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Gypsies, tramps and thieves....

Words from a Bird.  Day 34

As is often the case at the end of a funeral party (as we liked to call it) hard-core friends and family sat round the table reminiscing and chatting.  The wine had been flowing rather too freely, and the conversation had turned to petty theft, instigated by the repositioning of some rather posh water bottles from the table to the larger handbags. 

'Well, I've never stolen anything...' said I.

The rapid intake of breath from thirty two people left our waiter gasping for air.  The oxygen levels dropped so quickly, he turned blue. 

'Well I haven't', I insisted.

The clamour of thirty two friends and family members shouting me down was incredible, and yet, I still couldn't remember ever pinching anything.

Then the penny dropped - my favourite trick is to see something I quite like on a night out (usually salt and pepper pots, but there's also been a pretty dish and a tapestry cushion with Do not Disturb on it, courtesy of Cliveden Manor ) and then say to my sister, 'My bag's too small.  Can you get those in before we go?'  So it would appear that I steal by proxy.  Slightly better than the alternative I think.

My sister has to be the second worst offender in my family for illegal rehoming.  In a fish restaurant the other day, her son had been served a large lobster (it was a special occasion, they do not pursue the life of the hedonist).  When he came to the claws my nephew, in all innocence, turned to my sister and complained that there were no crackers to break the claws open.  My sister dived into her bag. 'Here you are,' a second root around and 'Do you want the pick too?'  This falls into the premature evacuation category for badly timed thefts.

But the title of King of Petty Theft must be bestowed upon my father (or 'Nifty Fingers Richardson' as he is known in close circles).  As a child, various items suddenly appeared in our house after drunken nights out.  These included a decorated boar's head, complete with an apple in his mouth but with one eye missing, an extremely expensive antique chair (this was a raffle prize, and when no one was looking, my dad had swapped it with his dining chair), a wrought iron planter which stood 4 feet tall and a stuffed Capercaillie on a presentation plaque.

It would appear that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but if it does, it will probably end up in my sister's handbag...

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