With the parrot in a blind panic and the Christmas trees continuing to go up in smoke and what with the gas from the stove adding to the mix. It seemed I was about to become an ex-detective. I cared little for the parrot now and although regretting giving it the helium from the balloons I had at least some idea what was going on with the loading of the truck from yesterday. Looking for an exit route was proving difficult. The back door was too dangerous to approach and the front door was blocked by the now fully ablaze Christmas trees, I had no desire to be fried along with the parrot. Looking around the kitchen window was my best bet and so I clambered onto the sink and forced the window open, diving out just as the manic parrot came for one last attack before he was I presumed, burnt to a cinder. I thought about going out the front way and then thought better as someone might see me. So I ran up the back garden, the effects of the fumes, helium and mulled wine were all too much to take and as I ran I started to loose balance and consciousness. I tripped on something hard and collapsed into a heap in a shed and knew nothing more of the nights events.
The house was now fully engulfed with flames. Fake Christmas trees and I presumed a parrot were no more. As was the house it seemed, as it then exploded, giving the now sleepy village of Leyhill a rather spectacular if unusual display of flying Christmas trees and decorations and flames reaching into the cold night sky. Within minutes a second truck had come down our road (the fire engine) as had half of the village, who it had to be said were rather enjoying what now was quite a pretty bonfire and had decided to turn the situation into something of an event. The carol singers who seemed to have brought along the mulled wine for everyone to keep warm also saw an opportunity and broke out in song. Others clearly felt the burning house was the perfect oven to prepare the Christmas turkey and didn't waste the opportunity to place their foil wrapped dinners as close to the fire as they could get. Others just enjoyed the spectacle.
"Jolly decent of whoever to put on a display like this so close to Christmas." Remarked old Mr Perth.
"It's someone's house you fool." Replied PC Bob Pig, who had arrived on the scene to control the growing crowds.
"Pardon" came Mr Perth's reply. It took PC Bob Pig the next 20 minutes to try and explain, but with him not knowing that Mr Perth's hearing aid wasn't working his conversation was falling on deaf ears!
Just then there was another explosion and it was later reported from a number of drunk on mulled wine carol singers that they thought they heard and saw a laughing but slightly demonic parrot get blown hundreds of feet into the air.
"Quite extraordinary" came most people's reply as they dodged the flying fake trees. Not long after Mr Van Winddycke-Schmidt had turned up in his truck (that would be the third one then.) And was reportedly completely bemused as to the carnage he was witnessing and that was just the ever increasing drunk carol singers, who seemed to be putting new meaning to the song Mistletoe and Wine! Order was finally restored and the crowds watched as the house and flying trees were put under control.
The next morning was the day before the day before Christmas, all was calm and actually quite bright as well. Blue skies greeted the now ruined house. The fire had been put out, the burnt Christmas trees gathered and the partial wing of a once talkative parrot was found. I stumbled out of the shed. My head as sore as it had ever been and I had little recollection of what had happened the night before. Confused and dazed I walked past the remains of the house and back home. Upon arrival mother was sitting in the kitchen wiping the brow of a very disconsolate Mr Van Winddycke-Schmidt.
"Where have you been?" She asked.
"Last thing I know I was carol singing." I replied. "Why?"
Mr Van Winddycke-Schmidt piped up "Some idiot has blown my house up and the Christmas trees we were storing for the annual Chesham Christmas Tree Festival. Ruined, ruined" he mumbled as mother vigorously shoved a towel in his mouth to wipe out the soot. He clearly wasn't finished. "And my parrot, gone and wingless. It was only there because it was a surprise gift for my niece. She adores parrots. If I ever get hold of who did this they will be very sorry."
Things started to dawn on me and I felt a sudden panic come across my face. "Oh dear" and with that I headed to my bed hopeful that I had given nothing away.
Having clearly got away with the events of previous days I sat by the open fire and contemplated the Christmas to come. I had rather enjoyed the carol singing and thought I might give it a try again next year. And with a little chuckle I raised my glass of wine and bit into a rock hard mince pie. "Merry Christmas everyone." I mumbled between crumbs and watched the snow fall gently to the ground.
The Adventures of a Countryside Detective will return in 2015 with On The Trail Of The Yellow Fingernail
Authors note: May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading these tales, I'm truly blown away by how many have looked, read and commented. I hope you will continue to enjoy the future stories to come. So may I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.