March 21, 2022 at 7:05 am #6284
In reply to: The Elusive Samuel Housley and Other Family Stories
Charles Herbert Gretton 1876-1954
Charles Gretton, my great grandmothers youngest brother, arrived in Sydney Australia on 12 February 1912, having set sail on 5 January 1912 from London. His occupation on the passenger list was stockman, and he was traveling alone. Later that year, in October, his wife and two sons sailed out to join him.
Charles was born in Swadlincote. He married Mary Anne Illsley, a local girl from nearby Church Gresley, in 1898. Their first son, Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton, was born in 1900 in Church Gresley, and their second son, George Herbert Gretton, was born in 1910 in Swadlincote. In 1901 Charles was a colliery worker, and on the 1911 census, his occupation was a sanitary ware packer.
Charles and Mary Anne had two more sons, both born in Footscray: Frank Orgill Gretton in 1914, and Arthur Ernest Gretton in 1920.
On the Australian 1914 electoral rolls, Charles and Mary Ann were living at 72 Moreland Street, Footscray, and in 1919 at 134 Cowper Street, Footscray, and Charles was a labourer. In 1924, Charles was a sub foreman, living at 3, Ryan Street E, Footscray, Australia. On a later electoral register, Charles was a foreman. Footscray is a suburb of Melbourne, and developed into an industrial zone in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Charles died in Victoria in 1954 at the age of 77. His wife Mary Ann died in 1958.
Charles and Mary Ann Gretton:
Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton 1900-1955
Leslie was an electrician. He married Ethel Christine Halliday, born in 1900 in Footscray, in 1927. They had four children: Tom, Claire, Nancy and Frank. By 1943 they were living in Yallourn. Yallourn, Victoria was a company town in Victoria, Australia built between the 1920s and 1950s to house employees of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, who operated the nearby Yallourn Power Station complex. However, expansion of the adjacent open-cut brown coal mine led to the closure and removal of the town in the 1980s.
On the 1954 electoral registers, daughter Claire Elizabeth Gretton, occupation teacher, was living at the same address as Leslie and Ethel.
Leslie died in Yallourn in 1955, and Ethel nine years later in 1964, also in Yallourn.
George Herbert Gretton 1910-1970
George married Florence May Hall in 1934 in Victoria, Australia. In 1942 George was listed on the electoral roll as a grocer, likewise in 1949. In 1963 his occupation was a process worker, and in 1968 in Flinders, a horticultural advisor.
George died in Lang Lang, not far from Melbourne, in 1970.
Frank Orgill Gretton 1914-
Arthur Ernest Gretton 1920-
John Orgill 1835-1911
John Orgill was Charles Herbert Gretton’s uncle. He emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926 in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. They had seven children, and their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.
John Orgill was a councillor for the Shire of Dandenong in 1873, and between 1876 and 1879.
John Orgill obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 21 December 1911:
Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill:
On the Old Dandenong website:
Gladstone House hydropathic hospital on the corner of Langhorne and Foster streets (153 Foster Street) Dandenong opened in 1896, working on the theory of water therapy, no medicine or operations. Her husband passed away in 1911 at 77, around similar time Dr Barclay Thompson obtained control of the practice. Mrs Orgill remaining on in some capacity.
Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).
Around 1912 Dr A. E. Taylor took over the location from Dr. Barclay Thompson. Mrs Orgill was still working here but no longer controlled the practice, having given it up to Barclay. Taylor served as medical officer for the Shire for before his death in 1939. After Taylor’s death Dr. T. C. Reeves bought his practice in 1939, later that year being appointed medical officer,
Gladstone Road in Dandenong is named after her family, who owned and occupied a farming paddock in the area on former Police Paddock ground, the Police reserve having earlier been reduced back to Stud Road.
Hydropathy (now known as Hydrotherapy) and also called water cure, is a part of medicine and alternative medicine, in particular of naturopathy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.
Gladstone House, Dandenong:
John’s other brother Thomas Orgill 1833-1908 also emigrated to the same part of Australia.
A letter was published in The South Bourke & Mornington Journal (Richmond, Victoria, Australia) on 17 Jun 1915, to Tom Orgill, Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) from hospital by his brother George Albert Orgill (4th Pioneers) describing landing of Covering Party prior to dawn invasion of Gallipoli:
Another brother Henry Orgill 1837-1916 was born in Measham and died in Dandenong, Australia. Henry was a bricklayer living in Measham on the 1861 census. Also living with his widowed mother Elizabeth at that address was his sister Sarah and her husband Richard Gretton, the baker (my great great grandparents). In October of that year he sailed to Melbourne. His occupation was bricklayer on his death records in 1916.
Two of Henry’s sons, Arthur Garfield Orgill born 1888 and Ernest Alfred Orgill born 1880 were killed in action in 1917 and buried in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Another son, Frederick Stanley Orgill, died in 1897 at the age of seven.
