The Last Chapter,
Dave the builder had done a wonderful job on restoring my place back to normal. All the fixtures and fittings put up by the film company had been removed as soon as the technical college had vacated the rooms and Dave had redecorated where necessary, so my guest house looked all pristine and workable again.
Of course, Southtrend on Sea is quite dead now. Most of the SHAG group members are either doing up their places, have gone on holiday, or are putting their places on the market after a dreadful season - some doing all three. I was not in a hurry to open again too soon myself, deciding out of season to just open for the Friday and Saturday nights. I might make enough to at least pay the overheads if I am careful.
The second evening back I thought I would give Julian and Tristan a visit, to see how they were getting on. They were really very excited. Without anyone’s knowledge they had some time ago put their place on the market, and last week actually lined up a buyer at the full asking price. Consequently they were all ready making plans and packing personal belongings. They have decided to leave England for good and use the capital, after paying off their mortgage and loans, to buy or even build a village property in Nandipur, in the district of Kokrajhar some 156 miles from the state capital of Gauhati.
They had trekked this area many years ago and fell in love with the forest and really friendly peoples. They now thought they could open up a sort of cultural exploration and holiday centre there. Property was next to nothing to buy or build, and with the right connections in the UK for adventure holidays they might clean up by being the first in this particular district.
Catching up with Raymond the following day, I found him busy building an outside plunge pool for his more fit guests next season. He seemed to be in high spirits and was eager to pass on the news about Norman and Fred from Dickeys Drive-In Hotel. There had been a serious fire at the building early last Tuesday morning, whilst the two of them were out swapping the laundry baskets at the hospital. Norman had left a chip pan on, expecting to be back within 15 minutes, but the police were waiting for them behind the loading bay at the hospital and they were well and truly nabbed. What with that and the dodgy car with false number plates, it was off to the cells with them. In the meantime their place well and truly burnt down.
Further to the investigation of the cause of the fire, the rewired electricity and the gas meter that had been turned round, plus no alarm system etc were all discovered and have led to even more charges by the police. Out on bail, by the end of the week they had both completely disappeared from Southtrend. Some say they have done a runner across the channel.
A few days late, sitting and wondering over breakfast just how I was going to pay Dave for all the work he had done, I was interrupted by the post arriving. Thumbing through the circulars and all the rubbish that comes, amongst it there was a letter from my solicitor to inform me that . . .
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