This page contains most of the content from the main 'story line' characters. It is designed to allow an easy way of keeping up with the story on slow connections (or for reading later). It is, of course, no substitute for the real thing!
Cuppa with Shirley
Cuppa with Shirley (or Martin)
Oh, it's you. I suppose you'll be wanting tea. Well, the milk's off.
Shirley? She's down with Vera, isn't she? The two of them will be rabbiting on all weekend. Miss Simmons is away too, so you'd think I'd get some blessed peace and quiet. Not that she says much. Nice young lady, always asks after me vegetables.
So, I'm left with that fool of a boyfriend of hers and all hell breaks loose. We've had P.C. Plod all over the house with their big feet traipsing through my garden. What do they think they'll find there, I ask you? Sergeant Archer says to me "Never underestimate the criminal mind, Martin." Silly sod.
And he's gone and put in a satellite dish, hasn't he? I don't think Miss Simmons will like that. Says he wants to make sure he can watch all the cricket. Mr. Basil liked his cricket and he never dealt with such foolishness. And don't think I haven't seen him looking at that young student with more interest than he should, if you take my meaning.
We've got repairmen coming and going. Another fool trying to 'Spend, Spend, Spend'. It's all going to hell around here and I'll hear it from Shirley when she gets back. It's not like the old days. I'm just glad I have me vegetables. And by the way, I'm out of biscuits. You still fancy some tea?
Thanks for the olives--but what the hell did you think I was going to do with two cases of them? I said I was craving some, not that I was opening a Greek diner. Sorry to bitch, but its not as though I can get through them by asking people to share. "Hey James, want to come over for an olive tonight?" Dont think so...
Anyway, Ill see what I can find out about Stoney Grove from this end. I was wondering how long it would take you to get sucked back into the academic round. I personally would never volunteer to give a paper if I knew I NEVER had to again, but hey, I guess youre getting a trip to Tuscany out of it. Hope you enjoy the wine. Have to put any travel plans to England on hold for awhile--I got a nasty note from Michaelson saying if he didnt get my revised proposal in by July 1, I dont have the proverbial snowballs chance for funding next semester. So, its time to write something, and fill in the blanks later.
Cant wait to hear about your hermit. Ive never met one (I guess theyre not attracted to my personality...). Is he hairy? Does he speak? Please, tell me more...
Dear Mr. Tinsley,
Included you will find the bill for twelve hundred pounds for the installation of the Minerva Satellite system and a year's premium service. We hope you will get many years of viewing pleasure from the dish. Our engineer advises that you should cut down some of the larger trees around your house as they may interfere with your reception.
"Knowledge Through the Telly"
Dear Mr. Tinsley
Thank you for the opportunity of looking at your wonderful house. You clearly would benefit from our expertise, and as we discussed, I think that some repairs should be made as soon as possible. The start of the English summer suggests that we can hold on the heating system, but we clearly need to address the leaking windows and the masonry repairs.
Hepplewaites would be pleased to serve as your general contractor for these tasks. You will see from our references that we have experience in this area and all repairs will be made sympathetically and with period techniques and materials. Good workmanship, as you know, does not come cheaply, and I include an itemised estimate of thirty six thousand pounds for this first phase of work.
Hepplewaites - Holding Heritage Together.
Dear Mr. Tinsley
Your order of the Big Bertha cricket bat has been processed and will be shipped to you next week. Unfortunately, the box you ordered is out of stock and we are sending 'The Safe' in its place.
To whom it may concern,
I am disappointed not to have received your cheque yet. There must be some mistake. I still need the money. Please send it as soon as possible.
I've tried to call several times but the phone is always busy. I hope nothing is wrong. I miss you very much. Still, I'm managing to enjoy my trip none-the-less :)
It is impossible not to--Tuscany is beautiful and the art is amazing. I visited Siena today (saw St. Catherine's head) and am off to Florence tomorrow. I'm staying in a beautiful little villa--the Villa Riodi-- on the outskirts of Volterra. It is quite reasonable and has wonderful views of the countryside. I've been spending much more money than I should, but it has been fun! Still, I feel somewhat guilty thinking about St. Clare's virtue of poverty.
My flight gets into Gatwick at 11:30 on Tuesday morning, and I should be back home by early afternoon.
I keep thinking about what you said to me at the airport--it was very sweet. We need to plan a holiday together soon--I feel like I haven't talked to you in ages about anything but the house. Hope it is still standing. I'm looking forward to seeing you soon...
