Lucia’s very existence came as a great surprise to her great-uncle Cornelius, however that was quickly washed away by his unconstrained joy at the realisation that he had another great niece, especially being the child of his much missed nephew, Bertie.
That auspicious day started like any other, but life has a funny way of going full circle and, in this instance, it chose to take the long way round…
An enigmatic, elegant lady had arrived at The Ten Acre Country House Hotel and Spa bearing a striking resemblance to one of Ten Acre’s better known families. Rumours abounded as she had some old photographs and was enquiring as to whether anyone recognised the person therein.
An urgent phone call from Ben Marlow, the Manager of the Hotel brought news of this to Popperley House and soon to, Cornelius Popperley, family elder and self-appointed family genealogist. He was intrigued and resolved to meet this lady as soon as possible.
Arriving at the Hotel, his mind already racing, when suddenly there appeared a rather beautiful young lady of proud bearing, her dark hair, and tanned skin were in contrast to her grey-blue eyes. Her nose was perfectly etched and her cheeks bore the distinctive cut of the Popperleys.
With a lilting Italian accent and enchanting English she introduced herself as Lucia Bonfratello. Cornelius took a step back his hand instinctively reaching to cover his gaping jaw, his other clutching his chest as his head began to spin. Lucia stepped in to catch him and the hotel staff, paying even closer attention than normal ran in to assist. Cornelius was aided to a comfortable seat in the lounge amid protestations from him that he was fine.
Once settled, Cornelius introduced himself and Lucia told him why she was there. She showed him the photographs that she had brought with her, causing Cornelius to take a sharp intake of breath; a welling of tear ducts and the exclamation “Dear, dear boy!”
Bertram Popperley, known to the family as Bertie, was Cornelius’ nephew and had been lost at sea four decades earlier in an attempt to save the occupants of a floundering passenger ship.
Lucia took his hand in hers and slowly started to tell her story of a stranger washed up in terrible condition on a beach near Taranto one day after a bad storm. The locals could not understand him, nor did he even know his own name. The local police, after some fruitless enquiries left him to settle where he had been found. Over time he learnt how to speak Italian and built a life for himself marrying a pretty local girl and being blessed with a beautiful daughter.
Lucia’s father took the name of Marco Bonfratello after the family who took him in after he was saved and he succeeded in life becoming the owner of the Bonfratello coffee houses, selling the best coffee in the area. In his later years he regained glimpses of memory of who he really was; suddenly speaking words of English or talking about playing in popcorn orchards as a child. After her parents’ deaths she sold the coffee shops to her cousins and set out to find the popcorn orchards of her father’s childhood home.
Realising now that she had succeeded in her quest, tears glistened down her beaming face.Lucia was whisked up to Popperley House where she met scores of eager relatives, the news having spread like wildfire. Over the coming weeks and months, as she fell in love with everything about Ten Acre and the popcorn orchards, she used the special knowledge and skill her father had taught her to create Cappuccino Flavour Popcorn.
Lucia and, through her, Bertie Popperley had come home.