Page 4 The View –

                                                A PICTURE WINDOW WITH A VIEW TO LIVE FOR.

                                                                           ROY GARDE

When I came to a stile I could at last see what was on the other side of a continuous stretch of thick shrub and I knew at first glance that it had to be the best site to pitch my tent that I could hope to find.

The path that I was following west was on the south side of the road and the field that I looked at through the stile went clear down to the sea like a ski run and the black, craggy cliffs on both sides epitomized Cornwall for me.

Parked partway down the field, on the only place that was flat enough to provide a base for it, was one of those old caravan things that are about as big as a decently sized bike shed. I could see three butane tanks to one side and on the other side there was a table and two chairs that were made out of weatherproof aluminium. There was a shovel leaning against the back of one chair and it proclaimed to the world the owner’s total lack of need for plumbers. The only unusual thing about the – uh – object, besides it’s being there at all, was that there were two cables crossed over the roof that evidently anchored it against heavy winds.

I climbed over the two-stepped stile and then eased my backpack off onto the grass near the fence, where it was relatively flat for a couple of meters, and then I walked down the barely visible track, having to place each foot deliberately so as to stay in control, and I called out as I got nearer so as to not unduly alarm its occupant, if there was one.

Before I got within five meters of the door it opened and an attractive woman of indeterminate age – slackening forty or well preserved fifty – with graying hair, worn like a helmet, and wearing a shapeless dress came out and she cocked her head in a querying way.

“Good evening. I’m sorry to bother you but you have a wonderful view and I wonder if I may pitch my tent in your field, up there by the fence, for the night? I’ll be gone again in the morning just after the sun comes up. I’ll be really grateful and I assure you that I’m fully self sufficient and so you won’t hardly know I’m here.”

“You’re right about the view and the sunsets and the sunrises are nearly always spectacular in the summer as you’ll see for yourself in a half hour or so. Well, of course it’s all right to pitch your tent up there and if you want some boiling water just ask.”

With that she went back inside and I called out my thanks and then climbed back up the path to my stuff and I rigged my tent in around five minutes because I’m getting to be good at it.

I’ve been carrying out a long held – what? – not a dream exactly but more like a need that got lodged inside me somehow and nagged to be indulged.

I’d taken a train from London to Plymouth three days earlier and I intended to hike along the south coast down to Penzance and stay there for maybe a week and then swing north and follow the coast back to the river Tamar and then walk alongside it until it led me back to Plymouth. I’d passed through Falmouth that afternoon and I hoped to get down to Lizard Head the next day.

I only make a fire up once a day, in the morning, and I make a hot meal and brew some strong tea and then, before I move on, I make up sandwiches, for lunch and dinner, and I bottle the leftover tea.

I watched the sunset and then I turned in and slept peacefully for hours – my body had already adjusted to hiking by then and so my muscles no longer got sore enough to keep me awake – before a clap of thunder shook not just my tent but the ground itself.

I sensed that I could well be in for a few unpleasant hours and I philosophically told myself that my tent was about to have a real chance show off the merits that the salesman had trotted out for me. I was visualizing the tie down points and the thin nylon ropes and mentally assessing their holding abilities when I heard a woman’s voice.

“Hello! Hello! You in the tent. Poke your head out please.”

“Hello again. What is it?”

“ ‘What is it?’ ‘What is it?’ indeed. There’s going to be such a blow and heavy rain enough to wash your tent away I shouldn’t wonder. Best you come into my little house. It’s tied down, as you may have noticed, because of storms like the one that’s coming. The thunder woke me up and so I turned on my radio and I heard the warning. Come. Hurry.”

I pulled on some pants and a shirt and then I toyed with the idea of dismantling my tent but then I decided it would be a good idea to let it get tested without me in it and so I tied the flaps closed and then I ran to join my hostess.

When I got inside I saw that she had tea ready and when she’d poured me some she went and sat cross legged on her bed – it took up a half of all of the available space and it extended out a half way across the picture window – and I pulled up a chair that had a thinly padded seat and I put it down in front of the other half of the window and we watched the drama that the lightning flashes on the cliffs, and on the lashing waves, played out for us. Words would have been frustratingly drowned out by the frequent thunder but anyway, no matter what they were, they would have been hopelessly out-manned by nature and so we just sat and sipped and looked.

Trying to get to sleep would have been futile so we both settled for dozing, me in the chair of course, and it had started to get light before the storm went away and out to sea but the rain didn’t go with it and because we were both, understandably, tired she invited me to sleep for a couple of hours on the carpeted floor. She gave me a blanket to put down and a cushion for a pillow.

It was close to being noon when she woke me up – she needed me up off the floor so as to be able get to the stove – and the rain didn’t ease up at all through the afternoon so I accepted her offer of brunch, which was tea and cereal with milk and fruit, and we ate at the little table and so we had plenty of time to introduce ourselves properly and that led to our swapping life stories.

Her name was Maureen Matilda Matthews – nee, Pierce – and she told me that her husband had always called her ‘Maureen’ and he’d never once shortened it nor had he given her a nick name nor had he found it the slightest bit funny when she’d pointed out to him that by taking his name it made her ‘3M’! When she became a widow she’d decided to revert to what her mother had called her, which was ‘Tilda’.

My name is John Reeves Reynolds and although I’ve been stuck with being called ‘Jack’ ever since I can remember I prefer ‘John’ and I told her so.

It had gotten really close in the caravan by around one o’clock so she’d had to take off the wrap that she’d worn over the T shirt and pajama bottoms that she’d slept in and it was disconcerting for me to see that although she obviously wasn’t wearing a bra her nicely sized breasts were so firm that – her prominent nipples made it obvious – they didn’t hardly move as she reached or gestured or twisted in her chair. Because of that I knew that, in the flesh, they’d look like the ones on a marble statue and although I like breasts to sit down heavily and nicely in my palm when I cup them I am, gallantly enough, quite open to having different kinds attempt to show me that I might be wrong about that.

My story took up very little time to tell – I’ve been divorced for five years and my wife married her lover and went off with him to his native land of Australia and she took our two sons, twins who had finished high school by then, with her. When our youngest, my daughter, finished high school herself, two months before I started out on my trip, she’d opted to go and join her mother and brothers because they’d given glowing accounts of Melbourne and of their college. Because of that I found the empty house to be a bit – what’s the opposite of claustrophobic? – and so I’d made myself take some time off from work to come on this particular trip. That was the first time that I’d taken any kind of a holiday for years. I’d been trying to swamp my sorrows, since my wife walked out on me, by working from seven in the morning to seven at night six days a week and that had, naturally, been driving my staff crazy because I was overseeing them too much and interjecting ideas where none were needed. I was doing what they were paid to do and it was a blatantly poor management procedure but I didn’t realize it until they asked for a meeting a few years ago in which they pointed it out. I apologised and then pointed out, in turn, that I needed physical work for therapy. From then on I got around their objections by choosing new jobs as they came in the door and then designing the circuitry for them and then assembling the units and hard wiring them and then writing out the programs and entering them and then testing them and finally putting the finished product in the shipping bay. Seeing that only my hands touch each selected job from beginning to end there is no one to interfere with or to oversee. As long as plenty of work keeps coming in they can’t really complain any more.

On the other hand, her life story was both long and sad.

She’d never had children and her husband of nearly thirty years, an MBA, had died of lung cancer several years earlier after fighting it for three long years. They’d been nicely established and comfortably off when he’d gotten sick and if he could have made himself stay content with the care that he was getting from the National Health Service doctors she would have been left with an adequate income for the rest of her life and would be still living in their big house in Altringham, which she’d spent a lot of time and money on to restore and to get it just right, and would have been spending her summers in their cottage on a hill outside Welshpool.

After spending all of those years with him she well knew that he was a hypochondriac in that whenever he chanced on reading about a new, to him, illness he would develop some of the symptoms in a matter of hours and it would be off to the doctor for them both. When he knew that he had a real one, a fatal one, his fear knew no bounds and he dragged his wife/nurse around the world chasing magical cures. He was a lapsed Catholic and for some unfathomable reason he wouldn’t even consider one that was in Britain and the only ones that interested him were in Catholic countries and so they went to Mexico three times, and stayed for months everytime, and to Costa Rica and to Peru and to Sicily and to an island in Malaysia and then, when things were already clearly hopeless, to a Christian enclave in Lebanon when it wasn’t a good idea to be in that country for any reason at all.

