Archive | 23:25


31 Mar

I lost my diamond ring this morning. I remember rubbing it yesterday, à la Aladdin, but I woke up today and it was gone. I looked in the bed, the bin and the bathroom. I had the place upside down. I love that ring. It was a birthday gift from the Hub fourteen years ago. It has one large stone and two narrow baguette-cut stones set in gold. The only time I take it off is when I shower because I’m afraid of losing it. I have been doing the opposite of dieting so I knew it could not have slipped off my finger while I slept because of weight loss. Having looked in all the likely places followed by all the unlikely places, I flopped on the bed in despair, turned on my side to sulk, and saw it on my bedside table, hiding behind a scrunchie. The Hub thinks I must have taken it off in the night, but why would I do that? It must be another of those odd moments of mine.

If we lived in South Africa we could have blamed the maid. I wonder how many poor women have been unfairly dismissed over the years because the madam is going a bit doolally? At least that doesn’t happen in Britain. I was a bridesmaid at my brother’s first wedding (by his fourth wedding I didn’t even bother attending, just replaced the gift label I had written for his short-lived third) and received a silver necklace as a reward (for having to wear a brown and orange dress – it was the Seventies, though I’m not convinced that’s a real excuse for dressing me as a milkmaid) and I put the necklace on a shelf one day and it was never seen again. That’s why I never falsely accused anyone who ever worked for me when I lost something: it was obviously taken by the fairies.

Toby has lost some of his fear, I’m happy to report. We have had him over a year now and we have walked him every day except Christmas Day and one time when it rained so hard he refused to leave the house, so he is becoming slowly socialised with people and other dogs. He met a girl Yorkie this afternoon and, being fortuitously backed up against a wall because we were at the shops, waiting for the Hub, he could do nothing except wag his tail and allow her to sniff him. Even allowing for the fact that she was a very pretty girl Yorkie, it was a real breakthrough because he did not curl his lip, for the first time ever on meeting another dog – even Penny, a granny Yorkie who walks at three paces an hour because of the arthritis and can hardly see and of whom Toby is terrified (mind you, we’ve all had Nans; they can be pretty scary, can’t they? I remember mine frogmarching my then-sixteen year old brother around her flat because he had told her she couldn’t). Penny’s gait suits Mrs Booth, her ancient owner. We see them walking whenever we go out. It can be any time of day and there they are, chasing snails. The Hub reckons they don’t actually live in a house, just circle the streets each day, chatting to the neighbours. The local kids affectionately call them ‘Mrs Booth and the dog that doesn’t move.’ They are both so old that I think they keep each other alive, and when one goes it is likely that the other will follow shortly after. They are so slow I will probably overtake them on the way to my afterlife.

A shopkeeper lost an umbrella today. The Hub had gone into a…I don’t know what kind of shop it was: not a pound shop, because the umbrella cost £2; I think it would have been called a chandlers in the old days, selling all the funny bits that people want and need and a lot of tat that people don’t want and don’t need but buy on impulse or because the kids are pestering them. A girl of about eleven walked past the outside display with her dad and picked up a yellow umbrella. Dad was walking quickly on ahead and she shouted, ‘Dad, can I have this?’ ‘Bring it wi’ ya,’ he said, and she did. Just walked away with it. I’m not certain if she thought she had done anything wrong but she did look back at me for a moment. She kept it, though, along with her cool as she strolled off with the swag, following her dad into the greengrocer’s.

I didn’t know what to do. I was astounded, to be honest, and my mouth was open so wide if it had rained, I’d have drowned. Perhaps I should have yelled, ‘Stop, thief!’ but it is Wednesday and I don’t like being beaten up on Wednesdays; it spoils the week. I couldn’t go into the shop to tell the owner because I had Toby with me: dogs aren’t allowed in and I respect authority so it didn’t occur to me until later that the shopkeeper would probably not have minded this once. Fortunately, the Hub came out just then and I told him what had happened and he went straight back in and told the owner. The owner stood outside the greengrocer’s and checked through the window that the guilty pair still had the loot, but he doesn’t like being beaten up on Wednesday’s either, so he thanked us and went back to consult his cctv.

What else could he do? The item cost £2; a child stole it. Assuming she and her father were apprehended, she would be let off with a telling-off at most – and that’s debatable; he would not even have been admonished. I can’t help thinking that, in a country where theft is treated so casually by one party and so resignedly by the other, with witnesses looking fearfully on and the legal system looking the other way altogether, everyone is the loser.

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