A Chance of Stormy Weather
by Tricia Stringer
Forecast: stormy weather.
Self-reliant Sydney girl, Paula, is looking forward to a new life in the country. Just married to sheep farmer Dan Woodcroft she can’t wait to escape her protective family and exchange her busy existence for a new life down on the farm in rural South Australia.
But life on the farm proves rather different to what she was expecting.
Why does everyone talk about the weather all the time? Why does no one seem worried by the mice plague? And how is she supposed to feed all those shearers?
With Dan’s brusque Aunt Rowena to contend with, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend showing up with a grudge, and communication between her and Dan breaking down, Paula begins to question whether she can cope — is the life of a farmer’s wife is really for her?
Excerpt from A Chance of Stormy Weather by Tricia Stringer
Paula had been impressed at the effort Dan had put into making the room habitable, but was easily distracted by the joys of having him to herself, in their very own home, in their brand-new bed. She trailed her fingers slowly down the fabric of the bedhead. Goosebumps tingled across her skin and she smiled to herself.
Bother her mother for wanting to come so soon. This old house was not ready for visitors. Dan had lived with his Aunt Rowena in his parents’ house before the wedding. The house he and Paula had moved into once belonged to his grandparents, but it hadn’t been lived in for years. It would take a lot of work but they were looking forward to making it their own.
Paula looked over the clothes they had left scattered on the floor to their cases, still standing just inside the door where they’d dumped them last night. Hers had developed a fluff ball on the handle. She looked again. The fluff ball moved. It zoomed down the case and zipped across the floor where it disappeared from her sight under the bed. She jumped up in the middle of the bed pulling the quilt with her.
“Aggh!” she screeched to the empty room. “A mouse.”
She pressed her lips together and looked around. There was no one to hear her. Dan had told her on the drive to the farm that he would be off first thing on the tractor and in a paddock some distance from the house. Goodness knows when she would see him next.
She looked at her case. No more fluff balls. Paula told herself she wasn’t actually scared of the mouse, after all it was only one small creature, but she didn’t like the idea of it climbing over her things.
She got off the bed, dragging the quilt with her, and reached for her case. She took a firm grip on the handle, snatched it up, swung around and flung it on to the bed. At the same time a small, grey fluff ball whizzed across the sheets. The case landed, smack, right on top.
Paula’s hand flew to her mouth and she shuddered. Now there would be squashed mouse all over the lovely new sheets. She stood in the cold room, still draped in the quilt and glared at the case.
“Welcome to life down on the farm, Mrs Woodcroft,” she muttered. “Lesson number one. How to get rid of any mice you accidentally kill, while unpacking your jeans and knickers.”
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