Monday 4 December 2017

Strangers in the Seasonal Night

Alan Cadman


Strong Black Coffee

It only happens when it’s dark. I can sense they are out there, but never hear them. This puzzles me; we have a squeaky gate in front of our house that opens out onto a long drive laid with crunchy gravel. A friend of mine is a crime prevention expert; she thinks it’s an excellent idea. I remember her saying, 'They don’t like to make any kind of noise. In and out, as quick as they can, that’s their policy.'

            It works well when our ‘postie’ arrives. Hinges squeal then gravel crunches as intended. When the letterbox flap is raised, cards and letters bounce off the mat; this is followed by a thud that seems louder than a door banging shut.

            So how come they are so elusive? Some December nights I’ve even peered through the bedroom window, a mug of strong black coffee in hand, to see if I can spot them. I’ve seen cats jumping fences and a fox skulking round a wheelie bin, even a badger scurrying across the lawn, but never that lot. Is this the modern way that some of our neighbours post their Christmas cards?

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