Gah! Chateau L had been violated. I charged downstairs, vaulted the Crocodiles, and commando-rolled into the front room. The bear-trap was still set. The crossbow in the kitchen was similarly undisturbed; it appeared the Keep was intact. Phew. Out in the garden, the moth trap was still glowing away, several Toads and a [rabid] Fox cub in attendance. So far so good, no moths stolen. Cautiously checking the front of the house I could see no damage, but the ladder could only mean one thing - our outer defences had been breached, the moat, er I mean gate, scaled. I peered down the side passage - a blank space where Mrs L's bike had until recently been stared back.
This is no mean feat, as our gate is about ten feet high, and Mrs L's bike is a behemoth. It weighs at least two tonnes, there can be no more unwieldy piece of metal on the planet. Somehow it had been heaved over the gate, waking us up in the process. But we had not seen the bike disappearing down the street, which probably meant more than two burglars. In the face of these odds, I decided against heading out to hunt them down, and instead Mrs L called the Police. Being British, I then had a cup of tea.
I am paranoid at the best of times, so to actually be burgled is really annoying. But at least they didn't get into the house. Lucky for them, as if they had managed to negotiate all the traps and Crocodiles and make it upstairs, the sight of me on a hot summer night would have finished them off. Actually it's more likely any intruder would get stuck in Mount Garment and suffocate, his corpse going undetected for several weeks. No doubt it was a bunch of kids chancing their arm, but in this heat I have been leaving vents and windows open, and not pulling that little chain thingy across the front door. I need to raise my game. And buy some Lions.
Amazingly, about an hour later the Police turned up with Mrs L's bike. This was about the least likely outcome I had expected, but top marks, I am happy to be paying my taxes. Oh, wait. Anyway, we had both thought that it was gone for good, and would by now have been in a shipping container in Felixstowe on the way to the Middle East. Or at the bottom of the river Roding. So to have it returned, albeit amazingly beaten-about in the short time it had been missing, is remarkable. The patrol car had been a couple of miles away at Gant's Hill when the call came through, and as they were driving up to our road they spotted six men with a bike in that little cut-through - remember, the one I got mugged in and lost my bins - clearly a place of some iniquity. Six men and a bike at 4am is a little unusual, so they put two and two together and came up with four, stopped the car, and jumped out. The men dropped the bike and scarpered into Bush Wood where they split up. The officers gave chase, but there was little they could do, and the dog team that turned up a while later could find no trace. But we got the bike back, and I would hope that there are currently six pairs of brown pants being washed in Forest Gate or wherever the scumbags came from. I wonder if there is a burglary term for "dip"?
Six guys though, a bit scary. If six men decided to break into your house in the middle of the night, there is not a lot you are going to be able to do about it. Can you imagine? I wouldn't have needed to feed the Crocodiles for weeks!
|Guard Toad protecting Moth Trap from Mosquitos.