Frieda was just one. She and I had spent the afternoon at a friend's. I remember I'd had more than one gin and tonic. It was Friday and it felt that way.
We got home a little late for starting supper etc, and swooped straight through the house to the kitchen. I put Frieda in her high chair and started scrabbling for something to feed her.
The alarm had been on when we'd arrived, I'd disarmed it before we entered. The study door was closed but that didn't strike me as odd, we often closed it so Frieda wouldn't toddle in there unsupervised.
It was only when I tried to open the back door, and couldn't, that I realised the broom cupboard which stood just outside it was on its side. Then I saw all the broken glass and went cold.
Where they still here?
I grabbed Frieda and my phone and walked straight out of the house again. Stood in the bitter wind phoning my husband and the security company. I wrapped her close in my big jersey, my heart thudding through us both.
Turns out the burglar was long gone. He'd smashed the solid pane of the study window (having realised that the alarm worked with contact points on all the opening windows and doors), closed the door to the study and helped himself to everything in there - 2 laptops, a tablet, a bike jacket, a mobile phone, some cash etc.
A bloody fingerprint stained the strip plug he'd unplugged my laptop from.
I am so grateful I'd copied the photos of Frieda's 1st birthday to a flash drive to share with a friend.
He left a can of mace spray behind.
I'm so grateful we came home when we did.
He left some other fingerprints too. And the reason why I tell this story now is that tomorrow I go to court to bear witness against him. 5 years and another dozen charges later they've got him, and although I don't really see the worth of my testimony - I can't add anything to the original police report, I never saw him - I'll do what I can to help find him guilty.
We were 'lucky' to have only been burgled once in all the years we lived in Observatory. (Actually we were broken into twice but the other time the perp only got into our garden shed and took a dump - I was away working on a shoot so I guess that time just I was lucky!)
But I don't feel particularly lucky now as I have to leave home in the dark and rain tomorrow to spend the morning on a cold, hard bench in the unsavoury environment of the Cape High Court.
But Justice must be served right?