The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 25
January 24, 2012
The next day I did more or less the same in the dining room. I decided to skip the kitchen and after that do the front hall and bathroom. They were smaller areas and I could probably finish them off with the paint I had. No need to describe how I did the job – just that I got it done, and was quite pleased with my efforts. Once the living room was back to normal, I put the bedroom stuff there and got that done without too much fuss – pushing the furniture from one side to the other, just as I'd done before.
The kitchen was the most challenging, with all the little bits of wall here and there between the various appliances and cupboards and such. A lot of it was done more easily with a brush.
By the end of three days, I was pretty pleased with myself, as I went out to buy my gloss paint for the woodwork. The man in the paint shop who'd asked me to call him Tom, was happy to see me back again. He happily sold me two 2 5 litre cans of white gloss. He made sure I had some sandpaper too, because he said the paint would stick much better if it was going on old gloss if the surface was roughed up slightly. The amount of paint was way more than I needed for the inside – but he said it would do okay for the outside trim too – as long as I use an undercoat first. I told him I'd come back and buy that when I was ready for the outside – when the weather had bucked up a bit.
I hated the gloss painting. It was fiddly and the areas were so much smaller. It seemed to take ages, and the smell drove me mad. But by the end of the first week, my house was looking pretty darn good, and I happily rewarded myself the weekend off, to have a bit of a break.
Since I had worked full stop all week, I hadn't had time to call in at the police station to tell them my change of address and check on whether they'd caught Minnie's hit and run driver. As luck would have it, P.C. Reilly was just coming into the station as I arrived.
“Hello there. It's Stan, isn't it?” he said. “Don't tell me you've returned to the scene of your crime.”
“Spot on. But the fact of the matter is that I am now gainfully employed by the owners to paint it, getting it ready for selling.”
“Do they know about your past history?”
“Yes, I told them, but their solicitor had already spilled the beans. And as long as I keep my nose clean, they're happy for me to do the work and live in the house. So if you get any reports about me sneaking around 16 Oak Lane, this time it's all legit.”
“I'm glad to hear it. Any other reason for coming here to the station?”
“I really did like the old lady, you know, and I'm curious as to whether you caught the hit and run driver that did her in.”
“Nothing more to report on that. The case is still open, but these things often go on for years without any further information coming to light. We've kept a watchful eye on your friend Sadie, and other than getting a warning for speeding, she hasn't committed any offence that we have been able to spot.”
“I guess Minnie and I just got carried away back then,” said Stan. “She really wanted to be involved in an adventure – but I guess that maybe I've done it on her behalf. Certainly my life has been more exciting in the last six months than I can ever remember before.”
“So how do you like doing the painting?”
“It's a job, and I think I'm doing it pretty well. Maybe I'll see if I can get some more work in that direction after this is over. If I do a good job, Mr. and Mrs. Mills will probably agree to give me a reference.”
“And you haven't found anything else in the house worth stealing yourself then?”
“As you could have seen for yourself, and the Mills did see – it is full of rubbish. I'm going to organise a house clearance for them too, after the house is sold.”
“Well glad to see you've come to your senses and are doing the right thing by all concerned, young Stan. Nice to see you again.”
“You too. Thanks for the update on the situation.”
So I left the police station and had a wander around Marple – not the most exciting of places, but busier on Saturdays. There was a hoarding up in front of the newsagents announcing that the Antiques Roadshow would be at Lyme Park this next Sunday. Now there's an idea, I thought. I'd forgotten all about getting Minnie's picture valued at an antique dealers. Now I could take it to the real experts. So I went into the shop and asked how to get to Lyme Park.
“No problem. You just go down to High Lane, then across towards Disley. It's about half way there,” said the lady helpfully.
“What if I was walking. How long would it take?”
“Too far to walk, for most people any way. I suppose it's five miles give or take a bit. But probably the most direct way would be over the Ridge. That was the way to Wybersley Hall from Marple Hall in the olden days.”
“And where is the Ridge?”
“Are you not from hereabouts then? That road across the top of Marple is called Church Lane. You just keep walking along there, and it turns into the Ridge then after that it's called Wybersley Road. Goes past the Romper Pub. When you get back to the main road, that's called Jackson's Edge, go left on it, just a bit, and then right down a little lane called Light Alders Road. That will take you almost opposite Lyme Park. Mind you there is quite a walk from the gates to the Hall itself, but you're young, so I expect you won't mind a bit of a walk. I reckon it's about three miles going that way, and would take you maybe an hour or so. Have you got lots of antiques to ask about then?”
“Only a small picture. I just want to know who painted it and if it's worth anything.”
“Well, good luck to you.”
“Thanks very much.”
I hadn't been back into the attic since I moved into the house. There'd been no time, as I was flat out with painting, and I knew that I'd have to dig up the key to get at the trunk for the silver when I decided the time was right. Maybe I should take a piece of silver with me to the Antiques Roadshow too.
When I got back, as the weather was fairly fine and not too cold, I decided to dig up the keys. I remembered just where I'd buried them. But to make it all look like a legitimate project, I decided to cut back some of the dead flowers in the bed. As well as the trowel I'd used for digging before, I found a pair of secateurs. I hadn't made use of my green bin since I'd been here, so this was a good opportunity for that too.
I easily filled the bin with the weeds and bits that I cut back. And finding it quite a fun job, I went to town and cut the top of the hedge back by a good few inches. The place seemed much brighter and I thought that when I was done painting, I'd do a proper job on the hedge and get it looking really smart before the house went on sale. But not forgetting my plan, I dug under the chrysanthemum bush, and there were my keys, just where I left them. I put them in my pocket and went on with digging in the bed for awhile. Then putting away the tools and cleaning up the keys, I felt that I had done enough hard slog for the day, and went off to the Navigation to celebrate my first week of work.