The lockup I have access to is just off Robert Street in Camden. I’ve been pretty careful about what I put there. Not because I expected to get robbed to be honest, but because I figure that there’s a strong chance the entire thing will be requisitioned by Camden Council at a moment’s notice. On Friday though, to make more room for car boot sale things, I temporarily stored my pair of DeWalt impact drivers there. They were the most valuable thing in there that I knew of. I just put them there to make room in my car.

It was a good padlock so they sawed through the bolt instead.

I had tidied it all up. I was all excited about using it as an extremely helpful halfway house, to sort through all the random things that come through my hands. Friday, with the doors wide open, I had been moving things in and out in the sunshine. I was optimistic about this useful space. I did an unusual thing for me and I organised it.

The thing with these lockups though, is that they all just sit unused, with somebody’s rotting car in it or somesuch. I’ve been using it so they saw it. I had tables outside it the other day with Siwan sorting clothes. We mentioned famous brandnames… And then I brought in those fucking tools. I made it visible.

“There are no tools kept in this van overnight”. Tools are a very easy nick and flog. I used to have lots of nice tools. Now someone has a few quid, and somebody else can do a job that they couldn’t normally do, and I need tools. My impact drivers… I wonder how many times I’ve written about them here. I loved them and they were so useful.

They have them now. They had enough to carry that they left the saw they had used to get through the lock. They just put it on the shelf and took the contents of the shelf. I don’t really know what they took, frankly. There were many boxes and bags. They emptied the lot all over the place. They made a fucking horrible mess in there. Everything was opened. Everything was emptied. It was dark when I got to it and I had to go to work. I’m not sure what sort of damage they did, what they took. Apart from my tools there was nothing I particularly cared about. But it still feels bad when some fucker steals from you. I feel violated. A place that was mine was invaded. It’s like when they smashed my car window to get a bag of fake money. But I’m less inclined to make a joke of it today. London. This financial environment. The need for money… Fuckers.

A locksmith has already fixed it. By the fact that it was neatly closed with the saw still inside it, it felt like we might have interrupted them before they came for a second load. “It’s most likely people with no fixed abode in the area,” the police posited, which would explain why tools instead of things that you can flog on eBay.

I don’t trust it now even though it has a new bolt and lock. I wish I could. It is an important part of the process of clearing for me, and until it gets repossessed by Camden it’ll be really really helpful. Having a space like that is so valuable and rare particularly when you’re sorting stuff like I am, but again I’ve remembered what happens when you become visible in this city. Poor bastards must have been desperate. I hope it didn’t just all go on drugs. If someone tries to sell you a pair of DeWalt impact drivers in Camden with “A” on them in sharpie (they’ll probably scrape that off though) buy ’em and I’ll pay you back …

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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