Two weeks later, 2am, the baby finally and (no doubt) briefly asleep: the harsh rattle of gunshot on the bedroom window. Eeyore, of course, was in London safe in his weather-tight, portered, burglar alarmed bachelor pad while I was the lone adult in sole charge of three children – 1 and 2 were snoring in a couple of rooms we had managed to persuade them would soon be habitable. Crawling to the window – profile low, target smaller: this was clearly A Hit being perped – I peered nervously out and down into the eyes of a stab-jacket clad, truncheon wielding policeman with a handful of weed filled gravel, whose under-the-chin torch treatment was horribly reminiscent of something from Blair Witch. Naturally my sleep deprived brain assumed I was back in Shepherd’s Bush but no, it turned out that this friendly chap was looking for the owner of a car which had just been used in a raid, and which was still registered to our house.
Once we’d cleared that one up he carried on to chat, in a very friendly way, about our new life: were we enjoying it? Was it very different? He was a lovely fellow, engaging and huge – just the man you’d want on your side in a crisis – but as we nattered (me in a whisper) the surreal nature of the situation dawned on me, if not on him. Perhaps he often conversed with wild haired, pale faced, lactating females through open first floor windows in the middle of the night. Inevitably the baby now started to wake and truffle, and our discussion was cut short as I explained and backed out of the window to a cheery ‘Thanks, duck!’ from my new best friend. Clambering back into bed and stuffing an unfeasibly huge mammary gland into the face of my youngest before he woke the household, the cows in the field, and most of the area, I mused on my new life. Smog and traffic jams were clearly now things of the past but variety and human interest, it seemed, were not.