Saturday, 5 June 2010

Hay Festival

We're back in Hay-on-Wye for the annual literary festival. This is a fixed item on our calendar now and we make sure we get down here every year, even if it's only for the weekend.

This year the demands of the day job meant that we couldn't stay for the whole week, so we tried something different. Rather than make do with just the four days of the opening weekend, we left the caravan on the site and returned home mid-week. Then on Friday I finished early and we loaded fresh clothes, towels and food into the car and came back. It's about three hours to Hay. If the traffic is good we can sometimes shave fifteen minutes off that. We've tried different routes and we have now settled on the quickest option, both with and without the caravan. I'm rambling. The point is this: it's a long way, and doing it four times within a week had us wondering if this really was such a good idea.

So, yes, Friday night we arrived here at about eight-thirty in the evening. As we drove into the field I reached into my pocket for the caravan keys and...

You see, I have a routine. The last thing I do before we leave home is go inside and make sure the fridge is closed and switched over to car battery power. Then I lock it. And this time we didn't have the caravan. So the keys were in the key box at home.

Sarah had her's. She's better than me at remembering stuff. But although we could get inside the caravan she didn't have the key which unlocked the hardened steel, many-tumblered security wheel lock. That was on my keyring. The wheel lock would have to be removed before we could bring the caravan home on Sunday. So what do we do? At some time either today, Saturday or Sunday we faced a six-hour round trip home to get the key. If we do it on Friday we wouldn't be back until two or three AM and we were already tired. If we did it on Saturday we've wreck Saturday and would miss all of the four events we'd booked and paid for, and if we did it on Sunday we faced nine hours in the car and a whole day and half of anticipating the fun of it.

I checked my tool box. Screwdrivers, tyre lever, pliers, electrical tape... not the sort of kit that might be used tackle tempered machine steel. We'd have to go home. Tonight. Right away.

In a rage I gripped the hardened steel, saw-proof, drill-proof, angle-grinder-proof security clamp and tried to rip it off with my bare hands.

It moved.

I wiggled it. It came loose. I took the tyre lever to it and within two minutes it was off and lying on the grass.

Now, once I'd recovered from the emotion of the event. Once I'd stopped cheering and running laps of honour around the field, a thought occurred to me. I am not a criminal. I have no experience in burglary and theft. It had taken me just two minutes to remove the foolproof anti-theft device. How long would it have taken a dedicated caravan thief? How comfortable would I now be in using this device to secure my pride and joy against the cream of criminal masterminds?

This is something I am going to have to think about.

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