International Rescue (South London) branch

Good things come in threes, right? That’s the myth, or legend or old wive’s tale or whatever.

On Wednesday the front doorbell went – well, the doorbell went, we only have one. Our next door neighbour stood there, demure and anxious. She’s a lovely lady who has lived in their house for forty years or so now and welcomed us to the road when we arrived in 1990.

As usual she’s right to the point – no messing about. ‘I’ve locked myself out’. She smiled. ‘Do you have a ladder?’

I do. Several. But M is into her China years – easily chipped – and though considered sprightly that expression isn’t normally linked with a  vigorous thirty something for a reason.

‘I left the bedroom window open. Perhaps…’

Had she read about my bungee exploits?

‘Come on, let’s have a look.’

Going back several decades a gate was put in between our gardens – an aide to children chasing after rogue sports equipment that has flown the fence, first M’s and then ours. While the Textiliste and M inspected and favourably critiqued each other’s floribunda – M’s roses are beyond brilliant, making ours appear humdrum, I inspected said window. Our houses are tall and said bedroom was a good twenty foot up but the window was open.


This has nothing to do with this post but think of it as an interlude. Nice, isn’t it? 90 mile beach in New Zealand

I pulled out the appropriate ladder from my collection – what is the collective noun for ladders? A step? A rung? Addressing the wall, with the good ladies having turned their critical eyes to my efforts, I managed to push the ladder to the sill and I stepped on the bottom rung.

Maternal instincts never die. Teeth were sucked, health and safety instructions issued and I could feel anxiety coating my back from their twin gazes. They didn’t think I could do it. Or at least not without at least one functioning body part being rendered permanently obsolete in the process.

As blog readers will know, I function on a mix of cake and ego. I pressed on, ever upwards, discarding their sceptical concern with a bravado borne of male stupidity and an enduring belief that I will remain forever 19.

In fact it was easy up to and including reaching the sill. The window opened sufficient to let my shoulders cross the threshold – reminding me of the most famous of burglary cases that we reviewed during my legal studies – RvCollins, a case of a man who climbed a ladder to a woman’s bedroom on a warm summer night to find the woman asleep, naked. He returned to the bottom of the steps, removed all his clothes apart from his red socks – curious touch this – and climbed again intent on taking advantage. The woman, now disturbed from her slumbers  thought Collins to be her boyfriend and invited him in. Only after having sex did she realise her error and cried foul. The legal issue turned on the question of had he already entered the room before she welcomed him in, it being acknowledged that the invitation came when he was on the window ledge. And which particular part of him might have already entered that room. The law and smut were always a heady mix back in those dusty law libraries.

I was pleased to see a little sofa with its back to the window. I could reach in and use it to help me slide inside (stop it; we’ve moved beyond  smutty analogies). At which point the geography of my larger that necessary waist caught up with me.

‘Are you alright?’

‘Fine’ says I trying to untangle my belt from the window catch. Oh dear another example of Hope 0,  Experience 1. I did succeed without too many bruises and M was grateful. Breaking and Entering can now be ticked off the bucket list.

A day on and we are just about to leave for our dance class. The doorbell, still at the front goes. ‘Do you own a tortoise?’ Word has passed around the neighbourhood. ‘We have one if you’ve lost yours.’ We had indeed not seen Victoria for a while but that is not unusual at this time of year as she likes to explore the four corners of the garden. However her bid for freedom had paid off and she had managed to pass through three other gardensbbefore being apprehended. The neighbour enjoyed a trip down memory lane, her son was excited to meet a tortoise close up and personal and her dogs beyond intrigued with this walking rock.


A second interlude. Southwold beach. Arty sky. Ready to carry on?

‘So what’s the third rescue going to be? Asked the Textiliste?

Prescient? This in threes nonsense is not born out by experience, or so I thought as I stood at the coffee concession at Gipsy Hill station today and my mobile rang. An automated call from ADT our alarm service. A alarm had been activated at our house. Press 1 if I could deal with it. I pressed 1 ask the barista to hold my cappuccino and hightailed it for home.

M and her husband G were just letting themselves in, bravely going to check as keyholders to see what miscreants might be indulging an informally take away. They had been rung by ADT. Next it was the police, who ADT also rang. It turned out to be my incompetence, born of a belief that Dog was happily secure in the alarm free utility room and not capable of opening the door to the kitchen. Another lesson learned. Experience secures its victory over Hope with a lucky rebound.

Both police and my neighbours were sympathetic. I’d lose a strike for an unnecessary call out. But all was well and Dog loved the unexpected attention.

So I’m back at the coffee concession just grateful that good things are limited to threes. So far….


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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35 Responses to International Rescue (South London) branch

  1. Sacha Black says:

    This was a bloody fantastic read. I laughed out loud on at least four occasions.

