The Blue Summer House
The photograph showed her mother standing on the slipway outside of the boathouse wearing only a pair of rowing shorts
In the background holding a pair of large wooden oars was her father smiling broadly at the camera
Peter was next to her mother toasting her with a glass of red wine
Oh why did they not use white white wine
Gate thought as she walked swiftly towards the ornamental bridge
She had decided to keep the photograph under lock and key in her lacquered Japanese box
Gate left the house silently and waked across the dew damp lawn towards the blue summer house. It’s door had not locked for years and she let herself into the main room
It smelt vaguely of her mother’s perfume
Two glasses of whiskey has been left carelessly on the low table and it was then that Gate noticed that Peter had also left his jacket which was hanging from a hook
Both of the jacket pockets were stuffed full of paper and Gate curious as to their content pulled the sheets free
On examination she could see that they were written in both Italian and German
She did not speak or read Italian but spoke and read German well having spent six months in the country the previous year
She began to read what she soon found out to be an account of the murder of two gypsies in a town not far from the city of Frankfurt
Although shocked and sickened at the description of the atrocity she read the account fully
She also found a number of letters from a man known only as Franz in which he described the measures being taken to intimidate the Jews in Germany
She imagined that the Italian documents followed the same pattern
Gate felt for Peter’s wallet and found it in his inside pocket
It contained fifteen pounds and list of meetings that were scheduled to be held at various locations
Peter had ticked six that were to be held in the Home Counties
It was as she was putting the wallet and its contents back that a small photograph dropped out
Tuppence Gate and Little Kate lay in the blue summerhouse watching the waves of wheat in the distant fields break against the idle trees
Their languid occupation was interrupted by a shout from the main house
Dinner was ready
I wonder how many of you care to dream about my sweet sweet Celandine
Oh shut up Kate that is such a sad song and you know that poor Celandine drowned in this very lake
And for an instant everything was orange
The trees opposite her bedroom were orange
A passing bird had adopted the colour as had the hills in the distance
Everything was orange
It was a magical moment on an otherwise dull day
Wrote Tuppence in her diary that evening
She hid it under her pillow so that her sisters would not discover it
Do you know that the word kiosk comes from the Turkish and means a summer house?
How did you know that?
I found it in my book of Byron’s poems
A moth that has been resting on one of the beams looked down at the sisters
It had learnt its first word of Turkish
Gate was wearing her mother’s rowing shorts and the singlet she had worn when she won her Olympic Silver medal
Her mother never spoke of her triumph as if she was ashamed of it
Both Tuppance and Gate rowed but they knew that they would never achieve the standard required to represent their country
She could see Peter walking along the shoes of the lake towards her
She knew that as she was dressed in her mother’s rowing kit that he would question her intention
An event called Picnic in the Park was held by the National Trust at Chatterick House between the 29th of June and the 1st of July 2015
The members had hoped for the success of the event and that the weather would be fair
They need not to have worried
Why are you wearing your mother’s rowing kit?
Peter looked at the lake at the thinning Celandine mists
Did you remove some papers from my jacket that I left in the summer house?
Did you read them?
Only the German ones I do not read Italian
Are you aware of their sensitivity?
Where are they now?
In the lake
You threw them in the lake?
Did you find the photograph also?
Your mother and I have been lovers for a number of years now
What about father?
He is aware of the situation and approves
I do not believe you
He has his lovers also
Gate did not reply at once she knew that her parents tended to be away for periods of time but they never seemed to be away at the same time
She had caught her father talking to Kitty in her bath which all seemed quite innocent at the time but now seemed a little more suspicious
Was Kitty my father’s lover?
Does my mother have any more lovers apart from you?
Not that I am aware of
What did you do my wallet and the money?
I buried your wallet over there by the summer house
And the money?
I gave the money to the Polar Bears who were passing at the time
At that exact moment many miles away off of the northern shores of Canada a Polar Bear and his family were sailing towards to the wastelands on the iceberg that they had just purchased
Are you angry with me?
No not at all
I thought you would be were the papers important?
You have a sharp brain Agatha you know they were
I am sorry but I was so angry with you after seeing mummy’s photograph
Do you know what is happening in the world today?
It is only because of brave people such as your mother and father that the world will be saved from the Bolsheviks and the filthy Jews
Is that why father visits Germany so often?
Yes there are wonderful things happening in Germany and Italy right now
But what about the gypsies that were murdered?
They are sub-human mongrel a sub species created by centuries of inbreeding just like the niggers in Africa
But they were murdered
To have a new world order they there will need to be casualties do you ever watch the creatures around this lake not all of them survive only the strong survive and that is why year after year this lake and the grounds around Chatterick remain the same
If this was altered then the balance would be upset and the conqueror worm would rule
It would be chaos
So you are saying that this is the order of things?
In as way yes nature has had the answer for centuries
But intelligent man is always hindered
His drive has always been halted by the sub species the Bolsheviks the niggers the filthy Jews and the like
Our Empire at this very moment is under threat
It could vanish in a generation
You would not like it if our monarchy was overthrown would you?
