Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…

My dear, it’s so lovely to be talking to you from my own flat.  I’ve been home for a short while now and have checked everywhere and am convinced that nothing is missing from here.  I was a little concerned that when my unwelcome visitor made an appearance he may have misappropriated the little jewellery I now have left.  I didn’t take anything other than a couple of pairs of earrings with me as I knew I wouldn’t be dressing up for going anywhere special.

Perhaps I should let you know what has been happening since I arrived back at Lavinia Court.  Well as you will probably remember, I popped across to Georgie’s flat and had a very quick chat to let her know I was back and, even better, in one piece.  Yes, I suppose there was some doubt about it, although I did try to remain optimistic all the time we were away.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Georgie then came round for a coffee yesterday morning.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy having a hot beverage with my friends.  Although I enjoy Mrs. M’s company, I sometimes feel that I’m talking to myself.  Having said that, it’s a possibility that if I had to listen to me wittering, I’d tune out sometimes!

Georgie asked me if I had thought about her wedding and possible arrangements, but as I pointed out to her, the situation in Scotland wasn’t really conducive to thinking about catering, clothes and entertainment.  Having said that I do have some rough suggestions to put to her later this week. You need to remember my dear that once we’re in the New Year the days and weeks will fly past very quickly.  I also think that we need to think about buying our outfits sooner rather than later.  I asked Georgie how Billy is, and unfortunately he appears to be a victim of this sickness bug that seems to be everywhere.  However, apparently he is on the mend now so I’m likely to be seeing him within the next few days.  I really like Billy and I think, no – I know, that he’s good for Georgie.  They just go together like bacon and eggs or bangers and mash!

Now look, you should have reminded me that I said I would tell you a little about Alex and why I was so pleased to see him again.  Right then, Alex is my only Godson – he’s the son of my very oldest friend.  We met when we were both four years old and both of our parents had a house on the same road.  Moira and I went to school together and I was matron of honour when she got married.  I was honoured when I was asked to be Alex’s Godmother as we have always been extremely close.  Alex has a wonderful wife, Chrissie – of course I was invited to their wedding and now they have two beautiful and funny daughters.  They were living in Watford until very recently, when Alex was asked by his company to open a new office in Manchester.  I don’t exactly know what he does – he has tried to explain it to me on several occasions, but as it’s something to do with computers he could have been talking in a foreign language!  He’s obviously well thought of by his company as they gave him a wonderful relocation package.  Chrissie didn’t move up here permanently until they found a house to purchase, as they didn’t really want to rent somewhere for a short time and then have the upheaval of moving again.  She didn’t think it was fair on the children, and I agreed with her way of thinking.  At their young ages they are very adaptable, but moving is difficult enough without having to do it twice within a few months.  However, they’ve found a lovely house and Alex has a relatively short commute into the office.  He also works from home for at least one day every week.

Chrissie hasn’t ever knitted, but has really wanted to learn and I promised that when they arrived in the North-West I would teach her.  So I’ve been buying yarn for her and have some circular needles ready.  I’m afraid Mrs. M won’t find me quite so accommodating in the future when it comes to my stash.

Talking about Mrs. M, I’m afraid I can’t tell you what the situation is with her just at the moment.  Not for any reason, other than I’ve been rather busy catching up with other bits and pieces.  I have arranged for her to come for coffee tomorrow, and told her that I’ve also invited Teddy along, as I feel we ought to let her know everything that happened while we were in Scotland.  Now you may remember that I’ve actually been keeping Teddy in the loop while we were away, but Mrs. M doesn’t know that I’ve been speaking to her and also texting with her.  I decided to keep that bit of information to myself.   She can explain to Teddy what she thinks she needs to know about the various things which happened to us.

I’m not sure whether our anonymous letter-writer has been much in evidence.  I don’t think so, as Georgie would have mentioned it to me straightaway.  I’m not sure whether the police have managed to intercept them.  I know that Teddy said that she was looking into it being a possibility, which would have been fine, but only the first one was actually posted and the second one was just pushed through my door.  However, I’m sure that Teddy will tell me what has been happening here while I was north of the border.

