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The Missing Cookbook!

Chapter One

Paula runs into the post office, Gayle who is standing behind the counter looks up to see her looking a bit flustered. Paula drops the contents of her purse onto the floor as Gayle says “Whatever is the matter?”

Gayle directs Mickey, her Beagle, away from Paula and into a back room as Paula is allergic to dogs.

Paula tells Gayle that a parcel she was expecting to be delivered hadn’t turned up and she’s worried that it’s lost. Can Gayle check the system to find out if it has been sent out?

Gayle tells Paula not to worry, “I’m sure we can get to the bottom of it, do you have any paperwork to confirm the transaction?”

Silence…then a small “No, I don’t.” Says Paula. “Two weeks ago I was in Teasdale Bakers and a woman had a lovely cookbook with her, under her arm, I mentioned that it looked old. We were both waiting for Mary to come out of the back to serve us, she was taking her time. Well, the woman said it’s the most wonderful cookbook, with the best ideas she’d ever seen. She said she was using it to win a cookery competition in Wensleydale. Would I like to borrow it after her?” Paula puts all of her things back in her purse and looks in the direction of the bakery. “I didn’t recognise the woman though and she shot out of the shop before Mary could come out of the back.”

“Leave it to me Paula, I’ll find out if the staff know of any parcels of that description sorted. I don’t recall any cookbook, but then I wouldn’t always ask for details of the contents, just the worth and the wait.” Paula thanks Gayle for her help, and leaves the post office. Gayle ponders on the facts – unknown woman with cookbook? Promised to send it on? Would she use this post office? So is she local? Was the cookbook sent from here? So many questions…

Gayle asked the other members of staff if any cookbook had been processed but none of them could recall any books being posted out…

Chapter Two

At 5:30 pm she lets Mickey out into the back yard for a play with his ball, but he dashes straight back in and runs to the front door! ” Oh Micky, go get your ball!”

Mickey doesn’t want to get his ball because Mary is coming through the front door, and she always has a treat for him.

Hello Mary,” Says Gayle.

Hello Gayle and Mickey, here is your treat, a cheese straw, fresh from my bakery!” Mickey wolfs it down!

“How are you Mary? Have you finished for the day?” I have, hey Mickey I’m so glad you like my cheese straws, they sell so well but I always keep one for you, my boy.” Mickey looks for more, but settles for a fuss from Mary.

As Gayle starts to pack away paperwork, Mary tells Mickey “I’m glad you can’t tell that I’ve had to make cheese straws from memory.”

“Memory?” Questions Gayle.

“That’s right Gayle, my cookbook has gone missing…my beautiful old cookbook, I can’t find it anywhere and I always like to check my recipes first, even after all this time. Imagine my horror when I couldn’t find it. I’ve looked all over my bakery for it, I think someone must have taken it. It’s so sad isn’t it?”

Gayle practically throws her paperwork onto the counter making Mary jump, “Have you ever been to Wensleydale Mary?”

“What? Err… I don’t think I have Gayle.”

“Well Mary, this is quite a revelation but I think I’m going to find out who stole your cookbook!”

Chapter Three

Later that night Gayle trawls through the internet looking for recent cooking competitions in Wensleydale. Funnily enough she finds one in Hawes Methodist Church. “I’m going to ring that Church in the morning to find out who entered the competition! If it’s not the right place, well I’m going to ring around the whole area until someone can tell me who won what, isn’t that right Mickey!”

Mickey looks up from the rug he’s lying on, but puts his head back down…

Gayle had a busy morning sorting in her post office waiting for a moment’s peace to ring the list of numbers for the cooking competitions. By half past ten, Gayle had had enough and prompted Mr Jones to count up his change as fast as he could. Mr Jones hobbled out of the post office somewhat bemused as Gayle whipped out her mobile phone.

“Hello there, good morning, could I speak to the person in charge of your recent cooking competition please?” Asked Gayle. Without waiting for an answer Gayle explained the details of the missing cookbook and that she thought whoever had entered the competition would have the book still with them. Finally she let the person at the other of the phone speak.

Bronwyn told Gayle that the competition was fraught with disaster, one of the competitors burnt their entry, setting off the alarms resulting in a stop to the show. A sample was left out to judge but the person who stopped the show was nowhere to be seen when everybody was let back into the church building.

Bronwyn could only tell Gayle the name of the person who fled the show…

“Thank you so much for your time, you’ve helped me so much, I’m sorry about the competition but this information is just what I needed to know, thanks again.”

Gayle feeling guilty about how she rushed Mr. Jones out of the post office makes a mental note to say sorry to him.

Chapter Four

Mr Jones limps his way into Teasdale bakery to buy fresh lemon meringue pie. Mary is rushed off her feet on her own without Alice’s help but Mr Jones doesn’t mind waiting. Alice used to work in the bakery but burnt all the bread and although Mary enjoyed having her there, she was costing too much money to keep on. Alice needed more practice but a working shop was the wrong place to start.

Teasdale’s telephone rang just as Mr Jones was taking his pie out of the shop, “Hello? Oh Gayle, how are you?” Said Mary.

“Hello Mary, I’m fine, hope you’re having a good day, I have something to tell you and it’s about your missing cookbook, I would like to see you in person though so please come to the post office later if you can.” Said Gayle.

“Of course I will, and I’ll bring Mickey his treat, do I need to worry? I don’t want to worry for the rest of the day Gayle?”

“Sorry Mary, of course I don’t want you to worry, everything’s fine, bring plenty of treats, and see you soon.”

Gayle put the phone down, and took a deep breath, Mr Jones will have an apology and Mary will have to be reassured!

Chapter Five

By half past five the post office was ready to close, Gayle brought Mickey in from the back and filed away some paperwork on the top of a desk. Mickey’s tail began to wag as Mary opened the front door.

“It’s me, Mary”, said Mary, fussing Mickey and putting down a cheese straw.

“Hello Mary, sorry to trouble you, I didn’t want to worry you, I just needed you to know I’ve been busy finding out who took your cookbook, I couldn’t help myself!”

Mary took a deep breath, “Oh Gayle you are clever, you didn’t worry me too much, I’m so grateful for your help.”

Gayle explained that it was Alice that somehow took the cookbook, whilst Mickey finished off a second Cheese straw. Gayle, Mary and Mickey left the post office and walked down the street ready for home. Mary needed some answers.

Alice wasn’t happy when she had to leave the bakery, in fact Mary was sad to see her go but felt she had no choice. Alice only wanted to up her baking skills.

Later that night Mary rang Alice to ask her for her book back and to give her a chance to explain her actions. Alice took a full five minutes to stop crying down the phone before she could tell Mary that she didn’t mean to take the cookbook but panicked when seen with it, then somehow promised to send it on before running off with it.

Alice only wanted to look at it to learn how to bake and enter a competition to make herself feel better.

Mary felt sorry for Alice and told her to come to the bakery with the cookbook in person and promised to show her you don’t have to burn down a church to rebuild friendships! Sometimes its as simple as baking a good cheese straw.

Meanwhile Gayle had posted our a lovely cookbook, wrapped with a bow to be hand delivered to Paula with a little card inside it to explain that the other cookbook was never going to reach her. Gayle had also ordered a fresh lemon meringue pie for Mr Jones as sometimes there’s no accounting for good taste…


The End