Copyright oggbashan December 2022
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.
Some of the conversations are assumed to be in Spanish, translated for this story.
“James? Our visas are genuine, but only as students, but the work we were promised and paid for, doesn’t exist.”
Pablo was speaking. He and his wife Inez had got off the bus at the stop on the edge of my land which adjoins the South Downs Way. They were in their mid-twenties, heavily laden with large back packs. I had been sitting on my veranda recovering after unloading too much shopping from a supermarket. I had done more than I should with my age and disabilities. I had left the piles of bags on the kitchen work surfaces.
As they got off the bus the rain started in earnest. I invited them on to my veranda to shelter from the rain.
“I am sorry,” Inez had said.” We don’t know much Inglez.”
The word “Inglez” made me suspect they were Spanish. I spoke to them in Spanish while they were drinking coffee and looking out at the pouring rain miserably.
It took some time for them to explain why they were on the South Downs Way.
They had answered an advertisement in their Spanish local paper offering to obtain visas and guarantee a job for a year in England for a fee of five hundred Euros each.
They wanted to improve their almost non-existent English and had paid the fee. But when they arrived in Brighton on Friday afternoon, the office they were supposed to go to was locked and looked abandoned.
A neighbouring shopkeeper had just about managed to convey through the language barrier, that the office occupier had been arrested on Thursday for running a scam business. None of the ‘work’ existed except as slave labour at car wash sites or nail bars or even worse for attractive young women.
Pablo and Inez didn’t have enough money to go back to Spain. They had hoped to find work in Brighton but there were too few vacancies and too many people chasing the jobs that existed. They also needed somewhere to live.
They had spent two nights sleeping rough in Brighton but thought it very dangerous with too many drunken people in the streets. They had met another Spaniard, visiting Brighton for the day, who had suggested they might be safer camping in the countryside, which is why they had taken a bus to the South Downs Way.
They had used their last money to buy some second-hand camping equipment.
I asked when they had last eaten. The answer was yesterday lunchtime.
“Can you cook?” I asked.
Yes. They were both graduate catering students who had hoped to get work in a Brighton restaurant.
I took them into the kitchen of my chalet and pointed at the pile of supermarket purchases waiting to be put away.
“Please, can you put all that away for me and make breakfast for yourselves.”
Inez started crying but Pablo hugged her. I watched as they put everything away, in the fridge, the freezer and the kitchen cupboards. I had to suggest where was appropriate sometimes. It took the two of them ten minutes. I would have taken over an hour.
Half an hour later they were eating breakfast and obviously enjoying it.
I was missing my beach hut. I had owned it for forty years in a seaside town that I had visited with my parents on summer holidays. But seven years ago I decided I could no longer use it. The nearest place to park a car was at the top of a hill and there were one hundred steps down to where the beach hut was.
My reduced mobility after the car crash that had killed my wife meant I could no longer use the hundred steps. My children and grandchildren were too far away for it to be useful for them, so I had sold it at a considerable profit. I didn’t need the money, but I was regretting losing it.
Over the first couple of years after the accident my mobility had become worse. When going from my large suburban house to the City of London about twice a week I used a limousine car hire service. I would sit in the back reading the Financial Times, but I knew most of the information before it was published. That was why I owned a stockbroking company that was very profitable.
I knew I ought to sell the company and retire. Five years ago Uncle Frank’s will was the catalyst for me to do just that.
He was rich but he had distributed much of his wealth to his sons, daughters, and grandchildren long before he died to avoid inheritance tax. I attended the family solicitors for the reading of Uncle Frank’s will knowing he had left me something, but what?
He had left me the farm and farmhouses. He had lived in the medieval farmhouse. His tenant farmer lived in the ‘new’ farmhouse built about 1905.
The will said: ‘I am leaving the farm and houses to my nephew James almanbahis because he is the only one with enough money to look after them.’
The farm was in the Sussex Downs, far too far for me to travel to London. I sold my company and moved in, shortly followed by a whole company of builders.
