My dad is not a detective in any sense of the word, but he knows his daffodils in the same way as he knows all the plants in all their many and variegated forms. This is, therefore, how he came to be involved in a little mystery of the daffodil variety.
The evening was by no means balmy, but the rawness of winter had left only a few traces in forgotten corners of the house. It was the end of a busy day and I had just settled down with Mansfield Park (Fanny Price is just so soppy but that’s another story - well Mansfield Park actually). A hard day in the office combined with the relative warmth of the evening (not the writing of Jane Austen surely) soon had me dozing off on the sofa.
I awoke around 9.45pm and decided to check the house before getting ready for bed. Moving to the front door (actually at the side of the house, but you know what I mean) I spotted something yellow through the glass. When I opened the door I wondered if I was still asleep and dreaming the episode. There on the doorstep lay about a dozen daffodils, freshly picked, neatly arranged and ready for water. I did what can only be described as a double take, feeling a strange mixture of fear and elation (felation if you will – or perhaps not). I looked this way and that to ensure that no one was about (a resurrected Jeremy Beadle perhaps) but the place was as quiet as normal. No one about, just a dozen daffodils lying on the doorstep. I couldn’t just leave them there could I? After deciding that I was quite wide awake and that this was no dream or other metaphysical realm in which I was inhabiting I brought them inside and put them in a rather nice glass of water. Then I phoned my dad.
My dad is a bit of an (amateur) plant expert (Geoff Hamilton is a hero) and I felt that any flower mystery could be solved by such an expert. Depending on your view of things both Geoff and Jeremy could have been looking down from on high at the moment the deed was done with grins of celestial and herborial pleasure.
My dad was, as you can imagine, quite intrigued by the evening’s events and promised to investigate. The very next day he let himself into my house while I was at work and was able to tell exactly the spot that the daffodils had come from. There wasn’t any sign I could see – I told you he was good. Sadly he was not able to tell me any more than that so it was up to me to try and figure out the rest. The daffodils came from my neighbour’s garden but there is no one living there at the moment so it couldn’t have been her. Perhaps I have a secret admirer, although leaving some daffodils is fine, some follow up would have been appreciated. I wondered whether it had been a group of kids pulling up daffodils and then, with some remorse at what they had done, had decided to leave them on the nearest doorstep which is actually mine due to an odd garden to house layout issue on our street.
Sadly I’m not Agatha Christie and I never did get to the root (ahem) of the mystery. Maybe one day a middle aged lady will come to my door and relate the story of how she and her friends pulled up daffodils in a lady’s garden all those years ago and left them on her doorstep. I will thank her and tell her that I immediately put them in water and that for a week she gave me a dozen little suns to melt the last ice of winter.