Saturday Morning, 8.30am.

I’ve just returned from a night away from the flat, staying at a local B&B with my mother. She was due to visit to collect the last of our pets: with Loki happily rehomed, Sari and Cara are going to stay with my parents until our return, where we know they’ll be safe and loved. She has driven down from Inverness to collect the cat and dog, learn their routines and quirks and head up the following day. Sadly, due to our Flooring Saga, there is nowhere at all for her to sleep, so we sprung for a B&B and dinner out on the Friday night to shield her from the horror that is Our Flat.

After a lovely night’s sleep, we are approaching the flat, deep in conversation, when something catches my eye, forcing me to halt in my tracks. There is an alien vehicle parked outside our home.

It carries the moniker “Scott’s Windows”, along with phone numbers and advertisements about “Restoration” And “Sash Windows”.

I have seen vehicles with these markings before, and I know what species is associated with them, but I’m shocked nevertheless.

If I’m right, and I think that I am, then *that* is a Tradesman‘s (tradesmanus rarificus) vehicle.

And that means… that there’s…

… a tradesman around!

I examine the tracks (two takeaway coffee cups and a Gregg’s wrapper – still warm)

“They’re close”, I mutter to mum. “Probably passed this way…. 20 minutes ago. Two males, young, carrying heavy equipment”

Mum is understandably excited – this is a rare species, and if I can use my expertise in tracking and stalking, we may even be able to see one up close.

We approach from upwind, being careful not to make any sudden movements and spot the tradesmen (two young adult Window Restorers) in our living room… working.

This is almost unheard of. I stop to whip out my camera, aware that I may be about to witness something both rare and exciting – wild Tradesmen, displaying natural behaviours in a real environment. This could be big. I could end up in the books if I get this one.

We creep up the stairs. I’m frightened the sound of my heart beating might scare them off, it sounds so loud in my ears, and I can hear mum’s rapid breathing behind me.

The scene in the flat takes my breath away. The Tradesmen have already made visible progress and on our arrival they give us a friendly hello – this is almost too much, and Paul catches me as I swoon. He first saw them at 8am on the dot. On the actual day they were expected to arrive. At the actual time they were expected. Thankfully, my swoon doesn’t startle them, and we creep out to celebrate in the corridor after snapping a quick picture for the journals.

We have a long, long day ahead of us, and it wont be easy, but we’ve begun well, and we’ve already had the experience of a lifetime at 8.30 on a Saturday morning, so we know we’re in for a run of luck.

And boy, were we. Not only did we see one breed of tradesmen that day, we found evidence that a second, entirely rarer breed had been in the flat in our absence. There could be a Nobel Prize in this.

to be continued….