As part of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas blog tour i’m very happy to bring you a guest post from Peter Worthington, author of “The Eden Tree” which i reviewed back in July. If you missed the review click the image below to open a new window 🙂
I’m very glad to say Peter has kindly offered to share with us a little flashback revolving around the charterers in The Eden Tree. I hope you enjoy
The Last Christmas at Kirmingsham Hall
Back in 2006 – before his grandson Wesley was diagnosed with cancer – John Morgan had said: “Christmas is made for grandads.” Thanks to a chance meeting with a flower-seller John traveled to Israel and returned with a mysterious antique box the contents of which saved Wesley’s life and led John to an amazing adventure. One considered his destiny.
A decade later on Christmas Day John’s thoughts were of a familiar aroma floating towards his nostrils. He reminisced of his grandma’s baking and entered the Kirmingsham Hall kitchen to the dulcet tones of “Mary’s Boy Child” playing in the background.
“Is that mince pies I can smell?” he said, taking a long sniff, and reached for the overflowing plate.
“Yes, John, we’re baking for the party tomorrow,” his wife said, tapping a wooden spoon in her palm, “and don’t touch again.”
He kissed her cheek, ignored her chastisement, quickly grabbed a pie, and ran for the lounge, crumbs falling onto the hall tiles. His eyes found the faces of family and friends relaxing on blue leather sofas, chairs, or cross-legged on soft pillows and red carpet. The spacious Tudor property had been their home since John and Liz married in the summer of 1986.
The gathering was planned for weeks. The Morgan Christmas Day celebrations would begin with a full English breakfast at The Black Swan and continue with traditional turkey dinner at home. Traditions would be broken, however, in ways that were staggering.
“Mince pies. Yum.” James said as he followed his wife Alyanna through the swing door.
“Keep ya’ mitts off them, James my boy,” Sean said with a wink as he grabbed one off the plate. “Jesus, these are hot” he blew on his fingers as Rachel play-punched his shoulder.
Rebecca, their toddler, was in the lounge playing horsey on Goliath’s back. Goliath – aptly named as he was six foot eight and weighed twenty-six stone – was Aly’s cousin. Rebecca and her mum had benefitted from a miracle too. On Christmas Day the family would travel together to the mysterious garden. Probably for the last time.
The laughing toddler’s tiny legs hardly encompassed the giant’s massive frame. Roisin, Goliath’s fiancée, knelt close as guardian angel. The lounge door opened and two teenage boys bounded in to take their turn at the rodeo.
“Mum and Josh have just arrived,” Wesley said, looking through the patio window.
“Oh great,” Iggy said, “now we have ex SAS and Mossad here. What Christmas party-poopers!” He slapped Goliath on his rear as he mounted his back. “Gee up, horsey.” The man mountain twisted and Iggy fell off laughing.
Watching her labours devoured Liz said with a shrug, “I can make some more.”
The two family dogs lay by the stone hearth. Presents under the tree testified that Christmas was for dogs too.
After a sumptuous breakfast handshakes and farewells were given to the landlord and staff. Sadness and anticipation in the air. Cars made their way past the iced-over pond, the remnants of festivity strewn around the village. Steering his BMW through the double gates for the last time John grasped Liz’s hand and pushed open the front door.
Christmas carols by choristers played over the hi-fi as the household opened presents. A pile of multi-coloured wrapping paper growing on the carpet.
“Slippers. Bleedin’ slippers,” Sean tore at his parcel.
“Language, Captain,” Rachel pointed to a toddler placing Lego blocks together to make a huge tower which toppled to her exasperation. Periodically someone carried turkey remnants, mashed potato, sprouts and other greens on a platter, alongside pizzas, chilli and rice. The group dined until the Queen’s speech after which James called out “Okay, Rambo, you can come back in now.” Sean returned and gave a thumbs up.
“Can we have some games?” Wesley said, winking at Iggy.
“Yes of course, Sweetheart,” Becky said, “and you were a brilliant innkeeper.” Wesley blushed as his mum smiled proudly.
Through the late afternoon and early evening there was laughter, fun and merriment as various games were played. After a very competitive final attempt at Twister Becky surrendered and John realised it was time.
“Okay everyone. It’s time to go.” John gathered everyone for a massive group hug.
One by one the family and friends stepped through the portal and entered Eden – never to return.
The Eden Tree Blurb
” Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why. John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future? The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”
About Peter Worthington
Today Peter Worthington lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire with his wife Margaret. Peter has enjoyed a bright and varied career as a church minister, ﬁnancial adviser and internet consultant. Now retired he is busier than ever thanks to his three grandchildren, studying for an Open University Degree in Creative Writing, voluntary work, playing World of Warcraft, serving on the board of a housing association and writing. He has previously published short stories in a number of Christian magazines. His ﬁrst novel, The Eden Tree (published by Clink Street Publishing 19th July 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £2.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information you can follow Peter @CatshillPeter or visit http://www.edentree.co/