Well I don’t know where this week has disappeared to – one minute it’s Monday morning and I’m on my way to Knit and Natter, and just two minutes later it’s Friday afternoon and I’m getting ready to go to Knit and Natter again! It’s no wonder that I get confused!
In all fairness I’m not going to continue to go to the Friday afternoon group on a regular basis. I’m just making an appearance until the ladies are organised enough to manage themselves. The problem is that no-one seems to be capable of taking the lead, even though it’s perfectly straightforward!! Just for the record I like to keep a little register – the easiest way is to pass the notebook round and ask everyone to sign themselves in. In that way, no-one needs to keep saying their name loudly or having to spell it several times. I’ve asked if anyone could help me by doing that – but the answer seems to be that they want me to be there and the silence is deafening!
I’m not sure how to resolve it – although I enjoy going to the groups, they effectively take up the major part of Monday and Friday. I certainly lose all Monday morning and Friday afternoon which although I don’t have a problem with it, is rather restrictive. The other point is that I’m planning on starting another group at the new village hall after Easter. I had thought that Wednesday would be quite good – but now I’ve been asked if I can start an evening group as well.
I’m so sorry that I sound really negative. I’m not meaning to, it’s just that I have a vision of my week disappearing in a haze of knitting groups! Don’t get me wrong – you know that I thoroughly enjoy my knitting but one of the problems is that at the groups I can’t actually manage to do any – there are just too many interruptions.
Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want to hear me banging on about knitting groups for the rest of this post. Right, so what else can I tell you? Oh yes, the work here has completely ground to a halt. I haven’t gleaned much information as yet, but there is certainly something strange afoot.
As you will remember, after the Christmas break only one workman returned and when I quizzed him about it, he told me that everyone else had been diverted to work on other complexes. I knew that it didn’t feel right, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I just hoped that it was a temporary situation, and there was an emergency elsewhere which necessitated “all hands to the pump”. However, it would appear that the contractors won’t be returning to our complex. It is definitely a worrying situation – and once some of the more elderly and vulnerable residents realise that all of the upgrading works have been abandoned permanently they will start to feel very concerned. I need to find out what’s going on, so at least I can tell any neighbours if I am asked. I’m not going to get myself involved as I can’t take on head office on my own. I had a feeling that something like this could happen, but had hoped that I would be proved wrong. How far this inactivity will extend is pure guesswork.
I do have a contingency plan which I’ve been considering for some time. No, I’m not going to tell you just yet! I need to be sure that everything will work for me. No point in deciding on a solution, without considering all the ramifications first. However, the situation here may change in a few days – you really don’t know what is happening from one week to the next.
One thing that certainly isn’t progressing at all is the new buildings manager we were promised shortly after Gordon’s death. The current position is that a relief manager who covers several complexes in the north-west pops in once or twice a week – when he’s passing, so we don’t actually know when he’s going to be in attendance! Of course, from his point of view that works very well as we can’t make an appointment to sit down with him to discuss problems or ongoing issues.
It really isn’t satisfactory for anyone. I believe he purely comes as a necessity for “health and safety” reasons as otherwise there could be problems with their insurance. If by any chance you happen to see him whilst he’s running around and you ask for a couple of minutes of his time the response is always “you’ll have to take it up with head office. I don’t know anything about it.” Not helpful in the least, so now everyone just keeps out of his way. I don’t think he’s been here for longer than an hour on any visit, so what can you expect him to do in that length of time?
I do sound like a grumbling old biddy today. I really must apologise, but I am incensed by the manner in which head office are treating us all. Although some residents own the flat they live in, the vast majority of us rent them, at a not inconsiderable figure and nearly £200 from our rent every month is for a service charge. Those residents who own their flat also pay the service charge too. There are the gardeners and window cleaners, security, lighting and the cleaning of the communal areas. I’m almost certain that the salary of the building’s manager is paid from the service charge too.
I know I’m just a miserable old woman who got out of bed on the wrong side today. It happens to us all from time to time. However, it’s when you just start thinking about one thing, which then leads on to another thing etc etc.
I think I better love you and leave you before I manage to depress you completely. That wasn’t my intention, but one thing has been followed by another. There really isn’t anything for you to be concerned about. I have just had various things going on in my mind for a couple of days and it got to the point where I had to say something, and you happened to be there at the time.
