The villagers of Sugarbush Valley had a big Christmas celebration. Many have left to visit family, or have their annual vacation, but many have also stayed behind and thoroughly enjoyed the company of their fellow villagers.
After having some delicious food and enjoying each others company they gathered around the gigantic tree and sang Christmas carols.
After which they unexpectedly turned to the camera and shouted...
It was a lovely sunny day in Sugarbush Valley. Teri Chocolate was busy baking a fruit pie for Christmas in her cosy kitchen.
Cremé was playing quietly with her ducky on the floor and Freya was reading yet another book, she must have finished five already and the summer break has not even really started yet. Teri wished that Freya would go out more, but there is no sense in pushing her and she has already made a friend in Candy Mulberry, so that is some progress.
As Teri mixed all the ingredients together her thoughts went to her husband, Frasier. As any other morning, he again went out after breakfast to go and search for a spot for the Pizzeria he wants to open. After six months, he still does this everyday. Teri would have thought that he has seen everything there is to see in this little village by now, but at least he is not sitting on the coach sulking. At least he is getting to know the villagers and making everyone excited about the possible future opening.
The next moment the front door flew open
Frasier: I found it, I found it, whoa, I found it!
Teri nearly dropped the cake she just took out of the oven, Freya looked up from her book rather annoyed about being interrupted so noisily and Cremé starting clapping her hands.
Teri: Hi Honey, what have you found?
Frasier: A space for our Pizzeria!
Teri: How is that possible, just yesterday there was nothing, did someone decided to relocate?
Frasier: Well it has been available for the past six months but I just didn't thought it could work.
Teri looked perplexed
Teri: What do you mean available for the past six months.
Frasier: It is one of the semi-permanent stalls in the square.
Frasier: That was exactly my first response too, when Mayor Hugo told me about it, I wasn't interested then as it was not what I had in mind, and when I found our house, I thought we can wait a few months for the downstairs shop to become available, but I cant't wait any longer. And last night just before I fell asleep I remembered about that empty space.
Teri: Well, and can it work?
Frasier: It is boarded up and Mayor Hugo was in a meeting this morning, but I have an appointment with him and Sydney this afternoon. I took the liberty to look at Pippa's Delicatessen and the Periwinkle shoe shop. As you know their shops are in those stalls too. I was taken by surprise because once inside it doesn't feel semi-permanent at all. The Delicatessen is bright and airy and the Shoe Shop gives one an idea of a quaint little shop somewhere in Italy, it is all about the decor.
Teri: That is wonderful news and if you feel we can make it work I believe we can and I support you one hundred persent. I'm so relieved right now. You know I was getting a bit worried. Our savings is dwindling fast.
Frasier: I know how you feel, these last few weeks it felt as if something was chasing me, we still have enough to keep us going for a while, but I don't want to use everything. It is our safety net, you know, for a rainy day.
Teri: Yes I know.
The Chocolates had a quick lunch and after Cremé was put to bed for her afternoon nap, Teri and Frasier strolled over to the square.Teri instantly saw what Frasier meant with the other stalls, from the outside they look like stalls, but as soon as one stepped inside the possibilities was endless. How did they miss this.
While looking around Mayor Hugo and Sydney arrived. They greeted each other and immediately began discussing the shop.
Mayor Hugo: So Frasier are you interested.
Frasier: Yes I am, how does this work.
Sydney: Well the shops actually belong to the town, if that makes sense. You pay a nominal fee as monthly rent, and that is actually the short and long of it. We try to keep the stalls occupied and it is the responsibility of the lessee to maintain it at their own cost. The rent you pay is more like insurance in the case of big structural damage, we then have something to fall back on. You know that sort of thing.
Frasier: Sounds fair. We'll take it.
Mayor Hugo: That is fast, are you sure.
Frasier: Yes, I've had the whole night and whole morning to think about it and I've discussed it with Teri she likes it to. Teri?
Teri: Yes, we'll take it.
All shook hands and Sydney promised to take care of the paperwork. On their way home Teri and Frasier discussed chatted excitedly. They already have everything planned out, it has been done months ago. So now they can finally begin to set up shop.
2 Weeks later
Teri and Frasier are extremely tired, but very satisfied. Never have they worked so hard in their lives. They managed to set up their Pizza Parlour in two weeks. Two weeks ago they had nothing now they have a fully functional Pizzeria. They are quite proud of what they have accomplished. Tomorrow is the big opening, but tonight they will have a small birthday party first.
