Miss Flanagan had to turn off her television set when the doorbell rang. So much for getting to watch the rest of that very interesting documentary about luthiers – stringed instrument repairers.

miss-flanaganThe skills needed for that job – not alone woodworking and machining, but in-depth knowledge of instrument design, paint spraying and of course acoustic listening skills. What a craft!

Miss Flanagan quickly pressed ‘record’ so that she could watch the rest of the programme when she had time.

The woman on her doorstep was Vonnie Donegan. She was distressed because her daughter and her friends were accused of vandalising a memorial stone at the far end of the village of Benford. It commemorated the death of a local man who died during the War of Independence.

“Jen would never do a thing like that! You know she wouldn’t! I’ve brought her up to be respectful of everyone – the living and the dead! Jen isn’t involved – I know she isn’t!”
Miss Flanagan got all the details after making a cup of strong tea for Vonnie.
The chairperson of Benford Residents Committee had called to Vonnie’s door after the damage had been found and a local resident had mentioned that a group of girls, including Jen, had often been seen hanging around that area, sitting on the wall beside the memorial stone particularly.

“And did they? Often hang round there?”

Mrs Donegan looked away.

“Yes, unfortunately, it was just a place to sit and chat on their way home from school, they say, and where’s the harm in that?”

Very little, Miss Flanagan thought, as long as the girls didn’t ‘mess’, as she knew young girls could – particularly if they were a bit giddy and in a group.

She asked now for exact details of the damage.

“Nail varnish was used – several colours… slawmed all over it.”

“Colours that Jen uses? Or her friends use?”

Mrs Donegan now looked even more distressed.

“Yes, but anyone could buy the same and that still doesn’t prove they did it! They all swear they never touched anything and I believe them but the only way this is going to be sorted out is if you find out who really did this, Brigid.”

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own (issue 5588)