Hornbull was quite surprised by the state of the stable. Though it was dirty on the inside, the structure was still sturdy. He began by piling everything, from tools to reins on his wheelbarrow and loaded it on the bigger cart. Some of the stuff might even be useful again.
Just as Hornbull was about to start sweeping the floor, he noticed Roxy Renard approaching. She looked like a thunder-storm, which was very uncharacteristic for Roxy. Hornbull was quite afraid, he wasn't in the mood for the wrath of a scorned woman. He decided to sweet talk her.
Hornbull (very sweetly): Hi Roxy, thank you for coming. I know this is out of your way and a lot of trouble, but Daisy and I agreed that you will be the only person to get this dump cleaned out properly.
Roxy immediately knew what Hornbull was trying to do, and though she still felt irritable, she instantly calmed down. Yes, she was highly upset for being asked to do this. Daisy sort of tricked her into doing it, but now that she is here, and can see that Hornbull has tried his best to lighten her load she felt less done in.
Roxy (calmly): Thanks for the compliment, Hornbull, but I'm sure Daisy would've been able to do it just as properly, maybe even Maisie, but I am here now and pride myself on the work I do, so I will not disappoint you.
Hornbull: I have never thought of asking Maisie, but we actually want to surprise them, so that would have spoiled that.
Roxy decided not to argue about it with Hornbull, it is afterall Daisy that she is mad at. Without further time wasting she got out her equipment and started cleaning.
After standing around twiddling his thumbs, Hornbull decided to rather leave, before Roxy really exploded. Roxy gave a sigh of relieve and worked for two hours straight to rid the stable of all spider webs, dust and dirt.
When finally done, she took a good look around and felt extremely proud, even she would live here now. It was really a cosy little home and she was sure that Jack and Maisie will be happy here. Roxy packed up her equipment and briefly thought of going up to the homestead to say hello to Daisy, but decided against it, she was still mad at her. Mae's house was actually closer, but she knew that Mae was at the Laundromat, so Roxy headed home.
Early the next morning Hornbull and Daisy took the Meadows down to the stable. Hornbull quickly explained that he and Daisy want them to live there, if they wanted to.
Maisie (excited): Wanted to? Are you serious? Of course we want to live here, it is perfect. Here is enough fresh air and open spaces for the twins to play in, it is close to Jack's work. It is perfect! How will we ever repay you.
Hornbull: Nonsense, we don't want anything in return. You can live here as long as you wish.
Jack: Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so much, but we are so grateful.
The rest of the morning was spent planing how to decorate the house. Both Maisie and Jack agreed that they don't need anymore renovations, but Daisy was adamant, that the stable should be wallpapered, her own recent redecorating and the joy it brought still fresh in her mind.
So while Maisie babysat the Buttercup children at the farmhouse, Daisy wallpapered the stable. She hanged the curtains, and just as she was about to take a step back and admire her handy-work, Maisie arrived with the children.
Maisie: Sorry to interrupt you Daisy, but the children were getting all fussy, so I decided to take them for a walk, and then curiosity got the better of me.
Daisy: No worries. I'm all done. What do you think?
Maisie: It looks amazing!! Thank you so much Daisy, you are so kind.
Their conversation were interrupted by Cheddar singing at the top of his voice. The little devil was sitting on top of a big piece of wood, which was pushed on top of a wheelbarrow, by Jack while Hornbull and Paddock kept it in place. The women looked at each other and burst out laughing it was a funny sight.
Hornbull quickly explained that the piece of wood would be positioned so that it will form a little shelf for some extra space. Maisie just shook her head, she has never before in her life experienced kindness like this, it was totally surreal.
The men quickly put the shelf up, which was terribly upsetting for Cheddar, as his father needed something to stand on and the wheelbarrow was the closest thing. Cheddar threw and enormous tantrum.
Finally the shelf was up and Jack and Maisie thanked the Buttercups for all the hard work, but most of all for their kindness.
Maisie: Now we must just save up for some furniture, but for now that is not important. We have a roof over our heads and our children will be warm and cosy tonight.
Hornbull (winking at Daisy): All in good time my dear.
That evening as Maisie closed the stable doors, she had a good look around. Everyone was already asleep, exhausted by the excitement of the day. She felt so blessed, but mostly grateful that everything worked out so good.