I do want to focus on what Mrs. M has been doing, although I don’t want her to feel that I’m trying to make things worse for her.  I only want her to feel better, as I know things are worrying her at the moment.  I’m sure that whatever the situation is, there is a way out of it, although it may not be as easy as I hope.  I’m sure though that however she’s involved, it wasn’t a deliberate policy on her part.  I have a feeling that she was coerced by someone, although I have no idea who it could be.

Anyway, my dear that is where I’m up to now.  I do hope that I’ll be able to give you some positive news in a couple of days, but I really don’t know how matters will be resolved, if indeed they can be.  Surely there must have been some progress while I was away.  Anyway, I’ll let you know as soon as I can.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

There’s no Place like Home…

Well, I’m pleased to tell you that I’m home again.  I must admit that it’s lovely to be back in my own wee flat.  On the whole I enjoyed my Scottish break, but the thought of being back in my own bed again was very appealing.

Georgie has been an absolute star while I’ve been – well, not exactly sunning myself – but away over the border. She’s popped in every day and checked the post. She also unpacked my new duvet and remade my bed.  I’ve just checked the fridge and she has also put fresh milk, butter and eggs there for me.  

I enjoyed the log cabin for a holiday, but as ‘tis often said – “there’s no place like home” and it’s good to realise how much I love this place.  I’ve lived here for less than a year but it feels comfortable.

Perhaps I need to go back and update you with what has happened since our last conversation.  Mrs. M and I had been taken to a different hotel, some five miles from where we had been staying.  I don’t know whether anything happened at the cabin after we left.  No-one has told us anything and Bertie didn’t mention it, so I assume that everything is as we left it.

Bertie came to the hotel yesterday morning and collected us and our luggage and drove us down to Carlisle.  Although there was a heavy covering of snow around Loch Lomond itself, once we were on the main roads the snow ploughs had done a wonderful job and the roads were fairly clear.  Of course, by the time we reached the motorway the snow had disappeared completely.  We arrived in Carlisle just before 1pm and after Bertie parked the car we found the pub where we were meeting Alex.  We decided to order some drinks first and Alex rang me to say that he was about ten minutes away and would see us shortly.

Although Mrs. M had a G & T, I decided I would prefer a hot chocolate, which is always my tipple of choice when I’m out on a jolly.  Bertie was drinking mineral water, and brought some menus over for us to scrutinise.  I don’t like eating anything too heavy when I’m out, so decided to have mushrooms in cream and white wine sauce with garlic bread.  It was available as a starter or main course, so I decided that I would have it as my main course, but only a small portion.  The staff were really obliging and said that lots of folk ask for various things from different parts of the menu, and they were happy to provide whatever the customer wanted – whenever possible.

A couple of minutes later I was delighted to see Alex striding into the pub.  Bertie went and got him an orange juice and the two men decided to have steak with chips!  By this time Mrs. M had decided to have the same as me and ordered mushrooms and garlic bread.  I must say that it was absolutely delicious.

You know, my dear I was so pleased to see Alex – he’s a friendly face who I know cares for me without me having any underlying questions as to his loyalty.  I’ve known Alex since he was a baby, although as he has only just moved back to the Liverpool area, I haven’t seen him as much as I would have liked over the past ten years.  I’ll tell you more about Alex, his wonderful family and the relationship between us in my next post.

We decided that we didn’t want to stay too long in the pub after eating as we still had more than two hours of travelling time ahead of us and of course, Bertie had to drive back to Edinburgh as well. 

We enjoyed our lunch and by about 2.30pm we were ready to leave.   Bertie said goodbye to us – I thanked him for letting us have the use of his cabin and chauffeuring us to Loch Lomond from Glasgow when we arrived a couple of weeks ago, and then collecting us today and driving us back to Carlisle.  Bertie and Alex then went to the car park and transferred our cases from Bertie’s car to Alex’s estate car.  Alex then drove back to the pub to pick up Mrs. M and me while Bertie headed north back towards Edinburgh.

Once we were in the car, Mrs. M nodded off very quickly, which wasn’t a great surprise as she often has a nap in the afternoon.  Alex and I chatted quietly, but I said that I really wanted a conversation with him privately when I knew there would just be the two of us there.  We then changed the subject and I told him about the cabin and how nice it was.  In fact I suggested to Alex that I was sure that Bertie would let us borrow it again as long as his family wasn’t using it at the time.  It would be a little small if I were to stay there with them, but I’m sure that something could be sorted out as the living room has a sofa bed which could be pressed into service.

