The other morning on RAI TV “Uno Mattino” programme, which not only gives the news but also talks about current topics, there was a feature about the alarmingly rising number of thefts in Italy. The figures given were well over million from last year alone, and these were only the ones reported to the police. Moreover, the figures were not just restricted to cities – indeed, agricultural thefts were rising even faster since thieves considered them “softer” targets.
I thought about things stolen from me when in Italy and the only significant ones could think about were a couple of crash-helmets which, several months later, were found hanging on a nearby tree which had lost its leaves during the winter, and thus could be at last seen. Probably a prank rather than a theft? I then thought about my water pump which I ‘d just taken down to the field and which I use to pump up the precious liquid to my one thousand litre tank when lack of it starts being a problem (I have no direct spring or stream running through my allotment.) I’d just taken the pump out of its winter storage and placed it there the previous day.
The TV programme alarmed me; perhaps I’d better take a look down at the field. Horror of horrors, the pump wasn’t there anymore!
That was the first time it had even disappeared in the seven years it had been taken down. I was upset more for the apparent dishonesty of some people than for the value of the pump which, although certainly not a snippet, could at least be replaced, unlike my faith in others.
I made arrangements to replace the pump and then prepared a long denuncia which I would have present to the carabinieri as is usual – not that they could do much about it but at least it might offer them an insight look into a possible pattern of thefts into the area.
The carabinieri received me courteously and started taking down the details of the theft. One surname of my friend in the adjoining field was missing,. “Can I phone up his sister to get the exact spelling? “ I asked. (His sister had been quite alarmed to hear about the theft when I told her about it yesterday). “Of course”, the colonel replied and I did. “O dear, Francis” answered the sister. “Didn’t you get my SMS? My brother had to move your pump because he’d re-grading his whole field with a mechanical digger.”
At this stage the carabiniere, who heard the whole conversation, took out the sheet of paper he’d been typing the denuncia on, tore it up and threw it in the dustbin. At this stage too I felt that if someone had given me a spade to dig myself a hole six feet deep I’d be a lot happier – and a lot less embarrassed.
It’s always good to be aware of situations but it’s also not good to jump to false conclusions. My experience yesterday taught me one important lesson: that there are many more people one can trust that one might think and that a wise person will always remember this fact.
Anyway, that still doesn’t change the fact that all the time we have to be so careful about what we carry around with ourselves – and first of all our humanity, our courtesy and our love. May those qualities never be stolen from us by!