October 4th 1860
The Harvest celebrations were a marvel! Villiers surpassed even his own expectations concerning the refreshments and the entertainment – indeed he was so pleased with his success in arranging the music, the decorations and the dancing that I fear I may lose him to the travelling circus.
For my first appearance in the village as an unwed woman, I chose the brightest of dresses and the sturdiest of shoes. I intended to walk as often and as far as I wished and dance whenever I fancied, instead of the customary few steps to my top table to sit slightly behind Josiah. If anyone wondered where he was they did not show it and I felt no need to apprise them of the reason for his absence. I hardly noticed it myself.
I was displeased not to be awarded the jugged fruit prize, if truth be known. My apricots are the talk of the County, but the annual rosette ceremony always leaves me on the outer edge of the crowd. I am led to understand – after a gentle word from the vicar, who seems to know what everyone is thinking whether they tell him or otherwise – that the villagers would see a prize for me as an act of dastardly corruption by the parish elders. How ridiculous! If I were to solicit preferential treatment in return for my considerable contribution to Blindingham’s economy and quality of life, it would not take the form of a pat on the back for my preserves.
Still, I was welcomed warmly and royally distracted by the whole event. A triumphant start to my new life, despite the stiffness in my knees and the pain on the soles of my feet. Robust shoes can only mitigate so far when one is determined to make the most of an outing.