Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The perils of living in a house that is not your own

As we drove down the road and neared the house, I noticed a bundle by the gate. As we approached, it turned to look at us and I realised with alarm that the bundle was one of the two dogs we were dog-sitting.

We pulled up beside the house and my heart was suddenly at the bottom of my stomach. The driveway gate was wide open, and both dogs were gazing mournfully out onto the road from the driveway.

When we had left five hours earlier, the gates (all three) had been closed, the dogs in the garden and the alarm set in the house. I stroked the dogs and made my way up the stairs, checking the windows and garage doors for sign of a forced entry. Nothing.

I tried the door but it was still locked, and when I unlocked it, the alarm was still set. What had happened?

The first thing was to try and shut the gate, a big double door affair, electronically operated and still standing wide open. I scanned the kitchen and my eye fell on a small remote control hanging on a key-hook. I pointed it at the gate, pressed the button and a little red light came on, but the gate didn't budge.

I dropped the remote and went down into the garage to see if there was a switch there somewhere. After poking around a bit, not finding any likely looking switches I went back out front. I came out into the garden and saw a car pulling up outside, sporting the logo of the security company that provided the house alarm. Two burly men got out.

'What happened?' I asked the first man, which clearly threw him as he'd been about to ask me the same thing.

'We got back and the gate was wide open but there was nobody here and the alarm was still set' I explained, holding on to one of the dogs, who had taken a disliking to the man and was barking furiously at him.

'We responded to a panic button call', the man said, 'wasn't that you?'

I looked guiltily at Marek, 'er, that was us trying to find a way to shut the gate...' I said as meekly as possible.

'You don't know how to shut your gates?' the man asked, clearly more than a little confused.

'Oh, we don't live here' I said cheerfully, 'we're just looking after it while the owners are on holiday.

'Where are the owners?' he asked with a grimace.

'The States...'

He groaned, 'I need to see your documents.'

The first man wrote our details in his little notebook, while the second tried (unsuccessfully) to befriend the dogs and I jabbered away in the background (I don't know how it could have happened, at least now we know not to touch the little remote controls, thank God the dogs were still here when we got back, I wonder if this has ever happened before...)

The heavy gate suddenly swung shut and Marek emerged triumphant from the house. He had found the right switch.

We were warned that if the company couldn't contact the owners they were obliged to contact the police, who would then call at the house.

As they drove away, in the little security car I tried not to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

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Anonymous szwed said...

Riveting reading. Not wanting to repeat over and over the earlier praises of your style of writing, from now on I`ll just use "idem" for that purpose.

6:23 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

He he, excellent idea. Although I'm warning you, I'm getting a bit used to the compliments now - you should still beat me down every so often ;)

6:28 pm  
Anonymous szwed said...

Will do as soon as I`m back from the UK. Currently packing my stuff into neat little transparent plastic bags.

9:30 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

That's a coincidence, me too. I'm headed for Liverpool tomorrow morning though so I hope to avoid the Heathrow madness.

Bon voyage!

11:22 pm  

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