Thrice Upon A Time

The way things have been this week I’m going to consult the wise and witty Little Brown Dog in her astrology mode to see if pesky planet Mercury is misbehaving again. Now one of the ‘rules’ of story-telling is the rule of three, you know the one. The eldest princess sets out to save the people and comes to grief in the deep, dark woods. The middle princess sets off and has such a good time she forgets about the people. And so it’s left to the plucky youngest princess to do the decent thing, complete the trial and save the people. (As the member of the family most likely to come to grief, I used to get rather fed up on behalf of the eldest princess).

Lately, life has been a fairy tale in many ways, but it’s also true to say this week has thrown up its share of frustrations. Monday saw me slaving over hot edits only to find that some naughty hand in cyberspace had performed some evil trickery which meant that I was busily editing the wrong version. Eeek! At the same time I was also trying to send a photo to the nice man at Fantastic Fiction who was kindly creating an author page for me. Nothing I did seemed to make the photo load properly. For a while I concluded that their system was taking fright at the sight of me, but I seem to be there at last, albeit in a rather kindly soft focus. My third trial with technology came yesterday, trying to send off one of the last big pieces of work for my OU diploma which, of course, took me three attempts. Grrr!

We also, it appears, have three potential buyers for the house, although they have properties to sell. I ought to be excited that things seem to be happening, but in the meantime I’m having trouble finding somewhere I would like to move to. Our initial hopes of finding ‘something remote’ seemed to have been well and truly dashed. Either someone else has pipped us to the post or there’s planning permission which will place the ‘remote’ property slap bang in the middle of a housing estate.

So it was with great excitement that we noticed a new to the market, uninhabited and astonishingly cheap property on a good-size plot. Although it was dark, we immediately set off to find it. After a bit of a hunt we located an unlit and uninviting tree-shrouded track.
‘Looks a bit creepy’ I suggested.
‘Nonsense!’ said Tom. ‘It’ll look completely different in the daylight.’

The next day we arranged to meet the estate agent at the property. Whilst we were waiting we explored the outside. The front of the house, bathed in sunshine, did indeed look very different, although it seemed to me that the back of the house was particularly cold. Then I noticed an alcove in the stone wall containing a statue. At first I thought it was just a bit of whimsy, but looking closely it appeared to be some sort of shrine and at the foot of the statue were offerings; a few silver coins and a silver earring. I didn’t think anymore about it until the estate agent arrived. She unlocked and went ahead of us turning on lights, but returned visibly shaken. No, there was nothing to see, but I knew within seconds of setting foot in the place that I could never live there. As the eldest princess, I have to be particularly wary of the deep, dark woods and that was one house I never wanted to see again!

Image is 'Welsh Landscape' by Tom Tomos


Preseli Mags said…
Oooh shudder! That house sounds so creepy. If you want somewhere remote you can have mine. It's feeling lonely here today. As for the author page, as H8 would say: "Cool!"
KarenG said…
Wow, I wanted to hear more about that house lol!
her at home said…
love the photo and if you love teh house you can always get a priest in to send the spooks off to whence they came or rather to where they should be!You must find out waht the shrine was for I am fascinated!!! Think plot for next novel!!
Exmoorjane said…
oh wow, wow, wow. Youngest daughter immediately wants to go investigate. more, more, more!
Debs said…
One of these days I'm going to buy one of those heavenly paintings.

That house sounded so spooky, and I wonder who left the silver etc.

Good luck with finding somewhere to buy, especially now that you have three people interested in your house.
bradan said…
House sounds soooo spooky.... wonder what the shrine was all about?
There are some lovely houses for sale here and it's VERY remote...(Outer Hebs!)
Cait O'Connor said…
Ooooh spooky. Would love to hear more... the location etc!
Lovely paintings.
Chris Stovell said…
Mags, your house sounds pretty special - I think you should hang on to it.

Karen - I don't want to put other people off!

HAH... would love to say a bit more and shed more light on what you have said.

Jane, I just daren't - it would be too easy to identify the house.

Ah Debs,you are always so kind about Tom's work. I couldn't believe the items left at the 'shrine' - someone was paying good money to keep 'something' at bay.

Bradan, move over... we might take you up on that, except I would miss my girlies too much.

