The events I am about to describe took place in the late spring and summer of 2004. At first it was just idle curiosity and a lack of other demands on my time that led me to investigate, but then I realised that some sinister forces were in operation: someone should investigate the man in the bowler hat.
Every Sunday evening I travel from my cottage in the Mendips to my flat in the City and every Friday afternoon after work I travel back to the Mendips. I usually arrive in time for a quick drink in the George. For thr most part my activities at the cottage have gone unrecorded, though over the ten years that I have owned the cottage I have filled six school exercise books with records of observations: butterflies, wildflowers, swallows, buzzards and so on. There is nothing of any great merit in these journals, though it might be interesting to compare dates for events such as the arrival and departure of swallos or the first appearance of the lesser spotted orchid. Even though there were still a few blank pages in Cottage Journa No 6, I started No. 7 one Friday evening. after overhearing Jacob’s comment on a man he saw walking down Ebor Gorge early one morning. I listen to as many conversations as I can overhear in the pub.
Jacob had been repairing a fence in a field at the edge of Ebor Gorge when he saw the man. Jacob though it amusing that a man walking down the gorge should wear a bowler hat. His companions laughed as he described the man giving a parody of a city gent walking with This intrigued me, so I decided to look out for him. The first entry in my new journal read as follows: “Jacob ~ man in bowler hat ~ suit ~ black brogues ~ briefcase ~ rolled umbrella!”