The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 52… Plain truth

With Charles insistence on just a darkened room. Bill suggested the old stone smoke house at the back of the cottage. ‘We’ve not used it since we moved here and there are no windows, so it may suit your purpose Charlie.’ With thought of having brought most he needed with him, he returned to the car for those items that would be useful. Once his photographs became stable from the dim light of his occasional striking match, the pictures seem to be taking on very different images from those he had seen at the ruins. Through Esme’s mind set, he could see the those fine green laws, those beautiful dancing ladies. This magnificent house of true splendour. A place of dreams. A place of hope and love abounded in its every crevice, every fragment of its brick and stone. Now it was there, alive and in those pictures.

‘Look, this is the plain truth. Look at the photographs.’ All of you. ‘This is what Esme saw. For some reason, I was not part of the vision. Somehow, Rebecca Haig planted those images within my shots of the ruins. I don’t no how. Perhaps, she can’t get into my mind. Perhaps, this was her way for me.’ The other three sat around the kitchen table, at first not able to speak, concerned for the truthful reality. That this was a very special place. Moments passed, before Esme spoke very quietly. ’Then, here we have it. Bill and Margarita’s feelings are right about this place, and those of the villagers. But why, could I hear her wonderful words and see those beautiful images, and yet, Charles did not! Why me? I have no connection with this place!’

‘No… But Tobias does,’ broke in Charles. ‘He is your Guardian Angel. ’He has charged himself as your protector. He brought you to me when your life near closed on that terrible common. He gave you life and energy. He gave you back to me.

‘Is that why I see him in my thoughts. Because he wants to protect me. Why? I’m sure he has trickery and cunning. Why me?’

‘I’m sure he knows you mean so much to me and that I love you so very dearly.’ Suggested Charles. ‘I’m also very certain that he has ways and powers that are uncommon to me. Odd forces that he can summon at will, and yet, it seems to be a power devoted to helping and healing and not used for evil purposes, although this power that he has, can sometimes be invoked as a correctional tool where there is evil afoot. When I first met him, he arrived quite with purpose at my photographic business and asked if he could live on the premises with me and in return would help me develop my business connections, offering help in any way. His only friend seemed to be a old dull coloured parrot he had with him. A creature, it seemed that would closed both its eyes and slept for most of time. Anyway, I liked him and thought it would be a welcome to have his company, assistance and a somewhat lazy bird.’

Bill and Margarita were silent. This spellbinding side to Charlie was quite unnatural in their minds. To them. he always had been a person of creation and complete self interest.

‘Please go on Charles.’ Said Esme. She could read the Porrit’s thoughts in their faces, but she knew self interest had long since vanished from Charles mind. It had been replaced with her love. That she was quite sure of.

‘In time,’ recalled Charles. ‘I learnt from Toby that his parents had died in a house fire in West London some years before and that he and brother Barney had managed to survive.  Just out of interest and for no other reason than idle curiosity. I read up on the local authority records at the town hall because it puzzled me, how did they survive and their parents did not? Tobias had said no more. So with the records of the event in front of me. I was astounded to read that there were no survivors from this fire and it was believed that all four, two adults and their two young boys had perished, although, the children’s bodies were never discovered and yet, no child has ever come forward to declare themselves… As one or other of the brothers.’

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British Lost and forgotten Films of the Past…

The Flying Doctor…1936

A British made film set in Australia and featured the events of a Doctor that flies around the outback with a Helicopter. Somewhat, a lack lustre affair in the production, it faired better with Australian movie fans than here in the UK. Charles Farrell is the Doctor with a supporting array of character actors of the period. Production was from Gaumont-British.

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Snap Around…

You know, “Del Boy” look-a-likes can just about pop-up anywhere and most of these guy’s do it for charity, like this guy at the Santa Pod Raceway, who took up position for me when he spotted my camera…

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 51… Charles visits the ruins