A fifth brother, William Orgill 1842- sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1861, at 19 years of age. Four years later in 1865 he sailed from Victoria, Australia to New Zealand.
I assumed I had found all of the Orgill brothers who went to Australia, and resumed research on the Orgills in Measham, in England. A search in the British Newspaper Archives for Orgills in Measham revealed yet another Orgill brother who had gone to Australia.
Matthew Orgill 1828-1907 went to South Africa and to Australia, but returned to Measham.
The Orgill brothers had two sisters. One was my great great great grandmother Sarah, and the other was Hannah. Hannah married Francis Hart in Measham. One of her sons, John Orgill Hart 1862-1909, was born in Measham. On the 1881 census he was a 19 year old carpenters apprentice. Two years later in 1883 he was listed as a joiner on the passenger list of the ship Illawarra, bound for Australia. His occupation at the time of his death in Dandenong in 1909 was contractor.
An additional coincidental note about Dandenong: my step daughter Emily’s Australian partner is from Dandenong.
Charles Housley 1823-1856
Charles Housley emigrated to Australia in 1851, the same year that his brother George emigrated to USA. Charles is mentioned in the Narrative on the Letters by Barbara Housley, and appears in the Housley Letters chapters.
George “Mike” Rushby 1933-
Mike moved to Australia from South Africa. His story is a separate chapter.January 15, 2022 at 6:54 pm #6254
In reply to: The Elusive Samuel Housley and Other Family Stories
The Gladstone Connection
My grandmother had said that we were distantly related to Gladstone the prime minister. Apparently Grandma’s mothers aunt had a neice that was related to him, or some combination of aunts and nieces on the Gretton side. I had not yet explored all the potential great grandmothers aunt’s nieces looking for this Gladstone connection, but I accidentally found a Gladstone on the tree on the Gretton side.
I was wandering around randomly looking at the hints for other people that had my grandparents in their trees to see who they were and how they were connected, and noted a couple of photos of Orgills. Richard Gretton, grandma’s mother Florence Nightingale Gretton’s father, married Sarah Orgill. Sarah’s brother John Orgill married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone. It was the photographs that caught my eye, but then I saw the Gladstone name, and that she was born in Liverpool. Her father was William Gladstone born 1809 in Liverpool, just like the prime minister. And his father was John Gladstone, just like the prime minister.
But the William Gladstone in our family tree was a millwright, who emigrated to Australia with his wife and two children rather late in life at the age of 54, in 1863. He died three years later when he was thrown out of a cart in 1866. This was clearly not William Gladstone the prime minister.
John Orgill emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. Their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.
John Orgill 1835-1911 (Florence Nightingale Gretton’s mothers brother)
Elizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926
I did not think that the link to Gladstone the prime minister was true, until I found an article in the Australian newspapers while researching the family of John Orgill for the Australia chapter.
In the Letters to the Editor in The Argus, a Melbourne newspaper, dated 8 November 1921:
THE GLADSTONE FAMILY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—I notice to-day a reference to the
death of Mr. Robert Gladstone, late of
Wooltonvale. Liverpool, who, together
with estate in England valued at £143,079,
is reported to have left to his children
(five sons and seven daughters) estate
valued at £4,300 in Victoria. It may be
of interest to some of your readers to
know that this Robert Gladstone was a
son of the Gladstone family to which
the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, the
famous Prime Minister, belonged, some
members of which are now resident in Aus-
tralia. Robert Gladstone’s father (W. E.
Gladstone’s cousin), Stuart Gladstone, of
Liverpool, owned at one time the estates
of Noorat and Glenormiston, in Victoria,
to which he sent Neil Black as manager.
Mr. Black, who afterwards acquired the
property, called one of his sons “Stuart
Gladstone” after his employer. A nephew
of Stuart Gladstone (and cousin of
Robert Gladstone, of Wooltonvale), Robert
Cottingham, by name “Bobbie” came out
to Australia to farm at Noorat, but was
killed in a horse accident when only 21,
and was the first to be buried in the new
cemetery at Noorat. A brother, of “Bob-
bie,” “Fred” by name, was well known
in the early eighties as an overland
drover, taking stock for C. B. Fisher to
the far north. Later on he married and
settled in Melbourne, but left during the
depressing time following the bursting of
the boom, to return to Queensland, where,
in all probability, he still resides. A sister
of “Bobbie” and “Fred” still lives in the
neighbourhood of Melbourne. Their
father, Montgomery Gladstone, who was in
the diplomatic service, and travelled about
a great deal, was a brother of Stuart Glad-
stone, the owner of Noorat, and a full
cousin of William Ewart Gladstone, his
father, Robert, being a brother of W. E.
Gladstone’s father, Sir John, of Liverpool.
