Friday, 10 May 2013

A tale of two houses

Not that many people here know I have a blog. I've just never got round to telling them, and it seems a bit odd to let it slip now. But someone said to me today that I should write a book one day about some of my experiences here - in particular a funny story that happened last week. Tempted though I was to tell her about the blog, I didn't. But I will write the story down here....

In our neighbourhood, virtually everyone leaves their doors unlocked. Being a paranoid Londoner, I still tend to lock up, but various neighbours claim they haven't locked their back doors in years, even when away for several days. Burglary rates are very low - partly because there is a much more expensive neighbourhood nearby which would be more a obvious target for thieves - and neighbours tend to look out for each other.

Last week, my father was visiting with his partner, who is Russian and has a son our age who lives in Brooklyn. The son came out to visit us for the day, having never been here before. It was a sunny day, so we were sitting outside in the garden when he arrived, and he didn't go into the house. He played badminton with the children and had a cup of tea, then after about half an hour went to his car and answered a phone call on his mobile.

So engrossed was he in the phone call, he wandered into our neighbours' garden. They are an elderly couple, and usually in, but on this occasion they weren't. He finished the call, and noticed no-one was outside, so he went inside. Into their house. Thinking it was ours...

He couldn't find any of us, so wandered about, eventually sitting down and watching TV (it was left on, he said, tuned to CNN). As he sat there, he said it gradually occurred to him that there was an odd smell, and also that the photos on the walls were not of anyone he recognized. He looked out of the window, and couldn't see the badminton net. Then it finally dawned on him: he was in the wrong house.

We all had a good laugh when he came back and recounted this story. And I had to tell him he was incredibly lucky no-one had walked in. Yes, they are an elderly couple. But they also happen to be the parents of our local police offer.....

16 comments:

Circles said...

That is hilarious!!xx

About Last Weekend said...

Oh my gosh - that is such an amazing story. I cannot believe what a safe place you live in. Here in Oakland kids are getting mugged for their i-Phone walking home. Sigh...Yes to your book!!! _ i also loved your posts on your first job and college years. Why don't you tell people about your blog. Probably a good idea. My kids teachers read my blog and it makes me feel a bit constrained sometimes...

Gina Howie said...

That is so funny! I can just imagine him coming to the realization that he was not in the right house. Ha!

Expat mum said...

Wow - yes, that could have had a completely different ending! And no, we don't leave our house unlocked!

MsCaroline said...

HA! That is a great story! When we first moved to Arizona, all of the white-stucco/red-tiled adobe-style houses looked so similar to me, I could barely tell them apart - and I often pulled into the wrong driveway in the first few months after we moved. At least your dad has the excuse of being a visitor..we've lived all over the E. Coast and a few places out West, but have never left our doors unlocked. I wouldn't have expected it on Long Island, either! What a nice, cozy little community you must live in!

Susanna said...

Love this story! Still in shock they leave their doors open in New York!

nappy valley girl said...

I agree it is odd, something you would not expect in New York. But it is really like small town America here, despite being close to the city.

As for not telling people I have a blog, it was not a deliberate decision. My friends at home know about it. But at first I didn't feel I knew people well enough, and then as time went on I thought I had missed the chance to tell them. Now it seems like I have been hiding it, somehow, so I'm going to keep quiet.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Good Lord, that could have ended VERY differently with weapons being part of a lot of households in the US...

Lynn said...

As always, entertained by the post and bemused by the comments. For what it's worth, I'm a single, middle-aged lady who never locks my door whether I'm home or not. Northern New England.

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

That's crazy - he must have really been in his own "zone!"

Glad you are still enjoying the badminton :)

Funny about the not locking up - we didn't really when home but at night or if we were out, always did.

Iota said...

Hilarious.

Nota Bene said...

Marvellous!

Haven't people been shot for accidently going into the wrong house?

Kit said...

Parallel realities! He could have walked through a time warp or into another dimension - definitely the start of a good story!
Our doors are often unlocked but that is very unusual in our part of South Africa - we have dogs and there is always someone on the farm most of the time, even if we are out. When I grew up in village SOmerset, Uk, we always left our doors unlocked but now my Mum has a burglar alarm. Times have changed there.

ADDY said...

Loved the story. Greg's aunt lived in Rye, New Hampshire, and used to leave her door unlocked even when she went out to walk her dog.I could not believe it when I visited her. Surely not in the USA. It changed my view of the States being a dangerous place to live - it's worse in London!

Marcus Hepburn said...

"Great post and so interesting. Glad I stopped by, and continued good luck with the blog hop!
Accounts Software For Small Business
Simran Kaur"

new houses said...

thanks a lot for the post...