Whittaker’s Diary: Underhand Events at the Annual Flower Show

Posted on April 01 2018

Whittaker’s Diary: Underhand Events at the Annual Flower Show


Whittaker’s Diary: Underhand Events at the Annual Flower Show


Spring has arrived at the Abbey, bathing it in a burnished blanket of rich gold, the surrounding woods awash with a thick and rolling carpet of verdant bluebells. Which could only mean one thing - the village flower show was upon us.


For many, this might suggest a well-mannered competition between friendly neighbours, however in reality it was nothing less than a hotbed of unscrupulous behaviour, cheating and the flagrant misuse of anabolic steroids that would put the Russian Olympic Team to shame. It didn’t take long to discover that rivalries were once again heating up – and one in particular, the ever-escalating battle of wills between General Haversham OBE (Ret) and Mrs Mortimer, the Vicar’s wife.


It seemed that at some time during the night an intruder had penetrated the sanctity of the vicarage garden and stolen Mrs Mortimer’s Mercurialis Perennis. Shocking enough, I grant you, however on the very same night a minor case of arson also ravaged General Haversham’s beloved greenhouse, taking the life of his prised Orchis Mascula in the process.


As our local policeman, PC Hushmoney was still refusing to involve himself in what he described as, World War Free-For-All, it was left to yours truly to investigate. However in the great tradition of British detectives, I wasn’t about to enter this dark and murky world alone, so for support I took the dear lady’s Great Dane, Maximus – a dog so smart he makes Lassie look like an inbred Bichon Frise.


Our first stop was the Vicarage, where Maximus’s mighty nose soon uncovered the crawling path the intruder took across the well-tended lawn - a manner that could almost be described as military. From there it was a short walk to the General’s House and the charred remains of his greenhouse, where we soon discovered the propellant used – a jerry can of unleaded petrol, hurled some distance into a neighbouring field.


It seemed obvious to both Maximus and I what had happened, particularly when we factored in Mrs Mortimer’s prior career as county hammer-throw champion. So, with that in mind, I quickly had both parties interned in separate rooms at the abbey where I left them to sweat, whilst Mrs Badwater, the cook, made me a delightful ham and piccalilli sandwich for lunch. However despite my relentless questioning, and the steely eyes of Maximus boring into them, neither would break and I had no choice but to release them - just in time to attend the show, only this time as spectators.


Once again it was left to the dear lady of the house to judge the competition; a role she rose to with cool disdain, this year wearing her floral dressing gown, the pockets stuffed with mini-bar sized bottles of London Dry Gin for moral support. I was however left speechless when she announced that the winner of this year’s show was none other than the Hyacinthoides non-scripta (bluebells) of Mrs Badwater’s seven-year-old, bird persecuting, amateur badger-baiting sociopath of a son, Timothy; feelings that deepened considerably when I noticed the grass stains on his trousers and the faint smell of petrol about him.


Now that the show is over for another year I can finally adjourn to my room and enjoy a well-deserved read – this week The Return of Sherlock Holmes, ensuring that when the cold hand of crime strikes the village once again I will be better prepared to meet it.


And at least now I know where it lives.


For mysteries, thrillers and more, head to the Bluebell Abbey library and discover our vast collection of classic books and unique British products.

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