William Walsh was a man in his early fifties and still waiting patiently for a Bride. William enjoyed Country Walks and often came across interesting places locally and bumped into other walkers to chat with and receive tips from them of places to go.
These places were often family Halls from yesteryear and although he saw these Halls, some whole and some part standing, they were privately owned and not open to the public all year round. Some of the Halls were open part of the year to the public but they were far from walking distance.
You see William was poor and had little spare cash to catch a bus to faraway Halls, but the one big Hall he had been told about by two walkers one Sunday a few years before when he was in his forties, he had decided to do some research on. He made it his goal to own it but he had seen it up for sale on the internet for over four million pounds which was far out of his reach.
This was a surprise for William and he felt dejected! It would have been perfect to own and attract a Bride. William made it a dream of his to own the Hall one day, whatever it took, by finding a good job and investing part of his wages into a savings account to gain interest on his savings. This seemed plausible to himself but an estate agent he told about it probably thought it was folly.
Anyway William dreamed on, and he felt that it would be his home one day.
William never knocked on the door of the Hall when he walked there, as he felt that would be intrusive to the owners. One day when he was fifty he plucked up the courage to knock on the door of the farm that was attached by ground to the Hall and asked the nice lady there who it was who lived at the Hall.
She kindly took William to the back entrance of the Hall where he met the lady of the Hall who gave William a lift back up the the steep hill. In the car the lady chatted with William and he was even more determined to own the Hall and when he alighted the car, he thought, “I’ll own that Hall some sunny day in the not too distant future!”
William realised a job wouldn’t pay enough so he thought of another way as he was skilled in computer programming but had not yet sold any of the software he had written as a hobby over the years since he dropped out of college.
The nice lady of the Hall, who’s name he forgot to ask, said it was okay to go to the Hall again at times. One Saturday afternoon, William changed his tune about having to buy the Hall and attracting a Bride as he felt that finding a Bride could be done before owning the Hall as he knew it would be better with a lady to build a fortune with.
On that Saturday, William walked to the Hall by himself. When he arrived at the Hall, there was a young woman sunning herself in the large front garden. The young woman beckoned William over and introduced herself as Martha.
William told her that he had visited before and Martha told him that it was her Mum she had met, also named Martha. Martha junior told William that she was on summer break from college studying History and waiting for her exam results. So William told her all about the history of the Hall where she lived.
Whilst doing his research on the Hall he found that a man, Edward Walsh had been killed in a duel by Thomas Osbaldeston who was outlawed in 1606 for murder, so learning William’s surname when he told her, Martha junior joked that the Hall could really belong to William in revenge, which made William laugh.
Then, just for fun, William told Martha junior that the Hall was haunted by the ghost of Edward Walsh. This just made Martha junior laugh with the quip, “You’re not scared of ghosts are you? I haven’t seen it!”
William knew there was more to it.
Martha junior asked William if he’d like to see the summer house which is visible on the way to the Hall. William thought how romantic that would be with the right lady.
They walked to and entered the light green summer house and Martha junior started to reveal herself and confided in William, “I’m not too keen on my parents, I prefer being at college away fom them, I can’t wait for them to die so I can own the Hall!”
This statement startled William, and he kind of hoped that Martha junior was just kidding. Martha junior was not just kidding. A bad streak ran through her which William thought he could soften.
William decided to take his leave, and Martha junior walked to the top of the steep drive with William where there is a riding stable. “See you next weekend?” Martha junior exclaimed.
William saw this as a good point in her and said he would see her to chat to her again. William had a week to do some thinking but look forward to, and Martha junior gave William her mobile phone number to text her during the week to explain more about the history of the Hall.
Martha junior told her parents about William when she arrived back at the Hall and Martha senior remembered him and all three were particularly interested in the ‘Ghost Story!’ That night they all went to bed more intrepidly; Mum, Dad and Martha junior having being told about a bloodstain from the duel of about four centuries since.
William walked home to his one bedroom flat, tiny in size towards the Hall, nearer in size to the little green summer house near the Hall! William texted Martha junior to say he had arrived home okay and thanked her for her company.
Martha junior texted him back, and told him there was no sign of the ghost but that it made her feel a little closer to her parents now! William was inspired and decided to write some software as a guide to Old Halls.
William started to feel better about his prospects for finding work that he liked doing and was skilled at.
The week went quickly and it was a sunny Saturday again. William was excited to go to the Hall as Martha junior had texted him that her parents would be out all day.
Martha junior also added that she would show William the ins and outs of the Hall and that her parents were thinking of opening the Hall for Tours for the Public which they had not done previously.
