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Posted by shapeshifter (U15381545) on Wednesday, 6th February 2013
Elizabeth waved enthusiastically as the school bus vanished into the distance, then jumped back into the car and raced up the three mile drive back to Lower Loxely Hall. It would be about eight hours before Lily and Freddie returned from school and that would give her just enough time.
Stopping in the General Office only to pick up a torch, spare batteries, water bottle, spare water bottle, high energy bars, compass, mobile, spare battery for the mobile, penknife and flares, Elizabeth set off. She'd teach that oik at the bank a thing or too, speaking to her like she was some numpty. She's used TWO envelopes for that business plan and Freddie had coloured in the pictures of the holiday lets and everything. Well, she was going back to the bank with the deeds to Lower Loxely then he'd have to take her seriously and give her all the money.
As she mounted the Long Staircase she racked her brains as to the location of the Safe Room. She was pretty certain that's where the deeds would be, Nigel had been saying something about the Safe Room before he died but she hadn't really been taking much notice. She knew the large Victorian safe in there contained important stuff so she guessed that the deeds must be there but it was years and years since Nigel had taken her there and she hadn't paying much attention as to the route. “Come on, Lizzie,” he'd said “You really ought to know your way round just in case something happens to me”
What, like you fall off the roof” she'd scoffed and they both shook with laughter. “Ah, happy days” she thought.
As she entered the Long Gallery, Elizabeth saw Bert Fry and his tour party. Bert was declaiming in rhyming couplets something about Lancelot Pargetter and the innkeeper's daughter, “Ah, he's reaching into the thirty second or third pocket of that special jerkin of his for his notes so he's speeded up a bit, good, but I really must have a word,” she thought as she noticed the elderly couple leaning on the door jamb, “Their rucksacks might scratch the woodwork”.
After passing the Chinese Drawing Room, the Indian Drawing Room, the Siam Drawing Room, and the Ceylon Drawing Room, Elizabeth traversed the Minstrels Gallery and the Winter Dining Room using the north staircase to reach the south west wing. An hour later she had made good progress through the Yellow bedroom, the Blue bedroom, the Red Bedroom, the Green Bedroom and the Slightly Off White Bedroom. It was then just a matter of accessing the west staircase via the Maltesers' Gallery and she had reached the Summer Breakfast Room. Elizabeth had intended to take a short break there on the window seat and admire the view of the grounds laid out by Capability Grundy after the village of Upper Loxley was demolished to improve the view but just at that moment she heard Bert expound “and with a pike in that there place he stopped 'em”.
“Blow,” she thought, “They'll be in here in a minute.”. So she hastened on passing the tour party in the Medium Ballroom. The old gentleman of the elderly couple she had noticed earlier was sat on a fold-up camping stool and his wife was fanning him with a Lower Loxley guide. “I really must have a word,” thought Elizabeth, “That stool will scratch the floorboards.”
Pushing through the pain of a blister and aching knees, Elizabeth descended the south by south west staircase and arrived in the servants quarters. Using the her torch to guide her through the gloom she passed the kitchen, scullery, buttery, pantry, larder, cold store, dry goods locker, servants hall, butler's pantry, housekeepers sitting room, steward's room, laundry, linen closet, silver cupboard, sluice, flower room, gun room, wine cellar.....until finally she stood outside what she was sure was the Safe Room.
“Oh damn,” she thought as she gazed at the small metal box wired to the three inch reinforced steel door. “That was what Nigel was telling me about before he died....he had had a bio security thingy fitted to the Safe Room door and that it would now only open when his thumb was pressed onto the finger print reader.”
She noticed the lengthening shadows.
“Well, I've got to get back, Lily and Freddie will be home soon unless of course it's Freddie's day for his riding lesson with Shula. It's so confusing,” puzzled Elizabeth, “I know I haven't been paying much attention but I'm really confused. Whenever I watch sis giving him a lesson, sometimes he seems able to charge about and can do jumps and things and other times he sits like a sack of potatoes while Shula leads him about. I said as much to Shula and she said something about “That's scriptwriters for you!” but I think she meant Pargetters.”
“I'll take the short way back to the Main Office.” Elizabeth decided. “ I know the Priest's Hole, Secret Staircase, Dungeon and Locked Tower are a bit scary but at least I pop out by the Billiards Room and then it's just a quick trot through the Chapel, Hindu Temple, Sikh Gurdwara, Jain Derasa /Basadi, Buddhist Mandir and the Mosque and then I'm there.”
As the last rays of the sun struck gold on the inner courtyard Elizabeth emerged onto the steps just in time to see the body bag loaded into the waiting ambulance. Other members of the tour group sat huddled on the steps with silver emergency blankets around them while members of the WRVS handed out cups of tea and sandwiches. Roy had his arm around the elderly lady's shoulder who sobbed noiselessly. Lizzie cocked her head to one side and gave Roy a quick supportive smile. She knew how much staff appreciated little gestures like this “But I must have a word,” thought Elizabeth, “Roy mustn't have his suit soiled”
Checking that her penknife and torch were still in her pocket Elizabeth set off briskly towards the Pargetter Mausoleum
Posted by jillscasseroling to save Mustardland (U13781458) on Thursday, 7th February 2013
Fab - you've got the size of LoLo down to a tee (esp the Malteser's allery - snork!)
Posted by DiamondLil (U11107751) on Thursday, 7th February 2013
An hour later she had made good progress through the Yellow bedroom, the Blue bedroom, the Red Bedroom, the Green Bedroom and the Slightly Off White Bedroom. It was then just a matter of accessing the west staircase via the Maltesers' Gallery and she had reached the Summer Breakfast Room. Elizabeth had intended to take a short break there on the window seat and admire the view of the grounds laid out by Capability Grundy after the village of Upper Loxley was demolished to improve the view but just at that moment she heard Bert expound “and with a pike in that there place he stopped 'em”.
To quote Arthur Knapp-Shappey this is 'Brilliant'
I love the Chapel bits too.
Posted by Vicky S (U2258400) on Saturday, 9th February 2013
Snorktastic. Loved the Malteser's Gallery, and bedrooms, I'm very relieved there wasn't a Lilac bedroom because we all know what that means. Actually, I'm now feeling a bit guilty that you gave us this fabulous tour and we didn't pay an entrance fee. Let me know your bank details and I'll send you a suitable donation.
Posted by shapeshifter (U15381545) on Saturday, 9th February 2013
Knowing that I have brightened your day by bringing you a glimpse of just a few of the attractions of one of our most charming and richly endowed stately piles has been payment enough. A suitcase of untraceable tenners if you insist.
Posted by Pahnda (U14681704) on Saturday, 9th February 2013
Wow, it is a tardis, I so enjoyed the virtual tour, many thanks shapers. I won't be donating I'm afraid though I may need to buy an over-priced pot of tea in the Orangerie.
Posted by avrilgreen (U15610010) on Sunday, 10th February 2013
I think I'll read this now rather than listening to sometimes but increasingly anodyne plot lines. Keep up the good work. Bet you really are one of the writers and this is your naughty alter ego having some fun.
Posted by Pahnda (U14681704) on Sunday, 10th February 2013
The CA said that tomorrow Elizabeth goes on a treasure hunt! But we know that you got there first.
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