Before we start:
I don’t normally do this but there are one or two things that need to be explained. First of all Caul (say cowl) is a thick meaty (hopefully) soup, and Heddlu ( Hethlee) is the police. The word derives from ‘peace’, so they are peacekeepers. Actually they are just normal cops, but there is so little crime here that they are always up for a chat. I’ve set this story in a real area (you won’t find the farms though) and there is a reference to Aber. This is colloquial for Aberystwyth. There are other places in the area that begin with Aber (it means river mouth) but Aberystwyth is the most important. Hospitals in Wales are known by their names, not where they are. so Bronglais (Bron - glice) is in Aber. Oh yes, and Elerie is pronounced El-lair-ie with the stress on the ‘lair’.
There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills
It’s a movie cliché, the dusty old prospector comes in to town, with his mule, yelling ‘there’s gold in them thar hills’ and goes into the saloon. He invariably loses his poke in a crooked game and gets shot. Which movie? Was it ever in any movie? I don’t know, but there are so many things that we think happened in movies, which didn’t happen, that it just might have.
It wasn’t quite like that for me, to start with, in our local hills, mountains really, there is so much rain that dust is practically unknown, and I’m not old, well not that old. My mule was made by Toyota, but I didn’t have it with me, and the gold wasn’t metallic, although it is there, wedding rings for royalty are made from it, nor was there a poker game, crooked or otherwise. But as well as some very nice things that happened, there were some unpleasant goings on too, rather like the poker game, but which I survived.
Now, get yourself a glass of your favourite poison, at the time of writing it has just been announced that any quantity of alcohol is bad for you, so I can say thank goodness for that and let’s stop worrying about it, get yourself sitting comfortably and I’ll tell you all about it.
I guess you’d call me lucky, although that’s relative and I’m not going to run through a catalogue of misfortunes to persuade you otherwise, family deaths and illnesses, not to mention my wife’s suicide and the effect that had, and whilst I’m sure you don’t want to hear about all this, I certainly don’t want to dwell on it, or I’ll be back in my cups again. Anyway, it was due to the last mentioned event that whilst my mind was not on what I was doing, away with the fairies wouldn’t be inaccurate, that I gave the girl in the newsagents a fiver more than I owed. She pointed this out to me and handed it back, at which point the person behind me said that I should buy lottery tickets with it as it ought to be lucky. I’m still not sure I can follow the logic of that, but that is what I did.
It was in the evening a day or two later when I was talking to my daughter on the phone that I told her the tale.
“Have you checked?” she asked.
I admitted that I hadn’t bothered so she asked the numbers. I’m not too sure how she did this, you must be able to get the results on line because a couple of minutes later there was a sudden silence on the end of the phone.
“Are you still there?” I asked.
“You’ve just won five million pounds,” she replied. “Give or take.”
Naturally I expressed my disbelief.
“You used to tell me not to use language like that,” she said. “But it’s true, you really have won. What are you going to do?”
“Well, apart from claim it I’ve no idea.”
And I didn’t, but two things I wouldn’t be doing. Firstly I wasn’t going to ‘spend, spend, spend’, and I was definitely not going to say, ‘it won’t change my life at all’. You just bet it would.
I had some years before bought a small bungalow on two acres of land between the Cambrian mountains and the sea, handy for both without being exposed to the extremes of weather from which either can suffer. I kept a few chickens and ducks which provided company and conversation, albeit rather one sided, and I worked doing odd jobs, house maintenance and whatever came along, enough to keep the wolf from the door and provide me with a glass of this or that when the fancy took me.
The first thing I did was stop working. Five million gives you sufficient income to do that provided you’re not too extravagant. Sorry folks, but you’re going to have to find someone else to do the bits and pieces.
The other thing I did was start to explore the surrounding countryside. and in particular the industrial archaeology of the area. I guess archaeology is putting it a bit strongly, but tracing the old tramway tracks and mine workings is very interesting and the breathtaking scenery makes for a fine day out. There is some of almost anything you can name somewhere in these mountains, and many of the workings go back centuries as the various metals and minerals have been extracted. I did not, of course, dig or move anything other than a few tufts of grass and the odd bramble.
In point of fact I feel somewhat iffy about the mainstream of archaeology which often seems to me to be little more than grave robbing. I mean there is a difference; they carefully dig and expose things, measure and photograph, which they get paid for, but do they then put it back as it was? They do not. What they do is put it in museums where it invariably gets put into a store and nobody ever sees it again. The people they call grave robbers sell the stuff to people who put it away and no one ever sees it again. Where’s the difference? The robbers aren’t followed by TV cameras. Unless they are caught.
