When they got back to the caravan park, the fires were out. But they were stopped by a policeman at the entrance, and told they could only drive as far as the office. “You have to go and see the manager, madam. Nobody is being allowed back into their caravans for the time being”. Lesley thanked the policeman, and drove up to the office.
Inside, the manager seemed releived to see them. “Thank God you were out for the day. Terrible, terrible. The caravan next door to yours exploded, and that set off another explosion that destroyed your caravan too. I’m afraid anything you had inside has been destroyed. The one the other side caught fire, but luckily that family had gone to the beach”.
He slid a form across the counter. “If you can write down what you lost inside, I will send it to the owner. He is going to have to claim on the insurance. Lesley shook her head. “Oh dear, what about the people next to us, the noisy people?” The man lowered his head.
“There were seven of them in a four-berth. Shocking. I only saw the four of them, the rest must have been hiding inside their shitty old Volkswagen. All dead, I’m sorry to say, even though they cheated us with their booking. The fire brigade reckon they had been fiddling with the gas canisters while smoking cigarettes. I do have to tell you that you are going to have to go home. I have no alternative accommodation, and the police say there is going to be a safety inspection. But you will get five days refunded, once the owner has had time to process your form”.
While Lesley was filling in the form, listing what items she could remember were inside, Jimmy walked out and surveyed the smouldering remains in the distance. Two fire engines were still over near the caravans, and the old VW was burnt out too. Only seven. Better than nothing, but not as many as he had hoped for.
Five days back at home suited Jimmy very nicely. The weather was actually better than it had been on the west coast, and Lesley was happy to be able to watch television again. During an episode of the game show, ‘Sale of The Century’, the presenter Nicholas Parsons spoke to Jimmy as he was showing off a speedboat. He said that God was pleased, but not happy. Seven at once was an improvement, but he needed more. A lot more. Millions more. Jimmy was so exasperated, he refused to reply, and he went into the spare bedroom to continue to study for his Masters Degree.
Years passed, and it seemed God had finally given up on Jimmy.
Lesley had got a job as a Chemistry teacher at St Edmund’s School. It was an all-girls school on the edge of the city. By the time she started, Jimmy had gained his Masters Degree in microbiology, and was promoted to head of his section in Biological Warfare. They told him that he was thirty years younger than his retiring predecessor, but they were so impressed by his dedication and drive, that they were not about to turn down the chance of using his full potential. They also recommended he start to study for a doctorate as soon as possible. They would give him extra leave for study time, as they were sure he was something of a potential genius in that field.
Home life with Lesley had settled into a routine. She still dropped him off at work and picked him up, even during the school holidays. As expected, she was also a lot older than most of her colleagues, so she was happy to spend all her free time with the husband she adored, and help him in any way she could. That included doing all the housework, and all the shopping and cooking. With two good incomes, they decided to change the car for something bigger. Lesley chose a Citroen GS Estate, with plenty of room in the back for shopping, and four doors. Jimmy told her that it had an exceptionally comfortable ride, and he was pleased with her choice.
For some reason, God had completely stopped talking to Jimmy. That was okay with him, as God always wanted more than he could deliver.
And since that time at the caravan park, Lesley had never once mentioned another holiday.