Brian Edwards Media

Thieving Bastards Steal Big Red Umbrella! Read All About It!

View from the bach at Leigh

View from the bach at Leigh

Our house in Herne Bay was burgled some years ago. We were woken in the middle of the night by crashing sounds from downstairs.  It requires a really brave person to investigate strange noises in the night. So down Judy went. She returned to say all was well. Nothing out of the ordinary to be seen. Must have been the cats.

Daylight revealed that my office window had been partially jemmied open. The thieves had managed to get their hands through the gap and make off with my laptop. There were bits of cable still caught in the window. Judy turning the lights on and bellowing had obviously scared them off.

The police were helpful, but your chances of recovering stolen property really are slim.

There’s a near universal theme in people’s storise about having been burgled: it’s less the loss of property than the sense of personal invasion. You could perhaps describe the feeling as akin to grief. Nothing is ever quite the same again. And some things are irreplaceable. I didn’t mourn for my laptop, but for the hundreds of personal photographs that were stored on it. The worst type of theft is the theft of memories.

We’ve just been burgled again. A curious theft on this occasion. While we were away thieves took a huge red market umbrella from the garage of our newly acquired bach in Leigh. The umbrella was part of a Konturest garden setting with a large kwilla table, eight heavy kwilla chairs with red canvas seats and backs and the huge umbrella, also with red canvas, which guarded diners round the table from the sun and rain.

But the umbrella had a flaw. The cowl was so large that in a decent breeze the pole flexed alarmingly threatening to break. So Konturest rebuilt the umbrella with new sturdier spokes and a much fatter pole. The much fatter pole in turn required larger holes in the table to accommodate it. It was a truly magnificent umbrella. And an umbrella with a history.

This all happened 13 years ago. During that time groaning moving men have carried table, chairs and umbrella from house to house each time the Callingham/Edwards got gypsy feet.

We love our bach in beautiful Leigh. But something that has nothing to do with property or financial value has been spoiled. We’d like our huge red garden umbrella back of course but the thieves took something far more valuable – trust and our sense of having discovered a small unsullied paradise in this lovely place.


  1. I remember years ago I had a old car with a seized motor which wasn’t worthy of repair. I was using it for parts.
    The time had come to dispose of it .I pumped up the tires and moved it to the front of the house.From the outside it looked fine.The next morning I awoke to find it missing.A neighbor rang me shortly after complaining that my old car was parked in front of his house and was unsightly.Thieves had tried to take it and start it unsuccessfully . When that failed ,had removed the car radio cassette which was also beyond repair.They had put substantial effort into this and would soon find out that it was all in vein.(The car cassette had been hack-sawed out which was not an easy feat)I still smile knowing I had got one over on them.
    Brian the theft may be to order and someone in the vicinity must have been aware of you umbrella. Burglars generally like rainy or stormy weather as it gives them greater cover.
    I’m glad that a company was made aware of the insufficient build quality of outdoor umbrellas.

    • Fascinating story. A neighbour told me he’d seen a white SUV drive up to the garage and drive away. A small truck arrived shortly afterwards. He shared your view that the umbrella had probably been stolen to order. My view is that a huge red umbrella is going to be difficult to hide.

  2. Hi Brian, try using google earth. Look in your area and see if you can spot your umbrella. I had an old van years ago when I was living in Devanport. It didn’t go and thieves tried to steal it. But what ever they did to the wiring seemed to fix it and I was able to drive it again. He he sometimes karma is perfect.

  3. There used to be a lot of talk about “home invasion” and perhaps the seriousness with which that was taken should have included burglary on the scale that you have suffered. “Home invasion” seems to be less talked about and less taken seriously now for some reason! Things taken by thieves from my car-port have not been major intrusions, but one was a Buddha, a present from my family who know that I’m a Buddhist. The replacement Buddha sits in my car-port with a chain and padlock around his base. Having to chain a Buddha – what kind of society are we living in!

    • Things taken by thieves from my car-port have not been major intrusions, but one was a Buddha, a present from my family who know that I’m a Buddhist.

      I’m hoping that you took the theft as an expression of the transitory nature of material possessions.

    • 3.2


      Interesting story in Oakland California, one of the less likeable neighborhoods someone put a Buddha statue on the curbside. Soon there were offerings appearing and eventually local Buddhists started coming to pray and it became a shrine. The crime rate in the area went down and it became a much safer area.
      See the article here.
      Buddha seems to bring tranquility to Oakland neighborhood – SFGate…/Buddha-seems-to-bring-tranquillity-to-Oakland-57575...
      Sep 15, 2014 – A lone Buddha statue placed in a crime-troubled neighborhood becomes … The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood was …

  4. Hi Brian.
    “Homw invasion”, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned so much or taken so seriously these days, might well include the nastiness of intrusion into the home to steal not just expensive objects but properties that have strong emotional connections and may not be worth that much externally. Among things stolen from my car-port which is gated but open to sight from a busy street, has been a Buddha given to me as a gift by my family. My replacement Buddha now sits on the drive with a chain and padlock around his base.
    Regards –
    Brian Lilburn

  5. Red umbrella? Have you spoken to the Labour Party? It will probably appear in fund raising raffle.

    • Quite uncalled for but not unexpected from the rabid right.

