Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Featured Resident

Eva Broome

Eva Broome and her daughter Fiona are the residents of Comely Lodge West which is traditionally the home of the gamekeeper for Comely Manor. Located at the west entrance to the estate, its shroud of vines soften the grey stone making it appear more of a nest than a house. The latticed windows catch the light of the early afternoon shining like little beacons for the visitors to the manor house. The former Viscount Comely graciously allowed Eva and her daughter to remain there after the death of her husband, Alfred who was gamekeeper for the estate. The new Viscount Comely has extended this courtesy upon inheritance of the title and house which has comforted both Eva and her daughter. For them the lodge is a link with Alf Broome, dearest husband and father.

Eva knew there would never been another for her when her time with Alfred was shortened. Her beloved husband died of a chill 7 years ago and now just Eva and her daughter Fiona remain to tend the garden and look after the chickens. It was difficult at first to get accustomed to the absence of Alfred; the timbre of his voice was one of the things Eva found so beguiling when she first met him and to come into the silence of the house after working in the garden only emphasized that he was no longer part of her world.

A slender woman with gentle brown eyes that personify kindness, Eva is frugal without meanness, even tempered and has a cheerful demeanour. Her caps conceal glorious brunette hair, now with a hint of silver, braided and coiled into perfection. Eva is a tall woman with a regal nose and upright bearing, she and her husband made a striking couple when walking together. Originally from Scotland, she arrived in Amberleigh as a new bride having met her husband Alfred while visiting cousins of her mother’s in the nearby town of Bexford. Theirs was a whirlwind romance; both knew from the start they were destined to marry and no one was surprised when the banns were read in church. They set up house in the gamekeeper’s lodge and made a happy home, all the more content when their daughter Fiona was born.

In the Kitchen is where you can usually find Eva. “There is always a need for a wee bit of cake.” she often says and this makes her popular with the children of the village on May Day when cakes are given out. Her love of baking began at a young age. As a child she spent most of the time at her grandparents’ house as her mother died when she was born. She would help her granny with the baking and soon she was stirring up her own cakes. Granny always said the most important ingredient for any cake is the love you put into it and Eva has carried this pearl of wisdom with her throughout her life. The old copy book that contains her recipes is tattered and splattered but remains her most treasured possession. It was presented to her by her beloved grandmother who wrote inside the front cover “The sweetness you pass on to others will come back to you tenfold.”

A small terrier named Archie is Eva’s constant companion these days and together they walk the garden pulling weeds, trimming shrubs and shooing the chickens away from the vegetables. It is a full life, but the sound of Alfred’s fiddle on a cold winter’s evening is much missed. Fiona, Eva’s daughter helps with the running of the household and together they exist contentedly.

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