Saturday, 19 April 2008

Stranger in the Night

I was taking a break from the keyboard yesterday. Actually, I was having a pee. That particular loo is at the back of the house and looks out across a lawn towards the woods. As I peered (that's almost a dual-purpose verb in this context) a man in a beanie hat appeared. He was a complete stranger. We stared at each other in surprise. He waved. With my free hand I waved back. He exited, dexter, and I heard knocking at a door.

It turned out to be a confused person delivering a case from Virgin Wines, which happens to be doing one of those introductory deals that I find so irresistible.

We have a related problem in the bedroom. Its window overlooks the lane. Not a problem, usually, but walkers are on the increase, and they have a distressing tendency to pause and admire the primroses on the front bank. The Social Secretary and I have developed finely honed reflexes which allow us to duck down when this happens whilst dressing, like soldiers on the Western Front with a whizz-bang passing over. All the same, people must still think us a bit strange.

Talking of strange, I haven't lived down what happened a few summers ago. It started when someone stole a bunch of keys from a shed door while I was mowing. It was a master set, and I had to go round changing all the locks before nightfall. We fully expected whoever took them to pay us another visit, so when the Social Secretary shook me awake from a deep sleep that night, hissing "Quick, there's someone at the door," I assumed she meant that someone was trying to break in. She omitted to mention that they had knocked.

Half conscious I pulled on a pair of trousers and grabbed my big, go-away-please blank-cartridge pistol (living remotely one tends to have this sort of thing). Tearing downstairs I burst through the front door. In the moonlight by the gate stood a tall figure in some sort of helmet. I pointed the gun at him and cocked it. He flung up his hands and cried in broken English, "Don't shoot. Don't shoot. I am looking for the camping barn."

Our intruder turned out to be a harmless and now deeply traumatised Dutch cyclist. I only realised later that, half asleep as I was, I forgot to lower the gun while I gave him directions with the other hand. I don't believe he ever stopped at the barn; I think he cycled flat out all the way to the ferry terminal at Dover, the sound of duelling banjos echoing in his ear.

If you read this, Mijnheer cyclist, I'm sorry. You were a victim of circumstance.


  1. I wouldn't feel too awful- he's going to get a lot of dinner party anecdotes from that experiences, Brother!

    Thanks for the blogroll... I have returned the compliment in kind. Lovely blog you've got yourself here.

    girlwiththemask x

  2. Thank you Maam. Your blog is terrific.

  3. I expect to see you on youtube any day now. Ramblers with camera-phones...

  4. God, I hadn't thought of that. Don't want nets. Perhaps a discreet health warning by the road?

  5. The Brits and Toilets are synonym. Yet another story to add to my long list... We need someone like you to scare some Zim neighbours a wee bitty, he-he... Brilliant.