Lydia Penn



8 Chapters

Justin first noticed the girl as he and Ben joined other first-class passengers at the ship’s rail as the Sydney bound liner sailed closer to Port Said and the Suez Canal. She was standing at a little distance from the other passengers, a slim figure leaning over the rail, her long blonde hair blowing in the slight breeze. It was 1960, just four years after the Egyptian government had nationalised the Suez Canal.

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Nuts and Bolts

The old corner house, it’s garden choked with weeds and overgrown bushes, had been vacant for so long, that it became an object of great interest in the street when signs of life began to appear; smartly dressed young men began coming and going, work began to tidy up the garden, and the “For Sale” sign was taken down.

No one was more interested than Betty Bolt who lived next door. While others might have described her as a “nosey parker”, Betty considered herself as merely “neighbourly”.

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The Search

Eleven-year-old Anton scuffed his feet in the dust, and then sat down with his back against the graffiti-covered wall. He stretched out his thin brown legs, and began to munch the apple he had just helped himself to as he passed by the fruit shop.

He looked up towards the distant mountain range – at least what could be seen of it above the shrouding mist – and began to contemplate, as he had done so many times, what might be beyond.

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Interlude in Andorra

Things were not going according to plan! Hot, tired and frustrated, we stood with our (fortunately) light luggage, outside the tourist office in Toulouse and considered our options.

It was early June 1991 and we had just arrived in Toulouse, intending to stay two days sightseeing. The previous day, after a flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt, we had boarded the overnight train to Marseilles, where, after an indifferent cup of coffee, slopped in the saucer at the station buffet, we had continued by train to Toulouse, recommended by the guidebooks as well worth a visit.


The Pick Up

“Excuse me. Didn’t I see you at Pippy’s party last night?” The distinctive transatlantic voice broke into Anne’s thoughts, as she stood motionless on the crowded escalator. Such remarks were a common gambit which she and her friends had often encountered and usually ignored, during their student days in London.

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The Real Mrs Smith

He certainly would never have described himself as a middle-aged roué, and he would undoubtedly have been grossly offended if anyone had so much as hinted that he was. Yet he so aptly fitted the dictionary definition – a middle-aged roué.

After all, it was just his little weakness, he reasoned. Women were delightful creatures, and he didn’t indulge in a lot of hedonistic activities – he didn’t gamble, he didn’t smoke, and he was a strict teetotaller. But women – well – they were pleasure indeed; he enjoyed the chase, the conquest, and finally the thrill of seduction. Just the contemplation of the next occasion was stimulating.

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Double Delivery

Part 1 of the “Double” Trilogy

The two storks flew wearily across northern France towards the English Chanel.

“Not much further now,” said one.

“It’s all right for you, you are nearly there,” replied the second stork. “I still have further to go.”

“Why don’t you just deliver yours near mine,” suggested the first stork. “I know a family nearby that is expecting a delivery soon, and I’m sure they won’t mind an early arrival.”

“I can’t do that,” said the second stark. “This baby was destined for another family from before the foundation of the world. I must deliver to the right house.”

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