And another thing ... The ancient Egyptians, for instance, believed that you needed all the stuff they were buried with for use in the next life. And archaeologists dig it up and take it away. They, of course, don’t share the same beliefs, in fact they think those beliefs are ridiculous, and they are usually either Christians or Muslims and their gods don’t require that kind of thing, and so to them it doesn’t matter. But just suppose it does matter, that the beliefs of the dead Pharaoh were in fact correct; that would mean that they had just fucked up someone’s next life. No chariot, no food, and your mummy locked away in some dusty store room in a country you’ve never heard of. Piss you off no end wouldn’t it? Now, I can hear you yelling abuse at your computer screen, surely he’s joking, but as an an-atheist I can tell you that the practises and beliefs of Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and all the rest are, to me, quite ridiculous; when you’re dead you’re dead, simple as that, Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is best and usually correct. So what right do Christians et al have to dig up and remove just what they want ignoring the beliefs of those who went before. Hmm...
So I just like to look and see what people did, where that tramway went, and just how difficult some of these things must have been.
And that is what I was doing up in the mountains one sunny afternoon in late spring. I had left a faint track, probably made by sheep, and was inspecting some workings when the swirling mist of low cloud enveloped me. I was somewhat taken aback by this, the day had seemed fair and although there was some cloud I hadn’t thought that this would happen. It wasn’t a great problem because I was properly dressed for walking in the hills, and I carried a back pack with the survival gear that is recommended so I was in no immediate danger. I had, of course, O.S. Maps and a compass, but they were of little use without vision, but my mobile phone would summon assistance if it should be necessary. So there were no immediate problems. Apart from the fact that I didn’t know where I was with any degree of precision. I had parked the car in a small area at the end of a lane many feet below and walked a couple of miles up to where I thought I would find something of interest. I had then ‘wandered about a bit’ concentrating on those things of interest.
Now there are several points about low cloud that cause problems. First, it’s cold and damp, and second, you can’t see very far. But more than that, if you have an active imagination you begin to wonder if you are seeing things in the swirl of murkiness. Was it John Buchan who wrote about the cave men who only came out when they couldn’t be seen? Were there really wild beasts, big cats perhaps, roaming the mountains? And wolves, surely you would hear them, wouldn’t you? They howl, don’t they?
I knew I had walked into a sight depression, and so I moved to where I thought I might see further if the cloud lifted. As I did so I experienced a frisson of fear as I was convinced that I saw the vague outline of a wolf in the swirling mist. Seconds later I froze as I saw it again, this time more definite as it came towards me. It materialised as a border collie. Be still my beating heart! The dog stopped a few feet away and looked at me for what seemed a rather long time. It then turned, looked over it’s shoulder and gave a single bark, then moved a few feet and barked again. Clearly it wanted me to follow. Hey, Lassie come home, okay, wrong breed but still, I decided I had little to lose if I followed since clearly the dog belonged to someone who lived somewhere near, and in all likelihood that was where the dog would take me. Blind faith in an unproven hypothesis.
I don’t think we walked for more than fifteen minutes, I had, of course, forgotten to check the time, the dog occasionally looking at me over it’s shoulder, when we came to a low dry stone wall, and a moment later I saw an opening with a dilapidated gate hanging, half rotten, from one side. The dog gave a single bark.
I don’t know much about meteorology, other than that the weather forecasters are usually wrong, but there are times when you have an overcast day, and suddenly there is a break and you get a shaft of sunlight just illuminating a small area in a kind of unearthly light. I happened to me many years ago whilst driving along the coast road near Mont St Michel in France. There was low cloud and I could see the monastery in the distance across the coastal plain, when the cloud was penetrated by a sudden shaft of sunlight making the whole island look like a silver casting. As luck would have it I had no film in the camera. C’est la vie.
I didn’t have a camera on this occasion either, but the scene was engraved on my memory as the cloud swirled and cleared for a moment and a shaft of sunlight illuminated the woman standing at the front door of the house that was now visible. And there was my gold, the light glinting off a head of golden hair. Dressed in jeans and a woollen jumper she was slim but clearly all woman and I guessed in her late thirties.
She looked contemplatively at me as I walked to the gate.
