This story follows on from previous tiny tales about Lauren, but can be read a a stand alone tale; after all, the people Lauren meets also have no idea what happened to her…
Nobody believed me, why would they, but I had no choice but to tell the truth. I could not just walk back into my life, not when I had brought back two people from the future.
Why me, an ordinary forty year old mother and teaching assistant? I suppose it could have happened to anyone who visited the Ladies at that busy London Wetherspoon, couldn’t find their way out and went through the wrong door into the future.
The end of the twenty first century is far from what I imagined. A perfect storm of situations led to a future that looked more like the past; humans had managed to save the planet, but not their civilisations.
I must not speculate or ramble; I am writing this letter to put down what little I do know in the hope that someone will take notice. I am sending this to experts, those with a voice in the world and the imagination to not dismiss me… King Charles, David Attenborough, the science chap that does that podcast… I just need one of you to answer my letter.
The two people I have brought back with me are an officer called Billings, who initially was most helpful and understanding, though she is still convinced I am the mythical figure Lauren of London. She is so traumatized from her experience of London in 2023 that I’m not sure she will be of much help. The man is called Doctor Chowdry and I think he is what passes for the top scientist among the Bunker People. Scraps of life from earlier decades escaped destruction and in oral tradition knowledge was passed down his family. He is certainly clever as he worked out how to get us back to 2023, though it took him a few weeks and he didn’t quite get the date right.
Thus it was that we arrived back in London on the day of King Charles’ coronation, eighteen days after I left, but in the right place. There were the three of us in the Ladies at Wetherspoon. Luckily a trio of chattering women barged in through a door so at least I could see the way out; I hustled my companions through it before the women noticed one of us was a bloke and we were all dressed strangely. I realised we were late when I saw a missing persons poster in the corridor…
Were you in this Wetherspoon on the evening of Tuesday 18th April 2023?
The flattering photo of me dressed up for the ‘do’ we went to in March looked nothing like the person I had just glimpsed in the mirror. I had exchanged my sackcloth for the bunker clothes the civilians wore in the bunker, but they were hardly flattering.
We had tried to plan how we would arrive inconspicuously, but the main problem was that I had lost my handbag during my narrow escape from the great cat attack. I had no money, no proof of identity and no way of getting home.
Upstairs in the restaurant it was daylight; the place was packed and in celebratory mood. I tried to slip us out quickly, but had time to see a chap reading a newspaper with the front page proclaiming Coronation Day. Outside were crowds of people, though I knew we could not be on the route of the royal procession. Police were everywhere, security I supposed as there were protestors. Then the full implication of my position hit me. My family must be distraught, perhaps thinking I was dead. How could I contact my husband, should I tell one of the police officers? No, they would think I was trouble of some sort, they were already arresting a protestor. I was overwhelmed with panic, but that was nothing compared with the terror I saw in the faces of my two companions.
A woman’s voice behind me spoke in a calming tone. I hung on tight to the others as they flinched at the sight of the uniform.
‘You look like you need help, or perhaps just a cup of tea, a day like this can be very overwhelming. We’re doing refreshments in the hall over there.’
The Salvation Army, hurrah, yes I did need a cup of tea and as they are used to not judging people, salvation was literally at hand. We did not look much stranger than the other people gathered round various tables and as we collected our tea I told the woman I needed help.
‘You help look for missing people and put people back in touch?’
‘Yes we certainly do.’
‘I need to get in contact with my husband.’
‘How long have you been away?’
‘Oh, that’s not long, are you able to go home or do you want a third party to speak to him?’
‘It’s complicated and I haven’t got a phone or any money so I think that would be a very good idea.’
So, good people reading this, that is how I was initially reunited with my family, who also don’t believe me. You will perhaps have heard about me on the news, but I plead with you to contact me personally and listen to the story the three of us have to tell.
Goodness knows, we’ve looked in all the likely places, but there’s so much junk stuffed everywhere.
Don’t sneer, could be valuables hiding amongst the rubbish.
Ah ha, this could be interesting, Diary 1949 …
’I am determined to write in this every day, so many exciting things happening to me at the moment. Tricia had a new year’s party and her brother chatted to me!!! He is going to call me on our new telephone.’
Oh no, that’s all she wrote, bet he didn’t phone her.
Here’s a hopeful looking envelope…
‘To my grandchildren’
Bad luck on that front Mum…
Open it then.
