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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!

Series Two So Far

In this episode:

Cuppa with Shirley
Simon's e-mail
Simon Chat
Emma's Office
Fanny's History
Meeting Minutes

Series Two So Far...
Stoney Grove owners Ann Simmons and Simon Tinsley split, and Ann returns to the Caribbean with friends Amy and James. After a short visit, she decides to find a place to live on Nevis and explore the "other" Stoney Grove, a ruined eighteenth century plantation house.  Doug Wood, an American ex-pat, befriends her,  renting her a house, providing her with e-mail service, and giving her lessons in sailing, dancing and, well, who knows what else...Ann's more serious hours have been spent transcribing a document that she found at Nevis. It's an autobiographical account of the life of Stoney Grove's first lady, Fanny Rawlins Blake. Only part of the manuscript is on the island, and Ann suspects the rest may be tucked away at Stoney Grove in England.

Simon has decided to channel his energies into making the house an important tourist destination. He's set up a series of regular meetings with the staff and other assorted residents of the property, and is working through a plan.  After presenting a number of options, most of them unpopular, he's decided to pursue a policy of creating a "virtual house" that will allow visitors to see each room's history at whatever period strikes their fancy. While he's ironing out a few minor technical glitches, Emma has organized a group of volunteers to lead old-fashioned tours. Simon is also in negotiations with a production studio who want to film an upcoming mini-series on the grounds of the estate.

Simon's longtime friend Phil  is suffering a bit of a mid-life crisis. He's quit his job, left his wife, and come to stay at Stoney Grove until he decides what to do next.   Simon, never known for his strong personal skills, is attempting both to sort him out and to re-establish contact with Ann. They've exchanged a few emails and are beginning to "talk" again.

Emma, when not giving tours, is prying into the more recent history, determined to uncover the story of John White's origins.  John, housekeeper Shirley Johnson's grandson, has just learned that Jerry Anderson, a village antiques-dealer serving time in prison for theft, is his father.  Jerry and Emma suspect that John's grandfather may not be Shirley's husband Martin, but rather Montgomery Hall, a former owner of the estate. In searching for answers, Emma has recently located a hidden safe in the house, but has not been able to open it.

Cuppa with Shirley (or Martin)

Ooh, you caught me red-handed with my nose in a book. Now where have I put my handkerchief? It’s that sad, really. Makes me cry every time. Are you a fan of hers too? You know I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Adrift at Sea—it’s my favourite. I still get choked up when I come to the part where the life raft floats by empty. You know she just should have gone with him, but she never could give it all up. Still, I never did understand all the to-do about Taxi. Well, well, give me a minute. Silly old fool to be crying over a book at my age. Got plenty of my own troubles to be teary-eyed about. Maybe that’s why I turned to Miss O’Rall. You know they found the books in an old safe in Mr. Basil’s room. Been sitting in a hole in the wall all these years, gathering dust. Funny, really. I don’t remember any of the Halls having much patience for that sort of thing. Don’t know why they were in there.

Now the locked box they found—what do you suppose is in there? Nothing good, you can be sure. Best left alone, these old secrets. Can’t find a locksmith, but I reckon they’ll find one soon enough. Maybe when they do, the box will be lost again…Not that I’m not a good housekeeper, but sometimes I get forgetful as to where I put things when I’m tidying up. It happens to us all as we get older, doesn’t it?

Speaking of secrets, you’ve probably heard by now that that weasel-ly girl Emma has gone digging up dirt again—worse than the rats in Martin’s rubbish tip. She got Jerry to tell John that he’s his dad. Nothing I could do to stop it, though to be honest I thought I had, going down to Vera’s like I did. In the end it came to nought—she brought him to the jail, she did. Imagine meeting your dad when he’s behind bars. It isn’t right, is it? As if that wasn’t bad enough, John walks in to this very kitchen and asks me, his Nan, if Montgomery Hall was his granddad. Didn’t even have the grace to blush. After all these years, all that Martin and I have done for the lad! I told him I wouldn’t dignify that question with an answer.

It’s her I really blame though. She should watch her step. Always getting into other people’s business, when by all accounts she’s got plenty of her own dirty laundry hiding just beneath the lid of the hamper. I intend to give it some airing, I do. See how she likes it. Just like Ernestine in Adrift. She showed them all …Never mind. Fancy a cup of tea?

Simon's e-mail
To Simon:
I've never done this chat session stuff before, but I think we need to have pseudonyms ("handles"--or is that only in bad trucker movies? ).  I'll be poorClare.   Who should I look for? What time?  Maybe a phone call would be easier. You decide.


