We’re only making plans for Nigel/ We only want what’s best for him

Remember Nigel, the International Man of Mystery next door?

No, of course you don’t: it’s now been almost six years (SIX! YEARS!) since Nigel was last sighted, and almost two since I last wrote speculatively about the possibility of him being either a spy or a serial killer, so I doubt I have any readers left from Those Days. (“This was all fields! And we had to walk uphill in the snow, both ways! And we could go to bed and leave our door open… oh, we still do that, don’t we?”) It’s OK, though, because here is the series of deeply exciting and not-at-all-hysterical posts I wrote on the subject, you’re welcome:

An Introduction to Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door
Nigel is Sighted
Nigel Update
Nigel, the International Man of Mystery in my Attic
 Nigel Alert!
 Here Come the Men in Black

It’s OK, I’ll wait here while you read them.

You’re done? You’re sure? I will ask questions, you know. OK, well, anyway…

Today, people, I bring you A NIGEL UPDATE. And, actually, I’ve just realised that it’s almost exactly the same as the LAST Nigel update I brought you, so now I feel kind of stupid. Here is a completely unrelated photo I took of the Magic Garden Centre yesterday to distract you from the fact that I’m about to tell you the same thing twice. I said, I’m about to tell you the same thing twice:

I thought it looked a bit like some weird, alien culture attacking earth, no?

What was I talking about? Oh yeah: Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door.

So, anyway, this morning there was a knock on the door (which was closed AND locked at the time, go us!), and for once it wasn’t the police. (Yeah, still not over that, obviously…) In fact, it was a Mysterious Stranger in a suit, with a long black overcoat and a leather folio thing full of official looking papers. I mean, I’m assuming they were official looking papers, here: I witnessed this man from behind the closed blinds in the bedroom window, so I didn’t actually get a close look at the papers. They could’ve been photos of shoes, for all I know. That’s what I would carry around in a posh folio thing, anyway. Let’s pretend they were official papers, though. And that the man was from MI5. Trust me, it will make this post much more interesting.

(Let’s also pretend I was wearing this dress at the time:

Dollydagger green dress

Dress of My Dreams

It won’t make the story any more interesting, unfortunately, but it WILL give me an excuse to post a photo of that dress, and God knows, I’ve been looking for one.)

Terry answered the door.

“The eagle flies at midnight!” said the man. OK, he didn’t. But he did start asking Terry a whole lot of questions about Nigel. Where is he? When was he last seen? Where does he work? Who is he REALLY? That kind of thing. All of the questions we ask ourselves about Nigel, really.

“Look,” said Terry, “If I knew all of this, I’d be a happy man, because then my wife would stop bugging me about this.” Yeah, no, he didn’t. Terry did, however, ask the man who HE was, and what he needed to know all of this for, at which point the mysterious stranger deftly changed the subject, and, without actually answering Terry, started repeating his “Where is he, have you seen him?” questions. Probably to see if he could catch Terry out, I would imagine. They do that.

(WHO ARE THEY?)

After that, the man went outside and had a good look around the property, looking exactly like a spy. Like, EXACTLY. And afterwards, Terry came upstairs and said to me, “Did you get a photo of him?” And I said, “GOOD GOD, MAN, WHAT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? It’s not like I’m going to Instagram the Mysterious Stranger at the door, am I? They’d probably cut off my hands for that, or something!”

(NO, SERIOUSLY, WHO ARE THEY?)

And then Terry looked at me, like, “Well, you Instagram everything else, so…”

Conclusion: er, there isn’t one, really. It’ll be six years this summer since we last saw him. The mystery continues…


21 Comments

  • Hazel says:

    I feel like your life in this post is a Enid Blyton story…

    • Amber says:

      I have wanted my life to be an Enid Blyton story since I was a child :) I used to go out searching for mysteries to solve: I was always bitterly disappointed when nothing even remotely mysterious ever happened!

      • Mona says:

        For me it is not the mystery, but the delicious canned food the children eat in the stories. I still think of it if I buy canned peaches. Enid Blyton would have made a good copy writer for the tinned food industry. Maybe you can bring some with you and eat in in the abandoned(?) House of Nigel during a thunderstorm… and don’t forget to bring your dog along.

        • Amber says:

          Oh God, yes! The food always sounded amazing – and when I re-read the books as an adult, it’s hilarous to see just how much, and how often they eat! (“OMG, we’re being chased down an underground passage by smugglers! But it’s supper-time, so let’s sit down and have a hearty meal, using some tins of potted meat and the barley sugars Dick carries with him at all times!”)

