Another very hot dry day yesterday dawned and we got up grateful to now have a functioning shower. Alex was due at 9am to help with the cementing of the staircase base* and he arrived just as I had made coffee.
I left the two blokes to do building work and went out into the garden to pot up some seedlings I had promised to Alex's wife Nicole. As I walked past the front of the courtyard I realised there was a gap where a box ball in a pot should be.
Geranium 'Gravetye Blue' is at lower centre.
Sadly, during the night, someone had succumbed to temptation and stolen a box ball and the Geranium 'Gravetye Blue'. It made me want to cry, but it wasn't totally unexpected – we knew putting the plants out in a courtyard open to the street like this was a risk. The florist in town used to leave all her plants out on the street overnight, but this year, no longer does.
I dropped off one of the seedlings I had potted up to our neighbour Sylvie and told her about the theft. She said she and Pierre-Yves had not gone to bed until 2am, and had heard nothing. We had heard nothing either. She said I must report it to the police, as there had been a number of plant thefts in the area. Pierre-Yves took the view that the police would just tell me they couldn't do anything and I should erect a fence. I thought the same, but went off to the Gendarmerie anyway – might as well meet the local constabulary sometime...
The Gendarmerie is in a compound on the other side of the river and you have to buzz to get let in. I told my story to Gendarme-Adjoint** Améry, who was professional enough to not give any hint that he thought that dealing with two stolen plants and a middle aged Australian woman with inadequate French language skills, dressed in not very flattering shorts, was not his idea of a productively spent Sunday afternoon. He will let me know if he hears anything.
Back at home we tossed around ideas for protecting the plants. Any fence we erected would have to be clearly temporary, and therefore almost certainly ugly. We cannot enclose the area or erect anything permanent without the permission of Bâtiment de France, who would take months to make a decision.
use the electric destroyer!
In the end it was Sylvie who came up with the cunning plan to foil future plant thieves. She suggested running a chain along the pots and fastening each of them to the chain. We didn't have a chain, but we did have some fencing wire because we need to make a trellis for some Boysenberries we've planted in the verger / potager.
So Simon drilled a hole in each of the pots and we've run a wire along the line of pots. Each pot is fastened to the line by a twitch of wire. A determined thief could still make off with our plants, but taking the pots too will be awkward and time consuming, as they are all strung together now. Hopefully it will not be too much of a nuisance for us if we want to move a pot.
* A big thank you to Alex for helping with this at short notice and on a Sunday.