Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Who’s that knocking at my door? And why are they not ringing the doorbell?

We were finishing breakfast this morning, albeit a late breakfast (in my defence, I had been out for a run, done a pile of washing and tidied the house up a bit although I have not much of a defence for Phil who just stayed up late last night and therefore woke up late this morning), when Phil looked up and asked, “Was that a knock at the door?” This was quite remarkable on two counts: I had heard nothing at all, and Phil usually doesn’t hear quiet sounds - possibly selective deafness? Somewhat sceptically I went upstairs to investigate.

I should explain that our house is idiosyncratically typical of this area with a front door apparently at ground level and then stairs down to what should be a cellar but in fact opens onto the back garden, the land sloping down at the side of the house.

And yes, there was a delivery man with a parcel for me at the front door. As he was a one-off delivery man, of which there are many these days, rather than the regular postman, I didn’t even bother to point out that there is a doorbell which he could have rung.

Hardly had we got that out of the way than there was a sharp rat-a-tat-tat at the back door. Now, nobody ever knocks at the back door. It just does not occur to anyone to try to access the house that way. Intrigued, I went and unlocked the door. There stood a workman in a hi-vis vest. He was checking electricity cables on our house and the neighbouring houses, he told me, and just wanted us to be aware that he was not just a random stranger marauding around our shared garden area. “I did knock at the front door,” he said, “but I don’t think you heard me.” So this time I did point out the existence of a doorbell. “Oh, I don’t use doorbells,” he said, “I don’t trust them. You never know if they’ve been heard.” Well, they won’t be heard of you don’t ring them, I thought to myself.

The thing is that because of the geography of our house we have placed the ringing bit of the doorbell system, the chimes, I suppose you would say, at the top of the stairs that lead to the downstairs kitchen-dining area. That way the doorbell should be audible upstairs and down. Occasionally Phil will be working in the study, at the front of the ground floor, ironically enough closest to the front door, with the door closed and so will not hear the doorbell ring. (What did I say about selective deafness?) Consequently I then have to rush up or downstairs before the caller gives up and leaves. 

The chap who mistrusts doorbells does not seem to be in a minority, it has to be said. An amazing, indeed an inordinately large, number of people ignore the bell and tap at the door. I say tap rather than knock because tap is what most people seem to do. A good forceful knock would be heard, I am sure. In fact, I know that a good forceful knock can be heard very well, even by a man with selective deafness.

I am seriously considering having a decorative plaque made to attach to the door, in a very visible position, saying something like, “RING THE ******* DOORBELL AND KNOCK FORCEFULLY ON THE DOOR.”

That might work!

No comments:

Post a Comment