Alex told me how the children are settling into their new home.  They are both so young that they adapt very quickly to new surroundings.  The eldest will be starting at nursery school after Christmas and the baby is just beginning to find her feet.  They are at a wonderful age where everything is exciting for them. 

Alex told me that they will come to see me on Sunday, so I can see the little ones again and then Chrissie will take the children to the park, if the weather co-operates, or the leisure centre where there is a ballpark for the children to play in.  Alex and I can then have a little chat and I’ll try to remember and explain to him everything that has been going on during the past few months.  I’m sure Alex will be able to guide me and he knows that I value his opinion.  I may not always agree with his views, but they are always well-reasoned and logical.    He is excellent at seeing the whole picture, whereas I tend to become rather blinkered and fixed on one part of the problem rather than seeing it in its entirety.

The traffic wasn’t too heavy which was fortunate and we finally arrived home just before 5pm.   Mrs. M had slept for the majority of the journey and only woke up when we were about ten minutes away.  She came back to my flat for a couple of minutes while Alex returned to the car to bring the cases in.    Once Alex had brought our luggage up to the second floor he accompanied Mrs. M down the corridor to her apartment.  I asked Alex to go with her just in case there were any surprises waiting.  Not that I expected anything – but to be honest you just never know!  However, Alex unlocked her door and walked inside leaving Mrs. M to follow him.  I was pleased to hear that everything appeared to be in order. Unfortunately she hadn’t asked anyone to water her plants, so sadly some will need to be thrown away.  Alex checked each room and apart from the apartment being a little chilly everything was fine.  She switched the heating on, but it won’t really be much warmer for 24 hours.  She has a little fan heater which she says she will use later if she’s cold.  It’s marvellous at lifting the temperature quickly, although rather expensive to use on a regular basis.  There is also a heater in the shower-room which, if she leaves the door open will warm the hallway and the bedroom.

Alex soon came back here and we had a quick cup of tea before he needed to leave me to return to his family.  It was wonderful to see him.  He says that he will ring me in the morning to confirm when he and the family are coming here to see me. 

I’m going to unpack now and put my case away.  I’ve just got some bread out of the freezer as I’ll have some toast and jam later.  That will be perfectly fine for this evening.  I also need to start some overnight oats and make a fruit compote or else I won’t have anything for breakfast tomorrow.

Right my dear, I hope that you’re happy that I’m home safely after my adventures in Scotland.  I just need to pop across to Georgie to let her know I’m back, although I don’t plan on staying there very long.  We will have a proper catch-up tomorrow and she’ll let me know what has been going on around here.  I’m going to have a quiet evening.  I may manage a little knitting, or possibly watch something on television for a change.  I’ll come back to you very soon when I’m a little straighter.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx 

Hit the Road, Jan…

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

Snow is Falling…

Well good morning my dear.  Thank you so much for calling me again.  The weather has taken a turn for the worse and there is a considerable amount of snow around now and more is expected.  We are lovely and cosy inside, which is wonderful.   Yes, I’m not too bad and Mrs. M is improving too.  She has abandoned her crutches, although she probably still should be using them as she is limping quite badly.  However, when using her crutches she can’t carry anything, although I have suggested she wears her bag across her body to carry her glasses, kindle and knitting.  She won’t be told though, so now I’m just leaving her to it. 

We have decided to travel back on Friday, as the weather is due to be worse next week and we don’t want to find that we can’t travel for another week or so after then.   Yes, your offer to meet us and Bertie at Carlisle has been gratefully accepted.  I must admit that I’m happy to know that you will be driving us back to Lavinia Court.   That has brightened my spirits considerably.  I think I’m becoming rather paranoid about the actions of everyone, which isn’t great and not like me at all.

Georgie has been keeping in touch with me on a regular basis and I’m pleased to know that since we had the intruder in my flat just after we came away, there haven’t been any further incidents.  Well nothing which has been obvious to Georgie.  Of course, the phone may have rung, but as no-one is answering it, it doesn’t matter.  I do think that when I get home I may just ignore the landline for a few weeks until everything settles down.

