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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 47… The Gwyllt (Part Two)

The voice in her head laughed with a sallow pleasure and replied; ‘Of course it’s me. I am Rebecca. You know me well’. Then the voice was gone, cried away to the paucity of the ruins. In that moment and one by one, creamy flower heads burst forth all around her and large purple flowers lifted up to feel a warmth of life. Brick by brick began to replace broken debris and steadily the house and turret rose once more and stood triumphant in their wonderment beneath a summer sky. Now, the warming earth of summer love, of seasons lost, of virgin cackle and barking dogs tripped those lovely lawns of ripe red love and pleasant souls.

It was upon a marble seat at the farthest end of a small enclosed Rose garden that she saw Tobias Westlake. He was watching her and smiled in a somewhat odd way. He then stood up and with a raised arm beckoned her. At once, he walked away and in the direction of the Manor house and headed for the tall turret…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 46… The Gwyllt (Part One)

A narrow path led off to her right, upward and through the thick undergrowth and toward the headland plateau above her. It was a steady and breathless climb and at one point she could just make out the top of some house or building structure. Then suddenly, she had reached the plateau. Her path had opened to a narrow area of what looked like old onyx pillars with ivy covered marble seating and beyond this she saw the house for the first time. It was derelict and crumbling and had not seen use for many years, perhaps the building she had glimpsed earlier.

She walked on. Her footsteps softened within the stillness of the place. Then strange thoughts began to enter her mind. At first she took them to be induced by this odd setting she now found herself. A woman’s gentle voice found favour in her head… “By Gwyllt Pond…A lovers bond…Lay Rebecca Haig’s remains”

She stood in front of the ruins gazing into its hopelessness. One time long ago a profound turre…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 45… A Sighting

It was that time of the morning when the trivia of the day before was forgotten and the ocean would open itself to the lonely walker. Around the Bay large curios gulls swooped over its soft sands and called out to a gentler Atlantic. She had not noticed him before and now her eyes were fixed on a single figure walking towards her from the far side of the Bay. She thought it odd because Margarita had said that she would not meet anyone. The person seemed to be coming from the direction of the outcropping rocks near where the sea was crashing into the headland. Perhaps there was a path around the head, she told herself.

A burst of sunlight ran into her eyes for several moments and she cupped a hand to her forehead. When the watery eyes began to clear. The figure had gone. Esme took a few steps forward, straining for another glimpse of the stranger. There was none. She thought the figure could have been a man, perhaps a young man. His stride was purposeful and ener…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 44… Reason

He looked at Charles with open eye. ‘Beats your town living Charlie!’ he remarked.
It was only the second time Esme had ever heard anyone call Charles: Charlie. In her mind he was a Charles not a Charlie. The surprise on her face was self evident.

Charles picked up on it. ‘It’s ok… Bill’s allowed… After all, he’s the finest painter I know… Apart from Picasso!’

‘You know Picasso!’ Bill burst forward with total percussion. ‘You’ve never said!’

Esme suddenly went into a fit of laughter at the expression on Charles face, then Bill fell in with it and laughed loudly showing his great white teeth once more.

After breakfast Bill insisted he wanted to show Charlie his latest work and other works yet to be given a public airing. ‘Tell me what you think in all honesty.’ he asked.

Esme said she would like to take a long walk along the shore line and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. ‘I want to blow London right out of my mind.’ she had said to Margarita, after they had finished the …

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 43… Good Company

There was much small talk over supper and Esme seemed to take to Bill and Margarita, odd couple as they appeared, with some delight. There was even agreement that she would pose for the painter sometime during their stay. By way of return Charles said he would take pictures of Margarita one morning in a walk along the shore line.

It was the Herring Gulls that first woke Charles and Esme the following morning. In the bric-a-brac of the early morning light they seemed to swoop and call in ever increasing numbers. It was cold in their little room and even cuddling together during the night had not kept them warm.

‘I said it would be freezing!’ Esme muffled her head firmly under the covers.

‘Don’t worry.’ he replied. ‘You’ll be ok once your up and dressed, put on some warm clothes. I guess breakfast can’t be far away.’ He could detect the enticing smell of bacon frying. He pulled the covers back and sat on the edge of the bed.

‘What time is it?’ came her muffled v…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 42… Arrival

He was instantly likeable, as with so many of Charles odd arty friends and Charles was not surprised at his friend’s enthusiasm for Esme, his reputation as a painter was widely recognized. The reference to their “Commotion” on arrival was due to Bill Porrit’s acute hearing. It was the very reason the Porrit’s had left London in order that Bill could paint in quiet solitude.

