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Past Caring
by Ian Curtress

It must have been beautiful in its day, vast views to the hills from the front and a sun dappled wood protecting it from the rear.
But now the cottage was almost a ruin awaiting to be swallowed by time.
It was by chance I found it, my walks are far side of the woods and on that day I was in good spirits and ventured much further than usual.
I stood for quite a while trying to visualise its past.
Garden full of colour, someone leaning on the gate. Their little heaven.
I couldn’t get the picture out of my mind and in due course tried to discover its history.

Shire Hall and planning were helpful when they could see I was genuinely concerned and said they would let me know when information became available.
A month past when I was asked to call into planning when I had time.
It appears as far as records could tell, it was last occupied over ninety years ago when a very elderly man was discovered dead by a vagrant. He was asking for any work on a local farm and told of the dead man.
By the time the body was recovered it was impossible in those days to confirm cause of death and an open verdict was given. No identification or records were ever found.
However, it appears the estate was owned by a Capt.Andrews and his Wife. He was killed in the Boar war and having no heirs or family she sold the estate but kept enough to build a cottage. No record of her after that time.

I could not get him or the cottage out of my mind and being retired had time to pursue the situation further and in due course I went back the the cottage.
Stepping over rubble and broken timbers I gained entry.
There were no recognisable signs of furniture, things had been taken over the years.
Access to upstairs was impossible as stairs had collapsed.
I stood in this shambles of what must have been a lovely sitting room with the suns rays casting shadows on crumbling walls trying to visualise what might have been.
Incongruous. Some logs were by the large open fireplace.

I read too many mystery novels! Like a fool I went to the fireplace and started feeling all around the chimney, they always find something in their stories.
Well truth is stranger than fiction. I could just touch a tin but not grip it.
Looking around for a suitable stick I was able to dislodge it and there in my hand a dirty, sooty but undamaged tin.
With fumbling hands I managed to open it.
There, in good condition was a Queens South Africa Medal. Pvt.J.Granger.
Together with a lovely lock of curly golden hair.
Was the body that of Pvt.J.Granger. Was he Batman to Capt.Andrews ? Did the golden curls belong to Mrs.Andrew’s ?
If so, are you thinking what I’m thinking ? I’d like to think so.
I carefully replaced everything as it was.
It was only right they should stay together…..
The Medal, the Golden curls and the Cottage.