We were up around midnight last night, with a restless Chloe. Around 12:30, while I was sitting quietly with her, I heard rattling noises - like a stair gate or hot water pipes under the floor boards jiggling about. The noise stopped. Then, lying in bed a few minutes later I heard it again. Definitely different noises to what our house usually makes. I asked Flower Daddy what he thought the noise was, at which point he hopped out of bed and eventually looked out of the window. Only to see someone in our garden!
*** You might remember that we are doing some paving work around our house - so we kind of look like we are in the middle of a construction zone - piles of gravel and paving blocks in our front garden and some big heavy tools 'safely' in our back garden. ***
I called 999.
The lady on the phone reassured me that the police would be here soon...all the while asking questions about what we could see, where the people were, what they were doing, how many of them there were. The stuff of Crime Watch. Although it was dark inside and outside the house, we didn't want to move the curtains too much - and disappointingly I could only just make out 2 darkly hooded shapes - slim build, tall and seemingly young.
When I watch crime programs on TV, I always wonder how the victims couldn't see anything.....always thought that I would be more observant...
Around the point when the lady said the police were about 30 seconds away, the thieves disappeared from view. The police just missed the buggers!
Next thing, there was bright torch light being swept over ours and our neighbours garden with about 5 police men looking around. One man even jumped over our back fence.
We eventually realised that the thieves had got into our garden via our side gate. The gate was open, with the heavy duty brass combination lock missing. So all that rattling that had alerted us was them climbing over the gate and someone from the outside of the gate trying to cut the padlock. There must have been more than 2 of them. The policeman said that they take the padlock with them, because they know that it is the only thing that the police could get finger prints from - something smooth and shiny and clean.
The only thing missing was a whopping heavy (and rented) paving block cutter, which Flower Daddy assures me needs at least 2 men to carry. I guess it's the perfect thing to take to one of the scrap metal places and get money for!
So now, the 'what-ifs' and 'thank goodnesses' are left rattling around in my little head. What if that chunk of metal was not enough for them and they had wanted the TV, or more? What if they had broken into the house - then what? Thank goodness they didn't break into the house and thank goodness we didn't have to find out what would have happened then! What if they come back for more? What if I had had my camera upstairs - I could have taken a photo of those personal space invaders!!
Tonight, every creak and crunch and tick and rattle makes my ears prick. I have the heeby jeebies in a much, much, much bigger way than I thought I would have. I worry about the girls in bed. I worry what would happen if someone were to get into the house and how we would get everyone into a single room.
I just worry.
This weekend, you can be very sure that we will be putting up our video camera's, which have been sitting in a box for far too long.