‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.
SIX MONTHS EARLIER...
Em scowled at the knitting pattern. How was any right-thinking person supposed to make head or tail of such a load of gibberish? Screwing up the photocopied sheet she lobbed it into the fire. The wool and the knitting sticks barely escaped the same fate.
“Vanderbilts don’t knit,” she said firmly before going to the kitchen and picking up the phone. She dialled three digits.
“Agnes. How are you getting on with the knitting?”
She listened intently for a moment then laughed a deep belly laugh.
“I’m rather glad it isn’t just me. Do we know anybody who can knit?”
She listened some more.
“You can’t be serious. Arnold the gravedigger is a competitive knitter?”
The tinny voice at the other end of the line gabbled on and on. Em listened patiently for a while before gently replacing the receiver in its cradle. Agnes wouldn’t even know she had gone.
It was a bright sort of a spring day, and in theory ideal for cycling. But Em had never been one for uselessly expending energy. She carefully closed the wood burner, patted Erasmus on his head as he swung from his favourite beam and picked up the car keys in one hand.
Bowling down the badly-maintained tarmac she couldn’t help noticing the ‘sold’ sign on what had been Florence Maybush’s cottage until the meddlesome old bat got herself run over by a tractor she was stalking with the speed gun she had ordered from Amazon.
Her family had no need of a tumbledown thatched monstrosity that squatted at the end of a huge and totally undomesticated garden. Consequently, they had been delighted to accept an offer from the local builder, only to descend into foetid sulks when that canny individual obtained planning permission for ten neat little homes on the garden. Rumour had it that when the houses were built and sold at a tidy profit, old Fred Maybush ground his teeth so hard he went through a new set of dentures.
Once the Maybush estate was all sold, the builder turned his attention to the cottage, gutting it and carefully rebuilding it so it was even more inconveniently twee than it had ever been. If now weathertight and electrically sound. He then put it on the market at a ridiculously elevated price.
It sold in three days.