Nuisance Value

Things looked rather better from the outside. Okay the weeping caravan with its soggy belly was not every woman’s dream home, but hey, a table in the sun on a slope of sunlit grass, with not a neighbour in sight, well who would complain? Alex poured another glass. Wine at ten in the morning in a Mexican long-stemmed ice-blue goblet was just her way of celebrating. They had done it, gone for broke.

They had inherited too, feral cats, and a broken-winded pony, right now struggling to extract the last of the hay from the hanging rope bag. Life was going to be good.

Their hillside was bathed in honey, the long grass and the perimeter of trees hid the ugliness that she knew surrounded her, not just the chalet bungalows but the spitting owners that had driven others out for fear of what might happen. Well horses would happen. They would enjoy the thought of horses, surely? Horses had class and the sound of hooves or the odd neigh could hardly offend. Once the grey block stables were smartened with paint and flower baskets she and Miguel would start on a modest house that would be invisible. They would all relax and she would invite them over for summer barbecues and chat over the post and rail fencing. Yes sir. At last. Maybe Miguel would recover now there were horses to hope for; maybe his heart would strengthen.

He came to the cardboard door and ducked under the frame. ‘I maka the coffee. You want some?’

‘Okay,’ she said, filling her glass and lighting a cigarette. The thin grey cat pawed at her hand, watching the coiling smoke that lingered in the cold air. Miguel removed the cat and sat beside her, stirring his coffee. The punctured oil drum set upon bricks gave little heat. He felt better this morning but wished he could feel his feet.

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