In my conversation with Mrs CJ on Saturday 7 August 2010, I told her that the Old Man had looked blank when I had mentioned to him the anecdote that he had narrated to her, of how in the 1940s he and a friend and a policeman had tossed a half-crown coin to decide whether the Old Man and his friend should stay in Peakville or continue to Shoreville — and the policeman had walked away with the half-crown. (This anecdote was one that I had certainly never heard until Mrs CJ had repeated it to me. Also, it conflicts with a much-repeated and well-attested story of how the Old Man came to settle in Peakville. So I strongly suspect that the Old Man had imagined the whole thing.)
I mentioned to Mrs CJ that the Deceased Lady’s mother had invented stories in her old age. One was about how she had met another Peakville girl in London, who worked as a chambermaid at Buckingham Palace and had let her in to the Palace via a back door, so that she could take a look round. “Believe it if you wish,” I said to Mrs CJ.
I did not tell Mrs CJ the anecdote about the Duke of Peakshire. The Deceased Lady’s mother had claimed to know from personal experience that he was very friendly. “When we were driving past his house in the char-à-banc, he used to lean out of the window and wave to us.”
In response to this, the Deceased Lady was doubled up with stifled laughter. Her mother was nearly blind and so was not aware of her daughter’s reaction. The Old Man was also amused.
“I don’t remember that, mother,” said the Deceased Lady, red in the face from holding back laughter.
“Well, I do.”
[Original posting 7 August 2011]