My name is Anna and I am a kleptomaniac.
'Where,' shouts the Vicar, 'have you put my swimming trunks?'
'Where,' shouts the 8yo, 'have you hidden my school tie?'
'You're dead meat, ' bawls my daughter, 'if you've lost that over-the-knee sock with the bow on.'
Guiltily I survey the empty banister where the clerical trunks usually hang and wonder if I have, through some unconscious compulsion, spirited them off to my potting shed. I survey the scrunched uniform shed by my son at last night's bath time and try to recall if I hijacked the tie. And I climb inside the family duvet covers in search of said sock because I remember putting it in the washing machine and I don't remember taking it out again.
Marriage and motherhood have exposed my criminal underside. And the volume of items that go missing is shaming. Most of the Vicar's socks are without partners, the remote control for the DVD has not been seen since an evening of back episodes of Rev, my son's homework book vanished in transit from sofa to school bag and the children had to sprint the mile to school when the car key went missing.
'Go and look in your handbag,' says the Vicar when a new loss is discovered. My handbag is suspected to be the repository for most of the swag and admittedly it has yielded some surprising items. A jar of puttanesca sauce was lately discovered inside; the eight-year-old's only intact pair of school socks and a large, much mourned plastic spider.
In time, the swimming trunks are discovered in the Vicar's sports bag. The sock turns up in the garden pond and the school tie has evidently joined four other school ties in a parallel reality.
Briefly I am exonerated. 'I wasn't blaming you!' says the Vicar, unearthing the lost car key from his cassock pocket. I resume my search for the iron, previously used last summer. Strangely only I have noticed its disappearance. I run it to earth in the shoe polish crate just as a cry echoes downstairs:
'Mum, where have you hidden my hairbrush?'
What goes missing in your family and are you the one who is blamed?