On Wednesday we got robbed. Yes, at our gorgeous, idyllic house at Plett. I wasn’t going to mention this because I’m trying to promote tourism, and it felt like I was washing the family dirty linen in public. But then I decided I didn’t want to be the family member who sweeps the stories of the abusive uncle under the carpet, so I thought that while we have no international tourists here, we should just have a little family chat about crime.
Firstly, the incident:
I was sitting on the bed in one of the MANY bedrooms, working. Of course. What else do I do except work? #MummyWorks. I thought I heard the husband and the daughter getting home from the beach, but as I was immersed in doing a particularly pesky rewrite of a rewrite on a script, I didn’t pay too much attention. Suddenly, a young man – short, stocky, athletic – dressed in shorts and a t-shirt AND a surgical mask came skipping along the upstairs balcony.
He didn’t look poor or desperate, he looked like a private school boy or a varsity student and for some reason he reminded me of John Boyega. I think it was the haircut and the jaunty attitude. He saw me, did an almost cartoon stop and reversed. Aside: I do love it when a burglar is considerate enough to worry about infecting you with Covid when he’s robbing you.
When one is getting robbed, there’s a surge of adrenaline followed by a moment of confusion. Thoughts go through your head simultaneously:
- Oh no! How dare you spoil my working holiday?
- Where is the daughter’s ipad?
- Fuck! I have no idea where the panic button is.
- Is he dangerous? I’m sure Plett has a nicer class of robber than Joburg.
- Did he really look like John Boyega or was that wishful thinking?
- How very dare he? Imagine if I were an Overseas tourist!
I first tried to Whatsapp call my husband – no luck. I then sent him a message – still no reaction. I was honestly about to go live on the gram or post it on Twitter when I finally got through to him.
As I was doing this, I attempted to lock the door to the room I was in, but it was so swollen with moisture after the rain that it wouldn’t close, I then went into the bathroom and locked that door (taking my laptop with me – no ways anyone was taking THAT, plus I thought I may as well do a bit of editing while I waited).
Meanwhile the husband got hold of the letting agent from Robberg Estates who got hold of the security company. The husband gave the security guys my phone number so they could call me once they were there.
But no, the security guys were not going to waste their airtime.
They insisted on ringing the doorbell, eleventy thousand times until I had to come out of my locked room to answer it. As I said, perhaps they have a nicer class of burglar here. But in Joburg, we don’t come out of that locked room until we’ve heard the gunshots and the security guard has given us the all-clear.
The husband came screeching back from the beach to check that I was alright. He didn’t want to leave me in the house on my own to go back and fetch the daughter from her surfing lesson but I was not going to leave my worldly goods unattended.
Husband: are you going to be okay?
Me: I am so fucking angry, I will stab the dude if he comes back.
After the husband left, I did a three minute meditation to rid myself of the feelings of wanting to stab someone (if you are looking for a good meditation app, I highly recommend Headspace).
We thought he hadn’t managed to steal anything but sadly the daughter found that her Fitbit, her prized pair of Nike hightops that were a gift from her BFF and a gold chain were missing from her room. Her room looks like a small earthquake has hit it (her work, not the JB lookalike) which is why it took a while for her to see what was missing.
So, if you live in Plett and your John Boyega lookalike boyf is suddenly wearing a Fitbit and a new pair of Nike hightops, and presents you with a rose gold chain (sorry to disappoint, it’s an el cheapo one from H&M), please give him a message from me. In the words of Julia Roberts in the movie Notting Hill:
“You belong in jail [you utter fuckwit].”
The delicious irony of it all is that we wanted to get the daughter out of Joburg because she wasn’t feeling safe. She was mugged outside the Service Station in Melville while waiting for an Uber and had her phone stolen on March 13th of this year just before Lockdown and then a few weeks later there was a shooting outside our house. Turned out that our neighbour was shooting out the tyres of the getaway car of some robbers (as one does), but still, it did rattle her a bit.
So, she’s had all that to put up with and now this…
Fuck, fuck, fuckitty fuck (Fucketty? Fuckity?)
I’m feeling cross not just about getting robbed of my physical goods but being robbed of my sense of security and, after finding my daughter weeping over the loss of her shoes, I am INSANE with rage that this utter douche has upset her so. The young man’s attitude when he saw me in the house was terribly jolly, like this was just a fun adventure to him – but it certainly wasn’t that to us. I wish people would understand what damage they do to their local economy by committing crime, especially when tourism is the town’s major source of income.
I have to confess that after the incident I did want to jump on the next plane back to the big Smoke and stop spending all my filthy Joburg money here.
I guess we just don’t learn our lesson when it comes to doing shit that harms us. For example, I drank a second glass of wine to calm my nerves after the robbery despite the fact that I knew I wouldn’t sleep and would wake up with a headache.
(I had the first glass at a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach called The Bungalow. Excellent spot at Central Beach with a nice view of the sea where I can watch the daughter swimming. I am keen to try their sushi.)
The owner of our ENORMOUS MANSION of a house lives Overseas. I really didn’t need anyone to tell us that, I could see from the fact that he has wonderful stone walls unadorned by any electric fencing/razor wire/spikes. Perhaps he will rethink this design choice before the Christmas season. If I were paying a trillion rand a week to rent this place, I would be unimpressed if someone jumped over the wall and removed five grand’s worth of my belongings (I’m unimpressed enough as it is even with the pittance we’re paying.) It does have beams and trellidors – but looking at the bars of the trellidor does spoil the view somewhat.
Where the letting agent has been wonderful is that whatever we request, we get. The husband emailed her with a list of things missing from the house when we first arrived (the corkscrew was broken, fam, I mean…!) the next morning she arrived with a car full of goodies.
I have no recommended TV series for this week. Too busy looking at the sea and chasing away robbers to watch TV. But it is the start of the Jozi Film Festival next week – it runs from the 17-20th September and the SA Book Fair starts today and runs until Sunday. Both are Not. To. Be. Missed.
I am just about finished Not To Mention which I did mention last week. I missed the online launch due to the robbery which only added to my irritation (Vivian was in convo with the divine Michele Magwood.) But I’m finding the book VERY compelling. I also gobbled up Silent Kill a novella by Jane Casey. I love her Maeve Kerrigan/Josh Derwent police procedurals and this new one is told from the POV of one of their underlings, the unlikeable DC Georgia Shaw.
I am thrilled that there are three bookshops in this town, I picked up Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce from Bargain Books (fifty bucks off – woo hoo!) It’s apparently a very uplifting read which is what I need right now. If I like it, I’ll let you know…
Have a good week, everyone. I’m hoping I have a slightly less eventful one. Happy reading! xxx