Bonfire of the Vanities Michael Fitzalan

Book Number 10 – Ghost Storey by Michael Fitzalan

If you have never been to the west coast of Ireland, perhaps, you may not be able to appreciate the glorious green of the perfect pastures. From the verdant verges to the gently rolling undulations of the hills, the country looks like it was blanketed in the colour that gives the republic its name, the Emerald Isle.

Around the place, there are the dry-stone walls, feats of amazing engineering, rocks of tremendous size piled high one upon another in such a skilful pattern that they stay upright, a boulder barrier between fields.

Every silver lining has a cloud and Ireland’s gloomy, grey skies put off many settlers. Then, there’s the rain, the rain, the rain; you need an awful lot of water to get green as vivid as the colour of the landscape and does it pour; it pours, drumming on the roof; it pours, sluicing along the gutters; it pours, gurgling down the drainpipe. You do not visit Ireland for the weather.

Opportunities lie in the successful cities:

Dublin, Cork, and Galway to name a few. New offices for tech and services have replaced the old timber and linen mills, ghosts from the past.

So, what does Ireland have in spades? Its history and its beauty. Is it enough, though in a country bled of its population, in the famine and, by subsequent emigration to busier places? They say that Ireland is a great place to visit, and the education is very good indeed but to live there takes a certain fortitude and a love of water: streams, lakes, rivers, and rainwater, running down your neck, soaking your cuffs and leaking into your boots.

Our story is not about the place, as such, but a building within that setting.

There are cutesy cottages and fine rambling mansions like the Guinness’s old place, Ashford Castle, though those are few and far between. On the west coast of Ireland, where our story takes place, many have been preserved, others rot as the ground around them claims the brick back to its birthplace, deep within the clay soil.

Our story concerns one such glebe. The only glebe with a ghost.

A ghost that lives in the room on the half landing, a mirror image of the room on the other side but through generations its presence has made itself known. If you feel that ghosts do not exist, read on. If you have ever suffered some of the exceptional experiences that fill my story, you will know, now, that you are not alone.

Ghosts exists.

They are not just in your head.

My ghosts stack up like the storeys of a building, one floor after another. Some of them I have inherited from my mother, the ghost in the bedroom, her survival, my grandfather’s ghosts, the ghosts of friends who helped me when they lived, the ghosts who helped from beyond the grave. Moreover, however, haunting feelings that my life should have been better or that I could have given back more swirl in my mind.

All these storeys have a moral, which you can easily discover. Do you tell stories to teach your young and learn from your old? What ghost stories stack up in your life and are there more storeys than you can count in the haunted house that is your mind?

Here I share mine.

Buy the book here


A well respected author

Michael Fitzalan was born in Clapham, South London where his mother had established a doctor’s surgery in a house which she filled with children.

With three sisters, two brothers and a library full of books, a love of literature was imbued in him from an early age.

Michael Fitzalan comes from Irish parents were doctors and they settled on the West Side of Clapham Common and had six children in quick succession.

A story by Michael Fitzalan

Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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