Grandad’s Attic – A Short Story

Grandad has died. There doesn’t appear to be a will, so Mavis expects that she, as his sole child, will probably inherit everything under intestacy rules. She goes to see a solicitor and he agrees with her interpretation. Mavis decides that she will sell his house once probate has been granted. The proceeds will pay off the mortgage, and she and Simon – her partner and stepdad to her twenty-three years old daughter Diana – will be able to have the foreign holidays they’ve wanted for a while. Diana isn’t included in her mother’s holiday plans. Diana and Simon don’t get on together. Diana still blames Simon for being the reason her mum and dad split up ten years ago.

Mavis finds a copy of grandad’s house keys that he gave her some time back and she, Simon and Diana go for a look around his now empty house – to see what they can find to put for sale on eBay. There wasn’t much, he hadn’t been well-to-do. Diana asks them if she can have a look round in the loft. Her mum agrees, but tells her to be careful not to break anything.

Diana opens the loft hatch with the hooked pole that stands beside the set of drawers on the landing. She lowers the loft ladder, reaches up for the extension lead that’s in the attic beside the hatch and unwinds it as she brings it down. She plugs it in using the socket on the landing. Ascending the ladder again, she sees there are some shelves attached to the wall along the inside of  one of the gable ends. She has to move several boxes and bin bags to get to the shelves. There are some box files, some books and some lever arch files, most of which are covered in dust. There doesn’t seem to be anything much in them – mainly old paperwork he’s hoarded. Her attention moves to the large, heavy family Bible.

She’s never seen it before, so she takes it off the shelf and opens it to see what’s special about it. In the first few pages there are handwritten details of grandad’s family tree. As she turns a few more pages, a manilla envelope falls out. Out of curiosity she opens it and discovers two rings and a couple of folded, stapled, A4 sheets of typed paper.

She carries the paper and the envelope to below the light bulb- to be able to read it better. It’s grandad’s last will and testament – dated two years previously. She considers shouting down to her mum to tell her what she’s found but, out of curiosity, she decides instead to have a read of it. She’d never seen anyone’s will before and wonders whether her grandad has left anything for her.

To her astonishment, she sees these words,  “I appoint Messrs Smith and Sons to be employed as Solicitors in the estate,” then, reading further, “I give free of Inheritance Tax  to my grandchild Diana Thomson,  my property known as…..”. She gasps. Grandad has left his house to her. She reads on. The will also, “Gives, Devises and Bequeaths” Diana enough money to support her through university or in her career. As it happens, she had graduated the previous summer, but the money will come in handy anyway. Diana cannot believe her eyes. Further on she sees that her grandad  has also left a lesser sum of money to his daughter Mavis – her mum. Diana is amazed. Her mum will be furious.

The will went on to deliver another shock however. It stated that the reason grandad had not left the house to his daughter Mavis was because Mavis had lied about him. The will said that Mavis had told people that grandad was demented, and that he was unable to look after himself. She’d tried to get him put in a home, but the Social Services workers and his doctor had ruled that he was of sound mind.  Because of Mavis’s malicious deviousness, he was leaving her only the token amount mentioned in his will, together with her mother’s rings, enclosed in the envelope.

Diana puts the envelope and its contents in her back pocket, then transfers it  to her coat pocket on her way downstairs, after closing up the loft door. She’ll take it to the solicitor in the morning. No point in leaving it lying around is there?

Featured Photo

A change of place today. Covid restrictions were still in place when I took this shot so it was still local to where I live. I was walking from Carr Mill, St Helens, Merseyside, via a woodland area known as The Goyt, on my way to a local hill and its beacon at Billinge, Wigan. I have shown a photo of this bridge at Happy Valley, Carr Mill before, but this time I managed to get this shot while a train was crossing the viaduct. I’m still using my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2 full-frame lens. The EXIF data for this shot are 1/200 secs @f/16 and ISO 800.

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