‘I know everything is electronic now, but newspapers are a wonderful record of everyday life. I saved a newspaper from every eventful day starting with the day Giles was born right up to William and Catherine’s royal wedding; if you’re doing a school project or even a history degree they could come in handy.’
Oh that would be interesting, a newspaper from the day I was born…
Bad luck Giles, we put all those boxes of papers in the recycling bin when we tackled the loft, anyway, you can look them up on line…
Now this envelope looks a lot more hopeful.
‘If you find a pair of pink gloves I bought them on holiday. I remember taking them out of my suitcase, then I never saw them again.’
Perhaps she wasn’t joking when she said there was a secret drawer in that awful old bureau.
Oh look, our homemade birthday cards…
Never mind those, get a tape measure and work out if there’s a false back, or feel around for some secret levers.
We’re not taking it to Antiques Roadshow, let’s try that small panel with a screwdriver.
Well I never, why would she leave a letter to me hidden away?
Open it then, don’t keep us in suspense.
‘My Darling Giles, you always wanted to know the truth; the truth about your father. I’m afraid I have to tell you, hard though it will be to come to terms, my husband was your father and the father of your younger brothers. I know he was very boring, but I’m afraid I did not have an affair with some splendidly exotic chap, goodness knows where you get your good looks from.
Oh at last, you’re no better than us Darling Giles, even if you were Mum’s favourite.
But is that it then, what happened to
‘All will be revealed in the house when I’m gone.’
She said that about ten years ago, probably forgot to leave the clues.
Now we’re getting somewhere –
Last Will and Testament
Thought she said she wasn’t going to leave one.
Perhaps that’s the surprise we were supposed to get. Right, let’s open it
Saturday Alive, the magazine programme to start your weekend with a lighter look at dark news and a darker look at light news.
Gourmets and health experts alike are welcoming new rules making it compulsory for warning labels to be put on vegan food. Carnivores and omnivores will be able to shop safely knowing what they are buying.
Anglers are reporting a serious shortage of maggots as the food industry embraces alternate sources of protein.
A strike by Boutique Indie Authors has gone totally unnoticed. The select group of writers put down their pens, turned off their computers, ignored their WIPs and refused to blog for the third day in a row. An anonymous spokes person said long writing hours and no pay or pension rights had led them to the drastic action.
WordPress denied reports that some bloggers were not human and were created by artificial intelligence, although an inside source was reported as saying they had no way of knowing if any of their bloggers were human.
April Fools’ Day is to be renamed as April Fun Day to avoid offending the Foolish Community. Traditionalists will be further irked to learn that jokes will be extended beyond noon till midnight.
It’s never a good idea to wander through a writer’s mind, especially on a Monday.
Do you rush round cleaning and tidying when the in laws are coming, are you nervous when important visitors are expected? Spare a thought for President Macron who had to cancel the visit of King Charles III as the place was in too much of a mess…
Most of us worry about the cost of running our homes. This is nothing new. We are reading Jude the Obscure for our book club. Jude and Sue are going for a very long walk on the wild heathlands of Wessex and with no coffee shops in sight and poor Sue getting weary, they call at the only cottage for miles around. They end up sharing the mother and son’s dinner and staying the night. In conversation the cottager complained she will never get her roof fixed because the price of thatch has gone up so much.
Yes, I’ve been to the Giant gallery again.
I’ll leave readers to comment… while I take a wander down to the beach.
Charlotte was looking forward to open day at the Hambourne Theatre Royal. A rather grand name for a building that looked like it had seen better days. She had not seen inside, it was one of the places on her list as a new resident of Hambourne. Joining the Hambourne Players had not been on the list, but it seemed a good way to join a backstage tour of the theatre and get inspiration for another adventure for Lottie Lincoln, accidental crime investigator.
Mothering Sunday was best avoided this year and the open day sounded like a Mothers’ Day free zone. As she stepped into the foyer she hoped she would recognise at least one or two of the Hambourne Players and hopefully one or two of them might recognise her. If she ever progressed to an active role in the group they would soon find out she could not act, but hopefully she could paint some scenery, be the prompt or even contribute a few lines to the play they were hoping to write.
A man in a suit was herding people into groups; there was a good turnout and three tours were setting off at the same time. Charlotte sidled over when she heard Hambourne Players being called, she felt like the new girl at school again, especially when someone called out ‘Charlotte Charlington?’
