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A Pig Called Shrimp

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I realise that my year has been well and truly hijacked.  However I am pleased to say that I should be entering a calmer phase.  Yeah, yeah I know if have said that before and then dropped off the radar for a few months, but this time it is going to happen.

I took on a job which turned out to be the biggest crock of shit I have ever encountered.

The main job is till ongoing, but the danger for the client appears to be over and so now the others aspects are with lawyers and courts, so that is now NMP.

In addition to that job I had a few weeks away on a contract which was hard work and I will tell you about that later after the dust settles a bit, but I tell you one thing though, human greed never ceases to amaze me.

In between these trips I have been in and out of the UK and I have to say that the place is falling apart.

Maybe I am getting old, but the gap between how things are done in the places I work and the UK is getting smaller and smaller.

A few months ago I published a post at my bewilderment at how outraged MPs were at the fact that one of them should get his collar felt and his offices searched by PC Plod for handling and selling on stolen documents.  My view was and still is that these MPs forget that they are not above the law and should adhere to the same rules that apply to the rest of us.  The majority of the people who commented here did not agree with me, citing paliamentry privilge etc etc which is fair enough.  However In my absence I missed the big story breaking about the MPs expenses. I am a bit out of touch with the full ins and outs, but was tickled by one MP who saw nothing wrong with claiming for a mortgage he didn’t have.  Funny that because maybe I didn’t realise that Honourable members were not only immune from handling stolen goods but deception as well.  Just goes to show WTF I know.

Then I got a phone call.  I knew it was bad when L rang me on my work number to say she had had a message.  She never ever rings me when I am working and never ever on that number.  I got to the home asap, but it is a long flight and I was shit scared as to what I would find.  My fears were justified.  Joseph my little saviour was hanging in there but only just.

Its funny how you can be totally fucked but cannot sleep because…..I dont know but you know you can’t, just because.

I sat there and held his hand stroked his head and chatted to him for about 36 hours.   He seemed so frail and fragile, his eyes were shut but ever now and then  his lids would flicker and I was sure that his little mouth twitched as if to smile, but then it could just be the reaction to one of the hundreds of flies that kept landing on him.

All I could do was wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I am an optimist at heart and try to adhere tio the philosophy of never loose faith because it will always turn out for the best.  I had serious doubts.  I have seen so many children die in Africa from things we would not even conider life threatening, that I knew for a lad like Joseph the line between life and death is perilously thin and fragile.

I kept thinking any minute now he will start to rally round, but he didn’t he got worse and weaker and the life was ebbing out of him.

At about 3am I knew the end was near. I lay down next to him and put my arm around him and held his lifelss body next to me and started to tell hi the story of a pig called Shrimp.  It was my girls favourite story about a little pig called Shrimp and a ram with a shiny coat called Gabriel. Shrimp wants Gabriel to be his friend, but Gabriel is vain and not interested in friendship. He likes to spend time looking at his own reflection.   To cut the story short Shrimp becomes ill and Gabriel realizes that he misses the little pig.  Gabriel then gets animals to take bits of his coat to shrimp to keep him warm and the pig eventually gets better.  I got to the part where Gabriel had torn his beatiful coat by running into a thorn bush and then stopped.

I thought this was the time when there would be one last little breath and life would leave him.

I stroked his head and then kissed his forehead and felt so hopeless that I could do more for this brave little lad.

I thought of those lying thieving fuckers who ponce about Westminster so full of their own piss and importance fiddling their expenses and getting rich on the back of us and I was angry.

Really angry and I don’t do angry normally, mildly vexed yes, but not angry.

“Why have stopped the story” the weak little voice was like a shout, a bellow, a roar.  I sat up with a start my heart racing.

“Jospeh?” I asked

“Yes ” he said weakly and a little bewildered

“How are you feeling?” I said rather stupidly but because I was so shocked that I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

He gave me a gummy smile and said “As you said when we first met,  I’ve been better thanks, but I am not ready for off just yet”

I held his face in my hands “You cheeky little swine” and kissed him.

He smiled up at me and in his eyes the warmth and love of a little  boy filled me with new hope and optimism and then he said something which touched me more than I can tell you, but if you don’t mind I will keep that little treasure a secret, it is a bond between a man a boy and a pig called Shrimp.

Thank you giving him back

The Problem with Blogging

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The problem with blogging is that work interferes.

I thought my move to France would see me slipping into those shoulder shrugging Galic way, but alas alors it has not been the case.

I am away again tomorrow for a few days and then back at the start of next week.

In the meantime afew random photos that you may like to see.


” Shut up moaning, you asked for a flatish surface to land on and we found one.  It’s not our poxy fault you didn’t say what  size”


 “Any one fancy a ruby and couple of Cobras”


  Childs play

Spain 9

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

HTML clipboardThere are two type of dog in Bulgaria.  Dead ones and ones that bark constantly.  I prefer the first type.  Thus it was that I was woken every 15 minutes from my slumbers by some canine bastard baying at sod at all.

I was not a happy chap by the time I went for breakfast.  It was good nosh and I felt better having eaten.  I decided to surprise Mr Atkins and went tout to his village unannounced.  It did not look any better in daylight.  The village square was still grim, but the building where I had seen the UK van was more lively and there were loads of kids running about in the cold foggy morning.  Must have been playtime.

I found Atkins house and it was an odd affair.  Bulgarian structure with sort of Spanish features like arch windows and wrought iron and stuff.  Sitting on the drive was a bloody great Hummer with US plates.  Discreet and practical bearing in mind the roads.  Actually don’t tell the yanks, but they aren’t very good.  Far better with a Range Rover or any Land Rover for that matter.

I opened the metal gates and went in to the garden, it could have been the garden of a new build housing estate in the UK.  I knocked on the door.  Nothing.  Knocked again and shouted “Hello” and eventually I saw the curtains upstairs twitch and woman looked out and gestured with her hand.

She was later twenties and looked as if she had had a rough night.  I apologised for waking her and we exchanged pleasantries.  To cut a along story short  Atkins was not in as he had gone back to Spain urgently and he was not going to be back until when ever.

She invited me in for a cup of tea.  The house was Ok in side but a bit cheerless.  It was am ix between English, Spanish and French and a bit \confused.  The girl was called Sandy and she was pleasant enough.  Turned out Atkins and she were sort of engaged.  Met in Spain and he had decided to leave Spain and get in to Bulgaria before the others.  Had done OK in Spain in the past but things were going down the pan.  Her dad was a builder and her parents lived over in Spain worked for Atkins in some way.