No, please don’t worry about me – I’ll be absolutely fine. Yes, it would be lovely to have a coffee on Saturday and we’ll speak later to confirm it. In the meantime I’m going to make a pan of soup, some of which I’ll thoroughly enjoy later, and there will be enough left for three more meals next week. I do love my homemade soup. As Always –
Good Afternoon Alex, it’s lovely to speak with you again. Yes, I know that we’ve chatted several times this week, but it’s been rather busy with one thing and another. Before we become embroiled in the various bits and pieces, you must tell me how Chrissie and the girls are. After every phone conversation, when I’ve thought about what we said I realised that we had hardly mentioned them at all. So then, before we go any further, please tell me how they are!!
Yes, I remember you saying that Chrissie had a nasty cold and that she really wasn’t feeling too well. Oh dear, that’s a shame – but it’s fortunate that she went to see the doctor and he gave her some antibiotics. I hadn’t realised that it had gone down onto her chest? Right, I’m glad that you were able to persuade her to see the doctor before it got any worse. It’s good that she’s beginning to feel a little better now. I’m sure it will take a few more days to clear completely, but she’s obviously heading in the right direction now.
How are the children – oh dear, well of course they were likely to pick it up too. It’s great that they are better now and didn’t need anything more than a cuddle and lots of books being read to them by daddy! It’s so good that you can work from home when necessary. I know you’re in charge, but it isn’t always easy to be able to drop things without warning!
Yes, let me tell you what’s been going on here. Mrs. M has been to see me three times during the past few days. She came for coffee on Tuesday morning which was lovely. I am knitting a waistcoat for her – she saw the one I made for myself a couple of weeks ago and dropped so many hints that I finally asked if she would like a similar one. I know she can’t knit at the moment as her wrist and arm is still in a plaster cast, but even if she could manage to knit she’s really not very good – in fact she’s dreadful!
I did originally think that she was deliberately losing and gaining stitches, but I’ve gradually come to realise that she just doesn’t seem to have any co-ordination. Although she can follow the steps while I’m watching her, she seems to pick up the yarn between two stitches and knit that as well. She does it automatically, whether I’m watching her or I’m pottering around handing out biscuits etc.
We have wasted so much yarn – yarn that I’ve bought – that it quite upsets me. I may change tack and show her some basic crochet – straightforward doubles into every stitch with a turning circle of two chains. If I do the starting chain and foundation row, I think I can show her how to continue without getting into too many difficulties. The other thing is, of course, it’s much easier to frog it when necessary! I’ll give that idea some thought and suggest it to her once I’ve definitely decided to go down that route.
Oh yes, sorry about that, I disappeared down a rabbit hole again! I was saying that Mrs. M had been three times this week. The first was on Tuesday, then again on Thursday afternoon and then she called in again on Saturday. I think she’s rather bored just now, although her arm isn’t hurting at all, which is very good news.
I’ve asked her if she would like to go across to the coffee shop tomorrow after we’ve been to Knit and Natter at the library. She always does more nattering anyway, so no change there! She was delighted to have a chance to have a bite of lunch out. We’ll probably just have poached eggs or cheese on toast, but it’s rather nice to round off the morning in that way and saves thinking about making lunch when we get home.
Going back to her second visit of the week, and she brought some scones with her. Giselle had popped in to see her and had taken a few little treats for her – wasn’t that lovely of her? I didn’t have any clotted cream available, but I had some extra thick double cream which perched beautifully on top of some strawberry conserve. We both really enjoyed them with several cups of tea.
When Mrs. M came yesterday, she told me it was a flying visit! Well, she was here for two hours, so what constitutes a long visit I’m not sure! However we opened a new box of shortbread biscuits – they were really lovely. I’ve not tried M & S shortbread biscuits before, but they are certainly worth buying again. I must remember that for the future.
So Mrs. M and I have caught up with all of our news – although it has been relatively quiet – for which I’m grateful. One thing I forgot to mention is that Mrs. M has decided she needs a new outfit for the wedding reception and can’t come up with any ideas. I’ve said that when I’m looking online I will see if anything suitable jumps out at me!
Right, what other news do I have for you today? Georgie and I have tried on a couple of outfits, but they weren’t quite what we were looking for – They looked better online than when we looked at them when they arrived here. The colours weren’t as I expected either – I’m not sure why but they appeared more garish and suitable for women who are perhaps in their thirties or forties, rather than heading towards their seventh decade! Not that I am averse to wearing bright colours; neither do I feel that a skirt ending six inches above the knee is particularly alluring!!
So yes, I’ve seen Georgie a couple of times this week, and had a quick chat with Billy who told me that his wedding outfit is ready – he’s tried it on and everything fits perfectly. That’s a result! Even better, he loves it.
