An old man in dark brown corduroys, with a tanned face and wispy white hair, was coming up the station steps.
‘Mr Bartholomew?’ asked Millie.
‘Oh, ay, you must be Miss Madeline.’
‘Yes, but everyone calls me Millie. I hope I haven’t put you to any trouble?’ But he was already behind the van untying the string and making room for her case between the pairs of shears, sacks of dog food and the other paraphernalia in the back.
‘Get in, young lady,’ he said and Millie obediently climbed into the passenger seat, removing some old gloves and balancing them neatly on the top of a pair of Wellington boots at her feet.
When Bartholomew started the van, they shot forward leaving a cloud of blue smoke in their wake. Millie could hardly make herself heard above the noise of the engine.
‘It’s a nice day,’ she shouted.
‘Ay,’ Bartholomew replied. A silence followed and then he said, ‘Sorry about yer Mum’.
Millie hated talking about her mother’s death and pretended she hadn’t heard.
‘How’s Gran?’ she asked.
‘She’s ‘ad a nasty accident, terrible it was.’ Bartholomew was fighting with the gear lever as they struggled uphill.
‘Oh dear, is she alright?’ Millie asked, wondering if she would have to go back home.
‘Oh ay, she’s a good ‘un, your grandmother,’ He replied, revving the engine.