Safe as Houses

Last night I heard a noise – a noise that shouldn’t have been there. A single footstep, upstairs. I don’t scare easy, and once I’d been upstairs and checked, I decided it was probably just a strange effect of the wind outside, or maybe a radiator expanding or contracting.

I don’t feel lonely, and generally I don’t miss having someone around – but at times like that it would be nice to know someone at least had your back!!

Also, being on my own means there’s only one person checking that the door’s locked and the alarm’s set.

I don’t lay awake worrying about it – the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ streak is strong, thank goodness.

It did happen to me once though, many years ago . Due to a combination of circumstances that I won’t bore you with, my husband ended up going to work, overnight, with both sets of house keys. It meant I couldn’t lock the front door at bedtime. So – I piled lots of things up behind the door – ironing board, kid’s bike, that sort of thing. If anyone tried to get in it would either make a noise and frighten them away, or slow them down while they disentangled themselves. I went to bed and read for a bit – and lo and behold someone tried the door. While my light was still on.

I couldn’t believe it. I stormed straight downstairs, really really cross that someone had had the barefaced cheek to try the door. They’d run off by the time I got there (so my plan worked). I can honestly say I wasn’t scared – but I was fucking angry. Think lioness – my own cub was asleep upstairs, and yes, I would have attacked if provoked.

And after that, I always wondered how many times the door had been tried whilst it was locked. It’s unlikely to have been a coincidence, that they happened to try it the one night it wasn’t locked.

I always check the doors before I go out and before I go up to bed. Even if I know I haven’t been out, I still check. I always set the alarm, even if I’m just popping out to post a letter. I have a light that comes on with a timer in the evening, regardless of whether I’m at work or not. I think it makes it look like the house has someone in it – or that I’m not in on my own.

I set an alarm when I leave the house too, and I get a text if the alarm is triggered while I’m out. The only time it’s ever happened was when I was at the hairdressers!! I had to run home with wet hair, only to discover that there was nothing wrong and no obvious reason for the alarm to go off.

At the end of the day all we can do is take sensible precautions and keep the insurance up to date. It’s only stuff, after all. But it’s my stuff, and regardless of value some of it is irreplaceable. Anyone thinking of laying a finger on it really doesn’t want to see me angry.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. anglosvizzera says:

    A few months ago, when my husband went to get the milk in, he found that someone had drunk a pint of our (expensive, organic, glass-bottled) milk, leaving the empty lid in a flower pot and the bottle on the doorstep. (The other bottle was still there, untouched.)

    Naturally I called the milk people to ask if the milkman (who delivers at about 3.45am in our road) had seen anything suspicious, and they also kindly refunded us for the missing bottle. I asked for the milkie to ring the bell, whatever time he delivered from then on (only 3 times a week, thankfully – and we don’t have to go to work) so that we could get it in. After a week or so, we decided it was safe for him not to bother any more and, touch wood, all has been fine since.

    We were pretty angry about it, so I also asked our neighbour, who has a CCTV set up to watch his front door, whether there had been anything suspicious that night. His wife sent me a screenshot of a young man who had been trying the front door handles in the early hours, and also a short video (from our local Facebook page) from our opposite neighbour of the same man trying their door. Apparently this had been going on for a while, one or two of them trying car doors and front doors around our town.

    So I joined this local FB page to see what was happening (probably not a good idea sometimes, when there are various incidents that I would not otherwise had known about!) and saw that lots of people had caught this person on their CCTV around the town. I think I recognised him as one of the ‘naughty boys’ at the secondary school that I’d worked at a few years before…

    So we are extra vigilant about locking everything up as a consequence!

    As an aside, when I joined the FB page and saw the post of the CCTV video, the poster’s name rang a bell (he lives opposite me, but I didn’t know him other than to take in the odd delivery) and I saw he had a ‘shared’ friend, someone I’d known back in Surrey from when I was about 20. I thought this was a bit odd, so I sent him a message asking how he knew my friend (who still lives in Surrey, while we’re in South Somerset) and it turned out she was his aunt!! As she and her sister (his mum) apparently aren’t on the best of terms (although my friend doesn’t know why), they don’t communicate with each other very often so my friend had no idea that her nephew lived opposite us! It really is a small world.

    Going back to when I was 20, my first husband and I lived in Guildford, in the cheapest house we could afford to buy (£18,000!) which was on a ‘rat-run’ from the station to the main A3. Most of the other houses near us were places that the council used for temporary accommodation for people who hadn’t paid their rent and had been evicted from somewhere. We didn’t really notice any trouble there, other than having to park on the road outside and risking damage to the car, but there was no front garden, the house opened up onto the pavement, so people were walking past day and night. One evening I was in the living room drying my hair, when I saw a ‘fist’ come through the window into the curtain! We had those small-paned sash windows (single-glazed) and nice floor-length lined velvet curtains that I’d made, so someone must’ve just decided on a whim to shove his fist through our window!

    Anyway, like you, I don’t spend time worrying about these kinds of things – my philosophy is that sending out those kinds of thoughts actually attract trouble!!


  2. I think you have to be sensible – and then get on with everything else!


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