This page contains most of the content from the main 'story line' characters. It is designed to allow an easy way of keeping up with the story on slow connections (or for reading later). It is, of course, no substitute for the real thing!
Thanks so much for stopping by to check on Martin. Itís ever so nice of you. Well, the old boy is having a lie down. Heís a bit better today. Not too bad, really. Of course we donít know any more than we did when he went back in hospital. The first tests came back and said he was pregnant, and they had to admit that theyíd got things muddled up, though they were unwilling to let it go at first. So they ran some more tests, and said it would be at least a month before the results came back. Imagine that! Well, itís the National Health Service, isnít it? With all the cuts these last few years, they havenít got any money. Just let the old ones go, thatís what they do. As bad as living in America, it is. Ann was telling me that there you get good care if you can pay for it. Well, I have a few pounds left. The other day I says to Martin, " we should go see a specialist." Martin wonít hear of it, says Iím worrying about nothing, but I canít help it. Heís not right, not himself. John said heíd pay with money from his trust if we needed it. Such a help to us, he is.
Hasnít had a very nice time of it lately, poor lad. Emma laid him lowódonít get me started on her. Heís better off without heróI believe he knows that himselfóbut he wonít hear a word said against her. Even now. She doesnít deserve him. And now sheís run off to live with the Vicar. Heís playing with fire is our Reverend Banks. Iíll never understand it, but you canít deny that sheís got a certain attraction about her.
Still, John will brighten up soon enough. Theyíre letting his Dad out of the nick next month. John visits him all the time, and theyíve become quite friendly. I always did like Jerry. Maybe his fingers are a bit sticky, but his heartís in the right place.
Oh, thereís the kettle. You will stay for a cuppa, wonít you? Good, good. Did you know our Frankís got a girlfriend?
Simon And Ann
Bad news, Iím afraid. I met with the subcontractor yesterday and the estimate for the restoration work in the Saloon is roughly double what you were quoted originally. Seems the dry rot is more extensive than anyone thought. The marble for the repairs on the columns is no longer being quarried, so you may have to purchase some through the antique building materials trade at a substantial mark-up. This also means that the room might not be finished in time for your wedding. I am sorry.
You must be terribly distraught about Emma as well. Mrs. Morcombe told me that Colonel Bratherton told her that Emma is moving back to the Vicarage. Did you have a terrible row? Was it drugs again? Has she left you for good? If you need someone to tide you over, until you can find a replacement for her, Iíd be happy to fill in. Just say the word. Maybe we could meet for tea to discuss it?
Go ahead and get the work rollingówe need the Saloon finished. If it means throwing money at it, weíll just have to do it. Iím not happy with robbing some other old house for our marble though. Can we find something new thatís close?
I appreciate your offer, but Emma hasnít resigned. Sheís moving out because she and John have split up, but sheís still going to continue working for the Trust. Things have been a bit slow this year on the research frontóso much of her time has been tied up working with the film crew. Weíre hoping that sheíll be back at it when they finish up later this spring.
Will you join Simon and me for a drink at the Idiot one night this week?
To: Simon Tinsley, Executive Director, Stoney
I'd thought I'd warn you that numbers are well down for the year based on our estimates. The Easter weekend gave us a bit of a boost, and I met a nice visitor from New Zealand and another from Malaysia but tourist projections for the rest of the year are very depressing. Even though this is only a small part of the Trust's revenue at this point, we are aiming to use the visitation figures for grant proposals and private funding efforts.
You don't seem to have been around recently or we could have discussed this, but I think we may need to have a board meeting to discuss what to do about the foot and mouth crisis in the countryside.
To: Philip Porkridge, Chief Accountant, Stoney Grove Trust
I really don't think there is much we can do about the foot and mouth crisis. Are you suggesting we burn a cow in solidarity with the poor buggars who have lost their whole herds? Or shall I invent a cure? Sorry to be flip, but the stupid thing is it shouldn't really be affecting us. The nearest case is in Kent, the countryside walks are all open, yet even English tourists are staying away and the Americans seem to think the whole place is burning down.
Actually I just had a 'little talk' with Ann. My bookie called because I'd hadn't placed any bets with him for the last couple of weeks. I nearly got away with it since she had no idea what he was talking about but somehow she got the gist. It's not like I was betting our fortune away just a little here and there. Still I don't think the frog racing went down very well, so I swore no more betting with the bookies.
Still not all is lost. I went to the opening day of the cricket season with Peter Willey. It was combined Oxford University v. Middlesex, and he's an old boy. Actually there were lots of old boys around, not as much fun as the footie crowd but we had a good day of it, very civilised.
I appreciated your comments to me in the village today. Emma is the easiest of guests and she is welcome to stay as long as she wants. One of the few perks that the Church provides is these wonderful old buildings for us to live in, but I do rather rattle around in here. It will be nice to have some company in the evenings.