“You,” she said, “must be something special.”
I really didn’t understand this opening remark so it was a moment before I replied.
“I don’t think so. No, not particularly, other than being me.”
“Well Molly,” she indicated the dog, “wouldn’t normally let a man anywhere near, let alone bring one here. So yes, I think you must be. I take it you’re lost?”
“Not really lost as much as not knowing where I am” I replied with a smile, and went on to explain what I had been doing and how I happened to be there. Or at least where I had been before the mist came down.
“This isn’t going to clear for a while,” she said. “Molly seems to have vouched for you so I think we’re safe; you’d better come in and have a cup of tea.”
I followed her into a large kitchen which was clearly a living room too. Standing at a woodburning range stirring something in a big pot was a girl, and as she turned to look at me I could see she was a stunningly beautiful girl, clearly a late teen version of the mother.
“Put the kettle on Elerie.”
The girl moved a substantial kettle onto the hob.
The woman indicated that I should sit.
“My name’s Mike,” I said, as I sat on a wooden chair at the large central table. “Mike Smith.”
“Harry,” the woman introduced herself, and indicating the girl, “my daughter Elerie”
“Harry?” I queried.
“Angharad, but nobody calls me that. Come to think of it people rarely call me anything,” she said, with a faraway look in her eyes.
Elerie didn’t say anything. In fact she didn’t even appear to blink.
“It’s pleasantly warm in here,” I said.
“It’s the only room in the house that is unfortunately.”
“I’d have thought that that range would run heating throughout the house.”
“It would, and we have all the stuff but nothing has been done since my husband died,” I saw Elerie flinch, “and I can’t afford to get anyone in to do it.”
We talked on and I provided my own potted history, Harry told me that her husband had been killed in an accident a several years earlier, apparently falling into an old mine further up in the hills, Elerie had been with him, but hadn’t spoken since, shock the doctors thought. It turned out that Elerie was only just sixteen, and I realised that Harry was a year or two younger than I had first thought. During all of this Elerie of course made no sound, but neither did she make any other contribution to the conversation, whether by nod or shake of head. The two of them lived as subsistence farmers ekeing out a living.
“Don’t think that this will clear until the morning now,” said Harry, looking out. “I can give you a meal, but you’ll have to sleep in the barn, there’s only one habitable bedroom,” she laughed.
It was a couple of hours later, after a simple but superb meal of caul with home made sour dough bread followed by a home made goat’s cheese, that I made my way to the barn to bed down for the night. There was plenty of hay and I made myself a comfortable bed, slipped off my outer garments and covered myself with the blanket Harry had given me. I was joined shortly by Molly who curled up against me.
I had no idea what the time was when I awoke, disturbed by the sound of someone moving. Clearly the person was known to Molly who didn’t move other than to lift her head and sniff. But the cloud and mist had cleared and the almost full moon provide a lot of illumination. I realised that the person moving was Harry, and she was moving towards me. I experienced a moment of concern before she shed the dressing gown she was wearing, and lifted her nightgown over her head. In the moonlight I could see the most beautiful sight I could remember, although in fact memory didn’t really come into it as my brain simply absorbed the sight and my little brain reared to full readiness. Zero to hero in no time flat. She lifted the blanket, dropped to her knees and attacked my underwear, slipping them off my feet, with assistance, exposing my hardness. She swung her leg over me and with a loud sigh settled down on me.
“Oh God, so long, so long.”
I think she was referring to a time period because my todger is not above average length, but really that was of no account as she began to move back and forth, and was clearly enjoying herself, as, of course, was I. She quickly orgasmed, I imagine she had been building up to this for a while before she came out into the barn and was already primed.
I turned with her so that I was on top, displacing Molly, in the process, and proceeded towards my own climax and she orgasmed again as I did.
We kissed again.
And then for quite a long while.
I started on my way down kissing each area of skin as I came to it, neck, shoulders, breasts – a pleasant handful, stomach and eventually ending up at the junction of her thighs when the build up of excitement finally climaxed in another orgasm. From there I entered her again and we went on to another for both of us.
She finally disentangled herself from me and reached for her nightdress. As she did so I thought I saw another movement, but it could have been the dog which had wandered off, probably in disgust.
With a final kiss: “I’ll call you for breakfast,” she whispered, and left.
After she left Molly returned, and after a few minutes contemplation I returned to a very satisfied sleep.
