It’s a while since I shared anything from any of my books, but here is an excerpt from my next book, provisionally called ‘Winterdyke’ although it might be ‘Winterdyke Wash’… I haven’t quite decided! However, it’s quite unusual for me to have one title, let alone two at this stage – inspiration of what to call my books doesn’t usually arrive until it’s finished and well on its way to be published!
This is another Thomas Radwinter story. Thomas has been commissioned to write the history of a very wealthy family and while his own family are away, he is staying in the huge home of his very wealthy clients. However, as you might guess, there is more than genealogy being investigated here and Thomas is beginning to feel that he has been set up in some mysterious and obscure way. He’s trapped in the house – as is everyone, by snow. To try and clear his head he goes out to tramp around the outside of the house in the snow.
It was an absolute blizzard but I couldn’t bear to be inside and my head felt as dull and fuzzy as a dull fuzzy thing, so I stamped around, furious and missing my family.
I’m not sure how it happened, I obviously wasn’t concentrating and pretty much blind in the whirling snow, and I do sometimes have a left/right thing when I take the wrong turn, but somehow I realised that it was a long time since I’d gone round a corner and stopping, panting somewhat, looked round to see there was no sign of the house.
Bugger! Where the hell was I? I turned round, peering into the blizzard. The wind had come up and was driving the snow before it, but which direction it was coming from I had no idea… this could be dangerous, this could be very dangerous… I had been so cross I’d stomped on, bound up in my thoughts, and judging by the build-up of snow on the front of my jacket, I’d been stomping for some time.
I have a compass on my phone… wherever I was, the coast must be to the north, and the house must be between me and the coast, so if I headed north then at some point I should find some sign, a fence, a wall, with any luck the traces of the road… and ultimately the house.
I looked at the compass, turned round and keeping it firmly in my hand I headed north. When I’d arrived in my unknown stopping place, I’d come without any ups or down; now I had garden walls, lumps and bumps, shrubs covered in snow. I stumbled on… if I didn’t find where I was soon I would have to ring the house and have someone come out to find me.
I had my head down, just following the quivering needle on the compass which is why I nearly brained myself walking into the low bough of a tree, I sprawled full length in a cushion of snow and just lay for a moment… I was beginning to get tired now. Too many days sitting on my bum crouched over a computer, and too many five course meals…
It was quite comfy lying on the ground, but probably not a good idea so I clambered up and realised I’d walked in among some trees… there weren’t many where I’d literally bumped into one, but I could see the wooded area ahead. I’d walked through woods with Roland, but were they these woods? There was a bank of trees down by the road, there were the trees on the way to Lockey, and there were other clumps and copses…
Damn I would have to ring someone at the house… I moved further into the trees, at least I was sheltered from the wind, and I had a think… this would not look good, to go out and get lost in a snow storm…
I found a tree to lean against which sheltered me and stood, phone in hand, trying not to be too angry with myself, and too scared.
© Lois Elsden 2019
Her’s a link to my other Thomas Radwinter genealogical mysteries: