There was a slow creaking followed by echoing bangs, not too loud but enough that Harriet knew something was happening outside. She looked across the bay at the other technicians, they ignored the sound and carried on readying their equipment. Their hexagonal pods were being moved into place on small trolleys, obviously made for the task. Harriet looked at her own pod, the lid was open and she could see her tools inside, around her waist she wore a tool belt. She was ready for action. The creaking stopped and the banging became distant taps.
The tannoy crackled “This is the Captain of the Town Ship Aberaeron speaking, all active crew at your stations please! Prepare to be boarded!”
Harriet felt her heart race, she knew what was coming, she thought she knew, she didn’t know what was coming and looked to her tools for reassurance. “Don’t let it be marquetry! Please, not marquetry.” she said softly.
The bay doors opened with a hiss and a reptilian creature walked in carrying a translator. Behind was a humanoid, with silver skin, pushing a cart with a wobbly wheel that squeaked. Then another reptilian dragging a monowheel on its side. Finally a slug like creature on a powered scooter rolled in, carrying a stick in one hand and a stool missing a leg in the other hand. That one must be mine Harriet thought. She stepped forward and intercepted the creature who gladly presented the stool and the broken leg. “Don’t worry.” Harriet said, “Y’bathusa old growth root, it should be an easy fix.” She examined the leg and decided that some banana glue should do the job and reached down to her tool belt for the tube. It wasn’t there, just an empty slot. Confused, she looked down at her tool belt and it held a diaphragm pump, a can of peanuts, and a small sauce pan. A wave of panic sent shivers down her spine. She looked at her hexpod for her tools but the pod was closed, there didn’t seem to be a way she could open it. As she clawed at the edges of the supposed hexpod lid a roar boomed across the bay, the reptilian’s translator had been repaired, looking up she saw the silver humanoid joyfully wheeling the repaired cart back out, being overtaken by another reptilian riding the monowheel and waving a thankful claw.
The slug creature tapped the horn on the scooter, beep beep beep, impatiently waiting for Harriet to fix the stool, but she had no idea how to repair it, how to do anything, she didn’t even know why she volunteered in the first place. She felt so stupid thinking she could….
Beep beep beep beep beep beep…
Harriet woke with a start. Her heart was racing and her breath short. The car alarm in the distance outside beeped for a few seconds longer before it stopped. Harriet looked at the clock, five seventeen.
Ugh, what was that all about? Harriet rubbed the sleep from her eyes and had a drink of water before getting out of bed and staggering across to the bathroom to use the toilet. There had been a lot of weird dreams recently.
Though Harriet had a room in the house to call her own now that she had the garage as a workshop she was spending more time in there. It was becoming her safe space, at least in the daylight hours, and she was happy to just disappear in there to think, read, sketch, and just consider her life and what she wants from it.
Harriet didn’t do any proper making in her new temporary workshop at first. She took her time and laid out her tools, built a couple of saw horses to keep the timber off the floor, made a little shelf to put her batteries and charger onto, and set up a space to hang saws. It would all be useful in her proper workshop anyway, so none of the effort was wasted. A proper workshop! It still seemed unreal, an impossible dream that she will suddenly wake up from, and what was that dream about last night? Harriet could barely remember the details, just the feelings it left her with, the feelings of inadequacy and foolishness.
Just doing a few simple things in the workshop made her feel more settled, and happier. Each little job reminded her that she knew what to do, and how to do it, that she wasn’t stupid or useless. Harriet was happy, at the moment, to just lean against the bench and survey the little changes, the walls she had painted white, the stack of timber, the slow flashing of LEDs on the charger. She felt born to be in work clothes, with dust on her knees, fingernails cut short, and a pencil behind her ear. Nothing to prove, no one to impress. This mattered to Harriet far more then she realised before this moment. She really needed this time to grow back into her own skin, to ground herself back to what was truly important. What she needed was the time and confidence to make her own decisions, and being able to do that safely with Adam and Amanda was a luxury she was grateful for and one she would not forget. One day she would be back on her own, earning and living independently again.
“Thank you so much for the garage space, it is wonderful to have it, even for a while!” Harriet said to Adam and Amanda over dinner “Is there anything you need, that I can make for you? I am aware that I am using a lot of your hospitality and friendship and not able to give anything back yet, but I will”
“Oh don’t worry about that at all, we’re friends and we’re not keeping tabs. I don’t think there is anything we need right now,” Amanda replied, looking at Adam for confirmation of that. Adam nodded in agreement. “I think we are good for stuff, but we’ll certainly let you know if there is, or we think of anything. But you don’t have to if you have things you’d like to do for yourself. Also, at some point you might want to move into your own place so you could make stuff for then if you like. Anyway, when you have your own workshop we’ll have a clean and bright garage we could use for something else. Thank you for that, it looks so much better.”
“Oh, it was nothing really, just a sweep and some paint. Yes, that’s an idea. I made our…my bed before I met Marie. I didn’t even know what I was doing back then but it is still working as a bed so that something. I could make stuff to go with it. Though it might all get stored here for a while, as I don’t see me being able to afford somewhere for a bit. If you are still ok with that. I mean, if you want me to start looking for somewhere I can do.”
