by gwen curran April 2023

Lord Archibald Benjamin Charles Merriweather is dead. So dead that he is but a ghost of his former self. Lonely, he has prowled the halls and grounds of the Old Crown House since the 1800s lamenting his ghostly existence. Three centuries he has existed as exoplasm in this cold and ephemeral world. He remembers the bodies that are buried behind the ancient brewery behind the inn. The disturbed crazy souls who had wandered the nearby Fens until they were taken to that awful house on the High Street near the church and chained the walls like prisoners. As bad as Bedlam it was. Most died there, but they did not have an afterlife, like me, although their moans can be heard when the moon is full. He remembers the kind and efficient owners of the inn, but that is little company now. Lord Nelson was a young lad when Archie knew him, for he stayed at the Old Crown on his way to his first ship as a cabin boy, eager to begin his life on the sea. Little did he know that he would become a great Bristish hero.

“I wish Ella, my fairy woman, could have died with me when the carriage crashed on the bridge over the river Wissey right here in Stoke Ferry. She was my rock, my salvation, my one and only love. She gave me four beautiful daughters. I miss Aethelu, Rhoslyn, Trea, and Margery. Three lovely redheads, like their mother, and one with black like mine. when I first became a ghost, I could look in on them, but no more. No More. No More. There is not even a bed for me to lie on, not that I sleep. I am like a vampire, sleeping during the day and prowling the village at night. Except on Sundays, when I attend church services across the street. No one sees me, but I can listen to the sermon and remember what used to be. I long to speak to the rector and share my thoughts about life and life after death.


I’m in England! My German neighbor and friend, David came with me from Wiesbaden the Netherlands where we boarded an overnight ferry to England. Driving off the ferry in my new red Nissan sedan I kept reminding myself to stay on the left, stay on the left. The car was loaded with stuff I would need until the movers brought my furniture to wherever I found a place to live. the border agent was concerned because I had a cat in the front seat. Not a real cat, but a stuffed animal that looked alive. My daughter had given to me to keep me company. Once he realized it was not real, we are okay to go.

Here we go into my first roundabout. I missed the sign south, but the good thing about roundabouts is you can go around and around until you know where to exit. Did you know roundabouts came from the old days when horse drawn carriages traveled the country roads? Apparently, it was easier for the horses to make a circle when pulling a carriage then to go onto a connecting road. Some English trivia.

We arrived at the Lakenheath American air base and checked into the officer’s quarters. Nice rooms. Ate at the Officer’s Club and unpacked. I was tired, but excited about my new assignment. I would be teaching fifth grade at Feltwell Elementary School. Slept well, had a quick breakfast and went to check in at the office on base to see about a place to live. David and I had no idea of the area, so after getting the names of possible rentals we drove around the area. We were on the edge of the Fens, a swampy area that have been filled in centuries earlier. We drove to York, a delightful city and visited the stunning cathedral, walked around, and had lunch in a cafe. Driving back toward the air base, we passed a classic windmill. It looked interesting and was open to tourists. the gentleman who gave us a tour was filled with history of the area and he shared several stories about the Fens and how at one time this had all been under water.

“The Fenlands in East Anglia are a marshy regions supporting a rich ecology and numerous species. Most of the Fens, or the Holy Lan of the English because of the former monasteries, now churches and cathedrals of Ely, which is close by. Other towns include Boston, home to your Adams family, Sam and John. The larges of the Fen islands is the 23 square mile Kunneridge Clay island on which Ely was built. The Fens were transformed by drainage in the 19th and 20th centuries. today farming produces crops including grains, vegetables, rapeseed and canola. Peat was grown here for fuel, but not anymore. Early Christians sought the isolation of the Fens, also known as the Broads. You would be interested in the story of Etheldreda.”

“Thank you for your interesting stories. Yes, I will do some research when my computer arrives. I knew nothing about this part of England before arriving here. Thanks again, and goodbye.”

2 thoughts on “MY ENGLISH GHOST

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