Oh yes, my dear, I nearly forgot to mention that Teddy has also been in touch with me and says that there weren’t any fingerprints on the anonymous notes.  We had thought that would be the case, so it wasn’t a surprise to me when she confirmed it to me yesterday.

In other news I understand that the squatters are still in the apartments at Mrs. M’s end of the building.  I’d hoped that they would have moved on while we were away, as Mrs. M won’t be happy about living so close to them.  I wonder whether it would be a good idea for Mrs. M to stay with Bertie for a short time.  She will need to come home to do some laundry and probably pack some other clothes to bring back with her.  I’ll have a little chat and ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea.  Perhaps she could catch the train back to Edinburgh next week.  I know she’ll enjoy doing a little clothes shopping with Bertie’s wife.

Oh yes, I do have some news for you which I probably should have mentioned earlier.   I’m sorry, my dear I did plan to tell you at the beginning of this conversation, but unfortunately, you know what happens – I get side-tracked and then completely forget.   However, I’ve remembered now so I must explain what has happened although it’s a little confusing. 

There are ten cabins here in total and at the moment there are only two cabins which are occupied. The cabin next door to us – which is probably about 100 yards from here has a young family staying there.  I understand that it is the owner’s son, his wife and baby.   Yet again the owners have been friendly with Freddie and his wife for many years.  In fact I believe Freddie and the owner met each other at university over fifty years ago.  Isn’t it wonderful how these friendships can last for so long?  Sorry, I’ve done it again…  Right – back to what I was saying.  So there are only two cabins where folk are currently staying.

Apparently one of the hotel staff was told by a visitor that they had been walking by the loch and saw one cabin with its door open.  They didn’t see any cars around – not that they would but…  anyway they were talking to the receptionist and said they were surprised that one of the log cabins had its door wide open in this very cold wintry weather.  The receptionist told Freddie so he, and a couple of members of staff immediately came down to check.  Apparently it was obvious that the cabin had been ransacked – although everything had been left reasonably straight.   It was clear to see that people had been looking to steal things, but anything they did take must have been easily portable.  They left the television and other large items, but all the wardrobe doors were ajar and drawers hadn’t been closed fully. 

Of course, Freddie didn’t have a clue what was missing, but contacted the owner to explain what had happened.  Freddie then walked around the site and three more cabins had also been entered, but as their doors had been properly closed it wasn’t apparent that there had been unwelcome visitors.  It was only when he tried the door and it opened that he knew that someone had been there.  So there were a total of four cabins which had been burgled over the past couple of days or nights.  All the owners have been contacted and the police have also been around. 

An officer came to see us yesterday and asked whether we had heard anything at all.  Well, no we hadn’t heard or seen anything, but as we are the furthest cabin away from the hotel, it would have been very unlikely for us to be aware of anything going on.  The funny thing is that Freddie had wandered down here several times and hadn’t realised there was a problem, although as he said “unless you specifically looked at the cabins and saw the door open, you wouldn’t think about it.”

Apparently the cabins have been here for about ten years and this is the first time there has been any criminal activity at all.  OK, there have been occasional poachers in the area, but that tends to happen in the countryside in the UK so wouldn’t have been thought of as anything particularly unusual.

Freddie has taken the news of this really hard.  He knows all the owners of the cabins and feels that he has let them down in some way.  I pointed out that he couldn’t be held responsible for all the criminals and crimes in the area.  He is so disappointed though, because he thought he had such a safe place where there wasn’t any crime! 

Just a thought, my dear, but do you think that crimes and criminals follow me around?  I do hope the owners were insured, but I understand there may be some issues as the cabins are left vacant for considerable periods of time, particularly away from the summer holiday season.  However, this may sound callous – it isn’t, but I can’t take anything else on – it isn’t my problem.  I am sorry the owners had their property broken into, but from what I gather, no-one was staying at the cabins, and therefore no-one was injured.

Whether insurance claims can be made is a question for the owners and insurers, and not me.  Right my dear, I’ve wittered on again.  You really need to stop me when I ramble on like this.  I’m going to make Mrs. M a cup of tea and then we need to decide what we’re going to eat later. 