Well that is what happened in Russia they shot their royal family in cold blood
If we do not act then people like you and your sisters will be next you will be raped and murdered by the savages
Chatterick will cease to exist and important families such as yours will be consigned to history
Gate began to feel frightened and wished that she was swimming with Celandine in the lake
Why is happening now?
Why was Herr Hitler not born in Russia at the same time as Lenin they are open questions
Are you going to tell my father?
Why I destroyed your important papers and gave your money to the Polar Bears
You know the answer Agatha
Because of my mother
Yes you are so like your mother
Are you going to tell my father?
You know that I have to as the papers you destroyed were very important the money can be replaced but the papers cannot be so easily replaced
Then go ahead
They will be very disappointed in you
They already are
The sisters lazed on the cushions in the summer house the gramophone was playing in the background
Little Kate suddenly walked over to the pile of records in their brown paper covers and began sorting them out looking at each composer in turn
Byrd, Beethoven, Monteverdi and there is one called Victoria just like our cook
His name was Tomas Luis De Victoria and he was a Spanish composer
How did you know that?
I just knew it
You know everything Gate
Tuppence often says that is true
The legend of Celandine had existed since the 1870s when a visitor to the great house drowned in a tragic boating accident on the lake
She had persuaded her cousin to take her out even though her parents forbade such an adventure
The rowboat which had not been fit for its purpose overturned and both cousins were cast into the deep waters
Tragically possibly due to weight of her clothing Celandine disappeared under the surface and was drowned
The lake was drained but no trace of her body was found
But she was buried by the gamekeeper who found her some three weeks and for reasons best known to himself buried her near the large oak tree at the southern end of the lake
He took this secret to the grave
In 1964 when the drainage system was being replaced a skeleton was found near to the lake but it was not Celandine but a Royalist who was murdered at the house during the Civil War
The following year the sisters gave the house to the National Trust only retaining the lodge and a few outbuildings
Iit was during the building of a new visitors centre in 2010 that Celandine’s remains were finally uncovered
She was given a Christian burial at the chapel on the estate
Each of the sisters attended her rest and visited their mothers grave
It was notiedfrom that day forward that the Celandine mists never re-appeared low over the lake even on the most acceptable of days
The Turkish speaking moths were a great attraction at Chatterick House no-one knew why they spoke the language
This was a mystery even to the sisters
Gate had never been particularly religious especially after her mother died in an air raid in 1941
It was only when her father died in 1955 that she learned the truth about her mother’s death which had been reported in The Times as being the result of a direct hit on a hotel in Bayswater where she had been staying
His papers revealed that she had died with Peter whose death had not been reported
The lovers had been together in the Bayswater hotel when the German bomb landed
She saw the irony
Her mother had been buried on the estate but her father also revealed that whereabouts of Peter’s last resting place
The Jewish Cemetery in Mile End
He was a one of the filthy Jews that he so hated
She thought God must have a sense of humour and therefore must exist
Her sisters were not aware of why God had entered Gate’s life and believed it was because their mother had died young during the war
Only Gate knew the truth
On the 1st of July 2015 the United Kingdom experienced very high temperatures as hot air had been drawn up from Africa
Gate was standing on the slipway in front of the boathouse looking at the photograph that she had stolen nearly eighty years previously
A young man approached her
Do you know the way to the Jazz Stage?
I am afraid I do not
I was due to meet my friends there but have become hopelessly lost
It is a very large estate
Do you know if well?
I used to live here in the great house
Yes my father owned the house and the surrounding area I spent a majority of my childhood here
It must have been idyllic
For the most part yes but all good things end
Gate handed the young man the photograph
The woman was my mother she was an Olympic medallist before the last war
I can see the resemblance
You are too kind young man I am ninety three whereas my mother was in her mid-thirties when that was taken
What was her name?
She looked quite bronzed
The summers then always seemed to be hot just like today
Were you named after your mother?
No my name is Agatha although everyone calls me Gate
My name is Michael, Michael Fallon
It has been very nice to meet you Mr Fallon do enjoy the Picnic in the Park my house deserves you and the young people
The young man smiled and handed the photograph back to Gate
As he took the path leading away from the boathouse he was greeted by a rather tall girl in a lime dress
They hugged and eventually vanished into the trees
The lake was calm as it has been for many years
Gate did not expect to see a mist
She looked towards the site of the blue summer house which had been demolished by the National Trust as it had become unsafe
She thought she heard music playing from its site but it was the music from the festival in the grounds nearer to the house
Gate walked past the summerhouse towards the gatekeeper’s lodge where she met both her sisters who had been waiting in the shade as the heat had been so fierce
The house has changed but not by much
I think the National Trust is boing a wonderful job
It is a pity that the blue summer house had to go
We had such happy times there
Even we will at some stage
Not too soon I hope as days like this are so precious