The heavy camera and its tripod were no match for Charles enthusiasm to reach the ruins. In good measure he reached the headland and stood in front of this ruined Manor House. In his eyes, it was as Esme had first seen it. Crumbling structures of forgotten walls, of forgotten rooms, of forgotten lives, overgrown and left to the winds of time. Nothing would enter this dark place, he thought, and yet there was a compelling feeling to it’s strange hypnotism. He felt that love and death dwelt both within its presence and it brought about a chill that could muster only the heart of a living soul. He began walking through what must have been beautiful gardens skilfully managed by loving hands, now only tall unkempt shrubbery, dark and thorn like, stood where ugly weeds grew upon this dismal soil. He felt no change as he approached. No voice in his head, as Esme had described in her encounter. He stopped some yards from the ruins. This will be ok for a broad shot, he told himself. Then set up the tripod and mounted the camera firmly. His eyes looked at what was left of the old Turret. It was clear that no one could climb it. Much stonework had fallen and was blocking any way of entry. After the shot, he walked into the remains of the inner building. Very little gave mind to its former glory. It had become a sad and forlorn spectacle, home only to nesting Gulls, perhaps some Crows and the sounds of a restless Ocean. He returned to cottage feeling rather despondent, but saying to himself: “I will develop the pictures anyway.”

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British Lost and Forgotten Films of the Past…

Flat NO 9 (1932)

A comedy based on two marriages. The first forced to live with her mother and the second pair about to divorce. The husband of the first pair and the wife of the second pair meet a number of times whilst looking for accommodation. Problems arise when both parties want the same flat. An interesting localized plot very much in a stage style tradition. Features Jane Baxter, Reginald Gardiner, Marjorie Brooks and Arthur Margetson. Distribution was by Fox.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 50…Gossip and fantasy

There was much relief as she reached the cottage, others had been busy with their morning pleasures and by now it was midday. Margarita greeted Esme with a warming smile and a recommendation for lunch. ‘Bill and Charles will be here soon… They are still discussing Bill’s work, that I’m sure is something of a formality as Charles has always loved anything Bill has put a brush too.’

‘Margarita’ Can…Look can I ask you…’ Esme stumbled over her words thinking this was foolish. She tried again with some reluctance. ‘Can you tell me about the old house on the headland, it’s a ruin I know, but you must know something about it?’

‘You’ve been there, well of course. Some folk here think of it as a magical place, a place where certain thoughts, good thoughts, can become a reality. If you spend any little time within its ruins thoughts can become real and touchable, I think true, perhaps? If you are there and have ghosts to exorcize, then you will.’

‘Margarita, maybe I’m going crazy, but when I was there, the grounds and the old ruined house became real to me, it looked just as it must have looked in its heyday. It was just as if it was in its own proper time. I climbed the tower to the room above and watched dancing ladies on a fine green lawn. I spoke to Tobias. Then he was gone. Am I going mad! What you have just told me really frightens me. I think, I’m in some sort of nightmare and that I will wake up and none of you will exist’. Her hands were trembling and her eyes were wild with fear. She slumped back into a kitchen chair and gazed without looking at Margarita.

Just at that moment Charles and Bill entered the kitchen and looked rather surprised. One look at Esme told them she was very upset.

‘What is it Esme’, asked Charles. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘She’s had a nasty fright Charles’, said Margarita. ‘She has been up to the old ruins.’

‘Ruins… What ruins.’ demanded Charles.

‘It’s the old Manor house that stands on the headland.’ Bill Porrit added ’Been a ruin since it burnt down many years ago. Long before we moved here, and of course, we’ve heard much gossip and there are many local stories about the place. We’ve listened to some very wild claims and superstitions in the Village. One popular belief is that a young bride, Rebecca Haig, took up residence at the Manor house along with her handsome young bridegroom. For a time they were happy, until the day came when Rebecca discovered that her husband had a lover in the village. She became so outraged and in a fit of temper stabbed him through the heart as he sat in his bath. Still crazy with jealousy, she set fire to the house and then thrust the knife into her own breast. Gossip say’s that she still haunts the house and grounds, becoming a black Witch who can throw spells of delusion over anyone that goes there.’

For moments there was silence in the room. Then Esme spoke with sadness in her eyes. ‘That’s horrible, absolutely awful. Dreadful.’

The others were silent. their heads looking down. It was hard to contemplate the outcome of Bill’s words and the implications that lay behind them.

‘I’m sorry Esme.’ Margarita walked over to Esme giving her a hug. I’m very sorry. I should have warned to stay away from that place, but I thought you would walk only along the beach. I am so sorry for you. Please forgive me.’

Soon forgiveness was in the air and Bill introduced four glasses and a bottle of Scotch from the stone larder and quite firmly said; ‘I think we could all do with one of these!’

It was on the second filling of the glasses that Charles casually announced he would take his camera up to the ruins. ‘To find if there is any truth in these stories. The camera never lies.’ he added.