Everywhere they went cost them dearly and they’d had to realize all of the equity that he had in his company pension plan, and all of the options that they were holding for him, and then the cottage in Wales went and finally their house in Altringham. But even then, when they had no money left at all, he’d wanted her to take him to Mexico one more time although he hadn’t been able to keep anything down except scotch whiskey for weeks by then and he looked cadaverous and he needed help just to turn his head on the pillow.

She’d had to ask the Salvation Army for help at the end because all of her husband’s resources had by then been drawn down to zero and she couldn’t get anything out of the state because their long absences from the country had caused endless bureaucratic snarl ups. They, the Salvation Army, were kind enough to give her a tiny room in one of their hostels that was near the hospital.

After the funeral – he was cremated which was against his wishes but she was forced to do so because it came down to being that or a pauper’s grave – she’d had to take a job opening boxes and loading shelves in a Sainsbury’s store in Chester while she waited for the ‘estate’ to be finalized even though she knew that there was nothing left of it. Her lawyer knew that too but he’d insisted that she stay nearby for another few weeks because he had to check out something.

As she’d expected, she was the only one in his office with him when he produced the will and the papers that she had to sign and, sure enough, there was no money left but he’d followed up on an old deed that he’d found in her husband’s desk drawer and because of his diligence he had a surprise for her.

She remembered that they’d both gone south for a holiday on the ‘English Riviera,’ that is the Cornish coast, a year after they’d gotten married and they’d both liked the idea of seeing so much of the sun – and palm trees, even! – whilst still being in England that, on an impulse, he’d let a guy who ran a B&B sell him five acres of ‘prime land with a splendid view of the sea’ – sight unseen. He’d secretly arranged the financing of it right there and then and it was to be paid off over a five-year period. He’d decided to wait until then to tell his wife about it when he could hand over the title to her free and clear as a surprise present.

On the way home he’d detoured to check out the property and when he’d located it he’d parked a little way down the road and she remembered that he’d asked her to please stay in the car because he needed to relieve himself in the bushes.

Clearly he’d been appalled and ashamed of what he’d been tricked into buying because he’d never so much as mentioned the purchase to her then nor later.

Affluent times, from an inheritance that had let him buy into his company, had come down on them in those next five years and they purchased the big house and later the cottage in Wales and so the paid-for piece of land in Cornwall was forgotten about by him as being too inconsequential to be bothered with.

At the will reading she was flooded with relief on finding out that she might be able to live independently on her own land and so she immediately started making plans.

When, full of hope, she’d saved some money from her minimum wage job she took a bus to Bristol and then another one to Plymouth and then she hired a man to drive her down the coast “To this place on this map, please. Do you know it? Can you find it?”

When he’d enquired at the town hall in Falmouth he drove her to her piece of land and she found, as I’d done the day before, that most of it was sloped too steeply to plough or to graze animals on and anyway the soil was too poor to grow anything but scrub grass.

And then, besides that huge let down, she found that she had squatters! Two men were living in the self same caravan that we were sitting in and they’d been there for so long that they couldn’t get their mind around the fact that ‘their’ field belonged to somebody else. A ‘somebody else’ who wanted them off it.

It took her another year and two more visits to Falmouth before a policeman was sent to ‘explain’ to the two men that they’d used up all of their evasions against eviction, and the magistrate’s patience, and that they had to move off and move on by the end of that month.

They’d left the caravan where it was because lowering it down and pulling it back up were two very different things indeed and anyway, by then, it was not only worthless but it could have been moved only with a crane because its undercarriage had sunk into the ground and had partially rotted away.

The following spring, armed with a tiny pension from the state and thankful to her bones for getting it because it made it that much easier for her to quit her job over spring and summer, she’d arrived to stake her claim.

 She’d paid to have all of the nasty dirty furniture that had been left behind taken away – the aluminium table and chairs outside were all that was left of it – and she’d fumigated and scrubbed and had painted over the nasty, obscene remarks that had been written on the walls and ceiling and had filled it up with a bed and a stove, and the table and two chairs that we were sitting on, and the ‘adornos’ – the only word that she’d retained from all of her journeys in Latin America apart from “Senora. Hay que pagarme mas dinero, por favor” – that were spread around on shelves and hanging on the walls to add touches of colour.

She’d been living there, from late March to late September, for two years by then and no one had bothered her. She had an arrangement with a man from Falmouth to come and pick her up every Friday afternoon to take her into town to buy what she needed.

In the winters she stayed with an old aunt of hers up north and she took menial jobs from nine to five on weekdays and from nine to nine on Saturdays and Sundays and she saved all that she could to be able to extend the amount of time that she could go and ‘live on her property on the English Riviera’.

Because the caravan was quite a bit bigger than the hostel room that the Salvation Army had provided for her she’d been able to make herself believe that she was as happy as a clam and was helped to reach that state by knowing that she’d never have to ask for charity again nor be asked for rent nor be told that she’d have to leave.

The rain had stopped while she was still talking but by then it was already after four in the afternoon and it was a bit late to be moving on so I gave up on that and I accepted her kind offer to stay for dinner.

While she was opening cans and was getting the butane stove to work I thought back on some of what she’d said and from it I was able to guess her age more accurately. She’d mentioned at one time that on her wedding day her husband had been particularly happy because he’d found out that morning that Margaret Thatcher, who had been a neighbor of his family when he was a youngster, had been given a cabinet post in the government and so I knew from that, and the fact that she’d said that she’d gotten married before she was twenty years old, that she was only one, maybe two, years older than I am. That was why her body was still firm – she wasn’t fifty yet and she was evidently one of those types who aren’t subject to overall sagging until they’re well into their sixties.

When we’d eaten and had cleared everything away again I went out to check my tent – it had gotten through its trial in fine form – and then I gathered up my last two beers and the half-filled half-bottle of vodka – spelled ’medicine’ – and when I got back I drank both of the beers,  she told me that she didn’t like it, and we sat together companionably while she sipped vodka which she cut with some orange juice.

We’d been cooped up together for so long by then that I’d had a lot of time to study her nice figure, when I could get away with it, and what with that and by being mellowed out by the beers, I was beginning to feel distinct urges but I knew that any move on my part would have – given her sheltered, one-man-only love-life – made her very unhappy indeed and she’d probably have pretty much exploded in fury so, to put everything on the up-and-up, when it started to get dark I told her that I was going to my tent again to set it up for the night while there was still enough light.

She was confused and she asked me why didn’t I want to sleep on her floor again and I told her that I couldn’t.

“But why not?”


“Is it too uncomfortable?”

“No, no. It’s not that at all.”

“Then what is it?”

“Well. If you must know – I have, uh, stirrings.” I’d decided that it would be best to make her aware that I was attracted to her ‘that way’ because then it wouldn’t come completely out of the blue in the unlikely but possible chance of my getting to make a legitimate pass at her sometime in the future. I’ve been living the single life for five years now and I know ways to get a woman to become aware of my interest in her and I follow the belief that around one out of ten respond positively to a verbal pass later on when they’ve had some time to consider their feelings in private. It can’t hurt and it sometimes works.

 “ ‘Stirrings?’ What does that mean?”

 “What do you think it means?”

 “I have no idea.”

 “We’re a man and a woman in a confined space, aren’t we? What do you think it means?”

 “Oh! You mean – – – Well. All of that kind of thing is over for me. Come to think of it, it hardly ever got properly started but – no more, thank God, no more. That’s all behind me.”

“Well, I’m pleased for you if that’s what you want but it’s by no means over for me so it’s best that I go and set my tent up. I’ll say goodbye before I go in the morning, if I may.”

“After sunrise?”

“And after breakfast, yes. Exactly. Goodnight.”

It had stayed warm all night so I was wearing only my shorts when I was sitting on the grass as dawn was breaking and just before the show got started properly I heard her open her door and then walk towards me.

She said, “Good morning. It’s going to be clear I think.”

When she reached me she put her hand on my shoulder to lower herself onto the grass and while she could make out my position it was still too dark to see details so she couldn’t have known that I didn’t have a shirt on but before she could snatch her hand away from my bare skin she’d put her weight on it and so she had to clutch at me until her bottom had landed safely.