‘Come on inside both of you. We’ve got supper on the go.’ However, just before they could do so, a miniature woman with bright red eyes and a Humming Bird head stepped into the light of the doorway.

‘Margarita!’ Chanted Charles almost at once. ‘It’s lovely to see you again.’ His eyes danced over her. She was diminutively beautiful and unashamedly proud of her looks. He had seen many nude paintings of her over the years and had long admired her perception and gallantry in showing off her body against much public narrow-mindedness.

‘Charles my darling! and you have brought your lovely friend. She …

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 41… Journey (Part Two)

‘Well, this is about as far as we go with the car.’ announced Charles. ‘We’ll have to do the rest on foot.’
Esme groaned.
‘Don’t worry, it’s not much further. We can do it in about ten minutes.’ added Charles. He went to the car for their overnight bags and locked the doors. ‘I’ll pick up anything else we need in the morning. Stick close to me. There is a very narrow path a little ahead.’

She said nothing. Anger it seemed, was something of wasteful subject.

It was getting dark by the time they reached ‘the Porrit’s’ cottage. The frail light from an oil lamp spread dimly from a downstairs window and crept out in to easing night. It was a stone cottage of flaking white paint. Four small rooms. A small kitchen and an out back stone lavatory.

When the small front door opened spreading more feeble light on the two visitors, a tall, thick set man with an astonishing jet black beard stood with an outstretched arm and a beaming smile.

‘Charles…Charles!’ his voic…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 40… Decision

‘Esme… I’ve been giving our situation a lot of thought.’ Charles looked at her with careful consideration. She seemed to him to have more maturity now than ever he realised. She had grown into a fine woman. She sipped from a small cup of coffee whilst her crystalline eyes studied him back.

She lowered the cup gently to its saucer. ‘Charles, If I were a smoker, this would be the moment I would light up!’ She grinned lavishly.

He smiled back a reply and said: ‘I want us to stay with some friends of mine that live in North Wales. Toby can run things here for a while and his brother Barney will help out. Look we both need a break…Get away from London for a while. It would do us both some good.’

‘But North Wales Charles… Snowdonia! It will be cold this time of year.’
‘You won’t feel the cold I promise and you will just love ‘the Porrits’.

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 39… A Plan

That very day Charles locked the little photographic shop to the outside world. He sat in thought at the foot of the stairs for some considerable time. From time to time, the telephone would ring only to be ignored. Tobias remained occupied in the cellar and Esme slept soundly upstairs. He would check them later he told himself. By the time his thoughts had turned to a plan it was late afternoon.

Edward’s simple insanity would be driven from the man… that was Toby’s way. The key to Charles plan would rest with a friend in William Porrit and he would offer council and direction. He decided to send the man a Telegram first thing the next day.

At supper time Tobias emerged from the cellar with the declaration that his patient was sleeping peacefully having undergone some hypnotherapy. Esme too, was fully awake and well rested.

‘Who is sleeping peacefully?’ she asked.

Toby broke a piece of bread, dipped it into his bowl of brown soup and replied in a confident tone. ‘Oh…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 38… Prisoner

‘Don’t worry. I’m not taking any chances with him.’ Smiled Toby. ‘And maybe when I’ve finished with him… He’ll be a good little boy again!’

Between them, they half carried, half dragged, the dead weight of Edward down a drop of narrow stone steps that led to a cellar room far below the level of the street. Tobias had held a small torch light in his mouth and now its beam picked out a large and rusting iron ring fixed to the wall at the far end of the room.

‘That’ll do.’ Proclaimed Toby. ‘We can tie him to that!’

They put the unconscious body of Edward down on the stone floor and began to move away several wooden boxes of old discarded glass photo plates and yellowing photographic paper. ‘Been meaning to throw this lot away for years,’ remarked Charles. ‘Still nobody is likely to want to come down here….’

‘It’s me Esme…Please open the door. Everything is ok now. He’s gone!’ Charles tapped the door gently several times. In the flickering light that grew to brightnes…

Happy Memories of Earlier Television...

MacGyver

Ok guys, I guess, I’m still working on the next episode of the popular “The Shriving” at www.patrickcallaghan.co.uk  - so meanwhile, I’m going to give you something that I’ve held back for a long time because it’s not that far back in TV time land. Now, Richard Dean Anderson just knocks my socks off with his portrayal of MacGyver in the named TV show. I first watched this on UK Freeview and it just swept me out. so much so, that I rushed out a purchase for all 139 episodes of the show from 1985 to 1992.