I must tell you what is happening with Teddy (and Harry) and also let you know about Giselle, whose workload is ever-increasing. She’s such a popular girl, and generous too – in fact, I worry because she doesn’t charge full price for her baking and everything she makes is delicious.
I think you know what is happening with the building work around the corner, but I’ll update you again, shortly. Knit and Natter at the library is going from strength to strength and I’ve needed to start a waiting list! I’ve decided that I will start one in the new village hall once I’ve dealt with everything to do with the wedding. I think it will open after Easter.
I can’t think of much more to tell you this morning my dear, but there’s bound to be lots of things I’ve forgotten, you know what my memory is like. However, I’m sorry, they will need to wait till next time. As Always –
I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I seem to have a list which never decreases. No matter how well I feel that things are going, and regardless how many ticks I put in the little boxes on the right side of the page, the number increases! At the end of every day I check my special notebook which shows a point by point column of headings written in pencil which I gleefully pore over. I’m just looking for the tiniest excuse to be able to justify a tick. I don’t mind if it’s just a weeny little tick – I’m not greedy – well, I possibly am, but that is a whole different story and not for today!
No, my dear, going back to what I was saying when I rudely interrupted myself, I start each day on a fresh page with the date at the top. First I check back to yesterday, and write down everything from yesterday’s list which didn’t manage to have that elusive tick. I refuse to mark an “x” when I haven’t managed to achieve something – it’s such a negative sign, and I’m not going there!
I am a positive person – I tell myself that on a regular basis, and it usually works quite well for me. However, at the moment I am being tormented by THE LIST. It’s all very well, suggesting that I just close the notebook so I don’t see the numbers which are steadily increasing. No, I couldn’t do that – it’s still there in my head. I go over to the little book and tell myself not to be silly; it’s only a list suggesting things which I may like to do at some point! Who am I trying to kid? That little list is the one I depend on to keep me from forgetting the mundane things in life which often get overlooked.
To be perfectly honest that comprehensive list has saved me on many occasions. The number of times that things would be left undone, if it were not for my trusty notes reminding me you really wouldn’t believe.
The problem is that I’ve made a rod for my own back. I write the list with a number to the left of it. I don’t continue the numbers from yesterday – no, I start afresh at number one. Could you imagine the chaos otherwise, my dear – I would be starting each day with a four digit number – you must agree that would depress anyone!
So every day we start at number one and continue till I can’t think of anything more to add. As the day goes on I refer to my list and take great pleasure in putting a tick next to an item which has been done. Oh yes, I do lightly score through that item in pencil – not heavily, I sometimes need to confirm what I had written!
However, as I said at the beginning, this list never gets any shorter. I can feel quite pleased with myself, but as I add to the list during the day when I suddenly think of something – I can end the day with the list being longer than when I started – which is when I can become rather deflated! Actually being deflated would rather assist with the comment I made earlier about being greedy! Now I’ve digressed again. However, I’m really sorry my dear, that this post is beginning to sound rather tiresome – and if I think so, I’m sure you will be getting very irritated with it.
Onwards and upwards is a phrase which is used regularly here – well perhaps, not written down, but certainly in my head! Oh yes, I have just remembered that I said I’d update you regarding our Knit and Natter group at the library. Well the good news is that the group has now, more or less, successfully split into two separate entities. We do have a slight overlap – a couple of the women seem to want to be in both of the groups, swapping and changing on a weekly basis! Well it couldn’t be completely straightforward – that would have been too much to ask! However, we now have two groups – neither of them which do much more than nattering, but I’m not going to complain about that – well, not yet. There are about twelve women in each group, although that obviously varies when folk are jumping from one to another! Anyway, everyone seems to be happy, which is all that I really want. Anything for a quiet life! How often have I said that since I moved here?
So that brings you up-to-date with the knitting groups, although some bright spark has asked about me opening another one in the new village hall. To be fair, that is a legitimate suggestion, and after the end of March when we have passed the Wedding of the Year I may well take that on board. The location is very good – it’s quite central and for those folk with mobility problems there is plenty of parking. The site is flat and ideal for mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
I also promised that I would let you know the current situation regarding the development around the corner. I’m delighted to know that all the workmen should have finished at the site – if not by the end of March – certainly during the first half of April. There always are the snagging issues which take time to do – sometimes longer than the original job! Alex has been checking things over for me and he is very pleased with the situation, and I know how pernickety he is!
