Friday, January 20, 2012


For two summers running, I have had dolls stolen from my office at the University of the East.
First to go was my set of Spice Girls (boxed, but not inhabiting their box). They were cheap, which is what I loved about them, and their heads were so huge in proportion to their bodies that they used to topple over, especially Sporty Spice, who had her leg kicked up either in abandon or a ju-jitsu pose.
Was it a summer deep-cleaner, who fancied the toys for their niece or grand-daughter?
Next summer, color-change Ken disappeared. I had been given him as a joke by the Offsprogs' childminder; I'd told her that I fancied Ken and for Christmas that year she gave him to me; he was dressed in blue nylon trunks and when you put him in water his streaked blond hair went dark brown.
The trunks got lost in toy soup on the girls' bedroom floor and he ended up dressed in a fetching red sock on my window sill.
Well, Ken went last summer, as did my Office Pal's PhD (what a strange combination!).
It's horrible when you have stuff stolen. You think you have put it somewhere in a moment of absent mindedness; you retrace your steps, you look down the sides of furniture. Then you start to dread looking for it. I looked in the empty Spice Girls box about five times before I understood that they were not going to re-materialise.
'Tell Estates and Facilities', advised a colleague.
What a prat I would have felt!
I wish I could spirit them back, not because they were valuable, but because I want the person or persons who nicked them not to have done it in the first place!

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