To Catch A Thief

I stole the title of today’s post from a film, both metaphorically and literally. There I’ve confessed to my crime.


I don’t know how Hitchcock would give my story a cinematic treatment, would he cast Carry Grant and Grace Kelly clad in simple chic but scruffy jeans, floppy hats and wellies, fork in hand ready to get down and dirty to dig and tend the allotment? Probably not….. I can’t see where the action lies, can you imagine the tension when Grant wants to grow Dahlias whilst Kelly wants to grow asparagus….. or the suspense of watching peas germinate and tomatoes ripen?! All with the backdrop of thefts ……Unlikely!

The Thief I’m referring to is not of the multimillionaire, south of France glamorous kind, more low-level local humdrum thievery.  But theft it is.  Theft is mean and miserable whether it’s priceless diamonds or humble hobbies. It bursts bubbles, nibbles away at trust. It’s like silent bullying, you can’t see the perpetrator but you see and feel the loss.

The back story? Small items, a bit of food here a few canes there gradually building up to large (8 foot) chestnut stakes and then finally onto sheer meanness.  After the winter storms where the greenhouse took a fatal battering we cleared the remains and salvaged what we could, tidying the plastic glazing panels away behind the shed to reclaim in Spring and to rebuild. Picturing a Phoenix rising from the fire the greenhouse, although abjectly miserable to look at all twisted and bent out of shape could be re-built.

See through Greenhouse

And re-build we did. The framework was straightened, a few new pieces made, repairs completed we turned our attention to fixing the glazing panels……. that’s when we discovered their loss. Yes somewhere out there there is a person who thinks it’s OK to go and steal greenhouse panels, no doubt to fix their own greenhouse which no doubt took an equal battering from the storms. But instead of going out and buying replacements or even making replacements from scraps and seconds they chose to steal.

Bloody ridiculous isn’t it?  The theft that is, the story line if you like.  A see through greenhouse is also ridiculous. I mean I can see the sea!

See through Greenhouse (2)

I know that to catch a thief you should think like one. Trust me I’ve tried and trust me when I say I can’t. I simply can’t step into their shoes, their thinking, their mindset. My brain and my heart don’t compute.

So after a hiatus where all possibilities were considered – from giving up the allotment, to moving away, abandoning gardening, to doing nothing, to retreating….. I decided to carry on. To continue to enjoy my hobby. To not be bullied off and away. Like the other thefts where crops were stolen I’ve looked for the positives or the ridiculous with anagrams (we had fun there didn’t we!) I’m turning to what I know – to grow and grow. Both metaphorically and literally.

Allotment plot with greenhouse

Love Claire x


  • What a miserable person to do such a thing! I’m not sure how an allotment works, but is there a way to use a hidden camera? In any event, I’m glad you decided to garden on and not to give up. I admire your spirit!

    • I’ve been wondering about trying to get some grants etc and help in order to set something like that up….. we’ll see if there’s any help out there. Thanks for stopping by Kevin, always good to hear from you

      • I’m so sorry, Claire! What a miserable thing to have happen. Maybe a cheap night camera would help you find out who is doing this. Lots of hunters use them to see who is feeding at their stations. An outdoor store should be able to help your or Amazon.


  • You’ve moved on and that is always a good thing. In its new digs your garden will flourish and so will you as you continue your rewarding effort.

    • 🙂 Thanks Carl! I hear that Geese make the best “guard dogs” but sadly we can’t keep any birds or animals on our plots…….

  • Oh, goodness. I’m so sorry your trust was betrayed and your safe place made less safe. When food went missing from my community plot I told myself (through my disappointment) that they were hungrier than I am and needed the food. I’m not certain what I would do in your shoes in this case…good on you for carrying on and not being bullied out.

  • I suppose you already scoped out nearby greenhouses hoping to find the purloined panels? Kind of makes you want to engrave a small PP in the corner of the replacement glass lest the same thing happen next year!
    I would find this situation as disheartening and discouraging as you did, but in the end what can we do except forge ahead, albeit a bit more jaded than before!
    ps. Maggie and I booked reservations in Chiswick for the London part of our trip, (sept 13-18) and will be moving around the rest of your country for another 10days as the spirit moves us. Before we get to London we’ll be in Iceland for 4 days/3nights. Ridiculously the roundtrip from Florida to the UK was 500.00usd cheaper if we took Icelandair and made an obligatory stop there. (of course you know we’ll drop more than 500.00 there, LOL, but at least we get to see something besides the inside of a plane for that 500bucks!