The main items on my to-do list now relate to the wedding. The majority of the big things have been done – it’s the myriad of small items, and each one needs a few minutes spending on it – and then either the morning or afternoon has disappeared. I have started to look at outfits for Georgie and myself and in fact, have even ordered a couple of pieces which may be suitable. At least they’ll give us a good idea of whether the colours work, and how warm or otherwise they will be – I rather like having several layers which can be adjusted according to the vagaries of our English weather.
Anyway my dear, I feel a good deal happier now I’ve spoken to you about them. I’ve probably sent you to sleep, or bored you rigid, but unfortunately these things happen, and this time I’m afraid you’re going to need to deal with it. I’m sorry I began in such a negative way, but sometimes you feel better for actually saying what the problem is, rather than keeping it all bottled up inside. Anyway, if you are still with me now, thank you, I do appreciate it. It really is lovely to have your company.
Just talking about company, I’m going to be rather busy on Tuesday, when I understand that Mrs. M is coming for coffee in the morning – she invited herself! I’m also expecting a visit in the afternoon from another old friend, which will be lovely. I’ll tell you all about it later in the week. Now I really must get on with starting today’s list as I don’t think I can put a tick next to anything just yet. As Always –
That sounds like a good title for a book – and in fact I’m sure that the many readers of Agatha Christie’s wonderful stories will recognise this title. However, in this case, my dear, the title is somewhat retrospective and should have been “A Murder Wasn’t Announced” as at the time of the event in question we didn’t realise that there had been a premeditated attempt to kill someone. In fact, immediately after the event, we were all certain it was a tragic accident.
However, within a very short period of time it became apparent that “poor Patricia” as she is now invariably referred as, was mown down by one or more persons unknown. Over the past few months no-one has, to my knowledge, been charged with any offence to do with her death and I would have expected that someone would have been charged with manslaughter after all this time. It couldn’t be called “death by dangerous driving” as it was done in order to cause the death of an innocent woman and certainly wasn’t an accident.
Fortunately Patricia wasn’t aware of anything as she died immediately at the scene – which was at the zebra crossing on the road directly in front of my flat. I believe that the sports car used as the lethal weapon hasn’t ever been seen since. There wasn’t any legitimate reason why Patricia had to die.
Apparently the person behind many of the local crimes thought that she had seen a couple of people talking together; people that you wouldn’t have expected to see chatting!! He then thought that if she was questioned about some of the strange events going on here, she may have mentioned seeing them together. To my mind, that is a very tenuous thought, and one that most innocent people wouldn’t consider.
Now from what I have learned, Patricia wouldn’t have connected any of the dots together. She was happy in her life – helping folk who couldn’t manage to visit the shops and being in charge of the flower arranging at the church in the village. She was an elderly woman who loved nothing more than sorting out raffle prizes and coffee mornings etc. She also loved talking to anyone who had a spare five minutes to chat with her. Her latest interest was flower arranging and she had been to a couple of workshops at the library.
It has only recently become clear that our original building manager, Mr. Roach who is serving quite a long sentence at Belmarsh prison – unless he has been transferred elsewhere by now – was quite heavily involved with our resident gentlemen criminals, Gordon and Peter. I had nearly forgotten that they moved here while he was still in charge!!
Now you may remember that Mr. R was another person who seemed to have brown envelopes of cash about his person on regular occasions. I don’t have any details about the whys and wherefores, but I understand that Patricia’s death was likely to have been undertaken by a professional killer under what is known as a “contract”. Why anyone would feel threatened by an elderly woman who wouldn’t say “boo to a goose” I don’t know, but it appears to be connected and is part of the same ring of criminals. The driver would have been given several photos of Patricia, together with details of her day to day movements around the village. It was well-known that she always popped round to various residents to ask if they needed anything from the shops or pharmacy, or even the library on occasion. She had her own little routine and went out at about the same time every day, and would chat to folk as she meandered around the village. Of course, she sometimes deviated from her route, depending on what she was bringing back with her. She had a very large shopping trolley into which she piled her goodies. She usually only collected a couple of items for each person, but she wouldn’t have been able to carry everything in bags. The trolley was invaluable and it had a waterproof cover so nothing got wet.
I understand that someone had followed her from a distance for a couple of days, to make sure that they knew her route. She would normally wear the same coat too. We know that the criminal elements in Albert’s family were responsible for the three deaths in this building, and I understand that they have held their hands up to some involvement in the death of Patricia. I think one gang member followed Patricia on foot and another was in touch by phone so that they were sure that everything was going in accordance with their heinous plans. When I have further details I’ll obviously pass them on to you, but I feel happier to know that perhaps, as things are being tidied up, life is becoming more straightforward.
