Two weeks ago M tried to break it to me gently. “Those winches? The ones I was going to sell on eBay to top up our rent money?”

“Mmmm?”

“I think I left them on the nature strip when I got home from the boat one night. I’m so buggered after a day there that I’m totally vague by the time I get home.”

“You’re totally buggered? As in ‘tired’. Should we even go there? To that place where I am the high priestess? Do you want to risk the journey…?

“Um.”

“Let me just say that I have no ‘lost’ feeling on this one. They are not lost. They are somewhere. Somewhere here. They will turn [sorry] up.”

They did.

Then this morning…

“I had both winches on the floor down here. Now there’s only one. Did you move one?”

“Nooooo. I saw Small Z playing with them yesterday though.”

“Small Z?” said M. “Have you seen the other winch that was here?”

“Toot! I am a TWAIN!”

“M,” I said, “She can’t lift one of those things. They’re too heavy.”

He looked stricken. “Has anybody been in here? Come into the house? They’re worth a lot of money you know. They’d be the first things someone would take…”

I looked at him. He was serious. I realised that he is so immersed in boat-land that he honestly thinks that the person who burgles our house will walk in the back door, take one look at the winches, and go… “A-ha! Two winches! My lucky day!! They’re exactly what I came here for, and yet, I feel a pang of compassion… I will only take one with me. One winch should be enough for any burglar. To take more than one would be pushing the limits on my karma quota….”

And with that, the burglar would disappear back out on to the street, weighted down on one side by an astonishingly heavy piece of yachting hardware, and yet curiously ebullient about such a find.

Small Z and I found the stray winch this afternoon, where she had rolled it. Under the desk.