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April 6, 2017

I think it’s about time I updated you on our theft. As you know, an evil person took a lot of jewellery from us. Since I’m a writer of whodunnits, I feel I should probably string this out, introduce lots of suspects and throw a red herring or two into the pot, but as many of you have cleverly guessed already, it was our unbelievably evil cleaner. I can promise you my novels are more complicated than this plot!

Yes, the nasty sneaky vile woman dipped and delved into all our secret hiding places, while pretending to dust/put away clothes etc, and made off with a lot of stuff we never wore – but never wanted to lose either.

It was all the more unpleasant because she was hired to work for us by my husband when I was having a series of operations for cancer. Once I’d recovered, I was considering getting rid of her but I believed all her hard luck stories about how much she needed the job and I kept her on. And, of course, I was very glad not to be lugging the Hoover upstairs all the time, I’m not going to lie. Cleaning is not fun, as we all know, and it’s great to have someone to do it for you.

So, having seen me in bed, nearly dead, and then fighting my way back to health (ok I’m laying this on with a trowel, but why shouldn’t I? It’s true) this woman proceeded to nick the odd thing here and there, very carefully, so as to leave no trace of disturbance but just gradually line her pockets. In the meantime, she was buying us presents, ingratiating herself with the family, and trying to make herself indispensable. I’m glad to say I never gave her our keys. But, once the truth came out (thanks to Child One), I did feel foolish and betrayed and I will never trust an outsider again.

And I’m almost tempted to give you her full name, address and driving licence details, because the police have done absolutely nothing.

Yes, I know, that lovely PC came round and gave me all the chat, took a statement longer than my arm, and promised me, as his own mother had just been burgled (policemen really do get younger every day! Either that or … no, no, they’re getting younger) that this horrible cleaner would be banged up in seconds flat. There was even talk of arresting her at the airport (she was on holiday at the time we made our grim discovery, a holiday no doubt funded by my jewellery), or even deporting her straight back to her own country. But none of that has happened.

In a way, I would have preferred it if that PC had come out and said, ‘we have much worse things to deal with in London, than the first world problem of a woman who doesn’t keep track of her possessions and can afford to pay someone to clean.’ And that would have been fair enough. To a point. But they did promise swift action and yet nothing has happened, or is likely to happen, despite the fact that they know the name and address of the thief and also know she is very likely to steal again. Why wouldn’t she, as there seems to be no comeback?

The good news is that Marks & Spencer home insurance have been brilliant. Initially, we were a bit disappointed because they wanted us to accept vouchers redeemable at certain shops rather than cash, but as soon as I realised Mappin & Webb was one of the shops, I relaxed. If it’s good enough to get several royal warrants, it’s fine with me. So now we have new stuff, that we wear every day, so we know where it is and no one can pinch it from us.

I’m trying to see it as a win-win – but I don’t think my grandmother, whose gifts have been converted into holidays for a very unpleasant and undeserving person, would see it that way. I do know that my cleaner believes in God, as did my grandmother, so I am confidently expecting that my grandmother will chuck this nasty piece of work out of Heaven and straight into a much hotter place, if she ever has the temerity to try her luck there.

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  • little red hen April 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Such a betrayal! Has she stolen from other people?

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Yes, she’s definitely stolen from one of her other clients … and will go blithely on unless she’s stopped. Grrr

  • Addy April 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    So sorry to hear this and really annoyed on your behalf that the police have not done anything. I have never been able to bring myself to take a cleaner for this very reason and will not even allow workmen to work in my house in my absence. I don’t have masses of expensive items but replacing items of sentimental value is nigh on impossible. Shame on the woman – how can she profess to believe in God and commit such an nonreligious act?

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      It’s maddening, isn’t it? I’m not sure how she squares it with her religious beliefs or with her efforts to be super-friendly, which I now suspect were just to put us off our guard … oh well, older and wiser I suppose

  • Polly Macleod April 10, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Oh Alice I’m so sorry to hear you won’t get your much loved pieces of jewellery back. I’m furious that that women will go unpunished, I would be so tempted to extract some form of punishment myself, it’s just wrong for the police not to pursue it. If it had happened to a local politician they would be all over it. On a brighter note I hope you all enjoy your new stuff x

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Polly. Yes, I suspect they would do a lot more if I had any sort of clout … which is completely wrong and unfair. TL was dying to bang on her door and have it out with her but I dissuaded him as she has 2 strapping sons who are builders … and at that point the police said they would act. Now that we’ve replaced everything I’m turning the other cheek – this time to show off my new earrings!