"Would you care for something to eat Mr…” Edith trailed off as she realised I hadn’t told her my name.
“That would be pleasant,” I said. “What have you got?”
“There’s biscuits, or I could cut some bara brith if you like. There’s jam and clotted cream.”
“What sort of biscuits?” I asked, never having heard of the second thing. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Wales (well, would you?)
“Shortcake,” she said, her lilting accent coming to a grinding halt on the last syllable.
“I’ll have the bara brith,” I said. I could never get the hang of shortbread. It wasn’t like a proper biscuit you could dunk in your tea. She pottered back into the kitchen and her cat, Mr. Timkins, wandered in, jumped to the back of her chair and proceeded to stare at me. I wondered who was inside it and whether I’d met them before.
“Here we are.” Edith pushed the other try to the side of the table to make room. “Do help yourself Mr…”
“Thank you,” I said. “The bara brith was a cross between a fruit loaf and a cake but held together long enough for me to slather it in jam and cream, although cheese might have gone better with it. It tasted like fly paper and arsenic, which was popular, I understand, in the 1920s among the upper gentry.
She watched me eat until the whole tray was empty. “Well,” she said. “You certainly got an appetite. Did you enjoy that?”
I shook my head. “Not really.”
She looked upset. “It was lovely in it’s own way, I said, but I miss the food from my old country.”
“Oh?” She looked mollified. “What was that?”
“Souls,” I said. “Grilled, smoked, boiled. Delicious any way you care to name, in fact.”
“I see.” She thought for a moment. “Are you staying long?”
“About another half an hour,” I said.
“I meant in Borth.”
“Oh,” I said. “No, not overnight.” The tea tasted funny. They probably added salt to the water or else took the fluoride out. I was already liking forward to getting back to Laverstone’s chemically treated water.
“That’s a pity. I think Jones the fish usually has sole in on a Wednesday.”
Jones the Fish? Had I strayed into some Cthulu inhabited village? I though he kept to New England. I’d have to have a word with the ancient gods.
“I’m afraid that’s unlikely,” I said. I settled back into the chair. “Now, you mentioned you had a lodger in the fifties?”
“Lydia Waters, yes. She was a lovely girl. Kept herself to herself mostly and spent most of her time wandering up and down the beach. Millie was the sweetest thing.
“Her daughter. She was a bonnie mite. You’d think she’d been left by the fairies she was so frail.”
So Lydia had a daughter. A daughter that would be a close match to Harold’s blood and a prime candidate for the maker of the poppets.
Until the morrow. X