Because, as soon as I got out of the car, I saw that I had indeed been burgled. The clue was that the kitchen window was wide open. (I should explain that this is a window which has not until now been opened since 1992, by the last burglar, after which I fitted locks, painted it shut and bought the alarm system.) I walked round to the front door and entered. The alarm made all the right noises as I disarmed it. I saw that, in fact, two windows in the kitchen had been smashed. One pane of the six in the back door, and one of the eight in the now-open window. I went straight to the living room, naturally, because that’s where most of the obviously tradeable valuables are. I could immediately see that nothing had been taken (not even this elderly laptop) or disturbed. (When you live alone, you develop an intimate knowledge of your own disorder.) I went through to the dining room. The side window had been smashed, but the secondary double glazing had defeated them. I checked the rest of the house and found that a little pane in the leaded window on the other side had been smashed too. Nothing missing anywhere. That made the score four windows, no swag.
The bright young PC arrived pretty quickly. “You’re my first today,” he told me. “Only just came on shift. But they’ve been pretty busy already, and I’ve got a couple more after you. Looks like there’s this one idiot on a spree last night.”
I agreed. Idiot. The first try, in the dining room, should have given him a clue. You can’t break secondary glazing. But that didn’t deter him, and he persevered – hadn’t he noticed that there was an alarm? – until finally he managed to get into the kitchen, opened the door to the hall (which is where the alarm gets triggered, for the benefit of any future burglars who may be reading this) and scarpered empty-handed.
Idiot is the only word. Bleedin’ amateurs. A professional would only have broken one window, and got away maybe with a few bits of insured stuff. I wouldn’t have liked that, but in a sense I’d have preferred it. I’d have been less uncomfortable with rationality than with mindlessness. Although a professional, of course, wouldn’t even have tried it.
Oh, apart from that I had a brilliant Christmas.