NIGEL ALERT! NIGEL ALERT! Not as exciting as it sounds!

Well, after three years of barely even thinking about Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door, let alone writing about him, I now find myself writing about him TWICE in the space of just a few days. Just call me Magic Amber, Super Sleuth Extraordinaire. Or, perhaps more accurately: Girl Who Answers the Door in Her Dressing Gown With Jogging Pants and a Hoodie Underneath Because She is SO FREAKING COLD All the Time.

Or even “Girl Who Capitalises Too Much”. You decide.

Anyway, there was no super-sleuthing involved in this morning’s Nigel incident, but I DID open the door in my dressing gown (look, it’s REALLY cold here. Also, there is something wrong with our heating, apparently. It’s probably that a dead body has been stuffed inside the pipes or something.) to find a man from Scottish Gas standing outside, holding a clip-board and squinting at me suspiciously.

“Hello!” I said, trying to look like, why, I ALWAYS dress like a homeless person! (And actually, in winter I almost always do.) Whereupon he asked me if there was actually anyone living in the house next door.

“Not living, no,” I said, glad to have yet another excuse to talk about this. “But possibly lying dead on the floor, or inside the walls?” Then I embarked on a breathless tale of how Nigel hasn’t been seen for years – YEARS – and how this one time he turned up and then left in a hurry, and I think he is maybe with MI5, but if he isn’t, then maybe a dastardly villain of some sort, or dead?

(Of course, if he IS with MI5, they will probably come round now and “silence” me for blowing his cover on the Internet. If this is the last ever post here, you’ll know why. It’ll also mean he was a bit of a rubbish spy, though, to be honest, I mean, way to raise suspicion, Nigel! If that’s even your name.)

The man from Scottish Gas was most interested in all of this. It’s the way I tell ‘em, I guess. When I’d finished he raised his eyes to the heavens and thanked the Lord said “Really? REALLY?” but in a tone of voice that suggested, “Well, we’ll be doing something about that then, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.” Then he made a note on his clipboard, which I assume said something about Nigel, but which may well have said, “Woman next door is mad” or “Homeless people have broken into house next door and are squatting there making up outrageous stories”.

He did spend some time after that walking around Nigel’s property and making further notes, so perhaps something has now been set in motion, which will lead inevitably to an exciting denouement involving everyone in the street standing out there in their dressing gowns while police surround the house and hostage negotiators try to talk Nigel down, using one of those loud-speaker things. And then Terry and I are rewarded handsomely for our role in the whole thing, which has been… er, nothing. (Although, to be fair, Terry does sometimes mow Nigel’s front lawn.) I hope all of this doesn’t happen while we’re on holiday next week. I also hope it doesn’t lead to a less exciting denouement, in which there is some prosaic explanation for the whole mystery, and Nigel’s house is sold to a noisy family of fifteen with ten TVs and five sound systems, which they proceed to blast music from all the live-long day, while throwing endless house parties and whistling.

I bet it’s the second one.