“Oh no, no, that’s not what we meant. No, like I said, you’re welcome to stay here, I was more thinking the other way around, in case you were getting fed of of being stuck here with us.” Amanda reassured Harriet “We know you could be here a while, and we’re fine and happy with that. It is actually nice having you here.”
“It’s like having my little sis staying, Harriet, consider yourself family, I always have.” Adam added. “You have always been there for me when we were younger, so for as long as you are happy and comfortable here, you are welcome.
“One thought though, and I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, and feel free to say ‘no’ if you want. When you are in your own workshop, maybe we could pay you to do something with the garage. I don’t think we’ll be putting a car in there but maybe you could build a new wall where the garage door is and insulate it all so that Amanda could use it as a study or something. What do you think?”
“I think that is an excellent Idea! I can do that for you.” Harriet was excited at the prospect of planning ahead for some work.
“You trying to get rid of me!” Amanda scowled and then laughed at Adam!
“Not at all, love, I just know you could do with space to do your own thing sometimes.” Adam winked at her.
Harriet could feel there was something unspoken going on but didn’t intrude to ask.
Daisy’s weekends were, more and more, spent browsing estate agents details online. Often just for humour looking at the weird and unusual houses well outside of her price range and preferred locations, but also looking for some indication of where might be the right sort of affordable house. There had been very little so far. Daisy didn’t have a very strict check list but certain things did matter. Affordability was obvious, but also safety both for living there and for getting to and from work and shopping. Security was also an issue both financial and structural. But behind that Daisy was also wondering about history. She wanted to have a home she could love, and also enjoy researching. So along side her house search she was also looking at the history of each of her preferred search locations. Modern estates and new developments were out unless there was a good story behind the land and the development. A famous mill, a war time factory, the estate of someone famous and wealthy. Daisy had no problems about not famous and wealthy, but she was also aware there would be much less to research about a place or person if they were mostly unknown.
The research at this stage was still very superficial. There was little point in delving too deeply in to a particular industry, factory, or land owner if she wasn’t going to be living there. But at the same time Daisy realised just how little she knew about the town, why it came to be there, and what kept it going.
Theraton was a market town, though now more shopping mall town given the recent appearance of the huge Ultimo retail park on the outskirts of town leading to a massive increase in traffic and expansion of the ring road.
It was all aspects of the town that Daisy had never considered before, it just was how it was and Daisy accepted the changes that occurred as just a thing that happened without much consideration of the how or why of it. While she could take the bus from home to the various offices for admin work, or the taxi to a photo shoot, traffic delays and access to decent clothes shops had been her primary concerns. Now, free from the shackles of fashion and work suits, and her commute to work being opposite to the general flow of traffic her interest in where she lived began to grow.
“Did you know Theraton has been here for over a thousand years, and is named after a Danish Queen?” The question wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular and Daisy wasn’t even sure she had said it out loud.
“Was it?” Fran replied “What was a Danish Queen doing here?”
“”Shopping probably!” laughed Ingrid, “Checking out the latest tends in velvet robes and tiaras at the ‘Ultimo’.”
“Nah, I think Queen Theraton, would be more of a local high street gal myself, supporting the community and getting ‘with it’ with the commoners!” Fran laughed.
“A quick Wiki search of her says that Queen Thyra was cleverer then her husband, the King. Do you think that means she was the one ‘bringing home the Danish bacon’?” Daisy suggested with a grin. There was less of a laugh at that from Ingrid and Fran and, at that, Daisy realised it was an age thing!
“So what are you doing looking up dead Queens then?” Asked Fran “I thought you weren’t going to college.”
“Oh, I’m not, not yet anyway, but I need to see if I can do research and I figured I could start by finding out a bit about where we live. I was thinking that when I finally get a place of my own it might also be something I could look into, you know, find out when it was built, who lived there, what jobs they did. That sort of thing. But until I have a place to focus on I thought I’d look into the history of the town. It’ll be good practice for when… if… I start that degree.”
“Ahh, ‘Professor Daisy Bell’ has a certain ‘ring’ to it?” Quipped Ingrid with a smile.
“Oh, I won’t be a professor, I am….
Oh yeah, very funny!” Daisy laughed as she realised the joke and Ingrid and Fran laughed with her. “Yeah, that’s the one thing I hated about my parents when I was growing up. Of all the names they could have chosen for me, and they name me after a daft song! All through school ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m ‘arf crazy all for this bloody stupid name!’.” She sang.
“You could change your name, or get married or something.” Suggested Fran
“Oh don’t go there again!”, Daisy sighed, “I’m going to be single forever, and I’m going to enjoy it. Besides, who’s going to fall for me in my work clothes? It’s all I seem to wear when I am outside in the world!”
“No one at work you fancy?”
“Nah, and I think anyone there worth being with is already taken.” Daisy replied. “I do see a lot of people during the day but, funny thing is, with a yellow high viz coat on I am pretty much invisible. People don’t see me nor acknowledge my existence. Even those who bother to say hello, or good morning, are only saying it to the service they are getting, not really to any of us as individuals.
So, no, I am destined to be Daisy Bell, spinster, ex model that no one has heard of, and an ageing nobody! I’ll be that little old lady pushing a shopping trolley around town collecting the drinks cans out of the bins to sell for scrap!” Daisy faked a sigh of deep sadness, before bursting out laughing.