I asked about Tom and she said she knew him, in fact her dad had done some work for them.

“Small world” says me.

“No, Nigel (Atkins) had sorted out the alterations and building work for them”

“Had he?”

“Oh yes, he sold them the house”

“In Spain?”

“Yes he was the agent.”

“Are you sure”

“Of course I am sure, I used to run his office, I was his secretary and PA.”

“Oh I see Any chance you could ring him,”

“No we don’t have a telephone here and I don’t have any credit on my mobile”

“Maybe you should go and get some”

“No I cant, I will have to wait till Nigel gets back as I don’t have any fuel in my car and Nigel takes the keys for his car when he goes away”

“Right” I said hesitantly not quite getting the reason for this last bit of info

“I cant get my car out becasue the Hummer is blocking the drive, so I cant get in to town eve if I had petrol”

” In other words you are hold up in a house in the middle of nowhere with no way of communicating with the outside world and no way of getting to a doctor or contacting the emergency services in the event of somehting goung wrong?”

“Oh its not like that” she said happily

“Well what is it like then?” I asked “Because from where I am stood it all sounds very odd”

The short answer to that question was Mr Atkins had been married five times and each of his five wives had left him for one of his friends.  This time he had moved to a place where he had no friends and to make extra sure he locked his fiancé up with no phone, or fuel to get out and meet anyone.  What got me was she seemed OK with this arrangement although the more I talked to her the more spaced out she seemed.  In fact she really wasn’t the full ticket.

I made small talk and mentioned the school down the road only to be told it was an orphanage not a school.

“Its a really shame” said Sandy those kids are all on their own in the world, most are just abandoned and nbosy cares for them.  The Orphanage isn’t very nice, more like an army camp than a place for kiddies.  Nigel does lots of things for them though and gets bits brought over from Spain”

“Like what?”

She shrugged “Dunno, bits and things, but he has found jobs for some of the older kids so they get on their feet and he has even  helped younger ones get adopted”

Now then I don’t know much about the adoption process, but I couldn’t see how a five times married estate agent from Spain could be arranging adoption for abandoned Bulgarian kids nor could I understand quite why he would arrange for a young lady to occupy a hotel room where Tom was supposed to be.  The other thing is why did Mrs Willis claim not to know Atkins when she had bought the house from him  and he had organised the renovation work.  Talking of which she had said she had the house before she was with Tom, although that maybe crossed wires on the part of the captive  Sandy.

I looked at Sandy sitting there looking like death warmed up

“Sandy are you OK, are you sick”

“Me oh no, well yes a bit, I have ha d few problems, but Nigel has helped me loads”

“Thats good” I said “When you say problems what do you mean?”

“Oh its sort of my head, things get confused and I cant always think straight, but the medicines help, just I cant sleep at night and then fall aslepp during the morning”

“Is that since you have been here?”

“Oh no I used to work for Toyota in the Uk and it started then.  They were reallygood to me but I was not coping with things and they tried to help me but I was embarrassed and some people said they would get rid of me and it was so complicated.”

“So what happened?”

“I ran away to Spain.  Actually I took my car and just drove here, there.  Actually it was their car but they didn’t mind and let me keep it and didn’t tell the police but they really wanted me to see a doctor.”

“who did”

“Mr Boss Mr Yakomoto (made up name) he said that if they could help me it would be better, but i was worried even though he was really nice.  I just couldn’t think, my head was going to burst.  I knew I wanted to go to Spain but forgot why and about three months later I was in a bar and my mum and dad walked in. They thought I had been kidnapped but I hadn’t.  It was just lucky they found me.  Then I stayed in Spain near them and started working with Nigel.”

What do your mum and dad think of you being here?”

“I don’t know really I haven’t spoken to them for ages, never in when we try to ring or bad line”

“Do you ring or is it Nigel”

“Nigel does it for me because he says I am not good with numbers  and shouldn’t get upset”

“Why would you get upset?”

“Oh I do easily Nigel says I say things I don’t mean and then I forget.”

“Do you know your mum and dads number?”

“No I cant remember numbers, Nigel has it on his phone though”

“I suppose Nigel has his phone with him”

“Oh yes he needs it all the time for business so he has to have it with him”

I got her to tell me her mum and dads name and where they lived and then rang Cyclops and asked him to find their number and to see what the score was.

It took about thirty minutes of inane chatter before Cyclops got back to me.  Mum and dad had not seen her for almost 18 months.  Nigel had told them she she had done a runner and did not know where she was.  They wanted to find her but could not afford the fees of a detective agency.  They had told Cyclops they would do what ever was best for their daughter but they would really like her home.

I chatted to Sandy and then casually asked if she would like to see her mum and dad.  She didn’t say anything but drew her knees up under her chin and slowly started to rock back and forth.  Her breathing changed and slowly she started to cry.  I went over to her and put my hand on her shoulder.

“Sandy, do you want me to take you to see your mum”

through her sobs she whispered

“Yes please dad”

Old Age

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I cannot say what I have been up to or I would have to kill you!  Actually that’s bollocks, but the job is no way near over yet and the truth be known I am starting to wonder if it will ever be over.

I have been here there and everywhere and although it is interesting  it is not as exotic as it sounds.  However and it is a very big however, it does pay and in these hard times I am grateful for that and have no right to complain.

I am just knackered and have come to the conclusion that old age is not creeping up on me, but has run past me and slapped me round the head with a kipper.  My arms have become to short for me to read without glasses and I was officially told by my youngest niece that she thought I had a bit of a gut.  She broke it to me gently as children do “Uncle Norman why is your tummy getting like Homer Simpsons?”


Spain 8

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I flew from Milan to Sofia and went to the hotel where Tom had stayed.  They checked the records and yes he had stayed there on the dates in question.

The receptionist was helpful enough, sort of, just.  Yes he had made a booking and stayed from x date to x date. I told them he had gone missing and they said he had paid his bill by cash.  They even produced a copy of the bill.  He had eaten in the restaurants and had done bought some things from the hotel shops and charged them to the room.