I know the tongues will be wagging again but it gives them a focus for their gossip. At least they wonít be worrying about me being gay! Really, when I approached the ministry I never intended to do it alone. One always imagined some helpful soul mate standing by oneís side. But the irony of always meeting people is that one never gets to meet people. You canít even imagine how impossible it is to date while being a vicar. I rather think that the Church thinks that we should start with a mate rather than find one.
Still you have concerns of your own. Please stop by if you ever want to talk.
Thanks for asking. It was a tough choice, but in the end I decided on the Elizabethan Rose. It's a summer wedding, after all, and I wanted something with a bit of history attached. Plus it's absolutely gorgeous, and I never get to wear clothes like that. Haven't figured out the rest of the dresses yet, so am still open to suggestions. Don't worry--no cow outfits!
(see Ann's dress at http://www.basia-zarzycka.co.uk/ger.htm)
Dear Miss Simmons and Mr. Tinsley,
As the end of my incarceration draws near, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for stealing furniture from your house. I know now that it was wrong of me to take your things. I appreciate all that you have done for my son, John White, and his grandparents. I hope that you will not think Iím out of line by asking if you will permit me to visit him at Stoney Grove when I am released.
As part of my rehabilitation they are training me on computers so I now have an email address. The world changes quickly in two years!
Emma: Ann, have you seen Frank?
Ann: I think he and Flo are getting ready to hold a sťance.
Emma: Bloody hell. I swear the lot of you encourage him!
Ann: I didnít. I think itís really creepy. I told him not to stir things up too much.
Emma: For goodness sake, itís all in his head. You donít really think there are ghosts about, do you?
Ann: Iím honestly not sure. I thought I saw one once.
Emma: Then youíre as bonkers as he is. Oh, never mind. I donít have time to track him down. If you see him, tell him to stop by my room, will you?
Frank: I canít guarantee anything, you understand. Sometimes theyíre all quite talkative, and sometimes theyíre silent. Of course Iíve never heard from my mother, but I think I might be able to have someone translate for her.
Flo: Will I be able to hear them speak?
Frank: I donít think so. Nobodyís ever told me theyíve heard them directly, although I suspect Ann did last year. In her bedroom. She thought it was Emma.
Flo: Have you ever seen them?
Frank: One. Sheís quite visible. Shirley, Martin, Ann, theyíve all seen her.
Flo: Well, what does she look like?
Frank: A ghost, of course. All shimmery and translucent. Lots of flowing white robes. Likes to pop up out of the lake. Only ghost Iíve heard of that likes to swim. Are you ready?
Flo: I must admit, Iím a bit nervous.
Manís voice: Never mind.
Frank: Whoís that then?
Flo: Me. I said I was a bit nervous.
Womanís Voice: Oh, for goodness sake. Weíll never clear you out of here if you keep nattering on. Frank, what do you want?
Frank: Flo, theyíre here. They want to know what we want.
Flo: Well, if it pleases them, Iíd like a word with Miss OíRall. And a stiff brandy!
Frank: She'd like...
Womanís Voice: I heard her! It doesnít please us. Why should I talk to you, after you deserted us to run up to London? How was your lady friend? Worth the trip?
Manís Voice: Come now. Donít be so hard on the lad. Heís probably been lonely, thatís all.
Womanís Voice: He doesnít know what lonely is! Fancy knocking about in this great big hulk of a place with nobody to talk to for nearly a hundred years. Oh, they were around, just too deaf to hear me. Is it any wonder I took up swimming? Kept me sane.
Frank: No offence, but this isnít really about you right now. Could you get my Mum?
Womanís Voice: She isnít here.
Frank: Do you know where she is?
Womanís Voice: No, I donít. Iím not her social secretary. She did say something about making preparations, and then she was off.
Manís Voice: Well, the lady will be frightfully disappointed. Sheís having some sort of acting trauma. Iíve been listening.
Womanís Voice: Yes, well. We do a lot of that, donít we? Tell her to exude more. Exude warmth, exude charm, exude hospitality. That was the essence of Beatrice Farthingale.
Frank: Did my Mum tell you that?
Womanís Voice: Heavens, no. She never talks about her work. I read it, though, you see. Just loved Taxi! A delightful story.
Frank: Thanks. Iíll pass it along.
Flo: Frank? Did you reach her? Can she help?
Frank: Letís go get you that brandy.
Reverend Banks: All right then Emma? Can I give you a hand with your bags?
Emma: I think Iíve got everything. I just need to sit down for a minute. Iíve been packing all morning.
Reverend Banks: Here, let me take that for you.
Emma: No, really. Iím fine.
Reverend Banks: You know it is quite all right not to be fine all the time. You can be sad, you know.
Emma: Iím not sad.
Reverend Banks: But I know you care about John. It must be hard to let him go.
Emma: Well, I guess I am sad, at least a little bit. I couldnít marry him though. I knew that. And I canít live here with him right now. Heís angry and upset and I canít tiptoe around his feelings. I really do appreciate your invitation to come back to the Vicarage.