I hadn’t told the full story of my circumstances the previous evening, so although I had said that I was largely retired I hadn’t said that I was relatively wealthy, not the sort of thing you impart to casual acquaintances I mean ... but after last night I wasn’t too sure how casual our acquaintanceship now was. So when I joined the ladies for breakfast, I wasn’t entirely sure about the situation.
But before that there was an incident that would shape the future.
I had heard a quad bike as I was sorting myself out and brushing bits of hay off and a few minutes later I heard the sound of raised voices with Molly barking at what was obviously a furious row.
As I came out I could see Harry and a youngish man were responsible for the row, and Elerie who was hanging on to a barking and snarling Molly’s collar. The man who was doing most of the shouting saw me and turned.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“I might well ask the same of you, if a little more politely,” I replied. “But for the moment let’s just say I’m a witness.”
This seemed to rather confuse him and with a final snarl of ‘I’ll sort you sooner or later’ to Harry he gunned the motor and sped off.
“Good morning,” I greeted the two ladies. “That didn’t sound very nice.”
Harry gave a deep sigh, “Oh, it’s a long story.” She paused, “And good morning to you, I’m sorry about that. Come on in.”
After a quiet breakfast we were sitting at the table finishing off a last cup of coffee. Elerie had left to attend to the animals.
There seemed, not unnaturally, to be the best part of a small herd of elephants in the room.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.
“That needs a little clarification, but do you want to tell me about this morning.”
“Last night ... I need to think about. This morning ... it’s the sort of story they make films about, huh, not that I’ve seen one of those for years. We leave this place about once a month on average, apart from running Elerie down to catch a school bus, she goes to a special school, we’ve no electricity or phone, although I do have an old mobile for emergencies that I can charge off the Landrover.
She looked pensive for a moment.
“My husband was left this place by a distant relative, but even then the title to it didn’t seem all that good, and there had been disputes over the land for, oh, probably a hundred years, maybe more. We thought it would all be okay and that we could make a go of the farm. We had lots of big ideas and things were going well until he was killed. That man this morning, Gethin Davies, is a distant cousin of my late husband, and he lives next door ... well that’s a mile down the hill, but we have to pass over his land to get here, there is a right of way but he swears blind there isn’t, and he does his best to make it as difficult as possible. He reckons that he is the true owner of this land, and he’s made it pretty clear that if I ‘co-operate’ then things would be easier. You can imagine what that means. He also wants Elerie, and I have no intention of allowing my daughter to become a slave to that disgusting specimen of humanity. He lives with his elderly father, who is really on his last legs, in the most awful pigsty of a place.”
All this tumbled out in one go and I sat there absorbing it. She was clearly upset over the situation, and could see no way out.
“Do you think he had anything to do with what happened to your husband?”
“I don’t know. As I said, Elerie was with him but what she knows is locked away in her mind.”
I drained the last of my coffee.
“As for last night,” she continued, then hesitated. “I’ve never done anything like that before in my life. I was a virgin when I married, so I’ve only ever experienced one man ... I don’t know. I enjoyed it, but ... you must think I’m a slut.”
“I don’t think anything of the kind, but you’re not sure you want to do it again?”
“Yes ... no ... I don’t know what to think.”
“Well let’s not worry about that one for the moment.” I reached out and took her hand. “I’d like to help you and not because of last night. You need this place sorted, and if I’m about more often then perhaps Gethin will behave himself.”
“I told you I don’t have the money to employ anyone.”
“I don’t need paying, I have plenty of money and I would enjoy doing it, it’s quite a challenge doing something like this off grid. But first, I must get back to my car, I’m betting it won’t be long before someone reports it to Mr Plod and they start a search.”
“I’ll take you down in the Landrover, it’ll be quicker and you’ll know the way when you come back.”
“Makes sense,” I said.
We stood and she kissed my cheek.
“Thank you,” she said, and grinned. “For last night too!”
She picked up some keys and we headed out to where a very elderly, to the point of classic status, Landrover was parked. As we did she called out to Elerie.
“She won’t stay here on her own.”
Elerie joined us a moment later and we got in with Elerie in the middle seat. It took a moment for the engine to fire and we set off down the hill. We had covered a little less than a mile when we came around a bend though a gate in a stone wall, and I saw, off to one side, the house where Gethin and his father lived. The whole place appeared untidy and unkempt, out buildings and a barn in a state of disrepair. All the while we had been going in almost the opposite direction to where I had parked the car, and it wasn’t until we reached a metalled road about a mile further on and then a little further a cross roads that we turned in, what I judged to be, the correct direction. It took us almost another twenty minutes to arrive at my car, by which time it had been joined by a van with ‘Heddlu’ on the side. As I had suspected the police had been notified and there was a young officer leaning against the van talking on her mobile.
