Sorry about the outage…

Shit got a little bit real at Our Albion over the weekend!

Damian Clarke
Jun 15 · 4 min read

We’ve had a little excitement, at Our Albion, which required me to take the precaution of changing all the passwords on my hosting accounts, domains and email. Unfortunately there was a problem with that process that took us offline for a couple of days.

But I’m back now, and all is well.

More to follow — probably after the weekend, because Doctor Ben is coming to visit.

Update: June 8, 2020

At the time of writing, there was not much more to say. Following the police investigation, and with elapsed time, there is more to say.

One night, during the week of 11 June, 2007, a burglar climbed through the tiny bathroom window at the rear of Our Albion. He crept along the hall to the downstairs bedroom, at the front of the house, facing the street, and crept inside. We were sleeping two levels above, in our bedroom overlooking the garden and heard nothing.

While we were working on the house, the downstairs front bedroom had been stripped back to its linoleum tiled floor and was being used as a combination of my study, workshop and store room. There was a large plastic table in front of the window, with my old laptop — with the dodgy screen and the letters worn off the keys — sitting on it, along with a variety of hand and power tools, including a hammer.

Image for post
Including a hammer! (Photo by iMattSmart on Unsplash)

The first I knew of the burglary was when I was in the garden, feeding the hens. I remember looking down and wondering why my hammer was in the grass. Then I saw a screwdriver, and a large handprint on the roof of the neighbour’s car that was parked in the driveway between both our houses. (The driveway belonged to neither of us!)

Once inside the front bedroom, the burglar had grabbed my laptop and armed himself with the hammer and screwdriver in case he needed to fight his way out of the house. Then he made a break for it, out the back of the house, over the side wall — placing his hand on the roof of the car, up the driveway back over our wall once he got near to the street, and away to freedom. With my old laptop. (Fortunately, my new laptop was elsewhere in the house.)

The police forensic science investigators revealed clear fingerprints on the sill of the bathroom window and the man was apprehended within two days.

When the police called to tell me they had apprehended the burglar, I had to ask, “Is he a particularly thin man?”

“As a matter of fact, he is, sir. With a particularly small head, if I recall correctly? Why do you ask? Have you seen him?”

“Well, the bathroom window opening is extremely small — he would have to have been tiny to fit through it. But now that you describe him, I did see a man who looked like that, sitting at the end of our street, a day or two after the robbery. I suspect that was him.”

“Yes, possibly sir. He has ties to your area.”

Well, he didn’t have ties for long. He’d committed the robbery when he was relatively fresh out of prison and, by the time he went to court for our offence, had a string of other new offences to his name. He went back to prison, though I suspect his true punishment came when whatever bad person he sold my computer to opened it and turned it on. There is a reason I had replaced it. It was borderline unusable. I imagine he was punished.

A few years later, shortly after lunch, my phone rang. It was an Digital Forensic Investigator from Bethnal Green police station. He’d retrieved a hoard of stolen computers and, by digging through the layers of deleted content on the disk, had found my contact details. My computer hadn’t been a Dell, it had been built by a computer shop in Sydney, but since the disk was all that could be traced, we agreed that if I claimed it then he could tick it off his list as returned, and I would have some part of my old computer back.

I retrieved the computer and concluded that my old laptop had been broken up for parts that had made their way into a refurbished computer to be sold again.

Copyright © Damian Clarke, 2020. First published, June 15th, 2007 under Making it nice.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old…

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

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