HE WHO RIDES A TIGER

"HE WHO RIDES A TIGER" Chief petty office Peter Thompson the upstanding, charming gent hides a secret, he is an abuser of children. How long can he evade the law. one young girl, his daughter finds the courage to come forward to tell all after years of torment.. based on a true story. "A must read"

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“Hello Rose, very pleased to meet you said Peter finally, I feel I already know you Janet tells me everything.’

“Hello Mr Thompson.’

“You can dispense with the formalities Rose, just call me Peter.’

“I like to keep things formal, familiarity breeds contempt you know. Anyway, I have made a nice steak and kidney pudding, with boiled potatoes and carrots.

There’s some treacle sponge and custard for afters.

“That sounds mighty good to me Rose, thank you.’

“I guess you won’t be needing my services now that Mr, Thompson is home.’

“Well if your cooking is as good as Janet tells me, I think you can stay on.’

“Well then I’ll see you all in the morning then.’

“Thank you Rose.’

“See you tomorrow Rose, said Deborah Jane who ran to her and hugged her.’

“Now you be a good girl for your mammy and daddy now you hear. ‘Goodnight to you all.’

Rose walked to bus stop and waited for the number one to take her to her house. It was the same routine every night. She would make herself something to heat up in the oven. It was usually just a tin of soup or Irish stew to eat. She then headed to St Joseph’s Church for mass. Rose was part of the church society group who met once or twice a week to organise fund raising events for the church. She knitted cardigans and baked cakes for the stalls. Rose liked to read a lot and had a large collection of poetry all bought from the books sales that they held in the church. She had book shelves made in her bedroom to hold the two hundred or so books that she had collected.

Each night she would choose a book of poems by a favourite poet and sit in bed and read them before going off to sleep, tonight it was John Keates. Turning the pages Rose began to read.

 

TO HOPE

When by my solitary hearth I sit

And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom

When no fair dreams before “My mind’s eye” flit

And the bare heath of life presents no bloom

Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed

And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head

 

Rose read the rest of the poem allowing the words to wash over her, she sat back for a while taking in all the words. They danced around her head like butterflies in the summer sun.

Closing her eyes, she felt better now and the dark cloud of depression that engulfed and tormented her soul disappeared. Closing the book Rose turned out the light.

 

The congregation gathered in St Mary’s Church in Portsmouth for the funerals of Edward and Elizabeth Thompson and their unborn child Charles. There was only the Immediate family there as the Thompson family had a bad reputation and were not liked by many people from the area. If anything, they feared them. They lined the street as the hearse drove past many doffed their caps. There were some Edwards cronies from the pub present but they were there for one reason and that was the free drink afterwards. Even in grief the Oliver family sat away from the Thompson’s. They never liked the family and there had been bad blood long before Edward Junior had got with Elizabeth. When they found out about Edward seeing their daughter. Michael Oliver was furious. Edward was warned off. However, he was not deterred, Edward loved Elizabeth. He had known Elizabeth from when they were kids when they played in the street together. They went to the same school and Elizabeth gave him his first kiss at the tender age of only seven. As they grew up into their teens the feelings they had for one another became ever stronger and Edward promised Elizabeth that one day he’d take her away from the slum that they were living in.   Major Charles Barnet got up to say a few kind words about the couple. He couldn’t say a lot as he’d been sworn to secrecy about the farm by Elizabeth Thompson. He had found a buyer for the farm and had got a fair price for it. After the funeral Elizabeth gave Charles the deeds to the farm and he told her that the money would be transferred into her bank account within three days. Charles understood why Edward junior had wanted to get away from his family. The only decent one amongst them was his mother. He was practically ignored by Edward’s father who propped up the bar with his cronies and two sons. He was getting steadily drunk and loud. The more he drank the louder he got. Charles didn’t stay long at the wake and made his excuses and left.

“The church in Normandy have put up a little memorial in the church grounds if you ever get the chance to come over said Charles to Elizabeth who came to the door to show him out.’

“Thank you again for taking care of everything for me, I am eternally grateful to you.’

“It’s the least I could have done. Your son was a good man and his wife a lovely woman. I will never forget them.’ With that Charles shook Elizabeth by the hand and got into his car and drove away. Charles felt sorry for Elizabeth Thompson who had had to endure a life of misery with a drunken sot that was her husband. Maybe now that she had some money she would have the courage to leave him.

Many times, in the past Elizabeth had contemplated leaving her drunken abusive husband but had stayed because of the children. Now that they were all grown up there was no reason for her to stay.

Three weeks after the funeral Elizabeth Thompson left her husband and her two sons. She took a bus with a small case and headed for Scotland. Elizabeth always wanted to live there ever since she’d seen pictures of it on the fronts of toffee tins. Now she was actually going to live there. Edward would never dream that she’d have gone to live out the rest of her days in Scotland. She stayed in a B&B until she had time to go to an estate agent where she bought a small cottage in Dingwall near Inverness. The good thing about where she lived was, there was only eight cottages. It was a small village and it had a close-knit community. Mr and Mrs Dougal introduced her to the other villagers and it wasn’t long before she was going to Ceilidh dances and joining other community groups. she was never short of somewhere to go of an evening. She’d never had as much fun in the whole of her married life. It was as if a whole new world had opened up for her. Janice Dougal and Mary Bruce became good friends and they would bake and make things for the local church.

Elizabeth told them that her husband had died when they asked why she’d moved to Scotland.

Now sixty- three, she had her own pension and she drew the interest on her savings that kept her in a good lifestyle. She was able to buy new clothes and shoes. She even went on many trips out in the caravan that George Dougal owed with Janice. Mary would also come along for company. It was marvellous, it turned Elizabeth into a new woman. She was independent and didn’t need anyone. She certainly wasn’t missing Edward. She would often walk to Pefferside Park in the summer and visit the Highlight Bookshop where she would spend the afternoon looking through all the books.

George Dougal taught her how to drive and she bought her first car. It was a black Hillman Hunter. Elizabeth loved the freedom that a car gave her. She could go wherever she wanted. Janice and her went shopping in Duncanston every Thursday. They would stop off and eat some lunch at Robbie’ McLaughlin’s café afterwards. The good thing about living in the cottage was she only had to clean up after herself. The place kept really clean and she had a lovely garden to sit out in; It was nothing like the back yard in Portsmouth. After the first year of living in Scotland, Elizabeth tried to forget all about her family. After all her two remaining sons had treated her like a doormat, just like their father had. It was only Edward junior who had shown her any love or respect. Now he was gone. She planned to go over to Normandy on a holiday that summer. She had kept in touch with Charles Barnet. She told him that she’d left Edward and had moved to Scotland. She also told him of her plans to come over for a holiday. Charles wrote back saying that she was more than welcome to stay at the guest house. So, in July of that summer Elizabeth drove to the ferry terminal in Stranraer and sailed over to France. She had to buy a passport because she’d never been out of the country before. She was so excited. Charles met her at the dockside and she followed him as he drove to the farm.

 Charles introduced her to his wife Amaline and his daughter Alayna. There was a photo of her son on the sideboard with Elizabeth and Charles and she looked at it. Other photos of Edward and Elizabeth working on the farm were shown to her over a cup of tea and some freshly baked scones.  Later that afternoon Amaline showed Elizabeth to her room. After unpacking Charles and Amaline showed her around the farm. Jacques Duval came over that night and they talked over dinner. Elizabeth had drunk too much wine and was quite tipsy when she went to bed.

She slept until eight o’clock that morning. Amaline and Alayna were already up. Charles was out in the fields and Amaline was baking and clearing away the breakfast plates. Elizabeth asked if 

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