Changing the subject completely, the work here is still moving along very slowly – in fact, I would venture to suggest that it has ground to a halt which isn’t very helpful. It’s been rather windy the past couple of days and it’s starting to rattle in the roof space again which is rather annoying.
I had a visit from Mrs. M today who reports that her arm is now feeling a little better, and that she has found that she can stop the itching by using a knitting needle inside her plastered arm. Unfortunately, the first time she tried, the silly woman didn’t think it through properly!! She used a dpns from one of her sets – well actually if I think about it, I think it was one of mine – and then let go of it when it slipped inside her plaster!! That necessitated a trip to the hospital for them to change her plaster as it got completely stuck inside. Fortunately the nurse saw the funny side of it and they soon cut the old plaster off and replaced it, with strict instructions not to do it again. At least she didn’t lose the needle!
I’ve seen Georgie this week as well. We both are quite busy at the moment so have to make specific arrangements to see each other, or else we just end up talking in the corridor, which isn’t very satisfactory. We are getting ready to send the invitations out at the weekend. We do now have a guest list, which I’ve been told is definitely IT. No more changes – we are now up to just under 100 folk on the approved list. I’ve spoken to the hotel where anyone who isn’t local will stay, and they have very generously said that they will reserve all the motel rooms for our visitors. It isn’t huge place, and it will be good to have everyone in one hotel. They are very reasonably priced, so we decided to pay a deposit for the rooms to show willing. It does make a difference when local businesses know you. It is easier to discuss things with them and they are able to contact us if they want to query anything.
I understand that Giselle and Jane have completely agreed on a menu, and as we had a slight problem with deciding on a wedding cake – Georgie and Billy don’t like them – we have decided to have a display of cupcakes which both Jane and Giselle enjoy baking, and the bride and groom enjoy eating!! That’s got to be a good result for everyone. Hazel will be looking after the younger members at the party and I’ve left her to decide what she needs, and told her to let me know when she wants to buy things, or order them online and I’ll send her some cash.
I’ve started to look at some websites which seem to have some lovely outfits suitable for both Georgie and myself. I would be very surprised if we couldn’t find something suitable in the next couple of days. I’m sure that we will probably have to send some things back, once we have chosen them. They always look so much better on the models – you know the ones who are usually about 5ft 9ins tall and a size eight!! Oh well, nothing we can do about them. We are the sizes we are, and neither of us have any intentions of going on crash diets for the next two months.
Well the day is running away with me again so I better get a wiggle on if I want to actually do something useful. Oh yes, please remind me to update you about the building site and the Knit and Natter group at the library. If I start talking about them now, then another half hour will have vanished and I may as well forget having any sort of evening meal at all.
I’m expecting several visitors tomorrow which will keep me busy. Right I’m off to investigate my fridge and freezer to give me an idea of what to eat later. Now then, have you any ideas? As Always –
Well hello my dear and how are you today. Yes, I know I haven’t kept in touch quite as regularly as usual, but with one thing and another, the days have been fairly running away from me. I’ve picked up my phone to ring you on several occasions, only to remember something I was going to do. In those situations I try to do them straightaway before I forget again!! How are you this morning? And the family – are they well? Good, good I’m glad to hear it as there are all these nasty viruses which seem to be prevalent just at the moment.
Yes, Mrs. M is home and it was lovely to see her the other day. I must admit that I’ve missed her, although of course I wouldn’t say anything to her specifically. She does seem to be much more fragile than when we went on our Scottish trip. I know she had her fall, but it does seem to have knocked the stuffing out of her. That and her unexpected trip down to London while the police officers took over her flat.
I asked her about the time she spent at the safe house. She said it was actually a flat – in a lovely, residential street with many similar Georgian properties. There was a concierge at a smart reception desk so anyone coming to visit any of the flats had to sign themselves in and then reception contacted the residents to tell them that they had visitors. Any parcels that arrived were signed for by reception and then brought up to the flat, which was very convenient.
It all sounded very good and Mrs. M was comfortable there. Whether anyone was aware it was a safe house or not, she wasn’t sure. There was a panic button in each room, but she obviously didn’t need it, and she was advised that it was only to be used in an emergency. No-one actually specified what kind of emergency – but Mrs. M said everything was fine. Apparently she had a visit each day just to check that she was OK, and she was given a couple of phone numbers to call if she was concerned about anything.
