Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (49) Entrapment (Part 01)
Downshire is a relatively small English county but like a pocket battleship it packs a lot in, a short but beautiful coastline, a channel port, the Ancient forests of Dancingdean and Pepperstock, the craggy ridges and manmade lakes of the Pepperstock Hills National Park, the rolling hills of the Downshire Downs, the beautiful Finchbottom Vale and farm land as far as the eye can see, from the Trotwood’s and the Grace’s in the south to the home of the Downshire Light infantry, Nettlefield, and their affluent neighbour’s, Roespring and Tipton in the North but it’s in leafy Shallowfield where our story begins but the main characters originate from the busy town of Purplemere on the other side of the Finchbottom Vale, which nestles comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.
The Vale was once a great wetland that centuries earlier stretched from Mornington in the East, to Childean in the west and from Shallowfield in the south to Purplemere in the north.
But over the many centuries the vast majority had been drained for agriculture, a feat achieved largely by the efforts of famous Mornington Mills, of which only three had survived to the present day and even those were no longer functional and were in various states of repair.
There were only three small bodies of water left in the Vale now one in Mornington, one in Childean and third of course was Purplemere,
It was in Purplemere were Christine Prunot lived and worked, it was where she was a solicitor working for the firm of Curtis, Mitchel and Lovegood.
Christine was five foot two and on the skinny side of slim with dark flowing hair, brown eyes, olive skin and a beautiful smile.
On a grey drab Friday morning at the end of the first week of August she was over in Shallowfield on the other side of the Vale to meet with her friend, Annette Obertelli, because she was the family solicitor.
They were meeting with the representatives of Vale Farm Pizza’s at 11 o’clock at the Shallowfield premises but she had arranged to meet Annette early so they could get the lay of the land before the meeting.
Christine decided to drive over the night before and stay at the Shallowfield Lodge Hotel on the edge of Teardrop Lake so Annette was to meet her there.
She was up early and when she stepped outside she got her first view of the lake and was blown away by the view which was spectacular, although she couldn’t see it all or discern the teardrop shape that gave the lake its name.
But the view of the surrounding ancient woodland of the Dancingdean Forest was majestic.
Despite the grey start the skies brightened and painted the lake and the surrounding forest with a very sympathetic hue so she decided to go for a walk.