The wife of Robert Gladstone, of Woolton-
vale, Ella Gladstone by name, was also
his second cousin, being the daughter of
Robertson Gladstone, of Courthaize, near
Liverpool, W. E. Gladstone’s older
A cousin of Sir John Gladstone
(W. E. G.’s father), also called John, was
a foundry owner in Castledouglas, and the
inventor of the first suspension bridge, a
model of which was made use of in the
erection of the Menai Bridge connecting
Anglesea with the mainland, and was after-
wards presented to the Liverpool Stock
Exchange by the inventor’s cousin, Sir
John. One of the sons of this inventive
engineer, William by name, left England
in 1863 with his wife and son and daugh-
ter, intending to settle in New Zealand,
but owing to the unrest caused there by
the Maori war, he came instead to Vic-
toria, and bought land near Dandenong.
Three years later he was killed in a horse
accident, but his name is perpetuated in
the name “Gladstone road” in Dandenong.
His daughter afterwards married, and lived
for many years in Gladstone House, Dande-
nong, but is now widowed and settled in
Gippsland. Her three sons and four daugh-
ters are all married and perpetuating the
Gladstone family in different parts of Aus-
tralia. William’s son (also called Wil-
liam), who came out with his father,
mother, and sister in 1863 still lives in the
Fix this textneighbourhood of Melbourne, with his son
and grandson. An aunt of Sir John Glad-
stone (W. E. G.’s father), Christina Glad-
stone by name, married a Mr. Somerville,
of Biggar. One of her great-grandchildren
is Professor W. P. Paterson, of Edinburgh
University, another is a professor in the
West Australian University, and a third
resides in Melbourne. Yours. &c.
Melbourne, Nov.7, FAMILY TREE
According to the Old Dandenong website:
“Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).”
The story of the Orgill’s continues in the chapter on Australia.
“I’ve been wondering …” Star tightened her lips. “No … perhaps not.”
“What? Spit it out,” said Rosamund.
“It’s nothing … just that … I interpreted my remote view as New Zealand but perhaps it wasn’t New Zealand per se, and by that I mean perhaps it was a symbolic representation, a clue if you will, and i was too quick to rush in and give it meaning.”
Rosamund screwed up her face. “You lost me at Purse Eh.”
“Me too, dear!” said the middle aged lady. “Does she always go on like this?”
“Worse usually. Yabba yabba yabba them two. How about I swop you dental floss for some lippy?”
“Don’t yo mine those rudy poohs,” said Tara, who was starting to sound a little slurred. “What’d ya see, Star, eh?” Star’s remote viewing skills never failed to amaze her, and, to be honest, she’d been surprised when Star made such a horrendous hash of this latest attempt. Once she had sobered up she might feel compelled to apologise for her rude outburst. She snorted into her drink. Not bloody likely!
Before Star could answer, there was an excited scream from the waitress.
“Look, who’s here!” she shouted. “Look everybody! It’s only Vincentius come to join us!!”
“Why, thank you. What a welcome!” said Vincentius in a deep melodious voice. He sauntered casually over to the bar, seemingly oblivious to the effect he was having.
“Oh. My. God,” said Star.
Rosamund who was using the lipstick to write her number on the burly bouncer’s bicep gave him a shove. “Get lost, Loser!” she hissed.
“Over here, Vincentush! Whover yo are!” shouted Tara before falling off her bar stool.
“Did someone say drinks are on the house?” asked Rosamund, pushing past the burly bouncer as she entered the pub. “What’s your name, handsome?”
“Percival,” the bouncer replied with a wry grin. “Yeah I know, doesn’t fit the image.”
Rosamund looked him up and down while simultaneously flicking a bit of food from between her teeth with a credit card. “I keep forgetting to buy dental floss,” she said.
“Is that really necessary?” hissed Tara. “Is that moving the plot forward?”
“I’ll be away for a while on an important mission,” Rosamund said to Percival, “But give me your number and I’ll call you when I get back.”
“The trip is cancelled, you’re not going anywhere,” Star told her, “Except to the shop to buy dental floss.”
“I’m glad you mentioned it!” piped up a middle aged lady sitting at the corner table. “I have run out of dental floss too.”
“See?” said Rosamund. “You never can tell how helpful you are when you just act yourself and let it flow. Now tell me why I’m not going to New Zealand? I already packed my suitcase!”
“Because it seems that New Zealand has come to us,” replied Star, “Or should I say, the signs of the cult are everywhere. It’s not so much a case of finding the cult as a case of, well finding somewhere the cult hasn’t already infected. And as for April,” she continued, “She changes her story every five minutes, I think we should ignore everything she says from now on. Nothing but a distraction.”
