A Spectrum ‘Challenge of Five’ Story
By Caroline Smith
Doctor Fawn sat down at the small desk in his quarters in Cloudbase and activated his personal phone-link to obtain a number in South Australia. The internal security system scrambled the number, and then Fawn heard a series of beeps as the phone connected.
A woman’s voice echoed out of the intercom. “Hello, Elizabeth Wilkie. Who’s speaking?”
“It’s Edward, Mum, just calling you again to see how Dad is.”
“Oh hello, sweetie, I’m glad you called. He’s just his usual, demanding, impatient self, refusing to sit still and take his medicine. Insisting he’s being mollycoddled. He doesn’t seem to realise that he’s the patient now.”
Fawn allowed himself a small chuckle. “I can imagine. The nurses will be going troppo.”
“Oh, good grief, you can say that again. It’s just as well he’s being discharged tomorrow.”
Fawn’s question to his mother about his father’s medical status had been largely academic, since he had been in constant communication with the surgical team at the Royal Brisbane Hospital who had performed the heart by-pass operation on Joseph Wilkie.
Those damn Mysterons – with their usual impeccable sense of timing – issuing a threat just as he’d received the grave news about his father’s heart attack. Of course the colonel had insisted on him jetting down to Australia, but Fawn, dedicated as ever, and aware that his father was already in the best of hands, elected to stay on Cloudbase, in the highly probable event that Captain Scarlet would require his medical expertise.
“Anyway,” his mother continued, “I’m going to bring him back to Yalumba to recuperate. Staying in Brisbane will be too much of a temptation; he’ll be attempting to get back to work as soon as possible.”
“Don’t be too hard on him. I know I’d feel the same way.”
“Oh, don’t I know it.”
Fawn felt a stab of guilt. His mother probably thought he was completely heartless, not rushing to his father’s bedside immediately.
“Look, Mum, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it…”
Elizabeth Wilkie gave a soft sigh. “I’m not criticising you, Edward. But maybe your father wouldn’t have had a heart attack if he’d slowed down just a little bit as he was getting older.”
“He’s only sixty-six, Mum. He’s still a young ‘un by today’s standards.”
“Yes, and now look at him. He’s got a bionic heart now, and that’s only because he was lucky. I don’t want to even think about the possibility that the same thing might happen to you. When was the last time you had some time off, young man?”
“I get it, don’t worry.”
“Yes, but to do what? Continue to tinker with your robots? I know you too well.”
“Well, am I right? You hardly ever come and see us, and I can’t imagine you ever go and just sun yourself on a beach somewhere; you didn’t do that even when you were at university. You’ll drive yourself into the ground at this rate. Why don’t you ask for a few days off and help me deal with your dad at the estate; surely your colonel owes you that much at least?”
It was Fawn’s turn to sigh. The Mysterons didn’t take time off.
There were a few moments of awkward silence, and then his mother’s voice continued in a softer, almost contrite, tone. “I got a fright with your father, it made me realise how fragile and uncertain life is, and I just want to see my little boy again.”
As it happened, it was Colonel White himself who strongly suggested Fawn take a few days off, so the decision practically made itself. In another few hours, Fawn found himself back in South Australia, landing at Adelaide airport, where he picked up a car to drive north to the place where he had been born.
Memories tugged at him as he drove along the Barossa Highway, past the timeless patchwork of fields and vineyards. The seemingly endless rows of vines, green-gold and heavy with fruit, marched past him in military precision.
His maternal grandparents owned a winery in the Barossa Valley, which had been in the family for several generations, ever since the enterprise had started as a small wooden shack back in the 1900’s. They had fervently hoped that both their children, Elizabeth and her brother, Michael, would continue the family tradition and go on to run the estate, but in Elizabeth’s case, it wasn’t to be. During her oenology studies at Brisbane University, Elizabeth Paige met Joseph Wilkie who was studying to be a doctor. It was love at first sight, as they say. They remained in Brisbane after they married, however they always returned to Yalumba whenever they could.
Elizabeth had, in fact, spent the majority of her pregnancy at the estate, while Joseph, now a renowned heart specialist, remained in the Royal Brisbane. Edward made his appearance a week early, with the same speedy, yet phlegmatic approach that would characterise his adult life. They called the midwife as soon as Elizabeth’s waters broke, but before she could get out from Angaston the baby had already been delivered on the antique Aubusson rug in the sitting room with the minimum of fuss and a beaming Grandpa Paige had already broken open a 2015 vintage bottle of the Paige Shiraz as the midwife arrived.