I said goodbye to Harry and Elerie, saying that I would be up to see them the next morning after I had sorted things out at home, which is where I went after I had suffered the inevitable lecture on making sure that people knew where I was and that the mountain rescue, police helicopter and lots of other things were on the verge of being called out to look for me. Well, I guess I could have called the police to tell them where I was but I honestly hadn’t thought about that.
My daughter was by this time living with me which was why I had not been concerned about the chooks being fed. I had, of course phoned her to tell her that I was safe, but she would have been at work if the police had phoned home. So I didn’t see her until late afternoon when I was able to give her a heavily edited – or should that be censored – version of what had happened, and what I was proposing.
“And she’s attractive is she?”
“Mmm, yes I suppose so.”
“That good eh?” She giggled. “And you’re hoping that she might be, shall we say, accommodating?”
“We ... ell...”
Being grilled by my daughter was embarrassing. And then there was a look of dawning on her face.
“Oh you have already haven’t you? I know you, I’m your daughter remember, I’ve seen women reacting to you in the past, you don’t do anything, but they just seem to eat out of your hand.”
“Well, no not really, it wasn’t like that.”
But she was grinning away like a Cheshire cat.
It was mid-morning the following day by the time I found my way back to Harry and Elerie’s farm. I didn’t encounter anyone on the way up, opening the gate between the properties which was just beyond the neighbouring farm house. I found the two women in the yard working on something with the animals; I was going to have to find out more about what went on on farms, a subject of which I was woefully ignorant. I had done a bit of work on a farm as a teenager, but I reckoned it was not for me. I just told them I wanted to sort out all the stuff that they had for the heating and things and see what the job entailed. Harry waved and told me to help myself and they would see me at lunchtime.
I took stock of the items that had been purchased for the job and quickly realised that much of the stuff had been superseded by new developments in an industry that was rapidly changing, and that a fair bit of it was also in poor condition due to storage conditions. This wasn’t a good start, but I could replace things without Harry knowing. Yes, I know, you’ll either say that it was charity or that I was paying for ... yes, well. But in truth I enjoyed her company, and hopefully, Elerie would smile sometime, and I could offer some protection which they definitely seemed to need. Besides, I had nothing else to do, and to be honest I was actually missing doing my odd jobs. I decided to have a look at the condition of the house generally, and this turned out to be better than I had anticipated with just a small amount of repair needed to the roof. This had, unfortunately allowed dampness into the back of the house making two of the bedrooms uninhabitable because of damage to the plaster on the wall and the ceiling. The roof could be done from a scaffold tower which I had at home, and sorting out the bedrooms would not be too big a chore with some lime plaster.
I was still looking up at the roof when Harry found me and told me she had lunch ready.
“Just something simple,” she said.
Her idea of something simple was, as would turn out to be the norm, extremely tasty, and whilst we were eating I told her something of what I had found without making it sound too bad, and that I could bring a tower up in the morning to fix the roof since there wasn’t much point in doing anything else until we could ensure that the roof was sound.
“You could have a problem,” said Harry. “Gethin won’t even allow deliveries to the farm and the suppliers won’t challenge him, they just say it is up to me to sort out.”
“We’ll see,” I said. “He can try but I doubt he’ll manage to stop me. I’m more worried what this might mean for you and Elerie.”
“It’s going to come to a head sometime, so it might as well be sooner rather than later.”
I left after lunch and went home to sort out what I needed, and to pick up some materials from the builders’ merchants. I picked up a few slates from the small stack I had in my stock and cut some copper strips to make tingles, and then loaded everything onto my trailer.
Early the next morning I pulled off the metalled road and proceeded up the track pulling my trailer with the tower and ladders. I suppose I was about level with Gethin’s house headed towards the gate across the track that led on to my destination when I looked over to see that I was being watched by an elderly man. A baleful stare followed me as I passed, but without in anyway acknowledging me.
Harry and Elerie were nowhere to be seen when I arrived and I got on with erecting the scaffold. Towards lunch time they appeared, waved and went into the house. A few minutes later Harry came out and called me to come in for lunch.
