For someone who tries to avoid interactions with authorities, I’ve spent too much time in police stations lately. All credit goes to the absolute dirtbag who broke into the Portuguese holiday villa we were staying in two weeks ago, ahead of my cousin’s wedding. While the family slumbered, he trotted around the house with all its nooks and crannies, liberating as much cash as he could find from various wallets and purses, disregarding phones and passports in the process.
Unfortunately for him, he entered the room of the lightest sleeper (me) and was chased out of the house. Unfortunately for me, in my fight-and-flight response, I ran my face into a glass door and had my handbag stolen. I can only hope that in his dash from the premises, he got a good fright and was severely disappointed when his only haul from my room was my passport, my new book (the first in Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels) and my notebook with all the plans for Jane’s hen in it. My only consolation is that his nightmares are now haunted by memories of a disembodied Irish voice screaming “Where are you? WHERE ARE YOU!!??” into the dark.
Hence the visit to the Vilamoura police station on the first full day of our holiday. Fiona was named Victim No 1, because she still had her passport, but she had slept through the whole escapade, so Victim No 2 (me) got to do all the explanations and demonstrations.
The police were terribly nice and apologetic on behalf of all of Portugal, but they acknowledged that there was very little hope of finding any of our belongings. Thankfully, Dad didn’t wear this new t-shirt until we returned from the police station, otherwise they might have arrested him instead.
After that exciting start to our holiday, the rest of the week leading up to the wedding was a dream. I now know what my first reaction will be to an intruder and I’ve started sleeping with a spare hurley by my bed. As mentioned, the burglar has the details for Jane’s hen, so if he turns up in the Ardennes next week, I’ll be waiting for him.