“That’s it!” exclaimed Tara. “Exactly! Distraction tactics! A well known ruse, tried and tested. She has been sent to us to distract us from the case. She isn’t a new client. She’s a red herring for the old clients enemies.”
“Oh, good one, Tara,” Star was impressed. Tara could be an abusive drunk, but some of the things she blurted out were pure gold. Or had a grain of gold in them, it would be more accurate to say. A certain perspicacity shone through at times when she was well lubricated. “Perhaps we should lock her back in the wardrobe for the time being until we’ve worked out what to do with her.”
“You’re right, Star, we must restrain her….oy! oy! Percival, catch that fleeing aunt at once!” April had made a dash for it out of the pub door. The burly bouncer missed his chance. April legged it up the road and disappeared round the corner.
“Oh I say, that’s going a bit far,” interjected the middle aged lady sitting at the corner table.
“What’s it got to do with you?” Tara turned on her.
“This,” the woman replied with a smugly Trumpish smile. She pulled her trouser leg up to reveal a bell bird tattoo.
“Oh my fucking god,” Tara was close to tears again.
“Wait!” said Star. “Have we unwittingly stumbled upon a secret meeting of the bellbird cult?”
The bouncer laughed. “Not exactly a secret meeting. It’s more of our monthly get-together. We have drinks and what-not and a bit of a sing-song”
“Sound great! Where do I sign up?” asked Tara, mesmerised by the burly bouncer’s biceps.
Tara sneered at the obvious lie. “Then why did you run? Huh?”
“If you must know, and it appears you must, I believe I saw him.” She pointed to the entrance. “He was wearing a disguise of course. When he saw me, he ran, clearly fearing I would see through his disguise and reveal to the world that he is not in a coma.”
Star scratched her head. “I see,” she said.
“So much for New Zealand and your remote viewing skills,” sneered Tara.
April shook her head. “Those are questions only Vincent French can answer.”
“Going around in circles a bit, aren’t you?” said BB with a kindly smile. “Cheer up! Look around you! Beauty is everywhere and drinks are on the house!”
“I think you’ve forgotten something, Star.” Tara didn’t want to put a dampener on Star’s high spirits, but felt obliged to point out that New Zealand was still out of bounds with the quarantine restrictions.
“Not only that,” Tara continued, “Where exactly in New Zealand?”
This was unanswerable at this stage and was quickly forgotten.
“We can send Rosamund on a recce to find out more. That way if she gets arrested for breaking the lockdown rules it won’t matter much and we can carry on solving the case.”
“It will take two of us to keep an eye on Aunty April, anyway. And it would behoove us to have a thorough look at that wardrobe, and decipher those notes. And check the lining of the fur coats. I read a book once and spies used morse code in the hem stitches for sending messages.”
“Do you know morse code?”
“Of course not, why would I?”
“Well then how will you know..?”
The conversation went on in a similar vein for some time.
Star rolled her eyes. “Already done,” she said. “Based on what I saw, I believe Vincent French to be in New Zealand.”
“New Zealand!” exclaimed Tara. “That’s madness.”
Star took a slurp of her gin and tonic. “Also, the bellbird motif … that’s from over there, isn’t it?”
“Agent X? I thought you were in New Zealand,” gasped Veranassessee helping him up.
“Keep your mouth shut,” he hissed at her and then moaned in pain. “I’m working undercover. Where is my beannie with the wooden top?”JibParticipant
The note had troubled Maeve. It was different than the one Shawn Paul received, not only because it was handwritten and very long, but also because it implied someone, potentially even several groups, were after the dolls and the keys.
“You have to retrieve them,” the note eventually said, “and use the clues they hide to find the important people they protect.”
There was no signature, but it sounded so much like uncle Fergus, oddly wordy and mysterious. Was he still alive after all this time? Did he still ride his Harley?
Maeve’s first thought after the surprise was that she needed someone to take care of Fabio. The next thought felt like a brilliant idea. Lucinda. Maeve would go ask her to take care of Fabio during her vacation to Australia and would use that opportunity to spirit away the doll. She had the intuition she might need it afterwards.
So she prepared her luggage and cuddled Fabio who knew he wouldn’t be part of the trip.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I need you to keep that sad face of yours when we go see Lucinda.” In response, Fabio wiggled his tail happily and tried to lick Maeve’s face. “No! Keep the face,” she mimicked what she thought was a sad face.
After all was packed she went to Lucinda’s with Fabio and her luggage.
“I’m sorry, I’m going on a trip and I need someone to take care of Fabio,” Maeve said. As she had imagined Lucinda was moved by Fabio’s look and couldn’t refuse to take car of him.
“Of course! He’ll be well treated here with my new parrot.”
“Huhu,” said the colourful bird.
“I think it comes from New Zealand,” said Lucinda. “It flew in yesterday and had not left ever since despite me not putting it into a cage, so I’m buying it food. It seems particularly fond of that doll I told you about the other day.”
