No more hurricanes, screaming radios, or mysterious telephone calls broke the peace at Spider Web Cottage. In fact, I began to feel quite isolated, and in a strange way, ostracized.
It wasn't long before my elevated position down at the pub was lowered somewhat, and I felt like the typical English sports hero, who is revered when doing well and condemned when failing. While the regulars continued to welcome me in their usual convivial manner, I wasn't quite the celebrity I had been during the experiences. There were evenings when I truly felt quite lonely. Mind you, I always did struggle to see football as a life and death commodity.
I came and went from the cottage, the weeks came and went, and necessity saw me enjoying more and more reading material. I even started to study!
By this stage, I had a computer up and running, and decided it would be a good idea to seek female company after many years on my own. It was this decision which saw me leave Spider Web Cottage as online dating introduced me to what was to be my wonderful wife.
After a relatively short courtship, we decided it was stupid to maintain two abodes and, as my place was so small, I agreed to say goodbye to the Tudor cottage.
It was one evening, after a long day, that saw the final happening, at least for me, in the tiny cottage.
I had settled in my favorite, or rather only, chair and was sipping a cool lager. My thoughts flitted between an exciting new future and the last rays of sun as it filtered through the tiny upstairs window.
I had thoughts of visiting the local and checked the clock. It read 5:00pm and I noted, with a little annoyance, it must have stopped as the time was clearly displayed as 6:00pm on my wristwatch. A quick search found I had no spare batteries and I was soon across the road at a local convenience store, picking up a fresh supply.
When I got back, I was amazed to see the same clock ticking happily away at 6:15pm. My watch confirmed the time was correct. I had thoughts of changing the batteries, but decided against it, as perhaps I had been mistaken. An extra supply was always good to have around anyway.
The next morning, before going to work, I did a quick check on the clock and found it running quite happily and, keeping perfect time.
My return at six that evening saw the clock once again sitting a 5:00pm.
I had not option but to change the batteries and set the instrument right.
Realizing I had not remembered to purchase any fresh supplies of lager, I reluctantly forced myself across the road, and into the local off license to replenish the vacant refrigerator. At six thirty I would rather have been tucking into an instant meal, but the meal would not be the same without a customary couple of beers.
When I got back the clock had seen fit to return to 5:00pm. I could have understood it stopping, but for the instrument to reverse its movement was, to say the least, baffling and a little unsettling. I reset the dial, and double checked; seven pm, my watch was never wrong!
A quick check the following morning saw no untoward changes on the clock. I left for work.
On returning that evening I once again found my clock static, again reading 5:00pm. Home later, due to traffic congestion, I was understandably more than concerned at what seemed to be going on in the cottage during my absence; perhaps someone was playing a game? The landlord must have heard of the experiences, he had keys and, even the lads at the pub were not past playing a few games?
I decided to pay the pub a visit.
The usual throng hugged a smoky bar counter, and as usual I was given a cordial welcome. I scanned the faces, searching for any clue which might betray an involvement, something, anything; a guilty smile, a darting eye, any movement or action suggesting untoward participation in the cottage happenings.
"You okay?" The barmaid picked up my darting eyes.
I smiled and shook my head.
"Oh, by the way; you remember Alfred don't you?"
I nodded, "The fellow whose daughter was murdered..."
"We've just heard, he passed away recently; found dead in bed by his daughter in Cornwall; was living there I believe..."
"When did it happen?"
"I dunno, few days ago I think. The daughter phoned and told us; says he would have wanted us to know, mentioned your name".
I wanted to ask more, perhaps contact the daughter, and find out whether the old man's time of death and the stopping clock were the same? It was all too coincidental however and courage deserted me. I meandered home.
The clock still ticked away and to this day it has never lost a beat.
I said goodbye to Spider Web cottage the following week. I felt sad; sad, not only at leaving the cottage, but also in a strange way, sad a leaving a series of unexplained circumstances which had kept me company during my years stay. It was almost as though I was privileged to have been a part of the happenings. Unfortunately, my experiences were never transferred to other homes or situations and, to this day nothing unexplained has again crossed my path