Monday, April 27, 2009

I was still mulling a story idea and, as well, knew that my sister-in-law had relocated to their new house, which I recalled was somewhere in the surrounding area. She never gave us the address, preferring it seems to break her brother’s heart after their mum died and well, just leave it at that. I recalled bits of conversation before that injustice and as Siggy coasted along country roads we kept a sharp eye. Sure enough, their car and truck were spotted in a driveway. The garage door was open to her husband’s workshop. There was the house, a nondescript bungalow, behind a low, crumbling moss-covered stone wall, the rear of the house overlooking the huge expanse of open fields that his sister had coveted and would finally get; but at a shameful cost. I popped out and snapped a few photos while The Mister and Siggy waited out of sight. The house is called “Brookside.” More apt might be “Breakside.”

Perhaps sensing what an emotional impact this would have on his friend, Siggy headed straight for the small market town of nearby Uppingham. The charm of its shops, hidden courtyards, the impressive Falcon Hotel, and the school—a real boarding school—where Stephen Fry was once a pupil were a welcome distraction. Later I discovered that Boris Karloff had also been a student there. We had a wide array of antique shops to peruse and popped into a couple. Siggy seems to know everybody. A friendly shop owner told us that a few weeks before there were busloads and busloads of American tourists buying up everything in sight. I silently thanked the Universe for this close call. There were still plenty of gimcracks to be had as far as I could tell. I came away with a definitely overpriced (even though I got a “deal”) packet of randy postcards from the 50’s. I wished I had not left the little pitcher behind that had inscribed on it: “He that buys flesh buys bones.”

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