Saturday, 19 November 2011

Black and white Burglar

I had a really nice evening a the gallery ( in Bath this evening talking to people looking around the Bath exhibitions as part of the Bath Galleries Group show. I had lots of interesting conversations which included the following story: A lovely couple who live by the river in Oxford, I think, returned home from a three week holiday to find that their house had been broken into. The door was open and the kitchen and bedrooms were trashed and there was food everywhere so they phoned the police. The police came and confirmed that it was a particularly ugly burglary with much damage to the property. The police investigation continued to turn up more strange details such as nuts piled up under the duvet, things in shoes and food from the bottom shelves of the fridge all chewed up and spread about. As the couple sat in the dining room they then overheard the policeman say into his radio that he didn't think this was a burglary, but that it was the act of wild animals. As this thought sunk in they all became aware of the huge number of small paw prints around the house, through the congealed bits of food and on the duvet etc It was a badger. After the house was tidied up, with all the damage being limited to the bottom three feet of each room, strange collections of beans and nuts etc were found organised into piles inside boots and in the bed. Unable to sleep in the bed, as it felt defiled, they went into the spare room to find that dried beans had also been piled under the duvet in that bed, as though placed there to be warmed up or perhaps hidden for later. The couple are sure, having found paw prints half way up the back door, that a badger pushed the door open by shaking it perhaps and that in it's wake other small animals, perhaps squirrels and mice, entered the house to share in the bounty. I was left with a palpable sense of the creatures reclaiming the property in the absence of people and enjoying the luxuries of a human home much like that lovely story of the homeless man that got locked into a London department store in the 70's over Christmas and enjoyed the beds, foods and soft furnishings.

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