By Helen Gilmore

As children we loved to visit Mrs Murphy. On a sunny Sunday evening we walked the short journey to her home. All six of us, along with our mother, set off along the main road. En route we had fun bursting the little tar balloons on the road from a roasting hot Sunday. Then we walked the little by-road that led into her whitewashed thatched cottage through the bright red door.

Mrs Murphy was a tiny lady. We were in awe of her snow-white, curly hair, gold rimmed glasses, ruby red lips and assorted coloured bangles which jingled every time she moved. She always wore a navy polka dot apron with pockets that were overflowing with sweets as she owned a little sweet shop. As children that was one of the highlights of our visit.

The welcome we received on approaching her home was a memory I will always cherish. “Come on in, you’re heartily welcome,” was always her opening sentence. My mother never visited empty handed either and always brought a bottle of butter-milk. “Well, you have a heart as big as a mountain,” was always Mrs Murphy’s way of expressing gratitude.

The beautiful floral china cups displayed on the open dresser were taken down and the tea was made. Loose tea leaves taken from a tea chest from her little shop. Goldgrain biscuits were given to us and we dipped them in the tea.

Mrs Murphy was a fortune teller and by virtue of her role she read the tea cups for us. Strangely enough she always asked a few little questions before telling our fortune. With a look of curiosity on her face and looking into the tea leaved cup she spurted out “everything is going to be very bright – you’re going to get a parcel from America”
By the way did you get any letters from America lately,” she asks my mother.

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