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In search of MI5...

On Monday morning, I went in search of an MI5 office where, once long ago, an enemy double agent was caught. After he was interrogated and found guilty, he was hung by Britain’s last hangman, Albert Pierrepoint. If I lived in a lot of places, then there’d be a plaque to commemorate i, but I live in Poole, so it used to be in the upstairs room of a Thai restaurant that had a very nice looking menu, which has left me using my Kindle Unlimited subscription to borrow a cookbook to try some of the recipes at home.

I’m not going to say too much about what happened during the Second World War because something like it is going to feature in the next Esther and the Professor, but the amazing thing is that I came across it while I was looking for something else entirely to check a detail for the next Esther and the Professor book. It’s called ‘A Different Kind of War’ and it’ll be published in June so I’ll tell you more about it closer to the time.

It’s not every day you get a chance to find a former MI5 office so I couldn’t resist going to have a look while I was on my walk. Then I slid back in time in a way that’s very easy to do when you live in a place that has so much history that it doesn’t see any need to mention it, and an active present as well.

I love my walks along the Harbourside and then on down onto the Quay and seeing which ships are in and what the fishermen have caught and what’s going on. It’s even lovelier at this time of year, when the tourists haven’t arrived yet, because you can sometimes find a quiet spot and as good as feel the past waiting for its story to be told; or maybe that’s just my imagination? Poole used to have a lot of pubs and still does now. Some of them come complete with ghosts, others were coaching inns or provided bases for the Cockleshell heroes. Still others might just have benefitted from smuggled goods once upon a time, although obviously they’re all very law-abiding now! Some of them used to buy barrels of spirits, pay the customs duty on them, and then… oops they refilled them without remembering to pay the duty for a second time. I suppose it could happen to anyone, especially when they didn’t feel as if anyone up in London cared much about this part of the country so they didn’t get much for their taxes. And some things never change!

So I’ve made the most of what looks likely to be the best day of the week and come back with my mind full of things to develop into stories. I’ve watched the Lifeboat coming back into port to be greeted by a police car and an ambulance. I’ve seen the fishermen chatting while they mended their nets. I’ve watched the little yellow ferry boats heading off around the islands and I may have gloated ever such a little bit about the fact that people pay serious money to come and stay in a place that I can explore whenever I like.

Oh, and there was a VERY handsome tree surgeon working in the little copse of trees I walk through on my way down to Harbourside. He was more than happy to pause and have his tea break while he told me about some of the places where he’s had to clear blocked roads, and get bits of trees out of roofs of houses. I’m expecting a hero like him to turn up in Windy Bay but till then, here are this week’s special offers on at 99p in the UK and 99c in the US.

There are four from the Christians Cross series which is a cosy paranormal with a vampire heroine, a werecat, witches, archangels and a witch-hunting cop. These are Times Veil, Nature Strikes Back, No greater love and Mistletoe and Mischief. If I had to pick a favourite it would be Nature Strikes Back, in which the poor cop is cursed with tech-knowledgy, which means that gremlins infect everything he takes for granted. You don’t want to know what they can do to a waste disposal unit, and the duvet was almost as bad.

There are also two books that I’ve written under my Eleanor Neville pen name.

Twice Shy is a dark romance with mists, handsome heroes, unexplained bodies and hidden secrets and the Omega Problem is about a group of reluctant superheroes who may not have liked their old lives, but rapidly come to realise that they were a lot easier than the new ones.

Obviously, today’s picture has to be of the MI5 office that dates from World War Two. I’m assured that it isn’t there any more, but then they would say that, wouldn’t they? Have fun till we meet again and take care.


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