Tag Archives: mystery

2190. The corrugated iron shed

You see the roof of that shed? It’s silver. I can just see it from my dining room window. My late husband planted those fast-growing trees quite a few years back to block the unsightly view of the corrugated iron shed. The elderly couple used to keep hay in the shed for their horses. They had two horses.

“It’s none of our business watching the neighbours feed their horses,” he used to say. “And the shed is unsightly. It ruins the view.”

With that, my husband planted the trees. They’re on our side of the fence. If the truth be told, it worked both ways. It stopped the elderly couple from looking up and into our dining room. Not that we were doing anything untoward. But it’s a question of privacy.

Well! The elderly couple died – as does happen – and the property was sold. It was bought by a couple of men who are – as Maggie from up the road says – “an interesting couple of blokes”. I’m not sure what goes on in that shed, but they ain’t got no horses.

Every day I curse my late husband for his lack of foresight when he planted those trees. Every day, around 11 o’clock, those two park their pickup just shy of the corrugated iron shed. They get out and go presumably into the shed. They’re there from several minutes to about an hour.

Maggie from up the road says they’ll be growing marijuana under artificial light, but I pointed out that it has a concrete floor and there didn’t seem to be any cables going into the shed for electricity. At least that was the case when I went down to the shed when those “interesting couple of blokes” were away for the day. Of course, the shed was locked, so I’m none the wiser.

Tomorrow’s a public holiday. They seem to go away on most public holidays. Goodness knows where to, although I have my suspicions. Maggie from up the road and I intend to go to the shed and find out what’s going on, once and for all. We’ll let you know.

2111. A visit to town

Malcolm lived a good twenty minutes’ drive from town. He usually went into town about once every couple of weeks. It’s not that he was organized. Meals were planned while walking down the aisles of the supermarket. Pasta! Yeah, I think I’ll get some pasta. Rice! Yeah I think I’ll get some rice. Frozen fish cakes! Yeah! And so on.

On this particular day he arrived in town and there was no trouble finding a park. In fact, there were no cars. There were no people either. Everything was empty. Not a soul about. There weren’t any dead bodies or anything. Yet all the shops were open. One shop even had music playing: Fernando by ABBA. As if that would help a shopper buy shoes!

The experience was surreal; normal except no one about. Malcolm went into a takeaway and helped himself to a couple of chicken drumsticks and a bun. He made it his mission to go from food shop to food shop, and he chewed into fancier and fancier things. He plunged his teeth into the most fabulously decorated wedding cake. No knife! Nothing but teeth! It was not particularly nice. Too sweet! That sickly Marzipan.

He backed his car up to the main door of the supermarket and stuffed as much produce as could fit into every available space. And then he remembered something…

He had always wanted a tent. There would be no space in the car for a tent, so he drove to the Camping Store, selected an excellent tent, and pulled out a few things from the car to make space leaving a pile of produce in the car park.

When he got home he unloaded the car, packing things appropriately into cupboards and freezers. The tent he stored away to be used later in the summer.

What a weird but wonderful experience! He wouldn’t have to go into town for another six months. Brilliant! He hated going into town. Oh, blast! He’d forgotten to get cat food.

2002. No stone unturned

Fleur had been murdered on her maid’s day off. She had been stabbed four times in the chest. Ironically, she wrote and published murder mysteries. Perhaps a key to her murderer’s identity lay in Fleur’s unfinished manuscript. In the unfinished novel the murdered victim was named Pamela. The description of her bore a remarkable resemblance to Fleur. Perhaps it was a cry for help. The manuscript must be examined minutely, for as the detective said, “We shall leave no stone unturned”.

The first suspect was Olwyn, the teenage student who came to mow Pamela’s lawn every Wednesday after school. It can’t have been her because she was currently away at a school camp.

There was the handsome soldier who “passed by”. His name was unknown, but Pamela referred to him as “My handsome soldier man”. It can’t have been him because he’d been gone a good week when the murder was done.

Perhaps it was Floyd the postman. He delivered mail three times a week: Monday’s, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Except, the postal workers were on strike at the time of Fleur’s murder.

Finally, could it have been Elric, the president of the local Amateur Society’s Glee Club? Not a chance! The Glee Club was away in the big city preparing for their Christmas pantomime production.

What stood out as to why one of these possible assassins of Pamela might also be the murderer of Fleur, was that Fleur, just like her protagonist, had a lawn-mowing teen come every Wednesday. She had a handsome soldier pass by. She had a thrice-a-week-delivering postman. She was super-friendly with the president of the local Amateur Society’s Glee Club. Was this a case of fiction imitating life?

