Trixie Franklin gently combed her long blond locks into a ponytail before securing her nurses’ beret with what felt to like a thousand hairpins. She gave herself once the last preening before slathering her lips with balm before heading towards the door and down the wide oak staircases to breakfast before having to report for morning duty.
As she reached the last step she saw an exhausted Patsy walking through the arched doorway. Trixie went over and gave a reassuring pat on her friend’s shoulder. “Fun night was it?” She teased as Patsy stifled a yawn. “I wish. I was called out to Mrs Kettering on Turpin road at two a clock this morning and it was agonisingly slow labour. If it wasn’t for poor Nancy Kettering’s screams I would have fallen asleep myself.” Patsy regained composure and smiled. “Still, there is no joy like midwifery. Mr Kettering was an absolute angel with all the cups of tea and biscuits, suffice to say he’s been feeding Nancy so well because she gave birth to a plump little girl weighing five pounds and eight ounces.” Trixie’s eyes widened in surprise from what she’d seen at Nancy at the clinic she was only a slight little thing. “Well, the bedroom and bathroom are all yours for the morning for you to get some rest, in anticipation I’ve already slipped a Hot water bottle in your bed and left out my lavender bath salts.” Patsy looked eternally grateful to her friend before trundling up the stairs towards their room. Patsy knew Delia was also coming home from the night shift at the maternity home so what with Trixie being out all day perhaps they could have some alone time together.
Seeing that her friends’ spirit had been lifted, however, blissfully unaware of her friend’s plan she headed off to the dining hall. Sister Julien, Sister Monica Joan, Sister Winifred and fellow nurse Valerie Dyer were all huddled around the long worn table nibbling on fruit and discussing what to do to raise money for the Cubs trip to Lords to watch the cricket. Excusing her lateness she took her seat beside Valerie.
“What about another fair where Fred could host his ‘chariots’ races again, coconut shy, the lot?” Valerie cut in enthusiastically. “I could perhaps run a lemonade and shandy stall?” Sister Julienne smiled, “We could also have The Cubs band play with various handicraft stalls like we did when Princess Margaret visited,” she turned to Sister Monica Joan who was rewinding bandages. “I trust, Sister that you could contribute your knitted creations for a stall and perhaps teach children to knit?” The others exchanged an ominous look between them as Sister Monica Joan and sharp objects were like oil and water. “With blunt needles of course.” Sister Julianne cut in which reassured the others. Trixie sipped her tea, “Perhaps I can hold keep fit demonstrations?” The others agreed. Sister Winifred burst in, “Perhaps the new Mr and Mrs Hereford’s friend would kindly rent us his carousel?” Trixie began to inspect the bottom of her teacup, the mere mention of Tom still stung even after all this time especially as Trixie and Christopher’s relationship had gotten so serious. Sister Julienne clapped her hands. “We shall get on with it straight away but, for now, there is work to be done if we’re to get Poplar through another day.” As the sun streamed in through the windows, basking the fresh cut flowers in warmth and light everybody took this as their cue to commence with Morning duties.
Nurse Crane ran the clinical room like a tight ship. She scrutinised everything for any imperfection as well as guarding her beloved Rolodex like it was the Crown Jewels. The room, although she should be used to it by now still made her feel giddy with the overwhelming odour of Dettol. She checked she had everything in her case as Nurse Crane dispensed orders like an army Sargent, “Sister Winifred and Nurse Franklin, you are both on district rounds this morning.” Trixie inwardly groaned at the thought of working with Sister Winifred as she was ever so chatty which meant they would end up being behind on visits. Nevertheless, she did not let it show and lifted her head with her natural grace, smiled and answered, “Right you are Nurse Crane.” She turned on her heel and proceeded to the bike shed whilst Sister Winifred trailed behind.
The prospect of a good day was dampened by the unreliable weather, it was June and yet it was pouring down. As she mounted her trusty bike she saw that a small bunch of Gerber daisies were tied to the front with a note that read:
Dear my darling Beatrix,
Would you please do myself and Lucy the honour of joining as for a cream tea at Shelia’s this evening at six. We have something we would both like to ask you.
Trixie bit her lip and smiled inwardly at Christopher’s wonky cursive. She hadn’t seen him or Lucy in two weeks, things had quietened down lately. They’d been dating seven months and yet as a thought flashed through her mind. She had to stop herself, her engagement to Tom was rather fast and look what happened there. Trixie took a deep breath regained her calm, cool composure and headed towards her first street whilst Sister Winifred chewed Fred’s ear off about the fair.
Trixie glowed with excitement and found herself counting down the hours till her shift ended.