Reverend Banks: Itís my pleasure, Emma. I love having you as a guest.
Emma: So the gossip goes!
Reverend Banks: But we donít listen to gossip, do we?
Emma: Well, maybe "we" donít, but plenty of people were scandalised last time. Is this going to be a problem for you?
Reverend Banks: No. It is not a problem. No problem at all.
Emma: It is quite all right to admit something is going to be a problemÖ
Reverend Banks: Toucheī. Well, then, yes. Some people will find it unseemly that their bachelor Reverend has an unmarried lady as a guest for an unspecified amount of time. Some find it unseemly that such a thing as a bachelor Reverend exists at all. Of course, thatís preferable to a bachelor Reverend who is actually dating, or worse yet, in a relationship. Weíre supposed to leave seminary with a wife, you see. Well, I didnít. People have talked for years. I canít live my life by their rules. Iíve got to live it as God directs. He shows me the way.
Emma: I see.
Reverend Banks: Shall we go, then?
Emma: Yes, thanks. Nigel?
Reverend Banks: Yes, Emma?
Emma: I still donít believe. Not really. You should know that about me.
Reverend Banks: Emma, thereís no test to pass with me. Everything will be all right.
Emma: Then lead the way.
Ann: Gary, have you seen Simon?
Gary: Just dropped him off down in the Village. He said heíd walk back.
Ann: Howís the filming coming?
Gary: Havenít heard. Theyíre still gadding around London, I think. Archer wanted to get all that out of the way before they came back to shoot the final scenes.
Ann: So youíre free for awhile?
Gary: Free-ish. Been rehearsing. The big love scenes are still coming up. Suzanne and I have played lovers before, but thereís always a bit of nerves about when youíre filming with such emotional intensity. And Archer canít decide how true to the book we should play it.
Ann: Iím afraid I havenít read the book. Iíve never been a big fan of romance novels.
Gary: Well, canít say that Iíve ever had much of a stomach for all this historical stuff. Dry as dust, if you ask me. Still, it pays the bills. At least for me. Must cost you a bloody fortune.
Ann: Yes, it does. Gary, can I ask you something?
Gary: Fire away.
Ann: Have you and Simon been gambling?
Gary: Oh, no. Iím not ratting on my mate Simon. Canít help you with that one.
Ann: So thatís a yes.
Gary: Well, how about a maybe?
Ann: Was it a lot?
Gary: No, no. Donít think he put down more than a couple of hundred quid at the Liverpool match. Certainly no more than five hundred anyway.
Ann: Hmm. Great. Thanks.
Gary: Wrong answer?
Ann: Simon, I've just had a very strange call.
Simon: Male or female?
Ann: It was a man called the "At" if I heard him correctly. He told me to tell you that he had a good line for Newbury this weekend if you were interested. I think he was a bookie.
Simon: Really. Blimey, these phone solicitation things are getting a bit much, aren't they! Gambling now, I don't know!
Ann: I think he said you'd placed bets with him before.
Simon: Oh, the Hat! Sorry, your accent still gets me occasionally. The Hat, old friend, I may have made the odd bet now and again, just a few quid, for a laugh really. It's like Michael Jordan, we can afford it.
Ann: This is what all those emails were about?
Simon: Oh you saw those? Yes, well, he's very enthusiastic.
Ann: We're trying to get the house restored, we're trying to get our wedding planned and you're spending our money on gambling. What have you been betting on and how much have you lost?
Simon: Don't get upset! Really it's probably been one hundred pounds in total since I started, less maybe. Just a few pounds a week on horses and things. Not all losses I may add.
Ann: And things?
Simon: Well there was the frog racing, but that was a one off. Anyway I stopped - no more betting.
Ann: You've stopped, really, no more betting.
Simon: No more betting.
Ann: So I can tell your Dad that you won't be putting a fiver on, I think it was "Happy Cedric," this weekend.
Simon: Dad! Incorrigible, isn't he? In fact let me go and talk to him now. I think I saw him heading down to the village.
Simon: Hello Dad, you look rather spiffy.
Mr. Tinsley: And why not? I'm not that old you know, I could get married again.
Simon: Married! Is this because Ann and I are getting married? It's all right, we talked about it. You can still stay after we're married.
Mr. Tinsley: Of course I'm staying! I'm not moving back to that bloody miserable little house.
Simon: Then why are you talking about getting married?
Mr. Tinsley: I'm just saying I could. That loony fellow is not the only one in this house with charm, I was quite the talker in my younger days you know.
Simon: Frank? He's putting us all to shame, isn't he? I guess I just thought that maybe your days of going out were over. Is this about Mum coming to the wedding?
Mr. Tinsley: No it's not. Mind you it'd really stick it to her if I had one of those young dolly birds on my arm at the wedding.
Simon: Dolly birds? I think if you're going to start seeing women again you'll need to get the language right. No-one gets called a dolly bird anymore.
Mr. Tinsley: Well we'll see about that. Now where's that Flo Blue woman?