Man! Her hand felt warm and soft and good and I was sorry when she took it away.

As I’d done many times before, especially in the last five years, I fervently wished that there was a way for two people to share their bodies in a friendly way without need for the endless pre-ambles and positioning and conniving and simply because they’re both there and it feels good. Dream on.

We stayed silent until it got to be fully light and the dramatic shadows in the crevices of the cliffs had given way and as I went to get up she put her hand on my shoulder again, it felt good again even though it was only lightly enough to detain me for a moment, and she said, “Wait a minute, please John. I’ve got a proposition for you. I’ll make you a breakfast of eggs and bacon and sausages with hard bread and coffee if you’ll agree to look at something for me afterwards.”

“Deal.” Says I.

When we’d finished eating she cleared the little table and before doing the washing up she got out a brown paper bag that had a rubber band around it and she put it in front of me.

 “You’re an engineer so take a look at that please and tell me what you think,” she said and then she turned to tackle the little sink-full of dirty dishes.

The bag contained the plans of a two-roomed cottage – with a bathroom and a kitchen and an attached porch – whose main feature was a huge picture window in the living room and from the unpronounceable name of the hill that it was on I guessed that I was looking at the architectural drawings of her cottage in Wales.

When she rejoined me she told me that on the day before the cottage was sold she’d gone there for a final check and had decided to take the plans with her.

“My dream is to live here the year round in a cottage built from those plans and complete with proper heating and a septic tank and piped in water. I’ve saved enough money to get the foundations done and for the septic tank to be put in but not enough for the rest and it’ll take me another four or five years or so to get all of the money together. The big problem that I want your advice on is that when I do finally get started I’ll have to get rid of this caravan straight away because, as you’ve probably seen already, it’s on the only site flat enough for a building and without it where could I live while the building is going on? I admire your little tent but I doubt if I could live in one for a few days no matter about for months.”

I commiserated with her and I got enthusiastic about her plan for the future and we went over the cottage plans in detail. Although it was news to her I saw that its framing was all timber and there was very little concrete and after questioning her I worked out that the reason for that was because its site was on a hill top and so everything would have had to have been carried up from the nearest road that was hundreds of yards away – she’d told me that they’d had to park their car down there and walk up all the time that they were there on vacation – and concrete or stone for the walls would have been far too heavy to get up to the site. She protested that she knew that it was made of stone but I could show her that although it had a stone façade it was not supporting anything and each stone had been thin and light enough for carrying up hill by hand.

Similarly for the ‘Gray Welsh Slate’ that she remembered being on the roof. It was a synthetic slate even though it looked as if it had been weathered for many years.

She clearly wanted to keep talking and I let her reminisce about living up there alone for weeks on end and without the slightest fear even though there were no other houses in sight and no lights visible anywhere at night. Also, how every afternoon, including Saturdays and Sundays, air force jets used to roar down the valleys in pairs as they tested out their contour-following radar. She said that there were lambs born in the hundreds in spring every year and that dozens of the tiny, spindly legged creatures died in the fields for reasons that she was never able to find out. She said that the bodies were collected regularly and taken away in a truck. I suggested that the roaring jets might have scared them to death and they were collected so that the owners could get compensation for them and she looked relieved for a second or two and then came out with – “Ah ha! That must be why, of course. Well, aren’t you the perspicacious one?” – and then the sad part of it struck her and she went silent for a while.

 It got to be lunch time by the time we’d finished talking about the details of the cabin and it’s wonderful picture-window, and the rest of it, and so I got invited to stay for lunch and she made us sardine and lettuce sandwiches and she brewed some tea.

When we’d both finished eating she got up to take the dishes away and because I was beginning to feel like a parasite by then I insisted on washing the dishes and I moved in front of the tiny sink and got on with it.

She hovered over me handing me one item at a time to wash and then waiting for it to be handed back to her for drying and I quickly saw that she was uncomfortable with my behavior and it came to me that she’d probably been dancing attendance on her husband for all of those years and he’d likely never done a hand’s turn in the house and so she was having a hard time with letting me do it.

Well, it was her house after all so a half way through I decided that I’d better give way and I told her so and then I tried to go back to the table.

There was no room for me to push past her so I kind of lifted and spread my hands and gestured that she should back off to let me get past.

 She was, I guess, still a little upset with my presumptuousness because instead of walking back to the table to let me pass by she proprietarily sidled into the space that I’d left near the sink and she faced towards it and pressed her thighs against it and then leaned forwards and put her upper body weight onto her arms.

I dutifully moved to ease past her and I put my hands on her hips so as to not push her to one side as I went by but when I was directly behind her and was, you might say, grooving, nature took a hand. A decisive, over powering hand.

Her body went rigid and it locked in place and she let out a moaning sound. I felt her bottom turn from being soft into being as hard as marble and then I saw that she was arching her neck which bent her head back.

Like everyone else, I’ve often seen bitches present themselves for a dog to mount them no matter how miss-matched they are in size or breed or mangy-ness and also, as a kid in the village that I’d grown up in, when one of the farmers, who was my best friend’s father and who bred horses, was putting a stallion to one of his mares I’d sometimes be invited to watch and at first there’d be a whole lot of thrashing around by both animals and the farmer had to keep positioning some padding to protect the stallion from the mare’s kicks but when the stallion had mounted and it got to be time for insertion to take place the farmer reached in to pull the mare’s tail out of the way and we’d see that her vulva had what looked like vanes, as big as saucers, and they’d be kind of fluttering and convulsing and soon after that had happened nature would make the mare lock her legs and stay still to give the stallion a fixed, reachable target. Everytime that I went there to watch I remember that the air of whole area would get flooded with the aura of male potency as he drove into her.

And now here was this woman locked up to receive me and the little caravan’s interior was, sure enough, suffused with the urgency of her need as she waited on my next move.

I had to think quickly and I figured that her behavior was so blatant that if I just pushed on by her I’d have to keep going and pack up my things and get out of her sight without so much as glancing in her direction again to avoid making her have to acknowledge that she’d shamed herself – that is, in her own eyes – like an animal in a field. There was no way that she nor I could try to pretend that nothing had happened if I just went on by and sat down at the table.

That left me with only one thing to do: from her life-story and from her action I guessed that she hadn’t had any sex at all for at least five years and probably more like eight and although I knew that I wanted to get access to her body much more than I wanted to help her out, altruistically speaking, I then, telling myself that it really was for her own good, moved my hips side to side so that my rapidly firming penis rubbed against and followed the contours of her bottom. As soon as I started that her moaning turned into groaning and that seemed to be proof positive that I could go ahead but I was too apprehensive to make her turn around and try to kiss her mouth until I was absolutely, positively sure of my ground so I moved my one hand to cup one of her breasts and, a second or two later in which there’d been no protests, the other one so that it pressed in on her center and with that she let out a huge sigh and kind of melted. I knew from that I was home clear and that we’d gotten long past the kissing stage.

I half lifted and half dragged her to the bed.

She just lay there as I undressed her and, just as I’d surmised, her breasts kept their shape instead of flattening themselves onto her chest.

She was putty in my hands and so I could, and did, take a long time to explore her body and I didn’t have to use any of the techniques that would have pleased her because from beginning to end she stayed in one long, continuous orgasmic hinterland of her own and, on top of that, her whole body shuddered everytime that I touched or kissed or licked any of her erogenous zones.

 When I could wait no longer I mounted her and she was, understandably, tight and, happily, very wet. The feeling that those two things together gave me was stupendous and hearing the strange popping and slurping noises that my pumping away at her caused was gratifying too. I took my time but when I’d, at last, gotten all of the way into her she came back to earth and when I lifted her ankles up on to my hips she got the idea quickly and from then on she wanted to, and I let her, do more than her share of the work to get the job done.

We stayed on that bed all that afternoon and evening and night and until well past sun up the next day. Sunset and sunrise had been forced to try to manage without us.

The first hour or two had evidently passed in a blur for her – she didn’t remember much of what I’d done to her – so when she’d rested after having several orgasms and had stabilized as far hanging on to some lucidity was concerned I was able to re-introduce her to all of the basics and I also repeated all of the things that she’d seemed to react to most.