It will be lovely to see you on Friday.  I won’t say too much in front of Mrs. M, but we will be able to have a chat once we arrive home.  Look after your family and please give the children a hug from me.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

Listen – Do you Want to Know a Secret?…

Well hello again my dear, it’s so lovely to hear from you.  Yes, we are fine, although as the weather has been somewhat disappointing we haven’t actually been out as yet.  Let me go back a little bit, and then I’ll bring you up-to-speed.  That’s another very strange phrase – how do you bring someone “up to speed” – what exactly does it mean.  I realise that it’s generally taken as being – explaining what the current situation is, and how that position has been reached!  It’s another of those vacuous phrases which means nothing. So, I  should say – “please allow me to tell you what has been happening here”!  That sounds much nicer – well, it does to my way of thinking! The alternative, well to this elderly woman seems to imply running faster and faster until…

Sorry – rant nearly over.  I think I must be one of those old-fashioned souls – perhaps I’m obsolete – now completely out-dated and I’ve been superseded by a newer model!  I like people to say what they mean.  I don’t think it’s necessary to pepper every sentence with swearing and I think it’s completely avoidable to swear in this little tale of mine.  I hope you agree with me.  I may be old-fashioned in my views, but as it’s my story – my rules!!

I’m really sorry, my dear, you’ve been good enough to ring me and all I’ve done is ramble on in an uncontrolled manner.  I really do apologise.  I promise that I will try to behave myself, at least for the rest of today.

After all my ramblings and ranting at the beginning of this conversation I’m afraid I do need to tell you something.  At the moment I’m not sure how it fits in with anything else – or indeed if it is related – and I’m not about to play a guessing game.  I think it is better for me to maintain a watching brief to see what transpires.  I would hate to malign someone, by me misreading the situation.  It’s all too easy to put two and two together and to end up with an odd number.

I know this isn’t helpful to you, and although I really could do with your advice, I don’t want you to read too much into the piece of information I’m going to give you.

Please don’t tell me to get on with it.  I’m finding it very difficult to verbalise my thoughts just at present.  It is awful to think that you have misjudged someone for some time.  Having said that, I could be completely wrong, and it may have been a really innocent exchange which I overheard and misconstrued.

My dear, I know I’m not explaining myself very well.  I’m thinking this through while we are talking, so I don’t get ahead of myself and lead you up a creek without any possibility of finding a paddle to extricate myself.

I think the best way of me going about this is to explain the events since our last conversation.  Will that be OK?  Right then, if you remember I said that Freddie had asked his staff to put a couple of spy cameras outside.  One is above the porch and focuses on the door and the other is in a tree closer to the loch and shows anyone coming up the path to the cabin from the loch.  I really like having them there and I’m happy to know that if anyone comes up to the door then Freddie will be aware.  I’m not expecting visitors here, but it’s better to be safe rather than sorry!  If nothing else it provides peace of mind, certainly for me.

Yes, Mrs. M is quite well, considering that she seems to be coming out with more bruises every day which are changing colour quite dramatically.  She has been doing a little knitting while I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on it.  At the moment, it looks OK – probably unwearable, but that really isn’t the point.  As long as she is happy with the work she is doing, I am unlikely to complain.

True to his word Freddie emailed me the menu for yesterday’s lunch.  Although everything sounded gorgeous, I was really boring and chose salmon.  It is one of my favourites, and not too heavy on the digestion.  Mrs. M, after changing her mind on more than one occasion finally settled on roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.  I thought that she would have that, as we don’t often buy a joint of beef as it is rather too large for us.  Yes, we have steak from time to time, but roast beef carved from the rib is something to be savoured as a special treat, when eating out. 

I have found the older I am, the less I choose to eat meat.  There aren’t any specific reasons; it is simply my preference.  I love roast lamb and I do cook myself the occasional chop or lamb noisette which makes for a wonderful roast.  I don’t dislike meat; I just find it quicker and easier to cook fish for myself.

I’m so sorry my dear as I’ve strayed from the subject again.  It seems to be taking me longer and longer to get back to it once I’ve wandered away.  I’m sure it is an age thing, so I’m not going to beat myself up.

