she said, “Do you know who I am?”
We had both placed our chairs with their backs to the wall, so I had to twist to have a good look.
Her face was familiar, but only that. I was sure that I had never met her before.
“How’s your Beryl?”
Beryl is my wife.
“I don’t really know. I think she’s all right. She’s at work. Do you know her?”
She made a noise that wasn’t a word, but that was probably saying she knew Beryl, but I could not be sure.
We lapsed into silence again.
She drained her glass as I swallowed my last mouthful.
“I want to pay you for my drink.”
She stood up. I saw that she had a large handbag, and she slipped her empty glass into it. I stood. She walked across the yard and down a gap between two of the old stables, then turned right and took the path that continued behind the building before opening out onto an old overgrown walled orchard. I followed.
I noticed what she was wearing for the first time. She had long skirts, that she lifted above the grass, revealing high buttoned shoes. Her waist seemed very trim for her age. What was her age? I was never good at judging them, but I suppose she could have been anywhere between forty and sixty, or perhaps more. She had a short jacket, it was well worn, but it looked expensive originally. Whatever age she was, she seemed sprightly enough.
She led me diagonally across the orchard, on what seemed a well used track, to a doorway near the opposite corner. It was a cottage forming part of the orchard wall. She took a key from a hook hidden behind some ivy, and opened it. She gestured that I should enter, and then closed the door behind herself.
A low fire burned in an black iron kitchen range. She slid a kettle across to the heat and it started to sing.
She put the glass from her handbag onto the table, and fetched another similar one from a cupboard.
“You can have your whisky, or you can taste this.”
She held an unlabelled green bottle with a cork stuffed into its neck.
“I make it myself. It’s apples.”
“I’ll try that if I may.”
She smiled. I was wondering about how she knew about the bottle hidden in my pocket.
Her bottle contained a brown liquid, like a dark rum perhaps. She poured half an inch into the glass.
“Taste this. Have some more if you like it.”
Yes, it was apples. It was the scent of apple blossom, the sharpness of apple sauce. The sweetness of a sweet cider, with the acid of a scrumpy. It was an apple brandy.
“Good?” she asked.
She half filled my glass to match her own.
“I think that I am the last one to make it now.”
She smiled, but there were sad memories behind the smile. Now when the kettle boils put a little hot water into it – I think you’ll like it. Careful you don’t let the hot water touch the glass.”
She slipped through a door behind me, leaving me to sip and to listen to the kettle.
When she returned the kettle was still singing, just short of the boil, but she took a spoon and a cloth, and lifted the kettle to pour hot water over the back of the spoon into the glasses.
She had changed out of her skirt and jacket, and was wearing a long loose wrap-around gown – it was embroidered with birds and flowers. She seemed to have changed shape somewhat. Apparently her trim waist had been assisted by underwear.
“You don’t mind this do you lovey?” She obviously meant her change of wear. “Posh clothes can be so uncomfortable and restricting.
“Do take your coat off.”
She moved to stand behind me, I stood and she helped me off with my coat. Before she hung it up she removed the bottle from its pocket and put it beside the green one on the table.
I sat again, and lifted the warm glass. Before it had reached my lips the scent of it made me stop and study it. It was all the seasons in one. The hot water had brought out the spice of Christmas and the bee buzz of summer-honey, spring flowers and the rustle of fallen leaves. I was afraid that the taste would be an anticlimax, but…
She had her hands on my shoulders. She stroked the muscles in my neck.
“Relax lovey. You’re like a bowstring.”
She was right. My anger and frustrations at work were there for her fingers to sense.
My glass was nearly empty. Her hands had stroked and kneaded, and my neck and shoulders were relaxed to the point of floppyness. She stood close behind me and I was aware of her warmth and body pressing against me. She lifted my head, and pressed it back against herself, against her lovely warm soft rounded self. Her hands moved down and started unbuttoning my shirt. It was soon over the same hook as my coat. She gave me a simple cotton dressing gown to wear, and told me to come through when I was ready.
Was I going to strip off and go with a woman whose name I didn’t know? A woman who had conned me into buying her a large gin? A woman who lived in a cottage that had seen no improvements in years? A woman who could make that wonderful drink? A woman who could make me feel as happy and relaxed as I could never remember?
I folded my trousers onto the chair, left shoes and socks underneath it, and still with my underpants in place, wrapped the gown around myself and went through the door.