Then I started asking if anyone remembered him, but they couldn’t.  Mind you it is a big hotel and then they went back  to their records again and there was an bit of confusion and after much yacking in Bulgarian they left the computer and started  to checked their registration cards- still very soviet despite all the alleged changes and lo and behold there was not one in his name.  It must have been lost, however there was one in the girls name who stayed in the room on his booking.

Girl, who stayed in his room, who the hell was she?

A Bulgarian girl from the countryside.  The receptionist said this very slowly and looked at the counter all the time she said it.  I suspected I knew where she was coming from, but felt it better to make sure.  She didn’t or couldn’t say prostitute, after all this was a classy hotel and Bulgaria is in the EU now, so peasant girls turning tricks to satisfying Western European mens sexual needs is not a happy thought or the sort of image they want to perpetuate.  So there then followed a pathetic Q&A session

Where was she now? – She left

Where does she live -I dont know

Yes you do its on the card – I can’t read her peasant writing.

Look if I can you can, are you going to help me or do I get a friend of mine who is a Russian and who used to be KGB and lives in Sofia to come and help me.

Funny enough those three little letters still work a treat.  EU might fat arse.

The hotel was a good looking place with lots of amenities so I booked a room dumped my gear and then started on the job of finding the girl.  Oddly enough it was not that hard and even handier when I found out she lived not to that far away from the hotel in a depressing high rise block of flats.

It was communism housing at its worst, you have seen the sort of thing in films and it just reinforced the stereotype of what life was like for ordinary people behind the Iron Curtain. I got the feeling that it was not much better now,  mind you having said that, unlike South London, Merseyside, Manchester or Leeds nobody had thought of pissing in the lifts or shitting on the stairs and there were no syringes or signs of drugs, just poverty and an air of cold depression and hopelessness.

I found the flat.  What is it that possesses local authorities worldwide to paint the communal hallways and landing of these buildings watery pea  green and the doors a slightly different shade of piss?  I knocked on the door and heard somebody come and look through the spy hole.  The door opened and there was a pretty blonde girl of about 17 or 18 she was very slim almost skinny and was wearing a flimsy shirt through which her nipples were not only visible but poking through the material like a couple of chapel coat pegs

“Vharna” I said

Clearly my pronunciation was close enough for her to recognise her own name because she nodded smiling slightly.

“Do you speak English?”

“A little” She nodded smiling some more and smoothing her shirt down so that her pert breasts were even more visible.

I stayed focused.

“I am a friend of Tom,  you stayed with him at the hotel Sofia a few days ago.”

She looked straight at me and the smile faded a little “No I didn’t” she said nervously “I have not done anything wrong, nothing to bring shame He said nobody would know” she crossed her arms over her perky friends and stooped slightly.

“Who said that, Tom?”

She held my stare and did not falter.

“No the other man Mr Atkins, I just stayed at the hotel,  I turn up and book in and get the key and go to the room.  Mr Atkins pay me before.  He told me to have a nice time and to get things on room service do shopping get nice things and drink at the bar and charge it all to the room and he pays.”


“Because he is taking me and my little sister to Spain and he wanted to do a favour for a friend, but the friend could not come so after a few days he gives me money and I come home, honest I did not have sex are you police he says maybe the police come sometime but we would be gone, you came very quickly”

“woe woe woe slowly please.  Mr Atkins asked you to go to the hotel.”


“He paid the hotel and then paid you”

“Yes,\well no, his friend paid the hotel bill and Mr Atkins paid me.  It was a good job, better than some, no….” she suddenly caught what she had said and went bright red.

“Did you ever see Tom?”

she hesitated.

“It is not a hard question did you see Tom or didn’t you?”

She was flustered her eyes were filling up with tears and she looked about 12.  I felt like a big bully, but that has never stopped me before.  I smiled at her, which is always a risk as I can look weirder when I smile than when  don’t.  Vharna must have been OK with weird because she gave me a little smile back.

“No, but I think I was meant to say yes, but I am not good liar and forget”

“Did you ever see Tom?”

She looked me in the eyes and shook her head “No”

I took out my wallet and gave her some Bulgarian Levs and about 150 Euros.

“Do you want me?” she said

“Its very kind and you are very beautiful, but that is a present for telling the truth and to help you when you move”

She looked at the money

“I must do something for you”

“Ok get out of this while you can and look after your sister”

She nodded



I rang Cyclops and yippee the mobile worked.  I filled him in on the hotel bit and Atkins.  I could hear him tapping away at his keyboard. he told me he had found a bloke dealing in property in Spain and Bulgaria going by the name Atkins and would look into him.

Half an hour later Cyclops was back to me and said that Atkins was a based near Veliko Turnover and was indeed involved in the property market.  He had a telephone number which turned out to be a Spanish mobile number. He had rung and tried to make an appointment for me as a prospective property purchaser but had only managed to leave a message.  His emails had been replied to by an auto responder, so we were not really any further on.

I went back to my latest hotel which as I said also had extra facilities except that the best looking facilities were in the bar.  I had a good meal that night and some cracking red wine which went by the rather unfortunate name of “No mans Land”  still what’s in a name and besides there was a certain irony in the name on several levels, because after the second bottle thats where I was, No mans land.

I was a good boy and had an early night and watched saving Private Ryan in Bulgarian.  Actually it doesnt matter what language you watch it in it is still powerful.  For the record I don’t think any film comes closer to capturing a real battle scene than the beach landing scene in Private Ryan.  The noise, confusion,fear and getting the job done.  The only thing is, that to get the full impact turn the sound up as loud as it will go so your ears hurt because even then you wont be close to what its really like.

The next day I got tucked up on the phone sorting out another job and then there was a mega amount of poncing about with hire cars whenreally I should ahve been on the road d to Veliko Turnover. I was leaving it late very late and even though I had checked out of the hotel I debated aboutchecking back in again and staying extra night but in the end for some reason (probably the Yrokshireman in me) but officially  I have forgotten, I decided to head off that evening.


The maps show a motorway going from Sofia to the Black sea.  It sort of does, but gives out here and there frequently.  The problem is that there is no warning that it is going from super highway to single lane cart track with deep pot holes.  These are not ordinary pot holes, these are Bulgarian pot holes that are so deep that you would be forgiven for thinking that if you fell in one you would find the fourth dimension.  There is the added joy of Bulgarian lorry drivers who have clearly not got to grips with the concept of death and serious personal injury or the other little niceties like other road users.