When she had been there a couple of days, the local police officer who was popping in on her and whom she became quite friendly with, asked if there was any close relative she would like who could come to stay with her for a little while. Mrs. M rang Bertie, her brother, and he immediately said that he’d be happy to join her for a few days, and he would do a little Christmas shopping while he was there.
He came down by train the next day and the police arranged for someone to collect him at the station and drove him to the flat and introduced him to the concierge. Bertie then signed the visitor’s book and the police officer took a couple of copies of his signature too – why I haven’t a clue, but they obviously needed them on file. No, don’t be silly dear, of course I haven’t any photos of the interior – it’s meant to be a safe house!!
As Mrs. M had discovered the joys of daytime television, Bertie took himself off to a couple of museums – I think she said the Natural History and the V & A, both of which he really enjoyed. He also did a little Christmas shopping for himself and for Mrs. M, who was still a little wobbly on her legs. After being there for quite some days, and not hearing anything further, Bertie had a chat with a Detective Inspector to try to find out how long they needed to stay there. A few days’ later they were told they could go, but they didn’t really want Mrs. M coming back here, just at that time, as things were happening!!
Mrs. M and Bertie discussed the situation and decided they would go back to Bertie’s home in Edinburgh and Mrs. M would stay there until after the Christmas and New Year festivities had passed. Mrs. M then had a cold, so stayed there a few extra days.
Bertie brought her home last weekend and I arranged for her to have some fresh items in her fridge – enough to get by with for a few days. Additionally, I knew I had plenty in if she needed anything. A short time after arriving here she texted me to let me know she was back, so I invited her round for a cup of tea. She was delighted and wandered down a few minutes later. It was then I noticed how much she appeared to have changed. I think that, although she said she was fine, all the events of the past few months have caught up with her.
I persuaded her to go to the pharmacy at the early part of last week. They took one look at her wrist and said they didn’t think it was “right”, which is what I thought. A taxi picked her up from the pharmacy and took her the short drive to the hospital, where they did some x-rays – and as I suspected, it was broken, but in an awkward place which didn’t show up on all of the films. However, they managed to get a clear enough image eventually, so now she is sporting a lightweight cast on her arm in a fetching shade of pink!
Mrs M was pleased to know the reason why it had felt uncomfortable, but has been told that as it was left for rather a long time, it may not completely revert to normal, and she might not get the full range of movement that she had before. However, for an ‘old bird’ she’s not doing too badly. She still looks much thinner than before everything which has gone on over the past few weeks and of course, she’s not been able to potter around the same in in Edinburgh as she normally does here.
However, she’s back home again, and I think she was pleased to see me again. We had a lovely cup of tea and some shortbread biscuits and have repeated it a couple more times during the week. Oh yes – she may be a little more dotty, but she never misses a trick! In her words “it’s such a shame that I can’t knit just now! I’d really like to have a waistcoat just like the one you’re knitting!” Conned again – and of course I walked straight into it by leaving my needles, pattern, together with the yarn on one of my coffee tables when she arrived a few minutes early. Oh well, it has been a very quick knit, so I suppose it couldn’t do any harm to knit another one…
I think that’s brought you up-to-date about Mrs. M and her current situation. I have put some of her shopping on my order, and Giselle had said that she’ll take a few bits around in a couple of days. Talking about G, she’s also got the “Wedding of the Year” well in hand and has talked with Jane on several occasions, which is wonderful. The only thing remaining on my “to-do” list is clothes shopping with Georgie but neither of us are very enthusiastic just at the moment. We don’t know why – it may be the time of the year, and may also be that we don’t fancy getting changed several times while we try things on. I’ve suggested that we look in a couple of catalogues and online to see if there’s anything which may fit the bill. It’s got to be worth a try – nothing venture, etc.
Right now, Alex this conversation has been rather longer than I planned, but I’m sure you understand that I wanted to bring you up to date with everything. Please give my love to Chrisssie and the girls. I know I’ll be seeing you all again soon, but until then. As Always –
Good Morning my dear, and yes I do apologise for keeping you waiting for the piece of news I’m about to divulge, but as usually happens, life gets in the way. Having said that death can sometimes get in the way too!!
No, I’m sorry but I’m not going to be rushed. Alex, you’re usually so polite, but this morning you’re like a bull in a china shop. There’s no need to start wittering on that I’m deliberately keeping you in suspense. You don’t actually know any of the people involved in this long and convoluted saga. Fortunately for me, I only know one of the relatives of the main criminals involved and that is only a passing acquaintanceship.
