Approaching the reassuring frontage of David’s Bookshop, there were no sights or sounds here to affect Elizabeth’s peculiar sensibilities; no bold shop lighting, no garish displays of stock and no chavish customIers. The thought suddenly struck her that as a child she had never dared venture into David’s Bookshop; what did this mean? Had her family been of the type she now so despised? Catching her pristine reflection in the little panes of door glass this thought was hastily dismissed.
Satisfyingly, the bookshelves housed exactly what she was after. There were five books which contained references to the house, or at least pictures which must suggest further reference in the text itself. Elizabeth could have examined the books more closely to work out which would be most useful, thus preventing the duplication of information; as always consideration, compromise and caution were all alien concepts to her. Purchasing all five books she noticed that the property also featured as one of The Letchmore Centenary Postcards displayed behind the counter, ‘Ebenezer, could I also have that postcard of Church Lane?’ Fortunately, although Ebenezer was a prominent local figure and seemed an eternal font of the town’s knowledge he never pried into his customers’ reading habits. Had such discretion not been his manner he would surely have asked why The Comet’s proprietor was clearing his shelves of local history books. Instead he commented on the postcard. ‘Lovely house that, shame about what’s happened to them.’
Whilst attempting indifference Elizabeth began to probe. ‘I noticed it was up for auction, they must have lived there for nearly forty years, are they moving to a smaller property?’
‘He drowned, she’s in hospital,’ came the uncharacteristically cold response from Ebenezer. 'That's awful,' Elizabeth replied: at last she had her story.
'He'd probably had a bit to drink; how'd you drown in your own bath?'
'He died in the house, I assumed you meant the pool.'
'It's his wife I feel sorry for: all those years living with him.' Ebenezer was making little attempt to hide his feelings. Elizabeth was now torn between the excitement of the story and the thought of buying a house someone had recently died in. By the time she reached her car she realised that all old houses must have had a death on site at sometime, besides such a macabre occurrence might keep the price down.
Walking across Howard Green in the afternoon sun Elizabeth wondered if she could ever leave her home on this quaint spot. The cottages which nestled around the green had a fairytale quality to them. Three sides of the green comprised of six cottages and each of the three was painted a different colour. The cottages on the right side were pink, at the back pale green and to the left pale blue; Elizabeth’s cottage occupied the far corner plot and was therefore pale green. Nestled in the top corner of the green her immaculate sitting room was south facing and enjoyed clear views of the green and the four allotments which ran along one side. Brushing past the lavender lined pathway to the side of her house, she interrupted the black squirrels which also called her garden home. Once inside practicality necessitated another call to the agent before tomorrow’s viewing; was the auction still going ahead following Mr Barker's death? She didn't want to waste her time viewing a property only for Mrs Barker to change her mind. Secretly she was hoping for a little more information. She got it: Mrs Barker was in Lister hospital with a dislocated shoulder having tried to pull her husband out of the bath.