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Prim & Proper-T: A Victorian Time Travel Tale

Prim & Proper-T: A Victorian Time Travel Tale

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Prim & Proper-T: A Victorian Time Travel Tale

145 pages
1 hour
Aug 4, 2017


An American family has rented a Victorian house in London, England, for a year.
Thanks to the detailed list supplied by the Prim & Proper-T Real Estate Agency, they know every article of furniture, piece of linen and miscellany, right down to the smallest teaspoon, found in the house.
One item is, however, missing from the list, because one rarely finds the word ‘phenomenon’ on an inventory...

Aug 4, 2017

About the author

An Anglo/American who has lived in France for nearly 40 years, she began writing as soon as she retired. She moved to London in 2012 and spent more than a year there with family. The spring of 2014, she returned to France, Her laptop has never had any trouble following her.Before retiring, she worked at a variety of jobs. Some of the more interesting have been : Art and Crafts teacher, Bartender, Marketing Assistant for N° 1 World Yacht Charterers (Moorings), Beaux Arts Model, Secretary to the French Haflinger Association...With her daughters, she is a vegetarian and a supporter of animal rights! She is also an admirer of William Wilberforce.(If you should read her book 'The Viscount's Midsummer Mistress' you will see that she has devoted some paragraphs to the subject in Regency times.)PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH TO LEAVE A REVIEW FOR ANY BOOK YOU READ (hers included).

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Prim & Proper-T - Suzy Stewart Dubot



The Prim & Proper-T Real Estate Agency had helped Sam to find the house he and his family would be renting for a year. The company was known for renting or selling Victorian houses, so its name bore the terminology from that period.

Ninety percent of Sam’s transactions with them had been done on the internet, the remaining ten percent had been by the odd telephone call and express delivery services. He had wondered how people, living three thousand miles away, would have managed before the internet existed, because he and his family were in the United States, and the house was in Great Britain.

It had taken him just over a month of negotiations and paperwork to secure the place with a signed contract, and now it would be his from August 1st. His sabbatical year actually began at the end of June, but his wife Claudia wouldn’t be free until the middle of July, so August it had been.

The family had visited the red brick, semi-detached Victorian house numerous times via the wonders of a 360-degree virtual visit. The three kids had already claimed the bedrooms they wanted, and his wife was, by now, imagining them all having breakfast in the morning room. The inventory that Sam had in his possession had completed the visit, listing every item of furniture, linen and miscellany, right down to the smallest spoon and the tea caddy on a kitchen shelf. He knew exactly what they could expect.

He couldn’t have been more wrong, however, because one rarely finds the word ‘phenomenon’ on an inventory…

Chapter 1

Wishing to immerse his family in the adventure that was to be their first foray into England, Sam had ignored the convenience of taking a taxi from Heathrow Airport to their rented house. Pushing and pulling their suitcases, weighed down by bags around their necks, they had followed the panels showing the way to the dark blue, Piccadilly line, tube station. By pure chance, the house was located at the other end of the line which had them avoiding the stress of changing trains and platforms. An eighty-minute ride from west London, through the veritable center and then north, allowed them their first visions of what life in England offered on a working day.

The carriage had become uncomfortably crowded in what must have been central London but instead of annoying them, it had exhilarated them. Morning rush hour in England’s capital, surrounded by men in suits and women in their high heels, had made them feel they were on a film set and could expect to see Hugh Grant or Colin Firth at any minute. The film called ‘Sliding Doors’ with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, had suddenly taken on a new meaning as they watched people dare to jump on the train as the doors were closing. The British accent was so quaint that just hearing snippets of conversation wafting around them had kept smiles pasted to their tired faces.

The train had surfaced from the underground as it approached Arnos Grove station. The last obstacle had been their struggle to carry all their bags up several flights of stairs without the benefit of an elevator or an escalator, but what the hell? It was just another aspect of life in England. The five of them were quite conspicuous as they dragged their luggage up Bowes Road, commenting in loud American accents about the cute little shops, the red buses and driving on the wrong side of the road. They tested the zebra crossing with its yellow Belisha beacons and delighted in seeing the traffic halt as they dragged all the cases painstakingly across the road. Their map said they were on the last stretch. Two more corners to turn and they would be there—Limes Avenue.

