We never seriously considered a life of crime. By 'crime' we are not, of course, referring to anything akin to Jack the Ripper nor, indeed, to the Great Train Robbery of 1963, nor to any of the spectacular heists which have become legends in their own right and are documented in the annals of world history. Such things are unacceptable and would, in any event, be quite outside of our league.
No, much more, had we decided on this as an appropriate way of earning a living, it would have been a little petty pilfering here and there, the odd spot of light burglary, fencing fakes, printing banknotes or, to use what we understand to be the correct terminology of the trade, dealing in 'knock offs'. We do not have what it takes to be a latter day Bonnie and Clyde.
|the site of the Great Train Robbery from a Royal Mail train in 1963|
As it is, a strong sense of morality, stemming most likely from strict upbringings where the importance of distinguishing right from wrong was instilled at an early age, and a failure on the part of our schools' careers' guidance teachers to offer it as a possible alternative to university, coupled with the fact that neither set of godparents headed up the local Mafia, meant that such an occupation was never, so to speak, on the cards.
And so, apart from the occasional fine for speeding - subconscious practice for being in the getaway car? - and a parking ticket here or there we have, to date, escaped the clutches of the law and anything approaching a criminal record.
|the nearest we have come to any serious offence, and then not three at a time|
But not so in our dreams. Or, more accurately, in waking moments when sleep evades or the tedious bus or train journey stretches ahead, moments when time appears to stand still. Then we play the game of robbing our friends' houses. It is quite simple. Enter, in imagination, the house of any friend or acquaintance, and the rules permit the stealing of one, possibly two, objects taken from furniture, paintings, porcelain or anything desirable which happens to come to mind.
At times to choose becomes almost impossible as in the case of a London drawing room known to us intimately and where nothing, short of the paint on the walls, is newer than the finest, and earliest, eighteenth century. Rich pickings indeed! Or again, a modest country cottage whose walls carry the most desirable of works by Ben Nicholson and Graham Sutherland. In another instance we quarrel over an entire library of modern fiction. Can we purloin it all?
|one of our all time favourite writers, Molly Keane|
But, be assured, unlike the slightly mad, misdirected May Swift to be found on the pages of Molly Keane's splendid novel 'Time After Time', who pockets a paperweight, among other objets trouvés, your silver is quite safe with us. When may we visit?