There are many thieves in the world.
At times I feel Ballarat must have more than its fair share.
Over the years my house has been broken into three times; two cars stolen; my trailer gone to another home; three children's bikes taken; and my bike, with a distinctive old man's seat, stolen from outside The Grapes Hotel.
My car has also been broken into several times. On the last occasion my collection of comedy tapes went west - a thief with a sense of humour perhaps.
Some months back my wheelbarrow found a new owner and two plum trees, planted on a vacant block behind my house, are now blossoming somewhere else. A thief with a green thumb?
I know Ali Baba and his cohorts have been romanticised over the years, however I find nothing romantic about being a thief.
I have fantasised about public humiliation in the stocks; branding, not medieval style, but an ink mark lasting for 12 months.
I have pondered whether a photographic gallery of pilferers published monthly in The Courier might be a deterrent.
Amputation of the right hand would help curtail pickpockets, possibly, but I am not advocating this.
My friend Simmo tried to console me over the loss of my Satsuma and Mariposa with the words, "They must have needed them more than you, Jack."
I think he was being sincere but I was not consoled.
Recently I have been trying to set up a community garden in Ballarat East.
Last week, when my daughter was up from Melbourne for Father's Day, we planted some tomato seedlings. The other night, with clear skies threatening frost, I made sure my mini green house was in place.
Before heading off for work the next morning, I noticed my little greenhouse on its side. Thinking that the wind must be the culprit, I walked across the road to set it right.
The wind was not the culprit. Three gaping holes confronted me. I stared in disbelief. Not only had the tomatoes my daughter had planted gone but so had my rhubarb, which was just starting to flourish. Tomatoes are not expensive and I only eat rhubarb occasionally.
I think it is the disrespect and meanness of spirit that upsets me most, although I would like my wheelbarrow back.
MICHAEL JACK ADAMS