There’s nothing like getting back to your own home after the long Christmas holidays is there? Home to the heartwarming sounds of your neighbourhood, the tinkling sound of breaking glass at 4am that tells you 2001 has got off to a cracking good start for your local burglars and ‘in car entertainment’ thieves.
But the brick that was thrown through my 5 year old daughter’s bedroom window at midnight last Wednesday didn’t wake her up. Not because she’s a deep sleeper, but because luckily, for the first time ever, she wasn’t asleep in her own bed, as she had jetlag and was upstairs watching The Sound of Music with her mum for the 256th time.
Hearing the noise, my ex picked up Lily and rushed out of the front door to her car, only to find that it had also been broken in to..in what the police officer later described as ‘an unrelated incident.’ (“Unless they were brothers …in crime! Madam.” He actually said that.)
If any readers saw a man walking through Notting Hill between 1am and 4am on the 6th January carrying a set of golf clubs, please call me. Of course my ex had hidden her door flat keys in the car along with her vehicle Registration Document with her name and address on ..so now not only was she under siege by a brick-throwing burglar but also expecting simultaneously a visit from a car thief. WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING?
“I really don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about,” I reassured her, when she rang me from a call box on the corner “I think it’s highly unlikely they will both break in at the same time, if anything I think the brick burglar has got the edge slightly on the car thief…don’t you?” Somehow my calming words didn’t seem to relax her. Of course the ex and Lily didn’t go back to the house that night, and the burglar and the car thief still hadn’t arrived by the time I went round to wait for the glazier in the morning.
I idly wondered what would have happened if they had both broken in at the same time. . Does an etiquette procedure operate amongst criminals?. .”After you.” “ No, after You” Or is it like a grown up version of rock, paper, and scissors? “ I’ve got the base ball bat.. you’ve only got a knife.. after you.” ? Does the heroin addict car thief nod off until the brick-wielding burglar has chosen his spoils? Is one a dvd, cd,stereo,cassette, computer specialist and the other a keen but impoverished golfer? What if they both want the tv.?
The police arrived while I was still pondering these questions. “So you think it’s definitely the squirrel gang do you officer? I said as Lily looked up at him..
“The what sir?” he said
“The squirrel gang officer… I hear they have been throwing really big acorns through lots of little girls windows in the area recently. “
He looked blankly at his Scene of Crime Officer colleague “I haven’t heard of any gangs of squirrels breaking and entering, have you Angela?” he asked.
“The SQUIRRELS! Officer..You know! I said, pointing behind my back at Lily. I was giving him so many wink winks I looked as if I was having an epileptic fit.
“Oh right! Sir….the squirrels” ..he said finally ..”Oh don’t you worry Sir we will get them, Yes Sir..we are on the track of the Squirrel gang as we speak Sir.” Now he just wouldn’t let it go.He took his note book out .”So what kind of squirrel was it young lady? did he have a getaway car..have you seen him in the area before?”
“All right officer ..that’s enough..Thank you!” I said.
The local crime prevention officer also came round, she looked at least 75 years old…”What a lovely flat. It must be worth at least £100,000.” she said. Well, she has a firm grasp on her local community values I thought. “I bet you paid nothing like that did you?”she continued. I nodded grimly. She was right about that. Maybe she had been off sick since the Notting Hill race riots of 1953 and only just been put back on the streets as part of the new ‘Putting Police Back in the Community’ campaign; I thought as I sat her down and gave her a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.
“Oh look!” she said, “ You ‘ve got a Colour tv!. how wonderful. Did they take anything valuable?”
“No the sewing machine is fine, Thank God! “ I said. We had to change the door locks, and I can highly recommend this instead of taking a course in Advanced Stress; because after waiting at home all afternoon for the guy to turn up “between 3pm and 5pm” and despite three “ he’s on his way “ calls, he never turned up. At 7pm I called him again “Where are you?”
“The job’s been cancelled.” he said
“No it certainly has not been cancelled.” I said “I took the afternoon off work, I’ve been waiting for you now for five hours.”
” If I come out now, you realise it’ll cost you special night rates.” he said.
“How much is that?” I asked
“Double time.” he said.
Forget about those multi million pound year-end City investment banker bonuses. That’s peanuts! Emergency Locksmiths are the business to be in . Don’t worry,” I said to my ex as I left. “It was just a bit of bad luck.”
As I got to my car I saw someone had backed into it and smashed in the headlight and grille, that I only had repaired just before Xmas. As I bent down to take a stone out of my trainers. I cut my finger open on a piece of glass. I went back to the flat and rang the bell. “Do you have a plaster?” I said.
If this column doesn’t appear for the next 15 years it will be because I have been arrested for murder..not for killing a burglar, but for strangling a 24 hr emergency locksmith. I am still waiting for him to turn up. As I was saying, it’s great to be back in town.
COPYRIGHT.Peter Rosengard for Rosengardworld2001
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