Thomas whooped once they had ascertained which was indeed their larger than life house, because the virtual visits hadn’t done it justice. Julie had made a big fuss and insisted on taking a picture of them all sitting on the low wall in front of it, luggage clogging the paved sidewalk. They were on the threshold of their year in England, and they had a month of vacation before starting school. It couldn’t get better than that.

No sooner had Sam opened the front door with his set of keys, than everyone had dispersed with a speed and energy, hitherto, unseen. Flagging limbs were rejuvenated in the time it took to get to their allotted rooms. Claudia, being Mom, headed straight down the hallway to the morning room and kitchen. Sam found the cupboard under the stairs hiding the electricity and gas meters and was relieved to see the operating directions thumb-tacked to the inside of the door. The hall light came on as he flipped on the electricity switch. All was running to plan and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock yet! He felt like whooping too. Jet-lag? Not just yet. The adrenaline was still coursing through all their veins…

Exhaustion finally caught up with them in the early evening, but not before they had been around the corner to a row of small shops. The local grocery was run by an Indian; an Indian from India. It was probably more expensive than a supermarket, but they were happy that it had been so convenient for buying milk, eggs, bread and butter, and the man was delightful. Farther along the High Road, they had bought fruit and vegetables from a charming little greengrocer’s shop and then, the smell of freshly baked bread had drawn them into a bakery to buy more bread, this time fresh out of the oven. Rolls and cakes were added to their shopping bag simply because they looked so good. They only realized their error of buying an uncut, crusty loaf when they had got home. How were they going to slice it with a table knife? It was a short-lived panic, because Julie found a long wide serrated knife in the utensils drawer and brandished it saying, I bet this will do it!

Later examining the inventory, they’d had the confirmation that it had been a ‘bread knife,’ no less.

It hadn’t mattered that the day was still bright when they had all finally given up the struggle to wait for night before sleeping. Once they’d had a light meal and their suitcases had been emptied, they’d collapsed on their respective beds to reappear the next day.

Chapter 2

Knowing that they had August free before the kids started school, Sam and Claudia were determined to make the most of it. Sam Livingston was a professor of history, specializing in the nineteenth century European Industrial Revolution. His year in England was going to allow him to delve deeper into those inventions and innovations that had indubitably changed history and social conditions, as well as affecting the politics of the time. As history was his passion, this sabbatical year was to be a treat for him. Most of the excursions they would go on would doubtlessly incorporate his interest in history. How could it not in a country that had produced such people as Boadicea and Shakespeare and which boasted that Joseph of Arimathea had walked its land, possibly with a young lad named Jesus? Claudia had been thrilled with the prospect of a year in Britain away from her stressful job in publishing. Acting as a stay-at-home-mom while Sam attended to his more serious business, was going to be a welcome change.

Although they called them ‘the kids’, Harry was more than that, being eighteen. He had just graduated and had been an honor student all through high school. He would be going to university in London during the next year and was looking forward to it. His only regret was that it wouldn’t be Oxford or Cambridge. He wouldn’t be able to chalk up those prestigious universities on his resume when he returned to the States, but a year at a London university was still impressive.

Thomas was only sixteen but could be mistaken for older. A sports fanatic, he’d been endowed with the body of a footballer—American football. Six-foot-four inches tall with a big, solid body, he was hoping that his new school here in London would have a rugby team. Where better to play Rugby than in England? It was the carrot held before his nose to encourage him to go to his new school.

Julie would soon be fourteen and was not shy. Braces on her teeth had not affected her self-confidence because she was still pretty with blond hair and blue eyes, and although she wasn’t in any way ‘sexy’, she was appealing. She hadn’t been looking forward to leaving her friends for a year, but the promise of a webcam had persuaded her that it might be fun to talk from one country to another. She had given in without too much fuss, and now on the other side of the Atlantic, she had hardly thought of anyone but her best friend, Becky. Her diary would soon be filled with stories of cute boys and their gorgeous accents; some of which she had trouble understanding.

At the dinner table, when they were discussing all the places they each wanted to go, it had become obvious that a year wasn’t going to be long enough.

The time needed to recover from their jet-lag was remarkably short. Finding themselves in the capital of Britain worked wonders on their energy levels. Bright sunshine and balmy weather also helped get them all out of bed on their first weekend in Britain. It was to be an easy-going weekend to allow everyone to unpack and organize their rooms as they saw fit.

The agency had made sure that the internet was up and running before their arrival, so everyone began the day by logging onto their computer. Sam and Claudia

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