29 June 2011


I have come to the conclusion that I am as a naive lamb to the slaughter when it comes to thievery.

I should be the alertest on the block but I seem to be Exhibit A in Kyria Tussaudorakaki's 'Thefted and Berefted' section.

I needn't go into the details - too boring - and they can be found in my extended letter to my daughters and future sons-in-law ~ just type in Villa Thefti or 'Piece of Work' or God's Gunsight.

Klepsimo, even, except that it's wayy OTT and best left to last when one of my daughters can translate.

Anyway, having had all my girls' heirloom nicked, I sort of thought I was due a breather.

The other day, my mother was doing a clear-out: winter clothes into storage, summer clothes out into the sunlight. She'd set aside some stuff for Tassia as well as 'a raggedy paint-stained shirt she can give to Kosta for his rough work.'

bI happened to be passing the pile and noticed the Western Washington University T-shirt that Georgina had given me on the day she passed into WeWa (Wee-wah, not to be confused with WahMu, Washington Mutual Bank).

Gimme a break - there's nothing left for my girls to remember me by, my 40-year collection of rather smart bling rots in chill childless Tuscania. The least one might expect is to hang on to a grungy old T-shirt to remember my big girl by.

Villa Thefti

I must walk around in a cloud with a big sign, 'Steal from me while stocks last'.

When my mother went to London to collect her Maundy Moolah, I found out that my brother was joining her there to motor her up to Scotland and Easter.

With now-skilled eye, I cruised round the house snapping the items that fitted the thievery pattern.

Among obvious candidates for the Thefti shelves, a gorgeous decanter and two glasses.

Actually, there's only one glass on show - I removed the other from sight and have it hidden away.I'm taking no risk of that one gracing Il Filcheria.

Next, an even more valuable sentimen-talisman, a lovely orange cardigan, given to me by my wife and last worn to perfection by a dear dear friend.

Theftable Threads ~ Also in the clear-out, some pullovers that mama thought (for some reason) could go to my brother.

1One of them, a smart Marks 'n' Sparks pullover, a Christmas present from someone I ... well, never mind. Suffice that it has special meaning.

Cardi scarpered - Dramatic moment when I went to check the orange cardi and it was - gone! Mum had no recollection of it ... drama!

4Of course a moment's riffling thru the chests and there it was. Good move to hive it off so early:

By the time my mother's July 28 birthday comes round - for which my bro is joining us - I'll have forgotten the cardigan and it'll be a simple sleight of hand to snaffle the cardi into the car the same as the jewels were slithered from Corfu bedside to Plaza Filchioso.

cardi and samCARDIES TO CUTIES I have a plan to thwart this theft at least, and ensure it a good home: I shall give it to Mlle Sam Hugger when she arrives to stay on Monday.

I can't keep checking every possession every 20 minutes and I'm outnumbered 2-1. A huge relief to know it's gone to a good home.

Neat tie-in: when I traveled with my mother to Italy that April of the theft, I carried with me a DVD lent to me by la Kardi Carissima. The video machine was in my brother's bedroom and no sooner had I sat down to enjoy the show than I saw my distinctive red jewel box perched on his dressing table. Filch Fail!

Otherwise the robbery would have passed undetected, Mum would have left for London, I back to Corfu where I would have discovered the theft and called the police.

Obvious suspects would have been jardinier Kosta and Tassia who cleans the rooms (and is as honest as the long day).

Once K and T had had their grilling I'd have phoned my mother to report the loss and checked with her which of her jewels had been lifted.

Would the truth have come out? Who knows in such a stinking matter where no rules seem to have been in place to actually be off.

3That lot on the left? That's maman's jewelry drawer, mere feet from the shelf where I kept the girls' gewgaws. Someone gasped when I showed her the photo:

"OMG! If I'd done that thievery to you, I wouldn't leave even a thimble out for you to grab in righteous payback revenge."

As it was, Miss Cute in Cardigan saved me a ton of faffing by inadvertently placing me where my jewel box had ended up, staring me in the face.

Doh! I was able to march straight upstairs and beard and blast where they sat.

Their faces ... I mean talk about red-handed gob-smacked guilt disgrace.

When I later recounted the incident to a pal she laughed and laffed and then said

"Oh my god, can you imagine how far down the moral sewer you would have to swill to find a double act like that? What a piece of work!"
Which is how the vileness got its name and is referred to ever since.

Actually, there is as much mirth as indignation over this whole thing.

The fact that my jewel box was just sitting there for all to see ~ another pal guffaws every time he thinks of it.

"Good God, Chris - talk about incompetence.

  • "Your mum removes your jewels when youre not watching
  • Into her case, sneaked off the boat and into your brother' car
  • Out of the car at Villa Thefti and into a hidey place for handing over when again I wasn't around
  • ... And then the buffoon goes and leaves it out in broad daylight. Talk about a Keystone Clouseau Klepto balls-up."
  • I suppose I do see some of the point but the loss of the girls' treasures hangs heavier.

    All this reminds me of the famous Holmes family mantra, that Italians steal; Corfiots lie.

    Then there's Villa Thefti itself, even more famous as the butt of every family joke about laughing stock security - reduced to locking doors and windows before venturing out to the outside jakes.

    Duhh ...

    More spirited friends have asked my permission to press maman further on this but I have settled for the quiet life, somewhat to their disappointment at my feebless.

    But July 28 will see a merry birthday gathering including some who know my brother and will not be so gentle in raising certain points, purely out of interest to set the record straight and compare my blatherings with his.

    Out of fairness, I am preparing possible questions and dates and other facts such as verbatim transcripts of confrontations over the four years since my loss.

    When my younger gal Anna came over I tentatively suggested that we start with an easy favour - out of my 40-year collection, one pair of cufflinks and/or matching tie pin to be returned to her for taking back to Seattle to remember me by.


    Eva Gabrielsson ~ she of Stieg Larsson, his companion who's been ripped off by his brother and father who've nicked the money because, as a companion and not actually married to the writer with the dragon tattoo, nothing comes to her:

    She talked forthrightly about the oddest passage in her book, a description of an elaborate Viking curse she delivered on New Year’s Eve 2004 against all her and Larsson’s enemies: the false friends, the cowards “who let Stieg fight your battles while you raked in the salaries of your cushy jobs,” the wearers of “suits, ties and wingtips,” the evil ones “who plotted, spied and stirred up prejudice.”

    Traditionally, such curses were accompanied by the sacrifice of a live horse, but instead Ms. Gabrielsson broke a ceramic horse sculpture in two and tossed it into Lake Malaren in Stockholm. Nevertheless, it worked, she insisted.

    I use curses on Villa Thefti; I choose a jewel each morning and live with that jewel thru the day, envisioning it in different 'sick building' scenarios, or gardenry disasters, or ... whatever fits.

    ADDENDA - suddenly remembered two hilarious incidents from when Anna was here at the same time as my brother.

  • Useful? My mother was dashing in and out with ever-banaler household or garden items, demanding of my bro "Does this seem useful? Might you find a use for this?" ... etc, meanwhile I'm sitting in a corner reading and growling now and then 'Yes it's useful to me, is why I bought it in the first place' or 'It's already handy in this house' ... yadda yadda, keeping Anna in giggle fits.

    It was a sight to see and made me wonder if this wasnt the behaviour of one who could equally easily siphon off a box of heirloom jewelry in the hope of currying more favour.

  • Sudden appearance of a beautiful inlaid lacquered box that my mother offered Anna with no sense of irony.

    For her jewels.

    First remove the entire heirloom collection; then offer a box to keep them in.

    Truly by my light-fingered troth, I understand not the ways of filcherie and falsehood.

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