Glad you’re back in touch.

What’s important right now is the house. Don’t let Ann move back. It’s probably best if the house value falls, can you do that? If we contest the lottery win, we have to say that it would be an unacceptable solution that you should have to sell your home. You may have to give up some money but hey, you'll have to pay us too.

Remember faint heart never screwed fair lady.

Leave the moral posturing to us – this is the time to think about you.

We’re with you.

Cage, McBeal and Thomas


Hello there, it’s been a while. I’m in London this week on business. Fancy hooking up.

Call me


From Simon


Yeah, you're right.

I did this once or twice when I was in the States (before I met you).

I could use Harleyman! I'll look for you in the Yahoo chat room - try Romance 20-30?

'Speak' to you soon


Simon Chat

Harleyman enters the room.
Samantha enters the room. 
JoyB: Anyone seen TrixE? 
Cato: No. 
LBJsdead: Wish I had. 
Samantha: Hey Harleyman, you ride? 
Harleyman: Yeah. 
UDMan: Who’s TrixE? 
AUD: I gotta bike. 
French entered the room. 
French: Any girls here want to PM?
poorClare entered the room. 
Samantha: What kind of bike is it? 
Harleyman: It’s a Road King Classic 
JoyB: Cool 
AUD: Yeah, man 
PoorClare: am I interrupting? 
Harleyman: No, hello. Want to PM? 
poorClare: I guess so 
poorClare: Hi
Harleyman: Sorry, someone else asked me to chat just before we went private 
poorClare: So, how are you? Everything going well? 
Harleyman: Yeah, fine. bit cold here. Are you hot?> 
poorClare: No, it's really nice here. Like a warm day in summer at Stoney Grove. 
Harleyman: Well the atmosphere here is not helped by Shirley and Emma 
poorClare: Never was as I remember. 
poorClare: Um, have you seen Chester? Emma said he might come out, bring me some stuff she found. 
Harleyman: Well they hate each other now. Frank seems out in the cold... 
poorClare: Sorry, out of turn 
Harleyman: and Phil arrived last week after leaving caroline 
Harleyman: No, I try not to see Chester - why's he coming out 
poorClare: I really am out of touch. What's up with Frank? and why did Phil and Caroline split up? Chester wants to see Nevis and  thought he might bring some documents out. I don't want them mailed, and Emma said she can't come right now. 
Harleyman: Don't see what's wrong with air mail. 
Harleyman: Frank is sulking since golden boy John has been around 
Harleyman: Phil is an idiot - I mean Caroline can be a cow but he really loves her 
poorClare: They're one of a kind Simon. I don't want them getting lost. 
Harleyman: Who Phil and Caroline or Frank and Emma? 
poorClare: Did you have something to do with them splitting up? 
Harleyman: Who? Who are you talking about? 
poorClare: First the stuff Emma found, silly. I don't want them getting lost in the mail. Second, P & C. 
Harleyman: NO, Phil is quite capable of being a fool on his own - actually he's been asking my advice! 
poorClare: And what did you tell him? 
Harleyman: I told him that he doesn't know when he is well off 
poorClare: Oh, right. 
Harleyman: Yeah, well. What's Doug like? 
poorClare: Doug seems really nice, doesn't he? He said he'd been emailing you. 
Harleyman: He seems like an idiot. Do you know any West Indians 
poorClare: Typical of you Simon. Someone tries to be nice ot you and of course he has to be an idiot. Yes, I live in the f**king  West Indies. I do get out. 
Harleyman: All right all right, just the emails he sent were goofy. 
Harleyman: Maybe I should come out, I may get a game of cricket with the locals 
poorClare: When? I thought you were bringing Hollywood to Puckering. 
Harleyman: There's a lot to do here running this place and it's a BBC production 
poorClare: Funny, I seem to remember you were big on hitting the open road, not being tied down, that sort of thing. Was it me? 
Harleyman: Well I have a goal now, to make this place succesful and well known 
poorClare: As opposed to then, when it was just a relationship...I got to go. It's been fun. 
Harleyman: Maybe we could chat again? 
poorClare: Sure Harleyman. I'm not going far. 
Chat session ended

Emma's Office

To Emma

Great work! I can’t wait to see what you’ve found. I do read French—mostly medieval manuscripts in the past, but this will be fun. I suppose if I can’t twist your arm I can live with Chester coming. It’s kind of awkward though. He’s so…earnest, and never really believed me when I told him I wasn’t interested in him romantically. I worry that with warm sea air, a few drinks and a full moon, things could get embarrassing again. Maybe I’ll throw a party. Or maybe you could send Reverend Banks along with him.  There’s safety in numbers, right?

