Three Tales Out of TimeBruce Macfarlane / Humor / Science Fiction
Three Tales Out of Time
Copyright 2016 Bruce Macfarlane
Published by Bruce Macfarlane
To my wife Julia Macfarlane who reminded me of what I had forgotten and also what I should have remembered!
Art work by author using PicsArt Photo Studio for Android.
Star fields in image: Star-Forming Region LH 95 in the Large Magellanic Cloud: Credit: NASA/ESA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Tissot#/media/File:James Tissot A Passing Storm.jpg
The persons represented in these true stories are not responsible for any of the events in which they participated. Any answers to questions regarding what actually happened or what should have happened are lost in the mists of time.
And finally apologies to Guy de Maupassant, P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome who may have influenced the style of these stories.
The Haunted Mill
A Holiday in Cornwall
Other Books by the Author
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Forward by Elizabeth Bicester Daughter of the Squire of Hamgreen and her time travelling companion from the future, James Urquhart.
On a number of occasions when we found ourselves at home from our time travels James' sister and her boyfriend Sean took us on holiday in his carriage. One would think that such pleasures would be a welcome distraction but you will see that things do not always turn out as expected.
I have gathered three of these adventures from our diaries which Mr Rolleston was kind enough to put into a narration. As usual my description is denoted by the letter E., and James’ by the letter J.
Comment by James Urquhart
Having looked at the stories selected by Elizabeth I noticed that when you're with Jill's boyfriend Sean things happen in ways that were not quite expected. I put this down to his origins. His parents were from Kerry and as everyone knows that's where the fairies live. If you go to Kerry you know what I mean because when you leave a fairy comes with you. You won't notice the difference at first because it will be invisible but as life goes on you will hear on the odd occasion from a friend "Oh he's off with the fairies again.” This seems to happen more regularly as time passes.
Suffice to say that Sean has been to Kerry many times and in the process gathered up quite a few fairies.
The Haunted Mill
In certain seasons northern France is enchanting. The roads, empty of traffic, meander through meadows and fields of maize and sunflowers which seem untouched by hand since the time of Henri the “Bon Roi.” Beside the roads, lines of tall poplars shelter you from the burning sun which legend records were thoughtfully planted by the inhabitants to allow “les Allemandes” to march in the shade.
We had been travelling on such a road for most of the day and by late afternoon the blue sky had begun to fill with billowing white cotton clouds so familiar to those who live in a maritime country and often herald the arrival of rain and storms. For our voyage we had taken Sean's carriage and within this the four of us idly talked about times past and new adventures. The carriage had suffered many dents and bumps from the excesses of traffic and bollards but did not seem to mind, though even by the standards of modern driving, the poor car seemed to have had more than its fair share of these knocks and scrapes. However, any who have witnessed Sean in Chichester shunting his car back and forth between two vehicles to make space for parking would not have been surprised.
We had just emerged from a small wood and arrived at a crossroads when the car suddenly coughed, spluttered and came to a halt.
I was just nodding off in the warm afternoon sunshine when Sean's car decided to interrupt my solitude. The engine had come to the conclusion that it was unfair that it should be doing all the work and had decided to take a break as well for first one cylinder then another gave up the ghost. The other two quickly seeing an opportunity for a rest came out in sympathy. Sean and I looked at each other and then at the car. This had no effect. He tried the engine again but it would not go. After about the fifth attempt we turned to Elizabeth and Jill for encouragement but quickly noticed they were looking at us in that askance way which ladies do when they wish their men folk should just not sit there but DO something.
Seeing this had little effect on us Elizabeth thought instruction was needed and said, "Do you not think James you should look under the bonnet and try and ascertain what has happened?"
Finding no argument against this suggestion we reluctantly got out and lifted the car bonnet. Why? I do not know but it is customary for a man whose car has broken down to lift the bonnet and to twiddle and prod various components of the engine using “expletives” and engineering words unknown to anyone but himself. After a few minutes we gave up and Sean took the only course of action available and lit up a fag. (By that I mean a cigarette and not a habit possibly well-known these days to the English prime minster, his chancellor and the Mayor of London). This was unobserved by the ladies as the bonnet lid hid us from their gaze save for the tell-tale blue smoke that rose into the air which we hoped they would imagine came from the engine.
Finishing his fag and wiping our hands on the greasy engine in a pathetic attempt to convince our companions we had carried out a comprehensive examination of the engine we returned with glum faces.
Unfortunately by their close questioning they quickly realised that we had come to the end of our mechanical expertise and Jill said, “Well before you cover yourselves further in grease to no avail I think phoning a garage for help might be in order.”
Now a telephone: it's such a simple thing. I have one in my pocket now. However when you are in one of those many places where mobiles do not work one must use a real one connected to a land line. You remember those don't you?
However in certain parts of France this is a difficult quest. First, you must find one. From the comfort of the car, try as we might we couldn't see any. Then Jill thought perhaps we should get out of the car and walk down the road as this might improve our chances of finding such a device.
By 'we' I should add she meant Sean and I.
Ensuring that the ladies were reasonably comfortable and had sufficient provisions for their needs we set off to find a telephone. After walking for about a mile I became convinced that we were in a department where laws had been passed to ban the use of telephone boxes. Another half mile and Sean had decided that the law had also been extended to people for there was none to be found. Eventually after another half mile which included crossing a small ford we arrived at a typical French village. If you remember, Napoleon had accused the English of being a nation of shop keepers and to ensure French villages kept their unique identity, with the exception of cafes and Tabacs, shops were 'interdict'. Sean agreed but added that he believed an exception was made for boulangeries providing they closed before the normal hour of rising in the morning.
We entered such a village and crossed the square to the cafe. Sean opened the conversation as he told me he had done a course once on the French language. After a number of efforts we were provided with two shots of coffee accompanied by two shots of some liquor which on swallowing took the back of our throats off. When the red mist and tears from my eyes had receded I noticed we hadn't progress very far so I had a go.
"Do you have a telephone? You know a telephone?"
To emphasise my requirement I then put one hand to my ear and the other performed small circular motions in the hope that it gave the impression of dialling. This charade seemed to work for the patron pointed to a black apparatus covered in fag ash and wine stains in a dark corner connected by two wires to the kind of electrical circuit breaker you would normally only find on a nuclear power station. However for a few francs and some more Franglais, by pulling down the lever on the circuit breaker it was possible through the miracles of French telephonic engineering to be connected to the outside world. Unfortunately everyone on the receiving end seemed to have taken up the French language. No doubt another edict from Mr Bonaparte. But just when I had given up the Patron came over and said.
"Can I help you?"
I had not realised until then that I could understand French! I replied as only a person who has visited a number of countries and acquired a little of their languages can do.
"Excuse em moi but donde esta is une garage? Nos car is not