This was great news for William as he felt he could help Martha junior with Hall Tours at the weekend breaks that Martha junior took from college should she pass her exams. Martha junior was worried about receiving her end of year exam results as she wasn’t so confident that she had passed them all and may have to take resits which meant more revision. They were due to arrive by post by next weekend she informed her new mate.
William pulled on his walking boots and they seemed to feel comfier than usual and he more or less marched from his small home to the large Hall only a few country miles away.
Martha junior was sunbathing again, modestly dressed and was glad to see William as he walked down the long steep drive. William had brought a book with him that gave a detailed history of the family who resided at the Hall through the centuries.
William also had another book somewhere in his tiny flat saying that an Anglo-Saxon King had lived there and somewhere about the Hall there could be hidden treasure.
William kept the hidden treasure secret from Martha junior as it could just be a story, being hardly nice to dig up the floors of the Hall to find nothing there. After a Tour of the Hall by Martha junior for William with high ceilings and long rooms, they decided to take the short walk to the summer house taking soft drinks with them as opposed to cold beers. It would hardly be right to walk home along country lanes feeling drunk.
Martha junior was glad to see William in one piece after a week of looking for work and the sandwiches made by her Mum and herself were enjoyed by both Martha junior and William and would give him energy for the short trip home, which he was now used to.
Whilst they both relaxed in the summer house with small talk, mainly about the good points of friends known to each of them, William thought deeply about the supposed hidden treasure, there being a rule of a 50/50 share should he find it. It could be in value enough to purchase the Hall, on agreement with Martha junior’s parents. It would be a good thing to think over while hunting for a job.
They whiled away a few hours lazing in the sun and Martha junior flicked through the book about old crested families. It was soon time for William to leave before dark and Martha junior told him it would be great to have his company the next weekend when her exam results would hopefully have arrived.
William looked for work that week, more steadfastly, and managed to get an interview with a Tech Company for a job of fifteen hours a week. It was on the Friday that he received a letter saying that he had been successful in his application and could start on the following Monday.
William rang the Tech Company to accept the job and he was told it was three hours per day in the morning, Monday to Friday. William texted Martha junior about the job and she texted back, “Great News! See you tomorrow!”
William arrived at the Hall on the Saturday to find Martha Junior already in the little green summer house with soft drinks to replenish William after his walk through Country lanes. Martha junior was a little dejected as she had failed two of her end of year exams in her course at college and would need to resit them. William told her he would help her as much as possible in her revision which he felt he would enjoy as he had self-studied history books over the years.
William was finding it difficult to keep the secret of the hidden treasure as they chatted freely. It was too much for him to keep it back and he blurted it out to Martha junior as they chatted. A bright smile came over Martha juniors face at the news and she thought for a while then blurted back, “Wow, I won’t tell my parents!”
William was glad about this and the two of them chatted about the possible treasure and what and where it could be. They decided that the best way to keep it secret between themselves would be for William to buy a metal detector and bring it to the Hall when Martha junior’s parents were out for the day.
They went for a walk around the garden and Martha junior mentioned that her parents were thinking about employing a Butler in a view to helping out with chores in the old-fashioned way and William kept this in mind.
Country Walkers often passed by the summer house about 40 yards away on the way to see the river that ran at the back of the Hall. Martha junior and William would wave to them and they wondered how intrigued the walkers would be to know that they were near some hidden treasure.
Fishermen also drove past looking eager to catch a fish or two fom the freshwater river. The Hall and its situation next to a river made William much more determined to have it as a home one day. William saw potential in the Tech Company job in coming up with a fresh idea.
This was his last weekend with Martha junior before starting a job but he was sure he would still have the energy to walk to the Hall of his dreams.
William was up early on the Monday morning to get ready for work and he arrived at his workplace at five to nine. The Boss introduced William to the two other workers in the fairly small office, they were named Michael and Yusuf and the Boss’ name was Richard.
Once the introductions were over Richard showed William to his place where a laptop computer was stationed and Richard gave William an instruction sheet on programming in Java that would fill the three hours. William finished the instruction sheet in two and a half hours and spent the other half hour talking to Richard in his private office, bouncing ideas off each other. William and Richard were around the same age and they reminisced cheerfully about the the computers of the 1980s.
It was soon time to go home and William had enjoyed his tasks at work and looked forward to the next day at work using Java. William texted Martha junior about how he had enjoyed his first day at work for the Tech Company and Martha junior texted back how glad she was about it.
William sailed through the week at work as there was always something new to do as well as working in a small team.
On the Saturday he felt a bit chirpier because of the possibility of creating enough wealth to buy the Hall but also William had found out on a family tree website that Edward Walsh who had been murdered by Thomas Osbaldeston, who’s sister was married to Edward all that time ago, was related to his very self, William Walsh. “It’s a long shot!” thought William.
