Aspects of the house were curious; a winged gargoyle hung by a sign – ‘Haunted Cottage’. Full of optimism, Claire and I had come to buy a saddle.
An old woman with long, incongruously black hair led us into a conservatory. “Please sit. I’ll make some tea…I insist!”
Peach-coloured cushions graced cane furniture and a ‘green man’ planter looked down impassively.
She returned. “Just brewing. Now I must tell you, I have two witches!”
“Two witches, in spirit. They live here. They can be very naughty!”
Claire suppressed a smile. “How?”
“They steal my slippers and hide them! Come!”
We passed through ancient rooms, small, immaculate and appointed with antique furniture. Stuffed foxes glowered, and witches, from small dolls to waist-high figures, were everywhere. Finally the tack room…
We sat drinking tea. She looked anxious. “D’you hear that? Thunder! There’ll be a storm.”
“We’d best be going. Hang on, where’s my car key?!” My pockets were empty.
I went to the car. Lightning flashed.
“It’s OK, it’s in the ignition!”
“She was crazy,” said Claire, back home.
“Yeah, maybe, but when we were sitting down I seem to remember the car key was pressing against my leg…”