Ottercombe Bay Book Tour – Extract
Daisy pushed her salad around her plate aware Aunt Coral was talking about what had happened at the pharmacy that day, but she wasn’t really tuning in.
‘… and then the gorilla stuffed a packet of paracetamol up his nose, jumped onto the counter and demanded I do the tango with him. Daisy are you listening?’
Daisy lifted her head and tried to recall what Aunt Coral was going on about. ‘Not really, sorry.’
‘I thought not. What’s the matter, love?’ She reached a hand across the table and patted Daisy’s wrist.
‘I want to do something useful with the year I’m here. Either get a decent job to have something substantial on my CV or … I don’t know.’ Daisy tailed off and speared a cherry tomato that ceremoniously squirted juice over her pristine white t-shirt. Daisy groaned.
‘A job is definitely a good idea but what was going to come after the “or” in your sentence?’
Daisy was busy sponging off the tomato juice with a cloth. ‘I don’t know,’ she said with a half-hearted shrug.
‘Come on now, yes you do. What was it?’ insisted Aunt Coral who had now put down her cutlery and was looking intently at Daisy.
‘The planning officer basically said I couldn’t do anything to the building apart from change of use and all the suggestions he gave sounded dull, but I was speaking to … someone and they’ve given me an idea.’ Aunt Coral became alert as Daisy seemed to lose interest in her own suggestion. ‘Ahh you know it’s probably a dumb idea anyway and it would take loads of money to make the changes. I should probably just go for the job in the fish and chip van.’
Her shoulders slumped forward and she resumed pushing her lettuce about.
‘Stop being defeatist,’ said Aunt Coral, in an uncharacteristic snap. ‘You’ve always been impulsive so what does your impulse tell you this time?’ She softened a little and fixed her gaze on Daisy.
‘Go for it,’ said Daisy, almost without thinking. In her gut she had a rumble of excitement caused by the thought of a new venture.
‘Great,’ said Aunt Coral enthusiastically. ‘What is the idea exactly?’ She bent forward in anticipation.
A small smile played on Daisy’s lips. ‘A gin bar.’
Aunt Coral’s eyes widened. ‘Oh my, now that is something new. Would it only sell gin?’
‘Not exactly. Different types of gin would be the main theme. Gin is quite big right now.’
‘I’ve always liked a gin and tonic and your Great Aunt Ruby was a big fan. Do you think it would make money?’
‘Yeah, I do. They’re very popular. I think it would pull people in and if we stock good quality craft gins they should keep coming back.’
Daisy could see Aunt Coral was thinking. ‘I do like the idea and I can see the tourists lapping it up but what about in the winter months when it’s just the locals?’
They both sat back in their chairs a little and looked to the ceiling for inspiration. Aunt Coral had a good point. Daisy knew the seasonal change in seaside resorts was dramatic.
Aunt Coral jumped in her seat as if someone had stuck a pin in her. ‘Lantern parade!’ she shouted.
Daisy blinked. ‘What?’
‘Oh, sorry you’ve not been here for the lantern parade yet. Each December the children make paper lanterns, pop a battery light inside and walk from the church to the prom and they give out prizes and hot chocolate. If you were shut for the winter it would be a good thing to open up for. I bet the adults would like a shot of gin before they set off. It’s usually a bit chilly.