Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Mild excitement in Arcadia
Very little happens around here. Holiday visitors drive through on their way to the beaches and then drive back again to use our shops and restaurants but there isn't very much for villagers to talk about other than the state of the weather and our gardens. We did have a little flurry of crime back in 2007 but there hasn't been anything to exercise our Neighbourwood Watch in recent years.
And then ....... at 19.15 hours on Thursday last, there was a frantic knocking on my front door. The MM was out but, being a modern and fearless woman, I walked boldly down the hall and opened the door to find an elderly man on the doorstep. He was visibly distressed and barely able to form coherent sentences. I managed to establish that he had been passing the electrical store when he noticed the door was ajar. He had tried all the neighbours but either no-one was home or they were all keeping their heads down. No-one gets unexpected visitors here at 19.15 hours.
"It's lucky you came to me," I said. "I am the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator. I'll look into it." I then fearlessly approached the building, noticing that the security gate was open and the inner door ajar. I stood at the door and called, "Is anyone there?" Getting no reply, I went inside and looked around. Electrical cable, pots of paint and piles of paper covered all the surfaces but it was impossible to tell if the chaos was caused by an intruder or just the way the business was run. A car drew up outside and my elderly informant said he had to leave as this was his friend come to take him to the bar skittles and shove ha'penny championships. I had to deal with this situation on my own.
I went back to my house to telephone the owner of the office. (I couldn't use my mobile as there is no signal in this part of the village.) She was very shocked and said she would drive over immediately. I stood on guard outside the open door until she arrived about 15 minutes later, accompanied by her 9 year old son. He was impressive! His father was away on a business trip and Junior was in charge. He told us to wait at the door while he went in to investigate. Meanwhile, his mother fretted about her computer with all her accounts and addresses, nothing else mattered. Junior came out and assured us that the computer was in place and nothing appeared to have been disturbed.
Mrs H gave me a hug and thanked me profusely, locked the door and turned to go home. "Wait," I said, "how did the intruder get in? Where is the padlock from the security gate?" "Oh, there isn't a padlock, we never lock it. One of the boys (the employees) must have come back for something after I left and forgot to close the door. I'll have to have a word with them all tomorrow." Case solved!
It may be four more years before my Neighbourhood Watch services are called on again but I think I will be able to ask the young Sherlock for assistance. He certainly enjoyed the excitement and he made a lovely thank you card to go with the bottle of fine wine that his mother brought me next day. It all happens in Devon!