“We were out checking on the sheep,” she told me as she cut a chunk of bread from a fresh loaf and indicated the cheese. “We go every few days to make sure all is well with them.”
We had a discussion, or rather she told me a bit about sheep and how they were looked after, and how, when they wanted to, they could be the most difficult creatures on the planet. During the discussion Elerie left to get on with ... whatever Elerie got on with, I really hadn’t fathomed the girl out.
I had been working on the house for about a week when occurred to me that with the amount of travelling I had to do it would make much more sense if I was living on site. I’d be able to get a lot more done in the day. I had a caravan but it hadn’t been used in some time, in fact several years, and I kept meaning to get rid of it, but now it could be of some use. So I suggested to her that I should bring it up, which would keep me out of her hair and allow me to get on.
Harry was washing up the few dishes with her back to me.
“I rather like having you in my hair,” she said.
I stepped behind her and she turned into my arms face turned up to be kissed, an invitation I did not turn down.
I rather like being in your hair,” I replied when we parted. “But I do worry about being a nuisance.”
“Don’t,” she said, “I’ll let you know if you are. Now go and get on and let me get some work done.”
I was up early the next morning checking over the caravan. It had always been left with cutlery and crockery so all I needed was some bedding, personal bits and pieces and clothing, check the gas cylinders, and see to the tyres. I connected up to the Landcruiser and wonder of wonder all the lights worked. The battery had been kept in the workshop and regularly charged along with several others that came from different machines.
An hour later I was again passing Gethin and his father’s farmhouse. As I did I saw Gethin come out of the house and leap on his quad bike. Ahead I could see that the gate was open, and I guessed that he was going to try and stop me getting through the gate. Now, my Landcruiser doesn’t have a fabulous power output, but it has an immense amount of torque, and when it comes to acceleration that is what really counts, it gives plenty of get up and go. So even with a big twin axle caravan on the hook when I put my foot down it got up and went. Obviously not as quickly as a quad bike, but I did have a head start. In order to stop me he had to get to the gate before me, and in sufficient time that I would have time to stop three and a half tons from about forty miles per hour on a less than favourable surface. He wasn’t going to make it, and realised his error rather too late, I had already, in effect, taken charge of the high ground, and rather than get caught between me and the gate opening he swerved to one side. He had left this too late to be able to stop. He hit the wall to one side whilst braking, but with sufficient speed to catapult him over the wall. I slowed as I went past and saw him get to his feet, shaking his fist and screaming invective. Rather childishly I felt, I waved my hand at him with two fingers extended in the traditional salute. And continued on up to Harry and Elerie’s farm.
It had taken me about half an hour to get the van positioned and levelled, when I heard the sound of the quad, obviously not too badly damaged then. I picked up the pipe wrench that I had had to use to shift one of the levelling jacks and I walked out to intercept him, and again make sure the argument was on my turf by not allowing him to get off his bike. As soon as he stopped I was there to confront him. He could see the wrench which was only for show, and to make up for the difference in age and physique, he was a very strong young man and whilst no weakling I was physically no match for him. But as with all bullies he immediately began to fold. I won’t detail the ensuing conversation, some of which I’m not sure I could spell, but basically I instructed him to go and not to return. He left, screaming that he would get even, and I knew that it was by no means over.
With warmer weather the damage to the bedrooms was drying out and would soon be ready to plaster, but meantime there was plenty to get on with and I had a full day working on the bathroom. It seems amazing in this day and age that the girls had managed for so long with no bathroom and only an outside toilet. I had better facilities in the caravan. One thing I did wonder was where the effluent from the water closet went. It was something I ought to find out because I’d have to connect the new inside one to wherever it was.
It was good to be able to take a shower when I finished for the day. Caravan showers are not the best, there is a limit to the amount of hot water, but infinitely better than no shower at all. At supper I asked the ladies if they would like to use the shower in the van and for the first time Elerie actually smiled.
After supper I showed them how to use the shower and an hour or so later a couple of freshly scrubbed women, swathed in dressing gowns and towels, came into the kitchen where I was sitting by the stove reading.
“That was wonderful, wasn’t it Elerie?”
Elerie smiled and nodded, and left the room.
“The best thing that I’ve done since ... oh...” Harry blushed as she looked at my raised eyebrow daring her to continue, “um ... for a little while anyway.
I grinned as she continued to blush.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I said. “Now I think it is time for me to go to bed.”