Why did her parents have to ensure she was always going to end up being called Charley by everyone except her parents?
A few of the group stared, some didn’t even turn to look at the newcomer, but a few smiled. She was relieved when the theatre manager started addressing their group and she could avoid having to talk to anyone or worse still have no one wanting to chat to her.
What a lovely theatre, all plush red and opulence from another age, but obviously in need of a lot of loving care, as the manager was quick to point out. She trotted along enthusiastically with the group as they passed through narrow doors and down steep steps. What to stars and theatre staff were narrow corridors and shabby small dressing rooms, were to Charlotte scenes of mystery and dark intrigue for her new novel.
Her excitement grew as they climbed up yet more narrow stairs and came out onto the stage. Real ropes and pulleys and strange equipment in dark spaces high above their heads. A technical chap was now explaining how ropes, weights and counter balances worked and the dangers that lurked in an environment deliciously free of health and safety. Charlotte resisted the temptation to ask if they ever had any nasty accidents. It was then her phone emitted a jolly tune.
‘Mum, where on earth are you, looks like you’re on board a sailing boat.’
‘Shsh Maddy, you didn’t say you were going to Facetime this morning, thought you were going to spend all day in bed as it’s Mothers’ Day.’
Charlotte tried to become invisible and dodge behind some black curtains.
‘I am in bed Mum, they brought me breakfast and I am going to stay here allll… day till the roast beef is ready this evening.’
Charlotte resisted the temptation to say she never got a lie in when they were young, let alone languishing all day… but her main thought was to get her daughter off the phone.
‘Can we Facetime this evening…
‘Oh, okay, I thought you would be sad and lonely…’
Charlotte sighed, now Maddy was going to take umbrage.
‘…what are you doing and who’s that weird bloke talking?’
‘Shsh they’ll hear you, I’m on a theatre backstage tour…’
The technical chap was saying something about grand pianos and raising platforms as Charlotte hurriedly stuffed her phone back in her bag as if she had never taken it out in the first place. The stage floor felt rather uneven, very uneven, Charlotte felt herself go off balance as she heard someone say ‘SWITCH IT OFF.’
‘No I’m fine, just lost my balance for a moment. No please don’t call the first aid officer… ’
Charlotte looked up at the bemused faces above her and cringed, but at the same time her mind retreated into the world of Lottie Lincoln, a night at the theatre, an actor on stage mysteriously disappearing…
Today is the last post I’m sharing with Baz the Bad Blogger, for this month at least… it is the first in depth interview he has given or at least promised to give. He has at last revealed what his front door looks like.
Congratulations to David who was the first to guess correctly that this is the only door Baz sees the inside of and it also keeps everybody else OUT. But Baz’s home is surprisingly small for such a big personality…
…though he still has room for his hobbies such as model railways..
I asked Baz what he liked best about blogging.
‘Reading the spam comments.’
And does he have any tips for bloggers and users of social media.
‘Yes, always be honest.’
A selection of Baz’s comments on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc perhaps best illustrate why he is so popular.
Your blog was two yards long, but at least I had something to read during my long wait in accident and emergency.
Your blog was mercifully short, but still the most boring blog I have ever read.
If my baby looked like that I certainly wouldn’t put its picture on Facebook.
If that is the cover of your book I dread to think what the words inside are like.
Yes, well Baz, perhaps we had better leave those comments where they belong. Thanks for being my guest, did you say you were off on holiday soon?
‘Yes, somewhere far away.’
Farewell Baz… I really enjoyed getting to know him better and my impression is that he is really just a big old softy who loves his teddies…
…and who will remember to send his mother a card on Mothering Sunday.
Today we discover an unknown side to Baz, his artistic talent. Some have compared him to Banksy, others to Anthony Gormley, but nobody actually knows anything about Baz. His works vary from street art to installation pieces. Enjoy just some of the highlights of his prolific work.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s blog when Baz will hopefully reveal which door was his and some more insights into his life.
I asked Baz why he was so fascinated with doors and he replied that he finds most doors are closed when he comes along. To add a bit of excitement to his contribution to Thursday Doors he wants fellow bloggers to guess which one is his front door. For security reasons Baz never reveals which country he lives in, let alone which street, so I wonder if anyone will guess correctly. So here, without words, is Baz’s fascinating collection of doors.