Last night, it must have been about 2 in the morning when I was awoken by the sound of voices outside. Male voices, talking in hushed tones, surely coming from the bushes in front of my parents’ house.
Whenever I’m in England, I’m always more security conscious – aware that spates of burglaries along my parents’ leafy road have occurred.
The voices went quiet – then came the sound of clinking glass.
I sat up in bed, thinking this was it – we were about to be burgled while everyone (my Mum and Dad, the kids and me) slept. The audacity of it, I thought – and what the hell should I do.
Given that the guest room in which I’m staying is the only room at the front of the house, I figured I was probably the only person who’d been disturbed, and listened intently.
This I heard clearly. It was a warm, humid night, and both my windows were flung wide open. If you’re not from the UK, you might not know that homes here are built with heat-retaining insulation – good for winter, but suffocating during hot spells. Other than lying still in the direct line of a fan, opening a window – and ditching the duvet – is your only hope of preventing peri-menopausal hot flushes during sticky nights.
I crept to the window, my heart skidding. I crouched down, and peered out into the dark street, fully expecting to witness a pair of hooligans with a crowbar.
And saw: The Milkman.
That wonderful British tradition. On his rounds (at 2am!), with an assistant. Delivering milk, eggs, orange juice (in pintas), bread and all kinds of other goodies to doorsteps all over the town, in time to put a smile on his customers’ faces at breakfast – provided the milk hasn’t curdled by 8am.
I did notice he’d jettisoned his battery-operated milk float: after shifting a few crates around (thud, bump … tinkle) he drove off in what sounded like a diesel truck, and I climbed back into bed, more than a little relieved.