Fawn drew up to the estate, stopping at the big metal gates, embellished with stylised vines. He announced his arrival at the intercom, and the gates slid open noiselessly to allow him to pass into the winery. He drove up along the dusty driveway and saw the big house standing proud against the backdrop of the Barossa Ranges, and the years fell away. He might have spent his schooldays in Brisbane, but summers, high-days and holidays were spent here, and it was a wonderful place for a boy to grow up. Time had seeped into the fabric of this house, and the land surrounding it, permeating it with the hopes, dreams, sadness and joy of the generations who had called it home.
His mother answered the front-door, obviously jittery with expectation. She hugged him until he thought he would suffocate.
“Edward, you have no idea how wonderful it is to see you.”
He kissed her on the cheek. “You’re looking well, Mum, considering.”
She took his arm and Fawn allowed her to lead him through the spacious wood-panelled hall towards the sitting room.
His father was sitting in a high-backed reclining chair and, despite his mother’s warning Fawn still felt a momentary sense of shock at the change in him. The last time he’d seen Joseph Wilkie he had been his tall, robust self, barking orders at his theatre staff and rushing around the hospital corridors like a whirlwind. The man that sat in the chair was oddly frail, as if his body had shrunk, like a tree that had been felled too early. However, as Fawn drew closer, he could still see the burning glow in his father’s brown eyes.
“It’s good to see you, son,” Joseph Wilkie said, and the two men shook hands, the closest thing to affection they would get to with one another, since neither man was prone to displays of sentimentality, a fact that Fawn knew sometimes frustrated his mother.
They chatted together for some time, Joseph, as always, interested in his son’s work with robotics and nano-technology, and Fawn, like all of his Spectrum colleagues when visiting family and friends, naturally had to be careful that he didn’t let anything classified slip out. He was cheered to note that despite his father’s infirmity, none of his enthusiasm for knowledge had deserted him. Elizabeth slipped out and then back in again, with tea and cakes, while they continued to talk. After a couple of hours, Fawn saw his father’s eyelids start to droop, a reaction that wasn’t lost on his mother, who had been sitting on the opposite chair, enjoying watching the two most precious men in her life talking to one another.
“That walk this morning must have tired you out. Time for a nap, Joseph,” she said in that voice that brooked no argument. Surprisingly, her husband didn’t object, “I’ll stay here with him,” she said, aside, to Fawn, as she activated the blinds to mute the streaming sunlight within the room. “Will you be all right by yourself?”
Fawn raised an amused eyebrow. “I think I can manage. I’ll leave you both in peace for now.”
As he left the sitting room, he stole one last glance at his father, and saw that he had already drifted off into sleep.
Fawn strolled around the borders of the house, past the gardens and manicured lawns and shrubberies towards the production area, the beating heart of the winery’s operations.
Just outside the newer main building, the sun glinted off the four stainless steel fermenting tanks, the ‘vinomatics’ where the mass-produced white wine was stored before bottling. Inside the main building were the assembly lines and storage areas for the premium red wines, including the estate’s famous Paige Barossa ‘Old Vine’ Shiraz.
He wandered inside, into the relative coolness, and his nostrils were filled with the aroma – astringent crushed-fruit and damp oak – that triggered nostalgic memories: his momentary reverie was cut short when he heard a familiar barking voice coming from behind a hulking piece of machinery, where several bodies were congregated, looking anxious.
“This bloody crusher’s cactus. Get Wally in here, there’s a shed-load of Grenache waiting to be de-stemmed!”
Fawn stepped around and saw the owner of the voice, a man in his sixties, with grizzled hair and sun-lined bearded face.
“I thought the senior oenologist would have given up sticking his head down the machinery and be courting wine critics in Sydney instead,” Fawn said loudly over the din of the other equipment in the shed.
The older man looked up, and a huge grin split his face. “Holy Dooley, if it isn’t young Ed.”
Kerry Hayes, the estate’s Chief Winemaker for the last twenty years, and practically a member of the Paige family, came around the big crushing machine and wiped his meaty, grape-stained hands on his coveralls, turning them reddish purple. He wrapped a bear-like arm around Fawn’s shoulders and squeezed hard.
“Glad to see you back, mate, it’s been too long.”