Through the farmland was the South Downs Way, a national footpath and bridle track. Thirty years ago, Uncle Frank had negotiated with the local council and the park authority to divert the path to an improved route. He had made it wider, with more space where there were good viewpoints. It had become a shared foot and cycle path. He had surfaced the whole route through his land three metres wide. Alongside it was five metres of soft earth for the horses. The revised route followed field boundaries so didn’t interfere with agriculture as the old route had. At each extreme he had provided car parks. At one end the route ran between the old and new farmhouses. That wasn’t inconvenient because the houses were fifty yards apart but shared an access from a roundabout where the major roads separated.
At the other end, at a high point, was a derelict farmworker’s house. It still had permission to be used as a dwelling since it had been rented out to an elderly couple until they died about ten years ago. But it was in poor condition and beyond repair. I kept the planning rights to build a house there but I didn’t need it. I had asked my builders to demolish it and install a wooden chalet, to make it habitable for me while the major works were done on the old farmhouse. The chalet was single storey, with a bedroom, and an annexe bathroom adapted for disabled use.
I had to negotiate with the local council to get planning permission. What helped was that I provided land for a lay-by including a dedicated bus-stop. I gave the land to the council and paid for the works — and I got my planning permission.
The chalet had a large covered veranda with extensive views over the farmland. Unless it was cold, I could sit out, even in the rain. If the weather was inclement I could move into a living room with full length French windows. Whether indoors or out I could see the South Downs Way climbing up the steep hill to the car park and road.
It almost felt as if I was in my beach hut again with many people passing every day. Instead of the sea I was looking at rolling grassland dotted with sheep. If the weather was forecast to be fine, I would ride my electric pavement buggy to it. I had charging points at the chalet and at the house. If there was any doubt about the weather I would drive my people carrier by road.
The path went beside my veranda so I could greet people, some of whom were tired after climbing the hill. I could offer them tea, or coffee, and a chair to sit in. I provided shelter from bad weather and coffee or tea if needed. The benefits for me were the thanks of the men and often hugs and kisses from the women. I enjoyed them. It made me feel I was providing a useful service.
I was slightly sad that my future seemed to be one of gradual decline. Although I had sold most of my company I had kept fifteen per cent. The proportion gave me a large income and I had a considerable capital as well. But I had nothing to live for except interacting with passers-by and an expectation of my mobility becoming gradually worse.
But I hadn’t expected a homeless and jobless Pablo and Inez.
My family had been worried that at my age and with my disabilities I was living alone. I didn’t feel alone. I had the farmer and his family next door, cleaners who came in for two hours three days a week, and all the people passing my chalet by the South Downs Way.
But Pablo and Inez’s problems gave me an idea. In the old house I had many empty bedrooms and masses of space. If I were to employ the two, perhaps as live-in au-pairs, they would have somewhere to live, an income, and could practise and learn English, especially if they went to the local evening classes, some of which were English for foreigners.
The rain continued to pour all morning. Pablo, Inez and I sat around with cups of coffee talking. My Spanish had been rusty but a few hours of using it and almost all my facility was back. The three of us were sitting on the settee with Inez between Pablo and me. She was resting her head on Pablo’s shoulder. I was startled when she moved to kiss my cheek and rest on my shoulder.
I asked then to make lunch for the three of us. Over the meal I suggest that they could be my live-in au-pairs, at least until they found some other work.
“But this place is too small for three of us!” Inez protested. “There is only one bedroom.”
“It is,” I said. “But this is just my retreat chalet.”
They didn’t understand chalet.
“Come on,” I said. “I’ll drive you to my house. This is just a wooden chalet.”
The still didn’t really understand even as I drove them to my house.
As I turned into the carriage drive I said:
Then almanbahis giriş they understood and marvelled at it. It is large with a portico in front so we could get out sheltered from the rain. We went in.
“There are ten bedrooms, excluding the servants’ quarters, five living rooms, a library, a large kitchen, a scullery, a laundry room, and other things as well. That large enough for you?”
