Bill glanced across from his iPad, took a sip of the coffee and gave a sigh of sheer pleasure. You could stick your expressos, Americanos, flat whites or whatevers; in Bill’s view, nothing compared to the purity of flavour of filter coffee.
“Any of that coffee left?” asked Liz, poking her head around his office door, “What are you reading? You said you were going to get the January accounts ready for the accountant.”
“Just taking a breather while I savour the new coffee I bought last weekend.”
“Well, don’t be evasive, what is it that’s distracted you? Not pictures of some bootylicious blondes I hope?”
“No such luck” countered Bill holding the iPad up for her to see the page of densely packed writing and data tables. “Much more worthwhile, it’s a paper I came across on twin studies and the heritability of IQ, which appears to be quite strong.”
“Rubbish! That old chestnut has been roundly discredited. You know very well that we are all born with our minds as a blank slate; it’s nurture that counts! That is why equality is more a vital social issue than ever”
“Yes, of course,” sighed Bill, “I keep forgetting that you’ve got the sociology doctorate, whilst I am merely a humble engineer with grime under his fingernails.”
“Don’t be petulant, darling, it doesn’t become you. You know that I bow to your superior intellect when it comes to inanimate objects; leave the mysteries of the human mind to those of us who are more appropriately qualified. Now where’s the rest of that coffee?”
“Any sign of the new litter?” Bill changed the subject as he filled a cup for Liz.
“Should be any time now, Suki’s about ready to drop. Must dash; love you!” and she was off.
Bill put down the iPad, leant back and putting his feet on the desk, returned to his coffee. How their life had changed! They had met at Uni. They had both been working on their post graduate degrees. Once Bill had received his Master’s, he had re-joined the firm where he had spent his gap year and every holiday since. He had had a career path mapped out for the taking and had wanted to get stuck in. They continued to share the little flat they had been living in for the past year.
Liz ‘s parents, being farmers (well, that didn’t do them justice, landowners was a better description, really) could afford to keep her in full time education and she had decided to stay on for her doctorate. That achieved, a big wedding followed, together with a move into a ‘proper home’ (and the mortgage that came with it, helped by the deposit that was gifted from the in-laws). Bill’s career had flourished and Liz had taken a post in education.
Two years later, disaster had struck and Liz’s parents had been killed in a freak boating accident. An only child, Liz was the sole beneficiary of their will and found herself owning two thousand acres of farm and moorland in Northumberland, in addition to a large portfolio of rental properties in Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds plus a holiday home in Provence. The family’s affairs were debt free, the income from the estate and the properties huge.
Once the initial shock had worn off, reality set in. There was no way the businesses could stay successful without full time management. Liz’s parents really had been the driving force behind the success of the businesses. It didn’t take them long to realise that with Liz’s farming background, growing up on the estate and Bill’s management experience, they were well placed to take on their new challenges. They resigned their respective careers, split up the new responsibilities between themselves and got stuck in.
Ten years on, the businesses had gone from strength to strength. They had developed a team beneath them that could run the day to day side of things whilst they concentrated on the overall management and strategy. And Liz had been able to take time out to raise their two boys. She had an uncanny ability, not just to be a wonderful mum, but she seemed to be able to make all the right decisions concerning their livestock. Essential to the farm it might have been but Liz had turned the breeding and training of their border collies into her special hobby and combined it with showing them, building a string of wins and a formidable reputation throughout the North and Scotland.
Liz had mated her favourite bitch Suki, a real stunner and bright as a button, with Striker, a local star collie. Big and strong, Striker had been winning at all the county shows for the last couple of years and Liz was hoping that both sets of qualities would create a new, superior strain of collies. Suki duly gave birth to a litter of nine healthy pups, causing Liz to be overjoyed.
A couple of weeks later, annual accounts out of the way, Bill was enjoying a bit of leisure time in his den, planning a holiday for them all on the strength of the year’s results. He felt they needed a change from Provence and thought the boys were old enough to enjoy a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Liz came bursting in, sat down on the old couch and beamed at him.
“Well, how are Suki and the pups doing, then?”
“They are fantastic!” Liz enthused, “They are all doing great but there is one dog I can already tell that’s going to be a star! He’s inherited Striker’s build and markings, and not only that” she went on, “I can tell already that he’s got his mum’s nous, definitely!”
“Really? You can tell not only what characteristics they are going to have but which parent they came from?”
“Absolutely! Clear as the nose on your face.”
“Mmmm,” responded Bill, a grin growing across his face, “not all equal then, not a blank slate amongst them? A bit like us humans, eh?”
He just managed to duck in time to see one of his books go flying over his head.