Although it was only February, the Rev. Simon Abernathy started his spring cleaning early, as he had nothing else to do.
The loft at the vicarage was a place Simon had rarely ventured into since he moved in over 30 years ago, and he felt it was time to see what was in there and whether any of it was worth keeping.
Simon gingerly climbed up the ladder and into the loft. He had never properly been in the loft, as everything he actually needed from there was at arm’s reach from the door.
Simon surveyed the room. Although it was dark, dusty, and filled to the brim with cardboard boxes, he could see that it would make a nice loft conversion.
With that in mind, he began sifting through the boxes.
Most of the boxes had items in them he had never seen before, probably forgotten about and left behind by previous Vicars.
Despite most of the objects being ordinary junk, Simon felt they would be of historic interest and took them down into the main vicarage to give to a museum.
He also saw an order of service for the funeral of Winston Granger; the father of John, the pub landlord, and so put it to one side in order to give to him, even though he may have a copy, anyway.
By lunchtime, the whole loft was empty apart from one box. As Simon expected, only the objects he placed in there himself and kept close to door were worth keeping. The rest, however, would interest museums.
Simon walked over to the last box and opened it, expecting to find nothing in particular.
But, upon closer inspection, Simon gasped with horror.
It may have been dark, but whatever light was in there was enough for Simon to make out the unmistakable image of the Swastika.
Simon thought for a moment. Perhaps whoever owned these had an interest in eastern religions, and this is not what he thought it was.
But further examination of the box confirmed his suspicions; he had a box of Nazi memorabilia in his loft.
“It must have belonged to Winston Chamberlin or Thomas Savile,” Simon said as he showed the box to members of the village council.
“It could have belonged to anyone who was here after the rise of Hitler,” Dave said whilst reading one pamphlet in the box.
“It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that one of my predecessors had a connection to the Nazi cause.” Simon said.
“They could have just been interested in history,” John said.
“Yes, or they were a Nazi sympathiser,” Simon said.
“If they were, then they may have just been naïve and simply thought they were preventing another war from happening, without realising who the Nazis were.” Janet said.
“Perhaps, or they knew exactly what they were doing and were involved in the cause.” Simon said.
He then gasps. “They may have known Hitler. Hitler may have had tea at the vicarage. He may have had a pint at the Hangman’s Noose.”
John sighed. “It’s not known whether Hitler visited England, and we all know that he didn’t invade.”
“Yes, but what if he secretly came to Lower Strangling with the help of our friend here?” Simon said.
The village council sighed unanimously.
“Just stop worrying and give it to a museum,” John said. “They’ll deal with the rest.”
“Very well,” Simon said, and so he packed the box back up and took it to the local museum.
“Well, thank you for this… interesting collection of items,” the curator of the local museum said to Simon.
“No problem. I didn’t know I had any of it until I searched my loft this morning,” Simon said.
“The Nazi memorabilia is interesting,” the curator said.
“I guess so,” Simon said. “But it was also a bit of a shock. I’m going to find out who owned the items and why.”
“Do tell us if you find out,” the curator said, “the public may be interested to know.”
“Very well,” Simon said, before bidding the curator goodbye and driving back to Lower Strangling.
It perturbed Simon on the drive back home.
Sure, he now had an empty loft to convert into a pleasant bedroom with a view overlooking the village, but still a previous vicar had some connection to the Nazi cause.
He knew that the other members of the village council would tell him to forget about it and move on, but he couldn’t.
A previous vicar owned those items, and Simon felt that, as the incumbent, he should find out who.
He didn’t care what the council thought. He was going to investigate.