Thursday, 4 November 2010

Raise Your Drawbridge, Drop Your Portcullis

Here in Yorkshire, tonight is "Mischievous Night". I don't know what the origins of this night are, but after dark, children and adolescents go out and about looking for opportunities to play pranks on their neighbours. As a child I remember going out with friends knocking on neighbour's doors and then running away, rattling dustbin lids, but never anything which would cause real harm. Our exploits were mostly ignored, because they were expected. Nearly every year, Mum or Dad had to go down the street to find our gate which had mysteriously departed from it's hinges, but we never had damage done, it all seemed like harmless fun. However,perhaps it was my conscience knowing that we were doing something wrong or the fear of being caught which meant that I never really enjoyed this night.
I remember Grandad C. telling me about his escapades on "Mischief night" which would have been in the first decade of the nineteen hundreds. One of which involved a long length of cotton and a button. The thread was somehow fastened to a window frame with the button dangling against the glass. It was then draped across the garden to a hedge (behind which the perpetrator could hide), when the thread was pulled the button tapped against the window, thus annoying the occupants of the house. When someone left the house to investigate what was happening the window tapper would have disappeared, but was probably watching from some vantage point in order to see the person re-enter the house, getting treacle on their fingers which had been liberally smeared over the outside door handle. Elaborate, but it really happened.
It seems that now "mischievous night" is not quite so innocent. Tales of paint being thrown and other damage being done. The paintwork on our car was damaged a few years ago by an egg being thrown at it, not to mention what it did to my nerves. It made such a loud bang when it hit the car. A friends living room window suffered a similar fate last year.
Luckily we live in a small village where not much happens, but we'll still be, raising the drawbridge and lowering the portcullis.

 I think I just need a drawing pin.

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