Isla jabbed irritably at the remote control. Coverage of the Olympics, news about the Olympics, documentaries about the Olympics. The only other options were repeats of antiques programmes, or the shopping channels. She got up from the sofa and grabbed her jacket. Her ankle didn’t hurt at all now when she put weight on it, but she was still constantly aware of it.
Outside, it wasn’t any better. As soon as she got to the end of her street she was faced with the Olympics again. There were adverts for companies sponsoring Team GB on billboards and the sides of buses. TVs in the electronics shop showed track events. Excited people walked by with t-shirts that read, ‘I’m supporting Team GB!’ ‘It’s not fair!’ Isla wanted to cry. Isla Petrie was no longer part of Team GB. She had torn a ligament in her ankle eight weeks earlier, at the final qualifying stages.
Another happy, smiley Team GB advert sailed by on the side of a bus, and Isla couldn’t take it any longer. She saw a travel agents and darted inside.
‘I want to get away from London. Away from the Olympics. What can you offer me?’
The travel agent smiled sympathetically. The customer was clearly not a sports fan.
‘I have some cheap deals to Zante or Majorca. No? Well how about a B&B in Derbyshire. It’s a darling little cottage on top of a hill, wonderful walks and wildlife. The only thing is, it’s a bit cut off. No TV, and the nearest phone is at the local pub.’
‘It sounds perfect,’ said Isla. ‘When can I go?’
Two days later Isla picked up her bag and stepped down from the train into the tiny station at Haddleford. In front of her was an old-fashioned, stone-built stationmaster’s office - now a waiting room - and behind it towered the great Derbyshire hills. Isla liked it already. She climbed the hill from the station to the village’s main road. There was a tea room-cum-craft shop; a post office-cum-general store; a tiny antiques shop, which was closed; and at the end of the street, the village pub, the Haddleford Arms.