ADVENTURES OF A DRAG QUEEN – by Jeff Kristian “Time Tunnel”
When we moved to Kent, we bought a seventeenth century house known as Wishing Well Cottage. Legend had it that it sat on the footprint of an earlier brick house and that the well used to be the water supply for the village.
It was beautiful but needed a lot of work, not least the creation of a couple of off-road parking spaces. Down came the front wall and a section of lawn was removed from the side garden in readiness. A week later, I returned from a weekend of shows in Scarborough to discover a deep hole dug in the centre of the remaining lawn. This was for a soak-away to drain water from the new drive, my partner Charlie assured me. But in the hole about three feet down was the top of what seemed to be a brick-arched tunnel.
‘It looks Elizabethan to me,’ I advised, as though I knew what I was talking about. ‘I’ve watched Discovery, I know what goes on.’ Charlie scratched his head in despair. ‘Don’t get any ideas, the new lawn arrives tomorrow,’ he warned.
A small crowd of neighbours began to appear. ‘Is it an Anderson Shelter?’ mused one little old lady. 'Although, wasn’t there supposed to be a tunnel from the old house to the church?’ By the time I’d made eight cups of tea, the vicar had arrived. Apparently somebody had phoned him, concerned about security at the vestry. Someone else suggested it could enter the graveyard through one of the concrete memorials. He didn’t approve.
‘Perhaps we should call Time Team,’ he frowned. ‘Yes,’ I added. ‘We can stick Tony Robinson in the back bedroom.’ Charlie’s grimace lightened to a smile because we had recently realised that the room was haunted. ‘Tony won’t have to guess who lived here by digging up a lump of brick and an old button, he could just ask the ghost.’ The vicar didn’t approve of this either.
‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s probably just a drain,’ said Charlie in a vain attempt to get the new neighbours off his land. ‘No, can’t be. The Elizabethans didn’t have drains,’ said the man from the bungalow opposite. ‘They probably just tipped everything down the well.’ ‘Ooh, that’s not very nice, it’s drinking water,’ said the old lady, as though I’d just made our tea by scooping from the bucket. ‘Dig down a bit more,’ said another man, taking Charlie’s shovel and helping himself to our garden.
“You won’t find anything,’ said Charlie, lighting a cigarette. ‘Maybe not,’ came a puffed reply, ‘but if this is a tunnel to the church, it must run under Daphne’s house.’ Charlie thought for a moment. ‘Do you reckon that ghost of ours can use this tunnel to get into your cellar, Daphne?’ he said. She frowned, grabbing at her pearls. ‘I ought to go and check, I think I’ve got a crucifix,’ she stuttered, heading off home. Charlie gave me a wink. ‘One down,’ he whispered before adding, ‘I wonder if there’s anything in the church records about a tunnel? There may be a clue about the other end.’ That was the vicar’s cue to leave. Charlie was on a roll.
‘Of course, we could always put a door on the front of the arch and use it to store your drag queen dresses.’ That got rid of another two. As curiosity dwindled, the other man put down the shovel and went home for his tea. Finally alone, I asked Charlie, ‘Aren’t you just a little bit interested in where it might go?’ ‘No,’ came the blunt reply. Twenty minutes later, the hole was filled with hardcore and topped with a layer of soil ready for tomorrow’s turf delivery. Digging began once more at dusk briefly when some woman’s cat was reported missing, but the panic was over when they found him asleep on a grow bag in their shed. There was a lot of noise that night from the haunted bedroom. 'Perhaps you should have filled in the hole while the ghost was visiting Daphne's,' I smiled.
Visit Jeff's website to find out more about our resident drag queen, where you can meet her, watch her shows and sing along on a great night out with Jeff.
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