Their daughter Freya is turning 14 today and though Freya indicated she is not interested in a party her parents have convinced her to invite a few friends over so that they can test out the pizza oven. Freya agreed, but insisted that it is not a birthday party, but a pre-opening party. Her parents were happy to agree to this.
Freya decided to invite Candy Mulberry to the pre-opening party. Candy is her best friend, as well as the two boys Daniel Fielding and Baden Renard. Daniel and Baden are in the same class as Freya, and best friends too. Teri also invited little Clop to the party, in order to give his parents a bit of a night of. Bridget already had plans.
The four guests arrived together and to Freya's dismay with a present, but Candy quickly handed it to Mrs Chocolate "Congratulations on the new Pizzeria" she said and winked. She already knows her friend too well. "Be sure to see alot of us" Baden Renard chimed in.
They made themselves comfortable at one of the tables and immediately started chatting. Teri's heart warmed when she saw this. She is very aware of the fact that the move was extremely hard for Freya and to see her so comfortable with her friends gave Teri great satisfaction. Cremé immediately took Clop's hand and let him to a corner where they could play.
When all the children were comfortable Frasier and Teri started with the pizzas. It was made from scratch. Teri started to mix the dough and Frasier lighted the oven. Everything went smoothly and soon they served wonderfully cheesy pizzas to all the children.
Frasier and Teri also made themselves comfortable on a little bench and enjoyed their first pizza's in Sugarbush Valley and as they tasted the first bite, they knew this is the beginning of great things.
At the Hamburger Restaurant it was a particularly busy day, but Darcy and Bridget was doing a fine job of keeping everyone happy.
Postman Pete Petite was enjoying his usual lunch, a sandwich and cup of coffee. He loved the hustle and bustle of the Restaurant.
Pete noticed that Tamsie Honeybear has ordered some takeaways. He was quite fond of Tamsie, who was always extremely friendly and helpful.
Ben Henry-Lloyd occupied his usual table, and was as always busy filling out and completing some sort of application form. He was having a lot of trouble registering his new business. The counter table at the window was occupied by the boys, Oliver Periwinkle and Branson Whiskers.
On her way out Tamsie stopped for a quick chat.
Tamsie: Afternoon Pete, how are you?
Pete: Hi Tamsie, I am good thanks. How are Bertie?
Tamsie: He is fine, just working so hard, and there is no time for making lunch, so I quickly ordered some takeaways. I know not very healthy, but we got to eat.
Pete: At least it is Friday, so I don't think it is that big of a sin.
Tamsie (laughing): You've a point thank you, I'll remember that. Well, I got to go. Bye-bye.
Pete: See you soon, Tamsie. Say hi to Bertie for me.
After Tamsie left, Pete continued eating his sandwich, the next moment he nearly fell of his chair, he saw someone entered the Restaurant who looked exactly like the his pen-pal and the love of his life, Margaret Mcfarlane. He looked closely, it was her. Pete began to hyperventilate. They have talked about her visiting, but it was never finalised, she said she would write him first, and so give him ample time to prepare for her visit. What must he do?
He knew, he would hide behind his cap, and then she will leave and go back to her town, and then they can do everything as they planned. He is not ready for this now. What will he do?
Pete then realised how silly he is. He has been looking forward to seeing her for so long, and now that she is here, he hides from her. "Oh, grow up." He told himself and walked over to where Margaret was standing.
Pete: Excuse me miss, Margaret is that you?
Margaret: What? Oh sorry... Pete is that you, hi. Am I glad to see you!
Pete: Margaret it is you! Welcome to Sugarbush Valley, but why didn't you inform me of your planned visit?
Margaret: Oh, I am so sorry, Pete. Are you mad? I thought I'd surprise you!
Pete: Mad, no of course I am not mad, but yes very surprised.
Margaret: I decided to come visit you on the spur of the moment, but immediately regretted it, when the bus left my town. I decided to push through and at each town wanted to turn back, but somehow I just never got of the bus and turned back!
Pete: I'm really glad you didn't turn back, come let's go. Let me show you this fantastic village and introduce you to all the wonderful residents.
