Charles Goldthorpe sat on the low dry stonewall of Meadow Vale Cottage, and looked intently toward the beautiful natural North Yorkshire moors that surrounded him.It was a very pleasant, warm day weather wise and being in the middle of the countryside gave Charles the perfect opportunity to be able to sit and relax a little, which was something, which he often liked to do.Usually he would be at peace and have nothing on his mind but today Charles really needed peace, quiet and time to think things over in his mind and he certainly needed to work things out in his head.
It was not long before Charles began to contemplate his life. He began to think of all the things that had happened in the family and his life in recent years and more so in the last few months. His mind continued to wander to the history of the cottage and what it meant to the Goldthorpe family.
It was said that there had been a cottage in the vale since the 17th Century; since that time very little had changed to the dwelling. The dry stonewall which encased the cottage and surrounding properties had weathered over its years, having been built in the late 17th century by the landowners and freeholders of the village. They had continued this tradition from the early 18th century; this tradition only ceased when times were evidently changing.
Hardly any changes had been made to the cottage since it was first built. It had never received any transformations and in current times the cottage would be described as a beautiful cottage with interesting features and cosy, meaning that it was snug and warm but by today’s standards would be described as small, but that was something Charles loved about having been born and bred in the cottage.
Meadow Vale, though small for the present-day living standards was a pretty and traditional stone-built cottage with white washed walls, which was set in the stunning village of Kettlewell, nestled in the North Yorkshire countryside. The Upper Wharfdale area of North Yorkshire, which Kettlewell is part of, had always been regarded as one of the most picturesque villages in the area and its stunning beauty was popular with walkers.
The cottage in itself had been part of the Goldthorpe family for generations. It was simply transferred down the line to the next male following the death of the oldest Goldthorpe male. It was always uncertain how this had become tradition but it was something that had continued regardless. There had probably been at one time a small farm attached to the cottage, but if it had, Charles could not say he remembered it being on the property. He could never imagine how the farm would have looked as the garden they had with the cottage was not at all that big.
Charles loved the cottage, where he had been born and bred. His parents were Samuel and Millie. They had taken ownership of the cottage following the death of Samuel’s father many years before.
Charles smiled fondly as he thought about his beloved mother, Millie.
Millie was a very attractive lady for her age of sixty. She was tall and slender with dark hair. She did not have any grey hairs and always had a smile on her face so was loved by all, especially by her family and the people in the local community. Millie worked in a textile factory in Skipton as a secretary. One day, as a new recruit, Samuel Goldthorpe had taken employment in that same textile factory and it was here where he laid eyes on the very beautiful secretary; eventually, after a while Samuel plucked up the courage to ask Millie out and they began dating and immediately fell in love, which led to their marriage and vow to never part. After the marriage, Samuel continued to work in the factory, whilst Millie left her position and stayed at home when she had her children.
In their married life, Samuel and Millie had been blessed with two children but they were to become two very different children, not only in the fact that one was a boy and one was a girl but in other ways too.
Charles was the eldest child of the couple at thirty. He was tall, being just under six feet, had dark hair and dark sparkling eyes, the sort of sparkle that you could not help notice and was very much the spitting image of his father, Samuel, in many ways, although Samuel was a little more confident than Charles was and better at managing finances and the running of the cottage but in fairness to Charles he had never really undertaken the finances and running of the cottage so he could be excused for not being very good at it.
Charles was liked by girls for his good looks, and often fought off their advances, but he only had eyes and his heart for one lady and one lady only and that was his darling Catherine, whom he had been in a relationship with for several years. She lived in the nearby Wharfedale so they would meet at every possible opportunity.
Charles had the tendency to be a bit of a worrier, which made him cautious when having ambitions or doing anything special to achieve them. It was not that he did not have dreams and goals, he just sometimes could never work out whether he should take the plunge and do something, and he was always a little reluctant to say his piece so sometimes he let people get the better of him. That said he had a really kind heart and really cared for the people close to him, and despite his odd fault here and there he, generally loved his life the way it was.
Then there was the very different Victoria. She was tall, being five foot eight and was a busty young lady with long brown hair and brown eyes. She was very pretty but she really appreciated the way she looked and played on it and unlike Charles, when advances were made she rarely refused them, taking great delight in playing the field. She could also be very moody and angry if she did not get her own way. It was unsure whom she took after, as she neither resembled Samuel nor Millie in looks, personality or traits.
On the whole, Millie loved her life, her husband, the children and the cottage where they all lived. She also loved her occupation and the setting in which she had resided. All in all, she was content with her life.
That had been thirty-two years ago; where did that time go? It was hard to believe that the eldest child of Samuel and Millie’s was now 30, it had only seemed like five minutes ago that Charles was born, then Victoria presented herself to the world. The Goldthorpes were a happy family, but would this change one day? Who knows that one?
Tragedy struck the day Millie attended the doctor’s for a routine check-up but she soon realised that the doctor knew something she did not. She had been struck with cancer. That had been five years ago and despite lots of treatments, her cancer had become untreatable so inevitably was taken away by this carefree disease, and Charles missed her so much, she had made him what he was and was always more confident when she was around.
Following Millie’s death, everything seemed to change around Meadow Vale; Charles’ father had certainly changed. He was much quieter than he had ever been, and seemed less bothered in the things that made him happy and busy, and Charles for one did not like the change in him. His father had certainly lost the spring in his step when his soul mate, Millie, was taken away from him but was it good to mourn for so long?
Samuel often went for a country walk, something that he frequently did. It seemed to be one of the few things which he continued to enjoy and had the heart to do, and Charles knew that his father’s walks could take a few hours so Charles remained in the calm of the Yorkshire country-side, just reminiscing; however, the peace and quiet was soon to be shattered. The Goldthorpes had known one of the local lads Rory’s relatives for many years and had seen Rory from the day he was born to the day he grew up, and treated him as one of the family. Rory was short in height and unfortunately could be easily led and many people who knew him wondered if one day it would become his down fall. He was however, a good worker and was a good friend to the Goldthorpes. He occasionally tried his hand at a few odd jobs around the cottage.
Rory approached Charles, shouting, “Charles, Charles, there is something I need to tell you, that, is really important but quite upsetting.” Charles remained quiet for a moment, so Rory continued with what he had to say.
“I am afraid the local police have just called to say that a local passer-by discovered the body of your father. Unfortunately, he was found dead.”
Charles was shocked, “dead…dead…his father couldn’t be dead.” So many questions began to run through his head at this very moment, which included, where was his father when he was found? How long had he been lying alone? What had happened? He just prayed it was not something suspicious; whatever had happened, he just hoped the truth would be out and soon. He could not stand the feeling that he was now alone, both his beloved mother and father were now dead. He was determined he would get to the bottom of this. The answer, though, was for the police to find. He just hoped the answer would be soon; and it would have to be soon surely?