Wednesday last week must have been a busy day for burglars in south west London. Not only was my own little flatshare above a shop in Clapham trashed and robbed, but a few miles down the road in Richmond so was the “£5m Georgian mansion” inhabited by Jerry Hall.
That, of course, is where the similarities between the tall, blonde Texan and me end. After all, the thieves netted only a mediocre haul worth around £700 from all 4 rooms within our flatshare, but gained a bumper booty of around £7,000 from Ms Hall’s home.
Another major difference is that the police were on the scene of the Richmond raid within 10 minutes, after an alarm sensor was tripped. No such hi tech devices in our little pad and a miserable one-hour wait for the patrol car, outside in the cold and the rain on a dreary Wednesday evening for me.
Ms Hall’s robbery also made the papers, whereas my personal loss did not. And two days later when Ms Hall went back to work, her return (to the West End Stage as Mrs Robinson in “The Graduate”) was treated as triumphant and heroic. My return to work was treated rather less auspiciously.
I’m not about to say “I feel violated” or that I felt sick that my personal space had been invaded, or that I couldn’t sleep in the flat that night (all of which I have heard as common responses to being burgled). But I was damn angry.
Angry at myself for having left £150 cash in my flat (yup – call me an idiot then), angry at the landlord for having never provided adequate security or locks, but mostly angry with the thieving bastards who ruined my day (whoever they may be).
Angry that they had the cheek to wander into our home in broad daylight and get away with it (with none of our neighbours having heard or seen anything, as always) and that they seemed to know so much about where our stuff was and when we would be out – an aspect that is horrifyingly frightening.
Annoyed with myself for not being insured – although when you live in bedsits and flatshares at the lower end of the property market very few people are – as was the case in our flat, apart from one chap from New Zealand who will be able to claim on his travel insurance (Lucky him).
And, lastly, annoyed for having become part of the “crime statistics” which I have so far managed to avoid in life. Despite having lived in London for over 10 years (on and off) I’ve never been burgled or robbed before, so this has been like a slap in the face for ever thinking “oh it’s all right really; I’m safe; I know how to handle myself” etc.
For the fact is that while I am at work for 8 or 9 hours a day, my ”home” is obviously not safe and never could be unless I was working from home the whole time and never went out – anywhere, ever again! Do we really have to live like this?