I was sitting outside with my teenage son, I was making a Daisy Angel (like a snow angel but in a patch of daisies). While lying in the grass looking up at the blue sky, I saw a plane, and our conversation was about where it was going and where it could have come from – this would never have been a topic of interest before.

We hear noise in the distance coming up the road. So we stand and wait for it to come into view. It’s a van driving slowly from house to house, stopping outside each for a moment. Behind it is a car, no wait it’s more than that, it’s a police car with lights flashing and a mega phone. Now, even if I hear a megaphone announcement in my own language I find it hard to understand. Megaphone, plus Italian, plus distance, made it very hard to understand.

“What are they saying? Are they dropping stuff off at houses or is it like the ‘Bring out your dead’ scene on Monty Python’s Holy Grail?”

It got to the house next door. The van slowed, police announcement made and the van moved on. Next they are at our house. But they don’t just slow up at our gate, they stop and buzz to get in!

“Oh my God they want us! They are looking for us! WTF?! Why our house? What have we done?!”

Our driveway is about 20 metres long and we have solid electric gates which we can’t see through and they can only be opened from inside the house.  When someone buzzes to get in, the dogs go nuts, so a whole co-ordination thing has to take place – someone needs to run up the stairs into the house to open the gate, someone else needs to head to the gate, and we have to either get the dogs into the house or hold onto them so they don’t run out onto the road and scare the crap out of whoever is there. So I’m shouting at son to go into the house to open the gate, the dogs are going nuts and drowning out the police car announcement. I stop halfway down the driveway while holding the collar of mad dog and watch suspiciously as the gate slowly opens.

There’s the van, ready to drive in but has stopped. He has already got out of the van and has his back doors open. The police car has stopped behind him; “Stay in your house!”  they bellow at me in Italian.

“Okay” I’m thinking, “so they want me to go back into my house?”

I can’t make out what else they said. I just stay still. Meanwhile, the van guy has appeared from behind the van with a large cardboard box. He’s a smily chap. “I’ll leave it here”, he says in Italian looking at my worried face, and places it inside the gate and then backs away into the van. The gates start to close, the police car moves on. My son and I stare at the box.

“What do you think it is?”

“I don’t know Mam but they only dropped a box at our house, no one else’s.”

I carry it up the drive, it’s very light. we get a knife and open it carefully.

We’re still listing things it might be.

Protective gear?


Decorations for the bloody big street party we should have when this is all over?

It’s a light shade.

I ordered it two months ago for our new house and completely forgot about it.

The delivery van had nothing to do with the police car, it was just a co-incidence they were driving slowing up the road at the same time. The reason why he was slowing was to try to find our house number.

I still don’t know the full message that the police were bellowing, but I know whenever someone admires the lamp in our new house I will probably say, “Top up your glass, I have a story to tell you of how that arrived…”