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.
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.
‘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….