I was saying that Freddie brought us a lovely lunch yesterday and also delivered a small apple pie and a wonderful rice pudding.  I was able to cut the apple pie into six slices so we still have some left for tomorrow.  We both love rice pudding, but I managed to hide some of it into the fridge right at the back so that Mrs. M wouldn’t spot it when she wanders into the kitchen – and specifically, heads towards the fridge.  She is still using the crutches, although I do think that in the next couple of days she will try to manage without them, particularly while she is inside here and can move around whilst using the furniture for support.

I’ve just realised that I still haven’t told you what I found out.  That makes it sound like it’s of greater importance than it actually is, if the truth be told.  While Mrs. M was lying on her bed yesterday afternoon, I went to the bathroom which is situated between the two bedrooms.  I have the bedroom closest to the living room, then it’s the bathroom and finally it’s Mrs. M’s bedroom.

I was being quiet as I thought Mrs. M was probably having a doze.  However just as I reached the bathroom door I heard her speaking on her phone.  She said “no, she has no idea”.  Someone obviously replied and Mrs. M then continued with “no-one was supposed to get hurt.  What happened?”  There was then obviously a long explanation from the other end of the call and then Mrs. M said – “you need to tell him that this has now gone far enough.  You need to back off, otherwise I’ll tell her everything I know, and hope she believes me“.

Can you understand why I am rather confused?  On the one hand it sounds as if Mrs. M is involved with at least one crime, but looking at it from a different perspective it may be that she has unwittingly become embroiled.

I feel that I don’t want to pressurise her while she is still recovering.  I’m almost certain she wouldn’t want to harm me physically, or to cause me any problems.  I think she is in a difficult position and is trying to extricate herself without making things worse.

I have spent the past day thinking it over, and have decided that I’m just going to let things continue for the time being.  I have no proof of anything, and unless Mrs. M says decides to tell me what is going on, I haven’t any evidence.

I still think that we are both relatively safe here, so I propose we continue our little holiday for a few more days.  I don’t think anything else will interrupt our break. 

Thank you for listening to me again, my dear.  I will be fine, and continue to mull matters over while wondering what to do next.  I’m planning on having a quiet day, and hope to continue with my knitting.  Yes, my dear, please do ring again in a couple of days.  It will be lovely to hear from you again.  Much love to the family.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

My Eyes are Fully Open to My Awful Situation…

Well, hello my dear, thank you for calling me, it’s lovely to hear from you today.  Yes, I know that the heading is rather an exaggeration, but I just felt like using it so I’m afraid you’re going to have to deal with it.  Yes, I realised that you would be wondering how we were, so I had planned on ringing you later.  However, you’ve beaten me to it this time, which is lovely of you.

Before we go any further, I really must know how the family is?  No more accidents with the little one falling over everyone’s feet?  It’s so easy for toddlers to do that.  They don’t seem to look down so they have a tendency to trip over anything which is in their way.  However, they soon bounce back, even after crashing down several times in a short period of time.

Yes, I realise you want to know how things are in this little part of Scotland.  Well, the weather has certainly gone much colder now.  We’re lovely and snug inside the cabin but outside there have been definite flurries of white stuff, which although they haven’t caused us any difficulties, I believe that one or two visitors at the hotel have taken a tumble on the ice.  Fortunately there haven’t been any injuries, and Freddie had put notices everywhere reminding everyone that they needed to hold onto the safety rails whenever possible.

There’s always at least one person who doesn’t heed instructions or advice and consequently one or two folk had more than dented pride!

We’ve been really comfortable here – it’s surprising how much heat these log burners/multi-fuel stoves throw out.  Of course, we’re all on the one level so apart from losing some warmth through the roof and via the chimney, the majority of it stays within the cabin.  We’ve been leaving both the bedroom doors open to allow the air to circulate a little – I’m always wary of actually heating the bedrooms as it makes me cough and splutter.   No, we don’t want to freeze in there, but by leaving the doors open the whole of the cabin has been very toasty indeed.