Im not your Jackie Collins but I could be. At Jacks and Jills we provide the men and women to spice up your parties and special events. We can come in costume (Tarzan, French Maid, English Lord, Naughty Maid Marion, Margaret Thatcher etc.) or just as we are.
Give us a call and well make your night.
Jackie Collins (Jacks and Jills)
Im not Jackie Collins and neither is my wife.
We would like to take you up on your offer of a visit. Caroline wants to know when would be a good time, and whether we should bring anything. Puckering is a bit of drive so I wondered if you had a spare room.
Look forward to seeing you.
I'm sure you have seen the news, but I thought you might like a heads-up about what's happening. Nothing to worry about, but I advise you to be careful about spending money right now. Things could get tied up in litigation for a while, but as always we will be sure to represent your interests.
If you need any help in financial planning please don't forget to call your friends
Krasman and Werthnow, Philidelphia
The best in financial planning--today, tomorrow and the day after
Great, looking forward to seeing you. We'll get Shirley to make one of her specials. I'm really busy. Ann's away and we've had the police in all week. Of course you can stay here, we have loads of rooms. When are you coming?
Hope all's well with you.
Lead Story - BUSTED!
Local police participated in an undercover sting
operation that culminated in the arrest of long-time resident Gerald Anderson at his shop
just off the Puckering High Street. A search of the premises turned up antique furniture,
paintings, ceramics and glassware, as well as garden statuary and tools, valued at well
over 200,000 pounds.
Simon Tinsley, who alerted police to the crime, admits, "I feel like a bit of a wally! I thought he was working for us and that my girlfriend was having him move some stuff. When the desk disappeared though I thought something was wrong." Miss Simmons was not available for comment and is said to be out of the country at present.
Police have not yet issued formalised charges against the suspect, waiting to determine the scope of his criminal activity. Residents with questions about the provenance of furnishings they have recently acquired are encouraged to phone the police station.
In a related enquiry, police are also questioning Major Blythe-Smythe in connection with charges related to the sale of stolen goods.--Nigel Twicks
Sergeant in Hosiery Shop Stalking Surprises Suspect
For Sergeant Geoffrey Archer, the day started like most
others at the Puckering police station; a cup of tea, a glance at the Gazette, and a pile
of reports to file. It would end at an upscale hosiery shop on Herringbone Lane, in a
tense stakeout that lasted into the night, and ushered in a new dawn. By noon of the
following day, the drama would culminate in an emotional confrontation with an old friend,
accused of nicking hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fine antique furnishings in an
criminal operation that police now suspect spread over several years.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday, 20 May, Sgt. Archer received the phone call that would irrevocably alter the face of Puckering. Miss Emma Knytleigh, currently of Stoney Grove, reported an antique Queen Ann desk missing from the study of her employer, Miss Ann Simmons. The desk had last been seen on the previous evening, when Miss Knytleigh had entered the study to pick up some mail. She reported the disappearance to Mr. Tinsley, who, upon further investigation, noted that an antique oil painting was also missing from the room. As Tinsley headed for the phone to notify police, he spotted a white van pulling out of the drive.
An investigative team, headed by Sgt. Archer, was sent to the scene. "We could immediately see the missing desk, or rather, not see it, if you take my point," said Archer. "Anyway, it was gone, and we set out to find it." At first the police had a number of suspects, but the white van helped narrow the field. Witnesses confirmed that a vehicle fitting that description was often parked outside of Jerrys Antiques.
Eager to avoid alerting the suspect prematurely, Archer and his team went undercover, posing as customers at Silken Treasures, a strategy that afforded the men an uninterrupted view of the entrance to the suspected den of criminal activity.
Long hours of surveillance paid off. At 12:01 p.m. on Friday, 21 May, officers observed Gerald Anderson of Jerrys Antiques carrying the purloined desk into his shop. Archer and his team closed in. "It was really hard," Archer confessed, "Jerry was my mate. Ive furnished half my house with stuff from his shop. Still," he concluded, "you can only look at knickers for so long. Were glad to have put an end to it. And to the theft, of course."
Sergeant Archer has issued a plea to all local residents who have had dealings with Jerrys Antiques in the past five years to step forward. "Wed like for people to report items that they suspect might have been stolen, so that they can be returned to their rightful place." --Lumpy Gaites