The standard of residents moving into these retirement apartments has been going steadily downhill – and I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that the management of this complex leaves an awful lot to be desired. I think that Head Office may have contributed to some of the dreadful events which have happened over the past year by their lackadaisical approach to the residents here, particularly with regards to security.
Of course, as mere tenants we don’t have any say about the calibre of new applicants for the flats. At one time not so long ago it was nearly impossible to be approved for a long-term tenancy and now they are being handed out to all and sundry!! We know that “health and safety” isn’t up to the required standard and I’m sure that many other legal requirements are either at the minimum level or only just above it. It will be so good when this complex gets some competition. That will make it “buck its socks up” or at the very least, put a rocket behind the work which is currently outstanding.
Yes, I sound a little negative today, and I really must apologise for that. I must admit that I’m worried about Mrs. M who only arrived home at the weekend. That is one of the reasons I haven’t managed to speak with you till today. I think the various goings-on, both here and in Scotland have finally started to affect her. I knew she had hurt her wrist in the accident when we were at Loch Lomond, but it was just a sprain. Yes, it was a nasty one and they can take as long to heal as a break, but it’s still causing her some considerable pain. I think I’m going to suggest that she contacts the surgery tomorrow and arranges to see the practice nurse, or alternatively she could go to the pharmacy where the staff members are very helpful indeed. They will know whether she needs further hospital treatment or if it’s likely to settle down on its own accord. It has stopped her knitting – which I’m sorry to say – I’m quite happy about, as her efforts were getting worse not better. I’m sure it’s because she gets distracted far too easily!
Now look what you’ve made me do – talking about Mrs. M getting distracted and I’m doing exactly the same thing. Incidentally, and thank you for asking, we have had our first knit and Natter of the year yesterday. It was very successful and the group has expanded again, with a total of twenty-two women enjoying themselves through nearly two hours of chatting and laughter. It was lovely to hear – although it did seem to me that very little knitting actually went on. I suppose that doesn’t really matter – the important thing is that the café at the library was over half-full on a Monday morning, and it was obvious to anyone passing that everyone was having a good time. It was fantastic to see the café staff joining in when they had a moment, and they kept bringing the teapot round and also asked when anyone was ready for another coffee or hot chocolate to wave their arms in the air and their mugs would be replenished. I have had a little word with the staff as I was concerned that they were likely to be out of pocket, but they said that after everyone in the group had left, the café was full for the rest of the day, with customers commenting that it was nice to see the place busy on a Monday.
I understand that nearly everyone ordered a snack – mainly toasted teacake and butter – in addition to having their drinks so the profit levels were higher than I feared! However, the staff and I agreed that the group really needs to have two sessions now, as it is obviously proving popular, so in addition to the Monday morning 10 am to 11.30 am slot we will be starting a Friday afternoon group from 2 pm to 3.30 pm. I think that the few young mums will need to keep to the morning group as the afternoon session won’t finish till 3.30 and the primary school children complete their lessons earlier than that time. I’m sure that the mums won’t want to be clock-watching all the time they are here. The other point though is that many of the older members are rather slow to get their day started, and will be happy to enjoy an afternoon out – particularly as they can then change their library books while they are there.
My goodness, why didn’t you stop me from rambling on? Yes, OK I understand that I’m a little tetchy today, and may well have muttered at you. What you really want to know is who killed Gordon, Peter and his sister. In all fairness I think the whole episode got out of hand and shouldn’t have ended up with the resulting deaths of three people.
As you were aware, Gordon and Peter were mixed up with some criminal activity. We had already come to that conclusion because of the amount of cash found in the safe in both Peter and Gordon’s apartments. There were also a number of burner phones in Gordon’s apartment, and another burner phone which seemed to be used exclusively for communications between Peter and Gordon. As they were next door neighbours why they didn’t just pop round to see each other I really don’t understand.
Now bear in mind that I haven’t had the official story as yet, but Teddy was kind enough to give me edited highlights, as she know I was still very concerned by these events.
Previously Gordon held a fairly senior position within the police service. He was the Commander over the major crimes department which covered the whole region. Gordon had started life in the police as a trainee, and then went to Hendon for training, as is the normal route into a full-time role within the service. He met a good number of people over the following years, some professionally and others on a social basis. At the same time Peter, after leaving University came into contact with Gordon when he started working as a junior Solicitor many years ago. They kept in touch at the golf course and at various social events which they were both invited to and then a few years ago, Peter moved much nearer to where Gordon was now working.
