It’s been a lovely weekend of blue skies and warm sunshine in London. Just a soft breeze and the temperature somewhere in the mid 20s C. Pretty perfect. The neighbours stayed quiet last night, no loud voices or braying laughter drifting through open windows until all hours, something that happens all too often for my liking in warm weather. So MasterB and headed off to bed bedtimes. I read for a while, finished a crossword and fell asleep.
Around two in the morning I woke as someone shouted “Put your hands up”. I thought at first I’d Been dreaming then realised there were quite a few voices. MasterB was growling, and when I opened the shutters to look out of the window, for once he didn’t leap up onto the sill to look too. Whatever it was, he didn’t want to get any closer.
It turned out to be lots of police officers and one man not in uniform. He was the one with his hands in the air while his pockets were searched and he was patted down. I heard an officer tell him he was under arrest and to put out his hands as he was to be cuffed.
I wondered vaguely how they were going to get him out of the garden. We have metal railings around the outside, and I assumed the burglar – I learned today a shop on the main road had been the target – had climbed over and the police had followed. But another neighbour said her doorbell was buzzed and my guess is they found someone up who let them in.
It was almost like the old days before we had the railings and the gates and thieves would dodge through our garden, often chucking empty purses nd handbags into the shrubs as they went. It was to stop the cut through that the police supported our planning application for railings.
There was also the time when I foiled a burglary of a ground floor flat when I went outside to get Cat in for the night. Another time the flat opposite me was thought to have been bought by a drug dealer. I opened my front door wondering what all the noise was about to find the stairs and landing full of police and to be told quite roughly to get back inside my flat. From my sitting room window I could see yet more officers standing on the wall across the street ready for whatever action they intended to take should the dealer be on the premises. Later they knocked on my door, after another GSD had been deployed, to find out if I had seen anyone coming or going. I hadn’t.
On both those occasions we neighbours had a sort of pyjama party, opening bottles of wine and discussing what had happened. It wasn’t like that last night. We all stayed in our own flats, probably because of the lateness of the hour rather than a lack of community spirit.
Anyway it was all fairly exciting watching the drama play out before my eyes. The side door into next door’s garden was tried and found to open. It was all very much like the television with the officer leaping back as though he had had an electric shock, his colleague snapping her baton into a mean relooking weapon before they pushed the door again, and, powerful torches in hand, began to search it. A dog handler arrived with a GSD who promptly had a poo beside my hydrangea. The handler picked it up, though not, as I discovered this morning, quite all of it.
MasterB had removed himself to the sitting room, so I left the window and went to comfort him only to find the room full of flashing blue lights. A police car was in the street outside. There must have been more vehicles out of my sight, because there were a spectacular number of officers. Most seemed very young. I imagine if they looked up at our windows they would have seen quite a few faces watching to see how this played out. Every neighbour I have spoken to today was part of the audience, though Jolita tells me Hugo slept through everything. She reckons a burglar could break into their flat and take all they own and Hugo still wouldn’t wake up.
Slowly the number of officers decreased, the voices were fewer and I decided to go back to sleep. MasterB decided he wanted the security of being close to me and tucked himself in behind my knees. We woke to another beautiful day, the events of the night feeling rather unreal.