"Lead? What lead?"If excuse were needed, here is mine for not posting anything here for yonks.

I live in fairly idyllic environs attached to my place of work, and for the most part it is peaceful, beautiful and, er, cheap.  However, recently (at precisely the time of year at which there is most going on in the workplace) we’ve had our fair share of anti-social behaviour.  No, not just me being grumpy and stressed and and taking it out on the staff room kettle, but yer actual crime on the estate.

Some months ago we had lead stolen from an outbuilding roof, after having seen some rather less than salubrious young men hoiking a wheelbarrow over the walls.  The insurers (bless ’em) insisted on our replacing this very expensive and stealable metal roofing with, well, precisely similar expensive and stealable metal roofing.  Our protestations that this would be likely to remain in place roughly as long as a similarly sized layer of springtime snow went unheeded, and so lead was replaced with lead.  Contain your breathless astonishment as I reveal that this replacement vanished as quickly “as snaw aff a dyke” (as we Scots are wont to say). 

I heard the removal-artists at work one gloomy night last week and called the rozzers, who were singularly unconvinced that anything was happening, or if it were that it was of any particular consequence to them.  I feel I may have blown my credibility with them at an early stage in the proceedings by prowling around the entrance gate (to prevent the crims in question from making a clean getaway), and stopping the police vehicle as it arrived with an insistence that they search the immediately adjacent woodland whence I was convinced I had heard the lead-lifters making good their escape.  Flashlights flashing and warnings of (non-existent) police dogs being yelled, the police tried and failed to find trace of the malefactors.  From then on, they seemed convinced that the reported crime was as fanciful in origin as the police dogs with which they had threatened the invisible thieves.

Undaunted, I continued, indignantly, to insist that if I had not heard lead being lifetd then I was a windmillful of Dutchmen—but I had to confess that I had seen nothing.  So to substantiate my claim, off to the outhouse I marched the unflappable (unarmed and reluctant) gendarmes.  I climbed atop the low coping of the outhouse roof and, not without a thinly-concealed smug smirk, proclaimed the lead gone.  “Are you sure there’s lead missing?” one asked.  I blinked and then resumed my smug composure: “Well, here’s where it was, and it’s not here now, is it?” I said, pointing to the torn membrane and twisted metal fittings.  “Are you sure it had been replaced?” responded the other.  I was tired, I was stressed, my amour-propre had been dinted at the outset, and I resolved to get back-up.  I called the boss, who confirmed the lead nicked.  We both accompanied the rozzers back to the scene of the crime where we cut our right palms and pressed them together whilst swearing a firm affadavit over a conveniently-placed stack of Gospel-books that the lead had been well and truly lifted and shifted within the last few hours. 

We were told a statement would not be required of us until we could get a price for the missing lead–and no one pursued us for this for another week.  The CCTV footage we studied later revealed precisely the sort of rum comings-and-goings that one would expect were such a theft being perpetrated upon us, and eventually two very concscientious WPCs took our statements, our tapes and our claims at face value.  More news as it breaks, Crimewatchers…

In other ASBOtastic news, one of our ruinous follies (not, let it be understood, my good self) has been put to use by the local yoof as a drinking den and, I am sorry to report, knocking-shop .  Litter of all descriptions is regularly found strewn wantonly around.  Today I wandered along the path to this veritable Bacchanaeum, enjoying the sun-dappled zephyrs—pleasure it was to hear iwis the birdís sing, etc.  Pleasure it wasn’t to see iwis numerous pieces of material evidence that, amongst the many and various interests of our nocturnal visitors (smashing irreplaceably historic glass in the Library windows, using iron fencing stakes to impale aged trees, and the like), NFP cannot with any plausibility be listed.  I spare my loyal readership further verisimilitudinous details.

Still love the place though.

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