The recreation centre was busy, although we managed to find seats on the hard benches, many parents had to stand as class after class was tested in the arena. Lance and Michelle talked and introduced me to a few of their friends. One couple Monika and Raj invited us for dinner at their house the following day.
We drove to Exeter and beyond. Monika and Raj live on 10 acres in a picturesque village in a white cob house. (They all seem to be white with black roofs). Lance told me, "We're going to a house older than Canada". We pulled into a curved driveway flanked with bushes which led to a stone walkway with steps. They had a huge, green yard with flowers, trees, and a fence to the far left of the front door. Beyond the glass doors was a small area to remove shoes, then more doors which led to a vestibule with an old well. On the left there was a curved staircase against the wall going upstairs. To my right was a door to the kitchen, and right in front of me were three open doors leading to more rooms. A beautiful house.
Monika took Michelle, and I on a tour downstairs and upstairs. She explained what renovations had been done and what needed to be done in the 400 year old house. When we went into Monika's bedroom, closets needed to be added but the room had two windows with enough room to sit on the ledges. I was looking out a window, and when I turned back to the room, there was a man with lank hair standing next to the door. He had a cap between his hands as he stood there in grey work clothes. He appeared to be from the 1920's. I imagined his name might be Tom, and he had simply returned to where he had worked and lived. Not scary at all, just lonely. I did not tell Monika she had a mild mannered ghost in her bedroom.
A few days later, around 7:30 am, Lance came up to tell me, "Raj and Monika have invited us for breakfast and you can look around!" Michelle drove the children to school and agreed to meet Lance, and I at The Best Western in Exeter.
We pulled up to the 150 year old hotel in the midst of renovations. Monika brought us to the bar at the front of the hotel which Raj had almost finished renovating. Dark, comfy chairs with a fireplace at the front and back of the bar. A tall, slim dark haired man with a scarf around his neck dressed in an expensive looking long black overcoat, stood near the window. I got the impression he was well to do, and had returned to the bar after death because he liked the people, atmosphere and felt he was among friends. Lonely again, but no ill intention. Raj had been wanting to put in a marble fireplace in the bar which Monika has been fighting because of the expense. I would guess this spirit had been influencing Raj all along. I said nothing at that point.
We ate, and then I was given another tour up to the top floor with different levels and additional steps (3 or 4). It reminded me of Fawlty Towers. Anyway, everyone followed us as Raj took me to a place where staff and guests alike saw or felt things. Room 26. Saw a woman in her thirties with hair piled high. She wore a long, floor length black dress with crepe like pleated long sleeves, high neck, and open at the throat. The bottom of the dress had two horizontal parallel white stripes. White spots dotted the space between the stripes. Flora was waiting to meet a man, assignation is what I heard. These two met every couple of weeks until the man stopped showing up. Three no shows made the woman very upset, she is still looking for him.
While I was standing in front of room 26, I saw a thin, depressed, older man (spirit) walking down the hall toward me. This man who lived close by came to the hotel when he was lonely and stayed in room 26 a few times which made his depression even worse because that was Flora's old room. The staff were kind to him which is why he returned over and over in his life and after his death. No wonder the negative energy was noticed, two spirits criss-crossing each other over and over. Flora would pace in her room and then open the door to check the hall. Poor old Reg came to the hotel to be uplifted only to find himself more depressed.
Next, we moved on to the basement where I found a low hanging ceiling, old wooden stairs and rooms holding supplies, beer casks and a ghost. Monika told me she always felt watched in the basement and never stayed long. Lance, Raj, and I followed by Monika and Michelle walked down the stairs bending our heads as we went through doorways to check the rooms. Within a few minutes, Monika and Michelle hurried back up the basement stairs, it was "too creepy". I continued watching a short burly ghost in a sleeveless undershirt and suspenders lift casks. He was bald on top with grey hair on the sides, mutton chop sideburns and a large curved handlebar mustache. Very cheerful but when he saw Michelle and Monika, he perked up and said, "don't see many ladies." He loves women and was sad to see M & M return upstairs. He loved his work but being stuck in a basement all day during his life resulted in a lack of female companions. Little surprise that women were uncomfortable in that basement. The men who wandered down to the basement felt nothing. No wonder, the little burly spirit was not interested in them!!
After that, we went back to the bar where I explained to Monika what I saw. I did not want to frighten her but the ghosts were lonely and meant no harm. Raj did not want me to send them away because they were harmless and Monika seemed to be just fine and happy after our conversation. I did tell Raj that the rich spirit in the bar was on him to get a marble fireplace. Every time Raj walked through the bar, there was the spirit encouraging him: marble, marble, marble.