“It isn’t a house,” Pablo said, “It is a mansion.”
I took them upstairs to a bedroom.
“This could be yours,” I said. “There is an ensuite bathroom, a dressing room that could be a study. It has Ethernet for the broadband…”
“This would be far better than sleeping in a tent in the soggy countryside,” Inez said. “Pablo?”
“We’d be fools not to accept your generous offer, James.” Pablo said.
“Have you got a laptop?” I asked.
Pablo’s face fell.
“No. W had to sell it to finance our journey to England.”
“No problem. I have a spare. You can connect it up and tell your families where you are.”
A couple of hours later Pablo and Inez had prepared an evening meal. As we ate it we discussed what I wanted then to do — basically just keep an eye on me and cook. But there were other things as well. They could both drive and had international driving licences that would be valid in the UK for a year, although they were dubious about driving on the left.
It took us about a month to change their visas to be au-pairs, and three months to upgrade them to allow Pablo and Inez to work in the UK — the visas they had been promised by the fraudster. I arranged for them to be added to the insurance of one of my smaller cars. Online we had looked at the courses of English for Foreign students. There was a course in Brighton starting in a week’s time. I would pay for their enrolment. After the meal I showed them the library. I had over five thousand books and about a hundred classics of Spanish Literature in Spanish.
Three months later Pablo and Inez were an essential part of my household. Their English was improving daily, helped by the evening classes and my extensive library but also by the conversations we had daily at my house or in the chalet.
I had booked them both for a driving test in three months’ time and many hours were spent with the Highway Code, practising their understanding and posing questions. They started by running me to my chalet and collecting me each evening.
One evening I had taken them to a rural public house about five miles away. We had a meal of locally sourced English food. Pablo was impressed and went to speak to the chef. The manager joined in. As a result Pablo and Inez were invited to produce a Spanish food evening on a Thursday night. That was so successful that it became a permanent feature. On Thursday evenings I ate Spanish food in that public house.
I was happy. Pablo and Inez were happy and hoped their Spanish evenings might lead to more restaurant work. It did, but that took another couple of months. Wherever they were working in the evenings, I would eat there.
They took their UK driving tests and passed because their English was now good enough for the theory test, having read and reread the Highway Code from cover to cover many times.
One bright summer’s day with rain forecast for late afternoon I had used my people carrier. I don’t like the buggy in the rain. There were more people than usual passing my hut including a familiar pensioners’ walking group of eight people. They had been three times in the last year. I had to provide chairs and drinks for all eight.
One woman was obviously hurting. She had had a hip replacement about six months earlier. This had been her first long walk and was too much for her. The others were walking another five miles to a pub for lunch and another three to meet their minibus.
Their walk leader, George, thought he had a problem.
“Emily? You can’t walk to the minibus?”
“No, George. Even the last hundred yards up the hill would have been too much except for Joan’s help. You can’t carry me for five miles even to the pub.”
“If we had to come back for you, it would be a thirty mile round trip and everyone would be late home.”
The main roads run North to South and the footpath West to East.
“I can look after Emily, and run her home if it isn’t too far,” I said. “Where’s home, Emily?”
Her answer was a seaside town about eight miles away.
“Then I can do that easily. Is that OK with you, George?”
“Yes, James, that would be a great help but up to Emily. Is that OK with you, Emily?”
Emily looked at me, standing with my walking stick.
“Yes, George and James, but I would like some help. Could Joan stay with me? I have stiffened up since I stopped walking and am in considerable pain. Stupidly I left my painkillers in the minibus. I might need help to go to a toilet and to get in a car.”
Emily and Joan were ladies about a decade younger than me. almanbahis yeni giriş I was able to provide Emily with some painkillers before Joan helped her into my bathroom which is almost equipped as a second disabled toilet. When they returned, I made some tea, heavily sugared for Emily who was still grey-faced with pain.
“Emily? I think you should rest until the painkillers work,” I said.
She nodded. Joan agreed with me.
“And you are both missing your lunch. Microwaved meals do?”
The meals weren’t brilliant, but they were food. Afterwards Emily looked much better. I waited an hour before suggesting that I ran them home. I rang Pablo and Inez, who would be working that evening, to tell them I wouldn’t be home in time for a meal. Joan and I had to help Emily into her house. I was relieved that Emily’s daughter had returned from work and assured us that she would make Emily comfortable and give her an evening meal before an early night.
As we drove the short distance to Joan’s house she suddenly said:
“James? You have done a lot for Emily and me today. Three years ago you did the same for me after I fell off a stile. As thanks, would you like an evening meal cooked by me?”
“That would be nice Joan, but I have another suggestion. Cooking an evening meal could mean work for you. How about a restaurant instead?”
“Can you afford it. James?”
“I could afford to take your whole walking group to the best restaurant in town and not notice the cost.”
“Then I am pleased to accept. Can we go to my house first so I can change out of my walking clothes?”
“Which reminds me. How far can you walk with your stick, James?”
“About a hundred yards. Maybe one hundred and fifty on a good day.”
“OK. The restaurant I was thinking of isn’t the best in town but it is a good Mom and Pop Italian. It’s fifty yards from my house.”
“I could make that far.”
“Then that’s where we are going. I will make a booking when I’m home.”
She made me a cup of tea and went to change before booking the restaurant for half an hour’s time. We walked there. As we settled in Joan said:
“If you want to, James. You can drink with the meal. You’re not driving tonight. You’re spending that with me.”
“You’re sure, Joan?”
“Yes. I have seen you three or four times a year since three years ago when you helped me. You never wanted anything in return for all the hospitality you gave the group, even when we spent hours with you waiting for the rain to stop, which didn’t.”
“I do that for many groups, Joan.”
“I know. You are a contrast to so many of the older men in our group. You do things for people without expecting thanks. So many of them expect sex for any little task. Would your leg affect your performance?”
I looked around. So early in the evening the restaurant was almost empty and we were in an alcove. No one would have heard Joan.
“It might limit things if I tried to ride you more than once, Joan. The other way up? As many times as I can manage, probably three or four on a good night.”
“At your age that’s amazing, James. I’ll be gentle and we’ll see if it is a good night for you. I will try to make it enjoyable.”
“Enjoyable? I’m sure it will be, Joan.”
Joan stood up, came around the table and kissed my cheek. She had sat down just as the first course arrived.
We shared a good bottle of Italian red wine, much better than a usual restaurant house wine. We chatted throughout the meal and found we had similar views on many subjects. Joan liked visiting stately homes and gardens. I protested that my reduced mobility meant some were awkward for me.
“Most of them now have available pavement scooters, or you could take your own, James”
“I could, but I cannot load it into my car, Joan. It dismantles but the chassis is too heavy for me to lift.”
“It wouldn’t be for me, James. I used to be a Physical Education teacher before I retired. I’m fit and can lift weights. It’s only 25 kilograms and I can lift 50 easily.”
“You can? That would be great…”
In bed that night, as promised, I could ride Joan once. Later she rode me twice. I wasn’t sure whether I was making love to her, or her victim. Her arms and legs wrapped around me, pulling me in deeper than I had managed for years. I was kidding myself. I hadn’t made love to any woman since my wife died, and even then I had had to be very gentle with her and myself. Joan’s love-making was fiercer and more passionate than any I had experienced since my thirties — but I enjoyed it before drifting off to a blissful sleep with Joan wrapped around me.
The next morning as Joan made breakfast for me, I rang Pablo and Inez to tell them I probably wouldn’t be home until the evening. They would be working as chefs again, and if I needed to, I would eat where they were working.
Joan and I went to a stately home with extensive gardens. I borrowed a mobility scooter and Joan walked beside me as we toured the gardens. When we were in a clearing in woodland, Joan jumped on me and kissed me. That was great. She stripped off her top and held me against her bra covered breasts. I nearly came in my trousers.
While I was enjoying her breasts Joan suddenly asked: