Chapter 41

A day or two later, Miss Marple received a letter from Mr Rafael’s solicitors so she went off to see them in London. She found that having solved his mystery, she had inherited a large sum of money. She shocked the solicitors by insisting it went into her current account. ‘I’m going to spend it, you know. I’m going to have some fun with it!’

She did two things to start with, She bought a large greenhouse that would fit in her garden and enable the children to work on the project in all weathers. She also arranged for a coach trip to
houses and gardens or Europe for her companions from what she called the ‘Nemesis tour’.

Of course, life was not always plain sailing. She did occasionally relapse, usually at some social event involving Dolly Bantry but there were always people around to pick her up again. The garden project involved more and more of the village and other people brought their gardens into the project so that the church was always supplied with flowers and the greengrocer with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Marjorie Hubbard and Miss Marple were in and out of each other’s houses constantly, and if you had watched them closely, you might have discovered that on some evenings they did not return to their own homes.

Lucy and Mrs McGillicuddy said that the book was right when it said that recovering addicts can be ‘better than well’!

 

The End!

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Chapter 40

The day before Mrs McGillicuddy was to go home, Miss Marple confided that she was frightened. She feared that once she was alone with her old village life she would go back to the old ways.

Remembering what she had read at the start of this journey that change involved a whole culture not just an individual’s change, Mrs McGillicuddy suggested they went to see the Rev Mr Clement. They found him contrite about failing to see what was going on in the village. Sherry had been banned from the vicarage!

He had been delighted to hear of Miss Marple’s school project and they discussed whether this could become a way of strengthening the alcohol-free life of the village. He thought the Sunday School and youth club might look after the garden during weekends and school holidays This would bring more adults from the village into the project. The vicarage garden had areas that could be developed and they thought an annual flower festival in the Church would be a real attraction.

Miss Marple returned home in positive mood. She decided she had a plan to manage:
– Daily rituals of stress release, diary keeping and self commands where needed

– Do a deal with Marjorie Hubbard so that she could call on her when she felt lost

– Building the garden project to help the village

– Sitting sessions with Diane for her portrait
And of course Mrs McGillicuddy and Lucy were just at the end of a phone.

Chapter 39

When Miss Marple was answering the first question, she revealed to a shocked Mrs McGillicuddy the reason she rejected the young man’s  advances during the war. She knew she was not attracted to him. It was other girls that she would dream about. She had always been ashamed of these feelings, but it was when she met Miss Hinchcliffe and Miss Murgatroyd that she began to think differently. She saw how deeply attached to each other they had been.

When she became addicted therefore, she had found a way of suppressing her feelings. She could disappear into the image of a sharp and nosy lady that she had created. During that awful
discussion with the policeman, she thought her intellectual powers had gone. It was as if she were left with nothing; neither the emotional closeness for which she yearned nor the alternative person she had created.

This then explained the crisis which had fuelled all Miss Marple’s efforts at recovery.

Speaking of ‘who I am now’, Miss Marple said that she felt sad about all those years hiding her true feelings. But, she had been able to find a new kind of emotional closeness to people through the work on recovery. Being more open about herself, and encouraging others to share their personal struggles had led to all kinds of more rewarding relationships, with Mr Rafael and his son, with Professor Wanstead, Miss Barrow, Mrs Sandbourne, with Marjorie Hubbard, with her nephews and with Lucy and Mrs  McGillicuddy!

*************

Chapter 38

A few days later, Mrs McGillicuddy received a letter announcing that the puzzle was solved and the murderer had committed suicide after exposure by Miss Marple. Miss Marple was therefore saying goodbye to the friends in the coach party and coming home.

Lucy decided she would visit, so that she could review Miss Marple’s progress with her and discuss some psychological techniques that Miss Marple might find useful. She decided on two elements.

First of all, she spent time talking to Miss Marple about ‘self commands’. This was something to use when she found herself slipping back into old self defeatist patterns of thinking – such as ‘I’ll  upset Dolly Bantry if I refuse to have a drink with her’. She also taught Mrs McGillicuddy the technique and left them to practice its application. The book gave them step by step guidance so that their practice could be well focussed.

