Trixie Franklin stuffed a handful of chocolate Quality Street into her coat pocket, stolen from the newly arrived big purple tin, donated by a grateful patient. If other years were anything to go by, it would be the first of many Christmas donations received by the Nonnatuns. She made her way to All Saints' Church, while Sister Mary Cynthia rode off to assist in Rosemary McConlough's delivery.
Trixie negotiated the frosty Poplar streets on her bicycle, dodging preoccupied shoppers, Christmas Trees and stall holders. She abandoned her bike and hurried up the well gritted church steps, into the all too familiar church. She paused at the oversized doors. She knew she shouldn't dawdle, Mrs McConlough was after all expecting twins. This would be the first time she would enter All Saints' since she had called off her engagement to its curate.
It wasn't the sound of the dreadful din of the Sunday School Choir that stopped Trixie in her tracks, it was the sight of Tom high above her. Seeing him stood alone and so exposed made Trixie's heart miss a beat.
Trixie knew the Turners would be in their usual pew just behind the Sunday School. Trixie also knew Tom had spotted her, those dimples caused by holding in his laugh at the children's choir, had faded slightly.
The kids continued making the congregation wish for a much more Silent Night. She was probably the only person in the church glad the little ones were singing and Mr Hereward was not preaching. She would have hated to attract any unwanted attention to herself or Tom, by a break in the clergy's sermon, caused by her impromptu entrance. He moved his glance from her, to what she supposed was the Sunday School teacher in the front pew.
Barbara Gilbert was usually allocated Sunday mornings off. Sister Julienne was always looking for opportunities to involve Nonnatus in the community and with the local Anglican Church. Barbara considered it a privilege to have most Sunday mornings off. Desiring to carry on the role she was so familiar with, as a Sunday School teacher, just as she had been at her father's parish in Liverpool.
In return, she was always quick to volunteer for a Friday or Saturday night shift to allow Trixie or Patsy a weekend night off. Recently though Patsy had taken to not going out of a weekend, since Delia had returned to Wales. Patsy had taken to sitting in her room and reading of a night. Trixie had thought it must be difficult for Patsy, as it had been her bike that Delia had been riding, when she was involved in a terrible road traffic accident. Trixie herself was also now staying in of a weekend.
Nurse Franklin kept her eyes on the highly polished church floor, as she made her way towards Dr Turner. On reaching him she only needed to whisper the prospective mother's name, to gain Dr Turner's full comprehension. The nurse absentmindedly noticed that under her right hand the doctor's shoulder was shaking ever so slightly. As she followed the still chuckling doctor out of the church, Trixie hardly noticed the earnest but off key offering of the children's choir. She was just relieved to have retrieved the GP, without embarrassing herself by distracting her ex-fiancé.
Why on Earth didn't the Turners sit at the back? The young nurse wondered. It wasn't as if this was the first time, Trixie or one of her colleagues had been sent to fetch the doctor out of church on a Sunday morning. Come to think of it, Trixie didn't have to search that far back into her memory to find a time when the last place you would have found Patrick Turner on a Sunday morning, was All Saints' Church or any other church for that matter.