I was astonished at how little she knew about making love and she was astonished at how many ways and positions and methods and goals there are.

When we got up to eat brunch she said, “Well John, my vagina is sore but content with having being used again and my clitoris is sore too but happy with having been discovered!” My laughter on hearing her words led her to tell me that she’d never done it in any other way but the conventional position all through her marriage. I wanted to learn more but her sense of loyalty made her avoid giving me details about how often they’d done it and whether it had ever been good for her but she did volunteer that her husband had never wanted to even look at what she had between her legs no matter about wanting to eat it all up as I’d been doing on and off for close to twenty four hours straight by then.

 I spent the next week in that little caravan with her, the week that I’d intended to stay in Penzance, and we got to be so close that we were loathe to separate even to let the other one go out to answer nature’s calls.

When the driver came on the Friday we had to discipline ourselves to not use any endearments and to not move together in the back seat to do some cuddling and, similarly, when we found ourselves to be the only ones in an aisle of the supermarket.

When we got back home and had closed the door we left the bags of groceries on the floor and got undressed and onto the bed as if we’d been separated for months.

I quickly got tired of digging a hole to help fertilize the grass around the front of the caravan and I didn’t believe that the squatters had put up with having to do that for years so I went exploring one morning and I soon came across the site where an out-house had been located. It must have been a fit of pique that made the two men destroy it when they knew that they were going to be evicted. They’d knocked it down and had shoved the broken pieces of wood down the hole.

When I was pulling them all out I found that the hinged seat was there too. I kept the pieces of wood that I knew that I could use to make a support for the seat and then I put them all, along with the seat itself, in the running water of the little stream and I left them there, weighted down, so that they’d be thoroughly washed and properly sterilized by the next day.

I reclaimed as many nails as I could and I straightened them out with the aid of two stones and then I put together a crude but serviceable out-house-without-a-house. When we were sitting on it we were subject to the wind or to the hot sun, or to the rain sometimes, but it was a hundred times better than having to dig a hole with the shovel and then go into a hovering squat.

All through that week every one of my erections was greeted with joy and was deferred to as if it was heaven-sent and was welcomed wherever I wanted to put it. I guess that she figured that seeing that I did all of the marvelous stuff that pleased her so much I had to be given the right to do some other things that puzzled her. After all, and in my own defense, when I’d told her, early on in our shenanigans, that I knew five ways to practice the art of cuninlingus she made me stop doing the one that I was at and introduce her to the other four right then. I did a minute or two of each one but she reacted to them all by going prostrate on me and after she’d recovered each time she’d tell me that I’d astonished her yet again and then she’d say, “Next.”

When she’d gotten up the courage to reciprocate a little – and found that giving pleasure is almost as wonderful as getting it – she whispered to me, “Please, John, please. Can we do everything that there is? I want to catch up so please do everything. Do you hear me?”

One thing that she found it hard to get enthusiastic about was doing her part in the sixty-nine exercise but she’d soldier on gamely and would pause now and again to apologize for being inept. I thought it best to insist that she complete the act, at least once, and so she persevered and afterwards, after she’d gagged and choked and hawked and then had gone to the sink to gargle, she came back and whispered that she thought that it was too strange for words and that she’d never have believed it was even possible if someone had told her so a week or so earlier. She also said that she thought that it was a terrible waste and that she much preferred to have my semen delivered up inside her “where it belonged” and so after that we only did 69 as a divertissement on the way to what was a more agreeable goal for her.

One morning she got up to go to the out-house and when she came back instead of taking her robe off and rejoining me on the bed she took it off and then got dressed! It would seem that the honeymoon was over.

As she was making breakfast I lay there and I realized that I was pleased with her decision because my libido had not only been well taken care of by then but, truth be told, I even felt drained. Because of that new absence of driving desire my urge to walk around Cornwall was permitted to come on strong again.

I didn’t say anything to her but I told myself – ‘soon’ – and then I got fully dressed too and after breakfast I fixed a wobbly chair back for her and hung the door better, and other things like that. After lunch we went for a little walk and then sat talking about the European Union and the Pound against the Euro and Brown’s initiative and gaffes, etc. while admiring the towering cliffs.

We drank some vodka after dinner and then, as usual just before it began to get dark, we took a blanket and spread it out on the grass and then sat on it and waited for the evening show to begin.

I put my arm around her shoulders and kissed the side of her face and she reacted by following what had become an endearing habit of hers which was to undo two buttons on her blouse and then take my free hand and place it so that one of her breasts got to be nicely nestled in my palm.

I appreciated the gesture so much that time that I moved to give her some serious kisses and I suddenly got really hard and I had to have her right there and then. When I put my hand up her dress she realized that I wanted to do it and she was loathe for some reason but when I put her hand on my penis she said at once, “Oh! You poor dear. Come and let Mama help you with that.”

She stood to take her panties off but then, as she was about to lie down for me, she suddenly straightened up again and said, “Wait a minute, dear. Can we please do it with me bending over the table for you? Please? I know how much you like doing it from behind and I have a sudden need to do it that way.”

By then I had long handed over all control to my lower brain and all that it wanted to do was to fuck so if she’d said let’s run down to the sea and do it on the rocks I would have agreed at once.

 She led me over to the table and when she’d taken up the position she spread her feet and when I was safely inside her she closed them again to so as to raise her center and make it easier on my poor knees. As soon as I started moving with authority she concentrated on bracing herself with her arms on the table.

When it was over I had zero strength left in my legs and I had to collapse on top of her but by then she knew what to do and so she supported me and stayed still until I slipped out of her and then she wiggled to make me lift off her and as soon as she was free of my weight she scooted to the side and positioned a chair so that I could lower myself onto it.

She went in and washed up and then she poured us some vodka and when she brought it out she said, “That was one of the best sunsets ever, right John? I’ve seen red and orange and purple before and I’ve seen red and gold and orange before but I don’t remember ever seeing all four at the same time and even some of the shadows were tinged with colour. And, for once, there were just the right number of clouds in the right places from beginning to end. I felt like applau . . . ”

She let her voice trail off as she realized that she’d just confessed to having deceived me and to derogating my best efforts and she wisely decided to say no more and, I guess, hoped that her faux pas would slip away un-remarked upon and forgotten.

We finished our vodka in silence and, when we went to bed, for the first time I kept my shorts on and, seeing that, she decided to wear a T-shirt and panties to follow suit.

In the morning I didn’t get up to watch the sunrise with her and when she came back in I told her that I was leaving after breakfast so as to finish my trip around the coast of Cornwall and she nodded and wouldn’t look at me then nor when she served up breakfast and when I called out goodbye as I walked up the path she only grunted in response.

// //

I decided to carry on as before with my hiking routines and so, when I stopped on the first day I cooked a meal at lunch time and made enough for dinner and I slept in my tent that night but on the second day, when I got down to Penzance, I checked into a B&B and then instead of walking down to Land’s End I hired a car and driver to take me there and then bring me back after I’d walked around for a couple of hours.

The next morning I moved north towards the coast and when I was approaching St. Ives I decided to use B&B’s all the way from then on and that meant that I could get rid of my back-pack although it dismayed me to even contemplate it because I was poor at one time in my life and I was very conscious of the fact that I’d paid nearly 500 pounds for it. However, I knew that it had to be discarded and so I started to look for a deserving recipient.

I got to a camping area just before lunchtime and I saw that it was nearly empty and I equated that with how I used to go to Barry Island with my family when I was a kid and we’d get there early and there’d be plenty of space to lay out our blanket and thus stake a claim but by eleven o’clock newcomers would be lucky to find a space anywhere and so by noontime having about one foot of clear sand around each blanket was the norm.

I walked to a space that was equidistant from four campers and I put up my tent there and then blew up my mattress and rigged my stove and I fixed my collapsible chair. I then detached the shoulder bag from my main pack and I put my personal stuff in it – like spare clothes and my paperbacks and toilet gear – then I fished out my four remaining beers and I opened one and sat in the chair and took a swig from it. Then I looked around.

I saw that the campers on my left were a couple of senior seniors and from the state of their immediate area I figured that they must have been living in that spot for weeks. I think that people of that age should all know better. None of them should stray far from mod cons in my opinion – although it is true that no one ever asked me for it. Just because they want to, and can manage to, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. It’s like those fools who try to climb mountains in their sandals and shorts – someone else usually has to rescue them from their folly.

