I’d walked about two hundred yards down the lane on my ramble tonight, when a vehicle pulled slowly out of Church Lane a little way ahead and turned in my direction. Since the road is narrow there, I stepped onto the driveway of the Old Rectory to let it pass. It didn’t come past me; it stopped with its headlights on full beam, and then switched to dip. And it remained stationary, the occupant apparently watching me.
Eventually I decided that this was a silly game of soldiers, and was about to step out and walk past it, when it moved forward and drew alongside. A voice said ‘Good evening, sir,’ so I turned the torch on the vehicle. It was a police car.
‘Ah, you’re the police,’ I said.
‘Just out on patrol, sir,’ came the voice from a shadowy head.
‘Jolly good,’ I replied. ‘I wondered who was behaving furtively. Hahaha.’
I don’t know whether he was impressed or not, since he drove on without another word.
Still, at least somebody spoke to me today, which doesn’t happen very often. But then, when you’ve got a face that looks like a map of Clapham Junction from the air, badly etched into a piece of crumpled old leather, you’ve no right to expect anybody to talk to you, have you? No.
And I’ll tell you what’s difficult. When you’re walking alone along a dark lane, and you pass a cottage with lots of lights on and no curtains drawn, it takes quite an effort of will not to idly glance through the windows. Fortunately, I have a strong will. I did sneak a quick look at the teddy bear, though. He still had his back to me.