Though I don’t get out much, yesterday evening I had cause to walk into the centre of our village, and on the way I passed a house which usually has the curtains drawn, but for once, didn’t. It’s a Victorian end-terrace, and always sports extravagant displays of lights and other tat at Christmas, Hallowe’en and other festive occasions. Not to mention those curtains, which are red and gold brocade.
Obviously, as said curtains were open, I glanced in. Inside, elderly woman was bending over a large table which took up most of the bijou front room. The table had a raised wall of what looked like plywood along one side, onto which were clipped two bright lamps of the sort used on building sites. On the table was a dragon, which the woman appeared to be dissecting.
I was late for my appointment, and also not entirely sure I’d really seen this, so I hurried on past.
When I came back an hour later, I looked again.
The woman had now been joined by a man who put me in mind of some friendly but slightly sinister cobbler or clockmaker from a Grimm’s fairy tale. From this angle I could also see two large dolls (or possibly ventriloquist’s dummies) on seats against one wall. The man was helping the woman in what I now decided, for the sake of my sanity, was the construction of a large papier mache model of a dragon.
I’m none too fond of dolls, plus, I’m English, so rather than stare in rudely, I carried on past. But I’m still not sure what I saw. It was only as I turned the corner that I realised that the strange and sinister couple were probably inviting such scrutiny – why else have the curtains open when it was pitch dark outside?
If they’re still at it the next time I pass, I’m going to have a good long look.
And if you never hear from me again, you’ll know why.