I don't know if I should tell you about this, as it's a scandalous tale with all sorts of dark corners and innuendoes. Oh sod it, there's nothing on the telly and it's still raining.
In the list of Hadley's shops there is Bert Rummins's Ladies Dress Shop. I can vaguely remember him as a dapper well-dressed man with popping eyes and protruding ears that made him look like the picture of a robot that I had in a science book. I was too young to know it at the time but, although he was a married man, he was a real philanderer too. At the time his shop burned down (many of the shops in Hadley were wooden buildings), he was shagging a lady in a fur coat. Wait, I don't mean she was wearing a fur coat when he was shagging her, though she may have been (people can be very kinky - think of Sacher-Masoch), but that was what I heard people saying: things like "That Bert Rummins is having it away with that (supply a noun like "hussy"), you know, the hoity-toity one in the fur coat."
It wasn't the sex or the fur coat that excited me - at eight, you have other priorities - it was the fact that one night his shop caught fire and burned to the ground. The smouldering ruins were a spectacular sight in the days that followed. And then the rumours started, the obvious one being that his business was failing, so he had deliberately set fire to his own shop for the insurance. I knew better. He was a German spy (what else could he be with those robot eyes and ears?) and the secret service had got on to him. I did wonder fleetingly if the hoity-toity one in the fur coat was married and her husband had taken his revenge, but dismissed that on the grounds that he would have waited till Bert Rummins was in the shop before setting fire to it. At least that's what I would have done.