You know you’re old when even grannies start mug­ging you

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment -

IWAS walk­ing to my mum’s flat last Wed­nes­day evening when an el­derly woman ac­costed me. ‘Hello!’ she called, grin­ning and wav­ing a cane at me in greet­ing. ‘I know you. Off the telly!’ I stopped. ‘Give me a hug!’ It’s not of­ten I find a fan or some­one so happy to meet me, so I held out my arms. She en­veloped me in a fum­bling bear hug. We had a chat, then I pointed to the en­trance of my mum’s block, said I had to go in, and we went our sep­a­rate ways.

When I was in the lift, I re­alised my iPhone had van­ished from the out­side pocket of my anorak. I rushed back out­side. No sign of

NOTE to all moth­ers, in fact all women, af­ter Kate Hudson was torn limb from limb for jok­ing that the lazi­est thing she’d ever done was have a C-sec­tion. Never, ever, ques­tion other’s choices when it comes to child­birth. In fact never even com­ment on them, even in jest. It’s not safe. the old woman. Ran to Not­ting Hill po­lice sta­tion, just round the cor­ner. ‘I’ve just been mugged in the street,’ I said to the woman be­hind a screen, who sighed and said: ‘I’d just re­port it on­line and get your crime num­ber that way.’

Ran home. Found iPad. Opened the Find My iPhone app, and soon dis­cov­ered that my pre­cious de­vice, the first thing I’d save in a house fire af­ter the fam­ily photo al­bums, was mak­ing its way down Kens­ing­ton Church Street.

At this point the full hor­ror of what I was fac­ing be­gan to sink in. I’d just re­ported my son’s iPhone stolen (in Mex­ico). I’d be call­ing my net­work provider to re­port a sec­ond theft in two days. Then wait­ing in for a new phone. I’d also, of course, lose all those pho­tos, con­tacts, cal­en­dar en­tries, texts (my back-ups never seem to sync).

As my hus­band said the other day: ‘There are three of us in this mar­riage: you, me, and your iPhone.’ For­get the new iPhone X, cost­ing more than a grand, which ev­ery­one’s wang­ing on about. I just wanted my old one back. I jumped into the car, and started fol­low­ing the mov­ing blue blob on my iPad.

And then, of course, I lost sig­nal. I didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t log my iPad on to the in­ter­net, so I had to park. Go into a cafe, con­nect, and it was while I was do­ing that that the kind wait­ress at Blanche Eatery asked: ‘Have you rung the po­lice?’ And then things speeded up. Two min­utes later a panda car with blue flash­ing lights dou­bleparked out­side. ‘Hop in the back,’ I was told. One of­fi­cer logged my iPad on to his hot spot (or some­thing) and the blue blob was back, now mov­ing down Kens­ing­ton High Street. ‘We have the vic­tim in the back, sarge,’ one of­fi­cer ra­dioed to the cop shop.

‘Put your seat belt on,’ the other said, and turned on the siren (it was hard not to go ‘nee naw nee naw’ with ex­cite­ment) and we screamed off. ‘De­scrip­tion of sus­pect?’ he asked, as we shot red lights and drove on the wrong side of the road at top speed. ‘Woman,’ I panted. ‘Be­tween 60 and 65, I’d say. Hard to tell. Hat. Dark glasses. With a cane.’ Then it hit me. I’d been mugged by gangsta granny. We found her half a mile away. ‘On your left!’ I said, my heart pound­ing. We pulled up, and the of­fi­cers got out. I wound the win­dow down so I could hear. ‘Yes, I have the phone,’ she ad­mit­ted. ‘She gave me a hug, and my hat came off, and she picked it up and her phone fell out of her pocket.’ ‘Why didn’t you give it back?’ the of­fi­cers asked. ‘Or hand it in? The po­lice sta­tion was right there.’ ‘I was go­ing to, to­mor­row,’ she said.

ONE cop got back into the car to put her name and ad­dress into a po­lice data­base. ‘What do you want to do?’ he asked, hand­ing me back my de­vice. He looked at me. I thought for a sec­ond. Did I re­ally want to take things fur­ther? What if she did in­tend to give the phone back?

‘Noth­ing,’ I said, feel­ing mag­nan­i­mous. ‘My in­stinct too,’ he con­curred. ‘She hasn’t got a record, we’ve got her name and ad­dress. The im­por­tant thing is… you’ve got your phone back.’ My own thoughts en­tirely, sarge!

But he was con­tin­u­ing, look­ing at his own iPad: ‘And as she’s a 1965 birth­day, she’s not ex­actly go­ing to start a life of crime at her age, is she, es­pe­cially now she’s on file.’

I was try­ing not to gasp. Gangsta granny was ex­actly my age!

It be­gan to dawn on me that the hand­some young po­lice­men thought I was a nice old dear (and don’t they just look younger every year) who had to be hu­moured too, es­pe­cially when one said with a grin: ‘Oh by the way, she asked me for a hug too – and I’ve still got my phone!’

I will try not to hold on to that thought.

ALL SMILES: But Hope, pos­ing for a selfie, is light on ex­pe­ri­ence

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