Getting to know neighbours and getting on their right side has to be one of the key objectives in a new country. This evening I managed a little with the help of a bowl of candy and a glove puppet found perched on a rock near a place called Revelstoke.
This isn't to say that there's anything calculating or cynical about what I say and do. I truly like our new neighbours. They are so refreshingly open and up front. Besides, I also like children, and look forward to the day when stepdaughters decide they want to raise the next generation. In which case I intend to be the most disreputable Grandfather figure possible, carrying them on my shoulders through the woods and frightening the wildlife. Taking them for rides on Motorbikes, hunting and fishing; stuff like that.
To enlarge; Californian neighbours were bringing small child trick or treating. We'd arranged this a couple of days ago, and I said I'd do something amusing. So a bowl filled with assorted candy was set aside by the back door with the glove puppet, and when the little girl arrived with two female bodyguards in tow, I went into the routine as follows;
Knock on door. I put on the glove puppet and poked it's head so it could be seen by the child (Who was wearing a kind of crocodile costume) into the glass pane of the rear door. Then I made it duck down before bringing it back into view, apparently shivering with fright. Then I opened the door slightly and made it look as if the puppet was answering the door. At the magic words "Trick or treat" the bowl of candy was proffered, a handful was taken and there was a little 'nk you' . I caught my neighbours eye through the part open dorway. She was obviously impressed that an Englishman had so quickly gotten into the spirit of things. Dix points I think.
Besides. I like the people round here, and such little touches are well worth the effort, even if it might look a little like a cynical and needlessly ingratiating point scoring exercise to an outsider. That little girl came to a strangers door and went away having been amused. Such things count for a lot with small children. A good friendly environment promotes good behaviour in future. Well that's the theory. It's better than locking the door and hiding with the lights out.