This Wednesday's short story is The Watershed by Rosamunde Pilcher from a collection called Flowers In The Rain & Other Stories. The book was published in 1991, and the The Watershed was published as "The Anniversary Surprise" in Redbook, February 1990.
The children of Edwina and Henry are grown and living their own lives. As their 30th wedding anniversary approaches, Edwina feels as if 'from now on it's downhill all the way.'
She finds herself interested in a house whose owner has just died. It is smaller than her country home, with a 'strip of garden' which would be simple to take care of. It is in the village so she could easily do her shopping and errands. But she knows her husband will not want to move. He inherited Hill House, and has lived there his entire life.
She walks around her house that was 'always too big for us, even with the three children living at home,' full of wonderful memories of dinners in the dining room which is now rarely used.
The house was a monument to family life. To a family of children who were children no longer. How had the years swept by so swiftly?If your children are grown you will know this particular feeling, and if they aren't you will know it one day. Edwina is restless, uneasy, wondering what the years ahead will bring.
The ending is most satisfactory, offering Edwina a view of a different, yet happy and hopeful future.
The story is filled with the description which Rosamunde Pilcher is so well-known for.
Edwina knew the house. Had known Mrs. Titchfield for years. Had sometimes called to collect a pie for the church sale, or to deliver a Christmas card and a fruit-cake, and be asked indoors to sit by the fire with a cup of tea.I began reading Rosamunde Pilcher's work more than twenty years ago, and there is still no one who can touch her for telling a good story, with real people, and the most wonderful details which place the reader in a particular room (so often a great kitchen!) or out in the countryside. She will be 87 next month, and though she doesn't have a web page her son Robin does, and occasionally writes about his mother.
Parking the car in the stable yard, Edwina carried the groceries indoors. The kitchen was huge and homey, with a dresser stacked with ironstone china, a basket of laundry waiting to be ironed, and the two Labradors waiting to be taken for a walk.