There was another fire glowing in a small grate, and a nightlight candle was burning in a saucer on a dressing table. She had removed her gown, it was hanging on the door, and she had slipped beneath the sheets, blankets and eiderdown.
“Come on lovey, take them off and get in here.”
The bed was quite narrow, and rather lumpy, but soft and comfortable. She put her arms around me and pulled us together. Her hand sought out mine, and placed it upon her breast.
“That’s nice, lovey.”
I stroked the soft flesh, and encountered the hardened nipple.
“That’s good.” she gasped.
My finger circled her nipple, and she reacted. She pulled my head down to it and told me to kiss it.
Once again, I obeyed. I remembered my youth. I remembered my urgent desire to discover what a real live female human breast felt like. I remembered my fumbling on park benches and in cinemas with my wife-to-be. I remembered how she would now and then allow me a quick fondle.
My wife had never reacted this way. For her, being together in bed was either for sleep or for making babies – fun it was not. Here was I making this stranger melt and moan just by exciting one of her nipples.
She moved me to her other breast. She encouraged me to kiss one while I tweaked the other between my fingers.
“That’s good, lovey.”
She shuffled round in the bed so as to lie on her back. She grasped my wrist and transferred my hand from her breast to lower down. She guided my fingers to the mound between her legs.
For my wife, ‘down there’ was not for fun. It was definitely for making babies and for things lavatorial.
Now I was being invited to play and explore – no, it was more than an invitation, it was a demand.
She scuffled around in the bed, she was reaching out of the bed for something. After a few moments her hand rejoined mine, and she put a glob of something onto her mound.
“That’ll make it more slippery.”
She guided my finger into her privacy. I started to explore.
“Careful lovey, be gentle.”
I was afraid that I had hurt her, and did not know what was expected of me.
“Let me guide your finger.”
My middle finger was gently held, and its tip was introduced to the warmth between her labia. It was guided deeper and lower until I could feel the entrance to her… her… what was I to call it?
“Push your finger into my cunny dear.”
“Yes, that’s nice. Feel inside me. – Go on. – It’s good.”
I could feel her muscles contracting around my finger.
“Put another finger in lovey.”
“Oh yes. Feel me. Curl your fingers a bit. Yes, yes, press there.”
I felt a spongey pad, and gasps erupted when I touched or pressed it.
“Now go to my clitty.”
I was not sure what she wanted.
“Oh you poor man. Here lovey!”
My finger was once more guided to her intended spot. I could feel her little nubbin of flesh.
“Gently. Gently. Don’t forget my breast lovey. Oh, that’s good.”
Slowly she let me know what she wanted – a steady rhythm, as gently as possible, but gradually getting firmer and quicker and harder and harder and harder.
Her hand grasped my head and pressed it to her breast.
“Harder. Harder. Bite me. Bite me”
I nervously nibbled her nipple and the result was dramatic. She squealed and bucked. She gasped and rocked. Then she dragged my hand from between her legs.
“Not too much lovey. Thank you. Thank you.” she panted.
What had I done. Of course I knew the theory, but the actual practice. To have that sort of effect upon another person. Marvellous. How marvellous.
I gently kissed her breast again, and her whole body spasmed.
“Sorry. I said.
“Oh, don’t be, lovey. That was so nice.”
She slowly got her breath back.
“I’m sorry lovey, I need to go.”
She slid out of the bed, put on her gown and a pair of slippers, opened the door and slipped out.
After a few minutes I heard the clank and rush of an old fashioned toilet flush. I realised that I needed to go as well. I put on my gown and walked into the other room. When she emerged from the loo I made clear that I needed it as well.
When finished, I came out again to find that she had put a bowl onto the table, and was pouring some warm water from the kettle.
“For your hands and things.”
She took a couple of wash cloths and towels from a drawer, and put a piece of soap on a saucer beside the bowl. She washed her hands vigorously, and I followed suit. Then she picked up a cloth, soaped it, and applied it to her nether regions.
“Come on, lovey, I want you to be nice and clean for me.”
I was hesitant. She wasn’t.
Before I knew what was happening she had a sopping soapy wash cloth caressing and rubbing my cock and balls. I realised that what she was doing was more than just washing me, she was caressing me. I had dried my hands, and she took my towel, and dabbed and stroked me with it until I was dried to her satisfaction.
“Come back to bed. lovey.”
