on the premises yesterday.
I had been out and came home to discover a strange bicycle propped up against the carport roller door. A visitor for the Senior Cat?
I didn't recognise the bike.It was old and not in terribly good condition.
The front door was open but I assumed the Senior Cat had opened it to a visitor. I went in. He was sitting there alone drinking a cup of tea. No, there was nobody else there.
Then he said, "There's someone down the back - going round the side."
I went out the front door, still expecting to see someone we knew. Then I saw a small blue bag I recognised as the bag I use if I need to take lunch somewhere. It had been dropped behind the brick pillar of the carport and, on the other side, there was a movement. Someone was hiding there.
It wasn't someone I recognised. Thin, wiry, dark, nervous - and angry, very angry with me. I had frightened him. He had knocked on the front door. He was "just doing a house-to-house". In ordering him off the premises I was being "rude". There was "no need to be like that". I shouted loudly. He pushed past me and got his bike and then, unbelievably, came back on the bike and demanded I show him the notice on the front door which says, quite politely, "Please do not knock." It is intended for all canvassers. It is an officially supplied notice.
I showed him and snarled, "Now get out!"
By this time our neighbours across the way had heard the noise. One of them had come out to see what was going on. (He told me later, "You sound distressed.")
He saw the intruder ride off. His wife came out and phoned the police.
The police were there within a few minutes. They were already searching for him - at least, they were searching for someone on a bicycle who had broken into a house in a neighbouring suburb earlier in the afternoon.
The Senior Cat sat there looking pale and shaken. He doesn't go down for his afternoon nap with his hearing aids in so he hadn't heard anything. He had left the back door open. (I had locked the front door on my way out.) I was shaking with fury and upset for the Senior Cat.
I gave a statement to the policeman who arrived. He was nice enough not to growl at the Senior Cat for leaving the back door open. When I had to say, "Sorry, I can't tell you that" to a couple of the questions he asked about the intruder's appearance and actions he didn't get annoyed but actually said, "That's all right. I'd much rather you said that than made something up."
We both agreed that taking in details under stress is not easy - and that the rules of "political correctness" make it more complex to describe someone.
Forensics arrived - and got nothing. If I hadn't opened the screen door to get inside they might have but, as we all agreed, how was I to know.
And Mr Nasty Intruder didn't get away with anything. He had put the small tin in which I keep loose change into the lunch bag along with a $5 note but he left it behind. He also left behind greasy marks on the carpet and a mess.
The neighbours came over to check. The doctor one looked carefully at the Senior Cat and later sent a message for me to come and get her if he didn't seem to recover from the shock. Our Chinese neighbours came in to check after the forensic vehicle had gone. No, they hadn't seen anything. Middle Cat arrived unexpectedly and helped to calm the situation.
I eventually got everyone out and started thinking about things like the Senior Cat's evening meal. I also thought about something else. We have good neighbours, very good neighbours.
We've been lucky, very lucky.