Things were not looking good for the Nobodys. They had to stand up for themselves, but it was no easy task. Pressure was taking its tole. A better way through this troubled time was needed, but they did not know what to do. The family were overdue a break from everything, so they rented a cottage in an ancient forest as a sanctuary from the microcosm of the Snook.
Driving to the cottage seemed to relieve the Nobodys of the stress which had built up over recent months. As the journey progressed, the family became more relaxed and happy. They left the motorway and the hum of the traffic behind. A winding road led their car over a hilly moorland enveloped by clumps of purple heather and the greens and yellows of gorse. In the distance, they saw the edge of the oak, pine and holly forest. Spring colours relieved the wintry greys. It was like an oasis from the strains of life.
As they slowed into a hamlet and curved along a winding lane, Steve turned their car onto a gravel driveway. A five bar gate stood before them with a little plaque engraved ‘Hedgehog Cottage.’ Lucy and Jack got out of the car to swing the gate open. Once through, Steve parked and the kids clicked the gate shut. Leaves rustled as Steve and Michelle crunched along the gravelled path. The draping foliage of a willow tree flowed aside and a cottage came into view.
It was beautiful with a pitched roof rising above the central porch. Sash windows poked through purple wisteria, which lifted above white roses in plump flowerbeds. Inside, they were met with a traditional country kitchen and cosy living room. The doors were all oak with hand forged black pewter latches. The bedrooms upstairs had floral wallpaper and comfortable bouncy beds. It was a perfect place to escape.
In daylight, nuthatches and blue tits fed by the cottage windows as deer, foxes and squirrels foraged in the forest. During the evening, badgers, owls and hedgehogs roamed for food. It was a natural haven and the Nobodys enjoyed the simplicity of life in the woodland. Each morning, a robin stood on the windowsill and watched them eat breakfast.
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