The Tales of Flashover House – The Downward Path

It was mid-morning at Flashover House. Matron had gone to the shops and the residents were in various postures in the lounge, some reading the papers and some just dozing. Suddenly there was a sharp click as someone lifted the catch on the front door.

Then a figure in khaki dress and carrying a rucksack, strode along the hail, into the lounge ignoring the residents then proceeded along the corridor, through G2’s shack, out of the French windows, and disappeared out of the back gate.

What was all that in aid of?” said Angus who was the first to recover the power of speech.

“He looked to me as if he was lost. He is probably Colonel Fawcett who went missing in the Amazon in the year dot, still trying to find his way home.” suggested Rees Morgan.

“Whoever he was I don’t expect we will see him again.” said G2, but he was wrong because the following day there was a repeat performance. Fortunately this time Matron was on hand to challenge him.

‘What exactly is going on?” she enquired.

“Good morning dear lady”, replied the stranger doffing his toupee with a sweeping gesture which almost removed Matrons hair-net, “Let me explain. I am seeking to re-establish the rights to an ancient footpath.”

‘This footpath, it goes through this house”, does it?” gasped Matron.

“Yes, there is no doubt about it. It is shown very clearly on this parchment I have with me. The right of way was decreed by Ethelred the unnecessary in the year 910 so that his Barons, Lords and Serfs could have free and uninterrupted access to the fish and chip shop. Must dash off – a thousand things to do. The surveyors are coming this afternoon and a coach load of footpath protesters are due to arrive from Stourbridge on Saturday.

“Then, with a bit of luck, we should get the bulldozers in by the middle of next week. Feel free to look at the map”, and he was gone.

“The bewildered hams pored over the ancient document “I’ll tell you one thing” said Angus. “This Ethelred client was way ahead of his time.”

“What makes you say that?” asked Rees Morgan

“Well, the footpath on this map appears to have been drawn with a ball-pen.” laughed Angus

Just then there was a ring at the door-bell and the caller was a terrified looking man in his forties

“Have you,” he enquired. “Seen anything of a strange looking character in tropical kit?”

“Yes, indeed we have.” said Matron. “He will be back shortly. He has just nipped out for a minute to see if he can rustle up a bulldozer.”

The newcomer sat down and fanned the perspiration from his brow with a copy of RadCom

“Please tell me that am in time to prevent him from doing any damage. By the way, my name is Hopkins.”

“Rest assured. Mr. Hopkins” said Rees Morgan. He has some rather far-reaching plans for this building but, so far, none of them have been put into operation.

“The man who is causing all this trouble has escaped from secure accommodation” said Hopkins “and if he continues like this we will soon be as mad as he is. Before he flipped, he was a very clever civil engineer and most of the time he is quite docile but, when he sets out on his escapades he leads us a right old dance”

“In recent years he has tried to drain the Serpentine, convert Blackpool Tower into a block of flats, and, only the other week, he was up there with a spanner carrying out modifications to the Forth Bridge”’

Just then the subject of their conversation returned from his travels. He was a little surprised to see Hopkins.

“Hello Mr. Hopkins nice to see you again”

“I am very cross with you Arnold.” said Hopkins. “You promised me that you wouldn’t do this sort of thing ever again”.

“I know I did” said Arnold “but you know how it is. I must keep the old hand in.”

“Get your things together, tell these people you are sorry and I’ll take you home” said Hopkins.

“Sony” said Arnold. “You are nice people and I would like to come here and live with you all,”

“Heaven forbid” whispered Matron, “but I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for him”.

“He will be OK’ said Hopkins “‘when he gets back with his mates Napoleon, Julius Caesar and Rasputin the Mad Monk. A new one arrived the other day by the name of Lord Lucan.

“We don’t quite know what to make of him.”

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