When I was a kid we lived in a pretty old house, but not so old that it had bones in the backyard or secrets in the ceiling.
Most nights though the old house would make noises: creaking, bumps, and the like. Naturally I was terrified, so I asked my mum what the noises were.
“It’s just the house settling.” She responded, and left it at that.
I was baffled; What the hell does that mean? What is the house doing? Settling?
It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood; changes in temperature, the presence of water, even the wind can move a house through the day and night. Sometimes those things changed when it gets cold enough or still enough, and thus the house made noise moving, or settling into a new position.
Never the less it still frightened me as a child, it wasn’t helped of course by what we all expected was a ghost in that old house.
Now that I’m an adult, and a dad, my view of bumps in the night and the settling of the old house I now live in have changed somewhat.
I’d say I’m more alert, specifically to sounds that aren’t settling house noises.
Stay in bed noises.
Sometimes noises startle me awake or while I’m reading late into the night: small thumps, rattling things, and plastic bags. I just assume it’s a cat (we have 4).
If it’s not a cat then it’s a child, it’s a good bet that they’re either getting food (remorseless eating machines) or they’re trundling into my bed.
These I generally dismiss, they’re are more bothersome than attention needing.
Might get out of bed noises.
Sometimes a thump or bang might emanate from the ceiling, either; There’s a dude living in our roof cavity documenting every minute detail of our lives on intricately labeled VHS tapes stored in a neat IKEA book shelf, or we have possums.
I tend to think the latter.
Ceiling noises are not part of my job description, I once tried to check through the man hole by standing on the shelf of a Kallax IKEA storage unit. Needless to say that there’s a load limit on that stuff.
I’m outta bed now.
An opening door is a good reason for my to get out of bed, grab the cricket bat (I’m not entirely sure that this will be a useful weapon, narrow halls are not conducive to that sort of tool.)
The longer you reside somewhere the more you get to know the sounds, this can even be so finely tuned that you can identify how a particular person opens a door or drives into the driveway.
This is both positive and negative in the “I’m outta bed now!” Situation. The sounds your used to can mean complacency on your part but also those sounds at 2am are outside the norm.
It’s safe to say I’d be up to those types of sounds.
Through the day and night a plethora of sounds and noises fill an old house, not all require action on your part, but itbis good to be prepared.
Beside your bed it might be good to have:
- A torch
- Your phone
- House keys
- A defensive weapon (optional)
Not tthatwe should live in a paranoid society, but it is better to be prepared.