station

This follows from (The Colonel part 3)

Henry spent a few days in London, he had to speak to his bank in Pall Mall. the n transferred his late Aunt’s money and was pleased to hear that his application for membership at the Planter’s Club had been accepted. He wrote a telegram to the station  master at Killinghall to book a transport, that is how he thought it was done. His room,  a small cabin in the Club suited him, a drink in the evening and some rather dismal food finished the day. Aga Jhan had been put up at the YMCA and followed Henry around, clutching parcels bound in string of new clothes, tobacco, books and strange electrical implements.

Spring was coming and as Henry walked through St. James’ Park he found new energy, the fresh air and the returning smiles of ladies to whom he raised his new trilby certainly helped. He looked handsome, his dark face and clipped step stood out, but so many did look like him back from India or the East.

Some days later they took the morning train to Harrogate where they would change to a branch line. It was dusk when they arrived at Killinghall. The journey had been tedious with restrictions on speed because of coal rationing. They seemed to have stopped everywhere, stations with names unknown to Henry and certainly to Aga Jhan. It was a small station at Killinghall and the Colonel and Aga Jhan were the only passengers to alight. The platform was unlit with dead plants in a concrete flower box, some fading posters urging all to save. Some loose newspaper sheaves fluttered and spun onto the line.

There was a glow from a window and they hoped for some assistance in getting transport but the station master was not to be woken, his booted feet up propped near a small boiler, a cooling mug of tea on a desk. Aga Jhan piled the suitcases onto a slatted trolley and pushed them out into the entrance. In the carpark solitary black car, still with the shaded headlights of the war flashed its sidelights as a message and Henry walked over and peered into the driver’s seat. A friendly looking woman looked out at him. She wore a tweed jacket and a silk scarf and smelt of cologne. It was Diana, the teacher from Horta.

‘Of course,’ he said his face reddening, ‘how very lovely and how did you know I was here?’

‘Well, news of the goings on in the village travels fast when there is not much else to talk about, my job is here, well it was so I thought I could be of help the station manager’s daughter is in my lodgings as awell so heard about the telegram. They don’t get many of those they told me so one thing led to another, I was a bit at a loose end so here I am, hop in!’

Henry slipped into the passenger seat and gripped his briefcase to his chest. Aga Jhan pulled the boot lid down and managed to stack at least two of the cases, the others rested on him in the back.

‘You needn’t have, but goodness this is a treat, had thoughts of taking a rickshaw’ he chuckled, ‘and I have no idea of what I might find, so much to think of, and all my shopping and what ever, I was in a muddle!’

They drove on, chatting like old friends and barely noticing that it was getting dark. The headlights fought the gloom and when Diana turned off through some gates and the car started to scrunch on the gravel they became silent. She stopped in front of the house, which appeared to have no lights on. Henry got out and stood looking up and around, he was suddenly afraid, frightened of what would happen next. The front door looked tight shut and a few leaves blew around his feet.

He could sense Diana standing next to him.

‘Glad you are here,’ he said, ‘what do I do now?’

‘Well let’s knock,’ and with that she strode over with a purpose. He liked that, reminded him of the old days and strong women.

 

One thought on “The Colonel (part 4)

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