This week's Hilda scene is a bit more relaxing for her.
In a long narrow wooden boat Hilda sat with her hands lightly resting on the oars as they trailed in the water. She narrowed her eyes against the sun reflecting off the Avon River. She would have blisters later from the pull up the river.
But it was worth it.
And so was the shilling she had handed over to the boatman. Near half a day’s wages for an afternoon’s hire of the boat. Worth it for the sheer pleasure of sitting in the sun, as she let the boat drift back down the river. Closing her eyes she could hear nothing but the wind rustling the willows on the further bank. Then a cow lowed in the fields further across. At that moment she could have been on a river anywhere, at that moment she was a thousand miles from Ettington Park and her life as a drudge.
‘I’m glad we came.’
Kat’s voice intruded into Hilda’s daydream.
Kat had spoken from the stern where she lay sleeves rolled up to her elbows and soaking up the sun. Hilda would not have quite found the courage to hire the boat without Kat stiffening her resolve. She had been on the river before, but always with her dad.
Coming to the hire place with Kat she had a moment’s terror about what would happen if she tipped the boat. After all she couldn’t swim a stroke. But they had jollied each other along and now they were here on the Avon, maybe a mile or more upstream from Stratford and for a glorious afternoon they had no responsibility except to themselves!
She smiled back at her friend, ‘It was worth every penny.’