Well, the last re-incarnation was a bit of a flop but I think I’m going to be okay this time.
I’m an Archduke! I’m called Franz Ferdinand (just like the band)!
Best of all I’ve escaped an assassination attempt so surely I’m in the clear!
Earlier this morning I was out with my dear wife in our chaufer-driven limousine, enjoying the sights of Sarajevo when some fool threw a grenade at us. Luckily his aim was not true and he ended up detonating the poor couple in the car behind!
Naturally, we continued on to the soiree at the Governor’s house. Great fun. My wife insists that we should go and visit the survivors of this morning’s attack at the hospital so it’s back to the car we head now…. I suppose we should let the bodyguards know about the changed itinerary but I’m sure everything will be fine without them.
The reason for my recent absence from the blogosphere was that I was visiting my hometown and its surroundings in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Whilst there I had a Grand Reunion with an old schoolfriend (and fine sculptor). I took the opportunity to drop in some canvas prints at his Craft Barn (see below). You should experience no more disruption until my Grand Exposition next easter.
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The Grand Oak in the grounds of Bolt Hall has a very eventful history.
Grown from an acorn planted by King Charles I, it came into the possession of the Albertines when it was gifted to them when William of Orange lost the whole lot in a card game.
Later used as a hiding place by Queen Victoria during the Empire Games of 1882 (she finished 2nd and had the winner summarily executed), the tree now has an additional place in history- as the site of the murder of Hercules Bleriot.
Bleriot was found hanged by the neck, his body riddled with bullet holes and a huge knife wound. He was later found to have ingested a huge amount of aresenic.
A number questions arise:
Will this story please reach a swift conclusion?
Well, the Grand Ball passed by without a hitch and Lady Evelyn’s jewels remained safely around her neck.
The evening’s guests dispersed in a fairly ordinary manner, leaving just six people in the house overnight-
Hercule Bleriot himself,
Bleriot’s faithful assistant, Miss Le Mans (a plain looking woman with no backstory whatsoever),
Catastra Albertine, Lady Evelyn’s daughter,
Inspector Ray Stings of Scotland Yard
and the family’s faithful retainer, Charlie Edams.
‘I rather fear,’ said Bleriot in a thick cod-French accent, ‘zat zis is not the last we shall hear of the fiend who goes by the name of The Big Cheese, mes amis!’
Everyone made their way to their respective bed chambers, none suspecting that only five of them would remain come the morning.
The first guest to arrive on that fateful weekend was Hercules Bleriot, the great European detective whose quick-witted sleuthing had solved many grand thefts and murders down the years, often making the local police force, and in many cases Scotland Yard themselves, look like bumbling nincompoops.
Lady Evelyn Albertine had invited Bleriot to thwart the the theft of her precious jewels which was scheduled to take place that Sunday evening, according to a bravado-fuelled letter from master criminal The Big Cheese, during a Grand Ball.
Bleriot’s early arrival allowed him time to set to work waxing his moustache before joining the assembled throng to assess them for a propensity for grand larceny.
Not a physical one this time- just a departure in style. This caused me no end of difficulty and resulted in a huge delay to this post, so I offer you my sincere apologies.,,
Today we return to Netherford, home of yesterday’s disastrous performance from The Owl Leapers.
Just outside the village of Netherford lies Bolt Hall, the ancestral home of the late Lord Albertine and now the domicile of his widow, Lady Evelyn.
We see her here engaged in conversation following an afternoon tea with Father McVickers, the parish priest. Little do they know that they are about to become embroiled in the murderous events surrounding The Strange Affair of Bolt Hall.
Heading this post, you’ll see the original illustration which may give you a slight indication of the length of the arduous journey to reach this point.