Ciat, I'm not one for vibes usually but that's a house I wanted to leave as soon as poss!
And thanks!
Sallys Chateau said…
I love that story !! moving house has got to be the most dreary process in the entire world, people still look at houses in the UK without selling first ????
elizabethm said…
As another eldest princess I think you were wise to scarper. I think houses hold the imprint of how they have been lived in. This one is a happy place and you want one of those - come up here, go on, it's still Wales!
Flowerpot said…
Ber-limey Chris. I'm spooked just reading about it let alone seeing it. Definite no no! Hope your technological problems resolve themselves - as you know Ive had my share this week too!
Fennie said…
Well, you never know. In one of Exmoor Jane's blogs or books she talks about her present house in much the same way as you talk about this house here and tells a story about how she then sat down and had a heart to heart with the house and the house told her that it felt unloved because people kept buying it and promptly moving out having tried to disguise its worst features with cheap paint and it (the house) was so tired of being endlessly trivialised, mal-treated and generally made unhappy by the callous behaviour of its itinerant owners when it so wanted to be like all the other houses and make a loving home for someone that it had become depressed and fallen into a bit of a strop and was generally in need of a strong dose of St John's Wort - but if Jane would only begin to love it and to take care of it properly and to restore it tastefully and as the house itself wanted to be restored then it would indeed do all it could to become a loving home and source of great warmth and wisdom.

I'm probably condensing and paraphrasing a good bit - and Jane if you read this by any chance I beg forgiveness - but I think I have the approximate gist correct and so what I am saying is perhaps you needn't be frightened at all because here is a house with an active spirit that will work for you if only you just get it on your side which you can do simply with the bricks and mortar equivalent of a Mars Bar or bunch of carnations.

Think of it as a sad wallhouse at the dance of estate agents, - constantly rejected - a Cinderella house, but just waiting for a Princess (like you) to hack her way up the overgrown Mandalay drive, banish the soul of Mrs Danvers (you could try burying - tastefully of course - the little statue) and then getting down to work as the literary soul of Pembrokeshire with the house singing your praises in the background and providing you with 101 plot ideas as indeed (I think you will find) it has already provided you with the first as a down payment of its good intentions.
mountainear said…
That's a tantalising tale about the house - I would want to know more but definitely not want to live there. I'm sure the right one is waiting for you somewhere - and fairy-tale like you'll have to undergo 3 trials to find it.

Another fan of Tom's painting here.
Frances said…
Hello Chris,

I am another who always tries to keep an eye on old Mercury.

It's good reading that your techno setbacks finally got resolved.

The house story is an intriguing one. I would want to ask the estate agent more about the property, or try to find some distant neighbors who wanted to perhaps tell tales.

Please let Tom know that I do like this post's picture. It seems to me that he is working in a different way, and new colors are turning up.

LittleBrownDog said…
Oooh, Spoo-keee! What you need, by the sound of it, is four pesky kids and a dumb dog. It does sound like the beginning of a rather fab ghost story, though, and as a now-established author, I think you owe it to your eager fan-base to check it out and write, write, write. Obviously, if you live to tell the tale, that is.

Am so flattered to be consulted on the subject of Mercury,(though from memory, it doesn't start to go back'ards again until about the 18th April), and may have to send you a proper astrological appraisal of What Is Going On once I have unearthed my ephemeris. In the meantime, though, I may just have to a sneak a peek into my crystal ball...
I think as soon as I saw the shrine I would have been back off down the track. Shrines mean public footpaths and visitors and allsorts of 'celebrations' you should see what goes on up the road where there was once an altar!!! Naked dancing so I hear - and no I haven't!
Pondside said…
I'm all for interesting houses.....for other people!
As an ekdest princess, too, I have learend to be wary of things like shrines, drafts, mouse holes and signs of habitation other than human.
The perfect place is out there, just waiting for you to find it!
Chris Stovell said…
Sally, Yep - happens all the time, and they view without reading the details, looking at Google or, occasionally without knowint that they're coming to view a house not a bungalow!

Elizabeth - it's communting distance back to Aged Ps now that has to be taken into consideration. Hope we find something.

FP, yes, I can take a hint if a house is sending out those vibes. Is your printer behaving now?

Fennie - that's a fascinating comment, but I don't care how unloved that house feels I won't be the one trying to coax it back to happiness! It's too berludy scary!

I do hope our house is out there, Mountainear, but at the moment I think I've jumped through all the hoops and still can't find it :(

Frances, goood to hear from you - and how is your house decorating going. We didn't get much from the agent except that the family had gone - but we could see that. Def more than met the eye, but I don't feel like following it up. Yes, these are Tom's digital experiments - thanks for your thoughts.

LBD, so kind of you to consult the stars for me... I'm glad they didn't tell me the spooky house was destined to be mine! I'm not sure a dog would have stayed in the building!

SBS, Gosh! I hadn't even thought of that. If it wasn't bad enough having spooks in the house I'd certainly get tired of all sorts of shenanigans at the shrine!

Pondside - absolutely! I have enough invited guests so could do without all the univited ones!
Thanks for the post. I liked it. Keep going I follow you.
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