“Yeah, same here,” Fawn replied.
“Shame it’s under such circumstances though. Still, your mum was real smart bringing Joseph back here to the estate; the country air’ll do him good. She’ll be apples, mate, don’t you worry.”
“I know, thanks.”
Kerry gave his attention to the crusher again, and pressed a switch on the side, hard, and cursed briefly when nothing happened. He looked up and bellowed across the room at one of his hapless staff. “Well, don’t just flaming stand there, get Wally now!”
He turned back to regard Fawn. “You seen Maddy yet?”
Fawn shook his head.
“I think she’s in the cellar room, doing a tasting with a bunch of tourists. Why don’t you go along and listen in?”
“I guess I could, unless you want me to stay and help?”
Kerry slapped the side of the crusher. “No worries; Wally’ll be here and do his thing. I’ll see you later.”
Fawn turned back to cross the factory floor to the offices at one end and could still hear Kerry remonstrating to his juniors again.
He circumnavigated his way back to the wine tasting room. It was housed in one of the original, old, stone buildings and had been transformed into a splendid small museum, dedicated to the art of winemaking and incorporating an elegant tasting area for members of the public and trade buyers.
As Fawn entered the room there was a large group of people standing around with their backs to him. He heard the young woman’s voice before he saw her.
“- wines have a primary aroma, relating to the grape variety, and they’re almost always fruit related, such as blackcurrants, or raspberries, or peach.”
He sidled along one stone wall, and saw Madelyne Hayes, Kerry’s daughter, and his childhood friend. She held a small glass of white wine in one hand, while the other made graceful gestures to accompany her words. She was concentrating so much on her listeners that she failed to notice him, even as he managed to place himself to one side so he could see better. He saw several opened bottles on the counter beside her, and many of the tourists also had third-full glasses and were studying them intently.
“Now, you want to taste the wine,” she continued. “Take a decent mouthful, so you can expose all the areas of your tongue and mouth.”
Her audience obeyed her instructions immediately, and there was an amusing sound, Fawn thought, of liquid being sloshed back and forth inside a dozen mouths.
“The different parts of your mouth sense differing constituents, the tip of the tongue for sweetness, the back of the tongue for bitterness, the insides of the cheeks for the dry tannins, which of course, are an all-important constituent for extended ageing in a fine wine. And pay close attention to the way the taste of the wine changes as you hold it in your mouth.”
“Finally, you can swallow…if you want. For those who don’t, there’s a spittoon over there.”
No one took her up on the second option, and there was a collective sound of slow, lingering swallowing amongst the group.
“Note how long the flavour lingers on the palate after swallowing,” she said. “This is referred to as the length. And, the more length a wine has, the more time you have to enjoy it, and not surprisingly, longer length is indicative of higher quality.”
There were murmurs of appreciation around the group, and the bobbing of heads as they compared notes with their partners or companions, on the Riesling they had just imbibed.
At that moment, Madelyne looked sideways and happened to catch sight of Fawn. For a moment her eyes locked with his, and Fawn thought that the expression on her face ran the whole gamut of emotions from astonishment to anger to delight in microseconds. Naturally all eyes in the audience swivelled to see who the newcomer was that prompted such a reaction from their guide, and Fawn felt his cheeks warm in embarrassment. However, Madelyne recovered her composure almost instantly to announce the second wine for tasting, and the audience quickly forgot Fawn in their rush to have their glasses filled. This time, she included him in the tasting, handing him a small glass of Grenache. Fawn gave her a smile, and then listened as she talked them through the tasting again, this time alighting on more complex discussions of wine appreciation.
Finally, the session was over, and the tourists trickled out, on their way to the gift shop, where they could purchase a three-bottle pack of the wines they’d just tasted, and perhaps some elegant silver wine pulls, or vacuum stoppers, or any other number of wine paraphernalia.
When the last person left, Madelyne remained where she was, regarding him with her shrewd hazel eyes, instead of coming over to hug him, as he’d expected she would. Fawn suddenly felt oddly tongue-tied. He knew it had been a long time since they’d seen one another, but this barely enthusiastic greeting left him feeling a little confused.
“Well, it’s about time you showed up,” she said at last. “What’s it been – two years – since you last visited us?”
“I’m afraid so; I never meant to stay away so long.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re conchy, just like your dad.” She began to tidy away the wine bottles and glasses. “So how long are you staying this time?”