  • Emily says:

    Maybe it was the bailiffs?

    • Amber says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me… Then again, nothing would surprise me with our man of mystery! I do kind of live in fear of it ever being solved, though, because if it is, there’s always the possibility of the house being sold. Nigel is the best neighbour we could hope for!

  • Roisin says:

    Right, but that IS actually quite mysterious. It could have been the bailiffs, but it could easily also have been something more sinister….

    Oooh and I’m with you on the dress, too. I’m still in a huff with Dolly Dagger though because of the shitty zip and generally underwhelming quality of the Scarlet dress – but this dress is almost exactly the same as a vintage reissue pattern called the Walkaway dress so maybe you could persuade your lovely mum to make you one…?

    • Amber says:

      We’ve had these Mystery Strangers a few times in the history of the saga and so far nothing has ever come of it, but I always wonder if this will be the time it does!

      My mum has actually offered to possibly step in with this dress: it’s been out of stock in my size ever since I discovered it (I emailed them to ask if they’d get more, but they didn’t reply) and I really, really love it!

      • Roisin says:

        If your mum could make you one, it would be much better – trust me. I love the Scarlet dress a lot, but I bought it a size bigger than I would normally need and it fits, but not in the way a size bigger would, and I had to make adjustments to the shoulders and fix things, and put in a new zip! The design is lovely but I just don’t think it’s worth the price (and I bought mine half price in the sale) The link I sent you on twitter is to the actual vintage pattern but it has been reissued to be more suitable to modern seamstresses, and your mum would be able to make sure it fits! It’s a wrap dress and the idea of the name is that you could make it in the morning and walk away in it in the afternoon so it might not be too big an ask :)

        Failing that – have sewing machine, will sew ;)

      • Gemma says:

        I should have read this before I tweeted. Should have known Roisin would have already said ;-) Great minds! But seriously, easiest dress to make ever, Dollydaggger must be raking it in given what they’re selling it for!

        • Sandy says:

          Watch yourself with the Walkaway dress pattern though…it needs good fitting and doesn’t work straight from the packet.

          Well, on me anyway!! LOL!

          (I think I added underarm sections as it was a tad gappy)

  • MissLizSaraB says:

    Oh my good god, i remember Nigel i’ve been reading this blog for over 2 years – time flies and it’s still fun

  • mandi b says:

    Ha! I am still here…. :D

  • Sandy says:

    If mystery man with a folio was a spy he’d have a rock to go and sidle up to though wouldn’t he? #Topical! LOL!

  • Katie says:

    The best thing about Nigel is that he is very talented at the whole mystery business. This is a man who knows how it’s done. If only we lived next door to an international man of mystery, instead of the annoying bogan jerk who always yells at his dog and the stuck-up professional couple who hang badly-made signs on their hedge, complaining about the branches being broken. On the other hand, they keep things interesting.

  • Lauren says:

    I’m still reeling from the fact that it’s been that long! But in all (well, some) seriousness, this is quite mysterious. I think the only sensible conclusion is that he is, indeed, a spy. Now to trick him at his own game, and dig deeper – or, at the very least, hire your own suited (and preferably booted) man to deliver portfolios of the latest shoe designs right to your door*!

    * And if PR people did that, well, they’d get a better response than their emails do!

  • Link says:

    Nigel stories are always one of my favorites – it doesn’t seem like it has been so long since you’ve brought him up! It doesn’t even feel like I’ve been reading your blog for that long but I suppose I have. The fact that it doesn’t seem like long just shows how entertaining your blog is, the time just flies by. :D

    As for Nigel, always the mystery….

  • Amy says:

    Oh goodness, I remember Nigel! And for heaven’s sakes, I won’t ever be happy until I know where he IS and why this mysterious man is looking for him!

  • Louise says:

    That is totally random. Remember that 80s horror ‘Fright Night’? Maybe he’s a vampire, maybe that’s why you haven’t seen him, he’s only out at night… And the folio, that might have contained stakes and garlic. Just saying.

  • Rebecca says:

    You could totally make something similar- I’ve just been sent this http://butterick.mccall.com/b4790-products-6089.php?page_id=371 and I’m dying to try it in a pretty tafetta.

    • Amber says:

      I really couldn’t, unfortunately – I can’t even sew on a button, and I just don’t have the time/patience I would need to learn how to do it!

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