In an ideal world this post would be about my misadventures in a lap dancing club.
Instead it is about a misadventure with a broken washing machine. Misadventure. That makes it sound like the final verdict is a cop out from an inconclusive police investigation when in fact the verdict is far from inconclusive. It was, ladies and gentlemen, theft pure and simple.
Yes, the washing machine - condemned to death due to a clapped out motor - had been left in my front garden in full view of the street. Yes, my intention was to offload it onto the first rag and bone man that blew his trumpet my way. Yes, I had no intention of making any money from the transaction. I affirm all of the above.
But I put it to you that, lying in situ on my front lawn as it was, and all other intentions aside, that washing machine was still my property and legally mine. To remove it without my permission was theft plain and simple.
So. The local rag and bone man finally appears on his appointed day and I dash outside to hail him over. He grinds his flatbed truck to a halt, leaps out with the look of a martyr doing me a favour and finds me scratching my head at the huge washing machine shaped hole that has suddenly appeared in the reality that surrounds us.
It was literally there the last time I looked and now suddenly it wasn't.
Some bugger had half-inched it in the night. Probably while Karen and I had taken the car off the drive and gone into town to see Star Trek.
Unbelievable. Do these people offer a refuse collection service as well?
I had to apologize for wasting Mr Rag & Bone Man's time. He gave a pained shrug like he was used to this sort of thing and uttered the words, "probably them dirty Poles" before driving off in a squeal of copper piping and freshly fenced drain covers.
Great. Theft and casual, lazy racism all in one day.
To be honest, it's possible he wasn't slagging off all Poles in one foul breath but merely slighting the rival gang of Polish rag and bone men who also ply their trade along our street and, as he sees it, steal his business.
As it was I know for a fact that the washing machine was taken late in the evening when no rag and bone man would even think about stirring from the pub no matter how much free "any any old iron" was waiting to be had. Somebody else had nicked it, ethnic extraction as yet unknown.
And I am mightily pissed off about it but I find all avenues of recompense currently closed to me. The thing was broken and I wanted rid of it. So what does it matter?
It matters because whoever took it had made huge assumptions about the situation. That washing machine could have been specifically promised to someone. That machine could have been in full working order and only outside temporarily while we overhauled the kitchen. That washing machine could have been a novelty dog house.
They didn't ask to find out. They just took it. If they'd knocked on my door and asked me if they could take it I would probably have said yes and good riddance to it. But they didn't even pay me that smallest of respects.
It is the arrogant assumption that they had the right to take it without any kind of legal impediment that really grates with me.
An Englishman's castle is no longer sacred.
These days, unless you can nail it down, the natives are likely to steal the moat.