"You're back!" said Daphne, in a rather plummy voice;
"Indeed!" I replied taking a sip of chasse-café from the Café which, in my childhood, had still been Jimmy Clinkscale's musical emporium, where I had bought my first tin whistle and kazoo;
"Well at least this obviates the need to report you to the Rozzers as a misper!"
said Maude, with that hippanthropic bray which is her laugh when in the throws of one of her near-panic attacks;
"I've not gone missing!" I cried, dreading to think of what might have happened if my aunts had indeed involved the police – something well within the bounds of possibility with that pair;
"Perhaps not from your perspective," said Daphne, "but we have missed you, Teri, dear, and you didn't even send a postcard!" the reproachful tone of her voice cutting me to the core and stripping away my 34 years so that I felt like a seven-year-old again, with scabby knees and clothes caked with mud after rolling down the Eildons with my cousins and chums;
"But if you hurry," chipped in Cristo, "we're just taking a tray of scones out of the oven, and May's ESP must have advised her that you were on your way, because she's made some of your favourites with sultanas and cheese!" and I whooped with delight, earning me a scowl from an elderly couple sitting on one of the benches in the Square, as I dashed across the road and managed to catch a bus outside the Ormiston Institute – it's only a three-stop journey to my Aunts' house, my home too, but my feet were aching after the three day walk from Hadrian's Wall at Corbridge to Trimontium, and then Melrose – I'd covered sixty miles and all I wanted was a hot bath and a plateful of Auntie May's Cheese and Sultana Scones, with lashings of butter and strong sweet tea! as the old saying goes: "East, West, Hame's Best!"