Saturday, October 25, 2008

broken doors

Strange goings on in my building today. It started before breakfast, when I was half-woken by a banging sound from downstairs, and developed when, mid-morning, I left my flat and trotted down the stairs to check the post then head into town. In the entrance lobby to my building there's a big shelf where post for the three flats tends to accumulate, but I was surprised to see this morning that the shelf was entirely clear - which was particularly troubling as I noted yesterday that there were a couple of bills there that I'd neglected to pick up.

Surprised, I placed my hand on the latch of the front door, preparing to twist it and pull, when the door swung back freely towards me. Moving through it I glanced down and watched the lock casing in the door frame fall away. Squinting closer I realised that the door had been crowbarred open; the wood in the frame splintered and broken. I frowned. Someone had broken in to steal the post?

I wondered what to do. And then turned and noted with surprise that the front door wasn't the only door that was open. So was that of the ground floor flat, which was an inch or two ajar. I hesitated then rapped on it. A moment or two later a guy arrived, looking incredibly dishevelled, and explained in broken English that he didn't understand me, as I stood pointing at the front door and the missing post. Eventually he understood that I was telling him his door was open, thanked me, and shut it.

I trudged upstairs to ring the freeholder and inform him of the broken door. And then I noticed that the door of the middle floor flat was open too. Extremely odd. I moved into my own flat and, by now feeling a bit nervous that something was up, locked it behind me. Of course, my darker suspicions were unfounded, and the guy who owns the building, once I'd phoned him, explained that he already knew about the door, had been round to see it and had taken away the post (which he took to be belonging to previous tenants) with him. Apparently one of my other neighbours had reported the door broken earlier, but his suspicion, he told me, was that they had broken it themselves having forgotten their keys, and had to break their own door too. The banging I'd heard had been a locksmith fixing their internal entrance, he'd surmised.

So really nothing to worry about, but the strange concatenation of events left me feeling quite edgy and bothered for a while afterwards. Since I returned to the flat after my afternoon in town, the house still doesn't seem to have quite quieted down. There's an argument going on somewhere in the building, much slamming of doors and a troop of noisy Poles standing in the garden out the back. Every time the house lapses into silence there's another odd noise, a bang or a whoop or a yell, which disturbs the peace again. It leaves me tense, always waiting for another small disturbance. In the meantime, the landlord never did send someone round to fix the front door, so doubtless we shall all be murdered in our sleep by opportunistic intruders...

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