At 5 am on Thursday morning the woman 3 doors down was reading on account of a bout of insomnia and she heard her gate open. She didn’t think anything of it until next morning when locking the door on her way out she looked down. Initially she couldn’t believe what she was seeing or to be accurate what she wasn’t seeing; her doormat had disappeared! Later the same day I was intercepted by the guardian angel who is my next door neighbour. She was walking down the street from the now doormat-less neighbour’s house; quick as a flash as I opened the boot of the car she was reaching in to grab the shopping! She’s a canny minx with a knack of distracting me in conversation before I realise what’s going on; her unremitting kindness makes my life so much easier.
So as I went to unlock the door she was telling me the story of what had happened in the early hours of that morning. Suddenly she stopped abruptly shopping in hand ; as I was having a Weeble-Wobble day I did I little wiggle as I attempted not to end up sitting in the plant pot by the door! ‘It’s gone! They’ve taken yours too!’ Casting my eyes to the ancient slate doorstep all I could see was the shadow, the footprint, left behind; the grotty bristle- rubber half moon mat was gone! Zoot alors as Tintin (or some similar cartoon character) would have said!
The previous week when putting out the recycling I had noticed that someone had removed the distinctive white cat poo that my neighbours and I have been battling with; gone too was the collective of escaped plastic packaging courtesy of the new neighbours on the other side. Doorstep collection is a double-edged sword on our streets as the recycling guys are a tad gungho as they toss the blue bags over the hedge as they empty them, often returning some of the contents destined for the wagon. Guardian Angel neighbour is driven to distraction by the cat poo even having a special scoop permanently by her front door discretely tucked behind the salty breeze burnt acer; a now weary 60th birthday present.
When thanking her for tidying up my frontage as it were she confessed to being guilty as charged on picking up plastic but the vanishing chalky white excrement was not her doing. She too had noticed her share of the feline’s business had been removed. Jokingly I said this was a case for Miss Marple and where was her mother when we needed her – bless her Guardian Angel’s ma has been in a nursing home for a number of years. But, I reminded Guardian Angel, there was Neighbourhood Watch; she is the representative for our street!
We continued to unpack the car as we speculated as to the whereabouts of the doormats; the investigation is ongoing. Perhaps the purchasing of the cape recently was a sign that an additional strand to my ‘portfolio’ career was about to emerge; the cold weather has seen the Spinster sporting a black felt cloche style hat to complete the ensemble!
Yesterday evening I was drawn outdoors by the weak but welcome sunlight; you know the rays that practically plead with you to come and play; the light beams are doing their best even if their energy sapped efforts can’t manage both heat and light! On Sunday I had tidied up ¾ quarters of the brick based pocket handkerchief garden but the one remaining portion leered at me with the parasitic jasmine waving in the breeze. The jasmine is my nemesis; I can’t abide it! No matter how you think you’ve eradicated it when the seasons flip round up it pops sticking its childish tongue at you! It is parasitic i.e. it grows on the branches of adjacent plants I discovered. Hmm I thought now I know yer tricks matey boy (it’s bound to be male as it’s just not that clever ) this is war; so every chance I get I go out and pursue the plant with as much vigour as a disabled dressage horse can manage!
Hence I am having a cigarette in the bottom bit of the garden below the eye line of the new neighbours. Secateurs in one hand crutch in the other with my signature full chops i.e. two Fentanyl ‘lollies’ (its definitely a 200 + 600 time of day – rest is for pussies; pain control releases just a little bit more time) and a cigarette! Quite a way from sophistication one might observe however I’m (foolishly) still wearing the perfectly co-ordinated outfit selected for the client meeting earlier that day. This is where the phrase ‘no sense no reason’ would be appropriate as the gorgeous Gudren oatmeal boiled wool cardigan jacket will now have to see the dry cleaner on account of having green mouldy mildew up the sleeve!
Engrossed in the task of seeking out parasitic jasmine I don’t initially hear the new neighbour’s French doors open; gradually I become aware of voices as the hushed tones drift over the fence. The mother is having a cigarette accompanied by another female voice. Of course I have a dilemma; does Miss Marple stay put and finish off snipping or does she noisily make her presence known? Curiosity always features in these situations; little is known about the new people and information is currency in small towns! Guardian Angel works for the local dairy and is usually genned up but this is a little small-scale for her!
Whilst this scenario is mildly amusing to a competent Spinster, albeit minus a tweed stuffed wardrobe, the reality is a little less promising. In an attempt to yank a particularly persistent piece of greenery Miss Marple loses her balance! Expletives are audibly emitted even with a mouthful and no-one within several gardens can be under any illusion that there is someone in the garden of number 33!
But all is not lost as during the ensuing conversation new facts are gleaned! And embryonic bonding begins with a fellow smoker when the new neighbour says the family are going away for the weekend so I should get some peace. ‘You probably hear me shouting at the kids’ she comments to which I respond ‘no not you but I do hear him’. She laughed loudly and tells me that must be the teacher in him!
I’ll keep you posted on Miss Marple’s investigation into the phantom doormat snaffler with a penchant for clearing up after rogue felines…starting with the reason the kitty poo is a curiously chalky white in colour; surely this maybe a clue as to the culprit!