It all happened way back in 1966, when I was at teacher training college and sharing digs with new friend Pam. We’d been allocated accommodation in a very nice detached dormer bungalow in the market town where the college was – an old college, long established, rather traditional, proper and certainly not mixed. It was a training college for young ladies.
Our landlady was the deputy headmistress at the local primary school. She was, as landladies go, pretty good. She fed us well, made us welcome in her home and trusted us to behave ourselves if she went away for the weekend.
It so happened that Landlady was away for the weekend when this very scary episode took place. Pam and I had done nothing especially exciting that Saturday night – we’d probably watched TV in the common room at college before walking back to our digs.
That Saturday night, as we were getting ready for bed, an intruder/prowler (so we thought) tried to get into the bungalow.
I was in the bathroom, probably cleaning my teeth when I saw two disembodied hands dragged flat down the frosted glass of the window. There was a moaning, terrfying wail and a voice said “Help me…help me…” It was like something from a horror film. I rushed out of the bathroom yelling “Pam!” at what I thought was the top of my voice. It came out as a low, panic-laden squeak, enough to get Pam by my side in record time from the dormer room we shared up stairs.
We heard the sound of the back door being rattled. We heard banging and tapping on various windows around the house and on the frosted glass in the back door. And we were very scared. It was a man and he was groaning and making blood-chilling noises. He evenually headed around the house to the front door. More frosted glass there too, with just an outline shape of him visible. We thought he would try to break in.
By that time we’d rung the police using the phone in the hall – the lights were on- then we both took a weapon from the cupboard under the stairs to arm ourselves. Pam grabbed the iron and I got one of our landlady’s shoes with a heavy wooden heel. If we were going to have to clobber this man we were going to make sure we made a good job of it, frightened as we were.
We hid round the L-shaped turn in the hall. I remember us standing there, weapons raised above our heads, ready to strike. The bell was rung, we peered out cautiously.
The silhouette of a bobby in helmet was visible through the frosted glass in the door and cautiously we opened up and let him in. I remember this policeman very clearly – he took off his helmet as he came in and his ginger hair was shaped into a soft point from wearing the helmet. Strange how these details remain etched in the memory. I even recall the pale blue quilted dressing gown I was wearing.
Our intruder was a very drunken man trying to get into his house after a Saturday night binge. He also lived in a corner bungalow and had thought he was home but couldn’t get in.
We were two very frightened young women that night.