Because of what's happened at home, I have taken the decision not to leave the house empty whilst I am pretending to be Scarlett O'Hara in Savannah.
Vern is going to stay here and dog-sit ... Shaun and Gary have a spare door key too and will be using home as a base to sleep periodically, whilst travelling up and down to North London to finish a construction project, as well as checking the house en route, and bringing materials and tools that they'll need to finish the roof and the bay window.
So I can now go and leave my niggling doubts and worries behind ... this morning I almost felt like cancelling my much needed R & R with Karen, Mike and Ronnie the wonderdog, because it has now transpired that the little shits have been through every room in the house. An antique planter pot is missing, along with the Rolex, and around 4 boxes of building materials (taps, fixtures, electrical stuff that Cliff was eventually going to install here or on some future project). My fear was that more sentimental stuff might have been taken while I was on vacation, but if they try to break in, thinking I'm not there, they will be in for a surprise (and it's not a teddy bears' picnic).
After dropping Vern off at home this afternoon, I found myself driving on to the coast to see Gary and Gaynor to seek advice about who to involve, primarily because I was fretting over whether to tell Shaun ... I've told Gary everything, the unabridged version ... and appealed to his discretion when recounting the details to Shaun ... because I know he will go ballistic and he is far more precious to me than a Rolex or anything material.
A friend of ours locally - who Cliff liked and had respect for rang me while I was drinking tea with Gary and Gaynor - he had just found out ... and was on his way out with his sons to get the message out there ... to bring the stuff back.
I feckin hate this shit. Cliffy always kept me well away from it - I was so safe. I know I still am ... but it's not the same ... I can't trust anyone else quite like him, i.e. his judgement, his fearlessness, his quick thinking, his ability to predict what others would do, and his execution of last minute plans, ensuring my safety (getting me miles away and babysat to boot), and assuring his own. I miss his counsel, his intellect, his protection. I miss him confirming that what I was doing was ok. No, I miss the fact that I would not have had to deal with this. I miss the eye contact, body language and not minding that he, on occasion, told me what to do, and I always followed his instructions, without question - I never minded, not one bit.
I wish he was here, I miss him immensely. The pain is beyond words ... it's unspeakable.