In short the journey was one of the worse of my life and I can tell you I have been to some pretty remote and ropey places in my time.  Thank God I took out the extra insurance as bits of hire car flew off at regular intervals to lie at the side of the road with the multitude of dead dogs that scattered the route. Saving Private Ryan was clearly a Bulgarian Highway Code training film not entertainment.

It was made worse by thick fog and all in all it was e not a quick journey and I eventually found the village where Atkins apparently worked from  at about 3am in the Morning.  It was a as depressing a place as Vharnas tower block.

I was shagged and parked up in a wide sort of village square, except it wasn’t a village square as we would know it but more like a parade ground or prison exercise yard.  Kin grim.

I dozed for an hour or so and was woken by the sound of a vehicle.  It was a ford Transit.  Nothing too odd about that except it was a right hand drive and on UK plates.  Two bloke got out and took some smaller boxes into a very institutional building at the side of the square.  A few moments later they came out carrying a large box between them which they put carefully into the van.   In and out they went and brought out about 6 or 7 boxes all about a metre or so in length and about 50 cm wide and deep.  I thought they were sort of weapons boxes to start with an then thought they could be little coffins.  The blokes drove off as soon as they had the crates in the van and there was no sign of anyone else in the building.  The ace detective in me wrote the number plate down.

I was cold and uncomfortable but sufficiently recovered to be able to consider pressing on in the dense fog to Veliko Turnover and a hotel.

Veliko wasn’t too bad a looking place from what I could see of it in the fog.  There was a hotel sign posted and as it turned out it was the biggest Hotel in the town.  It was a soviet as they come with a Tony Soprano look a like guarding the car park.  The reception area was like a railways station and done out entirely in dark grey marble fashioned in the soviet 1950’s style.  However the receptionist was very new age and very pretty with long black hair that cascaded over the marble counter as she slept with her head on her arms.  She woke with such a start when I gently gave her arm a shake that she made me jump.

She was very apologetic and was telling me her little boy had flu and please not to tell the manger and he had been sick for three days and please don’t tell and she had been awake with him all day and if she lost her job she would be ruined and how she was worried he was Ok at home on his own.  Eventually I got her to to calm down realise it was OK to nod off and that I was not going to tell anyone if she didn’t. She looked shattered and I wanted to scoop her up and take her home to her kid so she could snuggle up with him.  I couldn’t and didn’t do that of course, but a few minutes later I found myself in a half timbered bedroom with antiquated furniture and a hyper modern bathroom.

The bed may have been antiquated but it was comfy and cosy and I can tell you I didn’t need any rocking.

Spain 7

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

HTML clipboardDespite the couple of beers and agreeable company, I still had no idea where to start looking for the wanderer in Milan.

A good nights kip and a hefty fat boys Italian breakfast didn’t help either, which is very rare.

The only event that Cyclops had come up with that was on in Milan was the final of some kind of  artistic glass competition.

“Why glass Cyclops?” I had asked a little confused

“Because it is sponsored by a gin company and in my experience all those expats in Spain drink gin” He explained

“A bit thin isn’t it?” I said

“No, but very different to Gordons” He replied

“What is?” I asked somewhat perplexed at his odd response

“Bombay Saphire”

“Whats Bombay Saphire got to do with the price of fish”

“They are sponsors of the glass competition”

“I didn’t mean the gin was thin you prawn I meant the theory was thin”

“OH I see, yes sorry, no indeed it’s thin as a whores panties, but there is sod all else that I can see going on there, in fact, having looked at the travel pattern, if you can call it that,  it just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  Why go to the beach resorts in winter for example?”

“Maybe he likes the peace and quiet” I suggested

“Hmmm maybe, but I aint so sure, if he liked that why move to southern Spain, he could have gone to Little Hampton of Skegness, no there is something not quite kosher here but I am buggered if I know what, but I am working on it and will come back to you asap”

In the absence of any better idea I decided to make enquiries at reception about the glass exhibition.  It was a total blow out.  get it glass blow, glass blowing, oh please yourself.  Anyway after a very dull and unproductive day I decided to eat at a pizzeria.  Its odd how the word Pizzeria  always makes me want to eat pizza and drink red wine.  I just have to see it and I imagine a dark little place with oak beams, candles, gingham table clothes and wicker covered wine bottles and Pizza.  Funny that.

So there I was minding my own business attacking my Pizza with moderate enthusiasm, when I had a thought about the hire car, why not either go back and see if somebody knew where he was going or failing that sit up on the hire car office at just before the time the car was due back.  God I dont believe how bloody thick I can be sometime, talk about an obvious thing to do, these detectives in books and on the telly make it look so easy.

Inspired by my slow genius I got stuck into my quarto staggioni and Chianti with gusto.  Genius is good for the appetite.

Next morning I went off to the airport to speak to the car hire people.  It was a lovely day and I felt good and really positive.

I presented myself and explained I was trying to find a friend and that he had a car booked.  I expected some resistance from what seemed an officious young man, but none came as he tapped away at his keyboard.

“Si he has de reservation, a small car a panda due to return…..” tap tap tap tap enter.

“No scuzie it is er not possible” he said

“What is not possible?”

“To tell you when he a bring a de car back”

“Why not?” I said feeling a little miffed

“Becasue your a friend he no collecata de car when he should, He not a cancell de booking so we charge im de cancellation, no show  noding else, I am sorry, bud I canna helper you furder”

“Ah you sure?”

“Si I am very sure look a here” and with some considerable effort he turned his screen round to show me.

“Do you think a your friend ok, can I help a you more?” He asked looking a bit upset.

“Well I dont know”

“I help a you if I can because my little brudder he live in Sicilia and he disappear, but I think it not an accident, he only twenty three but I still look a for im when ever I can.”

“I am sorry to hear that, maybe I could take some details and could ask questions on my travels”

He smiled “I don’t think you find him, but I av de papers and a good photos of im” He opened a drawer in his desk and gave me a very well produced A5 size flyer with a good photo of a serious looking young man.

“Now I search our system and see if he hire cars other places with us and I ask out central department to tell me same things.  Shall I ring you or I can email when I know”

“Which ever”

“I do both” he said emphatically.

I gave him my business card and left the airport and in the absence of anything better idea I headed back to the hotel to get decided what to do next.  My initial thought was to get my stuff and head for home asap, but it was that kind of knee jerk reaction that had got me here on a fools errand in the first place.