She made me lie in the middle of the bed. She put some more fuel onto the grate and poked it into activity. Then she came and sat on the bed beside me. Her hand caressed me. My body made it clear that I was enjoying her attentions. She stroked gently up and down my shaft. She cupped and caressed and tickled my balls. It felt marvellous. I am sure that I need not reveal that I had never been on the receiving end of such caresses from my wife. I closed my eyes and luxuriated in the feelings.
Then it happened. I felt her warm breath, a kiss, a gentle lick. Her lips engulfed the end of my shaft. Lips and tongue were working. She lifted off.
“You like that, don’t you lovey?”
She returned to her ministrations for a minute or so.
After a time she pulled the bedding over me, lay down beside me, and whispered.
“This is for you now, lovey. What would you like?”
I was at a loss. I thought that the mouth was good, but I didn’t know what else was on offer..
“Its for you, lovey, but I know what I would like.”
Somehow I agreed without knowing what it was.
“I do love it when I am loved in my other place.”
What did she mean?
“You know, lovey, in my bum.”
Again, I knew that it happened, but I never thought that it would involve me.
“It was good when I was younger. The boys liked it, and there was no risk of expecting.”
Again, I was lost for words.
Her hand found my manhood and stroked it.
“You seem quite excited by the idea.”
“You’ll have to get me ready for it though.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll show you. Pass that jar.”
The jar was beside the bed.
She felt my hand. She ran her fingers along my finger nails.
“Nice and short and smooth.”
She laid herself sideways across the bed, so that her bum was right on the edge. She spread her legs apart. I tried to have a good look at her parts.
“Oh. lovey, do you want some more light?
She swung herself from the bed and picked up a paraffin lamp from the shelf and a splinter of wood was lit from the fire. The flame was transferred to the lamp. Another lamp was lit, and the room was filled with a warm yellow flickering light.
She posed on the side of the bed for me.
“Put some of the cream on your finger.”
I got a tiny dab from the jar.
“No, get plenty. More than that.”
“Now… Tickle my bum with it”
I hesitated. She grinned at me. I put my finger between her buttocks, and once more explored the unknown.
“There, you’ve found it.”
I had. I had found the puckered region, and the cream on my finger was being spread around it.
“That’s it lovey. Get the cream inside me.”
I pushed a little, and the puckering relaxed, and caressed the tip of my finger.
I wiggled my finger, and pushed a bit further.
I could feel a resistance to my finger’s progress.
“There, you’ve found it. Tickle it and it will relax and let you in.”
Hesitant. Strange. Slow. Tight. Warm. Forbidden. Fascinating.
It blossomed open. My finger slipped inwards. It pulsed and relaxed.
“Good lovie, another finger, go on.”
I complied. It relaxed and expanded.
“Now you lovie. Put yourself inside me.”
Her hand came back and guided my penis onto her bumhole.
“Gently now lovie. Push. Push. Yes, that’s it. Push.”
Slowly, slowly my penis was being taken in.
“Come out, lovie. Put some more cream on yourself.”
I spread some over the head.
“Again, lovie, push it into me.”
It slid in quite easily. God, it was hot. It was tight and hot. I could feel her pulsing around me. She moaned.
“Does it hurt you?” I asked.
“No lovie, It feels delicious. Doesn’t it”
“In and out, lovie, move it in and out.”
I was relishing, wallowing in the sensation. I moved myself slowly.
“That’s it, in and out, in and out.”
I moved, and then found that I could not stop myself moving. I pumped, slowly at first, and then with increasing frenzy.
“Come on, lovie. It’s wonderful. Are you there? Come on, Inside me, Inside. Oh God. Oh lovie, lovie, Lovie, Lovie LOVIE, OH YES”
She spasmed as I flooded into her.
She let her legs relax. I slipped out of her.
“Good?” she grinned.
She shuffled across the bed, and gestured that I should join her.
It was still dark when I awoke. She was standing beside me. She was dressed in a working smock. She had brought my clothes through from the other room.
“You had better get dressed. It will be daylight soon.”
Dressed, I joined her in the other room. She gave me a cup and saucer. It was a pale green steaming drink. Herby and honeyed. So refreshing.
She helped me into my coat. As I was leaving the door into the orchard she slipped the whisky bottle into my coat pocket.
“Just go straight down the path, past the Fox, then turn right.”
The moon illuminated my route. I found myself on a back lane, climbing the hill parallel to my route the evening before. It joined our road about 100 yards from home. As I unlocked my door the first light of dawn was brightening the sky.