Maisie woke with a song in her heart. Jack got up early to do his deliveries. She quickly packed away the mattresses and blankets and was just about to give the twins their early morning milk, when she heard a commotion outside.
She stepped out and found Stilton Bouquet and Hornbull standing outside, with an oven carefully balanced on a wheelbarrow between them.
Maisie: Good morning guys, uhm ... is everything alright?
Hornbull: Morning Maisie, sorry for disturbing you so early, but Stilton has something for you.
Maisie: Something for me? But why? I didn't order anything.
Stilton: I recently bought a new stove for the Harvester Restaurant, as the old one was just getting too small. I didn't want to throw it out as it was still in perfect condition.
Maisie: Well yes, I guess that you are right, that stove must be too small for all the wonderful food you have to cook for a restaurant.
Stilton: Then I overheard Daisy telling Rosemary that you might be needing a stove soon and that if we would be interested in selling the old one to you...
Maisie instantly turned red with shame. Though she desperately wanted a stove (a campfire is a not ideal for cooking meals on) they just couldn't afford it now. She felt so ashamed.
Maisie: Stilton I'm so sorry but I have no ...
Stilton (interrupting Maisie) ... then I thought, the old stove is only in my way. I will be happy to get rid of it. I spoke to Hornbull and he agreed to help me deliver it to you.
Hornbull (smiling): So here is your first piece of furniture, Maisie, and a pan to for good measure. I expect an invitation to a dinner soon.
Maisie was completely overwhelmed, and totally unsure of what to do. Does this now mean they get the stove for free. She will have to make sure, but the men where concentrating so hard on getting the heavy stove inside that she didn't want to interrupt them.
After the men placed the stove in a corner and made all the connections to get it to work, Maisie nervously asked Stilton if it would be okay if they can make the first down payment after Jack has received his first wage. Stilton burst out laughing, but when he noticed the confused expression on Maisie's face, he immediately stopped.
Stilton: I'm sorry Maisie for being so indiscreet and for not expressing myself clearly, but this is a gift. I don't want anything for it, though an invitation to a dinner, as Hornbull suggested, is not a bad idea.
Maisie couldn't believe what she was hearing. She thanked Stilton and promised that the invitation will follow soon.
Maisie was still admiring her new stove when she heard little Noah call out "daddy". She was surprised to see Jack home so early, he usually comes home for lunch but it is barely noon. He was carrying something and when he came closer, Maisie realised it was a rolled up carpet.
Maisie: Jackie, you are back early?
Jack: Yes, I finished my rounds and just wanted to come and surprise my wife, with our first piece of "furniture".
Maisie: A carpet! That is wonderful, it will surely make the little stable so warm and cosy, but ... uhm... Honey it is not really our first piece.
Jack: What do you mean?
Jack turned around and saw the stove. He gasped and look at Maisie puzzled. She quickly relayed the events of the morning to him and he just shook his head. The kindness of these villagers are outrageous.
After agreeing that they would definitely have to invite the Bouquets and the Buttercups for dinner, they got to work. Jack had the carpet cut to size, so it was easy to fit and lay it.
Just as they put the stove bacl inside, after laying the carpet, Jack and Maisie were surprised with more visitors. This time it was their neighbours Ike and Edward Mulberry, accompanied by Eric Renard. Maisie had some kind of deja vu, because once again the men had wheelbarrows on which furniture were balanced. Maisie had an idea of what was coming and she was mightily relived that Jack was with her this time.
As suspected Ike, Edward and Eric informed them that they too want to make some donations towards a more comfortable living. Maisie was totally overcome with emotion, especially when Edward showed her the two cribs that he hand-carved for the twins. She took a moment to gather herself, while the men unloaded the furniture.
Jack helped Eric and Ike to unload the unit with a built-in sink. As a handyman, it was easy for Eric to make the unit, but he needed Ike's input for the plumbing.
For the second time that day, Maisie had to thank almost-strangers for their generosity. She was still surprised by everyone's kindness, but slowly she began to realise that this is normal for these villagers and that this is what they do for each other.
Jack stepped inside to admire their beautiful new furniture, and Maisie was just about to see what she can magically conjure up for lunch, when she heard the calls of her best friend Heidi Mcburrows. The two has become best friends in a very short time, maybe because they both were new to town and felt like they didn't really fit in.
