Boatman's dream 28
By Parson Thru
“Oh, Hi James. Charlie here. I just had a call from Donald Mason. Guess what? Gerald Bowall would like to meet you.”
“Lord of the Manor, Lord Bowall.”
“Ah, yes, yes. Of course. Sorry Charlie. I’m down at the yard. Just had breakfast with Merlin and assorted policemen and reporters.”
“Is something wrong?”
“You haven’t heard? About Arthur?”
“No? Are you going to spill the beans?”
“He’s missing. Overboard.”
“I’ll tell you later. When does His Lordship want to meet?”
“Well, it’s pretty short notice. This morning.”
“I can do that. Where?”
“The Manor Farm at Whenmoor. Do you know it?”
“No. I can’t say I do. I can find it online though. Give me the postcode.”
“Can you get there in the next hour, James?”
“I’m sure I can. I’m just looking at the map now. Close to Hoefield village, down a bloody long lane – dead straight. Let’s hope I don’t meet a tractor coming the other way.”
“So I’ll call Donald back and tell him you’re on your way?”
“Yes. Do that. Are you coming, Charlie?”
“Not invited, James. It’s just you and Gerald. Good luck.”
“Thanks, matey. I’ll let you know how I get on.”
Bellingham-Smythe put his phone down on the table and looked up at his son-in-law, Tim.
“Everything ok, James?”
“I’ve got a meeting with Lord Bowall.”
“I’ll come with you. I haven’t met a Lord of the Manor before.”
“No. You stay here, Tim. Check around the yard. Get a feel for what’s going on. And get that bloody wreck moved off the wharf – I’m not having it collapsing into the mud for the next ten years.”
“There won’t be any mud in ten years.”
“I know, but get it moved anyway.”
“Will do, James.”
Bellingham-Smythe’s Mercedes swept out of the car park and along the access road.
Ben and I heard it before it emerged from the gravel onto the tarmac.
We waved as he drove past, but there was no response.
The brake lights flashed on and off at the turn into the village.
“Do you think I upset him at breakfast?”
“Maybe.” Ben nodded. “He looked a bit distracted though.”
“Fancy a drink?”
I gave it some thought.
“Seems a bit early. I’ve just had breakfast.”
“It’s almost lunch.”
“Jesus. Time flies. Let’s go and see if Taff’s open. Are you buying?”
“In the time-honoured tradition, but I expect a story in return.”
“You're a louse.”