What is the world coming to when you can’t dry your washing in the safety of your own garden?
I know we’re in a recession and shopping for luxury items, like, erm, underwear is more difficult than it used to be, but seriously.
Last week I had one of those lovely days where you have the morning off work, the sun was out for about the first time this year, and it was properly warm. If you sat directly in the sun that is (this is Britain after all) and that is precisely where I thought I would sit my laundry.
I got up early, ate some breakfast, re-potted my plants, and hung two lots of laundry out before my friend arrived for lunch, and being such a sunny day we decided to go to the pub. I nearly put said laundry back in the house before we left. Not for fear of theft you understand, but simply because, as I said, this is Britain, and sods law, it would probably rain. But no. I was in a good mood, and in a wild gesture of optimism I decided to risk it, the lot would be dry by the time we got back.
However, this is how optimism is rewarded. I returned to find the lot gone. Drying racks and all.
One of my lovely housemates, I thought, must have put it away for me. Bless them. I scanned the house, no sign. After confirming that neither housemate had seen it, I was mystified. My garden is walled in. The walls are pretty high. And the racks are pretty big. And the clothes were really cheap. Had I been drying a collection of Chanel suits, Vera Wang dresses and the like, unlikely as it may be I thought, a passing fashionista with a penchant for slightly risky theft may have happened by, and that I could sort of understand. They could flog it on Ebay. However, the logic behind scaling a wall in pursuit of faded Primark pants baffles me.
For a start, surely you would need to have been in a position to look over the wall in the first place in order to spot said pants.
Secondly, my housemate and neighbours own some pretty nice bikes, none of which were securely stored, except obviously behind the big bloody wall, which presumably they deemed to be safe enough. None of them were touched.
And they would have to have been quick, because there are four houses contained behind the wall, and it was the middle of the day on a Tuesday. The likeliness of one of the neighbours, or the person who hung the laundry out in the first place seeing you out of the window is pretty high.
Is this how people get their kicks nowadays? A high octane top speed knicker theft? Are these the people who used to go on snowboarding holidays to get their adrenaline rush, but now the recession has hit they need a cheaper fear fix? Or are junkies now looking to dress better, but still need to spunk their spare cash on skag? Maybe there is a black market value to cheap used underwear. However, I always understood ‘used’ to mean dirty, not just faded and losing their structural integrity. Maybe it was just someone who really loves ironing and folding clothes, but they had done all the stuff at home and just needed a quick sock-pairing hit.
The questions are many. The answers are few. Maybe there has been a spate of this kind of thing. Maybe it was a one off (any information welcome). But be warned dear reader, the days of hanging your stuff out to dry are over. That nice British image of neighbours pegging up their sheets while having a nice chat over the fence in the summer is shattered.
People are weird. Stranger than I ever imagined. And if I see anyone wearing a slightly coffee satined Hello Kitty T-Shirt wandering around my neighbourhood, they had better be afraid. I don’t mean that in an ‘I’ll knock you spark out, love’ kind of way, but I will recognise the grubby thing and follow them down the road with relentless questions about what the the hell is the matter with them until I get some kind of explanation.
Because I’m mystified. And if this is a spate, not an isolated incident, somebody please let me know. I don’t think I want to live in a world where a girl can’t hang her pants out without fear. And by the way, cheap as the clothes were, it’s going to cost me a sodding wedge to replace most of a wardrobe’s worth of stuff. Maybe I should just keep my eye open for some poor bugger hanging their laundry out…