A cow gives a high pitched bellow in the dark and the haunting sound echoes across the valley. The long note is similar to that of the hunting horn played by the landlady last Friday night. But it is more forlorn, like a cow on market day that missed the chance of saying goodbye to its calf.
It is cold in The Enchanted Village. There is ice on the inside of car windows and the smell of woodsmoke is thick in the evening air. The street lights spread a false smile in the village centre, while the outskirts are dark, frosty and wintry.
Wrapped up in the cosy Grigg hovel, I am cheered by a surprise visitor, a Sheepwashlet on my doorstep with two eggs, one still warm. Just what the doctor ordered.
Smelling of Vick's vapour rub and with a chest that hurts when I breathe in, my spirits lift when I think back to Caruso's singing class last night. Accompanied by Mr Grigg - for one night only - I am greeted almost with applause by the rest of the choir, who are sitting in a horseshoe facing the master as we walk in. Mr Grigg is placed next to Mr Putter, who is pleased to have a male companion, if only for the evening.
When it comes to distributing solos in 'Oh, No John, No John, No John, No', Caruso gives me two lines, the Parson's Daughter gets one and a bashful Mrs Bancroft refuses to sing at all. Night Nurse is scolded for talking in class and we are again reminded of the importance of the dotted note.
'I will not tell you again,' Caruso says.
As the solos are awarded, Mr Putter is on edge. For weeks he has been turning up to these singing sessions, come rain or shine. He is a dog about to be given a bedtime treat. He peers over his spectacles, song sheet in hand. But Caruso passes him by. There is nothing for poor old Putter. No, a verse is awarded to a late arrival at the ball, an incomer.
There is hostility in Mr Putter's eyes.
Why should the devil have all the best tunes?
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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