Michael Fitzalan  Ghost Storey Glebe

Ghost Storey Michael Fitzalan


Ghosts exists. They are not just in your head.

My mother’s Story

My mother was the first in our family to encounter the man shot in the half-landing bedroom.

George had taken the car to Galway driving the three children to collect some food for supper. Josephine was left alone in the house, a chance to relax. In the drawing room, the piano, polished to perfection, stood next to the sofa where she sprawled, finishing her book. A roaring peat and wood fire blazed in the grate; glowing brightly and emanating heat, driving out the damp and icy air. The peaty smoke sucked up the chimney left an earthy smell of bog behind.

The grandfather clock ticked away in the corner. The wide windows, one on the wall at the front of the house; the other on the side looked out over the wet fields. At the front of the house was a gravel drive that culminated in a circle allowing for carriages to turn around; at the side was an expanse of grass that led to a high dry-stone wall with a door in it.

Feeling secure, Jo relaxed. Dr. Murphy was on holiday, catching up on reading.

Outside the rain spat on the window, splattering onto the panes

It was 1956. Driving from London to Liverpool where the car had been winched by crane into the hold of a boat that sailed to Dublin harbour. Then, they decided to spend the night with Jo’s mother at Dundrum House, in Blackrock.  As a result, they arrived at Balinrobe in the late afternoon, the summer’s sunshine was making the road to glisten and the fields to glow green.

Within ten minutes, they were turning into the property, passing the gatehouse. Settling into the house, they were to spend their fortnight holiday in August at the house where George had been born. George’s father had received the house as a dowry.

Because Ireland won independence from England; the British authorities sold off lands and properties, and the glebe went up for sale.

George’s grandfather from his mother’s side was a wool merchant; and at the start of the First World War he had bought up huge quantities of wool bales; thinking troops of both sides would need uniforms and blankets. The price of wool went higher than he imagined. This gave him the cash to buy the glebe. In that way, Mile Hill House became the Fitzpatrick’s home. Lily and Patrick had two sons George and Henry.

George met Jo at the Royal College of Surgeons, felt inlove with Joe and then they married.

Deliberately, turning the page slowly, Jo realized she had finished her book, P G Wodehouse’s ‘Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit’. Having a walk, she saw to her left was the porch and front door, to her right was the wide staircase.

There was a thick carpet on the steps, and she walked upstairs, slowly and deliberately, enjoying the fact it was not steep like the one at home.

At the half landing, she could see the six paned window that overlooked the stable-yard at the back of the house, the hay barn, at the end, filling up the frame. There were two identical rooms, narrow, single bedrooms for the staff, the one to the right was used as a bedroom still, the one to the left of the landing was used as a library where she intended to return the book and select another to wile away another half an hour.

As she walked into the room, a cold wind seemed to stir. Being very intuitive my mother noticed the change in atmosphere, it was cold that day, but the icy air seemed to be more like the one she had experienced in the morgues her pathology studies had necessitated her attending. It was deathly cold, she felt.

Written 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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