What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had stolen? While not being exactly a ‘leave your back door open’ sort of place, where I live is hardly a hot bed of crime. The occasional upset does happen though, like the other week, when my next door neighbour’s bike was pinched from his back garden. Not a top of the range, mountain bike you understand, but a scratched yellow workhorse, he uses to tow a kids’ trailer to and from school. A doubly cruel blow as the bike and trailer, complete with his 5yr old twins, is the high-visibility part of the local bike bus. A scheme to encourage the local kids to be healthy and ride their bikes to school.
The theft of the bike was quite enough to make us all rather twitchy - and then soon after - there was the case of my missing sandals. Full of sand, I’d thrown them out by the back door, intending to give them a good scrub when I came back from a morning walk. An hour later they were gone. Some pots, previously piled neatly by the shed door, lay scattered around. It was so obvious. The intruder had returned and moved the pots, hoping to find a hidden key and, as unlikely as it might seem, had also ‘borrowed’ my sandals. Our little row of houses was on the alert.
My man, a practical type, was spurred to action. We now have a new high security back garden fence, complete with gate and bolt, painted a tasteful light green. I’ve even bought a pair of replacement sandals. (The previous pair, though 10 years old, were tough ‘walking’ sandals, their replacement a truly eye watering price.)
Imagine my annoyance to discover another person who lives nearby, had found a Labrador puppy from the big house just down the road, chewing an old pair of sandals in his garden. Both puppy, and presumably sandals, were chased home.
A prompt visit to the puppy’s owner. Yes, they said, a real puzzle, an anonymous pair of sandals had turned up in their hall, and yes, the same puppy loved to carry flower pots around. Wasn’t that funny? I was not terribly amused. Their puppy had caused us considerable expense, not to mention the work and the worry of having a supposed intruder in the garden. I left with my sandals in hand, determined to be cross and unforgiving. Until this evening. An apologetic card pushed through the door, a bunch of flowers on the doorstep and all is forgiven.