Maisie (excited): Heidi! What are you doing here? I am so glad to see you! What a wonderful surprise!
Heidi (shyly): Oh stop it, how can I let my best friend cook on her first day in her new house, it is probably chaos here. I thought I stopped by and bring you some food, and a surprise for the twins.
Heidi brought all kinds of treats - salad, bread, juice and even some yogurt for the children. As well as a basket of vegetables for supper and two of the softest blankets for the twins, which she bought at Nocturnal.They decided to have a picnic in front of the stable and had a fantastic time.
Maisie told Heidi all about the kindness of the villagers and how they were spoiled with all kinds of donations and gifts. Heidi wasn't surprised at all, as she new that that is exactly the nature of these people. Soon it was time for her to head home. Maisie thanked her for lunch and the lovely blankets for the twins.
Maisie was still wondering how she will thank everyone for their kindness, while clearing the picnic spot, when more visitors came to surprise the Meadows. This time it were their friends the Hawtons with whom they shared a room for a month in the commune, when they moved to Sugarbush Valley.
They too brought a welcome gift, and though it wasn't as extravagant as any of the other things they received that morning, it meant the world to Jack and Maisie.
Jack: Howdy, welcome to our humble abode.
Hildie: Well, it might be humble, but it is perfect. Congratulations.
Maisie: How wonderful of you to come by.
Barry: We wanted to bring you a little gift. It is not much, but we thought you might find it useful.
Maisie: Oh that was unnecessary. Don't you need it for your own room?
Hildie: Nonsense, you need it more than us.
Barry: I found it at the school. Headmaster Huckleberry wanted to throw it out, but I rescued it, so I got Aaron to refurbish it.
Maisie. It is perfect thank you so much.
They showed their friends around and told the story about every piece of furniture and the generosity of their fellow villagers. For Hildie and Barry this too, wasn't surprising.
After a relaxing visit Barry and Hildie had to leave. Jack and Maisie thanked them for their kindness and the fantastic gift.
Soon it was time for dinner again, and they ate the leftover bread with cucumber and tomato. Maisie couldn't stop staring at her house. The empty stable of that morning was a very distant memory.
Maisie: Jackie, can you believe these people?
Jack: What do you mean, Honey Pots?
Maisie: Bringing all these furniture and gifts, without expecting anything in return.
Jack: It sure is unbelievable, but stop worrying about it now and just enjoy it.
The two were still discussing their good fortune, when they were once more interrupted, but this time it wasn't just anyone. It was thé MAYOR of Sugarbush Valley. Maisie almost got a fit and quickly wiped the children's mouths and straighten her own dress.
Jack: Mayor Hugo and Mayoress, what a lovely surprised.
Savannah: Hugo, I told you this will be a bad time, the people are having dinner.
Maisie (flustered): Oh don't worry about that, we just finished. Can we offer you something to eat.
Hugo: Thank you and I don't want to sound ungrateful, but we just ate at the Hamburger Restaurant, we even brought you some takeaways.
Jack: That is very thoughtful of you, we will save it for lunch tomorrow, or maybe a midnight snack.
Everyone laughed at Jack's little joke, but the attention quickly shifted to the couch on the trolley.
Hugo: The real reason for our visit, however is not takeaways, but rather this welcome gift from all the villagers of Sugarbush Valley. We hope you will be extremely happy here and do know that if ever you have any problems, our door is always open.
Jack: This is too generous, wow! Thank you.
Maisie: Oh my goodness, and it is a sleeper couch too. How can we ever thank you for this!
Savannah: No need to repay us, we are the ones that should thank you, for choosing Sugarbush Valley as your home. We are sure you will be fantastic contributors to conserving our beautiful valley.
Maisie smiled shyly, this was the last reply that she ever expected, but it was good to hear. Jack, with the help of Mayor Hugo carried the couch inside. It fitted perfectly as if it was made especially for this tiny space. Maisie thought to herself that maybe it was made for it, because though it sounds ridiculous in this village anything seems possible.
After the Mayor and his wife left, Jack and Maisie took a moment to admire their house. It surely underwent some changes since that morning. They were grateful for the blessings they received and just knew that they will be extremely happy in Sugarbush Valley.