Burglary in a Naturist Resort
“Charlie 1 5, Charlie 1 5.”
“Here we go,” muttered PC “Addy” Adiscombe to nobody in particular, as he lifted the radio mike off the dash in his patrol car. Addy was nearing the end of his second year in the police force. It was a job he had taken after deciding that seasickness made his life in the Navy impossible. He had enjoyed the service life. The Training Ship and his shore-based posting at Portsmouth had been great fun. His second posting to a small fisheries protection vessel had been much less so. He was seasick, horribly and continually seasick. Every time the sea got rougher than dead flat calm, Addy was hanging over the side of the ship-saying goodbye to everything he had ever eaten. In fact, after 6 months he had asked to be transferred on medical grounds. Once off the ship he discovered he was going to be made redundant, ‘Defence Cuts’.
Out of the Navy, with no pension and no plan for the future. He had not been expecting to leave the Navy for another 10 years; he did not know what to do next. Living on his dwindling redundancy money, he was aimless and bored. Addy had enjoyed the disciplined life in the Navy and found Civvy Street without a job an uncomfortable place.
One evening, heading home from the pub slightly the worse for wear, he was stopped and spoken to by a Police Constable. The PC suggested to Addy that singing about his time as ‘a wild rover’, at the top of his voice, on a residential street, at half past midnight (where had the evening gone??) was not in the public interest. That it might be best for all if Addy was to tip toe off home before singing the second verse, when a Police Sargent walked up. He took the PC to one side and requested the PC wrapped up dealing with the D and D. He had a more important job that he wanted him to help with.
“Yes, Sarg, right away Sarg.” Turning to Addy, “Ok you. Home. Quietly. Now!”
Next morning, as he sipped a strong black coffee in the kitchen of his small flat, Addy reflected on the conversation. Not what had been said to him so much as what passed between the Sargent and the Constable. The Constable was about his age, he had a responsible job, a smart uniform and was part of an organised team. He reminded Addy of Seaman Adiscombe RN in many ways. There it was. The discipline and structure he was looking for. This was going to be his new career. He was going to become a policeman! Thanking goodness that he hadn’t been arrested last night. He went to the library to look up how to apply to the police force.
That was three eventful years ago. He had been through the application process, the Assessment Centre and the Fitness Test. He had worked through the college courses and impressed during his probation period. That was now behind him and promotion, or maybe a move to CID, ahead if he worked hard and followed the rules.
“1 5, receiving. What is your message? Over.”
“1 5, we have a report of a burglary on licensed premises, can you attend?”
“1 5, mark me as attending. What is the address?”
“1 5, you are going to love this,” replied the dispatcher, breaking RT protocol. “The Club House at Eden Gardens Naturist Resort.”
“This will be fun… NOT!” Addy thought to himself. “I can see the stick I am going to get from the lads over this one.”
“1 5, Attending.” He sighed.
Eden Gardens Naturist Resort is situated on the outskirts of the urban sprawl of the once compact market town. On three sides, the houses were now very close to the fence that had been put up to screen the Resort from prying eyes.
Back in the 1950s, when it had opened as Eden Gardens Sun Club, it had been on 4 acres of largely barren wilderness surrounded by farmland. The enterprising Brigadier Weston – Hyde had retired after a career in the army that had seen him through the war and safely into peacetime. In his various postings during the war years he had served in many places, mainly in the Pacific, where he had been in charge of the Air Defence of what is now Samoa. Where he had enjoyed the freedom of swimming and sunbathing naked on the tropical beaches. On returning to the UK, he had been involved in the decommissioning of temporary headquarters and Special Services buildings that had been taken over by the War Department. Most of them were returned, in a very battered state, to their owners with hardly a word of thanks.
Measham Hall was not as lucky as some, it was in very poor condition, having been the temporary home for 4 different regiments from 3 different continents in the months leading up to D-Day. The family that had been the owners had been all but destroyed by the War. The father had been killed in the battle at Calais, defending the Dunkirk evacuation. His son was shot down and presumed killed over Hamburg in 1943; his daughter was caught in a blast from a V2 in the dying days of the war in Europe. The Mother of the family, distraught at her losses and burdened with death duties was unable to cope with the restoration of the Hall. When the damp and aged wiring finally gave up the ghost and the fire started, it was the end.
When his services were no longer required by Her Majesty, the Brigadier took his gratuity, pension and a small inheritance from his family and went in search of something new. He wasn’t sure what, but there had to be something.
Waiting for the train at Marylebone Station, he chose to idle away a few minutes looking at an estate agent’s advertisement, when a description of a derelict country house caught his eye. It was a place he had helped decommission. Beautiful surroundings, as he recalled. Later that afternoon he was back wandering around what remained of Measham Hall. The House was gone, most of the land had been rented out, but the gardens and some of the outbuildings remained.
As he wandered around, he could see that the old chauffeur’s cottage was repairable and the gardens, lawns and the formal orchards could be restored. The day was warm and as he meandered he had removed his tie, jacket and unbuttoned his shirt. As he came around the corner, into what had once been a walled garden, he discovered the disused swimming pool. The pool, along with what he had already seen, started to crystallise an idea in his mind. He sat down on his jacket and thought.
It got warmer … soon he was getting uncomfortable, so he removed the rest of his clothes and sat naked in the sun trying to make the sums work.
Slowly he did the calculations in his mind, he could afford to buy the place and his pension would cover the costs of the refurbishment of the cottage and still have enough left to live on, frugally, but enough. It was getting the grounds restored and the pool sorted out that would need more money and more help. Not a lot, but still more than he alone could afford. As the sun dropped below the trees, he dressed and started to walk back towards the station. On his way there, he passed a copse and a sudden noise made him look over the hedgerow.
What he saw filled in the missing pieces for him.
He watched as four youngsters scrambled for their towels, or the safety of their tent, as an angry farmer stormed across the field demanding they vacate his land immediately. The four young people were as naked as he himself had been just a few minutes earlier.
All he now needed was to convince his wife.
Six months later, in April 1955, the first Eden Gardens Sun Club members working party started clearing the old walled garden.