    1. WHAT HAPPENED TO NAKED RED SOCKS MAN? did he go to jail? God, as if you left that out.
    2. That was exactly what I thought, and I had not moved past smutty analogies – I blame you.
    3. You had better be bringing cake to the #BloggersBash
    4. It needs to be homemade
    5. Everything, and I do mean everything happens in threes. Trios of everything are the story of my life – good and bad! That’s why I have to write a trilogy! lol.
    6. Your photo cracked me up, you are indeed on top tangential form!
    7. CAKE.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      I love your comments, you mental woman! CAKE indeed. What’s the fav? Carrot, Rhubarb? Lemon Drizzle? Orange and almond (no flour); the amazing eggless, surgarless cake? Collins was convicted at first instance but on appeal the evidence about how far he had entered was adduced and said to be ambiguous so he was released

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sacha Black says:

        Ha! Not quite sure what ur going to think of me in person if u think an ickle comment is mental! :s 😋

        Ooh now that’s a toughy, see one of the reasons I married my wife was cause she can rid the house of spiders, the second reason I married her is her completely different taste in all things sweet. we never row over a box of chocolates, happily picking out our fave quality streets and knowing there won’t be a fight. She also loves cake… I love icing…. I eat the top she eats the sponge. So to actually answer the question after a series of tangents! my two fave cakes are: coffee for icing and lemon drizzle for the sponge….. either of those and I’ll be a happy bunny

        Ps. CANNOT believe she let a random guy in through the window and then had sex with her! He must have had the biggest metaphorical balls ever to dare do that! Still laughing now!

        Liked by 2 people

      • TanGental says:

        The case report refers to the, both having consumed a significant quantity of alcohol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sacha Black says:

        Ok makes more sense! Still she was sober enough to get naked and into bed! Pretty sure I can remember a few occasions at uni when I woke up with one trouser leg on and a shoe imprint in my face because if passed out on the floor or some other random location…. Just saying… She was clearly a bit of a bicycle! 😋

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Did you read about the 21 year old SNP new MP and her tweet about waking up next to half a pizza a bottle of special and more money than she went out with and called it a result! My sort of MP!


  2. willowdot21 says:

    Yes what happened to the red sock burglar? …. She only tumbled he was not the boy friend after the act?? Was he arrested on site.
    I am impressed that you climbed that ladder and squeezed in through the small window! Well done sir.
    Loved the escapologist Tortoise alls well there. Poor old dog no doubt he was worried sick what with neighbours, police!
    What’s a blogger bash! ? I also like cake, and also as important was your coffee still hot!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. noelleg44 says:

    A wondering tortoise? Did you give it a scolding? I did so enjoy this post – reminded me of the humor you can find in life every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      We are now exploring how to paint our pone number on it as she seems to have developed a wider arc for er wanderings. We asked about microchipping but the vet wasn’t keen given her age


  4. Pingback: Trouble Comes in Threes | SaylingAway

  5. We used to have a Greyhound who was always closed into the kitchen and dining room, but was always in the lounge when we got home. It wasn’t until I installed a motion-activated webcam in the dining room that we saw how he managed to open the (inward-opening) door between the dining room and lounge. Crafty little buggers, they are.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. trifflepudling says:

    Brilliantly hilarious! Never a dull moment, eh.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    Complete with interludes, but you only offered two. Glad all ended well and I now am craving cake and cappuccino.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Norah says:

    A trio of great rescue stories, Geoff. Thoroughly enjoyed reading them. The thought of you up that ladder and in through the window is priceless. I wish they had taken a photo. Maybe not, I think my imagination is better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. roweeee says:

    This is quite comical. Your neighbour gets locked out while the tortoise wanders off and the dog breaks in. Bilbo is quite capable of opening sliding doors, which basically refers to our back door but Lady doesn’t have a clue. Both dogs have hidden down on my side of the bed when Geoff’s gone to sleep and are sooner rather than later evicted. We have found one 11 year old boy playing Minecraft during the middle of the night and have subsequently made adjustments to the computers.
    Really enjoyed this post! Well done! xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Even on a promise you wouldn’t have got me up that ladder. Collective noun suggestion which might have appealed to Mr. Collins: a rising?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: International Rescue (South London) branch | TanGental

  12. JT Twissel says:

    I’m happy breaking and entering can now be crossed off the bucket list, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. willowdot21 says:

    Just don’t know which are funnier the. Post or Sacha’s comments…. I did work on the old man and I won didn’t I , two years running! 💗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mick Canning says:

    Great fun, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Eileen says:

    Complicated life recently has kept me from reading posts. Must find time from now on. This would have helped my mood considerably. You are sooo funny. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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