Anyhow I *met* Lorraine Holloway-White on Authonomy a couple of years ago and I liked her attitude. She isn’t the wafty sort. So, having lured her down to Exmoor I was pretty excited about meeting her. Sometimes people are quite different in RL from their online personae – you never quite know what you’re going to get. But I knew the moment I pitched up at ThreeAcres, and saw her waving through the window, that this was going be alright, more than alright.
‘Typical country car,’ said Lorraine, brushing crumbs and dog hair off the front seat. Ouch.I fed her champagne and crisps and we talked non-stop for nearly five hours. I only let her go when she couldn’t hide the yawning anymore. So. What did she think of the Bonkers House?
‘Oooh, there’s tons of energy here,’ she said, nearly skipping down the stairs to the Abyss.
‘Good energy or bad energy?’
‘Energy. Ooh, it’s so busy. It’s fabulous.’ Okay. So I have a sort of energetic party going on down the staircase. I reckon they’re all over from the pub.
She loved the Cellar of Despond. She found a man who’d been gagged. ‘Look over there – you can see his face on the plaster.’ Eh what? Damnit, so you could – like a sort of plaster Turin shroud. ‘I’m getting two men and one gagged the other. Maybe there was some kind of fight. Was this place a brothel?’
‘What? I dunno. It was a hotel at one point – and apparently it attracted quite a racy crew.’Then she ‘scanned’ me – and declared my ankle fully healed – and did a bit of healing on me and then went all boss-eyed and said she could see ‘Margaret’ clear as day in front of me.
‘But I don’t know any dead Margarets. They have to be dead, right?’
‘Yup.’ And she put me straight on the whole mediums v psychics question. If you wondered, mediums major in dead people. It’s kind of exclusive.
At this point Adrian pitched up, back from Moscow, and helpfully suggested it might be my mother’s old next door neighbour.
‘But she’s alive and kicking in Bampton, as far as I know,’ I said. ‘And anyhow, why would she bother? I doubt she even gives me the thought of day.’
‘Fair enough,’ he shrugged.‘What about Peg Wright? She’d be a Margaret.’
‘Why on earth would your pseudo grandmother be hanging around me?’
‘I dunno. Hey, Dead Margarets sounds like a band. By the way, did you find anything weird in the house?’ he continued, turning to Lorraine (completely unfazed by the fact that a woman he’d never met before was standing with her hands cradling his wife’s head).
Lorraine told him about the fizzy energy party going on. ‘So, nothing nasty then?’ he said with evident relief.
‘Oh no.’‘I’m an atheist, okay.’
An atheist who is scared of ghosts. Go figure. Lorraine didn’t even bother to respond.
I dropped her reluctantly back to her hotel and drove back from Brushford, through the dark town and came up through the front door. Said ‘excuse me’ as I brushed past the partying energy and went up to bed. As I slid under the covers I had a weird thought.
‘Psst,’ I hissed, trying not to wake Adrian and the SP. ‘Margaret? Are you there?’Silence. But hey, who knows?
Four in the bed? This was getting ridiculous.