When I got to the hotel I ran a nice hot bath and had a good old soak in some fancy Italian bubble bath and read my book.  Despite the fancy bottle and name it reminded me of that kids bubble bath Matey my mum used to use on us when were kids. I don’t know if they still do it, probably full of E numbers that make you hyper and not enough fish oils to make you brainy.  Have emerged from my bath, very pink and looking like a lobster and with my paper back soggy around the edges I rang Cyclops to see if he had any bright ideas or Interpol buddies who might be able to throw some light on the missing brother, at least my conscience would be clear.

Cyclops said he would ask the questions and wait for the email from the car hire people and in the meantime we talked over what to do?  Did the fact that Tom did not pick up the car in Milan mean he had never arrived?  Had he ever been to or left Sofia? The client had forced the pace and insisted I come to Milan, but at the time I said there were a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends.

I decided that before I left Cyclops should ring the hotel in Sofia where Tom had stayed before allegedly leaving for Milan and that I would sit tight for now and would make a decision when he had any further info.

I didn’t sit tight for long, Cyclops rang back less than an hour later.

“Norm it was a little hard speaking to anyone who would commit themselves but it seems as if our man stayed an extra night in Sofia and did not take the flight to Milan after all, however he then left to go to some resort on the the black sea the hotel in Sofia made the reservation for him.”


“Yeah well I rang the hotel they said he was going to, but they said he never showed up”

“So on the face of it he is still in Bulgaria some where but we dont know where”

“Well yes and no, an email has just come in confirming a flight from Sofia to London in about a months time and there is a car being hired in a place called hang on a mo I will try to get The name right Veileko Turnover or something like that, sorry, but Bulgarian is not my strongest language, but it looks as if it is sort of mid way between Sofia and the black Sea.”

“Ok well let see what the client wants shall we.”

I rang the client and told her we had found a big fat zero in Milan and about  the Bulgarian Saga.  It transpired that a man they sort of knew vaguely in Spain had moved there.  He was in the Bulgarian property business and had set up base not far from Velkro Turnover or whatever the place was called but that was the only connection and that was really tenuous.  After some badgering she said she thought his name was Arkins or Ardins but she couldn’t remember and in any case they didn’t know him at all.  Despite her not knowing why Tom was there she said she wanted me to go and follow this lead as soon as.  She also said that she was going back to Spain that evening as she had no further business in the UK and that something urgent that had cropped up.  She had sent payment for what we had done and extra to cover ongoing enquiries and asked that I keep on the case.

I can tell you, she was keener than I was for me to go to Bulgaria, but she was sure -again-that it was the right move.

I was not so sure- again.

I have never really cared for Bulgaria and all this talk of it being the new France or Spain is in my opinion a load of old bollocks.  True, you can get shed of a house that you wouldn’t want to live in for next to nothing and a mega size bottle of beer for about 60p.

However despite my fondness for beer it has never played a major part in me influencing where I should live.  However, I regret to say that it has on more than one occasion played a major part in influencing where I have slept.

Oh yes and with whom, hangs head in shame.

Spain 6

Monday, February 16th, 2009

“I’m in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd go”

Having got my beer I sat in the bar where the lovely people met and thought about what had brought me here and the more I thought about it the more I had a but feeling that all was not as it should be, but I couldn’t say what it was.

My peace was being disturbed by the jawing of some English toss pots at the bar with a group of scantily clad wenches.  I realised I must be tired having not noticed them – the girls that is- sooner as they looked like bonne temps filles as the French would say.

One of the blokes who was in his late thirties maybe early forties was giving it what for and he clearly had the eyes and ears of the ladies and was making remarkable progress in capturing other parts of their anatomy.  The bloke was about 6 foot 2 heavily built but not what you would call fat, but not fit either.  He had fair hair which was unkempt in that Chelsea salon way.  He had a face that was pudgey and not yet fat, but was on that road from too many City lunches. He was wearing Ralph Lauren Chinos and blue and striped shirt with classic English brown brogues.

I tuned into his conversation and he was waxing lyrical about being in Bosnia and what it was like for him and his men.

My old lugs went to full scan as chummy was clearly relating a story of do or die.  His volume dropped decibel as he moved on to tell them about what it was like in Ireland and Iraq.

I as aware of somebody beside me at the bar and when I looked it was a bloke of about the same age as myself salt and pepper hair and beard.  He had a pleasant smiley face and was well dressed but understated.  He ordered a whiskey in a soft well spoken American accent.  His drink arrived and the American caught my eye and raised his glass.  I reciprocated.

“He kind of likes the music he makes doesn’t he” said my new buddy amicably

I half laughed and smiled “Yes he does”

“What do you reckon?” He asked me

“To what?” I replied a little puzzled

“Our hero over there” he said giving a very faint nod of the head and took a sip of his drink.  I was sure I didn’t know this man, but then again he looked familiar, but I could not place him.

“I don’t know what you mean” I said quite genuinely.

The strangers eyes twinkled with a sort of serious merriment.

“Oh I think you do, you were locked in to what he was saying for ages before I interrupted you”

I grinned “Was it that obvious?”

“No not really, its just I meet lots of people like him and a few people like you” He said affably

“Sorry I am not with you”

“The guy at the other end of the bar, the one making out to be a one man special forces unit, do you think he’s for real?”

I shrugged “I wouldn’t know”

“Excuse me” he said and leaned across and took hold of my left wrist and pulled it so it was in front of me and looked at my watch. “That’s the give away clue”

I knew what he was talking about and smiled.  We both looked at chummy and on his left fleshy wrist was a nice flashy watch or should I say Chronograph.

I signalled to the barman for another drink and asked my new mate if he would have one. He accepted with a smile and slight nod of the head.  He was man of few words and those words he did speak were said softly and with consideration.

“Have you ever noticed how many guys you bump into who claim to be ex special forces and they will tell you all about themselves and what they did.  Like that guy over there.  So do you think he’s for real?”

“No” I said without hesitation.

The American smiled “And I will tell you why not, because he is stood in a bar in a foreign city, talking to people he doesn’t know so loudly  that at least two total strangers can over hear every word and he has no idea whose side we are on and whether we are Military Intelligence, Special Investigations or The Red Brigade.”