“Just a few days, I’m afraid.”
“You really must love it up there.”
“Just like you love this place.”
She gave him a wry smile, and Fawn realised something was bothering him about her. “You look different, Maddy.”
“I let my hair grow.”
“It’s nice, it suits you.”
She gave him a genuine smile then. “Coming from you, that’s practically a proposal.”
He stood blinking at the simile, as she came around the counter to embrace him, tightly, as if regretting her earlier coolness, and he felt her dark hair tickle his cheek. He caught the scent of her perfume, her favourite, the one he’d sent her for Christmas. Then she pulled away from his arms and glanced at her watch.
“I’ve got to check run some spectrometer analyses on a batch of wines before I finish for the day,” she said. “Do you want to come over to the laboratories with me, or do you have to get back to your dad?”
“He was having a nap, probably best to leave him in peace for a little while.”
“Yes, must have been a shock to you when you clapped eyes on him. I know I got one when your mum brought him up here to the estate.”
In the lab, she busied herself with the samples of wine, running them through the automatic unit to check their alcohol content. At the end of the bench, Fawn watched her, with a sense of poignant déjà vu stealing over him. It was ironic really, that Maddy was probably most likely to inherit the vineyard when his Aunt and Uncle passed away, since they had no children, and she was practically like a surrogate daughter to them. He knew they still hoped their nephew might still change his mind about becoming a winemaker, but Fawn couldn’t imagine leaving Spectrum before the Mysteron threat was over, and God only knew how long that might be.
Was it really two years since he had visited this place of his birth? So much had happened in that time: being chosen to head up Spectrum’s medical facility at Cloudbase, the attack by the Mysterons and their continuing threats against humanity, and – most incredible of all – Captain Scarlet’s death and his unbelievable rejuvenation to become Spectrum’s ace in the hole against the denizens of Mars. It all seemed so far-removed from his childhood in this peaceful part of the world.
“Penny for your thoughts, Ed,” Maddy said, catching his eyes.
“Uh - sorry. I was just thinking about how things change.”
Her face turned solemn, as if she had been infected with his sudden mood. “I know. Just seems like yesterday we were climbing gum trees, and playing hide and seek behind the barrels and getting shouted at by your Gramps, and now here we are, in our thirties.”
Madelyne and her father joined the family for supper, so it was a large group that congregated around the huge, oval table in the dining room. The autumn night air was a fraction on the chilly side for eating al fresco and Elizabeth Wilkie felt it prudent that her convalescing husband didn’t catch cold. Grandma Kylie Paige sat like a little, dark-eyed koala at the end of the table, quietly beaming at her extended family, while Aunt Lillian served up a superb meal and Uncle Michael poured glasses of garnet 2058 Shiraz for everyone to drink.
Fawn, sitting next to Madelyne, was heartened to see his father, who looked visibly refreshed after his nap, eat well and join in the conversation around the table, which mainly centred around the local town gossip, sport – since Kerry Hayes and Uncle Michael were fanatical Aussie Rules fans – and updates on the harvest. Fawn actually enjoyed not talking medical shop, just for once, and he expected his mother might have had something to do with that. He was also cheered that Madelyne seemed to have forgiven him for whatever trespasses he had committed on his arrival, and threw several happy smiles his way, which made him feel a whole lot better.
When his mother suggested his father retire for the night, Fawn took the excuse to get some fresh air, since he didn’t get much of an opportunity sky-side, and there was no telling when he’d have the chance again.
He wandered outside onto the long veranda at the back of the house and stood there for a moment, looking up at the dark, star-filled sky, imagining that he could see the tiny speck that belonged to Cloudbase, forty-thousand feet up in the troposphere. He wondered how his staff were coping without him, and whether Captain Scarlet was managing to keep himself out of trouble, or out of the operating theatre at any rate. He was sure the colonel would have informed him immediately had there been any problems. He drew out his personal Spectrum communicator from his shirt pocket and looked at it thoughtfully. It was set to beep in an emergency, but so far it had stayed silent.
Maybe I’ll just speak to Green and ask him to patch me through to sick-bay. Dr Lime is a fine medic, but it’s always good just to be sure…
Before he could activate the channel, he heard someone coming up behind him on the veranda. He slipped the communicator back in his pocket and turned to see Madelyne.
“I hope I wasn’t disturbing you?” she asked.
