Lest we should be getting on anyone’s nerves with our charmed and lucky life, how’s this? We were burgled twice in our first two years; the first time pretty comprehensively.
Cass’s blog, written in Feb 2014, with Jonathan’s comments in manly blue, and Cass’s rebuttals in lady-like pink.
I suspect that the only reason it wasn’t so comprehensive the second time was because they’d already nicked everything – not because they were losing their touch or their appetite.
I had been burgled once before, when I was sharing my sister’s house in London, and a man got into the house while we were sleeping. It’s said that danger (and the resulting adrenaline rush) sorts the men from the boys, and indeed my sister turned extremely scary, making the burglar run for his life when she yelled at him. By contrast, my legs gave out from under me, and I had to crawl up the stairs to call the police, my voice coming out only in terrified squeaks. (This was quite humiliating enough, without the discovery that the thief had considered my jewellery so pointless that he’d tossed it on the floor, whilst pocketing my sister’s. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was insulting!)
Anyway, because of the above, I’m glad to say that we weren’t present for the burglaries in our new house. First time around we were having messy building work done and were staying elsewhere for a few weeks. However, that meant that the burglars could take all the time in the world, and they sure did. We had no idea that burglary was so rife in this area (funnily enough, no-one mentioned it when we were buying the plot), but it turns out that because there is no police station up the mountain, would-be thieves know perfectly well that it would take at least 20 minutes for any police to get here. As we hadn’t got round to installing an alarm yet (we didn’t know we needed one!!!), they had themselves a party at our place, not just stealing all our stuff, but having a drink, a smoke and a sandwich too AND they didn’t do the washing up! If I must seek silver linings, they left a mess, but not a vicious trashing. But I say that with gritted teeth, or whatever the typing equivalent may be. Stabby fingers? No.
I like to think that I am someone who can regard possessions as transitory, and not relevant in the Great Scheme of Things, and in general I’m successful but, ooh, there were a few things of real and sentimental value that I really minded about (well, cried about). It’s somehow worse that I am SURE a woman was involved. I cannot believe a male burglar would steal half full perfume bottles (no sell-on value, surely), or a used pair of brown suede boots, or an opened pot of moisturizer. It vexes me to think that some thieving…insert appropriate word here toe-raaaag (can you tell I’m still looking for a gig on Eastenders?)… is prancing around in my boots, wearing my perfume. (And shhh, let’s not start JH on the loss of his favourite coat ever.) But if I ever see the geezer, he’s gonna wish he’d never been born. Got it? enough with the Eastenders now, please, Jonathan Actually, it does turn you a bit funny – I still find myself scanning feet in crowds, looking for the new pair of trainers they nicked.
I was the same with my perfume (Plum, by Mary Greenwell, which you can’t get here and is very distinctive), but strangers didn’t take kindly to me sniffing them suspiciously. Or, maybe,sniffing them at all?
Most baffling missing items of all? A roll of Waitrose cling film, and a packet of J-cloths. To be fair, Spanish cling film and the equivalent of J-cloths are of absolute PANTS quality, but still, surprising items, and again, not exactly high value. Perhaps Mrs Thieving Toe-rag needed something to wrap her sandwiches in, and a cloth to wipe down her brand new threads. Oh dear, feeling a bit shouty again. Quick! To the shelter!
We were, thank goodness, insured and we did, of course, immediately get ourselves a fancy alarm with cameras We’ve also now got bars on all the windows – Spanish style – and exterior lights. And, of course, our attack guard dogs. Oh, and (in case any burglars are reading this) also a minefield, machine guns nests with interlocking fields of fire, and snake pits. Which made it all the more galling, the following Christmas Eve in London, to receive images by email of hooded robbers in our bedroom. That was pretty grim, being burgled again AND missing Christmas with our families. I permitted myself some very dark daydreams of retribution, with all manner of medieval torture and boiling oil from parapets and then, most enjoyably, me exacting brutal revenge because I am a very skilled, dangerous, ninja warrior. Yes you are, dear. Don’t know how to spell this, but *adopts ninja pose*: Hi YAH!!!!!
I talked to my lovely nephew Noah, when we got back here, poignantly missing all the traditions of Christmas with my family, and he tried to reason with me, saying: “I know it’s terrible, but people are suffering and desperate”. I know, I said, but anything they didn’t want, they threw in the pool, just to ruin them. “Oh well, then, forget what I said before; they’re arseholes”. In a nutshell, my friend.
They didn’t get away with too much more than a TV and a camera, but they did snatch MY favourite coat this time, and I am smarting about that to this very day. Hilarious seriously? footnote to this is that a few weeks afterwards, JH found my jewellery box, intact, on the mountainside, containing most of my remaining (costume) things! They were all ruined by the weather anyway, but it seems ironic that no matter what, burglars really don’t rate my jewellery! Has anyone else spotted that this blog is little more than Cass’s elaborate bid to get me to buy her some better jewellery? Well…
A post script to this blog – our village is still a very lovely and safe place to live. The trouble is that there are quite a few empty chalets around – holiday homes, or second homes for families in the nearby town (it’s cooler up here in the summer) – which make easy targets. As yet, only empty houses have been targeted and there’s been no violence. Apart from what’s in my head. This has been a message on behalf of our village’s tourism bureau.
Also, we now empty our house of valuables when we go away and leave these signs in the window.
We’ve also organised a kind of mutual neighbourhood watch in which, say, if our alarm triggers, the alarm company alerts me, and I then send a text message to our neighbours who will drive round, honking their horns and flashing their lights to frighten off the burglars.
And me in my ninja warrior outfit (actually just novelty jammies), don’t forget.