‘Purple Paradise’ I used to call it, when I used to pass it. It was one of those idyllic little cottages you dream about, but rarely ever manage to own yourself. It was a pretty whitewashed stone cottage nestling under a thatched roof. From the purple painted wooden gate a crazy paving pathway flanked by low lavender hedges wound its way up to the purple front door. There were even matching purple shutters at the windows, with window boxes filled with purple and pink petunias below.
Thanks to a lovely elderly lady called Violet who befriended me in the village store one day, I am now living in ‘Purple Paradise’. Violet was lonely and wanted a companion. She asked me to move in with her. There was little that she wanted in return, except for me to read to her as her eyesight was failing.
The first night I was there I learned a lot about Violet’s past life. She had never married because the love of her life had died in the war. She never met anyone else that ever came close. I was eager to hear more about her love affair with her beaux all those years ago. She told me how she met Tommy on his parents’ farm when they were out in the fields picking lavender. They used to take their baskets full of lavender into his farmhouse, and weave white baby ribbons into the flower stalks, to make nosegays to sell.
“Was that before the war?” I asked.
“Yes,” Violet replied. “Tommy had to go to war after that. We were going to get married when he came home on leave, but he was killed in action the day before he was due to come home.”
“But I’ve never forgotten the love we found in those wonderful lavender fields. That was what finally made me befriend you that day in Spar – you were wearing a purple suit with a sprig of lavender.”
“My favourite colours,” I said.
“I know,” Violet said. “Since I met you, I have been finding out all about you. You were adopted, weren’t you? Well, I’m your real mother, and Tommy was your father. You were conceived in those lavender fields, the war baby I had to give away.”