“No, not at all. I just needed some air. I’m not really used to drinking alcohol, two glasses of red wine is about my limit. I’m already feeling quite light-headed as it is.”
She chuckled as she walked up alongside him. “That sounds funny coming from a boy practically raised in a vineyard.”
“I think you’ve spent more time here than me, Maddy, when all’s said and done.”
She smiled wryly. “I guess so at that.”
They fell silent for a moment. Then she said, “I want to ask you something.”
“Do you feel bad about your uncle’s idea, that I might inherit part of the estate?”
Fawn immediately shook his head. “It makes a lot of sense. I’m a doctor, always was, always will be, like my dad. I just don’t have the nose or the taste buds for knowing what turns a bunch of grapes into a dazzler wine.”
She slipped her arm through his and moved closer, like she had done countless times before, and yet, somehow, it felt different tonight.
“Isn’t it funny,” she said, “how the world seems smaller when you’re a kid? Way back then, it was as if everything I ever knew existed in the view from Mengler’s Hill Lookout.” She pulled away from him a little, but still held his hand, her eyes scrutinising him. “And look at you now, a tall poppy in Spectrum, the guy that invented the robot doctors. You were always clever, Ed; I somehow always knew Yalumba wasn’t big enough for you, even back then.”
“You’re hardly a dunce, Maddy, not everyone is walking around with a first class honours in Biochemistry and a Masters in Winemaking.”
“Maybe, and it’s true that I love this job, and this place.” She removed her fingers from his, and he found himself strangely disappointed. Her hand had felt right there, her fingers nestled against his.
“So, what’s it like, working for Spectrum?” she said, changing the subject abruptly.
“Well, I can’t really talk about it too much.”
She gave a little sigh. “I know, it’s classified. Well, would it be giving away any secrets if I asked you about the people you work with? Are they nice?”
He chuckled. “They’re a great bunch. I’d even go so far as to say that some of them have even become good mates.”
“Comradeship in the heat of battle and all that stuff?”
“I guess you could say that.”
“I’d heard there were some women pilots up there, the Angel Strike Force or something like that?”
“I’d love to be a tough enough sheila to do something like that.”
“Oh, in their spare time they’re just as feminine as any other woman. One of them likes to style everyone’s hair, another’s obsessed with the latest fashions...”
“I kid you not.”
“Well, well. Feminine – and they fly supersonic aircraft. That seems like an irresistible combination to me. I’m betting all the blokes are in love with them, eh?”
“Some of them, maybe,” Fawn replied, unable to keep a smile off his face.
“Are you one of them?” she asked softly, holding his gaze, and he saw something unfathomable appear in the depths of her eyes. Fawn felt his breath catch. He became suddenly, inexplicably aware that he regarded the woman beside him as just that – a woman. Not the friend of his childhood, his stand-in sibling, but someone else entirely. This subliminal awareness had started to register when he first saw her again in the tasting room, and now, he was totally conscious of the way the pale-green dress clung to the curves of her slim body, and how her burnished hair fell across one shoulder. Fawn suddenly felt like his world was turning upside down and inside out. His breath caught as the seconds ticked by, and he realised he’d better say something fast, before she changed her good impression of him and thought he was a complete galah.
“No, I’m not,” he said finally.
“I’m glad,” she said, and without warning, she drew up her hand to touch his cheek. With shock he felt his scalp prickle as her fingers gently traced a line along his jaw.
I’m going back to Cloudbase in less than forty-eight hours…she’s my friend…only a friend…
Her fingers swiftly moved to his lips, silencing him. “Don’t. Don’t say…anything.”
He was shocked to see the faint sheen of moisture in her eyes.
“I’d hoped…” she said, “I mean…oh…never mind…I’m a complete idiot. I’m sorry.”
Before Fawn could say or do anything else, she tore herself away from him and fled down the direction towards the coach house. He stared at her departing figure, his own feet rooted to the spot. He knew something had changed between them, irrevocably. The thing was, what was he going to do about it?
He woke early, after spending the night in bed rather fitfully, which was not like him at all. Where’s a Room of Sleep when you need it most? he thought with sour humour. He joined his parents for breakfast, then wandered along to the winery and idly asked Kerry if Madelyne was around. The older man shook his head and told him she’d gone down to Adelaide to meet some buyers, and she’d be back later on in the evening. Fawn felt a curious mixture of relief and disappointment.