Fleur had been brutally stabbed in the chest four times, as has been pointed out. This caused untold confusion, because Fleur had been stabbed four times in the abdomen, but her body was found in a chest in the attic. So what exactly was meant when the novel said she had been stabbed four times in the chest?

And then Fleur’s notes for her novel were discovered in the chest itself. It pointed to the murderer being Lillian. Not only had Lillian not made an appearance thus far in the manuscript, but there was no indication of who she was or what she did. Obviously Lillian was the one who had done the murder, but her identity was anyone’s guess.

Clearly the unfinished manuscript of Fleur’s murder mystery was of no help whatsoever. Much to the relief of Gillian, the maid.

1889. Award 22: Mystery at Te Popo

How wonderful to be nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by Dumbest Blog Ever. The Dumbest Blogger ain’t as dumb as he makes out so go have a peek. He’s also going through a bit of a no-job patch, so see if you can have a read. He’s a good friend too.

Te Popo (in the title of this posting) is the name of the area where I live. It means “The Black Night”.

The award was established by Okoto Engima. She (apparently) is your everyday writer who turned her boredom, love for fashion, and passion for writing into something productive. So, being a fashion icon in my own head, I’m delighted to provide a link.

I’m meant to answer the five questions asked, and then say TWO THINGS ABOUT MYSELF. Of course the very things that some would want to know about me shall remain a secret. Oh! What the heck! Why not expose all? Read on!

Then I’ve got to nominate other bloggers, ask them a similar number of original things in the manner in which I was asked, and finally skedaddle off to bed.

Here are the five questions:

1. Where do UFOs come from?

Three weeks before my fourth birthday (i.e. 21 days before) my parents put a dozen eggs underneath a broody hen. I didn’t know, but they were due to hatch on my birthday. Then on my birthday eve my mother told me the hen was going to hatch out baby chickens tomorrow for my birthday. I went to the chicken coop and watched. Being on a farm I knew that babies came out of the mother’s bottom – like calves and lambs and things. I also knew that chickens came out of eggs. But how did the mother hen get her babies into the eggs after they had come out of her bottom?

I was going to solve this mystery once and for all. I watched all day, and not a thing happened. The next morning the hen had twelve chickens. I do not know how the hen puts the chickens into the eggs, and nor do I know where UFOs come from.

This is my faverolles rooster in my later years!

2. Do you like Mexican food?

We don’t have Taco Bell within a thousand miles of where I live, so all Mexican food has to be hand-crafted – a skill which I have developed to a high standard, especially when opening the can of kidney beans. So yes, I like Mexican food. Once, a couple of years back, the farming neighbours asked me to look after their farm for three weeks while they went away for a vacation. (They had never had such a capable neighbour before, and I said yes because they had lots of farm bikes and I was able to roar around all day on motor bikes here and there – it could have been interpreted as testosterone but it was simply post-adolescent inanity).

By way of thanks the neighbours invited me over for a meal, and we had Mexican. I was foolish enough to declare that one cannot claim to have eaten Mexican tacos properly unless one takes a freshly stuffed taco shell and eats it while jumping up and down in a white shirt on a trampoline. That’s what I had seen Mexican children do.

Some idiot actually photographed it

Who cares? The shirt was old anyway. Of course, those of you who want to see me with my shirt off will have to wait until the TWO THINGS ABOUT MYSELF later. I don’t like to reveal everything all at once.

3. Do you believe in life after love?

I’d like to say yes to this question, but basically I’m a bad loser. I don’t know how many times I’ve fallen in love, or even fallen in infatuation. But each time when the saga is over I turn into a complete wreck. I’m trying to select an example…

Once, when all possibility of romance dissipated, approximately around one in the morning, I screwed up an entire packet of cigarettes and threw them into the fire. The nearest in-the-middle-of-the-night cigarette selling place was about two hours walk away and I didn’t have a car. By the time I got home at five o’clock it was sunrise and I was in a ripe state.

No, there’s no life after love. Or, yes, perhaps there is, but it’s a different life – I have subsequently discovered.

I know it’s confusing but this is not me. These are actually models.

4. What’s your theme song?

I’m a bit “yesterday” when it comes to choosing a theme song. I guess it would have to be the song my father banned from us playing on the (back-then) gramophone. It was the flipside of Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren’s “Goodness Gracious Me”. The song was called “We’re removing Grandpa’s grave to build the sewer”. I absolutely loved it back then (and still do). I suppose part of the appeal was that Dad had banned it and it could only be played when he was out of the house. Apart from that as a ten year old I got given a collection of recordings of music by famous composers and I thrashed Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” to death. Mum would say, “Turn that horrible music down” but I didn’t.