Straight ahead of me were two guys who were sharing a narrow tent so I instinctively didn’t want my stuff being used by them.

On my right was a young couple whose tent was one of those tall gray canvas ones from the seventies and it didn’t look as if they had much more than sleeping bags and a stove and two canvass backed chairs in the way of equipment. They were both attractive, although overly thin, and after a while I saw that they’d clearly moved well past passion and were also close to having run out of things to talk about.

They might be worthy, I told myself.

I caught their eyes in turn and waited to see if they’d smile or some such.

Both of them did and the guy nodded and so I held up my beer and gestured to them and then to the rest of my cache as I made a quizzical face.

They took each other’s hand and then came over.

We got talking about the weather and hiking and I found out that they were on their way to Land’s End and so I was able to tell them about it.

They asked me where I was headed.

That was enough of an opening for me so I jumped at the chance to make my case by saying, “You saw me arrive a little while ago with all this stuff, right?” Nods all around. “Well. When I’ve finished this beer and that one there I’m going to get up and walk into St. Ives and find a B&B for the night. I’m going to leave all of it here and I never want to see it again because I’ve had it up to here with sleeping in a tent. Can you use any of it? If so – it’s yours.”

They were stunned and after a while the guy said, suspiciously, “How much are you asking for it?”

“Well let’s see. I guess that two smiles and two handshakes and two expressions of thanks will do it for me.”

They paid me right there and then and the rest of our chatting was difficult because they were both understandably distracted through wanting to eye up the gear and assess its quality while trying not to be obvious about it.

I finished the second beer and then crushed the two cans and then I took up my shoulder bag and said goodbye and I walked over to the re-cycling bin to drop the cans in. When I looked back I saw that they had already dismissed me from their thoughts and were gleefully checking out their windfall.

When I got to Hayle I stopped for lunch and when I’d ordered my meal a hundred or so bicyclists swarmed past on the road outside the restaurant – all bright clothing and whirling wheel spokes and pumping legs and weird helmets. When I saw them it came to me that I wasn’t much enamored about walking anymore either but I decided that two big life changes in one twenty four hour period was probably fool hardy so I waited until I’d had breakfast the next morning before I went into the town center of Cambourne-Redruth to look for a bicycle shop.

They had bikes in there that cost more than the first motor cycle that I’d ever bought – a BSA Silver Streak – and I not only didn’t want to pay that much neither did I want to have to play Santa Claus again when I got to Plymouth.

I saw that they had ingenious folding bikes and they had one that was closed up into an easily transportable package and another one, identical, next to it that was ready for the road and it looked to be both comfortable and serviceable. It had straight handlebars, which I like, and it had one of the best makes of derailleur gears. I asked to be given a test ride and the guy took me out back and he let me ride around their lot on one of them.

I told him that I wanted to buy one but that I wanted the saddle changed for one of those wide, split ones that are kind to a guy’s testicles. I told him that I’d pay right there and then and that I wanted to come back in two hours to pick it up.

“Oh! No sir,” says he. “Can’t be done. Oh, dear me no sir. We have to tune them up and that takes a full day.”

“Then forget it.” says I.

“Did you say two hours, sir? For an extra forty pounds we might be able to get it done in that time, sir. Thank you, sir. Will that be cash or credit card, sir?”

When I went to get it he asked me if I’d done much cycling lately and where was I going on it. I said not for many years and up the coast and then back down to Plymouth. He then told me that things had changed and that all and every kind of bikes, especially expensive ones like the one I’d just bought are, “Very, very tempting, sir, and get stolen by thieves when given the slightest chance.” I wasn’t to leave it unattended not for a minute and I was to ask if I could take it inside the hotel or B&B where I was staying and if not then, “see if you can put it in a shed and if not then at least take it around the back where it can’t be seen and, of course, always lock it up securely, sir. Uh, like with one of these for instance, sir.”

He showed me a thick chain covered in plastic, “To protect the paint, sir.” that had a built in lock that looked to be formidable indeed. Then he showed how one quick release lever let me bend the bike in half and how that brought the two wheels together and how to pass the chain through them and the frame and then around a suitable fixed object.

I said, “Good. Thank you.” but then, of course, he said, “That’ll be just eighteen pounds fifty, sir. Cash or credit card, sir?”

Before I got out of there he’d gotten me to buy a foot-pump and a kick stand and a tool kit and a special spot light and it was only by shouting, “Enough already. You hear me?” did he let me go.

It took a good few miles of breathing fresh air before I could get rid of the dark feeling that being exploited by sales people always gives me. But there, I don’t have much to do with them nowadays.

Something inside me insisted that I check out all of the villages and places of interest that were mentioned in the little travel book that I’d bought and being able to do it by bike made that easy to do, relatively speaking.

I got struck with how much skin all the girls and women were showing in all the towns and villages. I found that I like the way they’ve sanctioned the showing of their navels to public view but some of then wear their shorts or jeans so low that the only reason that we can’t see any pubic hair is because they’ve shaved most of it off.

Also, I found it disconcerting that I only had to wait a little while in popular places before being given an eyeful of breast down to the aureole and not much longer before getting to see an entire breast, nipple and all. I love seeing bikinis being worn at the beach and the like, and topless and nude beaches have my full approval of course, but I’d like to be able to eat a sandwich in a café, or wherever, without nearly choking on it a half dozen times.

And then, to beat all, when I was checking out the town of Padstow, and was waiting for the lights to change to cross the road at a zebra crossing, a teenager in running gear came up and started using a nearby rail to do some stretching and when she changed from one leg to the other I saw, she was wearing hot pants, I saw, clear as day, all that she had between her legs. If I close my eyes and concentrate I can still conjure it up. When the light gave us the go-ahead to cross she did so but I couldn’t make my legs work until the other people jostled me into moving.

I wanted to be able to tell that girl, or her mother maybe or, better yet, both of them at the same time, that the next time that they saw a pair of dogs in the street shaping up to go at it instead of averting their eyes and hurrying on by they should stop and note the details.

They’d see a bewildered look come on the face of the bitch – who, if she was a stray, only wanted to keep on going in her endless search for her next meal – after two or three slurping licks by the dog because she’d found that her hind legs weren’t helping her run away from the menace but were locked in a position that presented her rear to him for the best angle of engagement and were, at the same time, bracing to be ready to support his weight when it came.

They’d see what can almost be called a smirk come onto the face of the dog when he saw that he had prevailed already and was taking a few more licks just for the pleasure of it. After he’d mounted he’d like as not bite her neck a few times to warn her to stay put, and then concentrate on the task at hand.

They’d see his red, thin, slithering penis leave its sheath and seek out its goal and then, the instant that the transfer of fluid had been accomplished, they’d see a look of complete indifference, even of boredom, come onto the dog’s face as he waited to be able to disengage.

The bitch, as soon as she was released, would run forwards a few meters and then plunk herself down to lick where she was hurting and the dog would do the same thing but in its case it would be to induce the last inch or so of its penis to sheath itself. That would be it if there was only one male dog involved but if there was a pack of them then the bitch would get mounted again and again and that gang-raping would be repeated in the next town and the next until she came out of heat.

Then I’d come to the point that I was trying to make by telling them both that if they wanted something similar to happen to girls and women in our streets in the not too distant future they only had to do nothing about stopping the inevitable trend towards being able to show all that they have in public places but they should remember that female human beings don’t have the built in mechanism that locks them in place to avoid being hurt and so a knock on the head might well be the substitute.

When I got up to Camelford I found that the B&B’s and motels had all put up ‘NO’ in front of ‘Vacancies’ so I had to ask for a room in a hotel in the center of town which cost around three times what a motel would have charged me. I intended to stay there for the night and then cut across country the next day to get to Launceston and then pick up the river Tamar and follow it south.

A huge erection woke me up the next morning and it was one of those all-consuming full-attention-grabbing ones and I didn’t help matters much by thinking of how I’d like to be sharing it with Tilda right then. I lay there, squirming and sweating and day-dreaming about having her next to me, and then I progressed to remembering how savagely good it had been the last time that we’d done it with her bent over the table and then, to keep from having to take the schoolboy method to avoid bursting, I dredged up the memory of her asking me to do it that way so that she could watch the sunset and my erection promptly subsided to a more manageable ‘half-hard-and-playful’ size.