William decided not to tell anyone of this blood relation, not even Martha junior or Richard, his new Boss. Things were looking up for William. He had been shopping on the Friday evening in a much better but devious mood, smiling to himself and others.
William was no longer poor as his part-time job paid well and was much more in value than his benefit money had been. When he reached the summer house of the Hall, Martha junior was busy revising there, for her two resit exams, with a pile of history books and noting things down. This time she was relieved to see William and put her books down and stood up.
William was glad to see this, they were good friends now and able to trust each other. Martha junior walked to meet William halfway and told him she had some good news, “Mum and Dad would like to know if you could be their Butler in the afternoons when you are not working?”
“Yes, of course! I’ll need to talk to them first as I haven’t met your Dad yet!”, William didn’t have to think twice about it. They walked to the Hall and Martha junior’s Dad was chopping wood for the fire. He stopped his work and shook hands with William and introduced himself as, “Stephen!”
All three of them walked to the large front door of the hall and entered. Martha senior had prepared cakes and tea to drink and welcomed William with, “Nice to see you again!”
They discussed the hours and pay and what work was involved. They already had a Maid who worked Monday to Friday afternoons so there would always be company for him.
William left that afternoon with more to look forward to, and now he felt he need not be so devious as he would be at the Hall more often and he liked the owners more now. He just wondered what the Maid was like.
When Monday came, William finished his work of three hours in the morning at the Tech Company and then caught a Taxi to the Hall, which was payed as expenses, without having his lunch as meals would be provided.
William alighted the Taxi and walked down the long drive. Martha junior was back at college to sit her two resit exams and when he arrived at the Hall he was greeted by the Maid, Maria, a lady in her thirties, he guessed, who looked Spanish or Italian, and when he asked, Maria told him she was Spanish.
Martha senior and Stephen, the owners, were out for the day. Maria had prepared a salad meal for herself and William and they started to chat. William found that Maria was single and liked horseriding. As William had never rode a horse before, he asked Maria to teach him sometime. William imagined himself as a cowboy which made Maria laugh. They were relaxed in each others company from the start.
Maria started to teach William some Spanish words and phrases, like “Hola Senor!” and “Hola Senorita!” but Maria spoke good English also. William managed to remember four of five phrases in Spanish, ones he had forgotten from secondary school, then it was time to get on with some work that the two did together.
William and Maria treated each other as equals, as did the owners when they came home in time for an evening meal. Maria had prepared a Lancashire Hotpot, the recipe of which she had learned from Martha senior, and they all tucked in and chatted. William was interested to know how Martha senior and Stephen had created their wealth but was too polite to ask, although he was kind of sure he’d find out one day.
Stephen and William played Pool in the Games Room for an hour after the meal, there was also a Snooker Table and Dartboard with a small Bar. William went back home at seven in the evening, after this first day of work at the Hall. He was driven to his flat by Martha senior who was easy to talk to and a good careful driver as Stephen had supped a couple of cans of lager whilst William kept to orange juice as he had work at the Tech Company in the morning.
Next day, William went to work at the Tech Company and time flew in anticipation of his new work with Maria at the Hall. When William arrived at the Hall, Maria was in a bright mood and told William that she had booked a lesson at the nearby Riding Stable for William and herself and it was ok to go that afternoon as Maria had received permission from Martha senior to take an hour off work each.
The lesson was booked for Three O’Clock in the afternoon and William was filled with joy, but it also felt a bit daunting. Maria and William had a salad lunch together and then did some cleaning. It was soon time for the Riding Lesson and they walked up the long drive to the Riding Stables.
There were two horses waiting for them, saddled and reined, and William’s heart started pumping faster as the Tutor welcomed them. First of all, the Tutor showed and explained what the equipment was for that was on the horses to William. Then Maria mounted her horse and told William to do the same. William was a little bit nervous but he managed to mount the horse with a leg up from the Tutor.
Once on the horse, William felt more comfortable and the Tutor led him slowly whilst Maria kept pace. They were both happy and smiling, William imagining he was a cowboy.
The Tutor steadily upped the pace and William enjoyed it much more. There was a circular movement with the rope guided by the Tutor and William had to guide the horse by the rein as told by the Tutor, gently. Maria followed side by side, her horse untethered. The hour of riding was soon over, then it came to the dismount.
Maria showed William how to dismount and William tried to do the same, but it was quite comical and a good job he was wearing a riding hat as he swung his leg too far and fell to the ground, clunking his head on the ground amidst the sawdust.
Maria ran to his aid but William was already pulling himself up from the ground. He was more shamefaced than bruised and just laughed it off, thinking “Better luck next time!”
One afternoon William told Maria about the hidden treasure and where it could be and trusted her enough to keep it secret. Maria told him that she wouldn’t tell a soul about the whereabouts of the treasure and found it intriguing.