The story is finished and sent, so I finally have time to drop in and report a couple of slightly strange experiences from the previous week.
The first involved finding a very large bright green caterpilar making its way determinedly upstairs. Nothing odd in that, you might think, except that it's the middle of winter and we're having a particularly cold spell outdoors. Added to that the stairs are in the middle of the house, about as far from any doors and windows as you can get. And caterpilars aren't exactly the Speedy Gonzalezs of the insect world... and it can hardly have flown. Just where it had come from, and where it was going, are still creeping me out.
Two days later the doorbell rang and when I opened the door there was nobody there. Nothing unusual in that either, of course - kids do it all the time, not to mention a tradesmen or two when they realise they've got the wrong address. But this was different, because I was right by the front door when it happened, and I could see through the glass panels that there really was nobody there. Our front garden is small and the gate is in line with the front door, so unless someone folded themselves up and escaped down a crack in the paving slabs, there was nowhere for them to have gone. So who or what rang the bell? It's still a complete mystery to me.
Mind you, nothing can hold a candle to this photograph in the Westmorland Gazette, of a woman's figure at the window of an empty house.
I don't think I really believe it's a ghost - it looks more like a reflection of someone outside and is probably too small for the proportions to work. But it's a wonderful picture nonetheless, and just creepy enough to send shivers down your spine!