Indeed, the parrot was on the sofa, trying to open the doll’s head. That’s when Fabio jumped and tried to catch the bird. He clearly didn’t like it and the parrot flew away to a higher ground on an old grannies’ Welsh dresser, making a few glasses and china fall down in an awful breaking noise. Lucinda tried to catch the bird or the china or Fabio, but could do neither of the three.
Seizing that as an opportunity, Maeve put the doll in her messenger bag.
“I don’t want to bother you longer, I have a plane to catch. Bye,” she said, and she left with bags and luggage without checking if Lucinda had heard.
At the elevator, she met with Shawn Paul.
“Hi. I’m going to the airport,” the young man said. “Australia. Like you?”
She felt uncomfortable. The note hadn’t mention anything about him. Unless he was part of one of those groups who were after the dolls. Maeve grumbled something while holding her bag closer. She didn’t know if she could trust him.
Geoffroy du Limon had felt confident that he had the skills to act the new role, considering his notable career in the theatre in the old story. He liked his new name: Miles Fitzroy suited him perfectly; and he anticipated resonating with London (although he would have preferred New Zealand: he’d heard that his old friend Francette Fine had been assigned a new story there). He found himself floundering, however, in unexpected ways.
The most unsettling factor was the absence of a back story. Without associations or automatic habits, he was unsure how to play his personality. Without triggers, where was the humour? There was simply nothing dramatic, comedic or tragic, nothing to make the play thrilling, exciting, or enticing, if everyone was an innocuous beige blob. A present beige blob is still a blob and not very interesting.
Roll up! Roll up! Come and see the show! Watch the cast focusing on themselves and not reacting to triggers! Nothing to judge here, folks, Roll up!
Geoffroy had no idea that having so few limiting guidelines could be so difficult. One had always assumed that it was the limiting guidelines that boxed one in, held one back, he mused, not the other way round. It was indeed a challenge, and he found himself feeling nostalgic for the old story.
Gelly had noticed a slowdown in her sessions.
That, and a sense of desperation in the ludicrous stories put forth by her clients’ subconscious under trance.
Close to forty years ago, she had invented the whole protocol, and had sold successfully quite a lovely series of books on the topic. Of course, all the personal details were removed for the sake of her clients privacy. But the stories were all too good to not be shared with the world.
“Morepork, morepork!” Bathsheba, her pet owl gifted by one of her clients from New Zealand was calling her back to reality.
“You know vhat Bethsy,” she said to the owl while feeding it a small white mouse that she devoured ravenously, “I vonder how das ist going to develop… Not a month goes by now vithout some new extravagant story of ascension in die Fünfte Dimension, and the vorld is not going any better. Meine credibility ist not that gut…”
“Morepork, morepork!” came the answer.
“Bethsy, you know whass, du bist eine kleine Genius”. She had just remembered that her client used to channel a certain unknown in the lore, going by the name of Floverley a spirit quite tricky to get on the line, a bit finicky about cleaning but otherwise, a wise dispenser of snorting good advice and special diets. She surely could help her get her spiel back.
”And that’s another thing,” she continued. ”Why do all your characters have to be in some form of servitude to you?”
She looked accusingly at Elizabeth.
“I’m a lowly cleaner and Godfrey’s sole purpose in life seems to be to agree with everything you say and now poor old Norbert is a gardener! From New Zealand! Of all the godforsaken places you could have chosen.”
Finnley ignored him.
“You could have made the poor man anything and yet you made him another slave to carry out your every warped whim. Granted, that was rather an obscure comment I made about him liking smelly old fish. Perhaps that did narrow your options somewhat.”
Exhausted, Finnley lapsed into a thoughtful silence.
It was Mater who decided they needed to get some cleaning help. She commandeered Clove to do some research on the internet and eventually found a woman from New Zealand, Finly, who was offering her cleaning services in exchange for room and board.
“Bloody kiwis,” said Bert when he heard. “The place is riddled with them. Bloody come and take our jobs. Haven’t we got more than enough of them here already? I am having a hard enough time avoiding that Flora, going on about her spiritual bloody awakening.”
“If you can find anyone local who would be willing to do the cleaning in exchange for a place to stay, I will be glad to consider them,” retorted Mater sternly. “But in the meantime this place is fast becoming a pig-sty and Dido is too busy smoking and drinking to see it.”
“Now remember, the main thing is to be courteous. God only knows why she agreed to come to this backwater of a place, but we don’t want to put her off.”
”Don’t we indeed?” smirked Aunt Idle.
Aunt Idle, who had already been into the gin even though it wasn’t yet 10am, put her hand over her mouth and started to giggle.
Clove rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically. “Well as long as she doesn’t try and boss me around, it might be quite fun to have a slave to clean up after me.”