‘However, everyone else must stay here. I will go alone.’

Once again… Everyone was silent.

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Snap Around…

When push comes to shove, you’ve just gotta go for that one picture that you know isn’t going to interest everyone, and that’s the moment when you tell yourself what the heck! So this was my contribution to the low element level. In a way, I kinda liked the fella!

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British Lost and Forgotten Films of the Past…

Father O’Flynn  1935

An easy plot to watch. The story involves Father O’Flynn played by Tom Burke as an Irish Priest who raises a girl from a baby. The Girl Macushla is played by Jean Adrienne. Macushla comes into money and when her father hears of this, he takes her away to London. Father O’Flynn and Macushla’s boyfriend follow her and safely rescue her from the evil father and his partner in crime. Surprisingly, a good deal of music is added to the movie. Production and distribution was from old friends: Butcher Films.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 49… Face to Face

‘You have followed me. That’s good.’ He smiled perhaps a little weakly, then stood up and looked at her directly.

‘I thought you were in London. Why are you here and how did you get here so fast? You’re supposed to be looking after the business for Charles.’ Her demand was met with indifference.

‘Oh Charles won’t mind.’ he replied quietly.

‘How do you know that! You haven’t spoken to him.’ She tried dispelling the sudden strange dream like feeling inside her head. It would not go. The stir of a feathered wing outstretched on a standing perch caught her eye.

‘So he’s here too.’ The Parrot lifted its head a little and closed both eyes, then sunk back unconcerned.

‘He may not be a He’, could be a Her’. How do you know Esme. Do you have the gift. Then of course, you know of Rebecca Haig. Is she inside your head Esme. Does she speak to your thoughts.’ The cynicism of his words was self evident.

‘I don’t know what rubbish you’re talking about. If there is any thoughts in my head you would have put them there with your trickery!’ She felt anger of his intrusion and exposure.

Then he said rather calmly: ‘But this is purely a dream Esme. Your dream. I’m merely a player in your thoughts. Come over to this window and look out and you will see many beautiful things.’

Reluctantly and yet instinctively she moved to the window tested by the sudden calmness of his manner, then by his guested hand. She leaned into it’s deep stone wall opening and looked upon a lawn of bright green and felt a warm blue sky above. On the lawn there were seven dancing ladies in white long flowing dresses that spun around and around to the sound of a triumphant flute. Within those moments a large golden coloured dog appeared and raced into the centre of the dancers. It barked and snarled at the beautiful dancers. Then stood quite still. The ladies formed a complete circle around the beast, then began to move in on the creature. Within a few feet of the golden dog they stopped and began to sing with beautiful Celtic harmony thrusting forth a soothing aire. The strong scent of Lavender began to fill Esme’s nostrils and the thrill of the scene below held her spellbound.

She watched and before her eyes the creature began melt away until it was gone. No longer was there any trace. It had simply vanished!

The voice behind her echoed her thoughts. ‘The creature was Edward and the dancing ladies were you Esme.’ This is your dream and for you to enjoy’.

Esme watched the dancing figures until they slowly  faded from view, just as the golden dog. The light from the oil lamp began to fade and she turned around once more to speak to Tobias. He was gone. Her eyes searched every corner of the room, there was no indication of his presence at all. The light in the little room began to fade and suddenly a fear began to grip her. She was all alone. Could she get back down those dark and winding stairs. She was very afraid of tumbling down all the way to the bottom. She moved toward the door hoping once again that she would be able to pull it open. Her thought now was to get back to Charles and the sanctuary of the Porrit’s cottage. The door opened with ease, the moment was passed, she stepped backwards down the stone steps almost walking half crouched, slowly, with each footing being carefully taken. Within a time she had reached the ground level of the tower and pulled herself back, then stood up. She looked around at the dimness. Everything was just as she had seen it the very first time. She now stood within the ruins of some ancient house and grounds. Decay and neglect were all around her. The beautiful house and gardens were gone taken away by the years of ruin and destruction. As time moved on, she found her way, her footsteps taking her ever closer to the solitude of protection and Charles and Bill and Margarita Porrit.

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Snap Around…

You know, strolling around my local garden centre can be a real eye opener for me. Because, I’m no-way a gardener, in fact I generally pay some guys to mow the grass around my flat. But these ‘Pansies’ so the label say’s, are a real knock-out for me, and surprise, this place has its own lake of good size carp and some snazzy shops thrown in as well. Including a pretty fancy eating house!

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