An International Man of Mystery No More

I have to admit, all these years I’ve been writing about Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door, there’s been a little part of me which secretly hoped the mystery would never be solved, and that we would just go on like this forever, with me endlessly speculating about the bodies under the patio, and thanking the powers that be that we’d managed to essentially buy ourselves a quiet, detached house, with no pesky neighbours, for the price of a two-bedroomed semi.

And then, when I was an old woman, I would STILL be talking about Nigel. He’d have become a creature of myth and legend by then, and his tale – or what little was known of it – which would be essentially NOTHING, really – would be passed down through the generations, until one day, a flame-haired distant ancestor of mine, would find some small spark of interest in the story, and would use this very blog to uncover clues that I even I wasn’t aware of at the time, to finally solve the mystery, and discover the deadly secret Nigel had been hiding. The secret he thought he’d taken to his grave. The secret that I still haven’t actually decided what it would be yet, so please just imagine something truly shocking and groundbreaking. Then please tell me what it is, so that I can put it my novel.*

(*I am not actually writing a novel. Because I can never work out the endings to any of the stories I make up. And because, ooh, lookit those shooz!)

In this way, I liked to imagine that in the year 3112 (say), my true genius would finally be recognised (Bloggers are never appreciated in their own time, are they? Except all the ones that are, obviously.), and I would become famous. I would get my own postage stamp, perhaps, and a documentary on the History Channel. (Oh, shut up. I know postage stamps won’t exist in 3112. And the History Channel goes bust in 3010, when they invent TV that’s beamed straight into your brain. But humour me.) And I’d be the answer to a question on a TV quiz show, too. (“Which 21st century blogger was the lamest of them all?”) It would rock. And, you know, even if none of that happened, it’s not like I have anything else to write about here, is it? I needed Nigel to keep on being an International Man of Mystery: not just for the sake of my current sanity (Did I ever mention how thin the walls are between our houses? Or how much I detest noise?) and my future notoriety, but for the sake of the BLOG, kids. Will no one think of the BLOG, here?

But it’s no use. I can’t keep the truth from you. And so today I bring the news that the mystery has finally been SOLVED.

And I’ll tell you how after this from our sponsors!

NigelOK, I’m joking. The truth, as it almost always is, is just such an anti-climax that I thought I’d try to make it a bit more dramatic. I can’t, though, so let the record show that the mystery was finally solved on the afternoon of Saturday May 5th, in the year of our Lord, 2012, by that daring sleuth known as “Terry”.

You see, as he pulled into the driveway on Saturday afternoon, Terry glanced at the house next door, and who should he see standing in the doorway, giving it a quick lick of paint (a BAD SIGN), but Nigel, the International Man of Mystery. And Terry, not being a complete wuss, like I am, decided to take matters into his own hands and solve the mystery right then and there. So he did what I should’ve done last week: he strode over to the M.O.M and said, “Hi Nigel! Sorry to bother you, but we couldn’t help but notice that you’re an International Man of Mystery. Next door. So, what’s up with that?”

Or words to that effect.

And the thing is, people: absolutely NOTHING is up with that. Seriously, nothing at all. It turns out that the M.O.M has just been working abroad for the past few years. He couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of renting the house, and the housing market wasn’t really conducive to selling it, so he just left it.

Until now.

Now he’s selling.

Yes, it seems that my worst fears are to come to pass, and rather than simply digging up the bodies, the recent frenzied activity next door has been part of N’s preparation to sell the house to a family of 12 pot-smoking rock drummers. I, er, guess the fact that “digging up bodies” was the BEST case scenario here tells you all you need to know about how well THAT bit news went down with me, huh?

For the first time in six years, we’re going to have neighbours. And honestly, I know that with a bit of understanding we could become the perfect friends (boom boom!) but folks: those walls are THIN. Like, REALLY thin. Like, “you can hear someone clear their throat through them” thin. Like, “We may as well sell the TV then, because we’ll be able to just listen to theirs,” thin. Like, “OMG, I give it two minutes before they’re round here complaining about Rubin barking and me clomping around in my heels all day,” thin.

So the walls are THIN, (Did you get that the walls are thin? Did you?) but not nearly as thin as my patience for other people’s noise is. And I’ve never had a neighbour who wasn’t noisy. This means that ever since Terry brought me the bad news on Saturday, I’ve been alternating between looking at new houses on the Internet, and just walking around going, “What if they have a drum kit? Or are Justin Bieber fans? WHAT IF?”

Terry thinks it’ll all be fine. My mum thinks it’ll be a good thing, because Rubin will learn to hear tiny noises without going off like a rocket, and I will have to learn how to be a better, more tolerant person, like the rest of you are.

But I have my doubts.

I also have a vague plan to make sure Rubin is always in the garden when people come to view the house. I’m guessing that “small, yappy dog next door” probably isn’t on most people’s property checklist…

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  • I’m sure that his work abroad was Man of Mystery stuff. And he obviously can’t tell you. And now that you’ve blogged about him so much, he has to move, lest he be outed.

    May 7, 2012
  • mandi b


    What if they have “small, yappy dog next door” too – gasp! 🙂

    May 7, 2012
  • Sandy


    Part of me says lots of “oh noes!” on your behalf but now it’s happening I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    Oh, just thought….what if they have a screamy baby or a toddler in elephant shoes??
    “Oh noes!”
    You’ll just have to warn then off with your house wolf. 🙂

    May 7, 2012
  • Steffi


    Working abroad? Yes. Undercover as an MI-6 spy perhaps. See? Mystery saved 🙂

    May 7, 2012
  • Lame? Hardly.

    May 7, 2012
  • Ah I share your pain, somehow since moving out of the family home a few years ago I’ve always had loud neighbours/thin walls/both – right now I’m sharing a wall with a constantly crying baby, its screamy father and its mother who’s overly fond of making baby noises… so your excellent Rubin in the garden plan may be the way to go 😉

    May 8, 2012
  • It’s downright inconsiderate of Nigel not to be the Man of Mystery we’d been hoping for all of this time. On the up side, you were 100% correct about the international bit.

    May 8, 2012
  • I agree, the ‘working abroad’ was his cover. And sympathize with loud neighbors. Our last neighbors we shared a wall with would blast John Mellencamp’s ‘ Jack and Diane’ every night it was awful!

    May 8, 2012
  • Hi Amber, I found you via EBEW – I failed to follow your blog a little while ago, so glad to have found you again, have now rectified my wrong – am now following you on Bloglovin!

    I truly love your style and the photography on your blog… your style is very classic but with a gorgeous twist here and there – this dress is perfection with your red hair!

    And I LOVED the details of your MOM… we too have one next door to us – he doesn’t live there, just shows up every single day and stays in house for ten minutes top – all very strange! The house is completely run down: we heard a rumour (sadly) that his wife died in the house many years ago – we’ve made up our own theories just like you about him, we think he’s doing a Norman Bates Psycho thing. Not very nice of us, I know, but with that kind of behaviour your mind wanders!!

    Anyway I’m so glad I’ve found you now, look forward to more stylish outfits!! (apologies for over long first comment)

    Catherine x

    May 8, 2012
  • Zoey


    I really liked the dress in the pictures (you look lovely! :)) and was wondering where it’s from.
    Great blog!

    November 15, 2014