We’ve been keeping the log burner alight overnight – albeit very low, but we’ve been able to dry a few clothes around it while we’ve not been sitting near it.  Each morning when I’ve come in the living room, the clothes are dry and the embers are still glowing.  It doesn’t take long before the fire is roaring again and as it’s only a relatively small area inside here, a couple of logs added every few hours keep us wonderfully cosy all day.

Freddie has been a real star.  He has been to the local store for some milk and bread etc – however, he’s also brought us a couple of casseroles with vegetables already cooked in them.  They are “one-pot-wonders” which save on the washing up.   He has also told us that they have a carvery at lunchtime tomorrow and he will email me the menu.  I’ll text him back with our choice and he will pop down with them at about 1.30pm.  I also happen to know that the chef is making us a small apple pie, and a dish of rice pudding – so that’s us sorted out for tomorrow.  We have some cold meat which Freddie brought us yesterday, so will be able to have a sandwich if we’re feeling peckish during the evening.

Mrs. M and I have been discussing about when the best time would be for us to travel home.  Even though she had a nasty accident/well, maybe (!) down by the loch, we both feel quite safe here.   Bearing that in mind, together with the fact that Mrs. M won’t be particularly comfortable in the car for a long journey for a few more days, we have decided to extend our visit until the middle of next week.  We had planned on returning either Monday or Tuesday, but the hospital doctor suggested to Mrs. M that she would probably be better staying here for a little longer if that could be arranged.  We’ve had a conversation with Bertie, Mrs. M’s brother, and that is fine with him.  He doesn’t need the cabin himself or any other members of the family until the end of the month. 

I know we are stuck inside here, but Freddie has offered to take me out for an hour if I would like a little trip to the local craft centre, while his wife (Betty) has said she will stay with Mrs. M, so she isn’t left alone.   Mrs. M may be feeling a little better, as she has suggested that she may like to come with us.  Obviously we’ll see how she is at the time.

I know what I wanted to tell you, my dear.  Apparently the police have discovered that there are several poachers in the area at the present time.  There are quite a few estates around, and some gamekeepers have reported that they have discovered some illegal traps.  There have also been shotguns fired overnight and reports of hearing lots of dogs barking. 

I don’t know anything more than that about it – however, it may be that the police are putting Mrs. M’s accident down to her just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I don’t believe that to be the case, but I’m not prepared to argue about it.

There were some little sounds of tapping noises outside the cabin the other day.  I heard them but didn’t investigate.  When Freddie came round, he said that one of his men had put a camera above the front door and another one on the tree near to the loch which also covers the door.  No-one would know that the one in the tree is there, so anybody approaching the cabin can easily be seen.  There is a wi-fi link – don’t ask me how or why – to the hotel.  The angle from the tree is just about right, so if anyone knocks at the door, Freddie will see them and will ring or text us to say who it is – or if he doesn’t know he’ll drive straight here – it’s only just about a minute in the car!    

So my dear, there’s not very much of interest to tell you about today, but I know that you insist on speaking with me regularly.  That’s so kind of you as I know how busy you are.  Oh yes, I knew I had something in the back of my mind I wanted to tell you.  This is slightly strange!

Neither Mrs. M or I have mentioned this to anyone – we decided to keep it between ourselves.  We have both been getting messages on our mobile phones.  The sender obviously doesn’t know where we are, as he commented that he had seen me in the coffee shop with my young friend.  Now he could mean Teddy or Julie as I had lunch with both of them just before we came away but that was more than a fortnight ago.  I wonder if he thinks I go in there regularly.  In that case he would expect me to have been in during the past two weeks.  However, one person certainly knows I’m away. I’m sure you’ll remember the incident of the person who wandered into my flat some days’ ago.  I am beginning to wonder if there is more than one group of criminals involved in these events!

I’m really sorry to have kept you for all this time.  I do witter on – you know that and you really should have stopped me a while ago.  Oh well, you didn’t and so here we are.  I wish you could be here too – no, you can’t possibly drive here, you need to be with your family, and I’ll be home soon enough.  It’s time for Mrs. M and me to have another cup of tea now – actually I can see that she’s having a little doze, so I’ll make it and then wake her up. 

Right I really must go before the day disappears.  Yes, my dear I would love to hear from you again in a couple of days.  Much love to the family.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

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