… but not at five in the morning! And that’s exactly what happened this morning. I woke up around five to five, hearing a strange noise outside my door. It sounded as if someone was fiddling with the lock. As there have been a lot of break-ins in our region lately, I was immediately alarmed. Like all good cowards, I jumped out of bed and turned on all the lights, making as much noise as possible, in an attempt to show the possible burglar that I was awake and on the look-out.
Arriving at the door, I checked whether it was properly locked. I put my ear against the door and heard somebody going downstairs and an intriguing cling-clanging sound. At first I thought it was the sound of tools rattling in a metal toolbox. A burglar’s toolbox, maybe? But when the ‘intruder’ reached the bottom of the stairs, the cling-clanging suddenly transformed in a crashing sound which was unmistakable that of several empty bottles falling and breaking on the tiled floor. A burglar with a drinking problem, maybe?
Next there was a lot of shuffling and more cling-clanging of bottles and pieces of broken glass being picked up and thrown in a bag. A few minutes later, I heard the main entrance door slam and the sound moved to the outside. Reassured, I turned out the lights and returned to bed. A few seconds later, I heard the sound again. This time it was coming from outside, from beneath my bedroom window. This time, I didn’t turn on the light, but peeked from behind the curtains to see what was happening.
I saw the red stoplights from the car in the garage next to mine glowing in the dark. My upstairs neighbour, the elderly lady who is kind enough to bring in my garbage containers after the weekly pick-up, was backing her car out of the garage. She manoeuvred carefully and drove off, leaving the garage door ajar.
Fifteen minutes later she was back. I heard her closing the garage door and stumbling up the stairs. She had clearly taken her empty bottles to the waste glass container. There is nothing wrong with that. But what puzzles me is why doing it at five in the morning when it’s still dark and everybody is still asleep? She’s known to be a bit eccentric, but this is really very unusual.
Later, when I left for the office, another puzzling event occurred. When I stepped out of the door onto the pavement, I heard another strange sound, like the pitter-patter of tiny feet. I turned around and saw a barefooted young couple dashing towards me. The girl was wearing pyjama shorts and a large sweatshirt. The young man was only clad in a pair of training pants. I stepped aside to let them pass. When they arrived where I was standing, the girl shrieked. The shriek was followed by a crazy laugh. It was all very bizarre and even slightly scary. I therefore quickly turned the corner of the building, making sure they didn’t follow me into the yard behind complex. What a way to start your day!
P.S. The photos in this post are all from the vegetable and rose garden of La Bourdaisière near Montlouis. In the third photo you can just make out the gardener who gave J.L. some useful tips for growing tomatoes.