Prune had been keeping an eye on the window. “Shush, she’s here!” she shouted excitedly.
“One moment I was on my way to get coffee; the next I was up there on the ceiling. I looked down and saw a lady lying on the ground with blood oozing from her head and I was thinking ‘someone should help her!’ and then I realised with some surprise it was me laying down there on the ground. ‘How could that be?’ I asked myself. I realised that I must have died. And, do you know what? I didn’t care. I felt amazing. For the first time in my life I felt truly free. I felt no more attachment to the body on the ground than I do to this … “
Flora paused to look around and her gaze finally settled on one of the sofa cushions — a dirty looking thing which was decorated with an embroidered kangaroo.
“… this cushion here.”
She hit it to emphasise her point and a cascade of dust rose in the air. She looked at Mater sadly and continued softly:
“Then I heard a voice telling me it was not my time and next thing I knew I was back in my body with this pounding great headache.”
Flora paused reflectively for a moment while she sipped on the cup of tea Prune had bought her.
“Mater, this experience has changed me. I thought I had it all before: good looks, a fantastic figure—especially my butt—a successful career, but now I realise I was in penury. Trapped by my own brilliance into a shallow empty existence.”
“What’s that you say?” asked Mater, struggling to follow Flora’s very thick New Zealand accent. “And who the devil is Penny?”
She wondered where Bert had got to. One moment he was there and the next he just seemed to disappear.
Those maps got me remembering all kinds of things, not that I was fretting about the note because I wasn’t, but once I’d quit flapping about the note, all kinds of things started popping into my mind.
Odd little cameo memories, more often than not a mundane scene that somehow stuck in my head. Like that cafe with the mad hatter mural, mediocre little place, and I cant even remember where it was, but that number on the mural was just wrong, somehow. It’s as clear as a bell in my memory now, but not a thing before or after it, or when it was, other than somewhere in New Zealand.
I kept getting a whistling in my left ear as I was recalling things, like when I remembered that beach on the Costa del Sol, with a timebridgers sticker in the beach bar. I can still see that Italian man walking out of the sea with an octopus.
I can still see the breeze flapping the pages of a magazine lying on a bench in Balzac’s garden in Paris, something about a red suitcase, but I can’t recall what exactly.
A motel in a truckstop village in California…the sherry was making me drowsy. I almost felt like I was there again for a moment.
Conjure up a bowler hat, he said, while you’re out today. I forgot all about it (how often I thank my lucky stars for having a bad memory, I much prefer a surprise) and saw a delightful hurdy gurdy man wearing a bowler hat (In June! I do recall it was June). My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, he was playing. I’m sure to have forgotten that, but I made a video recording.
All these locations were holes in the maps, those ripped up maps the girls brought home from the Brundy place, just after I got that note. I was beginning to see a pattern to the connecting links between the letters ripped out of the map locations, and the wording in the note (which was made of ripped out letters from place names on a map, and glued onto the paper, as anyone who is reading this will no doubt recall). The pattern in the discovery of connecting links was that the pattern is constantly changing, rendering moot the need to decipher a plot in advance of the actual discovery of spontaneous development of the shifting patterns of discovery, and deliverance of the decipherable delegation of the delighted, promptly at noon.
After all the fuss had died down about the missing Mater, I lost interest in the map and the strange note. It was as if the distraction interrupted my train of thought (some might say another of Idle’s hamster wheels, or another ludicrous tangent), so I gave the maps back to the girls and the mysterious note was mostly forgotten. If it meant anything, well, sooner or later it would become clear.
Truth be told, it wasn’t just the fuss about Mater that distracted me, it was the phone call from my old friend in New Zealand. Flora Fenwick was making another of her arty party videos, wanted to come over to check out some of the empty properties for filming. I’d seen all her arty farty party videos online, and we’d been friends for years via Spacenook, but we’d never met in person.
The timing was perfect.
When Huhu arrived at his destination, Irina was sunbathing to the last rays of a big red gorgeous sunset that painted the waves in iridescent shades of purple.
At the same time, the sun’s course had already started a new day on the shores of New Zealand, where her sister was living, and she surely would be thrilled. Long had she waited for the 2222-2-22 marker.
Here, in Hawaii, they would still be in 2222-2-21, for a few more hours.
Irina started to shiver. 22°C her watch read. As if she needed to be any more quirky about this date…
“Good boy!” she said to the parrot, taking the key it was carrying. Huhu tittered in contentment, cracking some of the pistachios she fed him distractedly.
She’d just received additional information from the Management. Elusive as usual, and leaving a great deal to interpretation, including the interdiction.
They’d promised to get her her dream island as a retirement plan. Some said it was the original land of the mermaids (who used to have as much feathers as Rio Carnival’s samba dancers), right off Italy’s Amalfi’s coast. Among its perks, it boasted to incorporate 8 staff, and a private grotto — that, if anything else than her fine waist line, would surely entice Sanso into other steamy booty calls.
