Chapter 10: A breath of Fresh Air
At long last Fletcher was now learning to walk again with the support of crutches, which couldn’t have come soon enough as he had now been hospitalized for five long weeks, and as promised Bombers sexy wife Julie turned up at the hospital the following Monday morning in her father’s black 1970s Range Rover, to take Fletcher out for a run in the Adershot surrounding countryside.
“Hope you don’t mind Fletch but I brought my little Yorkshire Terrier Buttons along with me, she’s really cute, and well behaved, so I thought we could give her a little run on the open army ranges near Fleet, Oh! And I borrowed dads new Range Rover too ,it will be a lot easier for you to climb in and out of with your bad leg,” said Julie whilst helping a junior nurse push Fletch in awheelchair down the hospital corridor to the main hospital entrance.
“Can you drive your car to the side entrance Mrs Hill, it would make life a lot easier for all concerned if we can just wheel the chair straight to the car door without having to go down the front hospital steps”, demanded the nurse.
Julie did as she was told and ran to the hospital car park to fetch the car and then drove it round to the side entrance. The nurse was right of course and the couple were soon driving out of the hospital grounds down the Queens Avenue and to the junction of Alisons Road, heading for North Camp near Farnborough. Julie turned left onto the Fleet Road telling Fletch that she knew of a really nice area not far from Malta Barracks where she could exercise her little dog Buttons.
She had also packed up a picnic basket for their lunch so they wouldn’t go hungry, and could enjoy the scenery around this pleasant area in relative peace and quiet. The more the couple talked the more Fletch became infatuated with Bombers pretty wife, how could he tell her of his longing for her he thought without spoiling this wonderful friendship that the couple shared together, but Fletch wanted more, much more, but for now he bit his bottom lip and told himself to play it cool, he was sure she was beginning to feel the same way towards him.
On occasions he’d noticed the way she’d looked at him when he stared longingly into her deep blue eyes. Just as Julie climbed out of the driving seat to put her little dog Buttons onto herdog lead, a white Military Police patrol car turned onto the track heading in their direction with it blue lights flashing, and pulled up across the front of Julies car preventing the couple from leaving the area. A rather large well built Royal Military Police Lance Corporal opened his car door and walked towards them.
“Do you know your trespassing, this is a private military army range madam!,” said the Corporal in a hard stern angry voice, which frightened poor Julie a little. Noticing the stress on Julies face Fletch piped up, “ Can’t you see where having a private picnic pal, so just sod off and leave us in peace will you!” “One more word from you mister and you’ll be arrested and locked up!,” bellowed the RMP Corporal.
“I don’t think so pal, the names Corporal Fletcher Royal Military Police Special Forces, and this young lady your frightening the life out of just happens to be Major Bambridge’s daughter, who just happens to be your Officer Commanding 160 Provost Company, so do as your told and sod off, there’s a good chap, and just leave us both in peace Lance Corporal, got it !,” bellowed Fletch.
“Sorry Corps”! just doing my job that’s all,” replied the Lance Corporal as he returned to his RMP patrol car feeling rather embarrassed and without saying another word.
“I think we had better drive back to the hospital now anyway Fletch don’t you ? because it’s getting rather late,” said Julie still shaking from the Lance Corporals dressing down.
“Hope he didn’t frighten you too much Julie, I’ll see to that bugger as soon as I get out of the hospital, he needs to learn how to approach people and deal with other people before he goes shouting his mouth off.”
“Do you think he will tell my father Fletch ?,” said Julie in rather a concerned tone of voice. “What will it matter if he does Julie, we weren’t doing anything wrong unfortunately, only having a cosy picnic and exercising your family dog,” said Fletch smiling.
Julie drove Fletch back to the Cambridge Military Hospital and waved him farewell promising that she would come and visit him again soon. Apart from the episode with the RMP patrol, Fletch had enjoyed himself enormously and had decided that on Julie’s next visit he would most certainly make his feelings towards her known.
As expected when the RMP patrol returned to 160 Provost Company Duty Room at the end of their patrol, the Lance Corporal just couldn’t wait to spread the word about how he came across Corporal Fletcher and his Officer Commanding, Major Bambridge’s daughter out on the army range.
Unfortunately for him, the door of the OC office had been left ajar and it was situated directly behind the duty desk. Major Bambridge heard every word clearly and immediately ordered the RSM to march the culprit into his office.“What’s the meaning of this idle chatter Lance Corporal Biddle!,” demanded Major Bainbridge. “I’m.... So....Sorry Sir, blustered out Lance Corporal Biddle, in his haste to apologise, “ I didn’t mean anything bad by my comments Sir, just thought it was strange that your daughter was out on the ranges alone with Bomber’s wife, I....I..... mean Sergeant Hills wife Sir.”
“Let’s set the record straight right now Lance Corporal Biddle, and quash this ugly rumour before it goes any further than my office shall we,.... Corporal Fletcher who’s name you seem to want to blacken, saved my Son -in-laws life whilst serving honourably out in Oman, he has now been hospitalized for over five long weeks stuck in the Cambridge Military Hospital due the major injury he received to his right leg and he is now working hard to get back on his feet once again. Sergeant Hill requested that his wife try to help him through his ordeal, and it was my suggestion to my daughter that she took him out, IN MY CAR ! For a change of scenery, Is that clear to you now Lance Corporal Biddle?” “Yes.....yes....Sir, ...sorry Sir, spluttered Lance Corporal Biddle looking into his OC angry eyes which were staring straight at him from behind his desk. “Now get out of my sight Biddle! and don’t let me hear any more vicious insinuations with regard to Corporal Fletcher. “RSM march this idiot out of my office”, stated Major Bambridge as his banged his fist angrily on the top of his desk.
Julie had just arrive home from a shopping spree to the family Officers married quarters in North Camp which was situated on the north side of Aldershot, when her father Major Bambridge called her into the conservatory for a chat.
She knew by the look on his face that he was now well aware of her meeting with Corporal Fletcher, but she also knew that in the past he had never chastised her or lost his temper with her, she was still his little girl and he loved her dearly.
“Julie” said her father softly, “ You must be very careful what you’re doing my darling, with regard to your relationship with Corporal Fletcher, I know your husband William has asked you to visit Fletcher, and I do understand that it’s for all the right reasons, that you’re doing your best to help him through his ordeal, but wild rumours of this nature spread very quickly and I don’t want the good name of this family dragged through the mud. I hold a very important position as you well know, and this family must be seen to be squeaky clean, do you understand me darling ?”. Said her father as he poured himself a small glass of whisky and sat down in his favourite armchair which stood in the corner of the conservatory.
“Now come and sit beside me, and tell me what kind of a day you’ve had my darling daughter, and we will say no more about this subject”, said her father forgivingly.