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We return to Lord Davi'd village to meet the strange occupants and follow a little more of the Draeded Edna's story.
We return to the village of Lower Greenfield and meet again with Lord David, the formidable Lady J and Oscar their alarm cat. Edna returns with her ambition to serve on the Council and David has to honour his promise to help as well as raise funds to restore Diana, the Dowager Duchess of Cheam's family home. Another promise Lady J made on his behalf. Grizelda is still here as is Mellors the gardener with a past, but who is the 'Lady C' he's meeting with in the greenhouse. Is David about to lose the best gardener he's ever had?
This book contains cartoons by artist Sara Japanwalla to illustrate each chapter.
Monday, November 1, 2010
The Squadron Leader’s Organ
Oscar decided this morning to get rid of the competition. There was obviously a plan to get Lady J all to himself. At about 6.00 am I woke and found myself gasping for breath. Unfortunately there wasn't any and it felt like I was labouring under a great weight. It turned out I was.
Oscar had lain fully across my face and despite my desperate wriggling seemed reluctant to move. I sat up quickly but the mask didn't move far as he was now hanging on for grim death... mine.
Eventually my head shaking caused him to lose his grip and he fell to the bed. He glanced at me with such a look of derision as he stood upright, jumped off the bed and slunk away. I pulled the air into my lungs with deep draughts until I could breathe freely again. Fully awake now, there was no chance of falling asleep again and I wasn't sure I dared risk it anyway. I put my slippers on and headed to the kitchen for a coffee. Sitting on the work surface next to the kettle when I turned the light on was Oscar. I swear it was an attempt to scare me to death. Grumpily I waved him away and put sugar and coffee in my cup. I turned to get milk from the fridge and there he was again right between my feet. Down I went. I crawled the few feet to the fridge for the milk and got some fresh cooked chicken which I placed on a saucer in a corner.
With a hmph sound, Oscar followed the hand with the chicken and started eating which gave me chance to put the milk in my mug and return the rest to the fridge.
By 7.00 am I think we were friends again.
As I took my coffee through to the lounge Lady J came through.
“Morning my dear, Happy Anniversary, everything is in your mug bar the water” I said.
“Happy Anniversary dear” she said “I thought there was a drought on when you didn't bring me one through.”
I prayed silently that I couldn't see a pattern emerging for my day.
At about 9.00 am Lady J suggested we take the Squadron Leader , as we called her father, out for a ride before the weather turned too cold.
“What a good idea” I said, “It'll be nice for him.”
Another coffee, shower, dressed and a quick phone call to the home to prepare him for our visit and we were off. We arrived quickly and found him pacing the hallway by the front door looking at his watch. I opened the door expecting a dressing down for our tardiness but his face lit up at the sight of Lady J.
“Hello both,” he said, “I've been looking forward to your arrival, I think my watch needs to go for repair, it's not working again.”
“May I take a look for you father?” I asked, gently removing it from his wrist. Turning my back to him slightly I gave it a tentative wind and the second hand moved nicely. I put it right, completed winding it up and placed it back on his wrist.
“Marvellous David,” he said, “You have a real talent for this.”
“Actually father, I think perhaps you just carry too much static sometimes. If it happens again, just ask a member of staff to take a look at it for you off your wrist.”
I just hoped whoever it was he asked, realised he thought it was battery driven and wound it up carefully out of sight.
“Well come on daddy,” said Lady J, “let's get moving.”
I helped him into the car and off we went.
“Can we stop somewhere to buy a record?” he asked.
“Of course daddy, there's a big store not too far away,” said Lady J turning into the local Safesure car park. It was quite crowded inside so as we reached the music department Lady J suggested I stand in the queue while she kept an eye on her father. I agreed and joined the queue at the counter. As I got closer to the front I realised I had no idea what he wanted and as quietly as I
could I called out to him.
“Oh” he said quite loudly, “see if they have anything by that chap with the large organ. You know, the one with the ballroom,” A hush descended where moments ago there had been noise.
I cringed and turned to the counter where it was my turn to be served. “Please” I begged the assistant. “Have you any CD's by Reginald Dixon who played the Wurlitzer Organ at the Blackpool Tower ballroom.”
The silence was replaced by titters, chuckles and outright laughter and I felt my face redden. I almost snatched the case from the assistant as I paid her and turning away said ”Just put the change in a charity box please.”
Lady J and the Squadron Leader caught up with me by the entrance. “A remarkable turn of speed for a man on crutches” she said with a big grin.
Back in the car I placed the CD in a Walkman and placed the earphones on the head of Lady J's father allowing her to burst into laughter she had obviously been holding back.
“I didn't know that deep a shade of red existed David, I'll have to embarrass you next time I want to buy curtains that shade.”
Her father was oblivious to the mayhem he could cause and just hummed along to his music.
We arrived at Flutterbys where we were greeted as usual by Hattie who gave the Squadron Leader a hug and a kiss which as usual he received as his due, though in fact he didn't remember her from one visit to the next. As we all sat down, Jools the wonderful cook came out and told us the day's specials.
A good hearty snake and pygmy pudding with creamed mash appealed to me. Lady J settled on some grilled plaice with sauté potatoes. Her father looked at the menu and started to say he'd have a steak when Lady J said “He'll have home baked ham with two boiled potatoes and a few peas please Jools. He loves steak but can't chew it these days.”
Jools smiled and moved away saying how nice it was to see us all again.
Father said “I used to eat spam in the war you know and we used to shoot tins of it out of a mortar to the natives in Egypt.”
This left us all totally confused but not silly enough to ask for explanations.
As we finished the main meal Hattie brought some puddings over.
“I want to try these new recipes out on you,” she told us passing over a dish of plantain cake and custard over to father, a helping of baked Alaska made with raspberry ice cream to Lady J and with a wink to me she passed a piece of my favourite dark chocolate hot fudge cake with cream.
“Sorry David” she said, “I only had two new recipes to try.” I sent silent blessings in her direction.
After settling the bill we decided to head for a garden centre where there was a large selection of fish on display. They also sell gifts and a good display of household items so it would be nice and relaxing to walk round.
I was eyeing up some beautiful art nouveau side tables when I heard “Damn it, I've lost him,” from Lady J. Turning round I saw her father was nowhere in sight.
“Well, he can't get into trouble in here,” I said and started to look for him.
After fifteen minutes and almost at the point of panic I noticed a flicker of movement beside a large display of blue planters.
Heavens, if only the man would wear a white shirt instead of his air force blue clothing once in a while. He blended in there too well. But there he was leaning over a pond full of koi carp with one arm in the water. As Lady J and I approached he said “Used to tickle the trout like this to catch 'em in my day.” Seeing a worried looking member of staff heading in our direction, I returned the two he'd already caught back to their tank, took him in hand and beat a hasty retreat.
After a short stop on the coast for an ice cream we took him back to the home. He seemed tired but happy. As we settled him in his room, he donned the earphones again then glanced up and as if noticing us for the first time said “My daughter's coming to take me out today you know.”
We came home again and I decided to answer my mail, declining to send Psychic Sigourney a fee to find out the wonderful secrets she knew about my future. After all, with a bit of patience and
if I waited long enough I'd know the secrets myself wouldn't I?
I shuddered at a message from Edna Arbuthnott asking to meet me to get an idea of what I'd expect from her on the campaign trail and if there was anything I could suggest she do to help herself during the Christmas period. Before suggesting the best thing she could do was stay indoors and keep quiet I decided to answer her at a later date.
After finishing I went through to the lounge. Lady J asked “Would you like a little music while you read dear?”
“That would be lovely” I replied, “but nothing by the man with the big organ please.”