Secondly, Lucy thought she should talk to Miss Marple about constructing her personal story. Again she included Mrs McGillicuddy in this and they were given homework to answer the six questions set out in the relevant section of the book:

Who was I pre addiction?

Who did I become when I was addicted?

Why me?

How and why did I stop?

Who am I now?

Where am I going and what do I do to get there?
The plan was to construct a personal story that supported her self esteem and recovery.

Chapter 37

Mrs Mc Gillicuddy and her niece met up for tea and cakes whilst Miss Marple was away. Lucy pointed out how well this trip fitted with the book’s description of the four core activities for the
recovering addict.
1. ‘Centring rituals’: the regular conversations about the recovery journey, the daily discipline of writing letters to Mrs McGillicuddy and Lucy were both activities of this kind.
2. ‘Mirroring rituals’: Miss Marple’s respect for Miss Barrow and Professor Wanstead especially meant she was obviously drawing on their experience and wisdom. The constant contact with the other members of the coach party and the growing corporate sense of the group working together fitted well with the book’s description of this core activity.
3. ‘Self – constructing behaviours’: Miss Marple had clearly shared her story with other members of the party, and the puzzle Mr Rafael had set was also helping to shift the focus
of Miss Marple’s life away from drink.
4. ‘Acts of Service’: Miss Marple was clearly enjoying her role in helping the coach party to gel as a group, and she took a bit of a lead in visiting Miss Temple in hospital and in supporting Mrs Sandbourne with the practical consequences for the tour of Miss Temple’s accident.

Raymond was playing his part in all this, helping with Mr Rafael’s puzzle, ensuring that Miss Marple took daily exercise and that she did not get overtired. Miss Marple was now sure that she must solve the murder of young Rafael’s sweetheart.

Chapter 36

Of course, Miss Marple was intrigued by what the book had to say about the roles people took in the recovery process. The talkative Mr Caspar was a ‘storyteller’; Professor Wanstead was of course a ‘professor’; Mrs Sandbourne was the ‘organiser’; Mr Jameson was a’pigeon’; Mrs Riseley-Porter was what the book called a ‘bleeding deacon’ and Miss Temple appeared to be ‘a pilgrim’.

Then the trip took a nasty turn as Miss Temple was badly injured by a rock. It turned out the Miss Temple was more of a ‘chronically failing sinner’ since she was not entirely sober at the time of the accident, if that is what it was. Presumably, her inebriated state had made it harder for her to get out of the way of the rock. Sad though the event was, it did reinforced the sobriety of and strengthen the growing alliance between the rest of the party, and the shock encouraged some like Mrs Riseley-Porter to be more open about themselves and their struggles.

It also brought Misses Barrow and Cooke more into the community. Miss Barrow turned out to be something of a mentor for the party including Miss Marple, and the confidence that grew between them was of course crucial for solving Mr Rafael’s puzzle.

Enquries about Mr Rafael’s son were yielding confusing information. He seemed to be involved with homeless alcoholics in London, but whether as an addicted member of this group or as a helper was not clear.

Chapter 35

So Miss Marple set off on her trip. Raymond joined her at the pick up point and they watched as the other passengers arrived. A couple of people Miss Marple thought she recognised, but for the most part they were the kind of mixed group you might expect on a coach tour of ‘famous houses and gardens’.

The tour was blessed with excellent weather and the party all mixed together very happily. Rather oddly, it seemed that none of the party took alcohol when they stopped in hotels overnight, but as the days passed, Miss Marple learned that most passengers had some sort of connection with Mr Rafael. It turned out that all had had some addiction problem and were making the same kind of recovery journey as Miss Marple herself, (with the exception of Misses Barrow and Cooke, who
behaved very furtively and kept themselves somewhat apart from the others.)

She realised that Mr Rafael was not only asking her to solve some puzzle, which seemed to involve a murdered girl engaged to his son, but was helping Miss Marple to build friendships that
were completely disconnected from alcohol, that could become a ‘recovery community’. Her experience as an ‘ambassador’, as the book designated her, stood her in excellent stead when
building friendships between all members of the coach party.

Throughout, she wrote to Mrs McGillicuddy and Lucy – helping her to keep her recovery progress under review and to reflect on the difficulties and achievements of each day.