Pottering around this morning with first coffee around 0900, heard a frantic banging on the front door. Took me a minute or two to cotton on, being on upper floor at the time. There’s my neighbour next-door-but-one, pointing at my car and its shattered front passenger window next to the kerb. ‘Someone’s thrown something through the window!’ she said.
We went to look. Greeny crumbs and shards everywhere – the pavement, gutter, dashboard top, floor, seats. Lying on the front passenger seat, a heavy–looking yellowish clay disc about 10 inches across. Apparently she’d heard the crash and rushing out to the street she saw a couple of lads right down at the far end, walking away from her. And an elderly gent here on the opposite pavement making his way slowly to the church at the corner. ‘But we don’t have crime here,’ she said, quite bewildered. Perhaps she felt a bit responsible for the area’s reputation, seeing as I’m the new kid on the block. It’s certainly the impression I’ve had. However, assumptions were made, and when I got my brains together I called the non–emergency police number. The lads were long gone.
Taped dustbin bags together later to cover the door. Pouring with rain, there was no way to stick tape to anything. I had tried and failed. Managed to trap the plastic in the door all round, in a moment’s lull of the flying gale.
But I don’t think the Chocolate cat liked the sound of the parcel tape dispenser. He was miaowing his head off and he can’t miaow. It’s a huge effort and he only does it in emergencies about once a year. He has an endearing squeak which serves for most occasions. And he’d been scared by the banging on the door and the neighbour he hadn’t met and the wind at the door and all.
‘I thought we’d done with moving for a while,’ he wept. ‘I need a new map every morning as it is…’
‘It’s all right, sweetheart,’ I told him. ‘We’re not moving again. And you must admit the place is much straighter, and nearly all the cardboard boxes have gone. And after all, the floorplan’s been the same for over a week now.’
Tiny Lambkin (moggy, tortoiseshell ex-stray, deemed by vet to be roughly 10 years old) burst into tears at the sight of a large policeman in a hi–viz jacket. Never seen her so distressed.
‘Woe is me the Russians are coming,’ she wailed.
God knows. Don’t ask me. Daren’t think, her being such a starving waif when I first knew her.
So the kind policeman took details. He phoned the station. Conversation from the other end was fairly predictable, going by the answers I heard. Same questions he’d just asked me, including ones like ‘Did I have any enemies – any relationships gone sour?’ I’d said no. Last relationship years ago, amicable split etc etc. I know my neighbours, and the people at the corner shop, and the lady at the library. That’s it. I don’t know enough people here to be falling out with anybody. Friends and relations are a car journey away. They don’t walk past my door. Anyway I’m not the falling-out type. No arguments, no nothing. Honest. Really. So when he said the same thing down the phone, I could virtually hear the reply, ‘That’s what they all say.’ You could see it in the sudden smile across the kitchen table. I’d thought it was probably some yobbos going home still drunk and/or bored/pissed off from last night. More likely, he’d said. We agreed there wasn’t a lot of point calling SOCO. He said any fingerprints would be sweat and with this rain… but he’d have a drive around town in a minute and see if there was anyone lobbing stuff at other cars. Or something like that. I was politely offered a visit from Victim Support. I politely declined with thanks. Couldn't see the point. Didn't feel like a victim. They surely have far worse to spend their valuable time on.
Then he went to see whether the neighbours could help. I swept up the pavement glass and got frozen fingers and had to come in and plunge them into warm water. My toolbar said rain and snow 1ºC and feels like minus 9. Agreed. Met Office for Peak District today says 50–60 mph gusting 70.
Then I went next door but one, with the PC still there.
Been thinking, I said. I think it’s the wind wot done it. At the time it happened, wind had just gusted to a ferocious level, man next door and I both heard a wheelie bin going over at 9 o'clock, and next-door-but-one heard a roaring sound above everything else. She thought of a herd of buffalo running through her ginnel (one ginnel for every four houses on this terrace).
I’d kept saying earlier how it was a round heavy clay thing – the sort of article you might cap a chimney pot with? Although the police report called it a paving slab. And whose is the only chimney capped and not available for use? Mine. My chimney, my car. There’s justice for you. Even though the car was parked outside next door, the only available space of the moment.
If we'd all been parked in our respective places...
If we'd all been parked in our respective places...
|the offending article|
Wind was up all last evening, and all night, forcing the closure of skylights fore and aft, which is highly unusual. Probably because the wind was mainly coming lengthwise down the street, attacking both slopes.
I remember locking the front door last night and hearing the wind howling out there. I do love the wind, I'd thought, for the thousandth time in my life.
Anyway, those lads would’ve been Olympic hopefuls to have got so far down the street, even if they’d changed from sprint to nonchalant walk at the last moment. And they can’t be, because the Glossop Advertiser would have said so. (There’s a local lad in The Apprentice right now apparently, God help him.)
The PC also visited the elderly gentleman home from church, and guess what he said. As he walked past, he’d been aware of something flying off a roof. I rest my case.
It’s just a bit of a shame that the car was fresh back from the bodyshop with a brand new front bumper and numberplate (split into two pieces) after a 2mph shunt into the man in front in a very long, very boring traffic jam last week – a second’s inattention of course. And he had no damage whatsoever.
‘It’s my tow-hook,’ he’d said proudly. ‘Saves me every time.’
We were so busy enquiring after the other’s health and looking at his magic tow-hook, I never looked at my car. It had just felt like a very gentle bump to me. I picked up a bit of foam off the tow-hook cover and asked where it came from. Yours, he said.
Oh. Shattered, splintered, what a godawful mess. We shook hands after a chat about the sticker in his back window and drove away and didn’t even exchange numbers. (Mind you I committed his registration to memory. You never know, and he probably did the same.) It was the garage bringing it back to me yesterday and parking it in that particular spot which put it directly in the line of fire.
Those lads may never know how lucky they were. Being ninety seconds earlier might have killed one of them. Shudder.
Think I need a lie down.
Things like this come in threes, don’t they? That’s two.
Stand by your beds.