He decided to make the most of what little time remained with his folks, taking his father on a stroll around the vineyards, as gentle exercise was a necessary part of his recovery program. They enjoyed the pleasant warmth, and the clean air, listening to the drone of the wine harvesters moving up and down the vineyards. However, during lulls in the conversation, Fawn’s thoughts were unusually sober. His father’s sudden illness – being back at the estate – his conversation with Madelyne – they had resulted in a feeling of disconnectedness.
Fawn had idolised his father in his youth, had wanted more than anything to follow in those big footsteps, and to strive for even greater success. But now his thoughts were pricked by bittersweet memories of the sadness and disappointment that he’d known as a child, when his dad was too busy at the hospital to attend a birthday, or sports day.
He glanced at his mother, walking alongside them. He remembered the resigned acceptance on her face too, when he couldn’t make it to the estate on holiday, for there was always a patient that needed his father’s care, always a new technique that needed researching.
Perhaps it’s for the best that I never thought about marriage, he thought. I’d hate to put someone through that, or any child I had. My role as Chief Medical Officer takes up all the time I have, it just wouldn’t be fair on anyone otherwise.
His parents had returned to the house, but Fawn remained out in the vineyards. He’d walked up to the highest point in the estate, the slopes where the grapes for the finest wines grew. He stopped and turned to take in the fine view. Beyond the gentle slope he saw a sea of vineyards, glinting in the sun. To his left, stood the long, low bulk of the modern winery building, and the house to the right in the distance.
He sat down on a patch of scrubby grass, just beyond the reddish soil, and then, on a whim, stretched out and lay back, staring up at the cornflower-blue sky, streaked with cirrus clouds, and slowly closed his eyes, feeling the warmth of the sun seep into him. A short while later he was dozily conscious of a rustling noise, and next thing a shadow fell across him, blocking out the sunlight.
“Your mum told me you’d be out here somewhere.”
Fawn sat up with a start, and opened his eyes to see Maddy looking over him. She was dressed in a pair of old, tight-fitting jeans and a silk blouse and held a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses in her other.
“I thought we could have a quiet drink before dinner, since tomorrow you’ll be gone.”
Fawn felt his heart race. “How was Adelaide?”
“Fine. How was your day?”
“I missed you.”
She stared down at him, and the expression in her eyes was unreadable. She could take his reply in two ways.
And which way do I mean? He wondered.
She sat down beside him and took an opener from her jeans pocket. She expertly removed the cork and it left the bottle with a satisfying slurp, sniffed it, then laid it to one side. Fawn remained silent as he watched her pour two glasses of the dark-red wine. A strange, delightful, shiver prickled along his arms.
She handed him a glass. “Taste it, tell me what you think.”
He groaned. “You know I haven’t the – ”
“I know, I’m just kidding. You’ll say it tastes of blackberries and pepper and wood, like you always do.”
“Come on, only if it’s a red.”
She gave a little laugh, and then held her glass out to him. “To… friendship…”
They touched their glasses together with a little clink that sounded like a bell in the quiet of the late afternoon. Maddy’s gaze seemed to impale him – as if she was waiting for him to make a move, to say something that would change the way they felt about one another – forever.
He thought about Cloudbase, the men and women who needed him, Captain Scarlet, the Angels, and Colonel White. He thought about the long, lonely hours his might-be wife would spend alone, staring at the heavens, waiting for him to come home for a few measly crumbs of intimacy before he returned to help wage a war which might never end.
Maddy deserved better.
“To friendship,” he replied, and as her eyes filled with a quiet pain, he told himself he had done the right thing - the only thing he could.
This is the third in the series of vignettes based on the five senses, for the Challenge of Five.
According to the biography in the Captain Scarlet Annuals, Dr Fawn was born in Yalumba, Australia. However Yalumba is actually the name of a family-owned vinery in the Eden Valley, Australia, and gives rise to their excellent range of wines of the same name. I’ve used it to stay in keeping with Anderson canon, (or at least as far as the books are concerned) but I stress that the name as I use it here has no relation to this actual vinery or to the family who own it.
My fervent thanks to Marion Woods and Keryn for beta-reading this story, and ensuring the ‘Strine’ was correct! Any mistakes in the text are entirely my own.
And naturally, as ever, to Chris Bishop, for allowing me to post it onto her fabulous site.
To your health!
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