It was already close to being time for me to get up anyway by then and so I used the bathroom and then got dressed and packed my bag but I still had twenty minutes or so to wait for breakfast to be served so I sat on the bed and I couldn’t help but think again about Tilda’s marvelous body and doing that worked me into another steamy, longing-swept, ball-aching lather and so then, to try to cool down again, I switched to thinking about her deplorable behavior but when I did so that time something strange happened – I couldn’t fathom out just what it was that she’d done that had been so wrong.

OK, maybe she should have been more open with me as to her reason for wanting to bend over instead of lying down on the blanket as I wanted her to do and she certainly shouldn’t have said – what was it? – “I’ve got a sudden need to do it that way, right now.” – but where was the heinous crime there? As I thought about that I came to remember that I’d been in the grip of the need for a ‘quicky’ when I’d asked her to lie down and that that meant that I wanted her right there and then and not after the twenty seconds or so that we’d both need to move over to the table and get into position and I had agreed to her request without voicing a complaint because I wanted her urgently and so I wasn’t able to think clearly but it must have rankled me and stayed in my sub-conscience and held itself ready as a ball of resentment to come back when I’d returned to being rational. Which it did.

There are degrees of duplicity and hers was very low scale indeed and it wasn’t the action of a loose woman or a deceitful woman as much as the action of a  – – – – – –  – – – – !

As soon as the last two words of that sentence came to my mind it was as if the sun had come out from behind dark clouds and I knew that everything in my life had just changed and that my despair had been lifted, permanently. When that had happened I realized that I’d been in exactly the same state of mind that I’d suffered through when my wife and sons had left me and again, two years or so later, when I’d waved goodbye to my daughter.

After breakfast I went down to the town bus station and I found that there was a bus leaving for Truro in the hour and that I could catch another bus to Falmouth from there.

I thought happily about my revelation and the subsequent end of my dejection until we were arriving in Truro and then I switched my brain onto solving the problem that WE have with building OUR cottage which is that WE need somewhere to sleep and eat in while WE are working on it.

While I was sitting in the waiting room in Truro the answer came to me: If we built a mirror image of the Welsh cottage lay-out we could leave the caravan where it is and we could sleep in it while we were building around it!

It would sit where the living room would be eventually and we could put the whole building up around it and then ‘float’ the concrete floor of the bedroom and the kitchen and bathroom and put the ceilings in and the pulp-board walls and then, when that was all finished, we’d be able to sleep in the permanent bed and so we could then dismantle the caravan and take it out piecemeal, through the picture window opening, and that would leave us free work on the living room and install the big window.

On the bus to Falmouth I drew up a schedule of the work required and when we got there I found a hardware store that had a building-store affiliated with it and I bought a book on building cottages and I used it to be able to give both stores big orders for tools and material and I arranged that they were to deliver, with a truck that had one of those cranes on it, the tools that I’d listed and the concrete blocks for the foundation and the cement and sand, and the concrete mixing machine that I’d hired on a monthly basis, three days from then and the rest of the stuff as I’d let them know in due course.

We ran into a problem when they asked for the address of the place and I showed them where it was on a map and I agreed to plant a stake by the stile and tie the red triangular flag that they gave me on to it. It was the kind that is used on trucks to warn following traffic that they are carrying a long load.

I paid for it all with a credit card and then a nasty thought occurred to me. What if it was all pie in the sky and Tilda had already written me off as an idiot and wouldn’t have anything to do with me or my plans for her cottage? The guy assured me that if I cancelled the orders before delivery I would have to pay ‘only’ a twenty per cent re-stocking charge.

I chose a few items that didn’t weigh much and that I’d need to get started and then I hopped on my bike and pedaled north and east towards Tilda. Up hill or down hill it didn’t seem to matter – the miles flew by.

I lifted my baggage and then my bike over the stile and I left it all there and then shouted, “Hello, the house.” Twice.

That’s all it took. Tilda had been sunbathing on the other side of the caravan and when she’d heard shouting she’d pulled a robe on and she’d held it closed and had then come around to see who was shouting.

When she saw me she ran up hill and she let the robe fly open and what a glorious sight that made. In my opinion, it’s the best possible way to welcome a guy home.

I slid down towards her and we met up in a rush and we fell onto the grass together in a heap of tangled arms and legs that we found no reason to sort out for a long time.

When I got her inside and onto the bed we had a grand re-union and she insisted on our sampling a lot of our most elaborate love plays and then, when I protested that I could hold back no longer, she made me mount her in the conventional position and astonished me by saying, “This way I can better gauge how much semen you’ve saved up for me.” She definitely wasn’t the same woman that I’d met up with on the night of the storm.

We’d already had our honeymoon and so, although the whole afternoon and evening and night passed splendidly for both of us, when we woke up in the morning we just kissed and then we got up and got dressed.

However, one thing had happened in the late evening that helped me out no end later on.

I was diligently mouthing away at her in what she’d decided was her current favorite method of experiencing cunnilingus when she suddenly made me stop and when I lifted my head she apologized and then told me that she was grateful for my efforts but it had suddenly felt to her as if a chasm had opened up in her center and that I was to please let her straddle me and try to fill the void by her own efforts. Nothing like that had happened between us before but I figured that she’d taken note somewhere along the line that by being in charge when she felt that special need she could best serve it by being able to determine the right rhythm and the degree of penetration and the fine-tuning for herself.

I moved onto my back so that she could straddle me and when she’d done so and had sidled down onto me just being filled up was enough for her for several minutes but then she wanted more and so she started moving her hips and although I was holding myself rigid, and trying to help her on every down stroke, in a few minutes her grunts of pleasure turned into grunts of frustration. She tried pushing down faster and harder but it soon became evident that because of her angle of approach nothing helped her much and I sensed that she wasn’t going to get it done and because I felt her distress I decided to intervene.

She didn’t seem to be able to hear me when I asked her to stop for a minute so after a while I moved my hands from her hips and used them to make her stop.

I waited through her lamentations until they eased off and then I asked her to listen to me.

“I’m afraid that it’s not going to happen for you this way, dear,“ I said. “Let me suggest something. Why don’t you disengage and then turn around completely and then try again from the reverse position? The angle is better that way. Trust me. You’ll see.”

She did what I’d suggested and with her very first approach shot she learned that she could get more pleasure and that the promise of fulfillment was tangibly evident too.

I got her to put a pillow under my knees so that she could support her upper body by leaning on them and that, along with some slight re-positioning of her legs, left her hips free to swivel and to drive much better and after a minute or two she was moving on me so rapidly that I couldn’t keep my hands on her hips. Animal noises started to come out of her mouth and I could gauge where she was at as far climaxing was concerned from their intensity. There was a zero chance of my not knowing when it happened and if we’d had any neighbors I would have been apprehensive about them calling the cops.

I had to hold her body for a while – she could have hurt me if she’d been allowed to fall to one side – and when I could I lifted her clear and then moved her so that her head was on the pillow and then I mounted her because I had to find relief for myself but I didn’t go at it seriously until I saw that she knew where she was, and with whom, and exactly what was happening.

She positively beamed with residual pleasure all the time that I was pounding her but she didn’t move to get, and to give, extra pleasure. When we were both resting she volunteered that she’d stayed still because her whole body had been, “permeated with contentment.” She said that she knew that nothing could have added to the sum of it for her because she’d been brimming over with it.

After breakfast I told her about my idea about building a mirror image of her cottage in Wales and why and she grasped the concept at once and recognized that it was the perfect solution. She was overjoyed and she needed to express her thanks and so she, strangely but charmingly, insisted that we go inside and lie on the bed so that she could show her gratitude by being able to kiss me for as long as she wished. Her kissing was sweet and nice to receive but then I did some kissing of my own that wasn’t sweet at all and involved lots of tongue and we found yet another form of rapport by doing that and we got to be deeply satisfied and it made us both writhe with pleasure and, for both of us, the action stopped being in gratitude for anything except maybe for being able to.

When we were both content we went outside again and I told her about the arrangements that I’d made for the delivery of materials and, disconcertingly, I saw her body stiffen and her eyes look daggers at me and I saw her lips tighten and go white.

