French Life – Mr Allen 2

The day after my trip to luscious Amy’s house, I headed out by train to Egham to visit mother.

Mrs Allen was about 70 I would say. Greyish curly hair and slightly dumpy. She had a sort of permanent lopsided smile which when coupled with her bright red lipstick and slightly protruding teeth gave the impression that she was a sort of cross between a pissed clown/donkey/vampire. It took me about 30 seconds to realise that she was a bit odd.

I really did hope she wouldn’t flash her bits at me like her daughter.
She spoke and laughed like like Sybil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers which was bad enough, but the damn woman constantly laughed out of context and would mutter to her self and then giggle in a wheezy sort of way.

I introduced myself.

“Ohhh Helllooo I was expecing youuu wheeezze hahhahha wheeezzze come in” . “Amy said she was going to get you to come, wheeezzzzeeee hahahahah. snort snort”

“Did Amy say that?” I asked

“Oh yes dear she diiid, do you know Amy? Oh yesss snort wheezzzzee hahaha of course you do”
Good grief, It was going to be a fucking long afternoon, Mrs Allen was going to be seriously hard work and that I was not going to get anything sensible out of her.

The house was quite large and obviously worth a few bob, but not very well maintained. It had a shabby uncared for feel. Don’t get me wrong I am no DIY buff and am in no position to point the finger at anyone who would let those little jobs go unnoticed, as my late wife would testify, but even I would have drawn the line at the decaying paintwork and rotting window sills. The carpet was poor quality and very patchy and the furniture and décor generally grubby, yet the house itself was quite light.
I asked if her husband had an office or study. Yes he did in fact, he lived in the upstairs of the house. He had his own sitting room study, bedroom and bathroom. She lived downstairs and they had a communal area which included the kitchen, dinning room and conservatory. There was an annexe at the back of the house which she said was for guests.

I went upstairs and found that every room was locked.

“Mrs Allen do you have any keys for upstairs?”

“Oooh no dearr I doughnnt Mr Allen doesn’t ,like me going into his rooms” she said in her drawley way and put her hand to her check. It would have been camp except she was a woman.

“Amy haaas some thoooughhh”

“Oh right I will have to ring her”

“Ohh theres no need for that dearrr, shes in the annexe” and pointed to the door.

Odd because there was no car in the driveway.
I went into the annexe and there was Amy. Like yesterday she was just about contained by her clothes.

“Oh fancy meeting you again” she enthused and acting all surprised.

Yeah fancy, what a friggin coincidence I thought. I explained about the keys and Amy went through this charade of looking for the keys in her bag showing me her charms in the process. What a stroke of luck she had them- the keys that is, not the charms. We then went out of the annexe and up to her dads rooms. What a contrast to downstairs. The rooms were very bright and modern. Ikea or habitat in style and very nicely done but very young.

“look at this place.” said Amy shaking her head “He thinks he’s got a bachelor pad”

It was a real babe layer I must admit, and not what you would expect for a 68 year old accountant. Maybe I was just stereotyping. As I said it had a younger feel to it. The thing that lodged with me though was the CD and DVD collection. Very varied indeed and extensive. Granted no System of A Down or Panic at the Disco, but there was Kaiser Chiefs, Billie Holliday, Led Zep, Nat King Cole, Blue Oyster Cult, Frank Sinatra, The classics and loads more. I reckon he had well over 350 cds. His daughter didn’t give them a glance. Likewise his DVD collection was both extensive and eclectic.

I went into his office. There were two desks. One old fashioned roll top bureau and another modern desk with a very smart PC set up. Amy said that the pc was password protected and I wouldn’t find anything there. Oh really how would you know my little honey pot?

I booted the Pc up anyway and whilst it was doing the biz went through the roll top bureau. It was a little less orderly which suggested that somebody had been rummaging. I don’t know why but I suspected my little friend Amy. Mind you if her dad was missing why shouldn’t she look through his desk to see if she could find anything.

You know Norman you are getting bad minded in middle age, stop being so bloody suspicious.

I had a little search through the papers and found a copy of the print out for Dads flight. Stanstead to Pau with Ryanair. It left very early in the morning like about 6am ish so he would have had to have either left home very early or spent the night at Stanstead. I carried on beavering and then found a little scrap of paper with a telephone number 05 62 40 xx xx. A French telephone number, but for who or what? I found a diary for last year, but there was not much in it. However I did find another three telephone numbers written down on the same day in January 2006. Two were French 05 62 98 xx xx and the other was 06 19 xx xx xx which is a mobile number. The last number was a UK mobile number.

