Z is a thief, but only because the circumstances seemed to warrant it

The accident that blocked the road was mentioned in the paper today: a tractor caught fire. This is what it’s like living in rural Norfolk/Suffolk. Even in town, come to that – driving home through the centre of Norwich on Monday morning, I was quite surprised to find myself along a tractor. A proper John Deere, looking purposeful, if a little lost.

Tilly woke me this morning jumping on to my bed. I was startled to find it was 8.18, particularly since I was due in the shop by 8.30. “I couldn’t wake you” said the Sage when I went downstairs, “so I thought I’d better send Tilly up.” I really don’t think he had tried very hard, frankly.

I could not leave without contact lenses and a face, but I was parked and in the shop by 8.35. There’s a lot to do at the start of the day, all the new produce to put out and old stuff to clear, and Al has to check wholesalers’ prices and amend his if necessary. In addition, runner beans, raspberries, figs, Victoria plums and raspberries were brought in by local growers and they all had to be weighed and noted. At the same time, customers were coming in and had to be served. We had some time to chat, however, and I told him about the Chelsea bun.

I had to go to Norwich first thing on Monday, but took over from 10 o’clock. Eileen and I were busy, and at one point a customer picked up a paper bag. “Looks as if someone has left their bread roll behind.” I checked the bag, and in it was a sugar-covered Chelsea bun. Hang on, I’ll look for one…. … … here you go. I put it on one side to return to the hungry customer when he or she returned.

But it was still there by 4.30! What was I to do? If it had been a packet of biscuits or money, I’d have left it to be reclaimed, but it would go stale by the next day, and I was hungry. Imagine, a nice coiled bun, seasoned with cinnamon and studded with raisins. I ate it, deciding to buy the customer a replacement when I found out who it was.

Anyway, I enthused about this bun, telling Al how delicious it had been, and when he went for his paper, he brought me another one. I offered to pay, but he said the bakery owed it to him – he’d let them have a couple of onions as soon as he unlocked the shop and before he could get to the till, so they said he could have a bun in payment. I also ate the most gorgeous fig. It was huge, ripe and luscious, and local too. The tree used to belong to H. Rider Haggard, who lived a couple of miles away.

No one has asked about the bun, by the way. This is why I am a thief.

22 comments on “Z is a thief, but only because the circumstances seemed to warrant it

  1. PI

    DID SOMEONE ONCE SAY ‘STOLEN FRUIT IS THE SWEETEST?’ WELL I JUST DID. Sorry about the caps, I hit the wrong keys regularly.
    Yay I’m first!

  2. badgerdaddy

    Next thing you know you’ll be drinking in s’nosnawS or snorting coke off the cisterns in the eceelF…

    Or stealing more cakes, which would be far more worthwhile.

    As SLF once said to me, after I had told her most earnestly that I loved her: “Idiot. I love cake.”

  3. Dave

    ‘find myself along a tractor’

    You even find yourself talking Norfolk.

    I can give you absolution for the bun, as long as you drop one in here next time you pass.

  4. Z

    I didn’t exactly steal the cake, not actively. And I’d like to apologise for that rambling and senseless post, which took at least two minutes of your valuable time to read.

    I’m more likely to hang around the ssorcrettuB drinking out of a lager can I’m afraid, BD, I’m not quite classy enough for s’nosnawS.

    Dave, I didn’t even notice the Norfolkism. I am probably beyond redemption, but temporary absolution would at least give me a day’s clean slate.

  5. Dave

    Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat; et ego auctoritate ipsius te absolvo ab omni vinculo excommunicationis (suspensionis) et interdicti in quantum possum et tu indiges. [making the Sign of the Cross:] Deinde, ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

  6. Z

    Dave, I’m sure you are constantly being told that you are rather wonderful, but could you bear me telling you one more time?

    Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum; sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea.

  7. Z

    I had every expectation you would, Dave. I had to look it up as my Latin has the rust of 35 years on it.

    The only bits of it I use regularly are quis custodiet ipsos custodes? and occupet extremum scabies, both of which are very useful and use the subjunctive, which is always a bonus.

  8. AFC 30K

    A chelsea bun would not have lasted that long with me around, but you are very honorable to have thought about offering to buy it’s original owner a replacement. I think I’d have denied all knowledge as I wiped the crumbs from my top lip!

  9. Z

    The anticipation of eating the bun kept me hopeful all afternoon, afc. I was sorry for its owner, who had bought it as a treat and was disappointed, but not enough to dampen my enjoyment at all.

  10. Z

    Murph, you would rightly have had no compunction about liberating the bun.

    Plenty of actual tractors in Yagnub, as well as in Norwich.

  11. Gert

    A few months ago a colleague and I were leaving the building when he spotted a stamp book beneath his feet. He was in a dilemma about what to do about it – it’s not exactly the thing you put in ‘Lost and Found’ but he clearly had a deep sense of ‘it’s not mine’. So I suggested that he pocketed it and at an appropriate opportunity put an equivalent sum of money in a charity box.

    It made me feel virtuous!

  12. martin

    When I read your phrase people to be served,it reminded me of something that happened to me when I worked in a shop. Nicolas Soames (Sir Winston’s grandson) came in and asked for my boss. I said “He is next door serving a woman”. He screamed ” Good God, Stallions serve mares Sir, people attend each other”.I laugh every time I remember it.

  13. Z

    That’s fabulous, Martin, made me laugh too. And I’ll bear it in mind, especially when our posher customers come in (the poshest of all is an Earl, who has, of course, a quarterly account) for their spuds.


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