“What’s that bag hanging on the fence?”
“No idea. I’ll go and take a look.”
It was an ordinary Iceland carrier bag. Containing – a large bar of chocolate, and a small box of chocolates, still in their original packaging. Strange. Not on the front fence – round the back of the house, on the fence between the path that leads to the back of our neighbours’ houses, and our own garden.
Popped round to the neighbours. No, neither neighbour knew anything about a carrier bag on our fence.
What should we do? Has one of us got a secret admirer or something? Being a bit paranoid, should we take it to the police? Seriously? Surely they’ll just laugh...
Suddenly light dawns. I bet it was Daphne. Go and knock on Daphne’s door. Mystery solved.
Weeks ago, we’d bumped into Daphne in town, awkwardly wheeling her shopping trolley on two wheels. It had lost one of its four wheels, and another was flapping about loose. I offered to wheel it home for her, but she said she could manage. At this point I should mention that Daphne is tiny, ancient, and decidedly frail. (Despite this, until very recently she regularly rode her bicycle.) But she’s also a determined old lady, and I knew that if she said she could manage, it meant that she intended to, and positively didn’t want my help.
Then I spotted the missing wheel. It had obviously come off only moments before. I went and picked it up, popped it in a carrier bag I had in my rucksack, and took it with me.
When we got home, I popped round to Daphne’s house. Her (adult) son was very happy to let me try and fix her shopping trolley for her, and fetched it out. That afternoon I fixed it – a bit of a Heath Robinson fix, because what had happened was that the wheel bearing had seized. The axle had been turning in the frame rather than the wheel turning on the axle, and the axle had worn so thin and become so weak that it had sheared. The frame had worn a lot too, and the hole the axle went through had become a long oval. But Heath Robinson knows how to fix such things with bits and pieces out of the scrap box...
They’d asked me how much I wanted when I returned the fixed trolley. I didn’t want paying, of course. They thanked me profusely.
I’d forgotten about it completely.
Until the light dawned as to where the mystery chocolates had come from.
Daphne – not her real name, of course – and her son are illiterate, hence no little note with the chocolates.