When gnarl's sleeping next to me, my noises in the night alarm doesn't go off. Most times, when he's off working nights, anything will make me sit up suddenly in bed with the "what's that? who's there?" questions buzzing in my head. I hear the neighbours' window open, and I think it's the bathroom. I hear a cat jump onto a roof outside, and think it's someone trying to break in.

Wrapped in his arms I felt so safe, I was so sound asleep, I was blissfully unaware of someone forcing the door open. I didn't hear people moving around downstairs. i didn't hear them unplug the TV, the VCR and ransack my suitcase. I heard gnarl leap out of bed, and say, "who's there?" and I was still bleary, in "go back to sleep, it's nothing mode" even though a light had been turned on and off and there were now people running down the stairs.

It was 4.30 a.m.

Gnarl headed for the stairs. "No, call the police. Now." Oh, and, maybe put some clothes on? And I didn't think to go the window and look for a car. But, I wouldn't let him go downstairs unless he had something big and heavy in his hands. Just in case. Couldn't find anything. No point throwing a cat at them, kitsune was under the bed hiding and zot was walking around looking baffled. (But that's normal. She always looks baffled. She's a very easily confused cat.)

And the sitting room looked like hell. My suitcase had been opened, and the dirty socks and other grubby clothes from my last trip to Amsterdam were thrown around. Coats were on the floor. There was a big gap where the TV used to be and the VCR. The digital camera was gone (along with all the pictures, good ones at that, of Budpest and Amsterdam that I had been too lazy to download. The pictures of my gone, but beloved cat. Pictures of friends. Really cute pictures of gnarl.) And my handbag. My shiny lovely horribly expensive brand new Osprey handbag. The one I bought to make me feel grown up. Gone. With my wallet, my phone, my makeup, and, oh shit, my passport. My passport full of the history of my travels (the evidence of a long-distance love affair, crossing continents and then the explorations together). My passport that I need on wednesday. And, to complicate things my name has changed since that passport was issued, so I can get a passport in my new (old) name. But, I have plane tickets to the US in the old passport name. Which I will have to pay to change. I will probably have to spend most of tomorrow standing around at the passport office in Petty France, pleading. I have no ID. It was all in my bag. With my bank cards.

At least I'll get to replace the serial-killer-with-a-hangover photograph.

My wallet contained a pile of cash, in four currencies. They probably thought they had hit it big, when they found about 5000 florints in there. Sadly, the Hungarian currency is big on number and low on value. That's worth less than ten pounds. The stash of Polish Zloty were worth more, as were the 200 Dutch guilders. My wallet contained all my receipts. For the new handbag. For all the other crap in my handbag. For all my still unclaimed travel expenses. That will be a hassle to deal with.

They were in the middle of unplugging the stereo when they ran away--the stuff that had been piled on top was all over the rug.

I dialled my own mobile number over and over again, just to see if they were stupid enough to answer, just to piss them off. They kept hitting the hangup button. Then I got the phone cancelled.

They took the four bottles of wine from the kitchen. Damn good wine, too, the stuff we had been saving. They overlooked the bottle of single malt whisky, though.

They made the flat smell of horrible aftershave that made my flesh creep with their presence. They took our sleep and our security away. I have no idea how long we will have to spend filling in forms and standing in queues.

And I know they will come back. They found good expensive stuff, and they didn't get to check out the upstairs. I'm sure they've been watching the place a bit, they probably know that there are computers upstairs.

But I'm still glad I feel so safe and secure, that I can sleep so deeply with another person. But I hate the idea of all those nights when he will be away, and the nights when he will be alone when I am off travelling.