Chapter 13 Young Dave's crimes

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Chapter 13 Young Dave's crimes

'Funding?' said Christopher. 'What do you mean, funding?'

He hadn't meant to sound quite so abrupt, even when there was a woman from the Council on the other end of the line; he wished he hadn't bothered to do this before going out with the parcel of money. Being a sitting target for various villains might be preferable to dealing with the woman from the Council.

'Yes, your annual grant,' she said. There was a rustling of papers and a clicking of computer keys. 'Seven hundred and eighty-three pounds. Received on - let me see,' - click, click, rustle - 'December the fourteenth last year.'

'Annual grant?' he said faintly.

'You are Mr Wilson, aren't you? Christopher Wilson?'

He was beginning to doubt even that, but he said meekly, 'Yes, that's me.'

'Don't you remember signing the funding agreement?'

He wasn't sure what to reply to that. He certainly didn't remember, but that obviously wasn't the answer she wanted.

'Sorry,' he said at last. 'I'm going to have to look into this a bit more. Consult the rest of the steering group and so on. I'll call you back as soon as I can.'

'That's fine,' she said. 'But if there's a problem, you realise we'll have to get it sorted out before we can allocate any more funding?'

'Fine,' he agreed and rang off.

It wasn't fine at all.

He could just do without all this. Why did it have to happen now, when his life had already complicated itself beyond his wildest nightmares? It was as if, he thought gloomily and fancifully, the loom that had been programmed to weave a plain and simple fabric for his life had gone out of control, twisted the threads into ever more intricate patterns and introduced new colours which clashed horribly with the old ones.

It wasn't until he was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee that he thought of the most likely explanation for the confusion over funding: the Council had got it wrong again. They had mixed up PLIF with another, more organised organisation which had actually got itself into a position to apply for funding by having all the requisite policies, procedures, office-bearers in place and by knowing exactly which boxes to tick on which official forms and which impossible deadlines they had to meet.

On the other hand, he reasoned, if Amaryllis really wanted to pursue her vision of re-building the village hall, the confusion would have to be cleared up before PLIF could get funding for that. So he couldn't just push this whole thing to one side and ignore it for the next ten years as he would otherwise have done. It was up to him to rescue the village hall project from oblivion by forcing the Council to admit their mistake and, more important, record their admission.

This was of course the last conclusion he wanted to reach. But once he had reached it, his conscience kicked in. With a heavy heart he dialed the number for Linda McSween from the Council again, talked his way through various layers of bureaucracy and found himself speaking to her at last.

'It's Christopher Wilson. From PLIF.'

'Yes,' she said, sounding cautious.

'Are you sure about the annual grant? I mean, are you sure it was paid to PLIF? It's just that we don't seem to have a record of it...'

'There's your bank statement, surely,' she pointed out.

'Bank statement? But - '

'It was definitely paid to a bank account in the name of the Pitkirtly Local Improvement Forum,' she said firmly. 'That's what PLIF stands for, isn't it?'

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