I hate to be nosy, but what’s so interesting at Stoney Grove these days that you’d pass up a free trip to a warm (and sunny!) climate? Anything I should know about you and Frank??

Seriously, hope all’s well. If not, let me know if I can help.


Dear Ann,

Got it! We puzzled over the password to the safe and then I remembered the cricket game that was played here in 1882. Basil Hall was an avid cricketer at University, and obviously idolised the man who saved the day at the Stoney Grove match. WGGRACE was the password. Anyway, inside the safe was a locked box, TWO manuscripts written by Fanny Blake, and a set of old books. In a bizarre coincidence, three of them were written by Helena O’Rall—you know, Miss O’Rall of the wretched miniseries that Simon’s so keen on filming here.

Anyway, back to the manuscripts. One looks like the missing part of the one you’re already working on. I glanced through it but won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what I saw. The other one, also in Fanny’s handwriting, is in French. My foreign language skills are appalling—hope yours are better.

I’ve tried to get the locked box open. They key is long gone, and unfortunately the village locksmith is on holiday in Barcelona for a month. I phoned the locksmith in West Bean and he is in hospital. Apparently in Imbiben they just break and enter at will,  so there isn’t enough work to keep a locksmith in town.

So, for now the box is a mystery. What next? I’m not really keen to fly out to the Caribbean. A few things have come up around here that I’d like to be able to keep an eye on. What about asking Chester to bring it out to you? I’m sure he’d fancy the trip.

I await your advice.


Fanny's History

No new transcription

Note to Emma


Fancy a walk to the village this afternoon? I told Nan I'd pick up a newspaper for her, and haven't got a car.
Anyway, it would be much more fun if you'd come with me.  I'm out in the garden hiding from old Tinsley,
who I now owe 6 quid (he taught me how to play cribbage).


5th meeting of the Steering Committee for Stoney Grove

Present: Phil Porkridge, Frank Churchill, Shirley Johnson, Martin Johnson, Mr. Tinsley Sr., John White and Emma Knytleigh.

Phil: Um, hello everybody. Simon isn’t going to be here today; in fact he’s gone on a trip so he asked me to chair the meeting. I don’t know much about houses, but then neither does Simon! Anyway, I’m an accountant. So let’s do this properly. Who has the minutes from the last meeting?

Emma: We record each session and I,ve been making transcripts.

Phil: We’re making a recording? Testing, testing, one two three! Sorry. Just my little joke. Well, never mind. Any outstanding business?

Emma: Yes, we opened the safe.

Phil: Oh, well done!

Mr. Tinsley Sr.: How'd you manage it?

Emma:  It was easy really, once I figured it out.  The clue was  "it can be opened by the grace of a gentleman who played here."   WGGRACE of course. He played against the Australians at Stoney Grove in the 1880s.

Phil:  Any goodies?

Shirley: You shouldn’t be messing about with people’s private things.

Emma: We got a bird book by Eleanor Hall, and some bad romance novels.   Fanny's manuscripts were in there too, which were much more interesting.  Ann wants me to send them to her. There's also a locked box, which is presenting a bit of a challenge.

Shirley: Well, I think you should leave it alone. You're just stirring things up, poking your nose in where it’s got no business being. And as to the novels being bad, how'd you know? Have you read them?

John: Now, now Nan. Emma’s just trying to find things out. I’m glad she’s been looking into things.

Shirley:When you’re older you’ll realise some things are best left  just as they are. What about you, Frank? Happy with Emma’s snooping around with John, are you?

Frank: Everyone’s very agitated right now. I just can’t see how this is all going to work out. Let's try not to get angry.

Emma: Oh calm down, Shirley. It's all old news. I just want a quick peek!

Shirley:  All right, dearie. Just be aware that secrets have a way of coming back to haunt you!

Phil: Any other business?

Mr. Tinsley Snr: Where’s that archaeologist lady? I like her, how come she’s not around any more? And that architect fellow, where’s he? Seems like the rats are deserting the ship.

Emma: Evelyn is taking some vacation time. Chester sent his apologies; he’s on a trip too.

Mr Tinsley Snr: Well, I was supposed to get my room set up. To show people eighteenth-century gambling.

Phil: Well, let me help you with that Mr. Tinsley. We can have you in costume. Oh, and by the way, the television people are going to give us the word about filming in another few weeks, so we should think about how we’ll best accommodate them. Just think, perhaps we can all be extras.

Martin: I was on television once, for me vegetables.

Phil: Really. Well.  How nice. Until next time then.