There were a couple of bills from Vodaphone according to Amy this was dads mobile and I took the number.

“What kind of car does your dad have?” I asked. I don’t know why I wanted to know, the question just popped into my head
“A mini cooper, he has only had it a year or so.” Amy said with what I sensed was just a hint of indignation “I couldn’t see what was wrong with his old car”

“What did he have before?” I wasn’t that interested really, but it was conversation.

“A Ford escort, he had it from new”

“Was it not very old then?”

“What?” she said a little taken a back “What do you mean?”

“Well you sounded surprised he should have changed his car so soon, I just assumed it cant have been very old”

“well it was erm I don’t know exactly a K reg” she muttered

“Did the registration start with a K or end with a K”


“Christ what year was that, 72/73 I think, no wonder he changed it” I laughed.

“Well I suppose, but I felt he could have got something more in keeping, for his age, why go wasting money on a car when you are about to ……”

” About to what?”

“Nothing its just that he is old and well you know old people….”

“Die, is that the word you’re looking for?” I helped

She blushed. Did you know that you blush from the nipple upwards? Amy was like a rather large robin red breast. Not that I was looking you understand.

“So you didn’t approve of his choice of car” I pressed her.

“No I thought it was silly”

“Where is the car?”


“Your dads car where is it”

For an instant she looked flustered.

“I don’t know”

“Is it in the garage or what?”

“I don’t know I presume he took it to the airport”

Something I would have to look into.

I turned my attention to the PC. There was quite a bit of stuff on there. Outlook express showed he got loads of jokes from one particular person, but nothing apparently untoward.

He needed to do some housekeeping, there was loads of spam and crap round robin jokes and crappy emails.
There was an email confirming a reservation at the SAS Raddison at Stanstead. for the night before Dads flight.

A car hire reservation from Pau Aiport for 10 days. Odd, why hire a car for 10 days when he was going to be away longer?

I tried to log on to his internet account but it was password protected so I didn’t waste any time on that at this stage.

I did look at his internet browser (Firefox) and was a little surprised to find a French bank bookmarked. I didn’t say anything to Amy.

In fact there was not a lot on there really

If I was going to follow this up it was now time to talk money.

That subject out of the way I said I would follow some lines of enquiry and then head to Lourdes.
“Will you please try and find my father and bring him home” She looked me in the eyes
“I will certainly try and find out what has happened to him, but I can never guarantee bringing him home, as you rightly pointed out people die” I replied.

“How do you mean, surely we would have heard?” she looked shocked.

“I am sure he is OK, but you know people die all the time and the bodies remain unclaimed and unidentified for ages. A few years ago in Paris alone 3000 people died in the heatwave and a lot of bodies were never identified or claimed. It was a national scandal. It happens here in London all the time”

“Surrey,  We are in Surrey” She corrected me
“Whatever. Look leave it with me and I will see what I can do”

I need to verify whether she wanted me to go straight to Lourdes on the next available flight or give it a few days and see if I could find something cheaper.

“Well I suppose he has been missing for a couple of weeks, so there no point wasting money and rushing is there seed if you can find a reasonable deal please.”

Ave Maria, Lourdes here I come via stanstead and Ryanair.

4 Responses to “French Life – Mr Allen 2”

  1. “Why do men die before their wives?
    Because they want to…”

    Oh, I think our little man has died the little death, only to be resurrected with a little bit of French fluff somewhere in La Belle Francais…


  2. Outremanche says:

    Hi Norm

    Your site’s like a good book that I just can’t put down when I start reading it. The latest caper sounds as riveting as the others. I lust thought I’d chip in and add something you may already know : unlike many countries, over here (France) reverse phone number lookups are allowed. If you go to this site… and type the French phone number in the “par numéro” box it’ll show you the name and address of the person unless they’re ex directory.

    Good luck 007!


  3. Brigitte says:

    When the daughter was hinting about her father dying, was there any hint he was ill or was just just thinking he was old and might die naturally?

  4. Uncle says:

    Minx – Very witty little jest. I thought the same thing about him faking his death or something along those lines but in fact it was…….you will have to wait and find out!

    Mean UN.

    Outremanche- Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I didn’t know about infobell but I have used another similar service, but having looked at infobell I think it is better. I like doing jobs in France the authorities are often more willing to help in their own little way.

    Brigitte – You know the funny thing was the significance of the daughters comments did not really strike me until I got home. I then started wondering if maybe he had been tom & dick.

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