“Maybe” I said

“Ah yes but the watch gives it away.  You see guys buy watches as a symbol to show people what they want to be not what they are.  Do you know anyone that has a watch like his that actually uses the timers”

I smiled

“Of course you don’t, all you guys have watches that tell the time, dont break and don’t draw attention to you”

“True” I agreed

I looked at his watch it was an expensive swiss watch, but understated a bit like the man who wore it.

Our man at the the bar was now telling the honeys about Afghanistan and how he had done this that and the other wearing little more than a cod piece and his Gucci shoes or some such bollocks.  The ladies for their part were wetter than Grimsby in December by the way they were squriming about.

“We both know that the only time guys use the timers is when they’re barbecuing a steak”He said only half joking.

I didn’t disagree.

He smiled and took another sip of his drink.  “I didn’t mean to intrude” he said

“No not at all” I said

“Its just I dont get a chance to have a quiet drink in a bar and make small talk” He said.

“Do you have a busy schedule or something” I asked

“Yeah you could say that and I don’t really get the opportunity too much, not that I am complaining”

I became aware that the gobby oaf at the bar had shut up and when I looked across his little group were hushed and staring at us and whispering.

“Oh great the end of my evening” said my companion.

I looked back at the group with my best gamma death stare.  They all blushed and looked away including the trained killer

“You know” Said the American “I have heard the expression if looks could kill, and nver really took it seriously, but you know I think I have just seen it in action properly for the first time” He finished his drink.

I said nowt.

“You here for long?” He continued

“Don’t know, it just depends”

“On what?”

“Oh lots of things, actually I am looking for somebody who is supposed to be here, its nothing really”

“I hope for his sake it isn’t, because you seem like a nice guy, but I don’t think I would want you looking for me if it was something” He stood up and extended his hand ” Nice to meet you…..”

“Norman” I filled in

“Norman” he said shaking my hand

“And…” I asked

He looked at me and smiled in a really pleased and friendly way.

“George” he said

“Well George if you’re in London look me up and we can get a beer chew the cud”

“I will, hey Norman do you have a card?”

“As a matter of fact I think I do”

I dug out a business card and gave it to him.

He looked at it and then looked at me and then at the group who were whispering again.

“Contractor?” He asked quizzicly

I shrugged “Its catchy don’t you think?”

“Well yeah I suppose, but what…..” He stopped short as one of the yuppie blokes started to walk over to us and there was something about the manner of his approach that gave me cause for concern, or was it that I sensed the man next to me tense and  did I detect he felt threatened.   The approaching yuppie didn’t look like an obvious threat, but nonetheless I moved slightly and effectively shielded the American and at the same time bladed my body left side on to the approaching man, hands and arms slightly across my abdomen

The approaching man stopped just short of me and I looked him in the eyes.

“Excuse me” He said slightly hesitantly and looking down at the floor “But erm er could I have your autograph?”

“My autograph” I said “Why would you want my autograph?”

He flushed and looked at the floor again and then reluctantly looked up at me “Actually” He said “I was talking to ….Oh he’s gone”

I turned to see George leaving the room.

“No you can’t” I said

And that was that, but I wonder if George Clooney dinned out on the story of how he first met Uncle Norman.

I knew I had seen him somewhere before.


Sunday, February 15th, 2009

I have been all over the bloody place since my last post.  Pannama, Colombia, France, Southern Spain and last but by no means least Stoke on Trent.

If it sounds glamorous and exciting let me put you straight now.  It isn’t.

I am bloody cream crackered and in need of a few beers a glass of vino and some decent grubafter which  no doubt my sense of humour will return.

Hope to post the next part to the Spain story tomorrow ot Tuesday before I head off again on Wednesday.  Only a short trip this time – allegedly.

I am getting to old for all this Alan Whicker stuff.

I would love to stay and chat but there is a cold beer with my name on it.  Actually it has Stella’s name on it.

Spain 5

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

HTML clipboardHaving made the initial discovery that Tom had gone off on a European jamboree I looked at the emails confirming his movements and activities.  From what I could see from the emails the first booking for a flight had been made roughly three weeks before he disappeared.

“It looks like his trip was not a spur of the moment thing” I said

“How do you know that?” Asked Mrs W

“Because it would seem he has a whole load of messages starting from about three weeks before he disappeared until yesterday confirming travel and hotel arrangements both in the UK and Europe.  In fact he has a message here confirming a hotel reservation for last night at the Sveta Sofia Hotel.”

“Where’s that”

“Sofia in Bulgaria by the looks of things”

She leaned over my shoulder and peered at the screen.

“What on Earth would he be doing in Bulgaria?” she asked almost under her breath

“I was about to ask you the same question, but clearly you are non the wiser”

“Well I’ll be” she said softly and then stood up “So he is in Bulgaria”

“No he was, by now he should be in Milan or so it would seem” I corrected her ” You see there is another email here for a flight from Sofia to Milan for today, plus there is another one from Hertz for a small car in Milan”

“Will you go to Milan and see if you can find him as soon as you can?” she asked urgently.

“I will if you want me to, but…”

“Want you to” she snorted with indignation “Of course I bloody want you to” she said almost shouting “that’s what I am bloody well paying you for, you tell me he has flown to Milan and hired a car today, its the best indication that he is alive and of his whereabouts” she said really angrily.

I held my hand up in front of me “I appreciate that you’re paying me, but it is for that very reason I am not sure of the wisdom of charging off to Milan just at the moment.  Look, I know you want to find out what has happened to your husband asap and if you want me to shoot over there and look for him then I will, but at the moment there is not much to go on.”

She looked at me sullenly but said nothing so I decided to persevere with my explanation

“Milan is a big place and at the moment all that we know is that he had a flight booked to there from Bulgaria and has hired a small car.  Now then we don’t have a hotel or even know if he was staying in Milan or moving on, In fact come to that we don’t even know he went there”

“Why wouldn’t he go there, he’s booked a flight and car for God sake” she exclaimed in frustration.

“Booked and take are not tht same thing are they and as for the car, well as I said he has booked a small car which will probably turn out to be a Fiat Panda and Milan is full of bloody Fiats, haven’t you seen the Italian Job?”

She looked as if this was working and she had calmed down a bit, but breathing heavily through her nostrils like a bull and till looked seriously pissed off with me.  “Now then if you want to pay for flights, hotel and other incidentals whilst I swan about looking for a needle in a haystack, then I am more than happy to do so.  You’re the one picking up the bills here, but what I am saying is I want to look at everything coldly and in my own good time and see if there is any kind of pattern to all of this.”