Was it the herbal drink? Was it the excitement of the night? All I could do was to get undressed again, and go back to bed.
I awoke late. I usually get up at six, breakfast, and make my way to catch the early train to work. I had to rush, breakfastless, to get the later one.
Still, I would have been at work on time had the train not been delayed. I arrived half an hour late – at the same time as the Managing Director. I had worked with and for him for many years, and we had a mutual respect.
He asked me about my retirement, and about the pre-retirement courses that I was attending. He was surprised to hear that I had not been offered these.
As I was late, the procedure was to explain, face to face, my reasons to my boss on arrival. So I knocked on his door and half opened it.
“Oh, you have got here at last you idle cunt. I’m here trying to sort out your fucking cock-ups while you lie in bed wanking.”
Beside me the door swung fully open.
“You,” the M.D. growled, “In my office. Now.”
My boss looked shell-shocked, and staggered out of the room. The M.D. led me into the Bosses office and closed the door.
“What was all that about?”
“Well, I was late!”
Why was I apologising for him? I looked at the paperwork on the desk. I recognised it. It was a job where I had been instructed to follow the boss’s check-list, but that I knew needed different handling.
I explained the problem.
“Right. I’ll deal with it. You make yourself scarce. Take the day off. Come and see me on Monday morning. This will be your office from now. Let’s see how he copes with your job.”
So, I made my way back to the station, back to the village. I was famished. I had not been hungry the previous evening, and had missed my breakfast. The Fox was open, and it was well known for its roast beef sandwiches. It was too early for beer, so I had a coffee. I sat at the same table as the previous evening and waited for my refreshment to arrive.
I looked to my side, where she had sat. She had not been on the bench beside me, but on the other side. There was no chair there now – there was an old varnished barrel with a lamp fixed upon it. It was clear, from the dust and floor colour that the barrel had been there for some time.
My sandwich and coffee arrived and I soon made it disappear. I left the Fox by the back door into the yard. Yes, the snicket between the buildings was there and I took it. Where it joined the path behind the buildings, however things were different. The path to the right, that we had taken, was overgrown with brambles. Looking along it, where there had been the orchard there was a building site. I turned left, and found the path and back lane as I remembered it – a useful short cut between home and the Fox.
Back home, Beryl, my wife was seated at the kitchen table. She had boxes and albums of photographs spread before her.
“What’s the matter? Are you OK?” she asked.
I explained to her about the late train, my Boss, and the M.D.
“About time too. He has been bullying you for long enough. I’ve got some news too. They want me to work days.”
“Are you happy with that?”
“Yes, I think so. We will be able to see more of each other.”
I asked about the photographs. Beryl explained that they were doing a project with the the elderly folk she helped care for. She was looking for photos that might trigger their memories.
I glanced at them. One stole my attention
“Beryl, who is that?
“I don’t know. She took the photo from the album. Pencilled on the back was:-
‘Ethel Corbett. Orchard Cottage. Herbalist and Seamstress.’
“Corbett?” This was my wife’s maiden name. “Any relation?”
“Ethel?” she pondered. “It might be my great Aunt Ethel.”
I picked up the photograph. The face was the same, and so was the clinched waist. The face was familiar because of the similarity to my wife’s. The jacket looked similar as well.
“I think that I remember my Gran saying something about her once. I don’t think the family had much to do with her. They were very chapel and tea-total, and she was supposed to have a bit of a reputation. She is supposed to have been a drinker and to have had men to visit, with gifts and stuff.”
I was stunned. I had dreamed that I had spent the night, and what a night, with my wife’s great aunt. But the path? How had I known about that?
Now I did need a drink. I fetched the bottle from my overcoat pocket. I got a glass, and twisted the top, expecting the resistance of the metal tamper-proof seal, but it opened easily. I looked at it. The fluid in the bottle was dark.
I put the kettle on, and fetched another glass. I poured a little into each glass, and added hot water.
Yes. Apples. I sipped. Oh yes.
I put the other glass on the table beside Beryl. I stood behind her as she sat.
“Taste that, my darling.”
I put my hands on her shoulder and started to massage.
“That feels nice.”
She picked up her glass, and sipped. She liked it.
I massaged. I stroked.
I allowed my hands to slide down in front of her. I cupped her breasts. I could feel her nipples hardening beneath my hands.
“Ooooh, lovie” Beryl murmured, “That feels very nice.”