She’d seen the pictures of the properties, her first thought though was that she needed to shoot the interior decorator. In short, it was almost her moral duty to get it, and change the decor. On the whole, she was convinced the island would do her good.
So, when she looked back at the previous instructions to see how good she’d done on her mission’s objectives, she shrugged a little. She’d understood instinctively right when it was delivered that it was a clever cipher, especially given the late date shift. So she had reinterpreted the actual commands, and leisurely waited for the travellers to appear, and get comfy. By now, she was certain they trusted her telepathic commands well enough, so that solved the trust conundrum.
Basically, she was a major proponent of her own interpretation of old Ho’oponopono rituals. Instead of the usual mantra “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” hers was a bit more straightforward and was around the lines of “Green sickness to you. Peace be with you, and bugger off.”
Said a few times with proper intonation and inner work, and it was know to her to alter dramatically any block or resistance into a great flow of pure unfettered energy. So she had adamant faith that all she needed to do to complete her mission was to focus on herself and solve the resistance within by letting go.
The last message was short.
22 the code
* whale that *BO
It could only mean one thing. 22 was a clever cipher meaning conundrum as in a catch 22, but also an obvious reference to the temperature. So it could only mean one thing: tamper with the code on the 22nd, and send it on the way to the whales, with a bug on it.
“Mr R, please, fetch!”
The discrete, yet always present robot caught the key with grace, and on her careful instructions, proceeded to alter the code of the key.
Irina was enjoying herself immensely, and found it a pity nobody could witness her true genius. “The ones who’ll read that key later, well… they are in for such a wild goose chase!”
The second part of St Germain’s encoded hologram was now ripe with wonderful and bewildering information about blubbits and the magic kingdom of Peasland with obscure and arcane references of magic numbers like 57, that would have anybody sane turn mad as a hatter in no time. Hopefully the whales would be immune to the nonsense, but probably not humans.
Now was the final part of the plan.
“I hope you are ready for this delicate reinsertion mission. Do you still have that octopus suit of yours ready?”
“Of course, Madam. Right away Madam.”
The word flounder popped into Yolands head, and for want of the inspiration to do anything meaningful, or even useful, she googled flounder. She was astonished to find so many varieties of flounder, and recognized that she was counterparting with quite a number of them.
There was the Crosseyed flounder that she felt an affinity for, at the end of an evening of trying to sort out her photos; Alcock’s narrow-body righteye flounder, which was what she felt like in a bed full of male dogs every night, and she could relate to the Antarctic armless flounder when she couldn’t keep track of the Antarctic thread. Barfin flounder reminded her of the green icon and her friend Finn; Bigmouth flounder ~ Yoland sighed, she definitely felt a connection to that often enough. Blotched flounder, well that sounded a bit like botched ~ there were many occasions when Yoland felt that everything she did was botched, half done and messy. Chain-mail wide-eyed flounder when she dabbled a bit in past lives, and the Disc flounder when she got her music in a muddle. The Dark flounders were the worst, when everything seemed to take on the tone of a horror movie, but they were often followed by a Deep flounder, which sometimes contained a few insights, more often than not promptly forgotten.
Yoland sighed. Imagine counterparting with just about every flounder known to man! She decided she wasn’t the only one counterparting the European flounder, which was a releif, nor was she the only one counterparting the Fantail flounder, although at least it could be said that she wasn’t a complete fan of anyone in particular, dead or alive, she was a fantail of quite a number. There were long spells of resonating with the Finless flounder; Finn was always disappearing, or so it seemed to Yoland. Very rarely she felt an alignment with God’s flounder, thankfuly she wasn’t often prone to dwelling on God things.
Ah, the Gray flounder, yes she’d had a bit of a flounder when Gray sent all those photos of the Beltane Dance, she’d had a flounder for sure in amongst all those. Looking back though, she’d had fun with the mummy and Ella Tindale in the Gulf flounder…
Yoland had to laugh when she came across the Intermediate flounder. Yoland wondered if the majority of her foundering was counterparting with the Intermediate flounder and decided she was probably too intermediate to work it out objectively anyway. She often had a tussle with the Large tooth flounder, lordy, she was always floundering with dental issues. And the Largescale flounder, that really was the biggest ongoing flounder of them all, the sheer vastness of everything.
Every now and again, less than previously though, Yoland had a Melbourne flounder on Saturday nights, and rather enjoyed it, but not as much as she enjoyed a good old New Zealand flounder.
Another flounder Yoland always enjoyed was an Olive wide-eyed flounder, roaming around the ancient olive trees of Andalucia, wide eyed and awestruck with the beauty and history of the place. She also enjoyed a Peruvian flounder on occasion, too ~ she’d even had a dream recently about floundering around by the mysterious doorway of Amaru Muru. The next night she’d had a River flounder, dreaming of the river in the Grand Canyon.
