... A watering can with holes punched in the bottom from when I used to grow rosemary in it.
This item was the cause of an extremely surreal day on Saturday.
After taking a sleeping tablet on Friday night I was woken at 10am on Saturday by one of my neighbours, who lives opposite the back of my house, leaving a message on my answer phone. In my sleepy state I wasn't all together sure that I'd heard her correctly at first so went through into the living room to listen to the message again. She said that earlier that morning she'd seen some scrap metal people send a young child (about 7 years old) into my back yard through the gap where there's a slat missing from the fence. The child's mission was to steal my metal watering can - Exhibit A. My neighbour had dashed out of the back of her flat, confronted the scrap merchants, retrieved the watering can, taken down the truck registration number and informed the police of what had happened. She now had Exhibit A in her possession. I went back through to the bedroom, looked out of the window, and sure enough there was a space where the watering can had been next to the wormery.
The rest of Saturday continued in a normal Saturday kind of way ... for a couple of hours ... and then the police phoned me. Could they come round and take a statement from me? Er, yes, I suppose so, but I didn't see anything or hear anything. They came - a young WPC and a student PC - and were here for at least an hour. They were ever so interested in the fact that in the past I've seen some scrap metal collectors (most likely the same ones) standing on the flatbed of their truck, looking over people's walls as they drove up the lane, and then climbing over when they saw something of interest. Unfortunately I'd never taken the truck registration number down, but the police officers said that if I see it again then I should do so and immediately phone 999.
So when the police came to my flat we spent a bit of time going through what my neighbour had said had happened, and that the police had quickly found and stopped the truck, but as yet were unable to take things further. I wondered what 'taking things further' might mean in the context of the potential theft of a holey watering can, but didn't ask at that time. After that the student went out to the car to get the statement papers and the WPC explained that she would pretty much dictate the statement to the student, as there are certain things they need to include in it, but that I should interject if anything was incorrect. Well what could I say? I didn't see anything. I didn't hear anything. I was out for the count when the crime was committed. That was pretty much all I could say, although I did also have to say that I hadn't given the scrap people or the child permission to come into my yard, and that nobody has the right to go into my back yard or take anything from the yard without either my permission or that of my upstairs neighbours who share the yard. Apparently it's not classed as burglary, because that has to entail breaking into a building, but it's some other crime I can't remember the name of ... not trespassing, but something along those lines. The other issue is the use of a child under the age of responsibility to 'commit the crime'. However, despite all that it seemed a bit over the top when the WPC told me that it could go to court and I'd be called as a witness!
Can you imagine? I might have to stand up in court and say, 'Well, your honour, I saw nothing; I heard nothing; and I knew nothing about the attempted theft of my holey watering can until I was informed of it by my neighbour.' How foolish am I going to feel! I know it's the principle of the thing, the immoral use of a child (which the police are going to inform social services about), and the fact that this is probably the tip of something much bigger (in fact the police weren't even sure that the scrap metal collectors were registered merchants, so they might also be breaking the law with that too), but really, going to court over a non-functional watering can??? I was reassured that because of my disabilities then I'd be treated as 'a vulnerable witness' and if necessary could give my evidence from a seperate room by video-link. For a watering can?!
I'll keep you posted on any developments, and let you know if I'm going to have to don my best court clothes ... not that I have any clothes specifically for court seeing as I've never had to appear in court before ...
... All very surreal.
By the way, just in case you're wondering, I've got the watering can back now. I met my neighbour in the back lane yesterday afternoon for a clandestine reacquainting with Exhibit A, which is now being guarded once again by the worms ... not that they did a very good job of it last time.