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Dear Amy,

Thanks for the advice. Sorry I lost my temper last time. Things are better here. I finally yelled at Simon and he promised he’d let me know if he was losing interest. I also made him swear not to do anything drastic to the house without discussing it with me, and he apologized for the satellite dish fiasco. So, we’re doing okay. I met the building inspector for tea one day last week, and he’s agreed to come do some investigations for us in the house (looking for different mortar, plaster, woodwork etc. that will show us when and where changes were made). Simon and I are both quite excited about it.

It also turns out that I couldn’t have been more wrong about Emma. While I was imagining all sorts of insane scenarios with her and Simon, she had her own plans. After several days of searching for her, Simon got the bright idea to go ask Frank (the hairless hermit) if he had any ideas. Well, as it turns out, he did. All of them carnal, and all focused on the missing Knytleigh. She’s moved in with him. I honestly can’t imagine two more different people, but they appear to have some sort of bizarre attraction going on, so I’m not getting in the way.

She’s also doing some good work, and seems quite oblivious to everyone’s former suspicions. For one thing, she’s managed to reconstruct an outline of the family history from the 1870s through the last owner. Now she’s started interviewing a variety of folks in and around Puckering to record the twentieth century history of the house itself. Between her work and Chester’s, we should be in pretty good shape for making some decisions within the next few months. Unfortunately, the money has temporarily dried up. The ex-lotto commissioner is under investigation for fraud, and they’ve frozen our payments for awhile until they figure out what to do. The whole thing is kind of scary (we’ve got LOTS of bills), but I can’t see how the state can back out of such a high-profile commitment, so I’m guessing it will all get sorted out soon.

Any thoughts about when you might come to see us? Things are pretty quiet around here, so I can’t offer you much in the way of excitement, but we have just found a new pub to hang out in—the Village Idiot. It is dark and smoky --everyone in England under the age of 30 smokes these days, it seems--and ice cubes are scarcer than hen’s teeth . I’m almost getting used to room-temperature Coke. But the beer is great and the publican is a riot. He’s Irish and has a great sense of humor. You’d like him.

Take care. Tell me more about James as it develops. Thanks for setting me straight about life and love.



P.S.  Just when it seems life is settling down, something else happens.  The moment I finished this, there was a knock on the door and Simon's dad was there.  No one knew he was coming and we spent a few hours scrambling around for somewhere to put him (even though the house is big, there aren't many liveable spaces).  Simon seems quite put out, and keeps muttering something about hoping the hell that Phil is wrong.  I'm not sure what Phil has to do with any of this.  Anyway, I think his dad seems quite sweet.  More next time!