The mystery of the canopy towel

Some new neighbours arrived a while back. They immediately set about modernising and improving their 1950s semi-detached house. In the garden they repaved everything that wasn’t grass and returfed everything that wasn’t paved. They planted flowers in neat rows, sprayed the outside of the house with white paint and bought a staggering variety of primary-coloured outdoor toys and games for their two young sons.

I don’t know about inside the house, but outside everything is transformed. Their garden furniture is modern and comfortable looking. Everything is clean and contemporary. The little glass canopy they erected over their back door, for example. Nice.

It’s a bit like this. Or was.

Speaking as one with a patchy, lumpy lawn, a brick BBQ held up by gravity alone and  an old pub-type picnic table stained by bird shit, I look at what they’ve done with some envy.

And then one day in early summer I noticed that an old kitchen towel had somehow found its way to the top of their new canopy. I figured that maybe it had been dropped by someone while they’d been cleaning the upstairs windows. A towel to clean windows? Well, yes, MAYBE. Or maybe a workman had somehow contrived to accidentally throw it up there. Regardless, given the owners’ love of everything being clean and well-ordered, it would only be a matter of time before they got the ladders out and removed it.

But no. It stayed there throughout the summer, looking all grey and dirty and dishevelled. It’s well known that a good place to hide is up in a tree as people seldom examine the lofty altitudes. But surely they’d have noticed it by now. I started to wonder if it had been left there on purpose, but failed to come up with a single plausible reason.

Then a strange thing happened. Even stranger, I mean. The towel was joined by a friend.

This new adornment to the canopy is no kitchen towel. It looks more like a beach towel to me, although I don’t claim any expert credentials in this regard. If the first towel wasn’t spotted because it was camouflaged perfectly against the grey summer skies, that surely can’t be the reason nobody has noticed this colourful newcomer.

The two towels have been sitting there for more than a week now. It’s utterly baffling as to why they’re there. Any ideas? Have YOU ever placed a towel in an unusual spot? Tell me now, while I’m still interested.


The neighbours are having scaffolding erected. Not sure why. Something noisy and disruptive, no doubt. But the days of the towels’ presence on the canopy are now surely numbered. A scaffolder, roofer, painter, plumber, glazier, window-fitter or loft converter is bound to see the towels and remove them, isn’t he? (Or she?) I’ll keep you posted.


Filed under New Malden, Stuff

12 responses to “The mystery of the canopy towel

  1. Purple People Breeder

    I think some hitchhiker really misses his towel, maybe Ford Prefect was there and accidentally droped them.

    • bravenewmalden

      Perhaps you’re right. The first towel might well have appeared on May 25th, International Towel Day!

  2. Underconstruction

    Something very similar happened to me when I ask for beach towels and some canapés

  3. Underconstruction


  4. Rob

    I suspect you planted the towels there yourself with the devious purpose of generating blog content. Happens all the time.

  5. Tammy Flugh

    Well, obviously they’ve noticed the towels, and the Health & Safety jobsworths at the council have insisted on the scaffolding to retrieve them. Pass the story to the Daily Mail and don’t forget to mention hi-viz jackets. Richard Littlejohn is obsessed with them

  6. turquoise19

    Some time has passed and no new information on the towels! What has happened?

    • bravenewmalden

      They’ve gone. So has the canopy. The house has been in a state of repair and improvement ever since I posted the thing about the towels. Ditto for the house on the other side of ours. Scaffolders, roofers, a bewildering array of power tools. For a quiet residential street in a – cliché alert – leafy suburb, it sure is noisy around here.

      • Thank you for keeping us up to date. I love the idea of sitting here in a small Tokyo apartment and hearing the details of your leafy suburb and its minutiae!

      • bravenewmalden

        The moment something a bit more dramatic happens I’ll let you know!

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