Judith and Stanislaw lived on a small lifestyle property. They were as self-sufficient as they could possibly get. They worked as a team. Every morning Stanislaw milked by hand the six cows and three goats. On Thursdays he took the cheese and butter hand-crafted by Judith into the market in town. It brought in their only finance, but it was sufficient to live on if coupled with other things such as vegetables that their lifestyle produced.
Judith had never milked a cow or a goat in her life, and Stanislaw had never made the tiniest block of cheese. Each had their talent and the team worked.
And then early one morning Stanislaw underwent a medical event – as the newspapers like to put a heart attack. He was dead.
There was nothing further Judith could do. She went out to milk the cows and goats. It couldn’t be put off. At midday she was still trying to extract a drop of milk from the first cow. Freddie, a neighbouring life-styler who had a nectarine orchard, came to the rescue. He didn’t know much about milking cows either but together they managed.
All that happened a year ago. These days Judith and Freddie produce a very successful brand of nectarine-infused cheeses.
Thaddeus was a little sad. Sort of. He’d always, since his early twenties, wanted to own a little cottage with an orchard.
He’d worked hard all his life, but with the price of things – the rent, the groceries, his old car always breaking down – he’d never managed to save enough to get a mortgage for a house. He’d never married, but he wished he’d found that other someone. Sort of.
How he loved, when driving around, to see homes as he passed. That one has an orchard! That one has a lovely vegetable garden! Oh the flowers! How pretty is that old gnarled weeping elm! Look at the garden path with its rose covered gate! That house there’s for sale!
How did the people all have homes like that? How did they get the money? He couldn’t have worked harder if he’d tried. He couldn’t have saved more if he’d tried. He couldn’t have done any better than he did.
And now he was old. These days he was on the pension. Even if he had the money there wouldn’t be the time to see things grow. A mature orchard he had planted would never be his. A lily collection! A herb garden to defy belief! An old gnarled weeping elm! A dove cote!
These days, as he drove passed other’s homes, the hope had gone. Thaddeus was a little sad. Sort of.