Each episode is carefully and skilfully written, with all the ingredients needed for a successful production, those of action, help and love, just where its most needed. It’s a show that has youth, vitality and conviction. This is a young adventurer who believes guns are a menace, a downfall to humanity, and that people are more valuable than bullets. Perhaps, that’s a gospel we should all try and live by.

I’ve not watched the later remake of the series starring a different ac…

Happy Memories of Early Television...

Tales of Wells Fargo… 1957-1962 NBC

It all came back to me over the years, when I sat down to watch a disc of the opening series of ‘Tales of Wells Fargo’ featuring Dale Robertson as the company’s investigator. I must admit, that I had rather forgotten these productions long ago and it was only the reference to Wells Fargo in another western that got me thinking to myself… “Wasn’t there, a western TV series entitled thus.

Well, a quick check with Amazon has now provided with a reasonable priced disc of the first series.
These 25 min slot fillers are an enjoyable romp, much in the style of ‘Whiplash’, with Dale as Jim Hardy giving justice to the company’s problems by a left handed gun belt or simple logic that is much of the backbone of any respectable and successful western.

Dale Robertson’s lay back, easy going style, is quite engaging. An approach, I feel, that was very much of his own real life character. A man that women loved and men admired and who only recently departed from us…

Happy Memories of Earlier Television...

Raffles 1977 ITV Studios

Now, this really does go down memory lane and with such class and sparkle. Anthony Valentine features as the charismatic Victorian jewel thief ‘Raffles’ ably assisted in his exploits by dear friend ‘Bunny’ played beautifully by Christopher Strauli in an adaption of E.W.Hornung’s original stories.

This is a wonderful step into the past with Raffles becoming a modern day Robin Hood, the poor really being himself and ‘Bunny’ who with their extravagancies were broke. This is no Toby Myers. This is Anthony Valentine as a most charming character.

This is my second outing with this complete boxed set and again it takes no prisoners. A lovely romp into an era that simply takes you into another gentlier world.

Yes, I’m at it again with another ‘name dropper’ A lovely guy, I photographed many years ago who had appeared on ‘The Golden Shot’ a number of times was TV’s Mr Pickpocket ‘Mark Raffles.’ He and wife Joan hold many happy recollections for me. I pictured Mark back …

Happy Memories of Earlier Television...

Cadfael 1994-98 ITV Studios

You know, this was a series I missed the first time round, guess, I was doing other things. Ellis Peters books were truly brought to life with Sir Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of Brother Cadfael for Independent Television in the UK.

Sitting back with a boxed set, each episode just swarms over you, it’s as if you were there back in time, all those years ago, in the backdrop of medieval Shrewsbury.

The research by Author Ellis Peters (her Pen Name) must have been quite meticulous, in having studied in great detail the lifestyle of these Monks, whose Monastery was positioned close to a fortress castle that gave protection to the nearby village folk.

The Television screenplay works at an engaging easy pace woven into a strong style of high drama. It’s not always for the squeamish, me for one! as one of Cadfael’s duties as a Monk is to act as potholigist and apothecary for the many unfortunates of the time. It’s always worth averting your eyes for a moment or two, t…

Happy Memories of Early Television...

I’ve just settled into the very first series of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” I remember these from years ago and being made solely for television screening. I’ve always been a fan of his work, which has often been very forward thrusting and certainly mind catching. These 30 min TV slot fillers are intriguing little stories with Alfred introducing the plot and also summing up at the end. This in itself is a great treat. There is much written about this man, so lets not go down that road, only to say, the guy had directed films successful for Gainsborough in the 30’s and when they threw in the towel, he was left at a loss, thankfully American Studios realised the genius in him and brought him to Hollywood, and where he directed many of his life-long features.

Happy Memories of Early Television...

You know, I’ve just worked myself thru my complete series of ‘Callan’ and realised this is just as hard hitting as when it surfaced on our screens back in the 70s. It was based on an earlier ‘One-Off’ without the trimmings. The single-minded callousness of the characters portrayed, held its togetherness, even today in a very different world, it could almost have been written recently. The charismatic Edward Woodward, a killer with a heart, matched perfectly with the sheer single-mindedness of Anthony Valentine as Toby Myers, and both judged over by William Squire as Hunter. You might say, this would be more appealing to a male audience, but I’m not so sure. Ok, my mother was not so keen on it, but many women, I’ve learnt since, liked the rugged charm of Edward Woodward as ‘Callan’ and the ‘High fee luting’ style of Anthony Valentine in portraying the character of Toby Myers. I remember, myself and ‘HG’ (my dad) and ‘M’ (Marilyn my partner) and her dad (Alfred) settling down very well…