While Tony Blair suns himself in Barbados, I'm a victim of crime...
Yeah, Tony, where were you when I became part of Britain's growing crime epidemic? I demand your return from holiday forthwith. What, you're back? Well, don't just stand there... do something!
Here's what happened: I finished work late on Tuesday, and faced a crucial decision - to pub or not to pub? Sadly, I chose the latter, and installed myself in one of Kensington's cheapest hostelries. I bought some drinks, sat down, made merry. When I looked down again five minutes later, my bag wasn't there anymore. "My... my... bag isn't here anymore," I remarked somewhat redundantly.
Cue running round, checking other bags, the bar, the street, etc. But discovered bag came there none. I found my favourite Uniball pen lying forlornly under the chair at the table behind us, and one of my companions belatedly remembered seeing a shifty-looking man sitting there.
So began the long pain in the arse that is cancelling one's life - bank card, Oyster card, phone. A colleague gave me some money. A cab was called. I snuffled a bit when I realised I was never going to see my pearl necklace again (yes, laugh at the innuendo all you want, you unfeeling bastard). But mostly I was really, really, angry - mostly at the fact that what the thief had come away with was of so little to value to him/her... I had no cash on me, and everything else of value was immediately cancel-able. I knew if I ever met Mr Thief, I would have no compunction in kicking him in the balls, really quite hard. And me a Liberal Democrat!
The next morning, another emotion hit: unholy glee. I remembered that the side zip pocket of the bag was home to my 'unscheduled overnight stay' pants, which had in fact been utilised at just such an overnight stay quite recently. I smiled grimly to myself at the image of the unfortunate thief unzipping the pocket, hopeful it would contain a roll of cash or the lost treasure of the Sierra Madre, only to withdraw his hand and discover he was holding a pair of worn pants. I chuckled, evilly.
Then my sister-in-law rang to say the bag had been found by a 'nice man' who worked nearby, and who had found her number in my diary. I called him, and he delivered the joyous news that my bag - complete with purse - had been lying on the pavement in an alley. We were chatting away, and just as I was envisaging doing a feature on "We met in terrible circumstances - now we're getting married!" I remembered the pants. Surely this man had also seen my pants? Horror.
Anyway, I picked up the bag from the Nice Man - no sign of the 'nice man' - and noted with chagrin the thief's priorities. No interest in my Young Person's railcard, house keys or bank card, I noted, yet he/she had taken all my tampons.
And the pants? No, no, they were gone. They're probably on eBay as I write this, ratcheting up ridiculous bids like all weird items allegedly do.