On one of our excursions we went past Menorca’s prison. Our tour guide told us that it was built several years ago, but had remained empty, because there was so little crime on the island.

Later that night I woke up, sometime after midnight, needing the bathroom. As I was getting back into bed a strange hissing noise started up. I went into the living room to investigate, afraid that it might be the gas oven, but it seemed to be coming from outside. Going over to the window to look out, I realised that Freddie’s buggy, which we usually left by the front door, was missing. Quite apart from the fact that it is invaluable, it’s also, strictly speaking, the property of our local hospital, who loan it to us. I went and woke Daddy.

‘Where did you put the buggy when you came in?’

‘He wasn’t in his buggy. I walked him back.’

On our way home from our evening visit to the beach I had remembered that we needed some milk. Daddy walked Freddie back to the apartment to give him a bath, while Big Sister and I went to get the milk (Big Sister, helpful as ever, thought I might need reminding that we were also out of Oreos). I had parked the buggy at the bottom of the steps leading up to the shop.

And left it there.

Oh God! I quickly pulled on some clothes and ran out of the door … and was hit full in the face by the source of the hissing noise — the rotating lawn sprinklers, which came on periodically throughout the night. They covered all the grassed areas and every so often hit the path as well, so I had to try to dodge the freezing cold spray as I ran. It was like playing tag with a water cannon. Thank goodness there was no one about to witness the spectacle.

The buggy was right where I’d left it, outside the shop. It was a bit wet by the time I got it back to the apartment, but otherwise in one piece, with all accessories still in place. If I had left it outside my local shop at home, then without a shadow of doubt, it would have been stolen, vandalised, or damaged in some way.

A tour guide said that the four most important things to a Menorcan were Family, Friends, Food and Fiesta. You can see the Menorcans are a naturally patient and courteous people by the way they drive. Their prison is empty. What more do I need to say?


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