    • The Police give these marker things out that you can apply to your possessions, so yes I could do that.
      But most of all you made me laugh, thank you !!! you are right why pay 500 extra on airfare when you can blow it somewhere else 🙂 And I’ve never been to Iceland, I’ve always wanted to go……
      And Chiswick is a lovely part of London – leafy and green. Hopefully I’ll be around in September and maybe we could meet up – perhaps in one of the gardens, although I’m wondering how many gardens Maggie could put up with 🙂

      • hahaha I have a feeling Maggie will prob spend a day or two alone exploring other parts of London than Kew! One of the reasons I chose Chiswick was the proximity to something I’ve wanted to see for decades.
        Yes, if you’re around then, we should meet up in a garden or in one of your fave coffee shops. Both she and I are coffee connoisseurs and figure London must be like Boston or New York in terms of little ethnic shops offering exotic brews. (can’t get much in Vero Beach beyond Starbucks and we miss that!)

  • I agree with Celia…bastards! I cannot tolerate a thief. I’m so sorry this happened to you.
    On another note, I woke up thinking of you the other day, realizing I hadn’t seen a post from you in a while. I wondered if your blog was accidentally dropped from my feed. I intended to go looking for it today, but here you are, in my in-box just as you should be!
    I’m sorry to hear, too, of all the winter damage you sustained. Chin up, Claire, and take strength in your garden and in knowing you’re the better person. Take care!

    • I know what you mean about” popping into my head” Cindy, all these amazing connections and friendships we have, so it’s extra lovely to hear from you and thank you x

  • That is so disheartening Claire. I admire your resolve to carry on and just hope that thief doesn’t return to the allotments again.

    • Hi Cathy, ultimately I just thought about not being defeated by someones nastiness. It’s warming up here ….finally. I wonder how it is with you?

  • Oh Claire, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’m glad you aren’t giving it all up, though. Last year someone helped themselves to everything they fancied in our shed. It’s a horrible feeling… I hope all goes well for you for the rest of the season (and beyond!). Dana

    • I’m sorry to hear about your tools being stolen Dana, I think to steal tools is particularly low! and the trouble is they end up being sold for next to nothing at car boot sales…..
      Take care

  • What a dirty trick to pull on a fellow allotment gardener trying to recover from the shared destruction of that winter storm. I’m glad you’re not giving up/in to the negativity. (Green) Thumbs up for the new growing season.

  • So sorry about your loss, Claire. I feel bad if one plant is damaged — like the time a child snapped off the only (green) pumpkin on our pumpkin vine at the park. I hope no more theft happens on your allotment and look forward to more gardening stories from you.

    • Thank you Sharyn, now I’ve written this post up I can start to think about telling and sharing some more stories, hopefully of a happier disposition

  • Oh Claire, that’s just awful. It’s so dispiriting to have that kind of thing happen and it’s all too easy to be deflated and left feeling like ‘why bother?’ I think you are so right to keep on doing what you love and believe in. You have to keep trusting the universe, even when it has been unkind or unfair. I hope this season is a much better one for you and that it’s full of more pleasures than disappointments.

  • What a terrible thing to happen! I am happy to hear your loss has not taken your passion for gardening too! I so look forward to watching the seasons unfolding in your allotment.

  • Oh Claire! I am so sorry to hear this. I’m sorry for you personally, and in a way, for all of us. It really erodes at trust everywhere, even reaching those of us who haven’t had the same experience. I am glad this didn’t completely steal away your enthusiasm for the pastime that gives you so much pleasure. You’ll undoubtedly be a bit more cautious, but in time, I hope this will just be a nasty event that sits in the past. It’s so good to hear from you…you are missed when you are on hiatus! ox

    • It’s taken a while to get over it – from the grumpiness to the the caution to now saying what the hell and carrying on as normal….. well as normal as it can be. Hope you have a super day!

  • Urgh! Such an invasion of ones privacy isn’t it. I am ever the optimist and hope that whoever they are, they just really needed food. Well, let’s hope so.
    Good to hear you will be carrying on Claire – kudos to you.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Bloody theiving bastards….am I allowed to say that?! Honestly, you’d think there’d be a bit of gentelmanly/ladylike chivalry in the vegetable growing community. Can I lend you Luna and Alfi to act as guard dogs? Only problem is they don’t like the cold or rain and may well dig up what you’ve planted. Other than that they’d be pretty good watchdogs…if they manage to stay awake 😉

    • Of course you are allowed to say that ! I said that and worse……. but I couldn’t carry on swearing like a trouper so eventually I shrugged and and now it’s planting out time 🙂

  • How horribly thoughtless. I can not comprehend what makes a person think stealing is acceptable. I am so sorry this happened to you, and happy that you decided to carry on.