Sand flounders were the best of all though, Yoland recalled many happy flounderings in the world of sand and all its Subulmantium configurations. The trouble with the sand flounder was that it often morphed into the largescale flounder, and got quite out of hand.
Yoland sighed, it had been ages since she’d felt connected to the Seven pelvic ray flounder, what with Dan working nights. She was beginning to feel like a Shelf flounder. However, at least thanks to her new diet of replacing meals with flans, chocolate mousses and ice cream, she was closely aligning now with the Slender flounder.
The ongoing slug issue with the cat food was obviously because she was still strongly aligned with the Slime flounder. Notwithstanding, Yoland was rather pleased to note that despite her morose and petulant mood this morning, it had to be said that she often counterparted with the Smooth flounder; although that was easy to forget in moments of quiet desperation when the floundering got out of proportion.
Smiling, Yoland remembered the dream of feet touching when she noticed there was a Sole flounder too. And how often the Spotted flounder popped up, she was always spotting clues. Well spotted! she would tell herself. Oh, and the Stone flounder, wasn’t that the truth! Yoland was aligning strongly with that lately, smoking more than ever, somehow striving for either inspiration, or perhaps oblivion.
Oh well, I guess this is just a Summer flounder, it will pass, Yoland decided (who was secretly glad that she was nearing the end of the list of flounder names). And sure enough, the next on the list was the Three spotted flounder, surely a good sign! A probability change perhaps! As if to validate Yolands impression, she noticed the Tile-colored righteye flounder. There was even a Warthog flounder, which seemed to ring a bell with a recent entry to the Reality Play.
Best of all was the Windowpane flounder, Yoland felt she would even go so far as to say that this was her new focus animal. Well, she thought, if I am making this all up, I can make that up too!
Thankfully Yoland reached the end of the flounder list, rather pleased that it had ended on such an amusing and encouraging note.
Being closely aligned with flounders wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
Becky was liking her dancing courses; there was this funny guy with an outrageously bright canary yellow shirt and a funny accent who taught them some Asian-based moves last time, and she’d been puzzled for awhile, frozen in her tracks and speechless for a moment (which didn’t often occur), as the guy was so weird and yet serious looking that she didn’t know if she should laugh hysterically at his preposterous wiggling butt moves, or keep serious like the others.
That’s where she noticed a girl in the class. Like her, she was lost in wonderment while all of the others where respectfully following the teacher’s movements with a polite straight face.
As she was feeling bubbles of hysterical laughter desperately struggling to burst at the surface, she quickly exited the classroom, only to find that the other girl was there too.
“Ahaha, is he some sort of wacko or what?” Becky couldn’t help but laugh even if the other one seemed affected somehow, yet not indifferent to the humour of the situation.
“Bloody oath, yeah… Madder than Almad this one”
“You’re not from here are you?” Becky asked, noticing a delicious variation of British accent in the girl’s voice.
“No, from New Zealand. Name’s Tina, Tina Prout. Well you can forget the last name anyway, I’m going to change that.”
“Delighted, I’m Becky Vane. Would you fancy some vegemite on toast?”
“Sure, let’s get out of here quickly.”
“Toot toot! School’s out!… Mmm, looks like it’s ‘pissing down’ outside… Is that how you say in Kiwi?”
a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand
Veranassesee closed her report silently.
What a mess it all had been. Given the circumstances, she had acted with unbelievable self-possessed strength and wit.
She had little doubt she would be fired though. The Confregation wasn’t exactly known for their blanket acceptance of excuses for people’s short-failures —or worse, for their lack of accepting their own responsibility. Quite the contrary.
She would be expected to resign, and even the smoldering hot and sexy Agent Gabriele’s intercession wouldn’t be seen with a complaisant eye.
“No matter…” She had managed to keep everyone she could out of trouble or certain death, and for that she was quite proud of herself. Even if her job was most of the time to actually make sure they would meet their death more quickly. Perhaps she was getting too soft for that job.
The phone rang abruptly cutting her off her trail of thoughts.
“Yes?” (…) “Mmmhhh mmmh” (…) “Okay. Fine. Thank you.”
She would be presenting her report’s conclusions at the hearing tomorrow, and then would be free to go. Start a new life maybe; or get back to Mahiliki who was for now confined with the aircraft’s pilot in one of the Confregation’s detention centers for interrogation. They’d say it wouldn’t be long; they wanted to make sure no crucial information had leaked.
She couldn’t really pity Mahiliki; he was cute… harmless in many ways; she was sure he would be out in a matter of days,… and unsurprisingly get back to his peasant’s life on Fikitupi.
As for herself… that may be a whole other story.
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