I looked at her with raised eyebrow again and if anything the blush deepened.
I was not disappointed however when the caravan door opened an hour or so later and I was joined by a very naked lady.
I continued to work on the house over the next few days and Harry joined me in the caravan every night. It was on the fourth or fifth day that I was sitting in the kitchen having a final cup of coffee before starting work when Harry dropped a small bomb.
“We’ve been watched,” she said.
“Molly?” I grinned, and then as a thought struck me, “he hasn’t...”
“No, no. Elerie.”
“Oh! I think she may have done that the first night, you know. I thought I saw a movement. How did you find out?”
“She was cold when I got back into bed last night.”
With only one bedroom they shared the double bed so Harry had to wait until Elerie was asleep before she came out to me, but obviously she didn’t wait long enough. She had, of course, to get back early too.
“I suggested that she’d be warmer if she came in and watched,” she continued.
“You did what?” I spluttered. “Really, I think that is ... inappropriate ... out of order.”
I looked at her, shaking with silent laughter.
“You didn’t, did you?”
“I wanted to see your face, it was a picture. Honestly! But isn’t she attractive enough for you?
“Of course she is attractive, gorgeous, but she’s an innocent young girl.”
“Not so innocent now.”
“I suppose not, but it’s her even more gorgeous mother I’ve fallen for.”
I closed the distance between us.
“I’m very glad to hear that,” she said as we kissed. “now go and get on or Elerie will get another lesson
Another incident occurred a few days later when the loathsome Gethin turned up for another go. I think he was under the impression that I wasn’t there for some reason, but of course I heard him coming. I came out of the house just behind Harry who was going to meet him head on and they were already screaming insults at one another when I got to Harry’s side. At that point there was a moments silence and I realised that Gethin was staring between us. At the same time I saw the barrels of the farm’s shotgun come between us. Whether I did the right thing at this point is open to question, but I grabbed the barrels and pulled forward and upward. I felt Elerie collide with my rear at the same time as both barrels discharged, fortunately the entire load went over Gethin’s head, although part of me wouldn’t have been too unhappy if it hadn’t.
Elerie dropped the gun, which I had let go of, and ran into the house. Harry stood, white as a sheet, whilst Gethin screamed that we were all mad and that he’d have the law on us, and disappeared at high speed.
I can’t say I blamed him for that.
“Shit,” was the first word from both of us simultaneously.
“That could be a bit of a problem,” I went on. “D’you think he will?”
“Tell the police? Probably, it’ll play right into his hands won’t it?”
“He’ll get Elerie or me, or probably both of us locked up and then he’ll take this over. Not much I’ll be able to do from jail is there?”
“We’d better cook up a good story then. At least we don’t have to worry about Elerie learning her part.”
“I suppose you could call that a silver lining.”
So over the next hour we perfected a simple but hopefully believable story just in case.
It was fortunate that we did because it was about two hours later that a police 4x4 drove up. Two officers got out, one of them the young woman that I had met previously, and the other a sergeant.
They introduced themselves as Sergeant Williams and Constable Sion, which she pronounced ‘Shawn’ of course.
“I suppose you’ve come about the accident.” I asked.
“Accident?” queried the sergeant. “We understood that an attempt had been made to murder Mr Davies.”
“Well, you can trust Gethin to make a mountain out of a molehill,” said Harry. “You’d better come in.”
We sat down around the kitchen table whilst Harry made coffee.
“Now, tell me what happened,” Sergeant Williams requested.
Harry started, “Gethin believes that he should have inherited this farm, and he is determined to drive us off. Every so often he comes up here to tell me to get off or take up his obscene offers. He also insists that he wants Elerie. This morning he came up in a real strop. I was outside telling him to get off my property.”
“Ah, Elerie, I understand she fired the gun. Where is she?”
“Probably upstairs,” said Harry. “I call her, but one thing you must appreciate is that she cannot talk.”
The sergeant looked at the constable with a raised eyebrow.
“I know about Elerie,” she said. “Most people around here do. There was an incident several year’s ago when her father was killed and she hasn’t spoken since.”
“Right, I’d still like to see her.”
Harry went to the door and called, and Elerie arrive a moment later.
“She didn’t really fire the gun,” I said, “if anyone did it was me.”
“You’d better explain that. But first, who are you?”
“I’m a ... friend of Harry’s.”
He looked from me to her, took in her blush and looked back at me with a grin.
“Okay, go on.”