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The Words Unsaid

by Nigel Gordon

Chapter 14

The Sunday before Krit and Tim flew off for Christmas, Mark asked them to join him for a meal out, along with Thomas and Connor who had come over to pick him up for Christmas. He got Tara to come in and babysit Ian, who was thrilled as it meant Tara brought Mikey for him to play with.

"Right," Mark announced as they were enjoying coffee and brandy after what had been a very good meal, "as of today you are each a twenty percent shareholder in E. Mallory Properties. So is Ian, but his shares are in trust for him till he is twenty-five."

"Who," Thomas asked, "is E. Mallory and why do we get shares in the company?"

"Emma Mallory," replied Mark, "was my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My daughter, Emma, is named after her. I don't think the name will ring any bells with certain people. The shares are my Christmas presents to the four of you. I think you all need some independent wealth."

"Granddad, what are you up to?" Tim asked.

"Last week an agricultural agent acting for E. Mallory Properties made an offer to certain landowners for the areas of rough grazing land between the Bettridge's works and the motorway known as the wasteland. The offer they made was quite good for rough grazing land and has been accepted."

"But," Tim observed, "when the road goes through it will be much less than the land is worth."

"Precisely," Mark commented.

"Just a moment, how is this company supposed to pay for the land? Even if it is just rough grazing it is not going to be that cheap. I think the current price is about seven grand an acre." Connor asked.

"Actually it's worth a lot more if it is near a built up area. People want it to graze their horses so you can get a good rent for it. To answer your question though, I've loaned the company one million at bank rate plus one percent, and that should cover running costs and the deposit on the land. The rest is being covered by an agricultural mortgage. My accountant reckons that the rental income from the grazing rights on the two hundred and five acres will cover the interest repayments but are not likely to cover any capital repayments."

"But, when the road is in place, if we get planning permission, the value of the land will go through the roof, and we can sell it off," Tim stated. "That will enable us to pay off the loan capital and have funds left."

About the same time as Mark, Tim, Krit, and the boys were having dinner, Johnny and the three ex-directors of Bettridge's were having a drink in a London pub. None of them was particularly happy, but all were relieved. They had managed to get rid of the land that they had bought with a loss of only five hundred thousand, which, considering everything, they regarded as lucky. It worked out at one hundred and twenty-five thousand each, which while it would hurt was manageable.

The Monday after New Year, Thomas drove Mark home from the O'Mallys in the Tucson, whilst Connor took the Santa Fe down to London. Connor had an architectural model he needed to get completed before term started and he would be picking up Krit, Tim, and Ian from the airport on the Friday evening to bring them up to Sheffield.

"You know, Thomas, there is no need for you to stay in Sheffield. You could get the train down and join Connor in London," Mark stated. Thomas would have to leave the Tucson as there was only one parking space available with the flat but he could pick the car up when Connor brought Tim, et. al. up on Friday.

"Oh, he'll be too busy with his project, and anyway, I want to do some work on the Midget," Thomas responded.

"You know you're not fooling me, don't you?"

"What do you mean, not fooling you?" Thomas asked.

"You, Connor, Joan, Tim, and Krit. You've got it organised, haven't you, so that I am never alone? The only times there is not somebody with me are the ten minutes it takes for me to walk back from taking Ian to pre-school and the half-hour after that before Mrs Wright arrives.

"Look, I know I'm getting on and there was that scare over my heart again earlier this year, but I can look after myself."

"No one said you couldn't, Uncle Mark. We just like to be with you," Thomas replied.

The merger of the two companies officially took place just before the end of March. Prior to the merger, Mark sold fifteen percent of Bettridge's stock to Paul, having first given Paul an interest free loan so he could buy the stock. As a result, Paul owned fifteen percent of Bettridge's and fifteen percent of Mattashion at the time when the companies merged, which had the effect of giving him fifteen percent in the new company.

Tim had been working with Paul in an unofficial capacity since the start of the new year. He had also been spending at least one day a week on the shop floor, learning about the processes in the company. With effect from the day of the merger, he joined the executive board as one of two deputy managing directors with Colin Gutteridge, one of the Electrical Systems staff who Paul had taken on, taking up the same post for the Derby premises. So the new firm of Mattashion and Bettridge Engineering or MBE as it was to become known, was officially established.

The following week, Paul filed an application for planning permission to build out onto the two car parks at the front of the Sheffield works. The permission was quickly gained and demolition of the Shot House began. Soon, work had progressed to the laying of a new access road across the end of the works site. The access road would eventually extend past the entrance to the new car park to join with the track, soon to be made into an access road, that ran along the edge of the wasteland.

The same day, E. Mallory Properties placed an application for outline planning permission for 2300 two and three bedroom houses on the wasteland. Planning application notices appeared on the walls and lamp posts around the works. It took nearly four months for the planning permission to go through. Once it was in place, E. Mallory Properties were able to sell part of the site they owned for three times more than they had paid for the whole site, giving them funds to develop the rest.

Mark got a very angry phone call from Johnny.

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