I still get immensely excited by every note of it, and sometimes take the score to bed with me to read like a novel. But for the time being, if you’re hoping to get an insight into my excitement you may have to wait until you hear about the TWO THINGS ABOUT MYSELF towards the end of this reflection.

Getting ready to take Stravinsky’s Rite to bed.

5. Would you rather eat rice or potatoes?

I had two great-great-great grandmothers die in the Irish Potato Famine, so it would be treachery to claim a preference for rice. Besides, I associate rice with China, and they’re not my favourites at present.

There’s so much more one can do with a potato. Rice one can boil or throw over the bride and groom at a wedding. What a waste! Imagine throwing boiled potatoes at a bride and groom. It could be the harbinger of awkward things to come, especially if the groom got bits of mashed potato on his black tuxedo.

TWO THINGS ABOUT MYSELF

At last we have arrived at this most revealing section. Some of you have been faithful online friends for seven or eight years, and some just a few weeks. Some know things about me that others don’t. Anyway, here are bits of me in no particular order and for no particular reason:

1. I was a catholic priest for nearly thirty years. Those years, plus the eight years of training, were an important part of who I am. Sometimes, when people hear of my past, they say “Good on you for leaving”. I always get a little hurt by that. It was almost forty years of my life! I don’t think there was much wrong with what I did!

2. I have had a chronic heart condition for 25 years or so. Apparently I need a heart transplant but I’m not going to be given one because there’s a paucity of hearts about and I haven’t made a big enough contribution to society to be very far up the list! I said to the heart specialist when he told me that, “as long as the heart I would’ve got goes to someone younger who has a life ahead then that is fine”, and he said that no one had said that before and he burst into tears. I thought that might’ve improved my chances but it made Sweet Fanny Adams of a difference!

Anyway, it’s just as well that this wonderful award asks for only two, otherwise I’d be talking about myself all day.

I now have to ask five questions and nominate others. Well, this is the sad bit. I should’ve said it at the beginning. I don’t nominate, but I mention the blog addresses of other bloggers I follow that I like and maybe you miss out on. If I don’t mention you, know that I don’t NOT mention you to make you feel bad.

a). Passing on the flame. This is an archive of poetry translations (Medieval/Baroque/Modern/etc) from the German, by Peter Lach-Newinsky. I like this site because it exposes something to me that I wouldn’t have a clue about otherwise.

b). Observation Blogger. Lifelong learner and blogging enthusiast. Matthew is an Australian who lives in Colombia with his family. I think he’s currently in permanent lockdown – the poor bugger. He posts interesting stuff about music and things. The bits I like most are his introductions to Latin American music, singers, and songs.

c). Lisa of arlingwords blogs about a number of things, but mainly about her communal garden in Washington DC where she creates produce for the poor and gets eaten out by wild and pernicious rabbits.

d). European Origins. As a (lily) white Caucasian I enjoy Marcel’s blog and dream about my European ancestral lineage! I hope I’m allowed to…

e). Sweet Life Kitchens. Noel presents country-style cooking and baking. I like it because it gives a few ideas and shows how to cook things without a million pop-ups and ads that have now taken over recipe sites. This is good stuff!

Now I have provided no questions because these are not nominations but recommendations. But if so desired then recommended bloggers can answer the same five questions no doubt more satisfyingly than my response!

Thanks again to The Dumbest Blogger for his kindness in nominating me.

Here’s a picture of my washing to let you know that despite all I’ve said, it’s a cow of a life.

1556. Memories

It seemed like just an ordinary old photo. Granddaughter Natalie was showing it to her grandmother. Grandmother Lilianna had been born in Poland but had come to her new country with her parents and siblings when she was nine.

Which one are you? asked Natalie.

Lilianna had not seen the photograph before. Where did you find it?

It was with a pile of stuff in a box, said Natalie. What are the names of your brothers and sisters?

Lilianna pointed them out as she named them. There’s Franciszek and Filip. And there’s Zofia and Maria. You know great-aunt Maria. And I don’t know who that other little girl is. She must have been visiting at the time.

But, said Natalie, it’s written in Polish on the back. Daddy translated it for me. It says “Our six children”.

The photograph had taken Lilianna back to that terrible day. She knew who that fourth girl in the photograph was. It was her sister Dominika. Dominika was still alive and living not too far away. Dominika was ostracized. She had never been spoken about for decades. And now her photograph had emerged. It brought back extraordinary memories of… of…

Can I keep the photo? asked Lilianna.

Of course, said Natalie.

After Natalie left to go home, Lilianna threw the photograph into the fire.