“But you had no right to do that, John. I told you that I’ve only got enough money to pay for the foundations. The man told me it would be around two thousand pounds and that’s all that I’ve got . . . Well. You’ll have to go and cancel the order except for the cement blocks. Why on earth did you do something so foolish before talking to me?”

It was time to lay some truth on her and I told her about my company and how much I was worth but it wasn’t until I went to get some photos from my wallet that showed my children standing in front of our big house that had our three cars sitting in its driveway that she began to believe me. She stayed quiet for minutes on end and I knew that I shouldn’t speak nor touch her until we’d sorted out what was troubling her.

When she did speak it was in a voice that was loaded down with patience and with disappointment and it was as if she was addressing a semi-stranger so I got hit again by the enormity of the blunder that I’d made on the night before I went away.

“I’m glad for you John. When you told me that you’re an engineer I thought that that was a euphemism for ‘mechanic.’ . . . So, I see that you’re rich and that’s good for you but I, me myself, still have a problem, don’t I? Maybe a bigger one now. This piece of land is all that I have and if I let you put all of this material and labor into building the cottage won’t that make it yours? If it doesn’t then please tell me how can I possibly pay you back? In fifty years maybe? Will you wait that long to be re-paid? I think not.”

Wow! That hurt. She was implying that she fully expected me to go away again at anytime. I wanted to tell her that I wanted to marry her but I figured that we’d best clear the air of our other problems before I asked her to do that. That is if I wanted my second marriage to last for longer than the twenty years that my first one had.

I took her hand but it was like holding a stone so I let it go and then I got up and took a little walk-about.

During lunch I thought and thought about how to best reassure her and all I could come up with was to ask her to give me a few days to think some more about it and I suggested that in the mean time we should get back to working on the foundations.

She sensibly agreed to that and when I’d done some surveying and some measuring, and then some marking by hammering stakes into the ground, she started in on running string between them while I got on with digging the trenches that the concrete blocks would sit in. I used the erstwhile ‘fertilizing‘ shovel to do that and to dig out holes for posts.

The heavy work tired me out and when we’d eaten dinner and it had gotten dark we didn’t have much to say to each other so after a while I told her that I was going to bed and did she want me to sleep on the floor.

“I’ll be very disappointed if you do, dear. I love you. I want you to make love to me as much as ever. This other stuff doesn’t change that. It can’t. Nothing can.”

We went to bed and made love conventionally and it was good, it can never not be good, but not as good as it could have been. I held her as she slept and I was eventually able to work out a plan for the next day in which I’d be able to confront her in a way that might bring the base problems, like the one that had led up to my storming off, out into the open to be dealt with. I took solace in the fact that she’d said that she’d always love me but without her having total trust in me too that was worth only so much. I wanted it all and so I decided to take a chance and see if a little reciprocal roughness – she owed me that – followed up with ameliorating logic and then flattery could do the trick.

 The next morning we were working together on marking out more trenches and she was tying off a line when she suddenly straightened up as she said, “Ehhhh. Oooooh.” Before I could ask what her problem was – which wouldn’t have been such a bright idea anyway because I’ve been married for years and I know well that women’s sphincters work more irrationally than men’s do – she had started hurrying away and was unzipping her jeans as she went. At first she was clearly heading for the out-house but she must have realized that she wouldn’t make it because when she got past the caravan she turned and dashed in behind it.

I took a few steps to the side and saw that although her head and shoulders weren’t in view her hips and legs were. Because she didn’t know that I was looking I could do so without a problem and I saw that she’d already lowered her jeans to her knees and then I saw her panties follow suit and then she went into a half squat, to be sure that she didn’t soil her clothes, and she held the tails of her shirt where she could see them. Seconds later she produced a healthy looking stream of urine that curved forward and then down to the ground that had to be propelled by more than just gravity.

No one can deny the power that emanates from a woman’s center when it’s uncovered – not even when urine is pouring from it – and the primal, earthy sight gave me an immediate, urgent hard on – not very surprising really because it was, after all, the season for them – it was the kind that we called ‘stonkers’ when I was a youth and they are all-pervading and have to be dealt with one way or the other before you can hope to have a clear mind for anything else. Well, I could hardly approach her at that moment and ask for sex – loosely analogous to the story about the Lord Of The Manor who came home from a ‘shoot’ on his estates and told his family that he hadn’t shot anything but he could have if it wasn’t for his scruples about shooting deer when they were fornicating. “It’s just not done, my dears.” – I knew that I’d have to wait until well after she’d finished relieving herself so that the two distinctly different uses for her vulva no longer clashed although I must admit that the old song about ‘O’Reilly’s Daughter’ came to my mind. I mean the lines that go:

                                                             “Let’s go find O’Reilly’s daughter,

                                                             “Plug her hole and stop her water.

                                                             “Yippee Yi Yay. Yippee Yi Yo – – ”

and, truth be told, I was so desperately hard that at that moment the hole in question was the most important part of her as far as I was concerned.

I turned away intending to wait until she’d pulled her clothes up and then maybe wait for a minute or two more to let the incident fade – not from ‘our’ thoughts but from her thoughts because the exciting image was part and parcel of what had excited me.

When she’d finished she ‘adjusted her clothing’ and then took some tissue from a pocket and she made it into a pad which she put inside her panties and was then ready to work again and so she walked back and resumed tying a line around a stake at the notch.

Because she was crouching down to do it I was looking at her face from a different angle than normal and I saw something new in her profile. There was strength of character showing that, I was sure, hadn’t been present when we first met. I realized immediately that I could use that as a pivot for my plan and that I could hang my attempt to re-gain her full trust on it and that it was vastly superior to the reconciliatory phase that I’d thought up the night before about ‘seeing the sunset in your lovely eyes’ or some such twaddle.

I said, in a needy voice that I didn’t have to fake, “Tilda.” and she knew what I wanted right away. She learns quickly. She said, ”Just a minute dear. Let me finish tying this.” and a little while later she stood up and said, “All right, dear. Shall we go inside?”

I said, “No. I want you here and now on this patch of grass. Right now please.” and as I was speaking I was undoing my belt.

She didn’t approve, of course, but she wanted to indulge me so she, a bit hesitantly, lowered the zipper on her jeans and then went through the other motions needed to clear the area for action, as you might say, but she kept her eyes on me to be sure that I really did want her to lie down bare-ass on the grass and the dirt.

I took off my shorts altogether and then straightened up and she could then see clearly that I wasn’t kidding. She sat down on the grass and took her jeans off altogether and then her panties and then, still a bit tentatively, she lay back onto the dirt.

I got into position and I didn’t wait for her to guide me but I bulled my way into her and then I drove in and out as hard as I knew how. All through her ordeal I supported my upper body on my arms so that she’d be able to see that I was looking at her face as I pounded away. She was dry up inside, of course, so I hurt her a bit but she tried to not show it. She was bewildered and a little frightened and the combination made me even harder so it got to be all over after no more than a dozen strokes.

When I’d regained some strength I rolled off her and lay still.

After a while I heard a strange slurping noise and some weird popping.

I sat up and I saw that she was fingering herself and was making the noises by swirling her finger in the semen that was running out of her and she then kind of pushed her finger into herself a few times and then I saw her belly muscles bunch and she made some dribbly cunt-farts come out.

I knew that she was doing it for a purpose and I didn’t like the implication at all so I stood up and pulled my shorts up and then I offered my hand to pull her up.

She said, “No Jack.” – that really hurt me, that ‘Jack’ of hers – “Stand there a minute and tell me what this makes you think of.”

She then took her hand away and she opened and closed her legs several times and then crossed and uncrossed them a few times too.

I knew all right and I got a sickening feeling because I also knew that she was making what hadn’t been all that serious into being something serious by taking it seriously.

“After the Cossacks left the girl in, ‘And Quiet Flows The Don.’

“Yes. Exactly. No one who reads that book can ever forget that part but you didn’t quote it correctly and not far enough. It’s not just, ‘After the Cossacks left.’ but more like ‘After they’d all taken their turn at raping her they left her there on the ground and her legs were opening and closing like scissors.’

“Jack. You just raped me and I can’t believe it happened yet even though your semen is still running out of me – look at it – and I’m surprised that there’s no blood mixed with it because you were so brutal that I thought that you must have torn something inside me.