She walked away from me and looked out of  the window and brooded for a few minutes.  I for once kept my big mouth shut.

“I suppose you’re right, its jus thatt……Oh I don’t know what’s going on”

Whilst she was reflecting I opened up another browser window and called up Google and then went back to Yahoo and sent an email to Cyclops with the log in details of Toms  account and the message PRINT ALL.

The confirmation that the email had been sent appeared and I clicked OK and then went to the sent folder.  There was my message I selected it and then hit delete.  Then I went to the “Trash” which although was marked “No files” I hoped would have my email in it.  I was right, I selected that and then clicked delete again.  Did I want to permanently deleted this message? Oh yes.

“What are you doing?” She asked looking at me intently from by the window in what struck me as being a slightly suspicious, hard and aggressive tone.  I looked at her and saw for the first time a very tough looking woman behind a polished exterior and magnificent chest.

“Oh nothing much at the moment” I said casually making no effort to hide the fact I was still working the keyboard.  I pretended to be distracted by something on the screen and then continued slowly “ I am looking at some of these emails to see if I can get a picture of what’s what, but there’s a fair bit to go through.  I can come back to it later”.

She looked at me with hawk like eyes and a Dobermans ferocity and nodded her head.

My client was not a happy girl and I thought it might be an idea to take a break.  I logged out of the account and stood up and walked over to her and put my hand on her shoulder.

“Are you OK?” I asked – of course she wasn’t OK, but to be honest I couldn’t think of anything more profound to say.

She looked at it then at me and gave a very thin half hearted smile.  “I am sorry if I snapped at you, its not your fault, it upsetting not knowing what is going on.”

“No problem I understand, look I need to make a quick phone call and why don’t we go and have a coffee and a cake, my treat”

She nodded “Yes a change of scenery will do me good”

I rang Cyclops and talked to him about the job in Sunderland

“Norm what the fuck are you on about, that’s all done and dusted”

“No its all in the email I sent you” I said reassuringly

“What is”

“The details and names and accounts for the those people that we need to follow up on so we can get the ASBOs sorted.”

“ASBO’s am I missing something here?”

“Yes you are a bit, that’s right,  look just check the details and the clients instructions, but I need you to look at them asap.   Yeah yeah yeah no I am good, no , its going quite well here and I think we might be on to something.”

The penny had dropped with Cyclops and as I was talking I could hear him at the keyboard

“Ah right got it, are you logged in at the moment, because I think you will need to log out before I can get in”

“No that’s not a problem and in fact I am taking the client for a coffee and cake and I will take up in  a few minutes so if you could get those bits sorted I would be obliged.”

“Its done…. I’m in……and I have them in front of me I will forward to you but will print all just in case” Said Cyclops and I could hear the printer in the background

“Oh and I might well be off to Italy, but I will touch base with you about that.  We’ll speak later”

We had our coffee and a very average Danish Pastry and Mrs W seemed better, but a little distracted.  Went back to her room and I started to have another look through the emails and then decided to have a look at Toms bank account.  Mrs\Willis logged me in and I could see that there had been a fair bit of activity on the account over recent weeks.  Not massive amounts, but quite a few payments for flights, hotels and cars. However after only a few minutes Mrs Willis said she had a headache and could I come back some other time.  I said I could.

“Mr Norman I appreciate your comments about the cost, but I really would like you to go to Milan to see if you can find Tom”

I went to say something and she add “Immediately please.”


It was 11.30am  I rang Cyclops and brought him up to speed and I headed home to get some stuff sorted and to get my thoughts together.  I was not convinced at all about going to Milan, not that I have anything against Milan, just that I do have something about leaping in with both feet before you have had a chance to look at all the factors and weigh up all the considerations.

In short my overriding feeling was that this was going to be a bit of a waste of time.

Whilst I was enjoying the tube Cyclops set to looking for flights and hotels etc and also started going through the emails for a clue as to where Tom might be staying and by the time I was at home he had got me a flight out of Gatwick to Milan at about 6pm and found me a hotel in the centre of town and got me what he called “A right touch” on the price.

And so it was that I found myself once more suffering the indignities of airport security and the joys of the “Duty Free” shopping area.

Old habits die hard and grabbing sleep whenever you can is part and parcel of my life.  There have also been a lot of occasions when finally being airborne has been the first time we have been able to shut our eyes safely for days.  I cannot tell you how often I get on a commercial flight and am knocking out zeds before they have even done the safety demonstration.

On this flight I was marginally better and stayed awake through the demonstration and was doing well until the wheels left the ground.  I woke up ten minutes before we landed and my thoughts were the same as when I had got on the plane.

What the fuck am I supposed to do when I get there?

I got a taxi to my hotel which it turned out was a super swish 4star place in the centre of town and Cyclops was right, he had “had a touch” as he got my room for 114 Euros a night where as it would normally have been nearer 200 Euros.  I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but the place was a bit OTT for my liking, but it did have a lot of extra features and amenities but more importantly it had a bar.  Apparently it is a very trendy bar and all the best people are seen and meet there.  V Impressive.

Having freshened up I decided that I had been negative on the way here and that I knew exactly where I should go and what to say and in order to start my work in Milan.  It was obvious even to me.

Une Nastro per favore

Spain 4

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

HTML clipboardThe next day as arranged I went to see the client at her hotel with a view to examining her husbands laptop.  Why does that sound so gay?  Anyway, Mrs Willis was staying at the Victoria Park Plaza, which is a very swish modern hotel not far from Victoria Station.  It confirmed, if it needed confirming that is, my suspicion that she had  sense of style and lived rather well and was rather used to doing so.

I asked for her at reception and was directed to her room, which turned out to be a one bedroom apartment rather than your run of the mill hotel room.  I have to say the expensive hotel thing is  bit of a mystery to me as generally you only need a bed, TV and bathroom.  We use a well known budget chain and they do us very well.  Every now and again I splash out or if I am flying I like to stay right by the airport and they tent to be expensive, but by in large when you are staying at hotels all you need in the way if facilities  is somewhere to get some grub and a drink and as for your room, well, all you do is get your kit off, maybe watch a bit of TV, kip shower and clear off.  I mean how often do you use the spa or gym facilities?  The bar yes, the sauna rarely.  You get my drift.  Mrs Willis clearly did not share my Yorkshiremans view on hotel accommodation, but I must admit the room did have style and was a pleasant place to do business.

