Most of us like a good mystery. Whether a ‘What if?’, or a ‘Whodunnit?’, they can often be fun to explore, or challenging to try to work out. But when they affect everyday life when you don’t want them to, then they are just plain annoying. Some of you may recognise the sorts of mysteries below, and others will have their own to tell us about. Please add your own, in the comments.
Many years ago, I bought a Herb Chopper. It was a big curved blade, secured between wooden handles, and it came with a specially indented wooden board to use it on. I intended to chop my fresh herbs with a professional flair, and make more use of them in cooking. At the time, we lived in a very small flat in London. There were few places where anything could be stored, and we had to arrange everything carefully. It was placed in a cupboard under the worktop, and easily visible.
Less than a week later, I bought some fresh Basil, and went to get my new device to chop it. It was gone. The cupboard was emptied out, but there was no trace of the substantial wooden board, and the large, shiny chopping blade.
Even though I knew where I had put it, I duly searched the other four cupboards, a sense of complete pointlessness overwhelming me. Sure enough, it was nowhere to be seen. It had simply vanished. When we moved to Norfolk, I was convinced that it would ‘turn up’, and we would laugh at the strange location it had been found in. But no. It had disappeared, never to be seen again. And it was in good company, as many other possessions had gone the same way over the years.
The spoon in the bowl.
I do most of the washing up around here. I don’t mind doing it, and usually set to it as soon as we have eaten. I am not a person who can tolerate leaving an untidy kitchen until ‘later on’. We don’t have a dishwasher; in fact I have never even used one, let alone owned one. I use a plastic bowl in the kitchen sink, and very hot water that necessitates wearing rubber gloves to do the job. The method works well for me, as long as I always use a ‘premium brand’ washing-up liquid. When everything is clean, and stacked on the plastic stand to drain off before being put away, I tip out the used soapy water, and clean around the sink and bowl to avoid leaving any soapy mess.
As I do this, I can guarantee that there will always be one small teaspoon left in the bowl. No matter how carefully I sweep my fingers around under the water before tipping it out, that elusive spoon will evade capture, preferring to fall into the sink with a ‘clang’ instead. But the real mystery is that even when neither of us have actually used a teaspoon that evening, there is still one in the bowl.
Most of us like to keep certain important papers ‘somewhere safe’. Passports, Birth Certificates, Marriage Licence, Social Security and Medical Card, and those all-important guarantees and instruction manuals. I went so far as to buy a portable filing case, with indexed sections for such things, and I have kept it in sight for almost twenty years now. I placed all the papers and documents into the correct letter of the alphabet sections, and closed the lid with a click. But as soon as I needed to access any of those things, they were not there. They had magically migrated to the back of a drawer, sometimes in a different room. A few had disappeared completely, never to be seen again. One was found by chance, in the pages of a book I hadn’t looked at since 1997.
I now just leave them on the desk in the office room, where I can see them every day.
But I still expect them to vanish any time soon.