    • I think its selfish too…… and sad…… but it’s been sunny for the last few days so that’s a treat, thanks for stopping by Melissa

    • I think it’s one of those things that will take time to fathom and sort out, but in the meantime the sun is shinning so yaay to gardening 🙂 Hope you have a lovely week ahead

  • Claire, this is a lovely piece of writing. I’m just sorry it’s about theft. Over the years I’ve also experienced theft: items in my car, my home and from my purse at work, and I’m stunned every time it happens. It’s despicable. I’m happy to hear that you will continue to pursue your hobby, not letting an anonymous thief steal your thunder. Garden on…and best of luck with the greenhouse.

    • Thank you for the compliment Alys, sometimes the words flow……
      I’m sorry to hear you’ve experienced theft, it is stunning isn’t it?! On the plus side it’s been sunny here for the last few days – and warm too, but nowhere near your kind of hot 🙂 Hope you have a great week !

      • You’re welcome. Writing is an interesting thing. As you say, sometimes it flows, other times you have to drag the words on to the ‘page’ so to speak.

        We’ve cooled down to a much more seasonable temperature so I’m appreciating that. I’m glad you’re warming up.

  • And I always thought gardeners are nice people…but then there are those who steal plants and cuttings etc. during open garden days which makes me wonder. I’m so sorry for you, Claire, and do hope you can catch that person. Maybe set a trap: put out a bait -something nice and expensive- and sleep on the allotment.

    • Hi Annette, I guess gardening is like everyday life in that all kinds of people are represented. I do think gardeners are generally very kind people, always sharing and helping….. so I suppose we need to focus on the positives

  • How sad. And unlike the theft of crops, you can’t even try to rationalize and say, “perhaps they were hungry.” I am glad you are persevering. In case it helps, here is a saying I think of when I am doing something that I know is right, but could be futile anyway…Václav Havel (first President of the Czech Republic) said ‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out’. Best wishes.

    • Hi Inger I know I’ve rationalised theft of crops like that, but greenhouse panels….. stretches my imagination a little too much! anyway I hope all is well with you, I’m gradually getting back round to visiting all my favourite blogs (yours included!!!) take care x

  • Hi Claire .. what a nasty thing to have happen! you know, what goes around, etc., and those idiots who stole from you will pay. Like you, I cannot fathom how people could do this, cannot imagine how their (little) minds work. Good for you to keep that positive attitude and continue on with your gardening. Good always prevails. I wish you a lovely bountiful garden with lots of interesting veggies! Hugs to you … Anne-Marie

    • Hi Anne-Marie, thank you for your kind words, I know in the end positivity always wins, sometimes it takes a little while! Hope you have a great week and get some good gardening in!

  • Grrrr, this kind of thing make sme so cross!! But I am so pleased to hear you are continuing with the plot and your gardening. Why should some mindless idiots stop you doing something you love. Onwards and upwards my friend. xx

  • Your story started along so happily that I was shocked when I realized you were writing about an actual thief!! That’s so abhorrent on so many levels, I wish I lived there, I’d help spy on the place with you and catch the fathead(s) on video tape. I use the word “fathead” lightly as I can think of much better adjectives. That’s just so so sad and I’m glad you chose the high road, no need to let bullies like that get you down, Claire! I wish you luck!!

    • Hi Barbara, of course you can say fathead, in fact I like the term, so I’ll use it too – FATHEAD thieves, there I feel better for that shouty moment!
      hope all is good with you and Spring is turning into summer x

  • A truly dastardly deed but I’m glad that you are not going to let it keep you from enjoying your gardening.

  • Thievery is such a low and despicable thing. It’s possibly understandable when one is talking about the loaf stolen to feed a pauper’s starving child, but the percentage of times when such is the case is minuscule. The rest of the time, it’s plain old greed with no ability to feel empathy or remorse. A virtual a$$kicking from me to the louse who thought it expedient to steal your greenhouse parts. And then, a turn to better things, because that’s what you are good at doing. That, I think, is why you are such a gifted gardener: because you see the potential in the dead-looking seeds and the prettiness lying in wait in soil that hasn’t yet been tilled. Better things ahead indeed! 🙂

  • It’s challenging to rise above such unkindness and loss, to see the other options and decide against them. I admire you, Claire, for seeing what is truly important to you and letting go of the attitudes and desires that would prolong the unpleasantness for you.

    • Thank you, you understand what I’ve come through – it took me a while, I couldn’t rationalise it in the same was as stealing crops, but eventually I got there! Hope you had a great weekend x

  • Oh that’s just low. You really don’t expect that from fellow greenhouse owners. I think the motion sensor camera is a good idea… but then what. Identifying someone might almost be worse.
    I’m glad you won’t let them keep you down.

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