“Well. If I didn’t love you I’d probably be running to find a policeman right now and instead of that, and because of that, I want to know – Why? What were you thinking? When I read ‘And Quiet Flows The Don’ many years ago I knew intellectually what a rape does to a woman but after what just happened I now know how it feels too.”

“It wasn’t ‘rape’ ” I protested, “No way! It was just ‘rutting’ or ‘ravishing’ maybe. That’s the way it goes – if there’s lust alone in a man it makes him pay a prostitute or contact a known loose woman but if lust and hate are present together in him then that’s what gets him to turn to violence and rape. My lust was combined with love and so that was only ‘ravishing’ at worst. It’s what lovers do sometimes.”

I had to think fast and I came up with, “I’ve read lots of articles that examine the phenomenon and there was a whole book written about it called, “The Zipless Fuck’. I think.

“One of the anecdotes in it is about a man and a woman who are alone in a train compartment and who are strangers. They are both reading books and when the train goes into a tunnel the lights don’t come on for some reason and after a few seconds the guy says, ‘Did you know that this train takes fourteen minutes to pass through this tunnel?’ and the woman replies, ‘Really? Why, that’s plenty of time. Let’s do it.’

“And you must have heard about the Greek princess, or empress or whatever, who had a personal guard of twenty-two soldiers who would have to go and fight to protect her from enemy soldiers the next morning? No? Well I’ll tell you. Back then, and it’s still true to this day, every man who is going to be involved in serious fighting in the immediate future badly wants to be with a woman on the night before he faces death because passing on one’s seed is a form of immortality. Right? That was especially so at that time in history because fighting was done up close and no quarter was asked for nor given.

“Well, this – uh – well – this, ‘Greek woman of importance, shall we say? – made all of her personal guards line up outside her bedroom and she let them come to her one at a time and she took care of them all. Ha! There must have been a whole lot of semen running out of her by the time that the fourth or fifth one had used her – correct? – but it was incidental and unimportant, right? D’you see? – The big picture was that she knew that not only would they all be grateful for the relief that she’d given them they’d also sleep better that night and thus be well rested the next morning. She also knew that after using her each one of them would feel a much stronger sense of loyalty towards her – in that she might well be carrying his child – and would thus be motivated to fight even harder to protect her.

“And then there’s the more contemporary one where the guy gets home from work and when he’s closed the front door he calls out, ‘Honey, I’m home. When do we fuck?’

“It’s called a ‘quicky’. The need to do it like that, with ‘no preliminaries’ as you once called love play, is triggered by lots of things and what made me have to do it to you immediately back then was seeing your beautiful face from a different angle and seeing the strength of character that was in it and the grace that was in the way that you were holding your head. I had to have that face under me right away where I could look down on it as I was going at it and it had to be just the way it was and not softened by love nor slackened by lust. By doing that I knew, and I know now that I was right, that it would bring me closer to you because by possessing you like that I would establish the fact that you are truly mine. Do you see? I could tell myself that that was true because, amazingly, you’ve told that you love me.”

While I’d been saying that bit about ‘possessing you like that’ she’d covered herself with her shirt tails and that had been encouraging – clearly, I was getting through – and when I finished talking she sat up and she reached for her jeans and took another tissue out of a pocket and she wadded it and then dabbed at herself with it. Then she pulled on her panties and as she was pulling up her jeans she said. “Semantics John, all semantics, I’m afraid. But it’s true that you know far more about these things than I do so I need some time to think. Let’s get on with the work and maybe we can talk about it again later?”

She then accepted my hand to pull herself up with.

A half hour before we’d have had to quit work if we wanted to see our nightly light show she went to the caravan to get dinner started and when I’d quit too and had sat down at the outdoor table she came out and she brought some vodka for herself and a beer for me.

We sat quietly until the show was over and it was a particularly good one so we both politely applauded God even though we’re both as near to being atheists as you can get. She calls her religion ‘Secular Humanism’ and mine is ‘Keep the Bingo but lose the Mumbo-jumbo.‘

She took another sip of her drink and then she said, quietly, “So, John. There are two contentious points between us now, right? Let’s try to deal with the most important one first, shall we?

“You seem to be making the case that dominance is not only going to play a regular part in our relationship but that I should learn to not just accept it but to welcome it as a sign of your love for me. Well, I don’t think that I can cope with having that kind of violence lurking about just waiting for a ‘trigger’ to start it off, as you said. I don’t like the thought nor the concept and certainly not the pain that it causes.”

It was my turn to speak, “ ‘Dominance’ you called it. Let me remind you of something. Late in the afternoon on the day that I came back here from my trip we were in bed and I introduced you to a new way of doing it – it was with you straddling me and facing away from me, remember?

“Well. When you were doing that you were dominating me for the longest time. You clearly didn’t care who I was when you were doing it as long as whoever the man was kept an erect dick for you to try to produce smoke and fire with.

“You were dominating me completely. The only difference that I can see between the one and the other is which one of us was in charge of the proceedings at the two different times.

“Do you want to give up the right to be in complete charge ever again? What if I show you other ways in which you can lose yourself in lust entirely by your own efforts? Are you going to tell me to not teach them to you and to never again let you do the one that you know about already?

“And remember something else too. You thought that you got hurt but really the only thing that did get hurt was your feelings and, reverting back, although you didn’t hurt me when you were working away at me the other day would you have stopped because you might have been doing so? Well, I was there and I doubt if you could have stopped for anything. In any case that kind of wounding by a lover is one that just has to be borne in silence.

“So, that takes care of the dominance problem I think. Want to tell me what the other one is?”

“Oh, dear. I suppose you’re right. I do apologize. And you’re also right about not having hurt me. I explored with a finger when I came in to make dinner and already there’s no soreness there. It was psychosomatic I guess. I really am sorry dear. Please try to forgive me. I guess that doing it occasionally without having any love play at all is love play in its own way.

“Well. We don’t have to talk about that anymore. Agreed? I’m going to have to work on learning to trust you to always do the right thing in matters of lovemaking but please remember that it was only a few weeks ago that I hardly knew that sex could be pleasurable for the woman!

“Well. The other matter that I referred to is about this property and how can I be sure that it will stay mine in the eyes of the law after I’ve let you pour a whole lot of effort and untold thousands of pounds into it. Right?”

“Right. Well, first off let’s look at the immediate situation. Yes? Well, we could simply stay as we are until September and then find a contractor to do the work and then return next spring to find a completed cottage waiting for us. Correct? We could do that but I think that it’s important that we do all of the work ourselves. Do you agree?

“I do indeed.”

“Good. Now as to the question of legality. My company has a law firm on retainer and they’ve got affiliates who deal with this sort of thing all day long and do nothing else. I could get you reams of legal papers – enough to fill the entire caravan – and I’ll do it if you want but I know for a fact that seeing that you own the land then, as long as you keep paying the taxes that are due on it, and on time, it doesn’t matter who comes along and improves it or builds on it, or does anything else to it. Whatever is done belongs to you, free and clear, so rest easy on that score.

“But listen to me, Tilda dear. I know a way to make all of the legal wrangling ‘become as of naught’ as I once heard a pretentious law clerk say in my office.

“Tilda. It’s too dark for you to see me so it would be silly of me to actually do it but I assure you that I’m kneeling at your feet metaphorically speaking.

“Tilda. Will you marry me? Please say ‘yes’.”

“Oh! Oh! John! – – Uh, let me sit on your lap so that I can find your face better – – there . .  Of course I’ll marry you, John. In a second.”

We did some nice kissing and after a while she pushed my hand away and said, “John? Listen. I’m intrigued about something that you said earlier. That ‘strength of character’ thing that you saw in my face. Come inside and we’ll light both Kincaids and then you will please point it out to me in the mirror. Please?”

 When we’d done that and had eventually stopped giggling and kissing I picked up the two buckets and went to get more water so that we could give each other sponge baths – we did that on most warm nights and it always developed into an altogether different and delightful collaboration – and as I was walking back to her, with the full buckets, she called out, “John, dear, where are you? Please hurry. I can’t start without you because I need something to hang the towel on.”


The phrase with the operative last two words that had come to me in that hotel in Camelford had been – – the action of a ‘loving wife.’