      • What are you talking about? It was a joke. You know nothing about my political views. I might say your response is typical of the Po faced humourless left.


          If it was a joke, and I’m not sure it was, then it was in very bad taste. What I would expect from the rabid right – joke!


            I’m very left wing and one of the two or three people who voted Labour in the last election. I was amused.


          P.S. Your generalization about the “Po faced left” shows I was correct in my assumption concerning your political views.

  6. Here’s some other thieving bastards that stole a billion dollars from us:

    Flying a red and green umbrella no doubt.

    • I just knew you’d manage to have a go at Labour or the Greens but I couldn’t quite think how.
      Congratulations on your ingenuity, however twisted.

      • 6.1.1

        Little ingenuity is necessary to vilify real thriving bustards, John. Simple clarity of vision suffices.

        • Alan, I wrote a reasonably thoughtful post on the distress which even a relatively minor burglary can cause a household. You define your response as “clarity of vision”. I’m more inclined to see it as a further example of your blinkered opposition to anything remotely associated with or emanating from the left. I’m delighted to report that several of my closest friends are avid National Party supporters, some of whose political views I share. And there have recently been quite a few proposed Labour Party policies that I thought bordered on the lunatic. I may not have your “clarity of vision”, but nor am I afflicted by the close-minded political bigotry that reveals itself in almost everything you write.


            Admirable response, Brian. Bigotry often seems to entail arrogance.


            Brian, you are too sensitive. My comment was neither directed at you nor critical of your post. Clarity of vision was solely a recommendation for John who has a single-minded political posture.

            As for my own positions, I am always willing to debate the facts and logic and have never hesitated to criticise the Right when I believe they have it wrong.


              I am only single minded in the desire to see an end to your “close-minded political bigotry” as Brian so clearly puts it.
              My political posture is one which has some thought for the less fortunate amongst us, you excluded, and the desire to pass on to our descendants a world worth living in.
              However, please continue to prove that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing.


                Nope. I’ve read many of your comments elsewhere which had nothing to do with me but showed the same blinkers.

                Your blind barn door is that you fail to see that others have the same objectives but far more insight into the best ways to achieve them.

                For example I am fortunate to spend a great deal of my time and resources improving the environment and helping others and making them happy. As do very many of the other people you believe to be uncaring capitalists.


                  Hide writes about Slater: “is not always responsible for what he writes.”
                  “By his own admission he is an embellisher.”
                  “His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.”
                  “It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.”
                  “The blogs, as mad and as bad they are . . .,”
                  You believe this is a balanced view and yet you quote him as a reliable source.

                  If you have read my comments elsewhere you will have noticed that I usually get a high number of “likes” and, sometimes, the most. You are in a minority but don’t appear to have noticed. I suppose that is a result of “close-minded political bigotry”.
                  Oh, and I’m not prepared to enter into a competition as to who does the most charitable work.

                  This is getting tedious; you can have the last word.


                  I’ll leave it to others to judge whether your selective quotations from Hide are self-serving or balanced. For my part I stand by my previous assessments. And I’m citing Slater for his facts, not his opinions. In this instance they are of course correct and indisputable.

                  I have no problem with being in a minority. However the election result tends to indicate otherwise.

                  As for caring for others (and the environment) I’m happy to acknowledge some Lefties personally do a lot. It’s a pity they don’t acknowledge the same for their political opponents.

  7. Acquiring something with even a hint of controversy tends to taint my sense of its ownership for good. I wonder about the moral compass of someone who can thieve something like your big red umbrella and calmly enjoy all the family conviviality that should take place under such a thing without a care. Hopefully there’s a pang of regret every time it is unfurled.

    Brenda: Google Earth is not live, the pictures are several years old. One day for sure…

    • It’s distressing to contemplate people without what you call “a moral compass” but I rather think that the average burglar is unlikely to be troubled by guilt about what he/she has done.

      • 7.1.1

        This is the crux of the problem. People with moral autism. How and why do they get like that. What can be done about it.

        I don’t know he answers but I suspect parenting is a huge factor.

  8. Ages ago my bike got stolen in Palmy and the next Saturday it was advertised in the Wellington newspaper. It may be worth looking out for it on trademe.

    A couple of years ago, we had people stealing from our school gala because they didn’t want to pay the $2 or $3 for an item. My bet was they were stealing stuff to sell on trademe – they didn’t want to pay anything for it because they couldn’t guarantee they’d get their money back but they could stick it on at $1 and hope to get lucky.

  9. Well, at least you know who flogged it.

  10. A curious theft on this occasion.

    Not really. NZ is rife with these sorts of weird crimes. An former colleague from the UK said that he’d seen clips from NZ’s version of Crimewatch played on UK comedy shows as they showed stuff like dilapidated old trailers that were missing, presumed stolen.

  11. Yes, the sense of invasion is big, and so much so that you may dream about it. I came home to see all the drawers open, the lounge seat pillows thrown. The DVD player was on the floor looking ready to go; but I think I interrupted the burglar.
    Cars in the driveway and lights and TV on are good insurance.
    I said to the Police,
    ‘look this small window is open, you would have to be a skinny little kid to get through that’.
    He said
    “yes thats right, thats why they took nothing except your fancy after shave lotion. They were looking for money or drugs and you failed them”.