I had decided yesterday not to go into all the exact details of her husband’s disappearance over lunch as I wanted to get these in a less public environment where I could concentrate better.

There was nothing startling in what she told me.  They had been at home all day, eaten about 7.30 a bottle of vino and then relaxed.  She did repeat the point she had made that he had been a bit preoccupied for a couple of days, but on this evening he seemed more his old self.  She had then gone up to bed to read and he had stayed up watching Sky news and said he would be up in a minute.  When he didn’t come up immediately she assumed he had become engrossed in some programme, so eventually she had gone to sleep.  She woke up the next morning to find he had not come to bed and so she got up to see where he was and found he had gone.  When she went to look round the house etc she found the car had gone as well.  I asked the usual plod like questions and made notes about what he had been wearing, was anything missing, the car etc.  The car was an almost new black Nissan X trail on Spanish plates.

Her next move had been to contact the Spanish Police the embassy or consulate and all that sort of thing.  Shortly afterwards se was contacted by somebody at the Foreign Office who asked her a load of questions and said they would do all they could.  Several weeks later and the husband had not turned up and subsequently either somebody at the FO or embassy gave her my details and she got in touch.

I made a note of his UK, Spanish and French Mobile numbers, we would look at tracking these and I could get Cyclops to pass this information to the police and you never know he might turn up in the car.

As regards bank accounts they had a joint account, but both of them had their own accounts as well.  There had been no unusual transactions on their joint accounts last time she looked, but she did say she had not logged in since she had been in the UK and she had not been able to access his personal account.

It was time to look at the laptop.  Mrs Wallis had already told me she had broadband access from her room should we need it and gave me the access details.

It is interesting how different people set up their machines and organise their files and it can take a while to find even the most billy basic things sometimes.  This machine was very new and very quick and yet again not a cheap bit of kit.  There didn’t really seem to e very much on it.  A few letters to friends and the odd organisation, but not as much crap as I usually find or have on my PC for example.

I trawled through his files, but as I said there was nothing really remarkable there amongst his documents.

Then I looked at his internet history and book marked pages and at last I felt if I was starting to get somewhere.  I say that, but to be honest the things I found may not sound that out of the ordinary, but they did seem to be at odds to what I knew of these people.  Actually by that I mean Mrs W.  The first thing that got me thinking was when I saw the Ryanair and Easyjet sites bookmarked.

“Mrs Willis who did you fly with when you came over”

“Oh British airways almost all the time” which was the response I was expecting

“Do you ever use Ryan Air or Easyjet?”

“No, very very rarely and not if I can possibly help it, in fact, I can tell you we used them once about two years ago when we were going on holiday and it really was not for me”.

“What about Tom?”

“Well he felt the same” she confirmed “And besides he has one of these loyalty point card accounts which he has had for simply ever, because of all the travelling he did with work.”

“Where do you fly from usually?”

“Granada, why?”

“Out of curiosity at the moment”

“We are about 80 Kilometres from the airport, so it is pretty handy”

I carried on looking on the pc, but there was not really a lot on there.

I asked her how long they had had the laptop and she said about six months, maybe a little more.  She did say that neither she nor her husband were very computer literate and really just used it and the internet for the bare bones, ie emailing , booking flights and hire cars, on line banking and buying a few bits from Amazon.  Oh and the Telegraph Crossword of course.  Of course, how silly to forget that important gem.

None the less something did not seem right.  I checked the browser settings and it was set to clear the history after 90 days, but the browser history started a week before Mr W went walkabout. It may well have been that the last lot of 90 days had been just before Tom went walkies.

I noticed though, that there were a lot of sites visited for people who apparently did not use the internet or computer much.  Not all savoury, but not the load of porn you find on most mens computers.  In this case he had looked up escort agencies, sauna/massage parlours both in the UK and Europe

He had also visited the website for the chain of hotels I mentioned we used, which seemed at odds with where I was sitting.

In particular I found that on the night he had disappeared he looked at sites for two hotels in Frankfurt one in Sophia, Brussels, another in  London, Prague and then one in Trieste and another in Venice, which is odd as these last two places are not so far apart as to need to move hotels, besides which Trieste is really one big ship yard and an odd place for a tourist trip if you ask me, if indeed that’s what he was were going on.

I noted the details of the hotels.

I then found a yahoo email account which was odd because Mrs Willis had contacted me from an AOL account.  I quickly confirmed that they both used the same email address and did not know anything about the Yahoo account.

Mrs W came over and stood behind me looking over my shoulder.

“I thought Yahoo was just a search engine thing” she said

I explained it was similar to AOL.  Having already told me she was not computer literate I did not want to bore her with the ins and outs of it.

I called up the yahoo mail log in page.  I wondered what he would use as a user name.  Now people can be very smart in their usernames and pass words, in fact they can be too smart for their own good, but by in large for passwords they like to use the same things such as date of birth, wifes date of birth, kids names address of their last house are just a few of the common ones.  For user names they tend to use their names oddly enough or their names and DOB or part of their DOB or last but by no means least their postcodes

I typed in Toms name to the username and then his date of birth for the password.  Wrong. Then Name and her name as password. Wrong.

“Mrs Willis do you know if your husband has a password he uses a lot “

“Well there is one you could try” she said going a little pink

“Go on”

“I know he uses Willis18600 for Amazon and interflora and his password is Helen38dd” I typed before the significance of the password sunk in.  Instinctively I looked up and at her.  Clear she was expecting this.  She passed her hand down in front of her chest, she gave a cheeky smile and said “All my own work”

The screen changed and the Message Good Morning Tom came up and he apparently had 2 unread messages from the last couple of day, one from a hotmail account and the other from somebody on AOL.

I didn’t open those, but  I did have a look at what was in his inbox and this is where we struck gold. 

He had  15 saved messages almost all confirming flights, hotels and car hire from not long after he disappeared.  In fact one of the first emails I looked at confirmed a flight from Sofia in Bulgaria to Milan with Easy jet for yesterday.  Then just three days ago there was an email confirming car hire starting yesterday for 5 days in Milan.

“Have you found something?” she asked with interest

“I do believe I have” I said “It would seem your husband has gone on a European tour”

“Why would he do that?” she asked

“lets have a look and see what else we can find out shall we”

She gave a slight nod of the head but she didn’t seem overly enthusiastic.