At the door they bumped into Savannah Trunk. Pete was proud to finally introduce Margaret to Savannah, who heard so many stories about this girl. Savannah invited the pair over for dinner that night.
Margaret: Mrs Trunk that is so lovely of you and I really appreciate the invitation, but I'm afraid I will have to ask you to postpone it please. I just spend 18 hours on a bus and am so tired.
Savannah: Oh, of course, how selfish of me. Tomorrow night then? And maybe still drop by this afternoon for a quick cup of tea?
Margaret: If it suit you, I will gladly accept.
Pete: Then that is settled.
Savannah (giggling): Ok go on then you two, enjoy your afternoon. And yes Pete as mayoress I guess I have the authority to give you the afternoon off. And maybe you should see Sydney about some accommodation.
Margaret: Oh yes that, Pete, will you help me? I really came unprepared.
Pete: Of course, let's go to the commune and ask Sydney.
They greeted Savannah and left the Restaurant.
They walked through the village. Pete showed Margaret around, and told her the history of every single building. She was astonished by the beauty of the place and how well manicured the grass lawns were and that everywhere flowers was in bloom.
The commune concept was very interesting to Margaret and she couldn't wait to see it. They located Mona Hazelnut in the kitchen.
Pete: Hi Mona, sorry for interrupting, but I'm looking for Sydney.
Mona: No problem Pete, but wait... Are you Margaret?
Margaret (blushing): Yes I am.
Pete: Where is my manners sorry. Yes Mona this is my girlfrie... Uhm I mean Margaret. Margaret this is Mona.
Mona: Pleased to meet you Margaret.
Margaret: Me too, you live in a lovely village.
Mona: Thank you, we try to make it pretty, let's go find Sydney.
Sydney was upstairs, busy with some planning. Pete quickly explained their calamity to him, but Sydney reassured them that he does have a room available. It will be the room that was occupied by the Chocolates, but luckily they moved out the previous week. Pete could sense Margaret's relieve when she heard this.
Sydney took them downstairs, and once again Margaret was surprised by how comfortable everything look. This is just so much better than a dreary hotel room.
Margaret: Thank you Sydney, it is a wonderful place you got here and it is really kind of you to rent this to me for the time being.
Sydney: I'm just glad I could help. You will love your short stay here, and please ask Mona if you need anything.
Pete: We will, thank you Sydney.
While the men took care of business Mona showed Margaret around. Margaret just loved the set up more and more. It was a such a brilliant way to give residents a temporary living space, much better than a tent or caravan.
Mona also introduced Margaret to Isabel Fisher. Margaret instantly fell in love with Eddie and Michelle and really liked Isabel too. It was a shame that she will only be staying a short while.
While Margaret unpacked her bag, Pete told her everything he knew about her fellow commune mates.
Pete: Schroeder Fisher is the doctor in the village and Isabel is a qualified nurse who also runs the practice, they have four children. The twins and then Linus and Lauren. They are a friendly family, and extremely clever.
Margaret: I've met Isabel and yes the twins are so adorable.
Pete: The Hunter-Smyth family has just moved to the village, they are in the process of opening the dress shop. They are a classy family and so well dressed, you should see the dresses that Camilla and her daughter Isabella wear some day. Apart from Isabella they have four sons, Hector and then the terrible triplets, Dylan, Gerard and Thomas.
Margaret: A dress shop, wow. I guess the women of the village are particularly happy about that? And wait what? Triplets? And are they really terrible?
Pete (laughing): I guess not terrible but very very busy. So who is left, as Sydney mentioned the Chocolate family lived here for a small while, but you will meet them soon. The one room is currently vacant and then Sydney, Mona and their two children occupies the last room.
Margaret: I can't wait to meet the rest of them, and so many children.
Margaret finished up the unpacking and it was decided that Pete will show her around some more. She was really tired, but was so excited to see and meet everything and everyone.
Pete decided to take her for a quick stroll on Village street on their way to Beechwood Hall. He wanted to stop at the florist to buy her some flowers for her room.
Pete: This is the village florist run by Katrina Whiskers.
Margaret: What a quaint little shop, I just love it. And look she actually has Marguerite flowers, and in bloom. Amazing, they are my favorite flowers.
Pete: Good lets go in.
Katrina: Pete, what a surprise, and this must be Margaret?
Margaret (blushing slightly): I wonder what he has been telling all of you, it seems that everyone knows me.