By this time, Gordon had something of a reputation within the criminal fraternity for oiling the wheels when little bits of evidence miraculously disappeared without warning. Of course, recently this became much more difficult, because of CCTV and computers and spy cameras everywhere.
Gordon was exceptionally clever at providing disinformation, so no-one actually realised that it was him who managed to misappropriate little bags of heroin or pieces of jewellery etc. He was adept at being in the same room when evidence disappeared but as there were several other officers of senior ranks also there the dots weren’t ever connected, until one day early last year when his sleight of hand wasn’t quite as good as it should have been – and when some pieces of evidence were missing, several officers were tasked to look over hours and hours of CCTV footage.
It eventually became evident that it was Gordon who had secreted the items into the pocket of an overcoat he was carrying – apparently he was on the way out of the building at the time – his reason for carrying the coat over his arm, when he was in the property deposit.
One event of misbehaviour wasn’t deemed sufficient for the powers that be, so these same officers had to trawl back through six months of camera footage in the property room. They checked the recordings for every time that Gordon had signed himself in and out and then it was discovered that on a few days there hadn’t been a duty officer present outside the store. This was when there had been a lot of illness and many officers were away over about a six week period. Of course, the items in the property store aren’t checked regularly – obviously when a suspect is questioned and charged, and again at any court case – but then items can be archived and not looked at again, for years or sometimes not ever again.
However, the police at this particular regional headquarters didn’t transfer property into the regional depository which normally happens when a case is closed. This can be for several reasons – the simplest one it that everything in the box has to be logged in, tagged with a reference number, and then signed and countersigned and it’s a terribly time-consuming business. On some occasions items are mislaid on their way back from a court hearing, or left ready to be documented and filed the following day, and then they can be completely forgotten.
It eventually became apparent that the firm of solicitors acting for the defendant(s) in cases where evidence disappeared was always where Peter worked and funnily enough he became the duty solicitor who always arrived when a solicitor was requested by a suspect in a case that Gordon had had some involvement. I’m sure you can see where all this is going…
Eventually Peter and Gordon, when presented with overwhelming evidence did the only thing possible and pled guilty, on the basis – certainly for Gordon, that he would take early retirement, lose his pension, but not serve a prison sentence, as he certainly wouldn’t be safe in any jail. I believe that something similar was agreed with Peter, who also took an early retirement.
Now you are wondering how this ended up with them both being murdered. The clients they did most of their “criminal activities” for were none other than the very close relations of Albert who moved into a flat on the first floor after his wife died last year. Although Albert had managed to keep his immediate family members away from anything criminal – his brother and their side of the family weren’t as squeaky-clean. It would appear that a younger family member saw both Gordon and Peter when they were chatting in the corridor one day.
I believe they were very concerned that two and two would add up to four and they didn’t want to keep looking over their shoulders wondering if Gordon was going to “tell tales” about them. As it transpired, the police were only too well aware of the situation and were putting together a solid case against several members of the family.
In the meantime these “criminal masterminds” decided that Gordon and Peter needed to be put quietly out of business on a permanent basis.
I know, you’re dying to ask me loads of questions, to which I don’t have the answers. There are lots of pieces of the jigsaw which need putting in place and as soon as I have seen the officer from the Intelligence Services, who hasn’t as yet been to see me because he has been struck down with flu!!
I’m still not terribly sure how I fit into the plot, but it has been suggested that at the time Peter and Gordon were seen discussing something or other, I was searching out Gordon to press him about something or another – probably to do with the Talent Contest. If you remember I was quite annoyed with him, and wouldn’t have noticed if anyone had been watching and listening to us. However, Teddy seems to think that one or more of the senior members of the criminal fraternity had thought that I may be connected to Gordon and possibly involved with his criminal plans.
I would have expected that Gordon had completely ceased being involved in that little side venture of his, but owing to the amount of money found in his safe and the burner phones the police now believe he had continued, but wasn’t expecting to see any of his “former clients” here. I believe he was rather well-paid for his efforts over quite a long period of time, although the loss of his pension must have hit him rather hard financially.
Anyway Alex, I really must get on now. This conversation has been far too long, but we’ll have a catch-up again in a couple of days when I hope to have more of the details for you, although one never knows!! Please give my love to Chrissie and the girls and let them know I’m really looking forward to seeing them again soon. As Always –