We drafted a letter explaining what had happened, and what recommendations the police had made to keep our home more secure in future.
We thought it might help prevent anyone else suffering the same experience as us, which can only be a good thing. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
There are around a dozen villas on our compound and we share a pool, garden and gym in the communal area at the rear of all our properties.
We are a small community, and having only recently moved in, we don’t really know any of our neighbours other than to shout ‘hi’ over the garden wall.
I knocked on doors, passed over our letter, and explained the situation to everyone I met. They were all very kind, very sympathetic and I think, very grateful that we’d informed them.
And then I met Mr Lebanese.
I’ve spotted him on many occasions as he doesn’t seem to go to work and is often pottering around his garden during the day. I’d say he’s in his mid 40s, and I think he is the father of two young children who I’ve spotted playing in the shared gardens.
His garden is beautifully turned out and as a family, they are forever having friends over for social gatherings. There are always at least 10 people in their garden enjoying barbecues, chattering and having fun, often into the early hours.
None of which bothers us in the slightest as we are on the opposite side of the swimming pool, so any noise just doesn’t reach us. But in a quiet development, they stand out as being the ‘sociable’ family.
Bear with me, there’s a point to all of this.
By the time I get to Mr Lebanese, I’ve already spoken to about 4 households, so my patter is pretty well honed. As he opens the front door, I launch straight into my opener, explaining how I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that our home was broken into at the weekend.
He looks confused.
I repeat myself. “At the weekend, on Saturday, we had a break in”.
He tells me that yes, he’s free on Saturday.
“No, no. At our house, on Saturday, someone broke in”
He then tells me that he’d love to come to my house on Saturday and which number villa am I? Can he bring something?
By this point, I’ve started with the hand gestures.
“While we were sleeping, someone came into the house”
I’m making head on pillow gestures.
He’s now looking worried.
Terrific. He thinks I want him to come to my house and sleep with me.
This is not going well.
It is Valentine’s Day. Maybe he thinks this is how the British celebrate?
I will not be beaten. I resort to words of one syllable.
“A thief. He came in the house. At night. He broke the doors. He want to take things.”
“My husband chased him away.”
Relief as the word ‘husband’ is mentioned.
“We called the police.”
Finally, he understands me and looks horrified. But by now I have the giggles. And I can’t stop.
I shove the letter in his hand and literally run away from his front door.
I don’t think we’ll be invited round for a barbecue any time soon.