Pete: Hi Katrina, yes this is Margaret.
Katrina: So good to meet you, and don't worry, it was only the best of things.
Margaret: I'm relieved to hear that.
Katrina: How can I assist you.
Pete: I want to buy Margaret some flowers, you know, but she has already seen the Marguerites so we would like a pot of those.
Katrina: Lovely choice, they just started to bloom.
Margaret: Oh thank you Pete, this is a fantastic gift, I just love Marguerites, my mommy used to grow them. May I have a look around at what else you have?
Katrina: Sure, this is my tulips, I'm extremely proud of them, then here we have Poppies and over there some Daisies too.
Margaret: Katrina, you definitely have green fingers, your flowers are wonderful.
Katrina: Thank you
Pete: Sorry to interupt you ladies but we should be off, we have tea at the Trunks soon, and I want to show Margaret a few things still.
They greeted and thanked Katrina for the pretty flowers and walked on.
The next stop was Pippa's delicatessen. Pete decided to buy something for tea. Once again Margaret was amazed by everything she saw. And it was really hard to pick something.
Pete: Hi Pippa, I would like you to meet Margaret, and we are having tea with the Trunks so what do you think we should get?
Pippa: Hello Pete and Margaret. I'm so glad to meet you. Welcome to our village.
Margaret: Hello Pippa, your shop is amazing.
Pippa helped them to choose something and they settled on the cream cake. It was a favorite of Mayor Hugo, but Pippa assured them that they will love it too.
While Pete paid for the cake, Margaret wandered next door and let out a faint shrill. Around the corner of the Delicatessen, was the most wonderful little shoe shop with the most exquisite shoes.
Margaret: Oh what a lovely shop and look at al these wonderful shoes. Alex: Afternoon, how could I assist you madam?
Margaret: Oops sorry where is my manners, I'm Margaret McFarlane, Pete's friend.
Kate: You came for a visit, how wonderful. Welcome Margaret!
At that moment Pete entered the shop and was glad to see that Margaret's shyness is slowly but surely evaporating.
While Margaret admired the shoes, the men caught up on some village news.
Margaret: Kate you have a wonderful selection, maybe I'll stop by to get myself a pair, before I leave. I'll have to, however, leave something else behind to make space for one of these pair of exquisite shoes.
Kate (with a sparkle in her eyes): Well I could just mail it to you or even better keep if for you till your next visit.
Margaret (winking back): Now that is a great plan.
The women burst out laughing. Pete urged Margaret that they should really be leaving. They said their goodbyes with promises that they will return soon.
Further along they got to Daisy's ice cream parlour, and as it was Friday it was open for business. Margaret insisted that she wanted to buy Pete an ice cream. He gave in as he was extremely fond of ice cream and there was some time left before there tea appointment.
Pete introduced Margaret to Daisy and Annabel, who was watching the twins. They ate their ice cream in silence admiring the view of the valley.
They arrived just in time at Beechwood Hall and Savannah opened the door for them.
Savannah: Come in, come in and welcome.
Margaret: Thank you. You have a beautiful home.
Introductions were made and while Savannah made the tea Hugo questioned Margaret. It was almost like and interview, but Margaret handled it brilliantly and her shyness was completely gone. She even made a few jokes about the questioning.
Savannah soon joined them and playfully scolded Hugo for giving Margaret the 3rd degree.
Hugo (jokingly): Hey I must find out if she is the right fit for our Pete.
Savannah: You usually leave that up to me, but I see that this time you will not trust only me on that.
Hugo: No no no, I must be convinced to.
Margaret: So Mayor Hugo, did I pass the test.
Everyone burst out laughing. Pete sighed of relief, Margaret was a hit, as he knew she would be.
After a nice cup of tea and some delicious cream cake they headed back to the commune. On their way back Margaret was very quiet and Pete sense that the long day was taking its toll on her, she must be extremely tired. When they arrived to her room he turned to her and gave her a little caring peck on the cheek and whispered in her ear.
Pete: I am so glad you are here my love, and tomorrow is another day. Have a good rest and I will pick you up bright and early for breakfast.
Pete hurried out of the room, he didn't even wait for a reply from Margaret, as it was hard to leave as it was. He was looking forward to spend another day with her and just knew that it is going to be a long, sleepless night.