“So you’re a musician then?” asks Jim the Carpenter, as we examine the state of my bedroom ceiling.

I step over the boxes, rolled up carpet and a guitar case, and wonder how he knows about this. He has probably heard about my time supporting chart band ‘The Sultans of Ping FC’, despite the fact that I am careful never to boast. I nod modestly, not wanting to make too much of things.

“Cos I’m a DJ, like,” he continues. I am a bit annoyed by this, as we were just about to talk about my own success.

“Yeah, I do quite a few big clubs and stuff and – you know – raves.”

He taps the side of his nose with his finger, presumably having got some sawdust up it. “Outdoors and stuff,” he continues.

“Ah… outdoors,” I repeat, conspiratorially, working out what he means.

Something twigs in the back of my mind. There is an odd flattened bit in my back garden, on pretty well the only bit of grass that hasn’t been dug up. He is trying to tell me something.

Jim the Carpenter has clearly held an illegal rave in my back garden.

Short Tony has not mentioned anything, but then he has been on holiday so might not have been aware. My other next-door neighbour, about whom (grammar) I do not write, is slightly hard of hearing, so might not have heard the disco music. Big A lives a little further away and could have heard it, but he sleeps fairly soundly and anyway would probably not have told me but just gone over there to sell bottled water. Narcoleptic Dave would not have heard it.

I will probably get a letter from the Parish Council for this.

I will check my electricity bill carefully. I know roughly how much power a cement mixer uses, so it will show up if he has been plugging in record ‘decks’ and lasers etc etc. We chat about the music scene for a few minutes before I leave him to his carpentry, determined to keep an eye on him.

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