My dear, I’m so sorry to ring you today. I know you weren’t expecting to hear from me at all until I confirmed that we were on our way to Carlisle with you driving up from the other direction to meet us. However I really needed to speak with you – I’m really sorry to bother you but I really don’t know what else to do. It will be so good to see you again, and once I’m home again I’ll be able to introduce you and your wonderful little family, to my lovely friends.
Yes, OK I know I need to calm down, my dear but I’m so upset and I really don’t know where to start. Right, I’ll take a deep breath and try to explain what has happened. Here goes – you’ll have to stop me if this isn’t making sense. I haven’t really had time to think through what I’m saying to you, so please excuse me if I trip over myself.
Right I need to go back to last evening. Mrs. M and I had been knitting in the afternoon. Well, yes I was knitting while Mrs. M was starting to get into a tangle again. I chuckled to myself as I was watching her. The main problem is that she loses count, so never has the same number of stitches from one round to the next. I put her a stitch counter on for her to move along each round – fortunately I gave her one with a lobster claw clasp otherwise it would be permanently attached to her knitting as she has started to knit over it! No, I didn’t ring you just to tell you about Mrs. M’s knitting, but it just crossed my mind.
Back to yesterday. Mrs. M and I were watching “Tipping Point” as Mrs. M rather likes Ben Shepherd. She’s not too good at answering the questions, although that doesn’t really matter. Sorry, I promise I’ll try to explain what happened without deviating again.
If you remember I said that the weather had deteriorated and that we had decided to go home on Friday before the snow became worse. We arranged for Bertie to come here to collect Mrs. M and me at about 11am on Friday and then he would drive Mrs. M and me to Carlisle where we would all have a light lunch whilst awaiting for your arrival to ferry us back home.
At that point everything seemed to be moving along nicely, although I should have known that things don’t often play out according to the script which is in my head. A few minutes later, when we were just discussing what we would like for supper, Mrs. M received a text. Now neither of us rush to look at texts as they are usually just from one company or another offering great deals on a loan, or 20% discount on this shopping channel for today ONLY, so we must rush to spend our hard-earned cash now.
However, this time Mrs. M picked up her phone and read the message straightaway. I knew immediately that something was wrong because she went a sort of pasty grey colour and dropped the phone to the floor, which wasn’t helpful as the glass cracked. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) it was still possible to read the message.
It said that this was their final warning and that if Mrs. M didn’t co-operate with them immediately (no I don’t know who they were or what Mrs. M was supposed to do) then the cabin would be torched while we were still inside. Mrs. M just sat there and shook, which I could understand, but it wasn’t going to help us or the situation at all.
I immediately rang the hotel and asked Freddie to come down with a couple of staff members and a car as we needed to leave the cabin now. Poor Freddie was a little confused as I was gabbling at him, and of course, it’s not the sort of telephone conversation you expect to be having in the late afternoon.
I left Mrs. M sitting there and started to throw all our belongings into the two suitcases we had brought with us. I didn’t sort out what belonged to each of us, I just wanted to get everything possible ready in as short a time as possible.
A couple of minutes later there was loud banging at the door and Freddie was shouting for me to let him in. Of course I opened the door and he and two other men came in. We showed him the text and he agreed that we needed to move out straightaway. One of Freddie’s colleagues helped Mrs. M into a jacket and manhandled her as quickly as he could to his car which had been brought as close as possible to the cabin. While I rushed round collecting everything I could, Freddie went round the side of the cabin and disconnected the gas cylinders which are used for cooking. I had gathered the vast majority of our possessions together by now and Freddie and one of his men managed to get me into my wheelchair and out to Freddie’s car. Freddie locked the cabin up after making sure that everything possible has been switched off. The log burning stove was still throwing out lots of heat, but Freddie made sure that all the extra logs were taken outside.
There were a total of three cars here and Freddie took us straight back to the hotel, although I wasn’t too sure that it was the best or safest place to go as it would be an obvious destination for anyone looking for us. However, just then I needed to catch my breath for a few minutes and think about things quietly.
A few minutes after arriving at the hotel a couple of police officers arrived. Freddie had rung them from his car and briefly explained what the situation was. The officers were really nice and I showed them the text. Mrs. M was, by now sipping a rather large brandy – just for medicinal purposes, you understand! I decided I would prefer a cup of tea – although I did have a spoonful of sugar in it, which is very unusual.
The officers spoke on their walkie-talkie radios and arranged for a couple of colleagues to come down to the hotel, where they would then be directed to the cabin. Unfortunately they were going to need to stay there for some time just in case anybody came creeping round.
Freddie and I had a conversation with the police officers and I suggested that it would be probably safer for us to stay a little further away as the first place that anyone would look for us would be at Freddie’s hotel. Fortunately the officers agreed with my thinking, and one of them spoke to his cousin, who is the housekeeper at a hotel about five miles away. After confirming that they had vacancies Freddie drove us both there – which is where we are now residing till tomorrow.
I must admit my dear that I’m rather upset about these latest developments and can’t understand why things have suddenly escalated so quickly. As far as I was concerned, the things that happened at Lavinia Court have no bearing on our holiday here in Scotland. Why are these people behaving in this manner? What do they hope to gain? Is it me they are searching for, or has Mrs. M upset some nasty characters? So many questions – and, I’m afraid no answers at all.
So that my dear is the current situation. This has rather unnerved me, as it seems that things have suddenly become very personal. Mrs. M obviously knows something, but she wouldn’t say anything to the local police officers, who didn’t want to upset her because she looks quite frail just now.
I’m now really looking forward to coming home now. I assume that you are still OK to collect us – oh yes, that’s good. I’m so sorry I haven’t even asked about the family, but perhaps you’ll tell me tomorrow. Yes, I will ring Teddy and update her too. I’ll see you in Carlisle at lunchtime. Please take care on the roads. As Always –
With Love – Jan xx