Thursday 15 July 2010

Britain is a country where young men, with alacrity, steal things from old men

I discovered my spade and fork had disappeared from my garden. A conversation with my neighbour elicited the fact that the boys with their mountain bikes had been constructing an obstacle course of earth humps in the woods which back on to our gardens.
Put '2 and 2 together' and the conclusion is that boys went on a foraging expedition to get the required tools for digging and in so doing, had scaled the 2 metre fence at the back of my garden.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the digging. In fact, the photo bears testimony to the industry and organisation of these young men. However, in nicking my tools they had committed a criminal offence whereas these youngsters thought 'they had done nothing wrong'.

I decided to claim for the theft on my insurance policy and to authenticate this I needed to phone the local police station.
I recited over the phone what had happened while the lady at the other end typed up her report. It took 20 minutes. She asked me if I had been subject to other crimes. I said "no" thinking that if I had mentioned :

* the rogue trader who had lifted tiles form my roof.
* the thieves who had tried to steal an iron fireplace from my side path.
* the thieves who stole some copper pipe from my garden.
* the opportunist who opened my side door looking for car keys.

I would have been on the phone for hours.

P.S. I got a phone call back from the 'victim support' branch of the police asking me : "if I wanted someone to visit me to talk about the crime". I declined, but it heartened me to the extent of saying : Britain's old men maybe the victims of crime, but after the crimes are committed, the state is there to help them.


For some reason the whole thing prompted me to think of, the now 82 year old Bernard Cribbins and his quintessentially British song : 'Hole in Ground' from 1962 :

There I was, a-digging this hole,
Hole in the ground, so big and sort of round it was,
And there was I, digging it deep,
It was flat at at the bottom and the sides were steep.
When along comes this bloke in a bowler which he lifted and scratched his head,
Well he looked down the hole, poor demented soul and he said :

Do you mind if I make a suggestion?

Don’t dig there, dig it elsewhere,
Your digging it round and it ought to be square,
The shape of it’s wrong, it’s much much too long,
And you can’t put hole where a hole don’t belong.

I ask, what a liberty eh?
Nearly bashed him right in the bowler.

Well there was I, stood in me hole,
Shovelling earth for all that I was worth I was,
And there was him, standing up there,
So grand and official with his nose in the air.
So I gave him a look sort of sideways and I leaned on me shovel and sighed,
Well I lit me a fag and having took a drag I replied :

I just couldn’t bear, to dig it elsewhere
I’m digging it round cos I don’t want it square
And if you disagree it doesn’t bother me,
That’s the place where the holes gonna be.

Well there we were, discussing this hole,,
Hole in the ground so big and sort of round it was,
It’s not there now, the ground’s all flat,
And beneath it is the bloke in the bowler hat,
And that’s that.

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