Flora Phillips has an excuse for every disaster in her life; she was abandoned as a new-born on a doorstep one cold autumn night, wrapped in nothing but a towel. Her philosophy is simple: if your mother doesn’t want you – who will?
Now a thirty-year- old, without a boyfriend, a career or home she figures she might as well tackle the biggest question of them all – who is she? So, whilst everyone else enjoys their Christmas Eve traditions, Flora escapes the masses and drives to the village of Pooley to seek a specific doorstep. Her doorstep.
But in Pooley she finds more than her life story. She finds friends, laughter, and perhaps
even a love to last a lifetime. Because once you know where you come from, it’s so much
easier to know where you’re going.
A story of redemption and love, romance and Christmas dreams-come- true, the perfect
novel to snuggle up with this festive season.
My tea steams in a white polystyrene cup. I’d give anything for a Massimo latte with
chocolate sprinkles but I assume the beverage menu is limited at Pooley police
station. On arrival, they’d confiscated my tartan blanket as a personal possession and
provided me with a larger cream-coloured blanket, which remains draped around my
shoulders. They’d also confirmed the charge of assaulting a police officer so I’m not
about to complain about my tea.
My fingers gingerly lift the flimsy cup, squashing its wide mouth to a quivering
oval. I tentatively sip under the watchful glare of two officers: my arresting male
officer and a willowy framed female, whose strawberry blonde hair is snared in a
severe ponytail. The hot tea scalds my tongue so I quickly replace the wobbly cup on
the table top.
It’s as you see on TV: a room with minimalist decor, a black topped table, a few
hard-backed chairs and a recording machine. To my left sits the duty solicitor, a tiny
bloke in a cheap nylon suit, no taller than me, supplied courtesy of my rights. I’ve
never been involved with the police before so why would I have a family solicitor?
I refused my chance to call someone, I’m not selfish enough to ruin my parents’
The male officer, whose lower jaw is defined by his shaving shadow, unwraps the
cellophane from two blank tapes before loading and pressing the machine’s record
My stomach quivers with nerves.
Is this step one towards prison? A deadbeat life of slop buckets and grey boiler
suits? Or a life on the run with a mafia style existence in Marbella?
‘Officer Scott Hamilton and Officer Kylie Brown at Pooley police station
interviewing at 2 a.m. on the twenty-fifth of December 2016. The accused was
arrested for assaulting police officer Joel Kennedy in the vicinity of St Bede’s Mews
shortly after midnight. Duty solicitor Mr Jonathan Green is also present.’
The officer coughs and clears his throat before staring at me, his chest and biceps
strain against the fabric of his shirt.
‘Could you state your full name and address please?’
“Flora Eloise Phillips of thirty-one St Edith’s Crescent, Bushey, Hertfordshire,” I
answer, knowing full well that his official eyebrow should be raised given my
distance from home.
“I’m currently without employment.”
The male officer smirks, the female simply stares before writing notes on her lined
They think I’m a dosser, who can’t keep a job so I fill my time by head butting
coppers. Why couldn’t I be answering ‘a receptionist for the family furniture maker of
Wright, Wright and Wright?’ Ahhh yes, because their beloved son Julian Wright
cheated on me forcing me to up sticks and move on from relationship, residence and
employment – one stone, three direct hits.
‘What brings you to the area, Flora?’
I hesitate; pull the cream blanket tightly over my shoulders, nervously glancing
between his staring gaze and her bored expression.
‘I…’ In my head the words flow in neatly formed sentences which eloquently
explain everything but I know the reality will be a tsunami of stuttering. How pathetic
will I sound admitting to two officers and an aged solicitor that life’s not good.
Actually, I’m feeling a bit down. Not your usual everyday under the weather down or
an emotional wobble but a full-blown, life-long crisis that’s been on the cards since
1986. An emotional, deep-seated feeling of being unloved, unwanted and ashamedly
at thirty years of age, a total failure in the game of life. I can’t hold onto a boyfriend,
or a job and am currently staying at my parents’ house and kipping in their spare
bedroom. I can call it house-sitting while they’re on a cruise sunning themselves –
I’ve failed to create an excuse for the previous two months.
His dark eyebrow lifts, her nude mouth purses. My solicitor’s hand hovers, his biro
suspended in mid-air above his yellow legal paper – they’re waiting for an answer.
‘It’s private,’ I mumble, reaching for my tea.