Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (36) The Insomniac Muse (Part 01)
Alex Farrell first met Gloria Barber on a grey murky day in October when he had been into the village of Highfinch to buy some essential supplies, coffee, milk and bread amongst other things.
He was staying in the sleepy hamlet of Kingfisherbridge which sat quietly between Purplemere and Sharpington nettled comfortably on the edge of the Pepperstock Hills.
It had been sunny and bright when he had left Honeysuckle Cottage that morning so he decided to walk the two miles or so into the village and he took one of the many paths through the Hawks Wood, which separated Highfinch and Kingfisherbridge.
However by the time he was leaving the village store with his essential purchases, it was raining, and it was that fine drizzly rain that soaked you in an instant and from a distance it gave the illusion of being a heavy mist.
In fact due to its inherent ability to obscure landmarks it was to all intents and purposes a mist.
His name was Alex Farrell and he was a writer, although no one in the Finchbottom Vale would have heard of him, but under his nom de plume of Harold Kloser he would have been hard pressed to find anyone who hadn’t, because under that name he had written a series of very successful thrillers, six in all and a seventh was now well over due.
He was recently divorced, though not by his own choice however, but his darling wife had cheated on him, with his best friend to boot so divorce couldn’t be avoided.
But since the divorce he had struggled with the seventh book in the series, it didn’t even have a title at that point and he was fast approaching a crucial deadline.
So he decided that the best thing to do was to get away, right away where no one knew him and where there were no distractions such as the constant nagging from his publishers and his agent demanding another chapter, and another and another.
So he rented a house in the country, a holiday cottage in fact almost a mile from the nearest neighbour.
As it was out of season he managed to book it from October to March although he only planned to stay there until he completed the book, which he thought he would manage in a month, two at the most, away from all the everyday distractions of a town.
So that was why he found himself living in the sickly sweet named Honeysuckle Cottage which was as the name might suggest a pretty little cottage.
It would have originally have been a two up two down but it now had a single story extension which housed the kitchen.
Upstairs was a small bedroom and the bathroom which was equipped with a good old fashioned man sized bath.
While downstairs in addition to the kitchen there was a sitting room and another bedroom.
It was absolutely perfect for his needs and should it turn out that he would have to stay there until the spring then that would be no hardship.
Alex thought he would be very happy there, providing of course he could find his way back to Honeysuckle Cottage through the mist and the murk of Hawks Wood which he was very eager to do.